Alfred Sherman

Alfred Sherman

Alfred Sherman, the son of Jewish immigrants, Jacob Vladimir and Eva Sherman, was born in Hackney in 10th November 1919. Influenced by his father's left-wing views, Sherman joined the Communist Party.

Sherman studied chemistry at Chelsea Polytechnic but in 1937 left to join the International Brigades, fighting in the Spanish Civil War. In 1938 he was taken prisoner and was repatriated to Britain. After returning home he worked in a London electrical factory.

Between 1939 and 1945 he served in the Middle East in the Field Security and Occupied Enemy Territory Administration. He became a supporter of Josip Tito and in 1948 he was expelled from the Communist Party for "Titoist deviationism". Sherman went to live in Yugoslavia as a volunteer in a "youth work brigade".

In 1950 he graduated from the London School of Economics. Soon afterwards he returned to Belgrade as a correspondent for The Observer. In the late 1950s Sherman was a member of the economic advisory staff of the Israeli government and had a close relationship with David Ben Gurion.

In 1963 Sherman joined the Jewish Chronicle as a leader writer. Two years later he went to work for the Daily Telegraph. In 1970 he joined the Conservative Party and the following year was elected as a councillor for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (1971-78).

A strong supporter of Margaret Thatcher he helped her establish the right-wing Centre for Policy Studies. It has been argued that Sherman played an important role in helping Thatcher become prime minister in 1979. However, they fell out during her period in power. Sherman was later quoted as saying: "Lady Thatcher is great theatre as long as someone else is writing her lines; she hasn’t got a clue".

Sir Alfred Sherman died on 26th August 2006.

Primary Sources

(1) Alfred Sherman, interviewed by Jonathan Glancey in the Guardian (10th November, 2000)

When we arrived in Spain - train to Perpignan and then on foot over the Pyrenees - we were given three weeks basic military training by Red Army volunteers. We'd teamed up by then with a wide mix of fellow brigaders - miners, shipbuilders, many of them world war one veterans - and went into action on the Zaragoza road.

We were given no real picture of Stalin's motives. We were pawns in many ways. It took me nearly another decade before I realised what a cheat and liar Stalin was.