Barber, Dr F.

Date of Birth:
25 Oct 1905
Barber, Dr F.

Dr F Barber was born in Moravia (in what was to become Czechoslovakia). He studied medicine at Vienna University, where he experienced anti-Semitism from the German students' unions.

Czechoslovakia was established at the end of the First World War. Barber attended the new university there in Brno, living in a Jewish students' home. On completion of his studies, he found work at the Children's Hospital in Brno. When Hitler's troops invaded Czechoslovakia in March 1939, he was advised to leave, and with the assistance of an uncle of his future wife, Renate, he sent three crates of personal belongings to a forwarding agent in England. The plan was for Renate to obtain a visa to travel to England as a trainee nurse; but Barber could escape only illegally. In the event, it was another ten years before they arrived in London. Their tortuous journey took them down the Danube in a paddleboat, to Cyprus, Jerusalem and Libya.

On his arrival in London in 1949, Dr Barber took the lease on a shop in Essex Road, N1 that had living accommodation above. He converted this into a small surgery. His ability to speak Italian attracted patients from around north London, and he used his knowledge of classical Greek to communicate with Greek patients who had come to London to escape political turmoil in Cyprus.

In 1956, Dr Barber began practising from a small purpose-built surgery that he had built at his home at 38 Brookfield Park, Highgate. Limitations on space meant that the surgery fixtures and fittings were made to a reduced scale so that they fitted into in the tiny room.

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