The cap

My great-grandfather, Joe Pottok, grew up in Dąbrowa Górnicza in southern Poland. He was actually born in London’s Bethnal Green, but the family wanted to get back to Poland. They couldn’t return immediately because of the Russian Civil War and Soviet-Polish War – they even ended up in Siberia for a while before they could get back to Poland. Joe came to Britain in 1939 – leaving all his family behind in Poland. He found lodgings in the East End of London, where he met my great-grandma (we call her “bubba”). At first, they could only talk to each other in Yiddish but Joe was clever and learned English quickly. Like a lot of Jewish people living in the East End, he found work as a tailor. In my photograph, I’m wearing one of the caps he made. He died before I was born but I like to wear the cap and hear stories about him.