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Baddiel's history

by: Leslie Bunder - Last updated: 2004-11-19

David Baddiel

David Baddiel

Jewish comedian and writer David Baddiel is set to discover more of his past on BBC2's Who Do You Think You Are? on Tuesday. 

"My history on both sides of my family involves persecution and people fleeing in horror. This creates mystery - and the human response to that is you want to crack the mystery," he says.

And so Baddiel with the help of the BBC goes off to find out more and makes a number of discoveries including how his great Uncle, Rabbi Dovid Baddiel set up a Yeshiva in Gatehead.
"My mother's family were wealthy industrialists until 1933. But they were German Jews and the Nazis stripped them of everything," he says when visiting what was they business. "They were amongst the last Jews to leave Germany - just three weeks before war was declared. This was their brick factory, in Kaliningrad, now in Russia. It's about as bleak as it could possibly be. I just wish there was a bit more of it - it makes me feel as if my past was blown out of existence."
One other fascinating insight into Baddiel's life is the religious background of some of his relatives. Baddiel is not religious and has a daughter, Dolly by non-Jewish partner Morwenna Banks. "All these frummers I never met and who are probably not terribly thrilled that I’ve brought the family name into disrepute,” he says.
Who Do You Think You Are? BBC2 Tuesday 9pm.