Gordon Cadden wrote:
He would have discovered that he was also facing internment in the land of his birth, and so he went into hiding, amongst the Sephardim community of Mile End, East London. This is all supposition, but I believe the likely explanation for his disappearance from the chess scene, and his subsequent tragic demise.
It's probably worth mentioning that the adjective is Sephardic, nouns Sephardi (singular) and Sephardim (plural).
A Jew from Prussia was unlikely to have been Sephardic. Although, I admit, I usually associate Caro with the Sephardim.
Sephardic Jews hailed from Spain. The big expulsion was in 1492. Many Spanish Jews converted to Roman Catholicism (technically conversos
, although the vernacular was marrano
, which was Spanish for pig
). This didn't always save them from the tender mercies of the Inquisition. Anyone of Spanish descent bearing that family name is quite likely to have Marrano antecedents. Most of the exiles fled to territories subject to the Ottomans. The ones who fled north gravitated to the Low Countries (some later ended up in England). They remembered their roots: at Rocroi (1643), a crushing defeat of the Spanish at the hands of the French, many of the wounded Spanish tercios were supposed to have been solicitously tended by Sephardim, they hadn't forgotten the lost glories of Al Andalus
There are burial grounds for both the Ashkenazim and Sephardim at Mile End. That should be sufficient to determine which grouping could lay claim to Horatio Caro. I have a vague recollection that the Sephardic burial ground has been sold to property speculators: it might be worth checking that it is there, before anyone ventures forth.
If there was a Sephardic community at Mile End in 1920, it would have been greatly outnumbered by the Ashkenazim. At that point in time the Sephardic population in England tended to be wealthier and older than the Ashkenazim. It had been settled for some time, whereas most of the Ashkenazim were recent refugees from Czarist Russia. It seems odd that a German Jew would have ended up in Mile End, unless he had encountered hard times. There were eighteenth century ordinances barring indigent Jews from the Prussian seat of power. I can't remember if there were similar prohibitions for other towns in the domains of the Hohenzollerns. This was why the Berlin Jewish community of the 1930s was more prosperous than the Viennese. Note that German Jews in the 1930s sometimes referred to those from further east as Ostjuden
, it was a derogatory, not a neutral, term. Their attitudes in earlier times did not differ greatly. This is yet another reason why it is strange that Caro ended up at Mile End: as stated, poverty does look the likely explanation.
Fear of internment during the Great War is a possibility, but I thought internment ended in 1919. To be taken up again for the Second World War.