When Maxwell treated cousin with bitterness

I READ with interest Geoff Kuhillow’s article last week about the Jewish blood flowing in Ghislaine Maxwell’s veins.

It rekindled a memory from 1969.

I was working on location with a British film unit in Innsbruck, Austria, at the time.

Also working there was a man — probably 20 years my senior — called Paul Somerville. He was also Jewish, multilingual in at least seven languages and we became friends.

He told me that he was Robert Maxwell’s cousin and that he and Maxwell had left Czechoslovakia together before the war and had virtually walked all the way to England.

He also told me that Maxwell had joined the Czech army in exile.

I cannot remember what he said he had done during that period, but that after the war Maxwell had met his future wife, who was French, not Jewish and from quite a wealthy background.

Maxwell said that it was his wife’s money that enabled him to purchase more than 50 per cent of Pergamon Press, which he eventually owned outright.

Paul was very bitter towards Maxwell.

Paul said he owned a cafe in London which was not a success. He had repeatedly asked Maxwell for financial help and been refused.

Of course, I have no way of knowing whether the stories he told were true.

But the bitterness was quite genuine. It would also suggest that at least one more of Maxwell’s family survived the Holocaust, even if he didn’t want to acknowledge the fact.

John Martins,
5 Fairhaven Avenue,

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