THE memories of Bradford man Rudi Leavor who fled Nazi Germany as a Jewish refugee will live on despite his death at the age of 95.

Mr Leavor, of Heaton, died peacefully in his sleep on Tuesday, but the impact he had on all who knew him has been felt across Bradford as tributes continue to pour in.

Mr Leavor, who was chairman of Bradford Synagogue, was recognised when he received a BEM medal for his interfaith work which hit global headlines when Jani Rashid became the first Muslim to join the Synagogue Council.

A spokesperson for the Council for Mosques in Bradford paid tribute to Mr Leavor, saying: “We are deeply saddened by the death of Rudi Leavor, and extend our condolences to his family and many friends.

“Rudi was the most vibrant and accommodating face of the Jewish community in our city, always reaching out for friendship across all communities.

“He exemplified the best of what the Jewish community has to offer to Bradford — a city he was passionate about.

“Rudi will be greatly missed for his kindness and compassion, for his honest approach to faith relations in the city and for his enormous humanity.

“He touched the lives of many people and we know that they will all be deeply saddened by the passing of Rudi.

“Bradford Council for Mosques expresses it deepest sadness to the family, friends and the Jewish community on this shared loss.

“Although Rudi has moved on, his legacy will stay with us and will continue to inspire and propel us forward.”

A spokesperson for Bradford Cathedral, who will also hold a special memorial service in his honour, said: “The Cathedral community is so very sad to learn of the death of our dear friend and advocate, Rudi Leavor. We give thanks to God for his long and amazingly fruitful life and pray for his family and friends in their grief.”

Mr Leavor’s young life a Jewish refugee had a profound impact on him and he often told his stories to his family, friends, communities here in Bradford and even back at his childhood home in Berlin, Germany.

Mr Leavor was at home in Berlin when two men from the Gestapo forced their way in and arrested his parents.

Later released, they managed to obtain visas for Britain.

Mr Leavor, along with his parents and sister, left Nazi Germany as refugees for Bradford in 1937, when he was 11.

“They left Germany by train with relatives waving their hankies and took a ferry to England,” said his son Jonathan Leavor, of Queensbury.

“I remember my father telling me as they departed Germany for the last time, they threw their keys of their house into the water,” said Jonathan.

Mr Leavor wrote down those memories in a book, My Story, which was published last year.

A spokesperson for the Association of Jewish Refugees said: “Our condolences to the family of Rudi Leavor. Rudi was an active member of the AJR and will be sorely missed. We are lucky to have produced his My Story book as part of our project and to have recorded his testimony for our Refugee Voices archive.”

Jonathan also spoke of affectionately of his father’s return visits to Berlin.

He said: “I went with him on several trips to Berlin, where he would educate youngsters in schools or those who visited the Jewish museum there.

“He always felt that his stories of his life in Berlin needed telling to the younger generation. It was something he was keen to do, especially in Germany.”

Jonathan said growing up his father took the family on holiday to many places, but Mr Leavor’s favourite was place was Italy.

They would spend time on the beach on the Adriatic Coast and then cool off with walks in the mountains.

But it was at home in Bradford where he enjoyed services and special events like Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights.

“He was instrumental in presiding over it and organising the music for it.”

Jonathan said that his father always attended monthly services, and said that although the Jewish community in Bradford is dwindling he said there is still a strong core of people who attend.

Jonathan added: “My father always made time to show people around the synagogue and he was a regular facilitator of visits.

A funeral service for Mr Leavor, who had a successful career as a dentist in Heckmondwike, will be held at Bradford Synagogue on August 17 followed by a private family burial at Nab Wood Crematorium. The funeral will be by invite only but Jonathan said a number of dignataries have already requested to attend.

Jonathan said that Bradford Cathedral is also planning to hold a service in honour of Mr Leavor and his interfaith work.