Vidal Sassoon, A True Defender of Israel, Dies at 84
Israelis on Thursday joined millions around the world in mourning the passing of celebrity hairstylist Vidal Sassoon, but likely for a different reason than most of his admirers.
Most people remember Sassoon for his "wash-and-wear" haircutting technique that revolutionized women's hair fashion, as well as for his famous line of haircare products. Fewer know that before he became a household name, Vidal Sassoon was battling Nazi anti-Semitism and defending the newly reborn Jewish state against invading Arab armies.
Sassoon was born to a Jewish family in London, but was sent to a local Jewish orphanage at age 3 when his father left. Sassoon left the orphanage at age 14 and became an apprentice hairdresser. It was around this time that Sassoon said his mother declared he was to become a career hairdresser.
But he had other business to attend to first, for With World War II winding down, Sassoon joined a Jewish veterans' group that combatted anti-Semitic fascist activity in London.
Vidal recounted his time in the group:
"It was a rather strange situation because the war was over. Before the war there was quite a strong fascist party led by Oswald Mosley and he and his cohorts were put in detention (jail) during the war by Churchill. After the war they came out and immediately started up again with their anti-Semitism and running through the streets and having meetings, it was quite ridiculous. Many truly brave Jewish ex-servicemen started the “43 Group” because there were 43 people at the first meeting they had. These were tough men who had been through the war. Of course volunteers were needed, I was 16 or 17 at the time, most of my friends joined the 43 Group and there were quite a few hundred of us. Truly the fascists were smashed in the streets and yes if you were scared at times because it was scary. But after we saw the pictures that came out and the whole story of the Holocaust, there was actually no way we could allow fascists to run through the streets. I was arrested one night and put in jail, the following day the judge told me ‘to be a good boy’ and let me go. That was our life in those days, we decided that we were absolutely not going to allow what happened pre-war when Jews were just beat up indiscriminately in the streets. It worked beautifully because of mainly the tough Jewish characters that were in the British armed forces during the war, they were the people that did it. But also there were quite a few gentiles who had seen the camps, the horror of Europe and fought with us."
A few years later, at the age of 20, Sassoon joined the Hagannah (the precursor to the Israel Defence Force) and bravely headed off to help defend the newborn Jewish state.
"That was the best year of my life," Sassoon later said of his time in Israel. "When you think of 2,000 years of being put down and suddenly you are a nation rising, it was a wonderful feeling. There were only 600,000 people defending the country against five armies, so everyone had something to do."
Upon his return to London, Sassoon resumed a hairstyling career that would eventually see him reach the pinnacle of the fashion world. But he never forgot what he was ultimately fighting for, nor the threats continuing to face the Jewish people.
In 1982, Sassoon returned to Israel to establish the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism at Jerusalem's Hebrew University. The Center continues to produce in-depth studies and surveys of global anti-Semitic trends. The Vidal Sassoon Foundation also regularly supports educational and cultural projects in Israel.
Vidal Sassoon was one of the many heros to the Jewish people and Zionism, The pampered middle class, Leftist indoctrinated fools who label themselves as anti-Fascist today are an insult to this man and the other members of the Jewish Veterans Group.