Obituary: Julian Deaner

Obituary: My husband, the solicitor Julian Deaner, who has died aged 69, came from a long line of leftwing activists.

My husband, the solicitor Julian Deaner, who has died aged 69, came from a long line of leftwing activists. His paternal grandparents, who arrived in Britain from Latvia in 1905, had been members of the Bund, the Jewish socialist movement. His father, Ginner, active in opposition to the first world war, was arrested as a conscientious objector and served two years' hard labour in Wormwood Scrubs and Dartmoor. In the 1980s, he was inspired by his father's experience to research Labour party policy in the build-up to the first world war and was awarded an MPhil.

During the second world war, Julian was evacuated to Bedfordshire with his mother, and was sent as a boarder to Fortis Green Nursery, also relocated in Bedfordshire, and a school of leftwing views. Back in north London, Julian was educated at Haberdashers and at King's College London, where he read law, qualifying as a solicitor in 1961.

Youthful involvement in leftwing politics brought a rich harvest: from anti-Suez demonstrations to CND and the New Left Club. Aldermaston marches were the chic Easter events for the left. Unlike today's harsher demos, these were four-day rambles and picnics with songs, jollity and optimism for, of course, we would "ban the bomb". We met through CND and married in 1963.

For many years Julian was a member of the Society of Labour Lawyers and of the Fabian society. He was a keen member of the Labour party, and stood once for the local council. From 1996, he chaired two tribunals, on rent assessment and leasehold valuation. He enjoyed this work tremendously.

When our youngest child was diagnosed with autism, we set up the Jewish Society for children and adults with learning difficulties, which was one of the first groups to challenge successfully the entrenched power of establishment organisations. Though from a secular background, Julian was a founder member of the New North London Synagogue. He was a generous-hearted and modest man of great moral integrity, and is survived by myself, two daughters and a son.

Olga Deaner

The GuardianTramp

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