Workers renovating a store in the southern English town of Brighton discovered a cache containing around £1 million in cash that may have been stashed by a Jewish family during World War II.
According to Britain’s The Daily Mail, the building once housed Bradley Gowns, part of a chain of famous couturiers based in London. The store sold expensive fashions that were worn by celebrities like Brigitte Bardot and was the favorite store of Winston Churchill’s wife Clementine. The chain is now defunct.
It is not known precisely who hid the cash beneath the store’s floorboards, but one member of the Bradley family, which owned the chain, believes there may be a Jewish connection.
Howard Bradley told the Mail that due to their Jewish ancestry, the Bradleys themselves may have stashed the money as insurance during the early days of World War II, when Britain seemed to be facing possible defeat by Nazi Germany.
“We are English back to I don’t know when, but I know there is some Jewish blood in the family,” he said. “People on the Continent were buying their way out — out of Austria, out of France. They might have worried they’d have to buy their way out, maybe it was part of a getaway plan.”
As Bradley noted, after Britain successfully evacuated much of its expeditionary force from Dunkirk and the German bombing began “it was looking pretty bleak.”
“The family’s place in London was bombed,” he said. “My grandmother even had to be rescued from under a pile of rubble after a doodlebug [a German V1 rocket] hit the building she was in. Banks were bombed. It’s definitely possible someone decided Brighton was less of a target — it wasn’t as high on the Luftwaffe’s list.”
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