Gritta Weil 1924 - 2009

born in:
Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany

Born in Germany, Weil and her sister narrowly escaped the Holocaust arriving in Britain via the Kindertransports in 1939 (her parents also escaped just before the outbreak of war, with her father briefly held in Dachau). She was fostered with an orthodox Jewish family in Bournemouth, and then by Methodists in Purbrook, Hampshire. At 16 she got a job as a parlour maid to a Quaker family.

Her first job was at the Oxford Institute of Statistics, where she met the economist E F Schumacher, who suggested she work at The Observer. She started on the paper a few days after her 21st birthday, and devoted the rest of her life to The Observer and its staff from 1945 until 1984. Her job title ‘editorial secretary’ hid a crucial role managing the office and acting as "Mother Superior" – to the foreign writers' desk. She went on, in retirement, to run Fobs (Friends of The Observer).