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    Tom Stoppard

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    (Tomas Straussler)
    July 3, 1937 —

    Tom Stoppard is one of modern Britain's most prominent playwrights. He's penned a number of well-regarded plays, including "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead", and even won an Oscar for writing "Shakespeare in Love". (We won't hold that against him.)

    And look at that name: does it get more British than that? You can just picture a Thomas Stoppard drinking his five-o-clock tea with crumpets! (Or is it biscuits? Those Briticisms always confuse us.)

    Well, Stoppard is British alright, but he wasn't born one. His last name came as a gift from his stepfather, who thought of being an Englishman as a peak of achievement, not an accident of birth. Stoppard was born in Zlin, Czechoslovakia as Tomas Straussler; his Jewish parents were lucky when the town's patron, fearing Nazis, helped transfer Jews outside of Europe. The Strausslers first went to Singapore, then Australia, then India. Tom's father volunteered in the British army and died in a Japanese prison camp. His mother remarried, and Tom became a Stoppard.

    Stoppard didn't find out about his Jewish roots until late in his life, but his most recent play, "Leopoldstadt", is deep with Jewish themes. It's the story of the trials of a Jewish Viennese family in the early 20th century.

    That sounds a tad more interesting than "Shakespeare in Love"...

    Verdict: Jew.

    July 6, 2020

    See Also

    David Mamet

    Arthur Miller

    Gwyneth Paltrow

    Harold Pinter

    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
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