The life of Dora Diamant, a remarkable East Ender by adoption, was commemorated by JEECS on May 26 with a morning service at East Ham Jewish cemetery and an afternoon talk by Professor Kathi Diamant, her biographer, at Toynbee Hall.
Dora Diamant was the last love of the writer Franz Kafka and came to the East End fleeing persecution in 1939. You can read her story by clicking here.
The event was attended by members of her family and Franz Kafka's family.
Professor Kathi Diamant at Toynbee Hall, where she spoke about her remarkable namesake Dora Diamant
At Dora's graveside at East Ham Jewish Cemetery: Professor Kathi Diamant (right) with Karen Pitchford, a Kafka scholar who made the pilgrimage to see the grave of Dora Diamant
At the graveside, Professor Diamant recited the following, very appropriate, poem by Lucretius:
On The Nature of Things
by Titus Lucretius Carus ( c.99-55 BCE)
No single thing abides; but all things flow.
Fragment to fragment clings – the things thus grow
Until we know and name them. By degrees
They melt, and are no more the things we know.
Globed from the atoms falling slow or swift
I see the suns, I see the systems lift
Their forms; and even the systems and the suns
Shall go back slowly to the eternal drift.
You, too, oh earth – your empires, lands, and seas –
Least, with your stars, of all the galaxies,
Globed from the drift like these, like these you too
Shalt go. You are going, hour by hour, like these.
Nothing abides. The seas in delicate haze
Go off; those moonéd sands forsake their place;
And where they are, shall other seas in turn
Mow with their scythes of whiteness other bays.
The seeds that once were we take flight and fly,
Winnowed to earth, or whirled along the sky,
Not lost but disunited. Life lives on.
It is the lives, the lives, the lives, that die.
They go beyond recapture and recall,
Lost in the all-indissoluble All –
Gone like the rainbow from the fountain's foam,
Gone like the spindrift shuddering down the squall.
Flakes of the water, on the waters cease!
Soul of the body, melt and sleep like these.
Atoms to atoms – weariness to rest –
Ashes to ashes – hopes and fears to peace!