Helen was born in Notting Hill, London in 1892. Her family was a prominent Jewish family of bankers, politicians and a vice principal of the Working Men’s College. One of her brother’s was a suffragist. Helen was involved with various roles in social, charitable and voluntary work after leaving education, for both Jewish and non-Jewish organisations.
Helen married Norman Bentwich in 1915 and became a voluntary aid detachment nurse. She later took up a position as a private secretary for the ministry of finance. In 1916 Helen became a forewoman at the Woolwich Arsenal. She was actively fighting for the rights of women and tried to start a trade union at the Arsenal, which did not go down well with those higher up and she was forced to resign her position. She then went on to become an organiser for the Women’s Land Army.
Throughout her life, she was involved in so many things from politics to education and charity work. She joined the Labour Party in early 1930’s. In 1965 she was awarded a CBE for political and public services.
Blog written by: Lorna