May 11, 2012, - 7:13 pm

Vidal Sassoon, Proud Pro-Israel Jew Who Fought in the Haganah, Z”L*

By Debbie Schlussel

Can’t let the week go by without remembering Vidal Sassoon, * Zichrono LiVrachah [Blessed Be His Memory], who died on Wednesday at age 84. He was so much more than the famous, classy, chic hair stylist and the namesake of a famous haircare line of the ’70s and ’80s.

When I was a kid and saw ads on TV like the two videos below, my parents used to tell me that Vidal Sassoon was a Sephardic Jew who was pro-Israel. And we bought his shampoo and conditioner because, as he said in the ads, “If you don’t look good, we don’t look good.” Not only was he proud to be Jewish and a supporter of Israel, but he fought in the Haganah in 1947 to help make Israel an independent state. The son of Sephardic Jews of Greek and Spanish descent, his family was poor, and he had to live in an orphanage after his father abandoned the family. He went on to fight anti-Semites in Britain in his youth and later to fund other fights against anti-Semitism. His was an interesting story.

Watch the trailer from “Vidal Sassoon: The Movie
. . .

In 1948, he traveled to Israel to fight in Israel’s war of independence. An ardent Zionist, he went on to endow the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism.


Vidal Sassoon, the hairdresser, has recounted his early days as a foot-soldier for an underground anti-fascist group dedicated to wiping out Sir Oswald Mosley’s far-Right movement after the Second World War.

Sassoon was a teenage member of the 43 Group, an organisation formed in 1946 by Jewish ex-servicemen who returned from the frontline only to discover that Mosley, the leader of the British Union of Fascists and an admirer of Adolf Hitler, was spreading his message of hatred on the streets of London.

More from “Vidal: The Autobiography“:

Here I am, aged eight, with my five-year-old brother, Ivor, at the Spanish and Portuguese Jewish Orphanage in Maida Vale, northwest London. My mother, Betty, was forced to place me there for five years while she coped with desperate poverty.

Mum, London-born and of Spanish-Jewish descent, was wonderful and brave, but the orphanage was so tough for me at first. Mum was only allowed to visit one Sunday a month and I used to cry myself to sleep.

But in time I understood the plight she was in and I always adored her. She lived to be 97 and spent the last years of her life living near me in LA. . . .

My father, Jack, on the other hand, was a playboy who had come to London from Greece and abandoned us all for another woman when I was three. My brother and I were both born in Shepherd’s Bush, but when my father left us, Mum took us to live with her sister Katie, a widow with three children, in a crowded tenement in Petticoat Lane, in the heart of the East End.

As my aunt’s children got older, however, there wasn’t room for us all, and my mother had no option but to send me to the orphanage. She sat me down and promised I would be well looked after and would get a good education. It helped that my brother joined me 18 months later.

Our first school was Essendine Road, a Christian primary school with about 1,200 kids, where one learned very little.

Before morning prayers, the teachers used to announce: ‘All Jews and Catholics may now leave.’ Unbelievable. . . .

When war broke out in 1939, Ivor and I were evacuated to Holt, a small village in Wiltshire, where we were placed with a kind family – Mr and Mrs Lucas and their daughter, Veronica – and went to the local primary school.

There were rather more cows and sheep than a city boy could cope with, but playing football with my schoolmates – and some of the German-Jewish refugee children who had also come to Holt and to our school – was huge fun. After a year with the Lucas family, my mother arrived. She rented a cottage in the village and we were together again as a family.

My mother had remarried by then, and we soon grew to love the man we always called Dad, Nathan Goldberg. He gave up a good job as a foreman in a tailoring factory in London to work in a laundry in Wiltshire so that he and my mother could be with us.

He would listen to Beethoven, read good books and take us to libraries in the nearby town of Trowbridge. I later realised how lucky we all were that Mum had met him. . . .

[At age] 14, I started my hairdressing apprenticeship. I was appalled at the prospect as I wanted to be a footballer, but my mother insisted she’d had a premonition that this would be right for me, and she dragged me along to Adolph Cohen’s salon in Whitechapel.

I loved the fact that there were lots of pretty girls around, but I had no interest in hair – that came much later.

What’s also interesting and ironic is that Sassoon created the famous haircut that enhanced Mia Farrow’s career. But their haircut was the nexus between a man who fought for Israel and battled Jew-hatred and a nutty woman (Farrow) who is anti-Israel and promotes Jew-hatred.

He was fine, and she is swine.

Vidal Sassoon, Z”L.

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22 Responses

“If you don’t look good, we don’t look good”
Not sure if I used the products but that is sure a great slogan if I ever heard one. Truth in advertising, pretty uncommon in any day. RIP Vidal Sassoon, God bless.

theShadow on May 12, 2012 at 2:58 am

I am glad that you enlightened us. I had read years ago that Vidal’s daughter wanted to drop out of high school to star in soap operas as a 16 year old.
Vidal had far more courage and was willing to fight for his beliefs as opposed to that traitor of the United States Muhammed Ali who hid behind the Religion of Peace and who called Vietnam a white man’s war.
Vidal had far worse poverty and far worse conditions than Muhammed Ali could ever have dreamed of.
The late Ted Williams even sacrificed his career with the Boston Red Sox to be a fighter pilot against Naziism and Japanese Imperialism.
Muhammed Ali would never have done any of this for his country.
Vidal is a man with honor. Muhammed Ali is not a man of honor.

Confederate South on May 12, 2012 at 4:56 am

    Absolutely despise Ali. Loved it when Norton broke his flapping jaw.

    Occam's Tool on May 14, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Great story about a great Jew. I had no idea. Thanks, Debbie.

DS_ROCKS! on May 12, 2012 at 8:36 am

He may be a great guy, but I hate most of his haircuts. Those short haircuts make women look like men! I find that disgusting.

Tom on May 12, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Thank you DS. This whole post made me smile!

I was very young (14) when I dyed my hair platinum and the *ONLY* shampoo and conditioner that helped the process was the brown Vidal Sassoon bottled products. The smell was not great (what a weird smell it had) but it worked wonders on my Billy Idol hair in the 80’s.

God bless Mr. Sassoon! His story is so inspiring to me!

S: Truth be told, I did not like the smell of his shampoo, either. DS

Skunky on May 12, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    I recall them being almond scented. Does anyone else?

    Karen on May 13, 2012 at 6:54 pm

      Karen, you are correct! Almond is such a funny smell in products…but as a teen I had no idea what that smell was but I didn’t care because for my platinum process I had to use a product that helped instead of smelling fruity.

      I guess I was used to “Gee, Your Hair Smells Terrific” (which I still buy and pay a lot of money for but it is soooo good it is worth the price and I use it only when I travel as to prolong when I have to purchase it again) but when one starts to dye their hair one must make sure the product they use works to help the hair look good).

      Skunky on May 13, 2012 at 7:21 pm

Tom, I tend to agree but the techniques he developed cutting hair short can be employed on longer hair too. He revolutionized hair cutting in the West and made it possible for those of us with non-European hair to go to a chic salon and get a decent cut. You want to talk about looking unfeminine? Try using old European techniques on a girl with Middle Eastern hair and expecting her to come out looking like Audrey Hepburn. Ain’t going to happen, as I know only too well from miserable experience.
Thank you Vidal Sasson for your innovation and especially for your great Jewish soul!

Italkit on May 12, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Debbie I’m glad his center for studying anti-semitism wasn’t on the Yale campus. They would have closed it down for having loud parties so they could get terror spreading dollars from Arab dictators instead. Also I had a thought. All the people who get need based checks from Uncle Sam should not be getting cash, which they inevitably spend on drugs, guns, lottery tickets, theme parks and fast food. They should all get credits to a debit card they carry. The card would only be valid for things they don’t want, eg. basic groceries, medicine, inexpensive clothing, books (ha). At least that way I could go to a $50 water park and not have to watch people spitting on the pavement, cursing, etc. And I was kidding about needing half your closet space. I’ll need my own closet.

A1 on May 12, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Vidal Sassoon, what an extradordinary life, from East End poverty to global fame. Together with Mary Quant, the Mini (both the skirt and the car)they brought exciting style to London. To think that he grew a business with a lowly pair of scissors and an abundance of creativity and vision, now that’s ‘taking the nothing and making into a something’.

He was honoured with a CBE by the Queen in 2009, this was long overdue. The serialisation of his autobiography in the Daily Mail/UK made fascinating reading. Even with fame and fortune he never abandoned his humanity and continued to support Israel.
RIP Vidal Sassoon.

Eyes Wide Open on May 12, 2012 at 4:10 pm

I’ve learned a lot about Vidal Sassoon this week that I did not know before, and somehow I seemed to have completely missed this documentary about him. I will put this on my to-do list and track it down. I found the clip from the documentary posted above very inspiring.

The fact that Mia Farrow–who owes her career to several Jews, including Vidal Sassoon for his iconic hair design–should devote her time and energies to anti-Israel activities is just another perversity of the Left. Farrow likes to say how “terrible” the Israelis are to the “poor Palestinian children” (based on sham reports) and how she “cares so much for the children,” (so she feels better about herself) but at the same time, she also takes up the cause of Darfur and all the bonafide terrible things happening there to the people, apparently in total ignorance of the fact that the genocide in Darfur is the inevitable result of Islamization. So Farrow is not just a Leftist, but a complete airhead. Here’s a video from several years ago that tells what’s really been going on, from the people themselves.

Anyway, thanks for reminding me that Vidal Sassoon created Mia Farrow’s hairstyle, which she made famous in her career-making movie, “Rosemary’s Baby.” I’ve probably written about this before, but “Rosemary’s Baby” has, at its core, an anti-Semitic theme, as Dr. Abraham Sapperstein, part of the Devil’s clever cabal, is entrusted with helping Farrow to deliver the Devil’s child. (Admittedly the anti-Semitic reference here is not so overt to most people, as say, for example, that Jewish character in “Act of Valor.”) Yet, “Rosemary’s Baby” was created by Jews: the writer Ira Levin, the director Roman Polanski, the producer Robert Evans, and last, but not least, Farrow’s hairstylist Vidal Sassoon.

Ralph Adamo on May 12, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    To Ralph A: Mia Farrow’s support of everyone else except Israel could be the revenge taken up against Woody Allen. A 15 year relationship and no cementing of the bond in marriage. The furious Ms Farrow got her claws out after that. She is a Catholic and was married to a much older Frank Sinatra and Andre Previn, the former being quite unsuitable and the latter stolen from an irate wife who wrote a song ‘entitled “Beware of Young Girls”, about the incident Appears to be an emotional blackmailer but in 2008, Time magazine named her one of the most influential people in the world (after Bar Hussein Soetoro,NOT)….

    My guess is that if an influential Joo came along who was extremely tall when he stood on his wallet, she’d have a change of heart. Fickle Farrow.

    Eyes Wide Open on May 12, 2012 at 8:33 pm

Andre Previn is Jewish.

Taz on May 13, 2012 at 8:41 am

    To Taz: You’re correct, Andre Previn was Jewish but did he leave Mia Farrow for a younger woman. Woody Allen married the ‘younger woman, the adopted daughter’ which was a bitter pill for Mia Farrow.

    Eyes Wide Open on May 13, 2012 at 8:15 pm

I hope he doesn’t mess my Dad’s haircuts when he sets up shop on the Other Side. My Dad (z”l) loved a regular trim.

RIP Vidal.

The Reverend Jacques on May 13, 2012 at 10:18 am

I don’t know how far back his Spanish Jewish roots go, but my understanding is he’s related to the Sassoon family of Jews from Baghdad. Those Sassoons achieved prominence during the days Britain ruled India, setting up major trading sites there. They also played a major role in developing Hong Kong.

Raymond in DC on May 13, 2012 at 11:09 am

This is the kind of success story that should be made more known. Of course it’s not going to be because it doesn’t fit conveniently into a bankrupt culture.

samurai on May 13, 2012 at 11:10 am

Vidal Sassoon, Blessed Be His Memory.

JeffE on May 13, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Well done story Debbie. Very well done, I never knew.

Ron Wolf aka "Columbo" on May 13, 2012 at 10:52 pm

Yet another person from my childhood going home to his reward. I remember my mom buying his shampoo and conditioner for her and my sister. I also remember his commercials on TV. I didn’t know about the things you wrote about him Debbie. It seems like he was not only a good businessman but a good and principled human being. Something that is sorely lacking today. Just look at JP Morgan. I also share your ire about that scab Mia Farrow. I almost felt sorry for her and her dealings in the whole Woody Allen Soon-Yi Previn fiasco. Notice I said almost.

Ken b on May 14, 2012 at 10:23 am

Very nice comprehensive story on the life of a great man and a great Jew. I sent it to my hairdresser who with her husband owns a Sassoon trained salon here in San Diego. They both trained and worked with him in London and Los Angeles. She said that he told her the story about his time in the Haganah.
Thanks a lot Debbie!!!

Diane Berdugo on May 15, 2012 at 11:14 pm

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