Eleanor Rathbone (1872-1946) was elected to Parliament in the 1929 ‘Flapper' election, as an Independent MP.
Rathbone established the Parliamentary Committee on Refugees in 1938 as a vehicle for her campaigns and her efforts to rescue endangered Jews. She challenged ministers and officials and led deputations. She put down more than eighty Parliamentary Questions on internment alone, fighting for improved conditions and challenging the tribunal system. She visited internment camps boosting the morale of the internees. News of the Nazi plans for the mass murder of Europe's Jewish communities precipitated the establishment of the National Committee for Rescue from Nazi Terror in 1942, aimed at raising awareness at home.
At the time of her death in January 1946 she was actively involved in the Save Europe Now campaign, challenging the repatriation of Jewish refugees and campaigning for a Jewish homeland in Palestine.
Image: © the artist, Parliamentary Art Collection, WOA 4391
Oil on canvas