Famous Rotarians


Margaret Thatcher



Margaret Thatcher

Here is a story about Mrs. Thatcher and Rotary which you may not know. When Margaret was 12, her older sister Muriel had a letter from her pen friend Edith in Vienna. Edith Muhlbauer was a 17 year old Jewish girl. Because the Nazis were already rounding up the Jews in Austria, Edith wrote to Muriel to ask if she could raise enough money to help her leave Austria as soon as possible. Muriel enlisted the help of her sister Margaret and together they asked the local Rotary Club for their support. Their father, Alfred Roberts was not only a founder member of the Grantham Club but in the 1930s had been its President. The club readily gave their support and the money was raised quickly. Edith came to England and stayed with the Roberts family in Grantham, at one stage sharing a room with Margaret. Later she stayed with other local Rotarians before being helped on her way to relatives in Brazil.

Among the guests at Mrs. Thatcher’s funeral was Betina, Edith’s daughter and her husband , who had travelled especially from Sao Paulo, Brazil. In 1995, Mrs. Thatcher received a Paul Harris Fellowship and at the time, she said, “Its wonderful to know that the Rotary Club in our home town, and my father played their part in defeating the forces of evil, thus enabling a few more souls like Edith to live in freedom.”

Provided by RGHF Senior Historian Basil Lewis, UK, 23 April 2013, posted by Jack Selway