Many customers of Bookmarks Bookshop will be sorry to hear of the death of Tamara Kalom (Tami) on Christmas Eve. Tami was born in 1939 in Palestine, to German Jewish parents fleeing Nazi Germany.
Her father lost four siblings and her mother a sister in the Holocaust. Her parents both died in 1947.
She remembered a little Palestinian friend down the road who disappeared one day, clearly during the Nakba. An elder sister took her to the US, where she lived from the age of eleven. She went to university in Chicago from where there is a photo of her at an Israel stall at a fair in her late teens.
After university she got married and lived in Israel for two years after which she and her husband separated. Tami moved to London and later became a committed socialist and anti-Zionist.
She rarely talked about her childhood, but it certainly affected her.
Tami was a founding staff member at Bookmarks in 1973 and played a key role in its development, continuing to work there for over 20 years.
Her extensive knowledge of book publishing and sales stood the new shop in good stead. In addition, her cheerful and friendly nature illuminated the shop. Her love of music meant that the music of the left provided a backdrop to our work. Tami continued to be an active socialist and SWP member throughout her life.