English actor and producer Daniel Radcliffe (Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP) (Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)
English actor and producer Daniel Radcliffe

Daniel Radcliffe sobbed on BBC TV when he read about his Jewish great-grandfather’s suicide, most likely the result of his experience with anti-Semitism.

By United With Israel Staff

Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe, 29, was emotional last week while filming the BBC TV series “Who Do You Think You Are?” During the filming, he was presented with his great-grandfather Samuel (Sam) Gershon’s suicide note and sobbed at its reading, The Sun reported.

It appears the suicide was likely the result of the anti-Semitism he experienced that caused him to lose the family business that he had worked so hard to build.

As reported by The Star, Radcliffe, who is Jewish on his mother’s side, learned on the show that Gershon’s jewelry shop in Hatton Garden, London, had been robbed. With no sign of breaking and entering, the police closed the case, saying that “he is a Jew, and Jews are so frequently responsible for the bringing down of their own business premises.”

Reflecting on the report, Radcliffe said, “There’s a lot to dig into in this one sentence. I guess it absolutely was the time, but it’s also very jarring to see him being a Jew to be taken as a piece of evidence in itself.”

When asked if he believed that his great-grandfather took his own life as a result of the robbery, Radcliffe replied, “…it could have just been that…everything that he’d been working for and his father had been working for has been destroyed.”

Gershon killed himself in 1936 at the age of 42.

Due to the police report alleging that the robbery had been faked, Gershon was not granted compensation from his insurance company. However, after he was gone, the insurance company did pay, confirming that the claim was in fact legitimate.

Known for Being Charitable

Radcliffe, who is one of the richest actors in the world, is also known for his charitable endeavors. Coincidentally, one charity that he supports is suicide prevention.

“You want to just reach into the past and just go, ‘Whatever you’re going through, you have so much to offer the people who are around you still…you have so much to give to them. And, they still would all have loved you,’” Radcliffe said during the show.

His maternal ancestors were Jewish immigrants to England from Russia. His grandmother, Raie Gershon, told him that the family had fled Russia due to pogroms.

In a 2016 interview with JTA, Radcliffe explained how they landed in Britain. “I don’t know if the story is true, but supposedly my great-great-grandfather was on a ship from Russia bound for America. It stopped off in London, and he thought, ‘Oh, that was quick’ and got off.”