In March 1918 Emmanuel was sentenced to hard labour at Wormwood Scrubs prison. He was eventually released on health grounds in May. His weight by then was just 7 stones.
Emmanuel’s case resulted in articles in national newspapers and discussions in the House of Commons, and in June 1917 a petition was sent to the Prime Minister asking for his release. Signatures on the petition included future leader of the Labour Party George Lansbury, polymath Bertrand Russell and non-conscription campaigner Catherine Marshall.
Emmanuel was arrested in January 1917, fined, and taken to Bury Barracks. Here he went on hunger strike to protest his treatment. Eight days later he was taken to Lord Derby’s War Hospital in Warrington, still on hunger strike, and was refused visitors. He was on hunger strike for over a year, suffering over 150 incidents of force feeding.
In 1916 Emmanuel was conscripted to fight in the British Army in World War One. He refused the service on the grounds that he was a conscientious objector. English law at the time of the war understood conscientious objection to be a religious issue. Pacifists seeking exemption at the military tribunals required a testimonial from a religious minister. This became a difficult issue for Jews, as the Chief Rabbi ruled that there were no specifically Jewish grounds for conscientious objection. Anglo Jewish leadership also wanted to stress the Jewish community’s loyalty to Britain and therefore spoke out against objectors.
Emmanuel Ribeiro was born in 1882. He was married to Bella and had eight children. He worked as a metal engraver and later opened a greengrocer’s shop. The family attended the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue (now our museum).