Kops, Bernard

Bernard Kops was a dramatist, novelist, and poet born to immigrants of Dutch-Jewish origin in the East End of London in 1926. Most of Kops’ relatives in Holland died during the Nazi regime, a traumatic experience which influenced Kops’ work throughout his life. Kops’ debut play The Hamlet of Stepney Green (1957) is generally viewed to have significantly shaped the landscape of so-called ‘kitchen sink drama’ in its depiction of individuals dissatisfied with modern society. Many of his later plays such as Ezra (1981) or The Dreams of Anne Frank (1992) explicitly dealt with Jewish topics and themes.

Kops was also successful in the fields of radio and television production. He recounted his experience of evacuation in the TV series The World at War (1973) and wrote the script for the film Just One Kid (1974), which won a Silver Hugo award at the Chicago International Film Festival. Kops’ television mini-series It’s a Lovely Day Tomorrow (1976), which describes the story of the Bethnal Green Disaster of 1943, was nominated for an International Emmy Award for Drama Series.

Kops wrote a number of novels and volumes of poetry including Awake for Mourning (1958), Dissent of Dominick Shapiro (1966), and Barricades in West Hampstead (1988), as well as travelogues for The Guardian and a memoir of the East End, Bernard Kops’ East End (2006).

Kops was awarded a Civil List pension by the Queen in 2009.

Bernard Kops died on the 25th February 2024, at the age of 97.


—. Plays 1: Playing Sinatra, the Hamlet of Stepney Green, Ezra. London: Oberon Books, 1999.

—. Plays 2: Dreams of Anne Frank, On Margate Sands, Call In the Night. London: Oberon Books, 2000.

—. Shalom Bomb: Scenes From My Life. London: Oberon Books, 2000.

—. Plays 3: The Dream of Peter Mann, Enter Solly Gold, Who Shall I Be Tomorrow. London: Oberon Books, 2001.