Jerry Springer's youth as a Londoner born on Highgate tube platform

How Jerry Springer was really a Londoner born on the platform of Highgate Tube station while it was used as a bomb shelter during the Blitz in WWII before growing up in a flat nearby until he was four when the family moved to America

  • Jerry Springer died peacefully at his Chicago home after a cancer diagnosis
  • The host was born and grew up in London before moving to Queens aged five

Legendary chat show host Jerry Springer, who has died aged 79 after a cancer diagnosis, was born in a London underground station in 1944 during the Blitz.

His parents, who were German-Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany, moved to East Finchley in North London in 1939. In 1943, they fell pregnant.

On the day Gerald Norman Springer was born, Richard and Margot were crammed onto the busy platform at Highgate, which was being used as a bomb shelter.

The one-time Mayor of Chicago – who went on to become an internationally recognisable broadcaster with The Jerry Springer Show – lived on Belvedere Court for the first years of his life before moving to the States in January 1949.

Jerry Springer revisits his first home in North London at Belvedere Court

A young Jerry Springer, who was born in London after his parents fled Nazi Germany in 1939

Jerry Springer was born at 11:45 pm, the day before Valentine’s Day in 1944.

Speaking in 2012, he said his birth was ‘a little bit out of the ordinary’ at Highgate.

He explained how women like his mother, a bank clerk, in late pregnancy would often spend the nights in the safe tube stations.

READ MORE: Jerry Springer dies aged 79: Legendary talk show host passes away ‘peacefully’ at Chicago home months after being diagnosed with cancer – as family says ‘he’s irreplaceable and his loss hurts immensely’ 

He had fond memories of London, telling the BBC he recalled ‘looking out my window every day because I was obsessed with buses’.

‘Back then… the two buses that came right in front of our houses – the double-decker buses – were the 58 and the 102,’ he recalled.

Springer’s earliest memories were of London. The Belvedere Court residential block where he spent nearly five years of his life still exists, principally let to Jewish families from Europe fleeing German occupation.

The building was designed by Ernst Freud, the youngest son of the psychologist. 

Springer’s maternal grandmother, who remained in Germany, died in the gas vans used at Chełmno extermination camp.

His paternal grandmother died in the hospital wing of Theresienstadt in German-occupied Czechoslovakia.

His parents arrived in England only a month before the war broke out and started from scratch – with the help of the charity World Jewish Relief.

Springer said the charity signed the visa for his parents to travel to England on the Kindertransport, a rescue effort for children – and usually not their parents – to flee Nazi-controlled Germany in the months leading up to the war.

Today, the birthplace of his father, the owner of a successful shoe shop from Landsberg, no longer exists in Germany.

Used for forced labour camps through the war, the town was heavily damaged as the Wehrmacht retreated west in 1945.

Today, it has been rebuilt as the Polish city of Gorzów.

But Springer’s London home still stands on the corner of Lyttelton Road, off the A1.

A month before he turned five, Springer immigrated to Queens, New York, with his parents and older sister.

The industry legend regularly returned to his hometown throughout his life.

In 2009, he even made his West End debut as Chicago’s smooth-talking lawyer. 

Jerry Springer was born to a shoe merchant from Landsberg and a bank clerk from Berlin

Londoners shelter from the Blitz during World War II in Highgate underground station

Jerry Springer (pictured) grew up in a residential block set up for people fleeing Nazi Germany

In the US, Springer studied political science at Tulane University and got a law degree from Northwestern University. 

He was politically active throughout his life and considered a run for governor of Ohio as recently as 2017. 

He ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1970 before being elected to city council in 1971, after working as an aide in Robert F. Kennedy’s ill-fated 1968 presidential campaign.

Jerry later went on to host the smash hit ‘The Jerry Springer Show’ for 27 years, becoming America’s guilty pleasure for wild and raucous TV moments.

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