To Hull and back — a rich history goes on dis­play

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMUNITY - BY MAR­CUS DYSCH

Hull History Cen­tre staff and vol­un­teers from the Jewish History Pro­ject

HULL IS show­cas­ing hun­dreds of doc­u­ments chart­ing the history of the city’s Jewish com­mu­nity.

The col­lec­tion — in­clud­ing records dat­ing back to the mid-18th cen­tury — has been loaned to the city ar­chives ahead of the 250th an­niver­sary of the ar­rival of Jews in east York­shire, which will be cel­e­brated next year.

Among the records are syn­a­gogue reg­is­ters from 1838, fam­ily trees and around 2,400 pic­tures of head­stones from Jewish ceme­ter­ies. Hull’s Jewish pop­u­la­tion peaked at 2,000-plus in the first half of the 20th cen­tury.

The pro­ject also cov­ers the mi­gra­tion of Euro­pean Jews through Hull’s ports en route to North Amer­ica.

Some of the city’s most cel­e­brated Jewish busi­nesses and in­di­vid­u­als are fea­tured, such as the late Sir Leo Schultz.

Known as the “Lion of Hull”, he con­vinced the coun­cil to build shel­ters be­fore the Sec­ond World War, sav­ing count­less lives in the en­su­ing heavy bomb­ing by the Nazis.

Files on Kindertransport chil­dren who moved to the city in the 1930s are another el­e­ment of the col­lec­tion, which was put to­gether by the Hull History Cen­tre. It col­lated the doc­u­ments from records re­lat­ing to the Jewish com­mu­nity held by city author­i­ties and Hull Univer­sity.

Ar­chiv­ists El­speth Bower and Paul Leaver com­piled the ex­hi­bi­tion, and Dr Ni­cholas Evans in­ter­viewed for­mer com­mu­nity mem­bers liv­ing else­where in Bri­tain and abroad.

The his­to­ri­ans said the in­ter­views had en­abled them to “cap­ture and pre­serve in­di­vid­ual sto­ries and ex­am­ine why what was a vi­brant com­mu­nity is fast di­min­ish­ing”.

A Hull History Cen­tre spokesman added: “Through this pro­ject, we hope to en­cour­age broader na­tional and in­ter­na­tional en­gage­ment with the rich il­lus­tra­tive and archival col­lec­tions within our care and raise aware­ness of the sig­nif­i­cance of Hull’s role as a con­duit for the ex­pan­sion of Bri­tish and North Amer­i­can Jewry.”

The doc­u­ments went on dis­play a fort­night ago and will be ex­hib­ited at syn­a­gogues, li­braries and schools.

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