To Hull and back — a rich history goes on display
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.