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This is a lit­tle ad­vice of mine Which I am giv­ing to thee and thine When in the pa­per you are read­ing Of the war which is now pro­ceed­ing Think of those who are fight­ing for you And keep­ing your free­dom for you too Why have not you some E Weil’s il­lus­tra­tion to a poem by Frank Lewis, Us Cooms From Zoomerzet grand­fa­ther would not al­low Ger­man to be spo­ken in the house.

LJS has man­aged to track down a de­scen­dant of one of the con­trib­u­tors in South Africa. It is en­gag­ing with older con­gre­gants to as­cer­tain if any are re­lated to the wartime writ­ers.

For the mo­ment, the in­ten­tion is for the vol­umes to re­main in the sy­n­a­gogue ar­chive. “We have other very pre­cious things among it. But it is also very sig­nif­i­cant for us as it gives an early glimpse of our 106-year his­tory.”

Dr Tim Pow­ell, se­nior ad­viser to the Na­tional Ar­chives, says the volu me s “s p l e n - didly” show­case the work of the LJS pupils while af­ford­ing “a sense of pop­u­lar per­cep­tions of and re­ac­tions to the war among a sec­tion of the youth of Lon­don.

“T he L i b e r a l Jewish Sy­n­a­gogue is to be com­mended for con­serv­ing these vol­umes and seek­ing to make them ac­ces­si­ble to a wider, con­tem­po­rary au­di­ence.”

For the We Were There Too site, the vol­umes have been digi­tised with mag­ni­fi­ca­tion op­tion and page-turn­ing soft­ware.

In gen­eral, the pro­ject team re­ports huge in­ter­est in the ven­ture from com­mu­nity mem­bers, with road­shows around the capital re­sult­ing in a rich seam of mem­o­ra­bilia about Jewish ser­vice­men. “We have be­come the

of the Jewish com­mu­nity,” Mr Fell says. “Peo­ple come to us with bags full of doc­u­ments.

“We’re up­load­ing 200 per­sonal records and hope to have 500 up by sum­mer. Fam­i­lies like it be­cause it is pro­fes­sion­ally pre­sented and saved.”

The ma­te­rial is also be­com­ing an in­te­gral part of wel­fare char­i­ties’ rem­i­nis­cence work with el­derly clients.

There have been many fascinating finds. “Through con­tact with Tower Ham­lets Li­brary, we have un­earthed in­for­ma­tion on tri­bunals for ex­emp­tion from ser­vice. The re­quests were of­ten sub­mit­ted by women from large re­li­gious fam­i­lies on be­half of their hus­bands —andw­ereusu­ally de­clined.”

Mr F e l l a l s o re­counts be­ing con­tacted by a man liv­ing on kib­butzwhose­hobby is col­lect­ing Hag­gadot. “He claims to have the only re­main­ing copy of the Hag­gadah pro­duced for Fort Wil­liam — the ma­jor mil­i­tary base in Cal­cutta — for Jewish ser­vice­men in the Bri­tish Forces in Pun­jab in 1917.” byAliceEn­gel­bert To ac­cess the LJS ma­te­rial, go to www. jews­fww.lon­don and click on The First World War through the eyes of Lon­don’s Jewish chil­dren. If you have a story you would like to pre­serve on the site, email con­tac­tus@jews­fww.lon­don


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