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Paul Julius Von Reuter

Paul Julius Von Reuter (1816-1899), baron and news agency pioneer, born in Kassel, Germany, as Israel Beer Josaphat, he changed his name when he converted to Christianity in 1844. In the 1840s he joined a publishing firm in Berlin and began collecting news items and sending them to newspapers in Germany. In 1849 he began a carrier pigeon service to carry news between Germany, France and Belgium. In 1851 Reuter moved to London where he opened a telegraph office and began to send regular political and economic bulletins. Thanks to undersea cables, he expanded to other continents. By the 1870s he had reached the Far East and Reuters was the leading international news agency.

Date of birth:
1816
Date of death:
1899
Place of birth:
Kassel
Personality type:
Noblemen
ID Number:
231880
Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People
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Baron Paul Julius von Reuter (1816-1899), founder of Reuters Telegram Company, born in Kassel, Germany. His original name was Israel Beer Josaphat. First a bank clerk, he started in 1849 a pigeon post service, which bridged a gap in the telegraph line between Aachen, Germany, and Verviers, Belgium. In 1851 he went to England, where he was later naturalized, and soon opened a news office in London.
In 1858 he persuaded English newspapers to publish his foreign telegrams. He then extended his influence and soon had worldwide cable connections. In 1865 he converted the Reuters agency into a joint stock company, and he was governing director until 1878. He was named a baron by the duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in 1871.

London

The capital and most populous city of England and the United Kingdom. 

21ST CENTURY

Behind Israel, the United States, France, and Canada, the United Kingdom boasts the fifth-largest Jewish population worldwide and the second-largest in Europe. Nearly two-thirds of Britain’s Jews live in Greater London, which is three out of every five Jews living in the United Kingdom. The Jewish population is principally concentrated in the northern boroughs of Barnet and Hackney. According to the 2011 UK census, approximately 172,000 Jews live in London, with more than 54,000 living in Barnet alone.

By the end of the 20th century, sizeable Jewish communities had developed in the areas of Golders Green and Stamford Hill. Located in the London Borough of Barnet, Golders Green is an area noted especially for its large Jewish community and for having the largest kosher hub in the entire United Kingdom. The Jews of Barnet account for one in five of all the Jews in England and Wales.

The district of Stamford Hill in Hackney is best known for its population of Hasidic Jews. At approximately 30,000 people, it is the largest concentration of Hasidic Jews in Europe. A once-small religious community that had lived in the area at the end of the 19th century was largely augmented by the influx of pre-war refugees and Holocaust survivors. Since then, the Haredi community has experienced continued growth with arrivals from Israel and North America. Due to the ultra-Orthodox nature of the area, Stamford Hill is often referred to as the “square mile of piety.” In this small geographical area are over 70 synagogues, many of which are associated with congregations which originated in Eastern Europe, including the Satmar and Belz dynasties, two of the largest Jewish sects represented in the community.

Stamford Hill is also home to a sizeable community of Yemenite Jews, specifically Adeni Jews from the former British protectorate of Aden. Between 1947 and 1967, nearly the entire population emigrated from Aden, settling primarily in Israel and the United Kingdom.

The London Jewish community is served by a wide range of social welfare organizations, including several local councils and international charities. Among them are the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Community Security Trust, the Jewish Learning Exchange, the Jewish Leadership Council, Jewish Women’s Aid, the Jewish Historical Society of England, the London Jewish Forum, the Center for Jewish Life, and the Anglo Jewish Association.

The primary focus of many of these organizations is to organize and fund cultural events and educational programs for families and young adults. Others, like the London Jewish Forum, promote active engagement of the Jewish community with civic life. Since the 1970s, there have been more than sixty Zionist organizations which supported various institutions in Israel.

Philanthropic organizations include the World Jewish Relief, the JNF Charitable Trust and Norwood. World Jewish Relief was established in 1933 as a fund for German Jews which rescued over 100,000 Jews prior to World War II; Norwood is one of the oldest charities in the United Kingdom and is well known for its support of children and people with disabilities. The organization has many celebrity patrons and supporters, including Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Sir Elton John, and Simon Cowell.

In terms of health and social services, Jewish Care is the largest provider of healthcare for the communities of London and the South East. This organization operates more than seventy centers throughout the United Kingdom.

There are more than 150 active synagogues located throughout Greater London. Several Jewish movements are represented, including Orthodox, Chabad, Masorti, Reform, Liberal, and independent. The number of strictly Orthodox or Haredi synagogues has more than doubled since the 1990s, chiefly due to the growth of Hasidic groups in the district of Stamford Hill. By 2014, the ultra-Orthodox community of London accounted for 18% of the Jewish population. The Belvis Marks Synagogue, built in 1701 by Sephardic Jews from Spain and Portugal, is the oldest synagogue still in use in the United Kingdom.

London is home to about 37 Jewish primary schools, 54 nursery schools, and as many as 14 secondary schools. The majority of Jewish children in the United Kingdom live in Greater London; those from non-Haredi families make up 50% of the children enrolled in Jewish primary schools. According to a 2015 government report, London’s Jewish schools are among the best in England. Many of London’s synagogues provide Jewish education. Outside of the Haredi community, the majority of London’s Jewish students attend schools which are separate from congregations but may be associated with the major streams of Judaism.

One of the most famous Jewish schools in Britain is located in London, the Jews’ Free School (JFS); it was established in 1732 and was at one time the largest Jewish school in Europe. Another well-known Jewish school is the Jewish Community Secondary School; established in 2010 in New Barnet, London; it is state-funded and cross-denominational. A notable institution which provides Jewish educational programs for adults is the London School of Jewish Studies. The roots of the college go back to 1855 when Chief Rabbi Nathan Marcus Adler opened the Jews’ College in Finsbury Square. After a rebrand in 1999, the London School of Jewish Studies (LSJS) shifted its focus and become a hub of academic study.

In Greater London are several social associations and community programs dedicated to promoting a Jewish life and advancing Jewish causes. One in particular is Spiro Ark, a charitable organization that organizes Jewish cultural events and educational programs. Another is the Center for Jewish Life, which provides a wide array of social programs, educational events, and activities for Jews to connect with each other. Located at the University College London Union is the JSC, one of the largest Jewish societies for Jewish students in the United Kingdom. There are also fifteen Chabad centers found in central London.

As the nucleus of Jewish cohesion and culture in Britain, the city of London hosts a number of museums and memorials. One of its most famous is the Hyde Park Holocaust Memorial; unveiled in 1983, it was the first Holocaust memorial in Great Britain.

Ben Uri –The London Jewish Museum of Art is a public art gallery that was founded in 1915 and remains Europe’s only Jewish art museum. The Jewish Military Museum commemorates the Jewish contribution to British forces going back three hundred years. Providing an insight into British Jewish history is the Jewish Museum of London. Among its permanent exhibitions is the Holocaust Gallery, Judaism: A Living Faith, The Mikveh, and History: A British Story.

The first Jewish Community Center in London is the London Cultural Center (JW3), which has become the leading center for adult education and for the arts.

The Weiner Library is home to one of the world’s most extensive Holocaust archives. Established in 1933, it includes over one million items, including eyewitness testimony, photos, and published and unpublished works.

Other Jewish landmarks in London include the Rothschild Archive in St. Swithin’s lane, the Freud Museum, the Bevis Marks Synagogue, the statue of Benjamin Disraeli at Parliament Square, and the Jewish East End, site of the historical Jewish Socialist Club. There are also more than twenty kosher restaurants, four kosher hotels, and many Judaica shops found throughout the north of the city.

The largest amount of publications on Jewish topics emanate from London. These include newspapers, magazines, books and other media. Circulating throughout Greater London is The Jewish Chronicle; founded in 1841, it is the oldest continuously published Jewish newspaper in the world. In 1896, it published Theodor Herzl’s historic article “Solution of the Jewish Question”.

Another weekly published newspaper is The Jewish News. Named Free Newspaper of the Year in 2003 by Press Gazette, it provides local, national and international news and entertainment for the Jewish communities of Greater London, Middlesex, Hertfordshire and Essex.

The Jewish Tribune is a privately owned Haredi weekly newspaper based in Stamford Hill. It is the fourth largest Jewish publication in England.

Broadcasted by the Spectrum Radio Network is Sunday Jewish Radio, a weekly program on Jewish themes.

 

HISTORY

After the Norman conquest of 1066, a few Jews arrived in London from the nearby areas of Europe (chiefly the Duchy of Normandy, including Rouen), attracted mainly by the economic opportunities that the city offered. The earliest recorded mention of the London community dates from the reign of William Rufus (1087-1100), who appears to have favored the Jews to a certain extent.

In 1130, in what was possibly a blood libel, the Jews of London were accused of killing a sick man and were forced to pay an enormous fine. Other outbreaks of antisemitism took place during the coronation of Richard I (September 3,1189) and during the reign of John (1199-1216); John’s reign, and that of his son Henry III (1216-1272) saw the opposition of the barons to the Jews, and there was a baronial attack on London Jewry in 1215. Nonetheless, Jewish intellectual during this period flourished; among other accomplishments, it attracted the Biblical commentator Abraham ibn Ezra, who wrote his Iggeret Ha-Shabbat and his Yesod Mora in London in 1158.

During the reign of Henry III the Jews of London, along with those of the rest of the country, were oppressed. The climax came in 1224 when it was alleged that some gashes found on the body of a dead child were Hebrew letters and the Jews were accused of ritual murder. This resulted in a punitive fine on the Jewish community. In 1232 Henry III confiscated the main London synagogue on the pretext that the chanting could be heard in a neighboring church. In 1278 a number of London Jews were among the 680 who were imprisoned in the tower of London on forgery charges. Nearly 300 are said to have been hanged. Shortly thereafter, in 1283 the Bishop of London ordered that all synagogues in the diocese to be closed (one was later reopened).
In 1290, the Jews were expelled from England and the Jewish community of London ceased to exist.
In 1509, after the expulsions from Spain and Portugal, a few crypto-Jewish refugees settled in London; by the end of Henry VIII’s reign in 1547, there were approximately 37 crypto-Jewish families living in London. However, in 1609 the Portuguese merchants living in London, who were suspected of Judaizing, were expelled. Nevertheless, when the crypto-Jewish community of Ruen was (temporarily) dissolved in 1632, a number of fugitives, including Antonio Fernandez Carvajal, found a home in London. Thus, when Manasseh ben Israel went to England in 1655, there was already an established secret Jewish community in London that became increasingly visible. In March of 1657 a petition was presented to Cromwell asking for protection, and the following December a house was rented and used as a synagogue. A few months later the community purchased land for a cemetery.

After Cromwell's death in 1658 numerous attempts were made to persecute and stem the grown of the community. Charles II, however, intervened in its favor, and bestowed de facto recognition on the community. A synagogue on Cree Church Lane was enlarged and remodeled in 1674, and in 1701 a new place of worship was built in Bevis Marks. As the community was reestablishing itself, considerable numbers of Spanish and Portuguese Jews began arriving from Holland. Ashkenazim soon followed, most of whom arrived via Amsterdam or Hamburg. They organized their own congregation around 1690, and eventually became the more influential and populous Jewish community in London.
The Sephardic and Ashkenazi communities proved able to work together in establishing and running a number of community institutions. The board for kosher slaughter, in which Sephardim and Ashkenazim cooperated, was organized through the advocacy of Baron Lyon de Symons between 1792 and 1804. As early as 1760 the Sephardi community admitted Ashkenazi representatives to their governing committee, which was appointed to deal with the government on behalf of the Jewish community. This ultimately developed into the Board of Deputies of British Jews, which represented the Jewish communities of London until 1838, after which it began to represent Jewish communities outside of London, in addition to the ones within the city.

The Ashkenazi community’s Talmud Torah, which was established in 1732, was reorganized in 1817 as the Jews' Free School. This school eventually developed into one of the largest schools in Europe.

 

19TH CENTURY

The struggle for Jewish emancipation in England centered in London, and was a process that developed in stages throughout the years. Beginning in 1830 the city of London had shown its support of parliamentary emancipation, most notably by electing Baron Lionel de Rothschild, in spite of the fact that he could not take his seat because of the statutory oath. Nonetheless, this became very influential when it came to the ultimate admission of Jews to the Parliament in 1858. In 1831 Jews were granted the privilege of being able to engage in retail trade, from which they had hitherto been barred. In 1835, David Salomons was elected a sheriff of the city, the first Jewish person to serve in that office. In 1847 Salomons became the first Jewish alderman, and in 1855 the first Jewish Lord Mayor of London.
The growing Anglicization of London Jewry led to a number of community developments. A Reform congregation was established in 1840. Sephardi and Ashkenazi congregations established branch synagogues in the West End. A modern theological seminary, Jews' College, was founded in 1855, and a charitable organization, the Board of Guardians for the Relief of the Jewish Poor, was established in 1859. The United Synagogue, an umbrella organization for the major Ashkenazi congregations in London, was established in 1870. In 1887 Sir Samuel Montagu (later Lord Swaythling) created the Federation of Synagogues in order to coordinate the various religious activities that took place in the different synagogues.
The mass emigration from Russia that began in 1881 led to a mass influx of Eastern European Jews to London. As a result, the next 25 years saw London’s Jewish population rise from about 47,000 to approximately 150,000. Most of the new immigrants worked as tailors, shoemakers, and cabinetmakers. A Yiddish press and an active trade union movement were established to meet the needs of this growing immigrant population.

 

20TH CENTURY

The Aliens Act of 1905 limited immigration, though smaller numbers of Jewish immigrants continued to arrive until the outbreak of World War I in 1914. Later, a considerable number of refugees arrived from Germany after the Nazi rise to power in 1933.

As Jews became more established in London, they tended to move. East End Jews who managed to work their way up the socioeconomic ladder tended to move to the newer suburbs, particularly those in the northeast of the city, to Stamford Hill, and the northwest, to Golders Green). The interwar period saw significant numbers of London’s Jews moving from the East End to the northern suburbs, as many within the community became well-established and successful. This movement led to the establishment of a number of Jewish institutions in the suburbs. A Jewish museum and a community center for the major Jewish institutions of London were established at Woburn House in the Bloomsbury area.
The total Jewish population of greater London in 1970 was estimated at 280,000. In 1997 it was estimated at 300,000.

 

Kassel

A city in Hesse, Germany; former Hesse-Kassel state capital.

21ST CENTURY

Following Jewish immigration from the former Soviet Union in the 1990s, the Jewish community of Kassel numbered about 1,220 in 2004.

As the synagogue had become too small, it was torn down and a new one designed by architect Alfred Jacoby was built and consecrated in 2000. It was financed by the Jewish community of Kassel, the Association of Jewish Communities in Hesse, the Federal state (Land) of Hesse, and the city of Kassel.

HISTORY

A 1293 record maintains that a Jewess had been in possession of some property in Kassel at an earlier date. A Jews' street was in existence in 1318. During the Black Death persecutions (1348-1939), the Jews suffered but some managed to escape and were living in Frankfort (1360) and Erfurt. By 1398, there was an organized community in Kassel, with a synagogue and cemetery.

The Jews' street is mentioned again in 1455 and 1486 and the "Jews' well" might also date from this period.

In 1513, Master Falke contributed to the construction of a local bridge; in 1520, he paid the rent for the cemetery, as did his widow in 1526. Landgrave Philip of Hesse expelled the Jews from Hesse-Kassel in 1524. However, in 1530, he admitted Michel Jud of Derenburg as court agent for 10 years and in 1532, issued a Jewry toleration law, amplified in 1539. Though restrictive and ordering Jews to attend Christian sermons, it was less severe than the extreme anti-Jewish proposals of the reformation theologian Martin Butzer. Only a few Jews were allowed in Kassel during this period, a physician and several silk knitters. In 1602, the court Jew Hayum was admitted as mint master.

In 1577, landgrave William the Wise had initiated Hesse-Kassel Jewry assemblies, first held in Kassel. The kehillah Hebrew constitution papers, begun in 1633, and a pinkas (records and decisions) were ordered to be translated into German in 1734-1740. Hesse-Kassel Jewry was under the civic jurisdiction of the Fulda rabbinate until 1625, and that of Friedberg until 1656.

During the Thirty Years' War (1618-48), the Jews were compelled to leave Kassel. However, the court Jew Benedict Goldschmidt received a residence privilege in 1635; it was extended in 1647 to include his two sons. From 1650 to 1715, private prayer services were held in the Goldschmidt's house, led by the rabbi of the nearby village of Bettenhausen (later part of Kassel), where a cemetery was acquired in 1621.

In 1714, a synagogue building was erected and enlarged in 1755; the community had grown by then to approximately 200 persons. A Memorbuch was begun in 1720, and a Chevra Kaddisha founded in 1773. In 1772, the rabbinate was transferred from Witzenhausen, seat of the yeshivah, to Kassel.

From 1807 to 1813, Kassel was the capital of the short-lived kingdom of Westphalia. The emancipation law of 1808 granted civil rights to Jews and made possible an influx of Jews from other areas. A consistory headed by Israel Jacobson introduced synagogue and educational reforms. The government of the reestablished principality of Hessen-Kassel issued a more restrictive Jewry ordinance in 1823, which remained in force until 1866, when Kassel came under Prussian rule and Prussian emancipation laws prevailed.

In 1836-1839, a new synagogue was built, accommodating around 1,000 persons. An Orthodox faction separated after 1872 and built its own synagogue in 1898. The main synagogue was rebuilt in 1890-1907. The Hesse-Kassel yeshivah was transferred to Kassel as a teachers' seminary and elementary school. The community had a library of Judaica and Hebraica and, in the Landesmuseum, a display of ceremonial objects, as well as arts and crafts, which was restored after 1945. It also possessed an orphanage and an old age home.

In 1905, 2,445 Jews lived in Kassel, 2,750 (1.62% of the total) in 1925, and 2,301 (1.31%) in June 1933, after the Nazis came to power in Germany.

HOLOCAUST

On November 7, 1938, two days before Kristallnacht started, the main synagogue was set on fire. Local firemen extinguished the blaze, something they were explicitly told not to do on Kristallnacht. Two days later, the Liberal synagogue was burned down and the Orthodox synagogue destroyed. A completed manuscript of the second volume of the history of the Jews in Kassel, prepared under community auspices, was destroyed,

Over the following year, 300 Jews including the rabbi were sent to Buchenwald and 560 Jews emigrated. Of those remaining, 470 were deported to Riga in 1941, 99 to Majdanek in 1942, and 323 to Theresienstadt the same year.

POST-WAR

In 1945-1946, 200 Jews - mainly displaced persons - lived in Kassel; 102 in 1955; 73 in 1959; and 106 in 1970.

With municipal aid, a synagogue and a community center were built in 1965.

Berlin

The largest city in Germany. The capital of Germany until 1945. After the Second World War and until 1990 the city was divided into West Berlin and East Berlin.

Jews are first mentioned in a letter from the Berlin local council of October 28, 1295, forbidding wool merchants to supply Jews with wool yarn. Jews lived primarily in a Jewish quarter, but a number of wealthier Jews lived outside this area. The Berlin Jews engaged mainly in commerce, handicrafts, money-changing, and money-lending. They paid taxes for the right to slaughter animals ritually, to sell meat, to marry, to circumcise their sons, to buy wine, to receive additional Jews as residents of their community, and to bury their dead. During the Black Death (1349-1350), the houses of the Jews were burned down and the Jewish inhabitants were killed or expelled from the town.

From 1354, Jews settled again in Berlin. In 1446 they were arrested with the rest of the Jews in Brandenburg, and their property was confiscated. A year later Jews again began to return there, and a few wealthy Jews were admitted into Brandenburg in 1509. In 1510 the Jews were accused of desecrating the host and stealing sacred vessels from a church in a village near Berlin. 111 Jews were arrested and subjected to examination, and 51 were sentenced to death; of these 38 were burned at the stake in the new market square together with the real culprit, a Christian, on July 10, 1510. All the accused were proved completely innocent at the diet of Frankfort in 1539 through the efforts of Joseph (Joselmann) b. Gershom of Rosheim and Philipp Melanchthon. In 1571, when the Jews were again expelled from Brandenburg, the Jews of Berlin were expelled "forever". For the next 100 years, a few individual Jews appeared there at widely scattered intervals. About 1663, the court Jew Israel Aaron, who was supplier to the army and the electoral court, was permitted to settle in Berlin. After the expulsion of the Jews from Vienna in 1670, the elector issued an edict on May 21, 1671, admitting 50 wealthy Jewish families from Austria into Brandenburg for 20 years. Frederick William I (1713-1740) limited (in a charter granted to the Jews on May 20, 1714) the number of tolerated Jews to 120 householders, but permitted in certain cases the extension of letters of protection to include the second and third child. The Jews of Berlin were permitted to engage in commerce almost without restriction, but were forbidden to trade in drugs and spices, in raw skins, and in imported woolen and fiber goods, and were forbidden to operate breweries or distilleries. Land ownership by Jews had been prohibited in 1697 and required a special license which could be obtained only with great difficulty.

The Jews in Berlin in the 18th century were primarily engaged as commercial bankers and traders in precious metals and stones. Some served as court Jews. Members of the Gomperz family were among the wealthiest in Berlin.

During the reign of Frederick the Great (1740-1786), the economic, cultural, and social position of the Jews in Berlin improved. During the seven years' war, many Jews became wealthy as purveyors to the army and the mint and the rights enjoyed by the Christian bankers were granted to a number of Jews. The number of Jewish manufacturers, bankers, and brokers increased. In 1791, the entire Itzig family received full civil rights, becoming the first German Jews to whom they were granted.

As a concomitant of economic prosperity, there appeared the first signs of cultural adaptation. Under the influence of Moses Mendelssohn, several reforms were introduced in the Berlin community, especially in the sphere of education. In 1778 a school, Juedische Freischule (Chinnukh Ne'arim), was founded, which was conducted along modern comprehensive principles and methods. Mendelssohn and David Friedlander composed the first German reader for children. The dissemination of general (non-Jewish) knowledge was also one of the aims of the Chevrat Doreshei Leshon Avar (association of friends of the Hebrew language), founded in 1783, whose organ Ha-me'assef began to appear in Berlin in 1788. The edict of 1812 finally bestowed Prussian citizenship upon the Jews; all restrictions on their residence rights in the state, as well as the special taxes they had to pay, were now abolished.

In the 1848 revolution the Jews played an active role as fighters on the barricades and members of the civic guard, as orators and journalists, and the like. About one-fifth of Berlin's newspapers were owned by Jews. Berlin Jews played an important role in literature, the theater, music, and art. Their successes aroused fierce reaction among the more conservative elements and Berlin became a center of anti-Semitism. The "Berlin movement" founded by Adolf Stoecker incited the masses against the Jews by alleging that they were the standrad-bearers of capitalism and controlled the press.

From 1840 to 1850 a teachers' seminary functioned under the direction of Leopold Zunz. A teachers' training institute was established in 1859 under the rectorship of Aaron Horowitz. Aaron Bernstein founded the reform society in 1845, and later the reform congregation, which introduced far-flung liturgical reforms, especially during the rabbinate of Samuel Holdheim (1847-1860). At first, divine worship was held both on Saturdays and Sundays and later only on Sundays. The reform congregation was unsuccessful in its attempt to secede from the official community. The Berlin community was again violently shaken when many of its members pressed for the introduction of an organ and modification of the liturgy in the new synagogue. The appointment of Abraham Geiger as rabbi of the Berlin community met with strong opposition from orthodox circles, and in 1869 Azriel (Israel) Hildesheimer and his adherents left the main community and established the Adass Yisroel congregation, which received official recognition in 1885. Geiger founded an institute for Jewish research while Hildesheimer opened a rabbinical seminary. For about 80 years the liberals were predominant in the Berlin community. But liberals and orthodox worked together in full harmony in the central organizations in which, at least for a period, the Zionists also participated. The Berlin rabbi S. Maybaum was among the leaders of the "protest rabbis" who opposed political Zionism.

After the murder of Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg in January 1919, anti-Semitic propaganda in Berlin increased. The Kapp putsch (March 1920) had blatant anti-Jewish undertones. Walter Rathenau, the German foreign minister, was assassinated by anti-Semitic nationalists on June 24, 1922. In 1926, after the appointment of joseph Goebbels as Gauleiter in Berlin, anti-Jewish rabble-rousing increased. At the time the Nazis seized power, Berlin's organized Jewish community numbered 172,000 persons. In 1933 the Nazi boycott (April 1) affected Jewish shop owners; legislation against non-Aryans led to dismissal of Jewish professionals, while "Aryanization" of Jewish firms and the dismissal of their Jewish employees was carried out by the exertion of steady economic pressure. The Jewish officials not affected by these measures were eventually ousted under the provisions of the Nuremberg Laws (1935). In these initial years, when the members of the Jewish community were being methodically deprived of their economic standing and civil rights, Jewish religious and cultural life in Berlin underwent a tremendous upsurge. Until November 1938 Jewish newspapers and books were published on an unprecedented scale. Notable among the newspapers was the Berliner Juedisches Gemeindeblatt, a voluminous weekly published by the community. Zionist work was in full swing, especially that of He-chalutz, and in February 1936, a German Zionist convention was held in Berlin (the last to meet there), still reflecting in its composition the vigorous party life of German Zionists.

In June 1938, mass arrests of Jews took place on the charge that they were "asocial", e.g. had a criminal record, including traffic violations, and they were imprisoned in Sachsenhausen concentration camp. On November 9-10, Kristallnacht marked a turning point in the affairs of Berlin Jewry: synagogues were burned down, Jewish shops destroyed, and 10,000 Jews from Berlin and other places were arrested and imprisoned in Sachsenhausen. The "Bannmeile" was decreed, which restricted Jews to an area within a certain radius from their place of residence.

Jewish newspapers had to cease publication. The only paper was the new Das Medische Narchrichtenblatt which was required to publish Gestapo directives to the Jews.

After the outbreak of war, the living conditions and situation of the Jews worsened. Emigration was still permitted and even encouraged, and existing organizations and institutions (Kulturbund, Jewish schools) were able to continue functioning. However, Jews were drafted for forced labor at wages far below the prevailing rate and with no social benefits, but this at least provided them with a minimum income and delayed their deportation. In the spring of 1940 Heinrich Stahl was removed from his post in the Reichsvereinigung by the Nazi authorities and replaced by Moritz Henschel, a former attorney. In september 1941, a drastic turn for the worse came about. First the Judenstern ("Jewish star", i.e. yellow badge) was introduced. Two weeks later, on the day of atonement, in the middle of a sermon by Rabbi Leo Baeck, the president of the community was summoned to the Gestapo and told that the community would have to prepare for a partial evacuation from the city.

Between October 23 and the end of the year only 62 persons managed to leave, and in 1942 only nine Jews were permitted to go abroad. Then began five major phases in the process of deportation. Eventually, the deportations came to include groups of community employees, and from the fall of 1942, only those Jewish laborers who were employed in vital war production were still safe from deportation.

Those Jews who had gentile wives were taken to a special camp for onward deportation, but when their wives carried out violent street demonstrations, the Gestapo yielded and set their husbands free. On May 13, 1942, an anti-Jewish exhibition, "Soviet Paradise", was opened in Berlin, and was attacked by a group of Jewish communists, led by Herbert Baum. The group was caught and hardly any of them survived. Two hundred and fifty Jews – 50 for each German who had been killed in the attack – were shot, and another 250 were sent to Sachsenhausen and perished there. The community offices were closed down on June 10, 1943, and six days later the "full" Jews among the members of its executive council were deported to Theresienstadt.

At the beginning of 1946, the community had a registered membership of 7,070 people, of whom 4,121 (over 90% of all married members) had non-Jewish spouses, 1,321 had survived the war by hiding, and 1,628 had returned from concentration camps. The Jews were dispersed throughout Berlin, a third of them living in the Soviet sector. Several synagogues were opened, the Jewish hospital resumed its work (although most of its patients and staff were not Jews), and three homes for the aged and a children's home were established. There was no local rabbi or religious teachers, but American Jewish army chaplains volunteered their services.

There are four synagogues in Berlin. In 1959, the city of Berlin erected a large Jewish community center on Fasanenstrasse at the site of which one of Berlin's most magnificent synagogues had stood until 1938. In 1954 the Zionist organization and the Israel appeal renewed their activities in Berlin. There exists an active Jewish women's organization, a B'nai B'rith lodge, a Jewish students' organization, and a youth organization. In 1954 the community had a membership of about 5,000 and by January 1970 this figure had risen to 5,577. The demographic composition of the community is marked by relatively high average age (4,080 are above the age of 41), a low birthrate, and a great number of mixed marriages.

In 1997 there were 10,000 Jews living in Berlin, and it was the largest Jewish community in Germany.
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Paul Julius Von Reuter

Paul Julius Von Reuter (1816-1899), baron and news agency pioneer, born in Kassel, Germany, as Israel Beer Josaphat, he changed his name when he converted to Christianity in 1844. In the 1840s he joined a publishing firm in Berlin and began collecting news items and sending them to newspapers in Germany. In 1849 he began a carrier pigeon service to carry news between Germany, France and Belgium. In 1851 Reuter moved to London where he opened a telegraph office and began to send regular political and economic bulletins. Thanks to undersea cables, he expanded to other continents. By the 1870s he had reached the Far East and Reuters was the leading international news agency.

Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People

Berlin
Kassel
London, UK
Berlin

The largest city in Germany. The capital of Germany until 1945. After the Second World War and until 1990 the city was divided into West Berlin and East Berlin.

Jews are first mentioned in a letter from the Berlin local council of October 28, 1295, forbidding wool merchants to supply Jews with wool yarn. Jews lived primarily in a Jewish quarter, but a number of wealthier Jews lived outside this area. The Berlin Jews engaged mainly in commerce, handicrafts, money-changing, and money-lending. They paid taxes for the right to slaughter animals ritually, to sell meat, to marry, to circumcise their sons, to buy wine, to receive additional Jews as residents of their community, and to bury their dead. During the Black Death (1349-1350), the houses of the Jews were burned down and the Jewish inhabitants were killed or expelled from the town.

From 1354, Jews settled again in Berlin. In 1446 they were arrested with the rest of the Jews in Brandenburg, and their property was confiscated. A year later Jews again began to return there, and a few wealthy Jews were admitted into Brandenburg in 1509. In 1510 the Jews were accused of desecrating the host and stealing sacred vessels from a church in a village near Berlin. 111 Jews were arrested and subjected to examination, and 51 were sentenced to death; of these 38 were burned at the stake in the new market square together with the real culprit, a Christian, on July 10, 1510. All the accused were proved completely innocent at the diet of Frankfort in 1539 through the efforts of Joseph (Joselmann) b. Gershom of Rosheim and Philipp Melanchthon. In 1571, when the Jews were again expelled from Brandenburg, the Jews of Berlin were expelled "forever". For the next 100 years, a few individual Jews appeared there at widely scattered intervals. About 1663, the court Jew Israel Aaron, who was supplier to the army and the electoral court, was permitted to settle in Berlin. After the expulsion of the Jews from Vienna in 1670, the elector issued an edict on May 21, 1671, admitting 50 wealthy Jewish families from Austria into Brandenburg for 20 years. Frederick William I (1713-1740) limited (in a charter granted to the Jews on May 20, 1714) the number of tolerated Jews to 120 householders, but permitted in certain cases the extension of letters of protection to include the second and third child. The Jews of Berlin were permitted to engage in commerce almost without restriction, but were forbidden to trade in drugs and spices, in raw skins, and in imported woolen and fiber goods, and were forbidden to operate breweries or distilleries. Land ownership by Jews had been prohibited in 1697 and required a special license which could be obtained only with great difficulty.

The Jews in Berlin in the 18th century were primarily engaged as commercial bankers and traders in precious metals and stones. Some served as court Jews. Members of the Gomperz family were among the wealthiest in Berlin.

During the reign of Frederick the Great (1740-1786), the economic, cultural, and social position of the Jews in Berlin improved. During the seven years' war, many Jews became wealthy as purveyors to the army and the mint and the rights enjoyed by the Christian bankers were granted to a number of Jews. The number of Jewish manufacturers, bankers, and brokers increased. In 1791, the entire Itzig family received full civil rights, becoming the first German Jews to whom they were granted.

As a concomitant of economic prosperity, there appeared the first signs of cultural adaptation. Under the influence of Moses Mendelssohn, several reforms were introduced in the Berlin community, especially in the sphere of education. In 1778 a school, Juedische Freischule (Chinnukh Ne'arim), was founded, which was conducted along modern comprehensive principles and methods. Mendelssohn and David Friedlander composed the first German reader for children. The dissemination of general (non-Jewish) knowledge was also one of the aims of the Chevrat Doreshei Leshon Avar (association of friends of the Hebrew language), founded in 1783, whose organ Ha-me'assef began to appear in Berlin in 1788. The edict of 1812 finally bestowed Prussian citizenship upon the Jews; all restrictions on their residence rights in the state, as well as the special taxes they had to pay, were now abolished.

In the 1848 revolution the Jews played an active role as fighters on the barricades and members of the civic guard, as orators and journalists, and the like. About one-fifth of Berlin's newspapers were owned by Jews. Berlin Jews played an important role in literature, the theater, music, and art. Their successes aroused fierce reaction among the more conservative elements and Berlin became a center of anti-Semitism. The "Berlin movement" founded by Adolf Stoecker incited the masses against the Jews by alleging that they were the standrad-bearers of capitalism and controlled the press.

From 1840 to 1850 a teachers' seminary functioned under the direction of Leopold Zunz. A teachers' training institute was established in 1859 under the rectorship of Aaron Horowitz. Aaron Bernstein founded the reform society in 1845, and later the reform congregation, which introduced far-flung liturgical reforms, especially during the rabbinate of Samuel Holdheim (1847-1860). At first, divine worship was held both on Saturdays and Sundays and later only on Sundays. The reform congregation was unsuccessful in its attempt to secede from the official community. The Berlin community was again violently shaken when many of its members pressed for the introduction of an organ and modification of the liturgy in the new synagogue. The appointment of Abraham Geiger as rabbi of the Berlin community met with strong opposition from orthodox circles, and in 1869 Azriel (Israel) Hildesheimer and his adherents left the main community and established the Adass Yisroel congregation, which received official recognition in 1885. Geiger founded an institute for Jewish research while Hildesheimer opened a rabbinical seminary. For about 80 years the liberals were predominant in the Berlin community. But liberals and orthodox worked together in full harmony in the central organizations in which, at least for a period, the Zionists also participated. The Berlin rabbi S. Maybaum was among the leaders of the "protest rabbis" who opposed political Zionism.

After the murder of Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg in January 1919, anti-Semitic propaganda in Berlin increased. The Kapp putsch (March 1920) had blatant anti-Jewish undertones. Walter Rathenau, the German foreign minister, was assassinated by anti-Semitic nationalists on June 24, 1922. In 1926, after the appointment of joseph Goebbels as Gauleiter in Berlin, anti-Jewish rabble-rousing increased. At the time the Nazis seized power, Berlin's organized Jewish community numbered 172,000 persons. In 1933 the Nazi boycott (April 1) affected Jewish shop owners; legislation against non-Aryans led to dismissal of Jewish professionals, while "Aryanization" of Jewish firms and the dismissal of their Jewish employees was carried out by the exertion of steady economic pressure. The Jewish officials not affected by these measures were eventually ousted under the provisions of the Nuremberg Laws (1935). In these initial years, when the members of the Jewish community were being methodically deprived of their economic standing and civil rights, Jewish religious and cultural life in Berlin underwent a tremendous upsurge. Until November 1938 Jewish newspapers and books were published on an unprecedented scale. Notable among the newspapers was the Berliner Juedisches Gemeindeblatt, a voluminous weekly published by the community. Zionist work was in full swing, especially that of He-chalutz, and in February 1936, a German Zionist convention was held in Berlin (the last to meet there), still reflecting in its composition the vigorous party life of German Zionists.

In June 1938, mass arrests of Jews took place on the charge that they were "asocial", e.g. had a criminal record, including traffic violations, and they were imprisoned in Sachsenhausen concentration camp. On November 9-10, Kristallnacht marked a turning point in the affairs of Berlin Jewry: synagogues were burned down, Jewish shops destroyed, and 10,000 Jews from Berlin and other places were arrested and imprisoned in Sachsenhausen. The "Bannmeile" was decreed, which restricted Jews to an area within a certain radius from their place of residence.

Jewish newspapers had to cease publication. The only paper was the new Das Medische Narchrichtenblatt which was required to publish Gestapo directives to the Jews.

After the outbreak of war, the living conditions and situation of the Jews worsened. Emigration was still permitted and even encouraged, and existing organizations and institutions (Kulturbund, Jewish schools) were able to continue functioning. However, Jews were drafted for forced labor at wages far below the prevailing rate and with no social benefits, but this at least provided them with a minimum income and delayed their deportation. In the spring of 1940 Heinrich Stahl was removed from his post in the Reichsvereinigung by the Nazi authorities and replaced by Moritz Henschel, a former attorney. In september 1941, a drastic turn for the worse came about. First the Judenstern ("Jewish star", i.e. yellow badge) was introduced. Two weeks later, on the day of atonement, in the middle of a sermon by Rabbi Leo Baeck, the president of the community was summoned to the Gestapo and told that the community would have to prepare for a partial evacuation from the city.

Between October 23 and the end of the year only 62 persons managed to leave, and in 1942 only nine Jews were permitted to go abroad. Then began five major phases in the process of deportation. Eventually, the deportations came to include groups of community employees, and from the fall of 1942, only those Jewish laborers who were employed in vital war production were still safe from deportation.

Those Jews who had gentile wives were taken to a special camp for onward deportation, but when their wives carried out violent street demonstrations, the Gestapo yielded and set their husbands free. On May 13, 1942, an anti-Jewish exhibition, "Soviet Paradise", was opened in Berlin, and was attacked by a group of Jewish communists, led by Herbert Baum. The group was caught and hardly any of them survived. Two hundred and fifty Jews – 50 for each German who had been killed in the attack – were shot, and another 250 were sent to Sachsenhausen and perished there. The community offices were closed down on June 10, 1943, and six days later the "full" Jews among the members of its executive council were deported to Theresienstadt.

At the beginning of 1946, the community had a registered membership of 7,070 people, of whom 4,121 (over 90% of all married members) had non-Jewish spouses, 1,321 had survived the war by hiding, and 1,628 had returned from concentration camps. The Jews were dispersed throughout Berlin, a third of them living in the Soviet sector. Several synagogues were opened, the Jewish hospital resumed its work (although most of its patients and staff were not Jews), and three homes for the aged and a children's home were established. There was no local rabbi or religious teachers, but American Jewish army chaplains volunteered their services.

There are four synagogues in Berlin. In 1959, the city of Berlin erected a large Jewish community center on Fasanenstrasse at the site of which one of Berlin's most magnificent synagogues had stood until 1938. In 1954 the Zionist organization and the Israel appeal renewed their activities in Berlin. There exists an active Jewish women's organization, a B'nai B'rith lodge, a Jewish students' organization, and a youth organization. In 1954 the community had a membership of about 5,000 and by January 1970 this figure had risen to 5,577. The demographic composition of the community is marked by relatively high average age (4,080 are above the age of 41), a low birthrate, and a great number of mixed marriages.

In 1997 there were 10,000 Jews living in Berlin, and it was the largest Jewish community in Germany.

Kassel

A city in Hesse, Germany; former Hesse-Kassel state capital.

21ST CENTURY

Following Jewish immigration from the former Soviet Union in the 1990s, the Jewish community of Kassel numbered about 1,220 in 2004.

As the synagogue had become too small, it was torn down and a new one designed by architect Alfred Jacoby was built and consecrated in 2000. It was financed by the Jewish community of Kassel, the Association of Jewish Communities in Hesse, the Federal state (Land) of Hesse, and the city of Kassel.

HISTORY

A 1293 record maintains that a Jewess had been in possession of some property in Kassel at an earlier date. A Jews' street was in existence in 1318. During the Black Death persecutions (1348-1939), the Jews suffered but some managed to escape and were living in Frankfort (1360) and Erfurt. By 1398, there was an organized community in Kassel, with a synagogue and cemetery.

The Jews' street is mentioned again in 1455 and 1486 and the "Jews' well" might also date from this period.

In 1513, Master Falke contributed to the construction of a local bridge; in 1520, he paid the rent for the cemetery, as did his widow in 1526. Landgrave Philip of Hesse expelled the Jews from Hesse-Kassel in 1524. However, in 1530, he admitted Michel Jud of Derenburg as court agent for 10 years and in 1532, issued a Jewry toleration law, amplified in 1539. Though restrictive and ordering Jews to attend Christian sermons, it was less severe than the extreme anti-Jewish proposals of the reformation theologian Martin Butzer. Only a few Jews were allowed in Kassel during this period, a physician and several silk knitters. In 1602, the court Jew Hayum was admitted as mint master.

In 1577, landgrave William the Wise had initiated Hesse-Kassel Jewry assemblies, first held in Kassel. The kehillah Hebrew constitution papers, begun in 1633, and a pinkas (records and decisions) were ordered to be translated into German in 1734-1740. Hesse-Kassel Jewry was under the civic jurisdiction of the Fulda rabbinate until 1625, and that of Friedberg until 1656.

During the Thirty Years' War (1618-48), the Jews were compelled to leave Kassel. However, the court Jew Benedict Goldschmidt received a residence privilege in 1635; it was extended in 1647 to include his two sons. From 1650 to 1715, private prayer services were held in the Goldschmidt's house, led by the rabbi of the nearby village of Bettenhausen (later part of Kassel), where a cemetery was acquired in 1621.

In 1714, a synagogue building was erected and enlarged in 1755; the community had grown by then to approximately 200 persons. A Memorbuch was begun in 1720, and a Chevra Kaddisha founded in 1773. In 1772, the rabbinate was transferred from Witzenhausen, seat of the yeshivah, to Kassel.

From 1807 to 1813, Kassel was the capital of the short-lived kingdom of Westphalia. The emancipation law of 1808 granted civil rights to Jews and made possible an influx of Jews from other areas. A consistory headed by Israel Jacobson introduced synagogue and educational reforms. The government of the reestablished principality of Hessen-Kassel issued a more restrictive Jewry ordinance in 1823, which remained in force until 1866, when Kassel came under Prussian rule and Prussian emancipation laws prevailed.

In 1836-1839, a new synagogue was built, accommodating around 1,000 persons. An Orthodox faction separated after 1872 and built its own synagogue in 1898. The main synagogue was rebuilt in 1890-1907. The Hesse-Kassel yeshivah was transferred to Kassel as a teachers' seminary and elementary school. The community had a library of Judaica and Hebraica and, in the Landesmuseum, a display of ceremonial objects, as well as arts and crafts, which was restored after 1945. It also possessed an orphanage and an old age home.

In 1905, 2,445 Jews lived in Kassel, 2,750 (1.62% of the total) in 1925, and 2,301 (1.31%) in June 1933, after the Nazis came to power in Germany.

HOLOCAUST

On November 7, 1938, two days before Kristallnacht started, the main synagogue was set on fire. Local firemen extinguished the blaze, something they were explicitly told not to do on Kristallnacht. Two days later, the Liberal synagogue was burned down and the Orthodox synagogue destroyed. A completed manuscript of the second volume of the history of the Jews in Kassel, prepared under community auspices, was destroyed,

Over the following year, 300 Jews including the rabbi were sent to Buchenwald and 560 Jews emigrated. Of those remaining, 470 were deported to Riga in 1941, 99 to Majdanek in 1942, and 323 to Theresienstadt the same year.

POST-WAR

In 1945-1946, 200 Jews - mainly displaced persons - lived in Kassel; 102 in 1955; 73 in 1959; and 106 in 1970.

With municipal aid, a synagogue and a community center were built in 1965.

London

The capital and most populous city of England and the United Kingdom. 

21ST CENTURY

Behind Israel, the United States, France, and Canada, the United Kingdom boasts the fifth-largest Jewish population worldwide and the second-largest in Europe. Nearly two-thirds of Britain’s Jews live in Greater London, which is three out of every five Jews living in the United Kingdom. The Jewish population is principally concentrated in the northern boroughs of Barnet and Hackney. According to the 2011 UK census, approximately 172,000 Jews live in London, with more than 54,000 living in Barnet alone.

By the end of the 20th century, sizeable Jewish communities had developed in the areas of Golders Green and Stamford Hill. Located in the London Borough of Barnet, Golders Green is an area noted especially for its large Jewish community and for having the largest kosher hub in the entire United Kingdom. The Jews of Barnet account for one in five of all the Jews in England and Wales.

The district of Stamford Hill in Hackney is best known for its population of Hasidic Jews. At approximately 30,000 people, it is the largest concentration of Hasidic Jews in Europe. A once-small religious community that had lived in the area at the end of the 19th century was largely augmented by the influx of pre-war refugees and Holocaust survivors. Since then, the Haredi community has experienced continued growth with arrivals from Israel and North America. Due to the ultra-Orthodox nature of the area, Stamford Hill is often referred to as the “square mile of piety.” In this small geographical area are over 70 synagogues, many of which are associated with congregations which originated in Eastern Europe, including the Satmar and Belz dynasties, two of the largest Jewish sects represented in the community.

Stamford Hill is also home to a sizeable community of Yemenite Jews, specifically Adeni Jews from the former British protectorate of Aden. Between 1947 and 1967, nearly the entire population emigrated from Aden, settling primarily in Israel and the United Kingdom.

The London Jewish community is served by a wide range of social welfare organizations, including several local councils and international charities. Among them are the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Community Security Trust, the Jewish Learning Exchange, the Jewish Leadership Council, Jewish Women’s Aid, the Jewish Historical Society of England, the London Jewish Forum, the Center for Jewish Life, and the Anglo Jewish Association.

The primary focus of many of these organizations is to organize and fund cultural events and educational programs for families and young adults. Others, like the London Jewish Forum, promote active engagement of the Jewish community with civic life. Since the 1970s, there have been more than sixty Zionist organizations which supported various institutions in Israel.

Philanthropic organizations include the World Jewish Relief, the JNF Charitable Trust and Norwood. World Jewish Relief was established in 1933 as a fund for German Jews which rescued over 100,000 Jews prior to World War II; Norwood is one of the oldest charities in the United Kingdom and is well known for its support of children and people with disabilities. The organization has many celebrity patrons and supporters, including Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Sir Elton John, and Simon Cowell.

In terms of health and social services, Jewish Care is the largest provider of healthcare for the communities of London and the South East. This organization operates more than seventy centers throughout the United Kingdom.

There are more than 150 active synagogues located throughout Greater London. Several Jewish movements are represented, including Orthodox, Chabad, Masorti, Reform, Liberal, and independent. The number of strictly Orthodox or Haredi synagogues has more than doubled since the 1990s, chiefly due to the growth of Hasidic groups in the district of Stamford Hill. By 2014, the ultra-Orthodox community of London accounted for 18% of the Jewish population. The Belvis Marks Synagogue, built in 1701 by Sephardic Jews from Spain and Portugal, is the oldest synagogue still in use in the United Kingdom.

London is home to about 37 Jewish primary schools, 54 nursery schools, and as many as 14 secondary schools. The majority of Jewish children in the United Kingdom live in Greater London; those from non-Haredi families make up 50% of the children enrolled in Jewish primary schools. According to a 2015 government report, London’s Jewish schools are among the best in England. Many of London’s synagogues provide Jewish education. Outside of the Haredi community, the majority of London’s Jewish students attend schools which are separate from congregations but may be associated with the major streams of Judaism.

One of the most famous Jewish schools in Britain is located in London, the Jews’ Free School (JFS); it was established in 1732 and was at one time the largest Jewish school in Europe. Another well-known Jewish school is the Jewish Community Secondary School; established in 2010 in New Barnet, London; it is state-funded and cross-denominational. A notable institution which provides Jewish educational programs for adults is the London School of Jewish Studies. The roots of the college go back to 1855 when Chief Rabbi Nathan Marcus Adler opened the Jews’ College in Finsbury Square. After a rebrand in 1999, the London School of Jewish Studies (LSJS) shifted its focus and become a hub of academic study.

In Greater London are several social associations and community programs dedicated to promoting a Jewish life and advancing Jewish causes. One in particular is Spiro Ark, a charitable organization that organizes Jewish cultural events and educational programs. Another is the Center for Jewish Life, which provides a wide array of social programs, educational events, and activities for Jews to connect with each other. Located at the University College London Union is the JSC, one of the largest Jewish societies for Jewish students in the United Kingdom. There are also fifteen Chabad centers found in central London.

As the nucleus of Jewish cohesion and culture in Britain, the city of London hosts a number of museums and memorials. One of its most famous is the Hyde Park Holocaust Memorial; unveiled in 1983, it was the first Holocaust memorial in Great Britain.

Ben Uri –The London Jewish Museum of Art is a public art gallery that was founded in 1915 and remains Europe’s only Jewish art museum. The Jewish Military Museum commemorates the Jewish contribution to British forces going back three hundred years. Providing an insight into British Jewish history is the Jewish Museum of London. Among its permanent exhibitions is the Holocaust Gallery, Judaism: A Living Faith, The Mikveh, and History: A British Story.

The first Jewish Community Center in London is the London Cultural Center (JW3), which has become the leading center for adult education and for the arts.

The Weiner Library is home to one of the world’s most extensive Holocaust archives. Established in 1933, it includes over one million items, including eyewitness testimony, photos, and published and unpublished works.

Other Jewish landmarks in London include the Rothschild Archive in St. Swithin’s lane, the Freud Museum, the Bevis Marks Synagogue, the statue of Benjamin Disraeli at Parliament Square, and the Jewish East End, site of the historical Jewish Socialist Club. There are also more than twenty kosher restaurants, four kosher hotels, and many Judaica shops found throughout the north of the city.

The largest amount of publications on Jewish topics emanate from London. These include newspapers, magazines, books and other media. Circulating throughout Greater London is The Jewish Chronicle; founded in 1841, it is the oldest continuously published Jewish newspaper in the world. In 1896, it published Theodor Herzl’s historic article “Solution of the Jewish Question”.

Another weekly published newspaper is The Jewish News. Named Free Newspaper of the Year in 2003 by Press Gazette, it provides local, national and international news and entertainment for the Jewish communities of Greater London, Middlesex, Hertfordshire and Essex.

The Jewish Tribune is a privately owned Haredi weekly newspaper based in Stamford Hill. It is the fourth largest Jewish publication in England.

Broadcasted by the Spectrum Radio Network is Sunday Jewish Radio, a weekly program on Jewish themes.

 

HISTORY

After the Norman conquest of 1066, a few Jews arrived in London from the nearby areas of Europe (chiefly the Duchy of Normandy, including Rouen), attracted mainly by the economic opportunities that the city offered. The earliest recorded mention of the London community dates from the reign of William Rufus (1087-1100), who appears to have favored the Jews to a certain extent.

In 1130, in what was possibly a blood libel, the Jews of London were accused of killing a sick man and were forced to pay an enormous fine. Other outbreaks of antisemitism took place during the coronation of Richard I (September 3,1189) and during the reign of John (1199-1216); John’s reign, and that of his son Henry III (1216-1272) saw the opposition of the barons to the Jews, and there was a baronial attack on London Jewry in 1215. Nonetheless, Jewish intellectual during this period flourished; among other accomplishments, it attracted the Biblical commentator Abraham ibn Ezra, who wrote his Iggeret Ha-Shabbat and his Yesod Mora in London in 1158.

During the reign of Henry III the Jews of London, along with those of the rest of the country, were oppressed. The climax came in 1224 when it was alleged that some gashes found on the body of a dead child were Hebrew letters and the Jews were accused of ritual murder. This resulted in a punitive fine on the Jewish community. In 1232 Henry III confiscated the main London synagogue on the pretext that the chanting could be heard in a neighboring church. In 1278 a number of London Jews were among the 680 who were imprisoned in the tower of London on forgery charges. Nearly 300 are said to have been hanged. Shortly thereafter, in 1283 the Bishop of London ordered that all synagogues in the diocese to be closed (one was later reopened).
In 1290, the Jews were expelled from England and the Jewish community of London ceased to exist.
In 1509, after the expulsions from Spain and Portugal, a few crypto-Jewish refugees settled in London; by the end of Henry VIII’s reign in 1547, there were approximately 37 crypto-Jewish families living in London. However, in 1609 the Portuguese merchants living in London, who were suspected of Judaizing, were expelled. Nevertheless, when the crypto-Jewish community of Ruen was (temporarily) dissolved in 1632, a number of fugitives, including Antonio Fernandez Carvajal, found a home in London. Thus, when Manasseh ben Israel went to England in 1655, there was already an established secret Jewish community in London that became increasingly visible. In March of 1657 a petition was presented to Cromwell asking for protection, and the following December a house was rented and used as a synagogue. A few months later the community purchased land for a cemetery.

After Cromwell's death in 1658 numerous attempts were made to persecute and stem the grown of the community. Charles II, however, intervened in its favor, and bestowed de facto recognition on the community. A synagogue on Cree Church Lane was enlarged and remodeled in 1674, and in 1701 a new place of worship was built in Bevis Marks. As the community was reestablishing itself, considerable numbers of Spanish and Portuguese Jews began arriving from Holland. Ashkenazim soon followed, most of whom arrived via Amsterdam or Hamburg. They organized their own congregation around 1690, and eventually became the more influential and populous Jewish community in London.
The Sephardic and Ashkenazi communities proved able to work together in establishing and running a number of community institutions. The board for kosher slaughter, in which Sephardim and Ashkenazim cooperated, was organized through the advocacy of Baron Lyon de Symons between 1792 and 1804. As early as 1760 the Sephardi community admitted Ashkenazi representatives to their governing committee, which was appointed to deal with the government on behalf of the Jewish community. This ultimately developed into the Board of Deputies of British Jews, which represented the Jewish communities of London until 1838, after which it began to represent Jewish communities outside of London, in addition to the ones within the city.

The Ashkenazi community’s Talmud Torah, which was established in 1732, was reorganized in 1817 as the Jews' Free School. This school eventually developed into one of the largest schools in Europe.

 

19TH CENTURY

The struggle for Jewish emancipation in England centered in London, and was a process that developed in stages throughout the years. Beginning in 1830 the city of London had shown its support of parliamentary emancipation, most notably by electing Baron Lionel de Rothschild, in spite of the fact that he could not take his seat because of the statutory oath. Nonetheless, this became very influential when it came to the ultimate admission of Jews to the Parliament in 1858. In 1831 Jews were granted the privilege of being able to engage in retail trade, from which they had hitherto been barred. In 1835, David Salomons was elected a sheriff of the city, the first Jewish person to serve in that office. In 1847 Salomons became the first Jewish alderman, and in 1855 the first Jewish Lord Mayor of London.
The growing Anglicization of London Jewry led to a number of community developments. A Reform congregation was established in 1840. Sephardi and Ashkenazi congregations established branch synagogues in the West End. A modern theological seminary, Jews' College, was founded in 1855, and a charitable organization, the Board of Guardians for the Relief of the Jewish Poor, was established in 1859. The United Synagogue, an umbrella organization for the major Ashkenazi congregations in London, was established in 1870. In 1887 Sir Samuel Montagu (later Lord Swaythling) created the Federation of Synagogues in order to coordinate the various religious activities that took place in the different synagogues.
The mass emigration from Russia that began in 1881 led to a mass influx of Eastern European Jews to London. As a result, the next 25 years saw London’s Jewish population rise from about 47,000 to approximately 150,000. Most of the new immigrants worked as tailors, shoemakers, and cabinetmakers. A Yiddish press and an active trade union movement were established to meet the needs of this growing immigrant population.

 

20TH CENTURY

The Aliens Act of 1905 limited immigration, though smaller numbers of Jewish immigrants continued to arrive until the outbreak of World War I in 1914. Later, a considerable number of refugees arrived from Germany after the Nazi rise to power in 1933.

As Jews became more established in London, they tended to move. East End Jews who managed to work their way up the socioeconomic ladder tended to move to the newer suburbs, particularly those in the northeast of the city, to Stamford Hill, and the northwest, to Golders Green). The interwar period saw significant numbers of London’s Jews moving from the East End to the northern suburbs, as many within the community became well-established and successful. This movement led to the establishment of a number of Jewish institutions in the suburbs. A Jewish museum and a community center for the major Jewish institutions of London were established at Woburn House in the Bloomsbury area.
The total Jewish population of greater London in 1970 was estimated at 280,000. In 1997 it was estimated at 300,000.

 

Baron Paul Julius von Reuter (1816-1899)

Baron Paul Julius von Reuter (1816-1899), founder of Reuters Telegram Company, born in Kassel, Germany. His original name was Israel Beer Josaphat. First a bank clerk, he started in 1849 a pigeon post service, which bridged a gap in the telegraph line between Aachen, Germany, and Verviers, Belgium. In 1851 he went to England, where he was later naturalized, and soon opened a news office in London.
In 1858 he persuaded English newspapers to publish his foreign telegrams. He then extended his influence and soon had worldwide cable connections. In 1865 he converted the Reuters agency into a joint stock company, and he was governing director until 1878. He was named a baron by the duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in 1871.