The history of the Jewish people in Britain is incredibly rich and spans centuries back. The re-emergence of the Jewish community in England under Oliver Cromwell in 1656 is seen as an important stepping stone towards a multicultural Britain, and it makes the Jewish community one of the oldest ones in this country. Various pogroms of the Jewish people in their home countries have brought on mass migrations and resettlements.
Britain was one of the countries which they either hoped to settle in, or to continue their journey towards the United States or the ‘goldene medine’ (the golden country) as it was commonly known among the Jews. Only this little bit of information already opens so many avenues for addressing our overarching theme on global citizenship.
In the next couple of weeks we will zoom the lens towards the Yiddish-speaking Jews who came to London from Eastern and Central Europe. Yiddish was one of the languages spoken along the river Danube in almost all the countries through which the river flows.
Mass migration of Yiddish Jews to London in particular happened in the late 19 century which is also known in history as The Great Migration. As they were arriving, the Jewish people would usually settle mainly in dock cities such as Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow and Liverpool. In London they predominantly settled in the East End.
Their legacy and impact on the cultural landscape is vast and impressive. It suffices to say, that in this Shakespearean city of London, the Yiddish-speaking Jews counted at least five theatres which performed in Yiddish. It started with The Hebrew Dramatic Club in Princes Street which opened in 1886 and it ended with the Grand Palais which closed in 1970, and it was the last Yiddish-speaking theatre in London.
As we explore the Danubian Yiddish connection to London on Thames, we invite you to think of identity in terms of language rather than a country with a flag.
Navigator: Zora Kostadinova
Crew: Chennie Cheung, Edoardo Lomi, Enoch Ko, Jingwen Chen, Remy Roberts, Stephanie Keen, Terence Chan, Yajie Xie, Zahra Al-Hadi, Stephanie Keen, Layla Mostag, Yudi Kong, Molly Padgham Hugh
Sholem-aleykhem, fellow Danubians! It is our pleasure to welcome you all at the website of the one of its kind Yiddish strand of The Danube, a UCL Global Citizenship Summer School on Intercultural Interaction. Please be our guest and follow short reports on daily lectures and Yiddish language classes as well as on preparations to … Continue reading Yiddish Danube on Thames 2016