A unique insight into the First World War through the eyes of London’s Jewish Children

20 February 2017 | Liz Robertson

The Heritage Lottery Fund ‘London Jews in the First World War – We Were There Too’ project team have brought a unique, virtually unseen archive from the 1914-1918 period, belonging to The Liberal Jewish Synagogue, into public view for the first time in a century, on their new website www.jewsfww.london .

The primary aim of the HLF project is to uncover, capture and preserve London’s First World War Jewish stories on a newly created digital platform.

In the late 1980s, Former Honorary Archivist at The LJS, Sharon Lewison, discovered two bound manuscripts of stories, essays, poetry and drawings compiled by children and young people from their Religion School during 1915 and 1916.

The two rare volumes show how the war influenced Jewish children and young people of the period. Some of their unease and their impressions of the war are reflected in the books; opinion pieces, poems and pictures, which show what they witnessed and how they responded. Some of the written pieces reflect on ‘what it is to be Jewish’ at the time or contain a Jewish reference, making the books of even greater significance as a record of the Jewish experience of time.

To view these unique volumes, in their newly digitised format, visit www.jewsfww.london and click on ‘The First World War through the eyes of London’s Jewish children’.

The We Were There Too project team continue to search for family stories and hitherto unseen materials relating to the First World War. If you have a story you would like to preserve on the site, email contactus@jewsfww.london