The Jewish Military Museum is now at the Jewish Museum London. Over 5,000 objects from the Jewish Military Museum including the personal diaries, letters, medals, uniforms and souvenirs of Jewish soldiers fighting for Britain have arrived at the Jewish Museum London.
The partnership between the Jewish Museum London and the Jewish Military Museum has seen the Jewish Museum London assume care and responsibility for the Jewish Military Museum’s entire collection, research archive and its learning programme.
This collection, previously housed at the Jewish Military Museum in Hendon, focuses on the stories of individual Jewish men and women who have served in the British Armed Forces for over three centuries.
Curators Roz Currie and Sarah Fairhurst have integrated over 50 objects from the Jewish Military Museum’s collection into the Jewish Museum’s permanent galleries enhancing the displays with exciting new stories and bold images.
Key objects on display include:
- Tommy Gould’s Victoria Cross
Tommy Gould was awarded this Victoria Cross for outstanding bravery while serving on the submarine HMS Thrasher during World War II. Gould and his comrade removed an unexploded bomb wedged in the submarine’s outer casing saving the lives of all those on board.
- Original handwritten posters by Reverend Michael Adler, the first Jewish chaplain on the front line
Adler was senior Jewish chaplain on the outbreak of the First World War. Noting the lack of religious support given to the 50,000 Jews serving he lobbied the Ministry of Defence to allow Jewish chaplains onto the front line. He sent notices and letters in advance of his visits so that Jewish soldiers could come together for services and Jewish High Holy Days.
- The diary of Florence Greenberg (née Oppenheimer)
In this diary Oppenheimer describes her life as a nurse on a hospital ships in the Mediterranean including the devastation wrought by the Gallipoli campaign and the boredom aboard ship in between battles. Post-war she became the cookery writer, Florence Greenberg.
- Corporal Henry Jessell’s Crimean War medals
Jessell’s medals, from the 1850s, are the earliest in the collection. Pre-emancipation, Jews could not gain a commission and it can be difficult to uncover stories of Jewish service. More is known about Jessell as he lived until he was in his late nineties and laid a wreath at the cenotaph in 1928.
Over 1200 objects from the Jewish Military Museum collection have been digitized as part of the We Were There Too project.
We Were There Too is a unique cross community project created to capture, record and preserve the impact, experience and contribution of London’s Jewish communities during the First World War era.
First World War Online Resource
‘For King and Country‘ is an online resource of personal accounts of Jewish service in the First World War. Read accounts from Isaac Rosenberg, Marcus Segal, Florence Oppenheimer and Percy Levy.
Remember Me: Learning Workshop
The First World War: Remember Me is an education workshop for schools, which helps students to understand that by investigating people’s lives it can help us to understand what happened in the past.
The programme can be tailored to history, english, religious studies or local history classes.