Fascinating items unveiled in a Judaica specialist’s catalogue

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Fascinating items unveiled in a Judaica specialist’s catalogue

Documents and books for sale include leaflets from early Zionist groups and shuls – and the infamous British Union – and a post-war haggadah produced in Munich

Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist

The London antiquarian and Judaica specialist Jonathan Fishburn has just issued his most recent catalogue, and as a way of ‘holding history in your hand’, it is unsurpassed.

The 50 items featured in this collection of memorabilia range from a rare medical book written in Hebrew and dating from 1700, to early examples of Zionist rallies in the opening years of the 20th century.

Closer to our times are items relating to the re-settlement of European Jews in Britain as they escaped from the Nazis. There is poignancy in a slim volume by a Viennese dietician, written in 1938, entitled “How Do I Cook In England” — a book aimed at the newly arrived young men and women who had entered Britain on a domestic servant visa, but who had no idea how to perform any of the bewildering duties expected of them.

Other gems include the order of a special service held under the auspices of the Chief Rabbi in 1944, to mourn the death of Orde Wingate, the Christian Zionist who trained the Haganah Night Squads in mandate Palestine.


1. A poster for a rally held by the North London Zionist Society in Stamford Hill in April 1917. The guest speaker was the president of the English Zionist Federation, Dr Chaim Weizmann

North London Zionist society

2. A leaflet dating from 1933, ­headed ‘Keep Out Alien Jews’, ­inviting people to ‘hear British  Union speakers put the case against alien ­Jewish immigration into Britain’

‘Keep Out Alien Jews’

3. Notification from the West London Synagogue in June 1911 that ‘a special service’ would be held at ‘half-past-five o’clock’ to mark the coronation of King George and Queen Mary

Notification from the West London Synagogue

4. On 9 July 1933, a huge rally was held at the Royal Albert Hall on behalf of the Jews of ­Germany, just beginning to suffer restrictions to their lives only months after the Nazis had come to power. This is Chief Rabbi Dr Joseph Hertz’s sermon, Out of the Depths I Cry to Thee

Chief Rabbi Dr Joseph Hertz’s sermon

5. A special Pesach ­Haggadah, produced in Munich in 1948 and including 20 pages of ­photographs of life in the post-war DP (displaced persons) camps, with ­images of Passover preparations and the kosher kitchen in Dachau

Special Pesach ­Haggadah, produced in Munich in 1948

6. Even before the Second World War had ended, trials were taking place of some of the perpetrators of Nazi atrocities.  This is a report, in Polish, of a trial of members of staff of the Majdanek concentration camp, held in Lublin in December 1944


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