Memories of Leicester in the 1940s and 50s
Compiled by Rosalind Adam
Jewish Voices is a book of memories from the older members of Leicester’s Jewish community. Although the memories come from 70 different voices, together they provide a coherent story of social and historical significance.
Memories were collected not only at writing workshops and informal discussion groups but also via email and through the post. As the word spread, memories started arriving from London, Israel, in fact from all over the world. The power of the Internet ensured that a true cross-section of the population was represented by the 70 voices in the book.
The story tells of a small, pre-war, provincial Jewish community and the enormous upheaval it experienced in the 1940s when families of Londoners flooded into Leicester to escape the bombs. No one knows for sure how many arrived but all those who were in Leicester at the time talk of an overwhelming number of evacuees. Some of them spent the war in Leicester and returned to London when their men were demobbed. A few of these people, largely unknown to the present Leicester Jewish community, have contributed memories of how being Jewish in Leicester felt for them during those terrible years. Many London evacuee families stayed in Leicester after the war and it was these people, together with the existing pre-war community and a small number of refugees from Europe, who helped to create the new, vibrant and diverse Leicester Jewish community of the 1950s that is recounted so colourfully in Jewish Voices.
Thanks to sponsorship from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the book is of a high quality and professionally produced. To receive a complimentary copy please email the project leader, Rosalind Adam, at firstname.lastname@example.org. There is a small website describing the project which can be reached by this link.