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Piecing together lost history: Jews in the South African War
The men named on a British Empire war memorial at Willesden Jewish Cemetery are all but lost to history. How can we interpret the significance of their service in a military campaign which today is seen as controversial? Molly Maslen investigates.

A special talk by Molly Maslen, volunteer researcher with the “House of Life” and History MA graduate.

Two memorial boards remembering Jewish fatalities of a war in South Africa 1899 – 1902 have been sitting quietly at Willesden Jewish Cemetery for 60 years.

The 116 Jews they name are all but lost to history. But who were they? And what did Jewish leaders want to say by putting their ultimate sacrifice into the public eye on a Roll of Honour while anti-immigrant feeling raged against the community at home?

At a time when historic memorials are subject of immense debate, the House of Life heritage project at Willesden Jewish Cemetery wanted to know the backstory of its memorial to the fallen of the South African Campaign, once known as the “Boer War”. It asked History graduate Molly Maslen to investigate.

Following her research into newspapers, journal articles and public records, in this special talk hosted by the Leeds branch of the Jewish Historical Society, Molly presents her personal assessment of an episode when patriotism and prejudice collided, and asks whether the time is right to lift the veil on the memorials at last.

This is a talk organised jointly by Milim and the Leeds branch of the Jewish Historical Society of England

Aug 3, 2020 08:00 PM in London

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