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Page created by David Shulman: 29 July 2006
Redesigned by Louise Messik: November 2011
Latest revision or update: 8 February 2016

THE JEWISH COMMUNITY ON THE CHANNEL ISLANDS
 

The Channel Islands

The Channel Islands are a group of islands in the English Channel, off the coast of Normandy, France. They comprise two separate political entities, the Bailiwick of Guernsey (which also includes a number of smaller islands) and the Bailiwick of Jersey.  Although they are not technically part of the United Kingdom (they do not send representatives to the Parliament in Westminster), they are British crown dependencies.

The Jewish Community

It is most probable that there were Jews in the Channel Islands in the Medieval period, in light of their proximity to the French mainland and that fact the islands formed part of the Duchy of Normandy, which had a significant Jewish population, particularly in the city of Rouen (from where the medieval Jewish community in England is believed to have originated). However, no evidence remains of the medieval medieval Jewish presence on the islands.

The Channel Islands were the only British territory occupied by Nazi Germany during the Second World War, and the few Jews that remained behind during the occupation, suffered the same fate as their co-religionists on the European continent.

Although there is a small number of Jewish families on the island of Guernsey, the only organised Jewish congregations have been exclusively on the island of Jersey. 


Search the All-UK Database

The records in the database associated with the Channel Islands include:

Burials (Jersey)

Almorah Cemetery, 1877-1917 (11 records);
Tower Road Cemetery, 1982-2008 (53 burial records);
Tower Road Cemetery, 1942/3 (6 plaques to Jersey or Guernsey Jews who perished in Nazi death camps);
Westmont/Strangers Cemetery, 1852-2008 (64 records).

1851 Anglo Jewry Database

Individuals in the 1851 Anglo Jewry Database who were living in Jersey or Guernsey during the 1790s (2 records), 1800s (1 record), 1820s (3 records), 1830s (9 records), 1840s (35 records), 1850s (57 records), 1860s (14 records), 1870s (14 records), 1880s (8 records), 1890s (5 records) and 1900s (2 records).
 

 

Jewish Congregations

The following are the only Jewish congregations known to have existed on the island of Jersey. (There were none on Guernsey):

Jersey Old Hebrew Congregation, St Helier

After the synagogue of the above congregation fell into disuse, those Jewish families remaining on the island lived openly as Jews and continued to hold religious services in private homes. Subsequently the following congregation was established:

Jersey Jewish Congregation, St Brelade
 


Articles relating to the Channel Islands Jewish Community

The Rise of Provincial Jewry - Channel Islands by Cecil Roth, 1950. Available on JCR-UK as part of the Susser Archive.

Press Reports relating to the Jersey Jewish community 1843 to 1936, compiled by Harold Pollins

Press Reports relating to the Jersey Jewish community from 1961, compiled by Harold Pollins

Jews of the Channel Islands - on website of Holocaust Education & Archive Team

 

Jersey Jewish Population Data

1847

42

(The Rise of Provincial Jewry by Cecil Roth)

1965

60

(The Jewish Year Book 1966)

1990

150

(The Jewish Year Book 1991)

2004

120

(The Jewish Year Book 2005)


 

Guernsey Jewish Population Data

1990

9 families

(The Jewish Year Book 1991)

2004

9 families

(The Jewish Year Book 2005)

 

Jersey Jewish Cemetery Information

There are two Jewish cemeteries on the island of Jersey (none elsewhere in the Channel Island), both of which escaped desecration by the Germans during their WWII occupation:

  • Westmont Jewish Cemetery, Westmont Road, St Helier, JE3 (also referred to as the Tower Road Cemetery) - This is the older of the two cemeteries. The first section, in the Westmont Quarry (next to the "Strangers' Cemetery), was acquired by the Jersey Jewish community in 1834 (first burial 1836). A later section, (first burial 1888), next to the Mont à l'Abbé New Cemetery, Tower Road, is still active. See Photographs of the Tower Road Cemetery, Jersey by Gina Marks. (For individual gravestones, please search the All-UK Database.)

  • Almorah Cemetery, Jewish Section, La Pouquelaye, St Helier, JE2  - This is the Jewish section of the non-sectarian Almorah Cemetery (overlooking Vallée des Vaux)  that had opened in 1854. The Jewish section was founded by a dissenting faction during quarrels in the Jewish congregation. The first burial in the Jewish section was in 1877. The Jewish headstones were reputed laid flat during WWII to avoid detection by the Germans.

(For additional information, see also IAJGS International Jewish Cemeteries Project - Jersey)

 
Other Channel Islands Jewish Information

Bibliography and Other Sources
 

 
   

 

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