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Page created by David Shulman: 29 July 2006
Redesigned by Louise Messik: November 2011
Latest revision or update: 22 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 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. 

Jewish Congregations

The only Jewish congregations known to have existed on the Channel Islands were on the island of Jersey.

The following was the first congregation, established in the mid-nineteenth century:

The synagogue of the above congregation fell into disuse in about 1870. However, those Jewish families remaining on the island lived openly as Jews and continued to hold religious services in private homes

Subsequently, in the 1960's, the following congregation was established:

This congregation is still active

 

 


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).
 

 

On-line Articles and Other Material relating
to the Channel Islands Jewish Community

on JCR-UK

on third parties' websites

 

Channel Islands Jewish Population Data

 

Jersey

Guernsey

 

1847

42

 

(The Rise of Provincial Jewry by Cecil Roth)

1965

60

 

(The Jewish Year Book 1966)

1988

150

9 families

(The Jewish Year Book 1989)

1997

120

9 families

(The Jewish Year Book 1998)

2001

120

7 families

(The Jewish Year Book 2002)

 

Jersey Jewish Cemeteries 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. (Records on All-UK Database, as above.)

  • 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. (A small number of records on All-UK Database, as above.)

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

 

 
   


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