the former

Biggleswade Hebrew Congregation

and Jewish Community

(including Shefford)





Page created: 24 January 2017
Latest revision or update: 25 January 2017

Towns of Biggleswade and Shefford

Biggleswade (population about about 16,000) is a market town in Bedfordshire situated about twelve miles to the west of Bedford and some 40 miles north of Central London. Shefford (population about 5,000) is a village that lies some 6 miles to the southwest of Biggleswade.

Until 1974, Biggleswade was in the Biggleswade Urban District and Shefford was in the Biggleswade Rural District, both in the county of Bedfordshire. In 1974 both districts became part of the local government district of Mid Bedfordshire, which was merged in 2009 with the district of South Bedfordshire to form the unitary authority of Central Bedfordshire, in the ceremonial county of Bedfordshire.

Jewish Community

An evacuee Jewish community was established in Biggleswade at the beginning of World War II, with included an organised Jewish congregation. In addition, during the war, an entire Jewish children's community of several hundred children was evacuated to close-by Shefford as part of "Operation Pied Piper". The children were primarily from an orthodox school in Stamford Hill (see below) and included many refugee children. The community was disbanded shortly following the end of hostilities in 1945.

Congregation Data


Biggleswade Hebrew Congregation


Services held in various locations, in particular the Memorial Hall inBiggleswade,


Congregation formed in 1939 by Jewish evacuees from heavily populated areas of London and including Jewish refugees from Central Europe.


Closed 1945.


Ashkenazi Orthodox


Rev. Harry Landy - September 1942 to March 1944


On-line Articles and Other Material relating to the Jewish Community
in Biggleswade and Shefford

on JCR-UKShefford : A Story of a Jewish School Community in Evacuation 1939-1945


Other Jewish Institutions & Organisations


  • The Jewish Secondary School, evacuated to Shefford from Amhust Park (Stamford Hill) from September 1939 to August 1945. Several hundred Jewish children were billeted in and around Shefford as part of "Operation Pied Piper", including a number of recent refugees rescued from Central Europe, primarily through the efforts of Rabbi Dr. Solomon Schonfeld as part of the Kindertransport. Headmaster - Dr. A. Levene; headmistress - Dr. Judith Grunfeld.


Jewish Cemeteries Information

There was no Jewish cemetery in Biggleswade, Shefford nor elsewhere in Bedfordshire.

Jewish Congregations in Bedfordshire

Jewish Communities of England home page


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