< Back

Preface Vol 15

<plain_text><page sequence="1">PREFACE The last volume of Transactions was based on the activities of the Jewish Historical Society of England during the period 1935-39, ending with the session which immediately preceded the outbreak of war. Its activities, like those of most similar bodies, were suspended with the beginning of hostilities, many of the younger members soon being on active service and the attention of all con? centrated on more imperative matters. In the course of 1940, the customary activities of the Society were resumed, in a modified form, to be soon interrupted again by the opening of the enemy bombing attacks on London and the consequent temporary removal of many members. It was now decided to follow a new policy, lectures being delivered in a number of provincial centres, which not only reached members away from their homes, but also to some extent interested an entirely new public. The first of these meetings was held, in October 1940, in the Hall of Magdalen College, Oxford, by per? mission of the President and Fellows. In the course of one of the earliest enemy air-raids, in October 1940, the Society's headquarters at University College, London, were entirely destroyed (as briefly recorded in Vol. XIV). The beautiful building, so recently constructed by Gustave Tuck in memory of his wife, was reduced to rubble and ashes, together with, save for a few volumes which together with most of the manuscripts had been removed to safety, the Mocatta Library, the accumulated treasures of generations of Anglo-Jewish scholars. Subsequently, the Society lived a peripatetic existence. It found a home later in the building in Wigmore Street taken over by the historic Western Synagogue, which had also suffered destruction. By an unhappy fatality, this temporary home was very seriously damaged in an air vii</page><page sequence="2">viii PREFACE raid on the night of 13th March, 1944. The double blow that the Society has suffered has been tempered by the kindness of the several institutions, of which mention is made later in the list of meetings, that assisted it so generously in its time of need. Fortunately, the contents of the Museum, which had been stored in another part of the University College buildings, were for the most part saved. Steps were immediately taken for the reconstitu tion of the Library, and shortly after the disaster the Asher Myers collection of Anglo-Judaica was purchased and presented to the Society by Sir Louis Sterling, the Council's gratitude to whom is here again recorded. In addition to this and many smaller gifts, all of which are greatly appreciated, the collection of Judaica and Hebraica in the Guildhall Library, London, has very generously been deposited with the Society on indefinite loan. The nucleus of a new Mocatta Library has thus already been assembled, although for the present suitable accommodation has not been found for it, but very considerable further efforts will be needed if the new collection is adequately to fill the place of the old. An important article on the Library and the treasures lost and replaced appeared in The Times Literary Supplement of 7th March, 1942. The Council is in close touch with the authorities at University College regarding the plans for reconstruction, and it is hoped that the new building will follow as closely as possible the design of the old. On nth April, 1943, a Conference was called by the Society to consider the possibility of the restoration of the Jewish Museums, Libraries and Archives in those parts of the Continent of Europe which were then under Nazi rule or control. The Conference was attended by representatives of a number of Anglo-Jewish organisa? tions as well as of American and former Continental institutions. The following resolutions were adopted at this conference : 1. This Conference, summoned by the Jewish Historical Society of England, comprising representatives of the Jewish Community of England and those of the various parts of the Continent now under Axis control, has appointed a Sub-Committee consisting of Dr. Cecil Roth, Professor Norman Bentwich, O.B.E., M.C., Dr. O. K. Rabino</page><page sequence="3">PREFACE ix wicz, Dr. F. Kobler, Dr. E. G. Lowenthal, and Messrs. A. G. Brotman, and L. Kahn (with power to co-opt further members), to draw up a scheme for the eventual restoration of the Jewish Libraries, Museums and Archives, private and public, which have fallen into the hands of the Nazi authorities and their associates. 2. The Conference is of the opinion that the scheme should embody the following principles: (a) The restoration of all collections to the original owners, whether individuals or institutions, where they can be traced; (b) The making good of damage or loss by the State responsible; (c) Where the original owner or his successor in title cannot be traced or where the Institution from which the material was taken has been dissolved, the deposit of the material on trust with a Jewish Community or Institution competent to receive it or, in default, with the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. 3. The Conference desires that the resolution, accompanied by the detailed scheme to be worked out by the Sub-Committee which it has appointed, shall be communicated to the Allied Governments for con? sideration at the time of the Peace Settlement, and that the Conference shall place itself in touch with the departments of all Allied Govern? ments which are dealing with the question of the restitution of public and private property seized by the Axis authorities. 4. The Conference desires that the Sub-Committee shall remain in existence to consider all other questions relating to the restoration of Jewish Cultural Life on the Continent of Europe, and shall summon a full Conference on any future occasion when it shall be deemed necessary. Subsequently, the Committee (of which Dr. O. K. Rabinowicz was appointed Honorary Secretary) issued a questionnaire to ascertain the nature and the fate of the material of Jewish interest pillaged by the Nazis and their allies. The Times Literary Sup? plement, in a leading article published on nth March, 1944, paid the following significant tribute to this work: The events of the last decade have helped to make the civilised world aware that its debt to Judaism did not end with the composition of the last book in the canon of the Old Testament, and there is nowadays a clearer realisation of the contributions to thought and knowledge made throughout the centuries by the communities of the Diaspora. When the time comes, the Jewish Historical Society will submit its evidence and its proposals to the Allied Governments making the peace</page><page sequence="4">X PREFACE settlement. Its plans for the maintenance and restoration of Jewish studies will interest not only scholars all the world over, but great numbers of humane men and women with no pretension to scholarship but with a sense of what mankind owes to the Jewish tradition. The Jubilee of the foundation of the Society fell on 3rd June, 1943. In normal times, it would have been celebrated, in accordance with precedent, by a banquet. This being out of the question, a reception was held in the rooms of the Royal Society, in Burlington House, London. There was a large and distinguished gathering, Sir John Clapham, President of the British Academy, and Professor F. M. Stenton, President of the Royal Historical Society, welcoming the guests, in conjunction with the President of the Society, and supporting him in the subsequent proceedings. The, function, it is felt, in the tragic circumstances of the Jewish world in 1943, had a symbolic importance which was profoundly appreciated. A full report of the proceedings is published in this volume. The Society's Prize Essay schemes passed into abeyance with the outbreak of war, but, in 1943, in order to continue to diffuse and popularise the study of Jewish history, a number of prizes, to the aggregate value of ?35, was offered for essays on Jewish historical subjects, through the Joint Emergency Committee for Jewish Education, and similar bodies. In some instances the results were very promising. Among other memorabilia of the period under review may be recorded the election to Honorary Membership of the Rev. Michael Adler (a past President, and Honorary Editor of Publications since 1932), unhappily since deceased, Bishop Hensley Henson, Sir John Clapham, Professor F. M. Stenton, Professor Samuel Krauss and Dr. Chaim Weizmann, and of Professor Louis Ginzberg of New York to corresponding Membership, on the occasion of his seventieth birthday. Corresponding Membership has also been conferred on the Jewish historian, Dr. Salo Baron of Columbia University, and Dr. E. Neuman, President of Dropsie College, Philadelphia. The interest of Dr. I. Feldman made possible a subsidy, through the agency of the Society, to the Palestine Historical and Ethno</page><page sequence="5">PREFACE xi graphical Society, to assist it in the publication of the first volume of its series of editions of Jewish historical sources, The Travel Diary of David Reubeni. Through the Society, Mrs. Joseph Roth has established a prize in Jewish history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in memory of her late husband. A member of the Council, who desires to remain anonymous, has generously placed at its disposal a sum of ?100 to be awarded to the author of an original work in the English language of about 50,000 words dealing with a subject of Jewish historical interest, but not necessarily relating to the history of the Jews in England. Competitors may be of any age or creed. Mr. Philip Guedalla, President at the time of the outbreak of war, had his energies absorbed by State employments. His work for the Society consequently devolved on his predecessor in office, Dr. Cecil Roth, who was elected to succeed him for the session 1940-1 and was re-elected annually until 1944. The services of Dr. Roth in guiding and safeguarding the interests of the Society during the critical years of the War and the debt due to him in consequence cannot be over-emphasised. Early in 1945 he asked to be relieved of his office. His wish was granted and Mr. Albert M. Hyamson, O.B.E., F.R.Hist.S., who had been a member of the Council for very many years, was elected President in his place. When the Honorary Secretary, the Rev. Arthur Barnett, became a Chaplain to the Forces for the second time, in 1941, the Rev. Walter Levin, his predecessor, consented to resume his former duties, which he performed sacrificingly until his death two years later. Mr. Lewis Edwards then succeeded him as Acting Honorary Secretary and worked energetically and faithfully for the welfare of the Society until the return to civil life of Mr. Barnett in the summer of 1945. The Society's great benefactor, Gustave Tuck, died, after a prolonged illness, on 9th January, 1942. He had rendered outstand? ing service to the Society, as President from 1929 to 1934 and as Treasurer from 1905 to the time of his death. His establishment of the Gustave Tuck Theatre and Museum in University College, the headquarters of the Society, no less than his generosity in printing</page><page sequence="6">xii PREFACE and distributing the Lucien Wolf Lectures and other publications, are evidence of his intense affection for the Society.1 A special meeting to honour his memory was held on 12th March, 1942, with the then Chief Rabbi, Dr. }. H. Hertz, a Vice-President of the Society, in the chair. At this meeting the Rev. Ephraim Levine and the President paid richly deserved tributes and gave expression to the lasting gratitude to him of the Society and of the community. Mr. Owen Mocatta, who had long been a member of the Council, was elected to succeed him as Treasurer. The Society has also lost in the course of the period covered by this review two other of its former Presidents. On 30th September, 1944, the Rev. Michael Adler, D.S.O., President from 1934 to 1936, Honorary Editor of Publications since 1932, and a Vice-President, died at Bournemouth. Adler's work in Anglo-Jewish history went back very many years, almost to the foundation of the Society. As the leading authority on Pre-Expulsion Anglo-Jewry he contributed many valuable essays to its Transactions and to its discussions. In the last years of his life he collected a number of these essays? permanent contributions to the science of the history of the Jews in England?and republished them, after having supplemented and to a large extent rewritten them, in book form (Jews of Medieval England, London, 1939), thereby enriching the volume of Anglo Jewish literature. As Honorary Editor of Publications he piloted several volumes of Transactions through the press and was engaged on the present one when stricken down by the hand of death. He was succeeded as Honorary Editor of Publications by Mr. Albert M. Hyamson. Less than three months after the death of Michael Adler, on 16th December the Society lost another past President, Philip Guedalla, distinguished in the ranks of English men of letters and historians. He served as President from 1938 to 1940 and on his retirement from this office was elected a Vice-President. The deaths of Dr. Charles Duschinsky, F.R.Hist.S., and of Mr. 1 See his Presidential Address in Transactions, Vol. XII, and the photographs of the new Theatre, etc., in Vol. XIII.</page><page sequence="7">preface xiii Herbert M. J. Loewe, M.A., members of the Council, since the appearance of Volume XIV of the Transactions are also mourned. Simultaneously with the last volume of Transactions, there was distributed Part II of The Archives of the British Consulate in Jerusalem, edited by Mr. A. M. Hyamson. Since then there have been distributed to members : Miscellanies, Part IV (being the first part of the volume of Essays pre? pared in honour of the eightieth birthday of Mr. E. N. Adler). Toleration and Democracy, by Dr. A. D. Lindsay, Master of Balliol (Lucien Wolf Lecture for 1941). The Jews in the Post-War Settlement, by Professor S. Brodetsky, with a Foreword by the Rt. Hon. the Earl of Harewood (Lucien Wolf Lecture for 1942). Minorities and the Democratic State, by His Excellency Jan Masaryk, with a Foreword by the Rt. Hon. Lord Nathan of Churt (Lucien Wolf Lecture for 1943). The Jews in the Defence of Britain, by Dr. Cecil Roth (Republished in the present volume). The Hebrew University and its Place in the Modern World, by Prof. Leon Roth (Lucien Wolf Lecture for 1945). Among the publications in prospect is the Etz Hay im, by R. Jacob of London, the greatest monument of Anglo-Jewish literature of the Middle Ages, to be produced in conjunction with the Mefytze Nirdamim Society of Jerusalem, in memory of the late Gustave Tuck, through the generosity of his son-in-law and daughter, Mr. and Mrs. Harry Flatau. The following is a list of the meetings of the Society that have been held since the publication of the last volume of Transactions. (Unless otherwise stated the meetings until and inclusive of that of 25th October, 1942, were held in the Rose Hertz Hall, Woburn House, London, W.C.i, and after that date in the Hall of the Western Synagogue, 115, Wigmore Street, London, W.i). 1940 Mar. 19. Annual General Meeting : Dr. Cecil Roth : " The Establish? ment of the Ashkenazi Community in London: The Great Synagogue, 1690-1940." (Dr. Israel Feldman in the Chair).</page><page sequence="8">xiv PREFACE I94O April 16. Dr. Ludwig Feuchtwanger: " The former historic Synagogues of Germany, destroyed in November, 1938." (The Rev. S. Levy in the Chair.) May 30. Mr. P. Elman: "Jewish Finance in Thirteenth-Century England."1 (The Rev. S. Levy in the Chair.) Aug. 4. Mr. Albert M. Hyamson: "The Damascus Affair, 1840." (Dr. M. Epstein in the Chair.) Oct. 27. Annual General Meeting : Presidential Address by Dr. Cecil Roth : " The Jews in the Defence of Britain?Thirteenth to Nineteenth Centuries." (In the Hall of Magdalen College, Oxford.) (Repeated in the Rose Hertz Hall, on 24th July, I941-) Nov. 18. Rev. Michael Adler, D.S.O. : " Exeter Jewry, Medieval and Modern." (In the Synagogue, Exeter: The Bishop of Exeter in the Chair.) 1941 Feb. 23. Dr. Cecil Roth : " The English Epoch in Jewish History." (At Reading: Prof. F. M. Stenton, President of the Royal His? torical Society, in the Chair.) May 25. Sixth Lucien Wolf Memorial Lecture, by The Master of Balliol. (Dr. A. D. Lindsay, C.B.E.) " Toleration and Democracy."* (In the Debating Hall of the Union Society, Oxford: The Rt. Hon. Viscount Samuel in the Chair.) July 24. (See October 27, 1940, above.) Sept. 28. Annual General Meeting : Presidential Address by Dr. Cecil Roth: " The Jewish Settlement in the English Countryside and the beginning of the Provincial Communities." (At Harrogate, Dr. Ch. Weizmann in the Chair.) Dec. 14. Third Lady Magnus Memorial Lecture: Prof. Norman Bent wich: " Some Jewish Causes Celebres since the Eighteenth Century." (Mr. Elkan N. Adler in the Chair.) 1942 Feb. 15. Dr. J. Teicher: " Maimonides and England." Dr. S. Stein: " Philip Ferdinand: A. Cambridge Hebraist of the Sixteenth Century."2 Dr. Samuel Daiches: " The Earliest Anglo Jewish Translations of the Bible."3 (In the Taylor Institute, Oxford.) 1 Published in Historia Judaica i, 91-104. 2 Published in Essays in Honour of The Very Rev. Dr. J. H. Hertz, Chief Rabbi. 3 Published in Miscellanies IV (Essays in Honour of E. N. Adler). * The Lucien Wolf Memorial Lectures have all been published separately.</page><page sequence="9">preface xv I942 Mar. 12. Meeting in Memory of Gustave Tuck : Rev. Ephraim Levine : " Gustave Tuck and his Work." Dr. Cecil Roth : " Literary Patrons in Anglo-Je wish History." (The Very Rev. Dr. J. H. Hertz, C.H., Chief Rabbi, in the Chair.) May 31. Seventh Lucien Wolf Lecture by Professor S. Brodetsky : " The Jews in the Post-War Settlement." (In the Civic Hall, Leeds, The Rt. Hon. The Earl of Harewood, K.G., in the Chair.) July 15. Dr. Samuel Daiches : " David Levi and the Beginnings of Anglo Jewish Scholarship: A Bicentennial Tribute, 1742-1942."4 Oct. 11. Dr. I. Epstein, Dr. S. Rawidowicz and Professor Edward Robertson: " The Millenary of Saadia Gaon." (In Manchester, in conjunction with the Manchester and Salford Institute for Higher Jewish Education, Rabbi Dr. A. Altmann in the Chair.) Oct. 25. Annual General Meeting : Presidential Address by Dr. Cecil Roth: " The Beginning of the Provincial Communities, Part II." Nov. 1. Mr. Bertram B. Benas: " The First Chapter in the History of the Southport Jewish Community." (At Southport, Rabbi Dr. A. E. Silverstone in the Chair.) I043 Feb. 14. Mr. Albert M. Hyamson: " Forgotten Anglo-Jewish Worthies." (In the Taylor Institute, Oxford.) April 11. Mrs. Beth Zion Abrahams: "Stanislaus Hoga: Apostate and Penitent." (In the Hall of the New West End Synagogue, London.) June 3. Jubilee Celebration. (In the Rooms of the Royal Society, Bur? lington House, London.) July 1. Dr. O. K. Rabinowicz: " Herzl and England." (In the Stern Hall, Seymour Place, London, W.) Sept. 14. Eighth Lucien Wolf Memorial Lecture by His Excellency Jan Masaryk (Foreign Minister of Czechoslovakia) : " Minorities and the Democratic State." (In the Adolph Tuck Hall, Woburn House, London, W.C.i, Colonel Lord Nathan of Churt in the Chair.) Oct. 24. Annual General Meeting : Mr. A. J. Collins : " Northampton Jewry and its Cemetery in the Thirteenth Century." Dec. 12. Presidential Address by Dr. Cecil Roth : " Elijah of London : The Most Illustrious English Jew of the Middle Ages." (The Rev. S. Levy in the Chair.) 4 Published in substance in Essays in Honour of the Very Rev. Dr. J. H. Hertz.</page><page sequence="10">xvi preface I944 Feb. 3. Commemoration Meeting on " Simon Dubnow." Mr. Paul Goodman and Dr. A. Steinberg. Mar. 16. Mr. Saemy Japhet: " Frankfort: The Background of the English Chief Rabbinate." (In the Rose Hertz Hall, Woburn House, London.) April 27. Dr. F. Kobler: " Sir Henry Finch (1558-1625) and the first English Advocates of the Restoration of the Jews to Pales? tine." (In the Stern Hall, Seymour Place, London, W.i.) June 22. Dr. N. Barou: " The Economic Distribution of English Jewry." (In the Stern Hall, Seymour Place, W.i.) Oct. 29. Annual General Meeting. Rabbi Dr. L. Rabinowitz: (a) " Address in Memory of the Rev. Michael Adler, D.S.O." (b) " Bokor Hassan?The Jew who* is buried in St. Paul's." Dec. 3. Mr. E. N. Adler : " The Election of Dr. Nathan Marcus Adler to the Chief Rabbinate in 1844." Presidential Address by Dr. Cecil Roth: " The Intellectual Life of Anglo-Jewry in the Middle 3ges." Jan. 14. Dr. Cecil Roth : Address in memory of Philip Guedalla. Mrs. Beth Zion-Abrahams: " Some unpublished material of James Finn, H.B.M. Consul at Jerusalem 1846-63." (Mr. Owen E. Mocatta in the Chair.) Feb. 11. Mr. Eric Lipson : " The History of the Sheffield Jewish Com? munity." (Mr. Albert M. Hyamson in the Chair.) Mar. 8. Mr. Paul Emden: " The Jews and the Development of the British Financial System in the Eighteenth Century." Mar. 13. Ninth Lucien Wolf Memorial Lecture by Professor Leon Roth (Rector of the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, 1940-43): " The Hebrew University and its Place in the Modern World." (In the Stern Hall, Seymour Place, London, W.i: The Rev. Dr. James W. Parkes in the Chair.) May 3. Dr. Alan Schper: " Hugh Broughton?An English Hebraist of the Sixteenth Century." June 7. Mr. Albert M. Hyamson : " Materials for a Dictionary of Anglo Jewish Biography." July 5. Mr. Lewis Edwards: " The Destruction of Jewish Historical Monuments in England, 1939-45." March 1946.</page></plain_text>