Topics: Main Topic: Holocaust and Memorial, Holocaust Survivors, Oral History and Biography, Refugees, Synagogues
Abstract: This essay highlights the importance of Belsize Square Synagogue founded by German-Jewish refugees in 1939, known from 1940 as the New Liberal Jewish Congregation. Through the oral histories I have collected during my fieldwork, I will outline the history of the congregation focussing on certain themes which have emerged from the interviews, such as ‘belonging’, ‘connections’ and ‘family’. I suggest that belonging to Belsize Square Synagogue constitutes one of the most important forms of collective belonging in the UK for most of the interviewees. The institution of the synagogue helped its members integrate into the new society and also provided a framework in which memories of their continental past and the refugee experiences could be shared and remembered.