We hold over 31,000 items in our collection, documenting the story of Jewish migration and settlement in Manchester.
From 18th century pedlars to Holocaust Survivors and 20th century refugees, the collection reflects each wave of Jewish migration into Manchester.
Our collections contain:
- Over 530 oral history testimonies
- Over 20,000 photographs
- 138 recorded interviews with Holocaust Survivors and refugees
- A wide-ranging collection of objects, documents and ephemera
Collection highlights include a diary written by Kindertransport refugee girls, a Russian washboard used as a cricket bat, an English/Hebrew teapot, film footage of Oswald Mosley marching through Manchester, items produced by Jewish internees on the Isle of Man and a collection of belongings from a Holocaust Survivor who spent the war hiding in Polish graveyards, churches and a coal cellar.
Described as an “outstanding collection” with “certain exceptional resources richer and more extensive than those of the Jewish Museum London and rare, if not unique, among European Jewish museums” (Rickie Burman, former Director, Jewish Museum London and past President, Association of European Jewish Museums), the “exceptional” elements are:
- Over 530 oral history testimonies, providing in depth accounts of the experience of both first and second generation Jewish migrants to Manchester. As sources of evidence, these narratives give detailed, nuanced first-hand accounts of the experience of migration and settlement, and the process of acculturation and integration into British society. The testimonies are important sources of knowledge, capturing individuals’ memories, perceptions and reasoning of events.
- An extensive photographic collection, numbering nearly 21,000 items, portraying the life of one of the UK’s earliest migrant communities. The photographs are sources of evidence, and have historic and architectural interest, recording both community life and communal buildings that no longer exist.
- A wide-ranging collection of objects, documents and ephemera of historic interest including: work tools, Sabbath candlesticks brought over from countries of origin, circumcision gowns, raincoats made by Jewish manufacturers, ceremonial silverware, posters, programmes, letters, pamphlets, prints and paintings.
- A unique Holocaust collection comprising 138 in-depth recorded interviews with Holocaust Survivors and refugees – amounting to over 700 hours of testimonies. Over 1,500 photographs, objects and archives are also held relating to these Survivors. As sources of evidence, the material in our Holocaust collection has both national and international significance. The collection reminds us all about the atrocities of genocide and, as such, has additional social value, helping promote tolerance and understanding of all faiths and backgrounds.