The Museum’s collection is made up of objects, documents, photographs and oral histories charting the many stories and experiences of Manchester Jewish life. By doing so we hope to promote understanding in the wider community and preserve the heritage of the Jewish community here. We are also dedicated to preserving the memory of the Holocaust through our exhibitions and collecting policy.
Towards the end of the 18th century Jewish traders started to sell portable goods in Manchester and travellers came offering their services as pawnbrokers, opticians and dentists. In around 1788 a group of about 15 of these traders and their families settled here and we see the start of Manchester’s Jewish community. The population quickly grew with traders from Germany and Holland and Sephardi merchants from the coastlands of the Mediterranean arriving to seek a share in Manchester’s profitable cotton trade.
From the mid-1840s they were followed by immigrants from the Russian and Austro-Hungarian Empires seeking an escape from enforced poverty, discrimination and violence. The Jewish population was further increased by the arrival of 6,000 refugees from Nazism in the 1930s, Holocaust survivors after 1945 and Egyptians, Hungarians and Iranians in the 1940s and 50s.
The community here is still thriving in several parts of Greater Manchester and the diverse community continues to play a significant role in Manchester life.
We are kindly supported by Safestore who have generously provided us with free storage over the past 16 years. Like so many of our supporters, Safestore’s contribution really does make a difference helping us continue our valuable work preserving and promoting Manchester’s Jewish heritage. Thank you to our friends at Safestore.