The London Jewish Culture Centre launches We Were There Too

Blondel Cluff, Chair of HLF's London Committee, speaks at the launch of We where there too
A project recording the experiences and contribution of London’s Jewish communities during the First World War launched last week

The London Jewish Culture Centre launched its HLF-supported project We Were There Too at an event which also marked the eve of the Centenary of the Battle of the Somme.

The centre secured an HLF grant to commemorate the Jewish community's involvement in the First World War. We Were There Too is a unique project to create a digital archive and interactive web site recording the impact, experiences and contribution of London’s Jewish communities during the First World War.

The aim is to create a permanent record of the lives of London’s Jewish men and women and their families, both in the military and on the Home Front, during 1914-1919, ensuring that their stories are not lost for future generations. People have uploaded photographs and documents and, using 3D scanning, artefacts such as buckles and medals, to the We Were There Too website.

The project worked across the whole of London with a number of community engagement events and large numbers of volunteers researching and writing about Jewish London life and Jewish life in the Armed Forces.

Michael Marx, Chairman of LJCC’s Trustees, commented: “The community is immensely grateful to HLF as the major funder for this project. Our community played a very significant part in the First World War and it is often overshadowed by the Second World War and its terrible events. It is now a race against time to collect stories of this period and the project could not be timelier.”

Stuart Hobley, Head of HLF London, said: “We are delighted that, thanks to National Lottery players, we’re able to support this project looking at a significant yet often underexplored aspect of Jewish London life. It is a great opportunity for people to learn about the important contributions made by the Jewish community to the war effort.”

The launch was followed by a vigil to commemorate the start of the Battle of the Somme and remember the British Jews who lost their lives serving in the British Forces.

We Were There Too - The London Jewish Experience during the First World War was funded with a £408,000 grant from HLF’s Heritage Grants programme.

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