© Marcus Roberts


Bookmark this page |  E-mail this page to a friend

Pages < 1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   > 

The Jewish Year Book records 13 congregational seat holders in 1903 and states that 12 children were attending religion school. The Jewish Year Book gives the Jewish population as 116 from 1910 until the First World War. However, a decisive decline was precipitated by the War and its immediate aftermath. In 1920 the Jewish population is suddenly revised as having dropped to a mere 40 individuals and 11 seat holders. The cause was almost certainly both economic and psychological. In the First World War, Dover came under both missile attack from the coast of France and limited aerial bombardment. The shock to the citizens of the town was considerable, especially from the air raids, even though the material damage was not extensive. It meant that the residents of Snargate were no longer safe in any European conflict. Crucially, it also meant that in any future conflicts Dover could not be used as the headquarters of the British Fleet, which would remove a major source of business for the Jewish community. These factors meant that the longer term future and prosperity of the Jewish community in Dover would be uncertain.

However, the immediate cause of the decline in Jewish population was a sharp depression in business in Dover. There was scarcely any commercial traffic through the port and the full re-establishment of the civilian ferry services to France was a long time coming. Also the Fleet itself was rapidly ran down after the war and while there were numerous troop transports going through Dover this was not a traffic which brought income to the local businesses. With this background it is easy to understand the general cause of the catastrophic decline in the Jewish community.

It may be added that the decline and deaths of two most long standing and respected of the community leaders after the war may well have had its effect too. Alderman Henry Hart died in 1921 and was evidently much missed. Likewise Rabbi Barnstein died in December 1925, having given 50 years of dedicated service to the Jewish community. He does not seem to have been replaced with a full time minister. Henry Hart's Brother, Peter, seems to have assumed the leadership of the community and was honoured by an OBE given by 1925. in 1925?

However the community did survive the First World War. The final demise of the community was only effected by the dramatic interruption of the Second World War. During the War Dover suffered heavy bombing as part of 'Hell's Corner' due to its military and strategic importance. The Jewish population was largely evacuated during the hostilities. The bombing destroyed many Jewish homes, businesses, as well as the synagogue. Any visitor to Dover today will be aware of the great alterations that the War and post-War development brought to the town-scape. The consequence was that the Jewish community in many cases had little or nothing to return to and remained elsewhere.

Post a Comment
Submit to this trail