Jews in England: From William the Conqueror to Oliver Cromwell and Beyond

Christoph Houswitschka

Jews in England: From William the Conqueror to Oliver Cromwell and Beyond
Sommersemester 2021

This lecture will offer you a survey of many centuries of Jewish life in Great Britain. Jews arrived with the Norman conquerors in the 11th century. The emphasis is on Jewish life in the Middle Ages (York Pogrom and blood libel) and Jews in English literature (Chaucer and Shakespeare). Jews were driven out of England under Edward I in the 13th century to return under Puritan rule in the 17th century. Oliver Cromwell championed readmission of Jews from the Continent using a variety of arguments that present England as a rapidly changing, progressive society. Eighteenth-century enlightenment and Victorian middle-class culture brought about the assimilation of many Jews. When hundreds of thousands of Ashkenazi arrived from Eastern Europe around the turn of the 19th century, the London East End and other cities in England became centres of Jewish culture.
The lecture will not only address Jewish immigration and the thriving Jewish communities, its literature and its cultural and scientific achievements, but also antisemitism and ‘the trials of diaspora’. Finally, the lecture informs you about Jewish synagogues, the London Jewish Museum, and forms of Holocaust Memory in the UK.

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