Where were you in 1936?

By East End Walks
April 11, 2011

The year 2011 has an important date worth marking. I'm not talking about the royal wedding. I haven't been invited but just like you, I've been asked to pay for it. No, I'm talking about what happened 75 years ago. Ring any bells?

1936 was a tumultuous year for the one third of London's entire Jewish community that lived within the square mile of Stepney in the East End (almost another third lived in the wider stretch of East London). That was the year that Oswald Mosley's fascist movement dramatically stepped up its East London campaign which had started to gather momentum after his party founded their first East London branch in Bow in late 1934.

1936 was the year that people in the East End, and others supporting them, made it clear that enough was enough, and despite the advice from their own community leaders and others who thought they knew better from a comfortable distance, to stay indoors, ignore the fascists, keep a low profile, the people said no and fought back. The high point of their resistance was on October 4th when Mosley intended to march 3,000 fascists organised in 4 uniformed columns through the heart of the Jewish East End. A local grassroots organisation - the Jewish People's Council Against Fascism and Antisemitism had presented 100,000 signatures of East Enders - Jewish and non-Jewish - to the Home Secretary calling for this invasion to be prevented. His response was to send 7,000 police to try to clear a path for Mosley. but then...

If you want to know what happened next and more information about what happened before, and why, and how, and who did what, come on an "ANTI-FASCIST FOOTPRINTS" guided walk!

This year, East End Walks are laying on extra walks for the general public and for organised groups. The next one is on Sunday April 17th at 11am. You can get more details and book online at www.eastendwalks.com


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