Welsh exhibit sheds light on Jewish past

By Jennifer Lipman, September 15, 2010

An exhibition shining light on the history of the Jewish community in Wales has opened in the principality.

Bangor University academics Dr Nathan Abrams and Dr Sally Baker have discovered evidence of Jewish life in the country going back to the 13th century .

Part of an exhibition based on their work shows the role of Jews in building castles in towns such as Caernarfon before the community was expelled in the late 13th century.

Dr Abrams said Jews were forced out of Wales “at the height of the building work.

“Once [the Welsh] had fleeced them, they expelled the Jews and their properties were appropriated.”

The exhibition also looks at how the Jewish population grew as a result of immigration from Eastern Europe in the 1880s and explores the life of Isidore Wartski, thought to have been Wales’ first Jewish mayor and the founder of a chain of jewellery shops.

The exhibition is at the Maenofferen Centre, Blaenau Ffestiniog until September 18 and at Bangor University October 16-30

Last updated: 11:06am, October 14 2010