Family & Education

Welsh school draws a lesson in tolerance from learning about Jewish families

Children in Anglesey create artwork inspired by Jewish families who settled on the island


Children at a primary school in Anglesey have been learning to celebrate diversity in an art project inspired by two Jewish families who used to live on the North Welsh island.

Pupils from Ysgol Gynradd Amlwch followed the story of the Pollecoffs and Steins, who came from Russia in the late 19th century and flourished after opening drapery stores in Holyhead and Amlwch.

Using archive documents and museum artefacts, pupils were helped on their journey into the past by Anglesey Archives, the Oriel Môn arts centre and prominent North Wales artist Jwls Williams.

Anglesey’s senior archivist, Hayden Burns, said, “They also created original bilingual artwork based on their own experiences and inspired by the archives.”

At the opening of an exhibition of their work at the archives building in Llangefni, Councillor Margaret Roberts, chair of Anglesey Council, said the project “not only celebrates our local history, but also teaches the importance of tolerance, diversity and embracing people from all backgrounds”.

Both families, she said, became “an important part of their respective communities, they learnt Welsh, and were weclomed by their new neighbours.”

The project was supported by a grant from the Welsh government’s Archive and Records Council Wales.

According to the local archives, there was no synagogue on the island but a rabbi from Bangor, 20 miles away, visited weekly to give children lessons.

While there is no organised Jewish community in Anglesey, the 2011 Census recorded 40 Jews living there.

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