Time to say a fond farewell to London’s Jewish Museum after 28 years in Camden

The late pop star Amy Winehouse’s dad, Mitch, leads tributes to the Camden museum as it closes its doors


Amy Winehouse’s father has paid tribute to the Jewish Museum in Camden, which will close on Sunday, telling the JC that it “was a place for us to show everyone who the real Amy was”.

Mitch Winehouse said he would be “forever grateful” to the museum for holding the exhibition Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait in 2017. “It was a place for us to show everyone who the real Amy was as a daugher, granddaughter, sister and real person, right near where she lived and grew up.”

He added that the exhibition being housed in the Jewish Museum meant it was “connected to her roots”.

Mitch is among many members of the community who feel a strong attachment to the museum, which opened on Albert Street in 1994 and will now seek new premises.

Bob Kirk, 98, a Kindertransport refugee originally from Hanover in Germany, was one of a group of volunteer speakers. "It’s a wonderful and special place. I could spend days in any museum, but particularly this one,” he said.

“For me, the museum’s History of the East End section is especially resonant, being a first generation immigrant.”

He has “so many” positive memories of the Albert Street museum, which he says is “done extremely well and is a very well organised use of space”.

Bob took part as a volunteer guide in the Remembering the Kindertransport: 80 Years on exhibit in 2018.

He has most enjoyed his work educating young people, which he has done extensively since the early 1990s.

“Each time is different, but I am always excited by their excitement at being at a museum on a schoolday.

“The questions you get from them can be quite amazing.”

He said it was “very important” for there to be a museum dedicated to Jewish life and culture in London. “The Jewish community is a very important, integrated, and vibrant part of London life. Its history and background need to be preserved.”

Tony Flacks, 71, a former assistant headteacher, who has been teaching about the Holocaust for over 40 years, before it became part of the national curriculum , has been volunteering at the museum for nearly eight years.

Tony’s favourite part is its history gallery, where he helps with guided tours.

“I also think it’s a great privilege to listen to survivors who come in and share their stories.”

One particularly memorable highlight for Tony was when cricketer Azeem Rafiq visited the Jewish Museum on a trip organised by the JC so he could educate himself about British Jewry after old antisemitic comments he made surfaced in 2021.

“I was fortunate enough to be able to tell him a bit about the Jewish community both in Britain and in India,” Tony said.

Rabbi Geoffrey Shisler, who will be saying blessings at the museum’s closing ceremony on Sunday, started helping in the museum’s archive department about a year ago after wanting to find something useful to do in the community after retirement.

“Naturally, I’m most interested in the Judaism gallery, but the whole museum is so very interesting.

“People don’t realise it, but the Jewish Museum is one of the most important resources we have in educating the public about Jewish people and Judaism.

The number of schools that it manages to reach is amazing.”

Rabbi Shisler said it was “particularly poignant whenyou see a non-Jewish person teaching young people about the Jewish people and the horrors of the Holocaust.”

He said that with the building’s closure, “the museum will have to change its modus operandi.

"But I think that is quite exciting. It is a dedicated space where children and adults learn about Judaism, the Jewish people and more. We don’t want to lose that.”

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive