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Remembrance Day

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Remembrance Day

In inauspicious times these members of Leeds Jewish community set off for London in a joyful atmosphere, only for the mood to become more sombre as they file past the Cenotaph.

Non-Fiction 1935 7 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive

Overview

Members of the 25,000-strong Jewish community in Leeds cheerfully head off by train to Whitehall to attend the Jewish Ex-Servicemen Remembrance Day in 1935, the Sunday after Armistice Day. Among them Major Clive Behrens and Montague Burton. They march past the Cenotaph and listen to leading rabbi speakers, just a month after the Battle of Cable Street, defending the Jewish community against the Mosleyite Blackshirts, and two months after the Nuremberg Laws in Germany.

This is one of a collection of films made by Alec Baron, born in Leeds in 1913 from a family of Russian refugees from the C19 pogroms. In April of that year, prior to the Balfour Declaration, mobs attacked Jews for supposedly not supporting the war, as Britain was allied to Russia, from where many had fled from murderous pogroms, when in fact 41,000 British Jews served in the war out of only 280,000; the highest proportion to volunteer of any section of the population. Major Clive Behrens had a branch of the Royal British Legion in Leeds in his name, married into the Rothschild dynasty and the first Jewish man to be admitted to the House of Lords. Montague Burton’s factory in Leeds employed 1,000 men and 9,000 women.