Feasibility Study

In October 2014, The Archives Centre completed its detailed study into the feasibility of creating a Scottish Holocaust Era Study Centre, as an adjunct of the Archives Centre in Garnethill Synagogue.  This undertaking was greatly aided by a grant from the Scottish Government for which we are most grateful

The principle aim of the Study Centre would be to offer public access for the first time to Holocaust Era historical collections (which are of national importance) now held in the Scottish Jewish Archives Centre (SJAC).

Access to these collections will bring this largely unknown period of history alive with individual personal stories of survival, courage and inspiration that can help people better understand the grim consequences of the Holocaust and how people from all backgrounds here, in Scotland, responded to the Nazi threat and worked to help the refugees before during and after the 2nd World War.

In a series of wide ranging consultations former refugees and their families, schoolteachers, community groups, university students and academics and others confirmed their welcome for the proposed Study Centre.

Study Centre key users would include primary and secondary school pupils, university undergraduate and post graduate students, academics, community groups, visitors to Scotland and others wanting to explore a range of topics from aspects of Holocaust history to contemporary issues of immigration, racism and citizenship.

The Study Centre’s research and learning resources would include a study room, interpretative displays, digital access to 1500 items in the collections and facilitated access to reference materials and to 6 hands-on learning resource kits. All this will appreciably extend SJAC’s current facilities.

In addition working with Garnethill Synagogue Preservation Trust will bring about more integrated access to and interpretation of the Synagogue and its facilities. Garnethill Synagogue, a Grade I listed building, is a most attractive Victorian building and Scotland’s oldest purpose built Synagogue.

The Synagogue’s congregation played a key role in helping the refugees during the Holocaust Era and it is proposed this and other aspects of the history will be highlighted through a Garnethill trail App.

The Study Centre will create new volunteer opportunities and encourage new audiences to engage with this largely unknown period of Scottish history. The Archives Centre would take its place alongside museums, archives and centres in England and internationally, dedicated to promoting understanding of the Holocaust and its continuing impact.

Over the coming months the Archives Centre will be looking at ways of raising funds to create the Centre. If you would like a copy of the Report or further information on funding needs or volunteering do please email us to info@sjac.org.uk

UPDATE NOVEMBER 2017

In spring 2016 the Archives Centre was awarded a Development Grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a partnership project with Garnethill Synagogue Preservation Trust.

The project is to create a Scottish Jewish Heritage Centre that includes creating a Scottish Holocaust-era Study Centre as an expansion of the Archives Centre. The project also includes creating interpretation about the architecture of Garnethill Synagogue and about some of the early congregants who contributed to the development of 19th Century Glasgow.

Since August 2016 a Working Group has been developing the project so that now we have an Interpretation Plan, Activity Plan, Maintenance Plan and Business Plan and have been able to bring in architects, designers and business planning consultants to help us. We have developed details for a Weekday Guiding Service, a School Visit Service, a Weekend Events and Activities Programme and marketing. The project will also upgrade and improve underused spaces on the lower floor of the Synagogue for public display and activity.

In November 2017 we aim to submit a Stage 2 application to the Heritage Lottery fund for a Delivery Phase grant. The project will cost around £500,000 to set up. We have been raising funds for the capital costs and are grateful to the Association of Jewish Refugees who have pledged £100,000 towards the capital costs.

A Fundraising Team is also now working to raise the £55,000 we will need annually to fund and promote the activities, services, coordinating maintenance of the historic Garnethill Synagogue and employing a Scottish Jewish Heritage Centre Manager.  If you would like to contribute please email us at info@sjac.org.uk or call us on 0141 332 4911.

Throughout the project we have been contacted by people who have donated their wartime memories and documents to the archive collections and we have been developing the information we hold about those who came to Scotland as refugees before and after the Second World War and those who helped them.

A number of people have been helping in a voluntary capacity and we will be recruiting volunteers to help with the new public services and marketing.

Please get in touch with us if you would like to donate, find out how you can get involved and if you have documents or testimony from this period or if you wish to be kept informed as this project unfolds. Contact Deborah Haase at info@sjac.org.uk

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