First Scottish Jewish Heritage Centre a step closer
Garnethill Synagogue, Scotland’s oldest surviving synagogue, is to house Scotland’s first Jewish Heritage Centre, including a Scottish Holocaust-era Study Centre, thanks to Heritage Lottery Funding announced on 8 August.
A partnership project between the Scottish Jewish Archives Centre and Garnethill Synagogue Preservation Trust has received earmarked funding* of £348,900 from HLF including £52,000 for a development phase.
The project aims to:
–Create a Scottish Holocaust-era Study Centre to showcase historic collections and provide public access to an internationally important Holocaust-era archive that documents the experiences of adult and child refugees fleeing from Nazi Europe before the outbreak of the Second World War, and of those who came after as survivors of the concentration camps, showing how they found a safe haven in Scotland.
– Highlight the architectural heritage of the Grade A listed Garnethill Synagogue (opened 1879) and create visitor interpretation about the lives and contributions of early congregants some of whom made pioneering contributions to the development of modern Glasgow.
– Develop three new Heritage Centre volunteer-led services: a schools visit service, a weekday public guiding service and a weekend events and activities programme.
-The project plans include enhanced marketing and developing events and activities.
The project is a joint partnership between the Scottish Jewish Archives Centre and Garnethill Synagogue Preservation Trust, owners of the Synagogue, and puts in place plans for the long-term wellbeing of the grade A listed synagogue building.
The Holocaust era-Study Centre takes forward the findings and recommendations in the Scottish Jewish Archives Centre Report on the Feasibility of a Scottish Holocaust-era Study Centre, undertaken with Scottish Government support and published in October 2014.
The Centre will extend into the surrounding Garnethill district with a walking trail APP, to be developed in partnership with the University of the West of Scotland and Glasgow City Council, which will show that the Garnethill area was a hub for Jewish refugees in the 1930s and 1940s.
Over 30 volunteers will help to develop and deliver the project and provide community and public services once the Centre is opened. Volunteer training and learning will be key elements of the project with activities including research, marketing and fundraising.
Educational and community benefits are central to the project and in addition to schools services the Study Centre will offer new resources for a wide range of people including international researchers and those investigating family and local history.
Dr. Kenneth Collins Chair of the Scottish Jewish Archives Centre said:
“With this Heritage Lottery Fund support, we now look forward in the coming year to raising the £200,000 needed and putting in place all the details for the different aspects of the project. Already, the Association of Jewish Refugees has pledged £100,000 so we are hopeful of achieving our target and delivering the new Centre and services in 2018.
This is a great step forward as there is such wide-ranging interest for this initiative which brings so many educational and research benefits and will help secure the future of this important historic building.”
Chair of the Garnethill Synagogue Preservation Trust Bernard Goodman said:
“The synagogue is home to Glasgow’s oldest Jewish congregation. This HLF-funded project is an important first step in realising a Scottish Jewish Heritage Centre by improving access to the synagogue site, creating new research spaces, developing interpretation and activities on Scottish Jewish heritage and building on the existing partnership between the Trust and Archives.”
Lucy Casot, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said:
“The opportunities for learning from this nationally important archive are immense. We are delighted that thanks to National Lottery players, we can support the development of a project which will share the untold stories of Scotland’s Jewish history while preserving it for future generations.”
AJR Chairman, Andrew Kaufman, said:
“We are enormously proud to support the Holocaust-era Study Centre as part of Scotland’s first Jewish Heritage Centre at the Garnethill Synagogue in Glasgow. This transformative project will advance the academic study of the contribution to Scotland of the Jewish refugees who fled Nazi oppression, and complements other ground-breaking Holocaust educational resources it is our great pleasure to sponsor.”
Director of SJAC Harvey Kaplan added:
“This is the right time for the Scottish Jewish Archives Centre and Garnethill Synagogue Preservation Trust to be equipped to support each other and contribute to wider community benefits.
We have seen a significant increase in demand for access to the Holocaust-era collections, especially from primary and secondary schools, undergraduate students and postgraduate university researchers. At the same time, an increasing number of former refugees and their families have donated their memorabilia and documents to the Archives Centre.
It is wonderful that we can take this project forward now while survivors are still alive and they can see their history being preserved and being used and they and their families can be actively part of it all.
We have access to great support from teachers and specialists in Holocaust education here in Scotland, including Dr Paula Cowan, which will help us enormously.
Scotland’s record in welcoming Jewish refugees fleeing from Nazi Europe has much to teach us which is relevant to migration and anti-racism issues today.“