Hull's Jewish Community
Hull's Jewish community dates back to at least 1766 and is one of the three oldest in England.
The Hull ports made travel easier for traders, allowing Jewish businesses to flourish and encouraging them to put down roots. Hull's first recorded Jewish inhabitant, was Michael Levy, in 1766, a watchmaker. In 1788 a local jeweler, Aaron Jacobs, created an 'elegant crown' for the King William (King Billy) equestrian statue, on the centenary celebration of his victory over King James the Second.
The port of Hull was a prominent destination for migrants heading from Eastern Europe to a new life in the US. Historians estimate that more than 500,000 Jews passed through Hull in the 19th Century. As Hull already had a thriving Jewish Community many stayed.
Over the 300 years since Hull's Jewish community, first put down roots at a former Catholic chapel in Posterngate, its presence in Hull has brought vitality to the city. Sports clubs, drama societies, and welfare organisations established by Jewish residents, have contributed much to the cultural life of the city. They included the:-
Hull Hebrew Board of Guardians (founded 1880) for the relief of resident and casual poor.
The Hull Hebrew Young Men's Literary and Debating Society (founded 1895) for promoting the intellectual and social welfare of the Jewish community of Hull.
Hull Hebrew Self-help Friendly Society (founded 1889)
Jewish Girls Club (founded by 1900)
The City Club, Wright Street (founded 1901)
Hull Hebrew Recreation Club (founded 1900)
Hull was once home to 14 synagogues. Some of these were located at Cogan Street, Adelaide Street, Great Passage Street, Pryme Street, Park Street, Dagger Lane, Great Thornton Street, Prince Street and Nile Street. There were at least 6 Jewish Cemeteries in Hull. There were also active social and sporting clubs, such as the Hull Judeans cricket team, the Hull School of Art (founded 1861), the major cultural center, the Royal Institution, in Albion Street (1853), the Ice House Road, Citadel (1902), the Emigrants Waiting Room (1871), which is now the 'Tiger's Lair' on Anlaby Road, the Duveens' Art collections in the Guildhall and in Ferens Art Gallery, and the Hull Market Place, where up to the 1960's, a large proportion of traders were Jewish. The founders of Marks and Spencer's arrived in Hull, and opened one of their first shops, in Whitefriargate, and the family responsible for the Max Factor cosmetics giant, sprang from humble beginnings in Hull's Osborne Street, before emigrating to the USA. The economic vitality of the city continues to be supported by numerous Jewish businesses, such as the architects firm, started by B.S. Jacobs, the Jewelers, Segal’s, the solicitors, Graham and Rosen, and the accountants, Sadofsky’s. Individual members of the Jewish community, such as Leo Schultz, Victor Dumoulin, Edward Gosschalk, Benno Pearlman, and various members of the Rosen family have contributed much to the civic life of the city, through their work as mayors, sheriffs, and societal leaders.
During World War 1, about 50,000 Jews served in the British Armed Services and some 10,000 died on the battlefield. This was a very high proportion of those that enlisted. Britain's first all-Jewish regiment, the ‘Jewish Legion’, comprising of 5 Battalions of the Royal Fusiliers, fought in Palestine. Five British Jewish soldiers were awarded the Victoria Cross, during the Great War (1914-18). An important consequence of the First World War, was the British conquest of Palestine, and the Balfour Declaration, promising a homeland for the Jewish people in Palestine.
Many from the Hull Jewish community, volunteered for active service at the start of the 'Great War'. A group photograph in the 'Hull Times', on 26th September 1914, shows 17 Jewish recruits. (photo to follow). Some of Hull's Jewish casualties include, Louis Cuckle (photo above) and the following list:
Private, MAURICE WILLIAM MORACK, 10/225. Born in Leeds in 1894, Maurice was the eldest of three children to Matilda Morack of 32 Pryme Street, Hull. A Tailor's Machinist before the war, Maurice signed up for the fledgling 10th Battalion having queued in those long uneven lines of the first week of September 1914. He served in Egypt from December 1915 to February 1916 before shipping to France. One of the Original Pals, Maurice was a veteran of the Somme, Oppy Wood, the German Spring Offensive, the disastrous attack on Ploegsteert Wood and came within a fortnight of making it out the other side. Alas, he was seriously injured in October 1918 and failed to recover, dying of wounds on the 29th. He is buried at Kezelberg Military Cemetery; Maurice was 24 years old.
Pte, Joseph Annowitch, ex Durham Light Infantry, who died on the 3rd December 1918, is buried at Hull’s Hebrew Cemetery. He was the son of Jacob and Mary Annowitch, at 61 Barnsley Street and his Grandparents, Isaac & Jane lived nearby at 41 Courtney Street, East Hull.
Pte. James Aaron, 8th Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, killed on the 1st July 1916. He was the son of Faith and James Aaron, who lived at 46 Egton Street. (A photo of him appears in the HULL TIMES 26/9/14). Jim Aaron was awarded the Military Medal and died on the First day of the Battle of the Somme, aged 23.
Private, Myer Black, 11th EYR, killed on 13th November 1916, age 23, lived at 47 Dock Street. He was one of the first to enlist in the Hull Pals Battalion, and his family ran a local shoe repair business. His name is commemorated on the family grave in the Hebrew cemetery, Marfleet, Hull.
Pioneer, Maurice Feldman, Royal Engineers, died in Italy, of sickness on the 30th July 1919. aged 21 years old. He was the son of Samuel and Ann Feldman of 76 Lister Street, Hull.
Simon Levine & Harry Furman
Pte Simon Levine 5288 and Pte Harry Furman 6868 of the 1st/4th East Yorkshire Battalion were both recipients of the British War Medal and Victory Medal. These two young men died on the Somme for their country in January 1917. They were sons of recent East-European Jewish immigrants to Hull.
My grandfather's eldest brother Harry, born in 1896, helped as a boy in the Furman shoe business on Mytongate. The family recall an adventurous type who crossed the Atlantic with his brother Aby, to work as a waiter, apparently at one time valet for the Governor General of Canada – one Prince Arthur, 3rd son of Queen Victoria. On 10th September 1912, Harry Furman, son of Barnett (and Leah) of Hull, England, crossed at Niagara Falls from Canada into the USA. He is 5ft 21/2in, brown eyes and hair, medium complexion, carrying $25, a 16-year-old bell boy headed for the upmarket Tennessee Valley Club, Rochester New York.
Simon, born in 1895, was the eldest son of fish merchant Solomon Levine and his wife Annie. He was named after his paternal grandfather back in the Minsk region (at Slotsk, whence several Levine and Levin families hail). They lived at 39 Myton St in 1901, and by 1907 84 Osborne St, where Simon assisted his father in the business, and the Levines later ran one of the famed fish fryers of Osborne St (another being my great-grandmother Barnett's). Simon's brother Jacob was grandfather of my school-mates Jonathan, Edward (A”H) and Simon R. Levine.
Harry and Simon are likely to have been pupils together at Osborne St School. Harry returned to Hull in 1916 to the growing family of younger siblings at 45 William St, and volunteered with the 4th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment, possibly at the same time as Simon. Barnett Furman came to see off the soldiers at Paragon Station, and threw the day's shoe-stall takings through the window into the carriage, as the steam train pulled away. Corporal Furman, as he is noted in one list, was a military bicyclist, a role for which competition was particularly keen. In his first week in Flanders, the 1st/4th Battalion under Lt Col W.T. Wilkinson was working in trench support, 20km south of Arras in the North of the Somme, as the allies planned to advance toward the defensive Hindenburg Line. It was “a quiet month” in which trench foot was the biggest danger, with shelling occasional.
According to the declassified War Diary, on Monday 15th January 1917 the Battalion returned from draining Yarra Bank to Bazentin no.4 site; the only action noted down that day by Major H.B. Jackson is “casualties two other ranks killed”. The Furmans heard that Harry lost a leg trying to rescue his pal Simon Levine, who died of his wounds that day age 21. Harry's death from wounds is recorded the next day January 16th, he was 20. Both are buried at Bazentin-le-Petit Cemetery. Simon's grave location reference is F1 and Harry's F2. The boys' mothers received a half-crown War Pension.
In 1927 A.K Jacobs, then a well-known Hull tailor, later Lord Mayor, toured the cemeteries of Flanders, bringing back blooms plucked from the graves of the two soldiers, and presenting them to their mothers. Following the family's requests over many years, Simon's grave-stone was finally changed to a Star of David, after the intervention of his name-sake great-nephew, who heads a top global law firm.
Thank you to Prof. Philip Sugarman MBChB MSc MBA PhD MD FRCPsych, for the above article, published in the "Watchman" and sent on 23/06/2018.
Lieutenant, Edward Myer Gosschalk, 6th Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, was born in Hull in 1884. He was killed at Deville Wood on the 28th August 1916, aged 32. He was the son of Edward and Esther Gosschalk, 11 Crown Terrace, Anlaby Road. His brothers also served. He is commemorated on the Hymer's College Memorial in Hull.
Rifleman, Louis Gosschalk, 2/5th Post Office Rifles, born in Hull,1890, was killed at Ypres, on the 20th September 1917. He was the son of Lionel and Annie Gosschalk and brother to Leah and Esther Gosschalk who lived at 69 Park Street, Hull.
Private, Solomon Sole, 13th EYR, died in Hamburg, as a prisoner or war on the 5th May 1917, aged 31. He was the son of Solomon and Alice Sole, at 116 Campbell Street, Hull. His brothers Ernest, Alfred and Sydney Sole all served in the war.
Hull Western Synagogue
The Hull Western Synagogue, contains a beautiful war memorial, commemorating those from Hull's Jewish community, lost in the war. They include:-
Corporal, Harry Silverstone, 9th Essex Regiment, died 3rd July 1916, aged 39. He is commemorated on the Somme memorial to the missing at Thiepval.
His brother, Private, Marcus Silverstone, 1st Royal Fusiliers, died on the 7th October 1916, aged 40, and is commemorated on the same memorial. They were the sons of Caroline and the late Barnett Silverstone, of 121 Walker Street, Hull. They were killed at the Somme, and are commemorated on the Jewish War memorial at Hull’s Western Synagogue on Linnaeus Street, Hull.
Private, Abey (Abraham) Jacobs, 203474, 1/4th East Yorkshire Regiment, killed in action on 19/07/1917, aged 20. Son of Moses and Ann Jacobes of 7 Uppper Union Street, Hull.
Hull Western Synagogue, Linnaeus street (now closed)
Listed on the same memorial, are two Jewish Officers, 2nd Lieutenant, Harold Issac Opet, London Regiment, 7th Bn, (the Post Office Rifles), killed on the 23rd March 1918, during the German Spring Offensive. He was aged 30 and the son of Siegfried and Rachel Opet who ran a Draper business.
Also, 2nd Lieutenant, Lionel Franks, 8th Bn, East Yorkshire Regiment, 'C' Company, killed on the 5th May 1917, aged 19. He was the only son of Benn and Nellie Franks who lived at 18 Park Avenue, Hull. Lionel Franks is buried at the St Sever cemetery in France.
Pte, Samuel Solomon Sugarman, 10/1331, 12th East Yorkshire Regiment, died on the 15th August 1916, aged 21. He is buried at the Caberet Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez near Arras. He was the son of Mark Sugarman, of 4 Park Street, Hull and Bocksburg, South Africa. Sam Sugarman had been a clerk before the war, and had originally enlisted with the 10th ‘Hull Commercials’ Pal Battalion.
Max Chayet (Kaye)
Max Chayet (1891-1916). The Roll of Honour in Pryme Street Shul includes the name Private M Kaye of the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC). The story of this young soldier, where he was born, where he died and his real name was the subject of my talk entitled “Finding Private Kay” at Hull Day Limmud in May 2017. The answers to these questions rest on preliminary research by Jack Lennard based on documents retained by the Finestein family, research at the Public Records Office by Nicolette Berkley and a visit to Minsk, Belarus. My interest in this story stems from a recollection of my mother, who told me that a ‘Russian’ cousin had been studying medicine in England when the First World War broke out. He joined the British Army and was killed in action. This turns out to be Max Kay, recruited into the RAMC in Hull on 2 July 1915. His “Short Service” certificate completed that day shows that he was age 23, worked as a dispenser and was resident at 338 Hessle Road. His “Soldier’s Small Book” gave his religion as Jewish, his next-of-kin as an uncle, Solomon Finestein, and his place of birth as Leeds (sic). What happened in the following months is poignantly recorded in his diary, in a number of sparse penciled entries. Three days after recruitment Max left Paragon Station for Aldershot and from there to Tweseldown Camp, Farnham Surrey, home of the RAMC. Incidentally, I was surprised to find that his name is not on the new war memorial in Paragon Station, but on further enquiry understand that this is only for fallen soldiers who left from the station directly to the front. After three months training, his group, the 39th Field Ambulance, were marched to Southampton and embarked for Malta where they had a first taste of action. For example, his diary entries on 29 August are simply “Fatigue” and “Unloading wounded”. A few days later they embarked for Alexandria, Lemnos and Gallipoli, a chilling destination. Meanwhile, a touching entry in his diary on 8 September in Alexandria reads “Went to synagogue” – an online calendar tells us that this was Erev Rosh Hashana. Between landing at Cape Hellas, Gallipoli, on 16 September and embarking from Suvla Bay on 11 December, the 39th Field Ambulance would have encountered horrific action. Yet his diary entries for that period include only laconic comments such “Ill”, “diarrhea”, “Snow blizzard” and “Stretcher squads to Chocolate Hill by night”. After Gallipoli there was some respite in Egypt before a final destination, presaged by the diary entries on 10 March 1916 “Matina camp”, “Embarked small boat” and “Going up the river”, which are followed on 13 March by one single last word “Mesopotamia”. It was in that far off place, now part of Iraq, on 9 April that Max died of his wounds. His name is listed on the massive Basra Memorial formerly located at Maqil Naval Dockyard but moved in 1997, because of the sensitivity of the site, about 30 km from Basra. But that is not the end of the story. I was puzzled by the inconsistency of Max’s place of birth being given as Leeds, whilst my mother said that he was Russian. So I checked online sources such as the England and Wales birth records and the Leeds Jewish Database, and did not find a Max/Mark/Kay/Kaye birth circa 1891, in Leeds or elsewhere. In fact, documents held by Jack Lennard and the Ministry of Pensions show that he was born in Minsk. One of these is a letter dated March 1925 from the Hull solicitor John Lewenstein to the Ministry of Pensions requesting an allowance for Max’s widowed mother, Sarah Chayet of 6 Sergeyevskia Street, Minsk. A pension was indeed granted and the Ministry of Pensions records even show correspondence about a possible increase as late as 1938. Sarah was a sister of Solomon and Jeremiah Finestein, and my grandmother Matla Lifchitz. Moreover, Max’s father, Berko Chayet, was a brother of Rachel Reuben, grandmother of Barrie and Stuart. Russian records show that 6 Sergeyevskia Street had been owned by the Rubenchik family at least since the 1890s. They also show that Berko was originally from a shtetl not far from Minsk, Igumen, where the FinesteinLifchitz family originated. During the Second World War, Minsk was largely destroyed but Sergeyevskia Street did survive and during a recent working visit there I sought out Max’s home. Unfortunately, the area was being redeveloped and whilst numbers 3 and 5 were still standing, number 6 had been reduced to a pile of rubble. Nevertheless, I extracted a piece of wood which is now a memento mori, here in Israel. But the lasting memorial to Max is maintained in perpetuity by the Commonwealth War Grave Commission. And thanks to the efforts of Martin Sugarman and his team at AJEX the Basra Memorial record has now been updated to read “In Memory of Private Max Chayet, Mentioned in Dispatches….(Served as Max Kay). Son of Mrs Sarah Chayet, of Minsk, Russia”. This brief account of military service includes nothing about the man himself. Whilst I can’t say for certain what he was like, close reading of the diary, the address section and scribbled end notes, and a group photo from Tweseldown Camp suggest some things. I venture that he was reticent, self effacing, studious and dutiful. Moreover, there may have been a romantic interest in his life because on 11 October the diary notes “Received a letter from Rose” and among the addresses was a Rosa Sharah of Osbourne Street. So next November at the AJEX shul service when the names of the Hull fallen are called out, please remember Max Chayet, his service, his sacrifice and his life.
Many thanks to Howard Cuckle, for his account above, sent on 05/05/2018.