New walk will delve into Jewish past of city

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York University is launching a trail that will chart the city’s vast Jewish history as Holocaust Memorial Day is marked across the country today.

The York Jewish History Trail has been designed to tell the story of the Jewish settlement from the 12th century to the 21st century.

The trail, which has been backed by Visit York, is detailed on an illustrated map, which is accompanied by seven downloadable podcasts, and is the result of a major 12-month project.

The project has been spearheaded by the university’s Institute for the Public Understanding of the Past (IPUP), which has worked closely with IPUP interns, media company Historyworks, and the York Museum Trust.

The inaugural walk, which starts at the Yorkshire Museum, will take place today and will be led by Professor Helen Weinstein, from IPUP, and city archaeologist, John Oxley.

Prof Weinstein said: “I am extremely proud to see this project come to fruition because our IPUP interns have used their research skills to produce a useful product for the public. Most people in York know about March 16, 1190, when Jewish families died in the massacre at Clifford’s Tower, but they do not know where Jews lived and worshipped and were buried.”

Mr Oxley, who has narrated the podcasts, said the trail would allow people to discover more about York’s medieval Jewish community, which is considered as one of the most important in England between 1170 and 1290.

The launch is part of a programme of events being hosted by the university to mark Holocaust Memorial Day, which will culminate with a multimedia presentation on Monday, supported by York Council.

It will include an illustrated talk by York University pro-vice-chancellor, Dr Jane Grenville, whose father escaped from Nazi Germany on the Kindertransport. A free photographic exhibition featuring portraits of Holocaust survivors living in Britain is on show at the university until February 5.