Jewish POWs

Handforth Concentration Prison imprisoned Germans living in Britain, descendants of German immigrants, and Jewish men either from Germany, or simply having a German last name. Unlike many other British prison camps during the First World War, Handforth allowed for religious diversity in the camp, and accommodated requests for kosher food and the celebration of Jewish festivals like Hanukkah and Yom Kippur. While not a lot is known about the 80 Jewish men who were imprisoned at Handforth, this extract from the Jewish Chronicle tells us a bit about how the free Jewish community in Britain banded together to ensure the religious rights and freedoms of these men were preserved.

**Extract from the Jewish Chronicle, 24 September 1915**

The Board, in addition to the free services held under its auspices during the High Festivals, arranged this year, at considerable cost, services at Handforth Concentration Camp, where eighty Jews are interned. A scroll of the Law, Machsorim, Siddurim, Tehillium, and a Shofar were all provided. The Commandant, Major Herbert, at the request of the Board, kindly allotted a special place for the holding of the services.

There also the interned Jews partook of the festival meals in a body. At the suggestion of Mr. Shaffer (who especially went to Handforth to conduct the service), the Shechita Board provided meat, fruit, wine, etc., for all the interned there for the requirements of Erev Yom Kippur and after the Fast.

At the monthly meeting of the Board the report of all that had been done at Handforth and the special arrangements arrived at with the Government for the transfer of all belonging to Manchester from Knockaloe Camp (where no kosher food is obtainable) to Douglas, where it is provided, together with other religious requirements (all involving a considerable cost to the Board), was received with approval. The President, Mr. David Cohen, was warmly thanked for the great services he had rendered to the community.

As the result of an appeal made during the free services, several persons called at the offices of the Board last Sunday morning and tendered donations for the Polish Jews Relief Fund.