Tag Archives: Reverend Dr James Parkes

Digitised audio recordings of Revd James Parkes

22 December marks the 120th anniversary of the birth of Revd Dr James William Parkes. The transfer of his Library and archive to the University of Southampton in 1964 marked the start of a half century of significant growth, both in the Parkes Library and in Jewish archive collections, transforming Southampton into a major Jewish documentation centre. Amongst the predominantly paper based archive collection were a series of audio material in analogue or obsolete formats. This material, which includes recordings of sermons and talks during the 1960s and 1970s, has been transferred to digital to make it available for research.

Revd James Parkes in studio for a radio broadcast [MS 60/34/6]

Revd James Parkes in studio for a radio broadcast [MS 60/34/6]

The sermons include “The End of the Way” delivered by Parkes at the Church of St Edward King and Martyr, Cambridge, at the close of the conference of the International Council of Christians and Jews (ICCJ) on Jewish-Christian co-operation in 1966 [MS 60/4/6]; and “The Road to Jerusalem” consisting of five sermons for Lent given at Salisbury Cathedral in 1967 [MS 60/4/8/5], sequentially titled “Jesus Clears His Mind – The Temptations”, “The Road Through Tradition”, “The Road Through Teaching”, “The Road Through Healing” and “The Road Through Suffering”.

Recordings of talks by Parkes include “Israel, the diaspora and the world outside” recorded for the BBC, 1 September 1966 [MS 60/4/6]; “Jewish Students between the Wars” delivered to the Oxford University Jewish Society on 14 May 1967 [MS 60/4/8/8]; and “Tradition and Adventure” given at the Westminster Synagogue on 13 June 1967 [MS 60/4/8/8].

The collection also contains two recordings focusing on the life of James Parkes. These include “Journeying” recorded by Parkes’ wife, Dorothy, on 29 April 1977 [MS 60/37/1]; and “Word of Greeting” recorded by Dr Morton C Fierman, California State University, for a colloquium held by the International Council of Christians and Jews in honour of Rev Dr James Parkes and Professor Jules Isaac at Connaught Hall, Southampton, on 20 July 1977 [MS 60/37/1].

The earliest recording is of the opening of the Parkes Library at the University of Southampton on 23 June 1965 [MS 60/4/6]. The event included speeches by Edmund Leopold de Rothschild, and Lord Perth, Vice President of the Council of Christians and Jews. In his introductory speech, the University’s Deputy Vice Chancellor announced the establishment of the Parkes Library Fellowship, a post intended to raise the profile of the collection and to help secure funding for the international research centre envisaged by James Parkes.

Photograph of the official opening of the Parkes Library at the University of Southampton Library, 23 June 1965 [Univ. Coll. Photos LF 789.5L46]

Photograph of the official opening of the Parkes Library at the University of Southampton Library, 23 June 1965 [Univ. Coll. Photos LF 789.5L46]

The following thirty years saw a series of distinguished Parkes Library Fellows working on the collection, but it was not until 1996 — the year of his centenary — that Parkes Centre for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations was launched. Five years later the Parkes Institute was created to coordinate and expand the activities of what had become the AHRB Parkes Centre, and the associated library and archive collections.

All of the recordings are now available to access in the Archives and Manuscripts reading room.

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The Battle of Cable Street – 4th October 1936

The Battle of Cable Street is a significant moment in the history of London Jewry and has often been represented as a turning point in the struggle against Fascism in Britain. This week, commemorations for the 80th anniversary will include a march and a rally in east London – both to remember the past – and to highlight the importance of combating racism and prejudice today.

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Anti-fascist protesters run as police approach a barricade near Aldgate during the clashes – crowds had overturned a lorry in Cable Street and used building materials from a local building yard to block the road.

There were at least 100,000 Anti-Fascist protesters on the streets that day (some sources suggest as many as 250,000 people). Jews, Irish dockers, trade unionists, Communists, Independent Labour Party members, women and children turned out to form a “Human barrier to Stop Fascists” [Sunday Referee, 4 October 1936]. “LIKE A SIEGE. 84 arrests, 200 hurt” ran the headlines of the Daily Express, following clashes with police – who made baton charges into the crowds in an attempt to clear the roads.  Just one week earlier, the British Union of Fascists (BUF) had announced its intention to parade in the vicinity of the Royal Mint, where it would be drawn up in military formation and inspected by Sir Oswald Mosley. From here they planned to march through Aldgate and Whitechapel – the heart of the Jewish East End of London – before holding Fascist meetings at multiple venues in the area. [q BZ8211.P73 Parkes Cable St. press cuttings]

'Stop Racial Incitement in East London!!' poster [MS 60/15/53] – thousands of leaflets were distributed prior to the march

‘Stop Racial Incitement in East London!!’ poster [MS 60/15/53] – thousands of leaflets were distributed prior to the march

The BUF had been running a campaign of provocation and violence aimed at stirring up anti-Semitism in the East End for some time. The newly formed Jewish People’s Council against Fascism and Anti-Semitism (JPC) drew attention to inflammatory speeches, indoor and outdoor meetings, processions into Jewish and anti-Fascist districts, and incidents of violence against Jews. Their statement of policy identified the BUF with a modern political anti-Semitism which threatened the democratic rights of the British people as a whole. [MS 60/15/53]

Strenuous efforts were made by local organisations to persuade the government to prohibit the march – the mayors of five East End boroughs asked the Home Office to ban it – but without success.

Petition to the Secretary for Home Affairs [MS 116/6]

Petition to the Secretary for Home Affairs [MS 116/6]

In just 48 hours, the JPC gathered almost a 100,000 signatures for a petition which was presented to the Home Secretary, Sir John Simon. This would not have been possible without the “magnificent assistance” of local Anti-Fascist groups, including the Jewish Councils of Action, the East London Association for combating Fascism; the Ex-Servicemen’s Movement against Fascism, and the members of the Workers’ Circle.

Although the parade went ahead, the scale of the counter-demonstration and the threat of blood shed were so great, that Sir Philip Game, the Chief Police Commissioner, called off the march through the East End to prevent further breaches of the peace. Running battles continued for hours in the streets.

'Fascist Hooliganism!' poster [MS 60/15/53]

‘Fascist Hooliganism!’ poster [MS 60/15/53]

The BUF may have suffered defeat on the day but the fight against Fascism was far from won. The passage of the Public Order Act, 1936, after the disturbances, banned marching in uniform and required police consent in order for marches to go ahead. In the short term, however, historians suggest that life became worse for Jews in the East End. The prominent Jewish involvement at Cable Street and the publicity that violent opposition had produced was exploited by the Fascists to gain sympathy and support.

The story and significance of Cable Street is vividly captured in the papers of the Reverend James William Parkes (1896-1981), held here in the Special Collections at Southampton. Parkes dedicated the greater part of his life to combating anti-Semitism. He had first-hand knowledge of the situation in the East End of London and in 1936 he was meeting local people, giving educational lectures, trying to understand the problem, in order to work out possible solutions. His papers shed a fascinating light on the different approaches and viewpoints within the Jewish community and of the efforts of Gentiles and Christians to join them in the fight against prejudice.

To read about the life of the Reverend James Parkes: MS 60

Cable Street 80: http://cablestreet80.org.uk/

Exhibition: Creating a Legacy: the Parkes Library

Creating a legacy: the Parkes Library

Drawing on material in the Special Collections, the exhibition will consider the legacy created by Revd Dr James Parkes, through his library and his research on Jewish/non-Jewish relations. James Parkes began collecting material in the 1930s and by the time it arrived at Southampton in 1964, the Library consisted of 4,000 books, 2,000 pamphlets and 140 journals. It has developed into one of the largest Jewish documentation centres in Europe and complements the Anglo-Jewish Archives, also part of Special Collections, which is one of the largest collections of Jewish archives in Western Europe. These research collections have led to the development of the Parkes Institute, which is a research centre focusing on Jewish history and culture, and which continues Parkes’s legacy of teaching and research.

The exhibition will run in conjunction with the Parkes Institute Jubilee Conference, the climax of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations 2014-2015. It will open on Monday 7 September and run until 6 November 2015.

During exhibitions the Special Collections Gallery is open to the public Monday to Friday 1000 to 1600. Admission is free. Visitors may be asked for proof of identity by Library Reception staff.

Holocaust Memorial Day

27 January is Holocaust Memorial Day, the date chosen as it is the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp. 2015 is the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

The Parkes Library, created by Revd Dr James Parkes, who spent much of his life combatting anti-Semitism, contains a sizeable section of printed material on the Holocaust including general histories of the Holocaust, together with books describing events in individual countries. Published diaries and testimonials of victims and survivors are well represented and there are also sections on the interpretation of Holocaust literature and on the historiography of the subject.

Telegram (MS 175/142/1) sent to Hertz in November 1938 using the term 'Holocaust' in response to the events of Kristallnacht.

Telegram (MS 175/142/1) sent to Hertz in November 1938 using the term ‘Holocaust’ in response to the events of Kristallnacht.

There is considerable material within the Anglo-Jewish Archive collections at Southampton, ranging from a telegram sent to the Chief Rabbi Hertz in November 1938 using the term ‘Holocaust’ in response to the events of Kristallnacht, to memoirs and testimonials and papers relating to war crimes and war criminals.

The writings of Eugene (John) Heimler (MS220) on the Holocaust include some pages of his Holocaust memoir Night in the mist. The collection also includes material relating to the foundation of a Holocaust survivors’ centre. Amongst the papers of the Council of Christians and Jews (MS 65) is material of the Association of Nazi Camp Survivors and of the Holocaust Memorial Foundation Committee. Other smaller collections include an account of the war experiences of David Kutner, who was incarcerated in Lodz ghetto and subsequently Auschwitz, and papers of Rudi Kennedy who led a successful campaign for compensation for Jewish slave labourers.

The main collection relating to war crimes is MS 200 which is the papers of the International Military Tribunal and Nuremberg Military Tribunals, 1945-9. Further material on war crimes and war criminals can be found in collection MS 237-41 the Institute of Jewish Affairs and MS 137 the Anglo-Jewish Association.

The Archives and Manuscripts holds two collections of filmed interviews: the Fortunoff Video Collection of Holocaust survivors from Yale University Library, and the Association of Jewish Refugees Refugee Voices, which contains 150 filmed interviews with Jewish survivors and refugees from Nazism who have settled in Great Britain.

An event to mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2015 has been jointly organised by Southampton Solent University and the University of Southampton. For further details please visit the Parkes Institute Events page.

50th Anniversary of the arrival of the Parkes Library

Consisting of over 4000 books, 2000 pamphlets and 140 journals, the private library of Revd. Dr James Parkes was transferred to Southampton University Library in 1964, making 2014 the 50th anniversary of the transfer.

Revd Dr James Parkes devoted his life to combating anti-Semitism, which he first encountered in European universities while working for the International Student Service. He helped rescue Jewish refugees during the 1930s and campaigned for the Jews of Europe during the Holocaust. During the Second World War he helped found the Council of Christians and Jews and worked throughout his career in promoting religious tolerance and mutual respect.

Official opening of the Parkes Library

Official opening of the Parkes Library

As part of his campaigning, he built up the Parkes Library and associated archive, and completed a thesis entitled The Conflict of the Church and the Synagogue: a study in the origins of anti-Semitism. This publication of this work established him as a specialist in the fields of Jewish-Christian relations and the history of anti-Semitism.

The Parkes Library is now one of the largest Jewish documentation centres in Europe and the only one in the world devoted to Jewish/non-Jewish relations. It has led to the development of the Parkes Institute, which provides teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate level, as well as having a thriving doctoral programme and a range of outreach activities engaging the general public, local communities and colleges.

Along with the Parkes Library, Revd James William Parkes also transferred his papers to the University of Southampton (MS 60). These contain correspondence and notes relating to his publications, as well as newspaper cuttings on significant events such as the Suez crisis of 1956, the Palestine question, anti-Semitism and fascism. Other sections of the archive include the personal financial papers relating to the administration of the Parkes Library.

User perspectives: Discovering the situation for Jews and Jewish Refugees during the twentieth century using the Anglo-Jewish archives

The University of Southampton holds one of the largest collections of Jewish archives in Western Europe. The holdings partly grew out of the association with the Parkes Library, originally the private library of Reverend Dr James Parkes. Parkes devoted his life to investigating and combating the problem of anti-Semitism and since the arrival of Parkes’ Library at the University in 1964 the study of Jewish/non-Jewish relations has developed significantly.

Books within the Parkes Library

Books within the Parkes Library

Alice Caffull, a former University of Southampton Modern History and Politics undergraduate student, and now a Master’s Jewish History and Culture student, explains how she has used the Anglo-Jewish archives for her research.

“I consulted the “Refugee Voices” Association of Jewish Refugees collection in both my undergraduate and postgraduate degree because of my interest in personal testimony and memoirs. I used this collection in various essays and found it an easy-to-navigate and fascinating source. I study MA Jewish History and Culture and therefore the wealth of Jewish history contained within the archives is extremely useful and exciting for me. I spent a whole module (an Individually Negotiated Topic module) on the diaries of Samuel Morris Rich, a Jewish teacher who kept a diary from 1905 until his death in 1950. I really enjoyed getting into the content of these diaries and assessing the situation for Jews particularly before the First World War through his diaries.

MS 168 AJ 217/4 Diary of Samuel Morris Rich, 1908

MS 168 AJ 217/4 Diary of Samuel Morris Rich, 1908

The archives were also one of the main reasons that I stayed at Southampton to do my Master’s degree, as well as of course for the fantastic Parkes Institute. For my MA dissertation I will be spending many more hours in the Archive, looking at Rabbis Hertz and Schonfeld’s papers, the papers of James Parkes and Carl Stettauer, and the records of various Councils and committees such as the Council for Christians and Jews. These will hopefully aid my discussion of the work of the Salvation Army in England with refugee groups in the first half of the twentieth century, a previously unstudied topic. Through these documents I am looking for information on the work of Christian and Jewish groups together, and for any references to the work of the Salvation Army within wider Christian and philanthropic movements at this time.”