Exeter, which is situated in the South West of England, was once, because of its stunning medieval, Victorian and Georgian architecture, described as the jewel of the West...
This however changed when on the night of 4th May 1942 400 shops, nearly 150 offices, over 50 warehouses and stores, 36 clubs and pubs, and more than 4100 houses were destroyed by German bombers and many others damaged. Amongst the damaged properties was the third oldest Synagogue in the UK, which has remained the home of an active Jewish community to the present day.
Today, Exeter is a vibrant city, popular with both British and international tourists. The University of Exeter is ranked among the top 50 universities globally and welcomes students from across the world. Exeter is also one of the UK’s Cities of Sanctuary, continuing in its tradition of welcoming refugees fleeing conflict and persecution, which was started with welcoming of evacuee children in the Second World War.
This summer we will be exploring the history of the Exeter Blitz. We will be doing gardening work in the ancient Jewish cemetery hidden between modern buildings in the city. We will be meeting with people who experienced the Blitz as well as members of the Jewish community who shortly after having arrived in London on one of the Kindertransport trains were evacuated to the South West.