Jewish UK government minister marks 110th anniversary of Welsh pogrom

The anti-Jewish riot was the only reported instance of its kind against the British Jewish community since the Middle Ages.

Dan Verbin ,

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Lord David Wolfson, a junior minister in the UK Ministry of Justice, marked the 110th anniversary of a pogrom that occurred in Wales with a statement explaining his family’s connection to the violent anti-Jewish riot, in which miraculously no one was killed.

Wolfson, who is Jewish, tweeted: “Today is the 110th anniversary of the Tredegar riots, the only reported instance in Britain of serious anti-Jewish riots since medieval times (perhaps excluding demonstrations against the so-called "Jew Bill" of 1753).”

Wolfson said that “general economic difficulties” may have triggered the attack against Tredegar’s Jewish community, noting there are a “few monographs on the subject.”

Wolfson explained that “my great-grandfather and family lived through the riots and my great-uncle Jack was born in the middle of them – known thereafter in our family as Jack the Riot Baby.”

The riots occured on August 1911, when a group of drunk workers attacked a Jewish store. The riotors eventually ballooned to over 200 people and in the end many Jewish properties were attacks, causing large scale damage. Nobody was seriously hurt.

“But – importantly – we remember the Tredegar riots because they were exceptional. The relationship between the Jewish and non-Jewish inhabitants of Tredegar and other towns in the Valleys was generally excellent,” he said.

Noting that his family lived in Tredegar for many years after the riot occurred, Wolfson said, “Tredegar gave my family a refuge – and yes, I’m well aware of the timing of this tweet” referring to an announcement by the British government that it will be accepting 20,000 Afghan refugees running from the Taliban takeover of their country.

Wolfson spoke about the UK’s “proud record of welcoming immigrants” who have “contributed to UK society in so many ways.”

He said: “I hope my family has played its part too… I don’t think my great-grandfather ever thought there’d be a Lord Wolfson of Tredegar (or of anywhere). But he did know he was coming to a country of welcome, refuge and religious tolerance.”

Wolfson added, “As we remember the few days of disturbances in Tredegar, we are thankful for many peaceful years there. And we are also thankful that we came to, and still live in, a country which, to quote the late Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks, is a ‘medina shel chessed’ - a kingdom of kindness.”



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