Bradford Jewish Community

Bradford, West Yorkshire




Page created: 19 September 2012
Latest general update: 19 September 2019
Latest revision or modification: 23 December 2021

Bradford Jewish Cemeteries


Bradford has two Jewish cemeteries:

  1. The Bradford Synagogue (Reform) Cemetery is within the grounds of the Scholemoor Cemetery and is reached via the Necropolis Road entrance, Bradford BD7. There are two sections containing over 200 stones together with a small Ohel. The first interment was in 1877. Here are buried the founding fathers and mothers of the community, many of whom came from Germany in the nineteenth century. There are also the graves of refugees from the Nazis who made new lives in Bradford from 1933. Amongst the graves are those of Charles Semon, the first Jewish Mayor of Bradford; Jacob Moser, Bradford’s first Jewish Lord Mayor and Philanthropist; Rabbi Strauss, the first Rabbi of the community, and his descendants; and Rabbi Bienheim. The headstones are eclectic, ranging in size and design. Some are inscribed in Hebrew, some in English and some in German. The first burial in the new section was in 1983.

  2. The Bradford Hebrew Congregation (Orthodox) Cemetery has over 400 stones and is located at Birks Fold, Scholemoor, Bradford BD7. The cemetery has a small Ohel and two sections, divided by a wall. The first section found on entering the cemetery is full and burials now take place in the new section. The first burial took place in 1912. Amongst those buried in the cemetery are Alderman Black and Olivia Messer, Lord Mayors of Bradford; survivors of the Kovno Ghetto in Lithuania; and victims of air crashes:

Jewish immigrants started coming to Bradford in the 1830s but it was not until 1873 that they invited Rabbi Strauss from Germany to be their Minister and to inject some Jewish life back into this group of Merchants and their families. The Orthodox Cemetery did not open until 1912, and it is believed that early orthodox burials took place in Leeds at Gildersome (the distance from the centre of Bradford to Gildersome is 8 miles compared to 5 from Leeds).

Before the Reform Cemetery was opened some Jewish burials took place at the Bradford Cemetery in Undercliffe. In particular, a number of the German Jewish merchants married non-Jewish spouses and, for that reason, when they died they were buried in Undercliffe Cemetery. Details of these burials have been included here together with information on all those family members mentioned on their tombstones. There are also some headstones in Undercliffe Cemetery bearing Stars of David, but these are known not to be Jewish burials.

Within the other general cemeteries in the Bradford District there may be other graves of Jews. At Scholemoor, the descendants of Jacob Unna, who laid the foundation stone of the Bradford Synagogue, are buried adjacent to the Jewish Cemetery but in the non-Jewish section.

Finally, it should be noted that not all Bradford Jews who died are buried in the cemeteries noted above. It is known that a large number of people who died in Bradford and the surrounding towns of Elland, Halifax and Huddersfield were cremated.

Further information about the Bradford Jewish Community can be found here in the recent article by Nigel Grizzard, at www.bradfordjewish.org.uk or by e-mailing bradfordjewish@gmail.com

Approximately 12 months after the original Bradford Cemetery database had been provided to JCR-UK both the 'Official' Burial Register and Cemetery Plan for the Bradford Orthodox Congregation were located and made available. With the May 2017 updates to the Bradford Cemetery database the opportunity was taken not only to completely revise most of the headstone images in both the Orthodox and Reform cemeteries but also to adopt the row allocations used in the 'Official' plan of the 'Old' section of the Orthodox Cemetery. This allowed the locations of unmarked graves to be identified, as well as locations for which no burials had been recorded. Grave markers were then subsequently added to all previously unmarked graves and, in December 2018, the database records were updated to include these grave markers.

During the photography campaign for the May 2017 update at the Orthodox Cemetery, access to the Prayer Hall (Ohel) was gained and the opportunity was taken to photograph all of the stained glass windows and memorial plaques. These are displayed in a subsidiary page which can be acccessed from here.

In addition to these updates, the opportunity was taken to add the GPS coordinates for all burials in both the Orthodox and Reform cemeteries. This allows users to automatically identify the location of individual graves on a Google Earth satellite image.

Details of all known Jewish burials in the Bradford Cemeteries up to 2 May 2017 are provided in this database, together with images of all legible and partially legible headstones. Plans showing the Sections and rows for the Orthodox cemetery can be found here and for the Reform cemetery here.

Information for any individual may be displayed by first selecting the appropriate surname letter from the list below and then selecting the required name from its drop-down list.

Please ensure that JavaScript is enabled in your browser before making a selection above.

Acknowledgements: These cemetery records are provided through the 'Making their Mark project on Bradford Jewry' supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and coordinated by Nigel Grizzard. Thanks are due to Benjamin Dunn for the original research, Alan Tobias, Malcolm Sender and Nigel Grizzard for headstone photographs, Nigel Grizzard for the original data transcription, Alan Tobias for creation of these pages and David Shulman, JCR-UK Webmaster. The GPS enhancements were developed by Alan and Derek Tobias.

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