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The Channel Islands

The Channel Islands are a group of islands in the English Channel, off the coast of Normandy, France. They comprise two separate political entities, the Bailiwick of Guernsey (which also includes a number of smaller islands) and the Bailiwick of Jersey.  Although they are not technically part of the United Kingdom (they do not send representatives to the Parliament in Westminster), they are British crown dependencies.

The Jewish Community

It is most probable that there were Jews in the Channel Islands in the Medieval period, in light of their proximity to the French mainland and that fact the islands formed part of the Duchy of Normandy, which had a significant Jewish population, particularly in the city of Rouen (from where the medieval Jewish community in England is believed to have originated). However, no evidence remains of the medieval Jewish presence on the islands.

There were Jews in the Channel Islands from at least the mid-eighteenth century,(i) although it was not until the 1840s that a congregation was formally established, on the island of Jersey. Although this congregation was defunct by about 1870, a number of Jews continued to reside on both Jersey and Guernsey, and continued to hold religious services in private homes.

From 1940 until 1945, the Channel Islands were under Nazi German occupation, being the only British territory to be occupied by Germany during World War II, and the few Jews that remained behind during the occupation suffered the same fate as their co-religionists on the European continent. In addition, the island of Alderney was turned by the Nazis into a camp for imported slave labourers, including Jews, many of whom died from executions or the inhuman conditions inflicted upon them.

A number of Jews returned to the islands following the war, and in the 1960s a Jewish congregation was again established on Jersey.

Although there is a small number of Jewish families on the island of Guernsey, the only organised Jewish congregations have been exclusively on the island of Jersey, to which some Guernsey family belong.(ii)

The Jewish Congregations

Data on the 19th Century Congregation


Jersey Old Hebrew Congregation(vi)


The synagogue was initially in the yard of 21 Grove Place, St Helier, the foundation stone being laid on 18 May 1843.(vii)

Subsequently, the congregation moved to 47 Halkett Place, St Helier and then to 100 Halkett Place, which was demolished in 2000.(viii)


The congregation was formed in 1843, following a general appeal for contributions made by a Mr. J. Woolfson (or Wolffson), the founder, in February 1843.(ix)


Closed about 1870 (although used only intermittently until that date, while doubling as a masonic hall).(x)

Ritual and Affiliation:

An independent Ashkenazi Orthodox congregation under the aegis of the Chief Rabbi.

Ministers and Readers:

Rev. Franklin - reader/minister in 1843(xiii)

Rev. M. Jacobs - reader in 1850(xiv)

Rev. J.L. Hainau - community's minister following the 1870 closure of the synagogue (until at least 1902) and possibly prior to such closure(xv)

Known Lay Officers:

Jacob Woolfson (or Wollfson) - founder in 1843 and also referred to as treasurer(xviii)

Mr. Marks - president in 1843(xix)

B. Levy - president in 1853(xx)

Membership Data:


1845 - 11 ba'alai batim and 5 seatholders (Chief Rabbi's Questionnaire)

1852 - 17 seatholders (The Rise of Provincial Jewry by Cecil Roth, 1950)

Jersey Synagogue
The upper elevation of Jersey Synagogue
La Petit Route des Mielles, St. Brelade
courtesy Steven Jaffe

Data on Current Congregation


Jersey Jewish Congregation(xxx)
(previously Jersey Hebrew Congregation until about 1989)(xxxi)


The synagogue at La Petit Route des Mielles (corner with Routes des Genets), St. Brelade, Jersey JE3 8FY,(xxxii) was opened and consecrated on 3 October 1972 by the Chief Rabbi and Rev Malcolm Weisman. Designed by Norman Green, it was previously a Wesleyan Methodist schoolroom.(xxxiii)

Previously services were held in members' homes.

Current Status:



Religious services were first held on a regular basis in November 1961,(xxxiv) although the year frequently given for the formation of the congregation is 1962.(xxxv)

Ritual and Affiliation:

An independent Ashkenazi Orthodox congregation under the aegis of the Chief Rabbi.


No resident minister appointed, but Rev. Malcolm Weisman, minister for small communities, frequently acted as visiting minister.(xxxviii)

Lay Officers:(xxxix)


1963-1974 - Sen. Wilfred H. Krichefski, OBE(xl)

1976-1981 - H. Walden

1981-1998 - D.B. Regal

1998-2001 - F.E. Cohen



1975-1976 - E. Brandon

Hon. Secretaries

1963-1972 - S. Senett

1972-1976 - H. Walden

1976-1980 - L. Learner

1980-1988 - Mrs. D. Bloom

1988-1991 - D. Elman

1991-1995 - Mitchell E. Harris

1995-2001 - S.J. Regal

Membership Data:

National Reports & Surveys(xli)

1977 - 48 male (or household) members and 23 female members

1983 - 58 male (or household) members and 24 female members

1990 - 88 members (comprising 59 households, 8 individual male and 21 individual female members)

1996 - 75 members (comprising 41 households, 16 individual male and 18 individual female members)


Search the All-UK Database

The records in the database associated with the Channel Islands include:

Burials (Jersey)

Almorah Cemetery, 1877-1917 (11 records);
Tower Road Cemetery, 1982-2008 (53 burial records);
Tower Road Cemetery, 1942/3 (6 plaques to Jersey or Guernsey Jews who perished in Nazi death camps);
Westmont/Strangers Cemetery, 1852-2008 (64 records).

1851 Anglo Jewry Database (updated 2016)

Individuals in the 1851 Anglo Jewry Database who were living in:
Guernsey during the 1790s (1 record), 1800s (1 record), 1820s (3 records), 1830s (2 records), 1840s (11 records), 1850s (19 records) and 1880s (2 records); and 
Jersey during the 1790s (1 record), 1830s (7 records), 1840s (30 records), 1850s (38 records), 1860s (18 records), 1870s (17 records), 1880s (9 records), 1890s (5 records) and 1900s (2 records).


Online Articles and Other Material relating
to the Channel Islands Jewish Community


on third parties' websites

Notable Jewish Connections with the Channel Islands
(courtesy Steven Jaffe)

  • Jewish members of the States of Jersey:

    • Wilfred Krichefski from 1945 until 1974;

    • Julian Bernstein from 2002 until 2005;

    • Freddie Cohen from 2005 until 2011. He authored the history of Jewish persecution during the Nazi occupation.

    • Inna Gardiner from 2019 to present (March 2024).


Jersey Jewish Cemeteries & Memorial Information

There are three Jewish cemeteries on the island of Jersey, the first two, established in the nineteenth century, managed to escape desecration by the Germans during their World War II occupation, and the third was established in the 1980s.

  • Westmount Jewish Cemetery, Tower Road, St Helier, JE3 (also referred to as the Tower Road Cemetery) - This is the older of the two cemeteries. The first section, in the Westmount Quarry (next to the "Strangers' Cemetery), was acquired by the Jersey Jewish community in 1834 (first burial 1836). A later section (first burial 1888), next to the Mont à l'Abbé New Cemetery, Tower Road, is still active. (For Tower Road New Jewish Cemetery, see below.) The cemetery contains some 77 burial plots.

  • Almorah Cemetery, Jewish Section, La Pouquelaye, St Helier, JE2  - This is the Jewish section of the non-sectarian Almorah Cemetery (overlooking Vallée des Vaux) that had opened in 1854. The Jewish section was founded by a dissenting faction during quarrels in the Jewish congregation. The first burial in the Jewish section was in 1877. The Jewish headstones were reputed laid flat during WWII to avoid detection by the Germans. The cemetery contains about 20 burials. (A small number of records on All-UK Database, as above.)

  • Tower Road New Jewish Cemetery, Tower Road, St Helier, JE3. New cemetery with first burials dating from 1982. The cemetery is tucked into a corner of the Mont à l'Abbé New Cemetery, accessed by a narrow lane from Tower Road.
    See Photographs of the Tower Road New Cemetery, Jersey.
    (Records on All-UK Database, as above.)

(For additional information, see also IAJGS International Jewish Cemeteries Project - Channel Islands)

Jersey Holocaust Memorial Plaque
Plaque at the Tower Road New Cemetery to
Guernsey residents murdered in the Holocaust.
Photograph courtesy Steven Jaffe

In addition to the Jewish cemeteries on Jersey, there are several plaques or memorials on the Islands, which commemorate Jewish residents and others murdered by the Nazis during World War II:

  • Tower Road Cemetery Memorial Plaque, St Helier, Jersey, commemorating three Jewish residents of Guernsey, deported in 1942 by the Nazis and murdered in Auschwitz-Birkenau;

  • St Peter Port Memorial Plaque, Guernsey, (dating from 2001) marking the actual place of deportation of the Jews from Guernsey in 1942 (see above);

  • Westmount Crematorium Memorial, Westmount Road, St Helier, Jersey, a multi-lingual memorial to the slave labourers (including Jews) imported to the Channel Islands by the Nazis during the German occupation, many of whom died from executions or the inhuman conditions to which they were subjected; and

  • Hammond Memorial, Longis Common, Alderney, which includes a plaque in Hebrew, commemorating the slave labourers of many nationalities on Alderney who perished at the hands of the Nazis during 1940 to 1945.


Channel Islands Jewish Population Data








(The Rise of Provincial Jewry by Cecil Roth)




(The Jewish Year Book 1964)




(The Jewish Year Book 1981)



9 families

(The Jewish Year Book 1982)



11 families

(The Jewish Year Book 1983)




(The Jewish Year Book 1985)




(The Jewish Year Book 1987)



9 families

(The Jewish Year Book 1990)



7 families

(The Jewish Year Book 1997)



9 families

(The Jewish Year Book 1998)



7 families

(The Jewish Year Book 2002)


Notes & Sources
( returns to text above)

  •  (i) See the section on the Channel Islands in Roth's The Rise of Provincial Jewry, 1950.

  •  (ii) Jewish Year Books from 1982 provided the number of families from the Jersey congregation who lived in Guernsey.

  •  (iii) to (v) Reserved.

  •  (vii) The word "Old" has been added to distinguish the congregation from the congregation established in the twentieth century.

  •  (vii) Voice of Jacob report of 9 June 1843, quoting a Jersey and Guernsey News report of 20 May 1843.

  •  (viii) Jewish Heritage in Britain and Ireland, by Sharman Kadish, 2015, p. 106.

  •  (ix) Voice of Jacob report of 7 February 1843,

  •  (x) Jewish Heritage in Britain and Note in Jewish Year Books from 1964 through 2006, Ireland, by Sharman Kadish, 2015, p. 106 and Jewish Chronicle report of 2 May 1890.

  •  (xi) and (xii) Reserved.

  •  (xiii) Voice of Jacob of 9 June 1843 (quoting a Jersey and Guernsey News report of 20 May 1843) reported "Blessing by Rev Mr Franklin" at the laying of the foundation stone of the synagogue. Roth refers to him as "presumably the congregational factotum".

  •  (xiv) Jewish Chronicle report of 9 May 1850.

  •  (xv) Mentioned in Jewish Chronicle reports 2 September 1892, 14 October 1892 and 17 January 1902. To view possible additional information about Rev. Hanau, hold the cursor over his name.

  •  (xvi) and (xvii) Reserved.

  •  (xviii) J. Wolffson initiated the formation of the congregation (Voice of Jacob report of 7 February 1843) and J. Woolfson is named as founder in the report of the laying of the foundation stone of the synagogue (Voice of Jacob report of 9 June 1843). However in a remark at the time of collating the statistical accounts of Jewish congregations in 1845, the congregation referred to "our late Treasurer, Jacob Wolfson, having absconded with the funds of the congregation", but this accusation is probably indicative of the "discord, envy and strife" which sprung up within the community, as mentioned in the Jewish Chronicle report of 1890.

  •  (xix) Voice of Jacob report of 9 June 1843, quoting a Jersey and Guernsey News report of 20 May 1843.

  •  (xx) Roth's The Rise of Provincial Jewry.

  •  (xxi) to (xxix) Reserved.

  •  (xxx) Name as listed in Jewish Year Books from 1990 through 2015 (the last edition).

  •  (xxxi) Name as listed in Jewish Year Books from 1974.

  •  (xxxii) Address listed in Jewish Year Books from 1964 through 1989.

  •  (xxxiii) Jewish Heritage in Britain and Ireland, by Sharman Kadish, 2015, p. 106.

  •  (xxxiv) Jewish Chronicle report of 24 November 1961.

  •  (xxxv) Note in Jewish Year Books from 1964.

  •  (xxxvi) and (xxxvii) Reserved.

  •  (xxxviii) Rev. Weisman was first reported as conducting the services in the Jewish Chronicle of 29 March 1963 and was also named as conducting services on a number of subsequent news reports. He is listed as visiting minister in Jewish Year Books from 1980 through 2015.

  •  (xxxix) Unless otherwise stated, this data has been extracted from Jewish Year Books 1964 through 2002. Where a person is first listed in a year book as holding a particular office, it has been assumed that his term of office commenced in the year of publication of the relevant year book and that he continued in office until the commencement of office of his successor, unless the office was vacant. From 1909, year books were published according to the Gregorian year, being published generally towards the end of the year prior to the year appearing in the title of the year book. For example, if an officer is listed in Jewish Year Books 1969 through 1974, it is assumed that he commenced office in 1968 and continued in office until 1974. However, it should be noted that this is only an assumption and, accordingly, his actual years of office may differ somewhat from those shown here.

  •  (xl) The Jewish Chronicle of 20 September 1963 named Senator W. Krichefski OBE as president of the congregation, although it is not clear as to when he was first elected. He was still president of the congregation at the time of his death in a car crash in 1974, following a heart attack (Jewish Chronicle obituary of 20 December 1974). He was also listed as president in Jewish Year Books 1964 through 1975.

  •  (xli) Reports on synagogue membership in the United Kingdom, published by the Board of Deputies of British Jews and which can be viewed on the website of the Institute of Jewish Policy Research. Click HERE for links to the various reports.

Page created by David Shulman: 29 May 2006
Page redesigned by Louise Messik: November 2011
Incorporation of congregation data and data significant expanded: 14 March 2024
Page most recently amended: 24 March 2024

Research and current fomatting by David Shulman



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