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The Isle of Man

The Isle of Man (in the Manx language: Ellan Vannin) is an island situated in the Irish Sea, roughly equidistant from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Although it is not technically part of the United Kingdom (it does not send a representative to the Parliament in Westminster), it is a British crown dependency and the British monarch is Lord of Man.

Isle of Man display Isle of Man display
Photographs (courtesy Steven Jaffe) of panels displayed on Queens Promenade, Douglas,
portraying the internment of "enemy aliens" (many of them Jews) during both World Wars.
Click HERE for background to the panel displays.
Click on a photograph to view an enlarge image in a new window.

The Jewish Community

In addition to the small resident Jewish community on the island, a large number of Jews were among those interned on the Isle of Man during both World Wars as so-called 'enemy aliens', in particular Jewish prisoners of war in World War I and Jewish refugees from Germany and Austria during World War II.


Jewish Congregation Data

The following are details of the only Jewish congregation to have existed on the island, situated in the capital, Douglas (in the Manx language: Doolish):


Isle of Man Hebrew Congregation

also now known as the Manx Hebrew Congregation


The congregation does not have a synagogue building and meets in members' homes in Douglas. Special events are held in hired halls.


The congregation was founded in about 1927.(vi)

However, according to the Jewish Year Book 1938:

"There is no Hebrew Congregation, but a New Year service is arranged if it occurs early. There are only two or three resident Jewish families during the winter."

The Isle of Man then ceased to be listed in Jewish Year Books until the 1960s.(vii)

Current Status:

Active,(viii) but meetings are held on an irregular basis, as well as special events, such as the community's own Holocaust Memorial Day.(ix)


Orthodox - Ashkenazi


None known


It appears that the only resident minister appointed by the congregation was Rev. L. Kelman, from Manchester, who was appointed as chazan, shochet and teacher in June 1927, serving for only a short period.(xi)

In 1928, Rev. A. Reiss officiated, presumably as visiting minister, at the high holy-day services.(xii) 

Rev. Chaim Zack was a young visiting minister to the Jewish internees on the island at the beginning of World War II (xiii) 

From the 1970, Rev. Malcolm Weisman, the minister for the small communities, attended from time to time as visiting minister.(xiv)

Lay Officers:(xv)


1927 - Mr. Hyman(xvii)


1978-1984 - Matty Rivlin

1984-1988 - Jack Beech


1928 - F. Jacobs(xviii)

1979-1984 - L. Becker

1984-1988 - R. Brunswick

Hon. Secretaries

1927 - T. Roth(xix)

1930s - L. Abels(xx)

1962-1978 - Samuel Coplan(xxi)

1978-1982 - Mrs. I. Solomons

1982-1984 - Jack Beech

1984-1988 - Leonard M. Simons

1988-1989 - Mrs. I. Solomons

From 1990 Matty Rivlin, Leonard M. Simons and Carol Jempson are, respectively, given as the contact for enquiries regarding the congregation.(xxii)

Membership Data:

Reports & Survey(xxiii)

1983 - 30 male (or household) members and an estimated 30 female members.

1990 - 25 members (comprising 18 households, 2 individual male and 5 individual female members).

1996 - 22 members (comprising 7 households, 6 individual male and 9 individual female members).

World War II Internment Camp Synagogues:

During World War II, the Internment Camps on the Island, in particular the Hutchinson Camp in Douglas noted as the "artists' camp" due to its thriving artistic and intellectual life, contained many German and Austrian Jewish refugees who had come to the United Kingdom to escape Nazi persecution. The first internees arrived in May 1940 and within a short while Jewish internees set up their own synagogues. One was the Central Promenade Camp Synagogue in the ballroom of the Lido Dance Hall and another was a makeshift synagogue in a Nissen hut in the Onchan Internment Camp.


Search the All-UK Database

The records in the database associated with the Isle of Man include:

  • Burials
    • Douglas Borough Cemetery, 1940-2005 (67 records).

  • 1851 Anglo Jewry Database (as per the 2016 update)

    • Individuals in the "1851" database who were living in Douglas, Isle of Man, during the 1830s (1 record), 1840s (6 records), 1850s (5 records) and 1860s (3 records).

  • UK Jewish Communal Leaders Database - Douglas records:

    • JCR-UK Listings (records of 25 individuals - as of the March 2024 update).


Browsable Lists

Burials - Douglas Borough Cemetery, Jewish Section - list of 75 burials (including two at Knockaloe) in browsable form, compiled by Harold Pollins


On-line Articles and other Material relating to
the Jewish Community and
Jewish Internees on the Isle of Man


on third parties' websites

  • Isle of Man National Heritage Museum (iMuseum), the Archives now include over 12,000 internment images of which 3,000 show life at the camp, including photographs of many named individual internees (for example, try searching the word "Jewish"). In addition, the People (Family History) section, includes all World War I internees, and certain World War II are being gradually added.

  • AJR (Association of Jewish Refugees) Journal:

    • Second World War internee records on the Isle of Man, article by Alan Franklin:

      • Part 1 in Volume 8 No. 2, February 2008 (pp. 5,11), pdf.

      • Part 2 in Volume 8 No. 3, March 2008 (pp. 5,10), pdf.

    • 1940-2010: The Individual and Family Legacy of WW2 Internment as it Relates to the Isle of Man - A Guide to Aid Personal Research by Alan Franklin, published in Volume 10 No. 6, June 2010 (pp. 4,5,9,10), pdf.

  • Manx Jews Cling on to Island Life, article by Josh Jackman, published in the Jewish Chronicle 19 May 2016

  • Imprisoned on the Isle of Man: Jewish Refugees Classified as Enemy Aliens, article by Cheryl Kempler, published in B'nai B'rith Magazine 19 September 2016.

Notable Jewish Connections with the Isle of Man

  • Albert Gubay (1928-2016) born in Rhyl, north Wales, to an Iraqi Jewish father and Irish Catholic mother, made a fortune with the Kwik Save retail chain that he founded and in property development. He lived on the Isle of Man from 1971 and became a major philanthropist. In particular, he supported the Catholic church and in 2011 was awarded a Papal knighthood.

  • Leonard Ian Singer (1943-2023), Manchester-born pharmacist and politician, was the first Jew to sit in Tynwald (the Manx parliament). He served as a member of House of Keys (the lower chamber) representing Ramsey (1996-2003, 2011-2016) and of the upper chamber Legislative Council (2003-2006) and was largely responsible for the island instituting its own Holocaust Memorial Day, the first of which took place in 2001.

  • Some notable World War II lay Jewish or part-Jewish internees interned in the Hutchinson Internment Camp from mid 1940:(xxxi)

    • Bruno Ahrends (1878-1948), born Bruno Arons, an internationally known architect, who was born into a Jewish family in Berlin, but converted to Christianity. He was not released from Hutchinson until April 1942.

    • Gerhard Bersu (1889-1964), renowned prehistoric archaeologist and former director of the German Archaeological Institute, born in Jauer, Silesia (now in Poland) to a Jewish father. He was interned in the Hutchinson Camp and later (together with his wife) at Rushen Camp, from mid 1940 to May 1941.

    • Hermann Fechenbach (1897-1986), painter and graphic artist born into a Jewish family in Württemberg, Germany, interned until 1941.

    • Carl Felkel (1896-1980), society portraitist artist born in Stockerau, near Vienna, interned until August 1940.

    • Hans G. Furth (1920-1999), developmental psychologist who became a professor in the Faculty of Psychology of the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Although born to Jewish parents in Vienna, he was baptized into the Catholic Church at the age of 16. Interned until May 1941.

    • Dr. Max Grunhut (1893-1964), born in Magdeburg, Prussia, legal scholar and criminologist and former professor at Bonn University of Bonn and later taught at the University of Oxford, becoming one of the most important British criminologists of his era. Interned until October 1940.

    • Paul Hamann (1891-1973), internationally renowned sculptor and photographer, born in Hamburg into a part-Jewish family, Interned until January 1941.

    • Erich Kahn (1904–1979), graphic artist and expressionist painter, born in Stuttgart, interned until February 1941.

    • Dr. Paul Maas (1880-1964), a classical philologist, born in Frankfurt-am-Main, who co-founded the field of textual criticism and was a former professor at Berlin University and the University of Konigsberg. He later taught at Oxford University. Interned until August 1941.

    • Ernst Stern (1876-1954), a celebrated scenic designer, born in Bucharest, Romania, to Jewish parents of Russian, German and Hungarian origin, interned until September 1940.

    • Fred Uhlman (1901-1985), painter and writer, born in Stuttgart, interned until December 1940.

    • Egon Joseph Wellesz, CBE, FBA (1885-1974), composer, teacher and musicologist, notable particularly in the field of Byzantine music, born in Vienna to Hungarian Jewish parents who had become practicing Christians. Interned until October 1940.

    • Dr. Gunther Zuntz (1902-1992), Berlin born classical philologist, Hellenistic Greek and Bible scholar, who became a professor at the University of Manchester, interned until October 1940.

  • Rabbis interned on the Isle of Man during World War II:

    • Rabbi Isidor Broch came to Britain from Berlin as a refugee and was interned in 1940.

    • Rabbi Professor Julius Carlebach came to Britain on the kindertransport and was briefly interned in 1940.

    • Rabbi Dr. Chaim Cohn, escaped to London from Germany via Switzerland and was interned in 1940.

    • Rabbi Josef Hirsch Dunner came to Britain in 1938 and was interned from mid 1940 until about 1941.

    • Rabbi Max Eschelbacher came to Britain in 1939 and was interned in the Hutchinson Internment Camp from mid 1940 until August 1940.

    • Rabbi Asher Feuchtwanger arrived to Britain in 1937. In 1940, he was interned, initially on the Isle of Man and then shipped to Australia aboard the infamous HMT Dunera.

    • Rabbi Dr. Paul Holzer fled to Britain in 1939 and was interned in the Hutchinson Internment Camp from mid 1940 until December 1940.

    • Dayan Dr. Julius Jakobovits fled to Britain following Kristallnacht and was briefly interned on the Isle of Man in 1940. He was the father of future Chief Rabbi, Lord Immanuel Jakobovits.

    • Rabbi Ferdinand Lok (b. 11 October 1917), interned in the Hutchinson Internment Camp from mid 1940 until July 1941.

    • Rabbi Dr. Gustav Pfingst fled to Britain in about 1939 and was interned in the Hutchinson Internment Camp from mid 1940 until January 1941, when he was released on nedical grownds.

    • Rabbi Jakob Roth (b. 10 April 1888), also a baker, interned in the Hutchinson Internment Camp from mid 1940 until May 1941.

    • Rabbi Dr. Theodor Weisz fled to Britain in about 1939 and was interned in the Hutchinson Internment Camp from mid 1940 until January 1941. Acted as camp rabbi.

    • Rabbi David Alexander Winter came to Britain in 1938 and was interned in the Hutchinson Internment Camp from mid 1940 until August 1940.


Isle of Man Jewish Cemetery Information

During both World Wars, so-called 'enemy aliens' were interned on the Isle of Man. These included prisoners-of-war as well as German and Austrian refugees, many of whom were Jewish. A number of these died and were buried on the island.

  • Douglas Borough Cemetery, Jewish Section, Glencrutchery Road, Douglas, IM2 - This is the only consecrated Jewish cemetery on the island, situated on the north-east corner of the main municipal cemetery. Burials date from 1940, a majority of those interred having been refugees interned on the island. Click here to see a list of 73 burials, in browsable form, at the cemetery (plus two at Knockaloe - see below). (Records also on All-UK Database, as above)

  • Kirk Patrick Churchyard, Knockaloe - This churchyard cemetery includes two simple military-style Jewish gravestones dating from World War I. See Two Graves from Knockaloe by Harold Pollins. (Records on JOWBR, under "Isle of Man".)

(For additional information, see also IAJGS International Jewish Cemetery Project - Isle of Man)


Isle of Man Jewish Population Data



(The Jewish Year Book 1963)



(The Jewish Year Book 1979)



(The Jewish Year Book 1984)



(The Jewish Year Book 1985)



(The Jewish Year Book 1989)



(The Jewish Year Book 1990)



(The Jewish Year Book 1991)



(The Jewish Year Book 1995)



(The Jewish Year Book 1997)


Notes & Sources
( returns to text above)

  •  (i) to (v) Reserved.

  •  (vi) It was first listed in the Jewish Year Book 1928 and there was an advert by the congregation for a minister in The Jewish Chronicle of 1 April  1927.

  •  (vii) It was not listed in the Jewish Year Books from 1939 through 1962.

  •  (viii) The congregation remained listed until the last edition of the Jewish Year Book (2015).

  •  (ix) Report dated 12 January 2018 on Isle of Man Government website of Isle of Man National Holocaust Memorial Day 2018.

  •  (x) Reserved.

  •  (xi) The Jewish Chronicle of 10 June 1927 reported Rev. Kelman's appointment and he is mentioned in several subsequently press reports later in 1927, but none later.

  •  (xii) Jewish Chronicle report of 5 October 1928

  •  (xiii) Profile on the Southend and Westcliff Hebrew Congregation website.

  •  (xiv) First mentioned in the Jewish Year Book 1970.

  •  (xv) Unless otherwise stated, this data has been extracted from Jewish Year Books. 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.

  •  (xvi) Reserved.

  •  (xvii) Referred to as president in Jewish Chronicle reports of 10 June 1927 and 23 September 1927.

  •  (xvii) Referred to as president in Jewish Chronicle reports of 10 June 1927 and 23 September 1927.

  •  (xviii) Referred to as treasurer in the Jewish Chronicle report of 5 October 1928.

  •  (xix) Referred to as hon. Secretary in Jewish Chronicle reports of 1 April 1927, 10 June 1927 and 23 September 1927.

  •  (xx) L. Abels was listed as hon. secretary (and the only named officer) of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1928 through 1937, although he may have ceased serving as such some years earlier.

  •  (xxi) Some information about Samuel Coplan can be found in "Jews on Kelly's Isle" (paragraphs 7 and 8) by Lionel Simmonds, an article from The Jewish Chronicle of 9 August 1957.

  •  (xxii) Jewish Year Books 1990 through 2015.

  •  (xxiii) 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.

  •  (xxiv) to (xxx) Reserved.

  •  (xxxi) All are listed in The Island of Extraordinary Captives (2022) by Simon Parkin.

 Page created by David Shulman: 21 August 2005
Page redesigned by Louise Messik: November 2011
Page enhanced and notes and internees added: 7 February 2024
Page most recently amended: 3 May 2024

Research and current fomatting by David Shulman



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