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Disgrifiad

A Merthyr Express extract containing the obituary of Herman Gittelsohn, dated 26 October 1938. The title of the obituary is 'Late Mr H. Gittelsohn. Former President of Dowlais Chamber of Trade'.

Gittelsohn was 74 when he died. He was born in 1862 in Friedrichstadt, situated in modern-day Germany, but would later settle in Dowlais, Merthyr Tydfil. He worked as both a clothier and jeweller and developed an interest in property business. He was not only one of the founders of the Ashkenazi Orthodox Merthyr Hebrew Congregation but was its life president, trustee and - for a time - its treasurer. He was also a well-known Freemason who was initiated in the Loyal Cambrian Lodge in the late 1800s and subsequently involved in Masonic activities. He married Bertha Levinsohn in 1878 and the couple had eleven children. She died in 1923. Herman Gittelsohn's funeral was conducted by Reverend Eli Bloom and his final resting place is the Cefn Coed Jewish cemetery.

About Merthyr Jewish community.

Merthyr Tydfil was once home to one of the largest Jewish communities of the south Wales Valleys. First Jews are believed to have arrived there in the 1820s and the first synagogue was established at the rear of 28 Victoria Street, (Joseph Barnett's pawnbroker's shop), c. 1948. In 1852, work began on a larger, purpose-built synagogue at the back of the Temperance Hall in John Street, which opened in 1853. The thriving community soon outgrew the premises and a new synagogue opened on Church Street in 1877. From the 1920s to the mid-1930s, the Merthyr Tydfil Hebrew Congregation had up to 400 members, but with rapid changes in the economic conditions and the exodus that followed, the membership dropped to 175 by 1937. Services were held in Merthyr until the late 1970s.

Sources.

- Family Scribes, Gittelsohn Herman (2020) [accessed 2020]

- JCR-UK: Jewish Communities & Records, The Merthyr Tydfil Hebrew Congregation & Jewish Community, Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales (2016) [accessed 23 September 2020]

Newspaper article courtesy of Media Wales.

Depository: Merthyr Tydfil Central Library.

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