Jewish History Association of South Wales / Cymdeithas Hanes Iddewig De Cymru


The Jewish History Association of South Wales / Cymdeithas Hanes Iddewig De Cymru (JHASW / CHIDC) was established in November 2017 with the aim to uncover, document, preserve, and share the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of the Jewish communities of south Wales.


We launched an ambitious project to tell the story of Jewish people in south Wales. The community has links back to the 1730s when, according to oral tradition, the first settlement was established in Swansea. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, there were small Jewish communities in many of the south Wales valleys, as well as larger ones in the main towns.


According to The Jewish Yearbook, in Merthyr

- in 1919, there were 400 Jews.

- in 1939, there were 175 Jews.

- in 1959, there were 40 Jews.

- in 1999, George Black “The Last Jew in Merthyr”, died aged 82.


The decline of the Jewish community in Merthyr was, for the most part, echoed throughout south Wales, due to an ageing population, the migration of children to university, economic downturn, and movement to larger communities.


The Jewish community has made a wide-ranging contribution to life across south Wales. Individuals, whose roots are in the local Jewish communities, have, over the past 250 years, excelled in many fields, including the area’s economic, social, political and artistic life.


It is vital to record the stories of those still living before they are lost forever.


On this site you will be able to:

  • Learn about the histories of the Jewish communities of south Wales through online exhibitions, oral histories, talks and narratives.

  • Learn about our projects and project partners and see some of the work we have done together.

  • Explore our heritage trails.

  • Support our work by donating.

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Our online collection.

We use the People's Collection Wales website to showcase the material we digitise and describe.


What have we been up to?

Find out more about our projects and the experiences of our volunteers from their blog posts.



View our online talks.

These presentations are based on talks given during our past and present projects.

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Our oral histories.

We have created over 70 oral histories from individuals with links to the local Jewish communities. The recordings, together with their full transcriptions, have been deposited at the Screen and Sound Archive.


People and places.

We are researching 102 names inscribed on the Memorial Tablet in Cardiff Reform Synagogue: the tablet commemorates relatives of the congregation who were murdered during the Holocaust, but whose graves are unknown.



Explore our Heritage Trails.

We have created a Jewish Heritage Trail for Cardiff.

As well as this major piece of work we have created a smaller trail for Aberdare.

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Stroll through our online exhibitions.

We have made an online presentation of our touring exhibition, created as part of our first project, ‘The Records and Testimonies of the South Wales Jewish Communities’.

In partnership with Cynon Valley Museum, we have created several online exhibitions as part of their ‘Stories from the Collection’ series.



Find out how to preserve your heritage.

Our Heritage Toolkit is designed to give practical, step-by-step guidance on creating high-quality digital outputs to those individuals and organisations who wish to preserve their heritage but have no experience in this area.



Local Jewish communities.

We are working closely with the museums in Rhondda Cyon Taf (Pontypridd Museum, Rhondda Heritage Park and Cynon Valley Museum), to identify Jewish related items in their collections, enhance their descriptions and digitise them. We are also creating talks and exhibitions, and telling the stories of some of the people and businesses who were part of the Jewish communities in this area.

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