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Preview: The ‘lost world’ of the Jews

Film maker Simon Glass explores the ‘lost world’ of the Jews in Yorkshire in the early 20t
Film maker Simon Glass explores the ‘lost world’ of the Jews in Yorkshire in the early 20th Century.

Hundreds of thousands of Jewish migrants and refugees travelled from the Baltic states of Russia to British ports between 1880-1920. 

Many were fleeing poverty and persecution; some worked and settled in Leeds, where they lived in a notorious run-down area known as the Leylands.

They arrived with little money, but hoped and dreamed of a brighter future. 

Many Jewish people, like Simon’s great grand-father, worked long hours in the booming tailoring industry.

Simon discovers stories of hardship, welfare among the community, anti-Semitism and the rise of Fascism and the Black Shirts.

But he also hears of success and progress as people moved out to the more affluent suburbs before the ‘slums’ of the Leylands were demolished.

Simon travels to Lithuania and Belarus to find out more about his family roots, and what happened to those who did not make the journey to Leeds. 

Archive Images are courtesy of Leeds Library and Information Service, Ira Silverman and the Miller-Goldberg family.

From Belarus with love

Simon Glass goes in search of his family's ancestors in Belarus.
Simon Glass goes in search of his ancestors in Belarus.

Bats in sleeping bags

The emergency service for the bats woken too early from their winter sleep
Bats like to hibernate, but in urban Belarus many are being woken too early by their freaked out human neighbours, and once awake they may die without food or water.   Help is at hand from a small bat friendly organization run by Aleksai Schpak who's saving the bats by literally giving them a place to chill, as BBC Russian's Tatiana Yanutsevich finds out.

Image:  Little brown bat
Credit:  MyLoupe/UIG via Getty Images