The Cardiff Reform Synagogue Memorial Tablet was erected in 1954 in memory of the relatives of synagogue members who had died in the Holocaust and whose graves are unknown. It contains 102 names.
Creation of the Memorial Tablet.

The Tablet was created by William Clarke, a Cardiff-based sculptor and builder, specialising in church furnishing and restoration work. The costs of the Tablet were borne by the CRS members involved.According to the Cardiff Reform Synagogue (CRS) Council Minutes of the Memorial Committee (images 1-3; a transcription can be found at the end of this description), the discussions regarding the creation of the Memorial Tablet started in October 1952.

In November 1952, the Memorial Committee sent a letter (image 4) to all CRS members advising them about the Council’s decision to erect a memorial Tablet “where may be placed the names of those relatives of members who perished in the Nazi Terror, and whose last resting place is unknown”.

The CRS members, who desired to have the names of their relatives who had died in the Holocaust inscribed on the Tablet, were asked to complete a questionnaire (image 5), providing the name(s) of the deceased, how they were related to the CRS member, their former town of residence, and approximate age. 54 names were put forward for inscription.

The work was completed in April 1954 (image 6) and the Memorial Tablet was installed in the Synagogue building (image 7). The consecration service for the unveiling of the Tablet took place on 3 October 1954 (images 8-10).

Renovation of the Memorial Tablet.

The renovation was initiated by Shirley Sleight, who was hoping to add names of her relatives who had died in the Holocaust to the Tablet. In May 1999, Shirley posted an appeal in the CRS Newsletter asking if anyone else had any relatives who had died as victims of the Nazi oppression and would like to add their names to the Tablet.

A list of additional 48 names was compiled; W. Clarke, who originally made the Tablet, carried out refurbishment. The work was completed by October 2000. They added new names and re-gilded all the existing letters, as the board would have looked patchy if all the lettering had not received the same treatment. The Hebrew lettering and the dedication panel at the top of the board were also renovated. Image 11, taken in 2019, shows the Tablet with all 102 names.

Transcription of the CRS Council Minutes of the Memorial Committee (images 1-3)

Extracts from the Council Minutes about Memorial Committee & Tablet

30th Oct 1952
It was decided that such a Memorial Tablet be erected somewhere in the Synagogue Building in memory of the dead whose grave is not known. A Sub-Committee consisting of Mr Saalheimer, Rabbi Graf, Mrs R Bogod and Mr M Bogod, and Mr G Leigh, is to deal with it, and Mr Saalheimer to approach a somewhat corresponding number of interested members not on the Council, who will also be Members of this Sub-Committee. It was agreed to ask Mr Gerald Corne if he could suggest a type of Memorial Tablet.

30th Dec 1952
Mr George Leigh spoke and said there were 36 names received so far. He will call a meeting soon and report to the next Council Meeting.

15th Jan 1953
36 names have been received so far, and a few more are expected.

3rd Feb 1953
Postponed. To be put on agenda for next Meeting.

12th Feb 1953
Report of how matters stand so far given by Mr George Leigh.

12th March 1953
Letter read from Mr W. Clarke, and it was retained by a Member of the Council ? who it was decided to ask the type of wood which he suggested.
Mr Michael Bogod promised to see Mr Gerald Corner and Rabbi Dr Graf about it.

21st April 1953
Postponed. Committee soon to be called by Mr M Saalheimer and they will elect a new Secretary instead of Mr George Leigh. To be put on the agenda of the next meeting.

14th May 1953
There was a general discussion. Mr Clarke, a local sculptor, will soon meet at the synagogue members of the Memorial Committee.

24th June 1953
A meeting of the Memorial Committee is soon to be called, and they will get in touch with Mr Clarke, Sculptor & Mason etc. The Secretary reported that Mr Clarke must be a prominent man, for it is reported in the press that he has been doing much work lately on Llandaff Cathedral rebuilding.

23rd July 1953

27th Aug 1953
Mr Saalheimer will soon call a meeting of the Sub-Committee, and will report such to the next Council Meeting. To be put on the agenda of the next Council Meeting.

15th Oct 1953
Mr Saalheimer spoke, and a Circular is soon going out to members.

19th Nov 1953
Mr M Saalheimer spoke and said that all is under control, arrangements are being made for fixing the Memorial Tablet and names to be inscribed thereon. The cost per member affected is rather less than at first thought.

17th Dec 1953
Mr Saalheimer spoke, Mr David Joseph read the minutes of a recent meeting of the Memorial Sub-Committee and also a recent letter received from W. Clarke, Sculptor, of Llandaff. Agreed that the Memorial Sub-Committee go ahead, maximum £100 plus Gilt Lettering of all names. It is understood that all costs are to be borne by the members involved.
About Cardiff Reform Synagogue.

The Cardiff Reform Synagogue was founded in 1948 as the Cardiff New Synagogue. The following year, it became a constituent member of the Movement for Reform Judaism. Born in reaction against the more restrictive traditions of the Orthodox Judaism of Cardiff Hebrew Congregation, such as the prohibition of driving on the Sabbath and the ban on interfaith marriages, the new Synagogue appealed to the immigrants who had fled the war-torn Europe, where the Reform movement was already well-established. The congregation worships in a converted Methodist Chapel on Moira Terrace they acquired in 1952.

JCR-UK: Jewish Communities and Records, Reform Synagogue, Cardiff, Wales (2020) <> [accessed 11 September 2023]
Parry-Jones, Cai, The History of the Jewish Diaspora in Wales (doctoral thesis, Bangor University, 2014) <> [accessed 12 August 2023]

Depository: Glamorgan Archives.

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