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Description

This newspaper clipping from The Express reports that the Workers Revolutionary Party had placed posters promoting their screening of a film called "The Palestinian", on the window of a defunct furniture store on High Street shop in Merthyr Tydfil. The posters contained the slogan "Zionist troops out of Lebanon".

The press was alerted by a Jewish Merthyr resident, Mr Shipman, who said that the High Street premises used to belong to a 91-year-old Russian-born Jewish businessman, Mr Harris Schwartz, who had only closed the business two months previously. Mr Shipman considered the posters an act of blatant antisemitism.

Merthyr Tydfil was once home to one of the largest Jewish communities of the South Wales Valleys. The first Jews are believed to have arrived there in the 1820s and the first purpose-built synagogue was erected either in the late 1840s or the early 1850s. 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:
'The History of the Jewish Diaspora in Wales' by Cai Parry-Jones (http://e.bangor.ac.uk/4987);
JCR-UK/JewishGen (https://www.jewishgen.org/jcr-uk/Community/merth/index.htm).

Depository: Glamorgan Archives.

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