The Jewish Community of Belfast and their places of burial

By Pamela Linden

“Unto them will I give …a name and a place…I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off”, ISAIAH chapter 56, verse 5.

The history of Northern Ireland’s Jewish community is in part a history without headstones. Whilst the modern north Belfast Carnmoney cemetery has maintained a peaceful and well kept sanctuary of tended graves, just a short journey west lies the Jewish quarter of Belfast City Cemetery. Only a few dozen headstones remain to mark over 100 graves. In this site lie the first German Jewish immigrants to the north of the island: linen merchants and company directors. There is a spectacular tall marble pillar dedicated to the memory of Otto Jaffe, made Belfast’s first Lord Mayor in 1899 when the city gained its new status as a borough council. The history of these people, their families and communities must be told without headstones. This study is an attempt to record the history of Northern Ireland’s Jewish community from c. 1845-1950 through the headstones of Carnmoney and Belfast City Cemetery, and in doing so to give that community a Yad Vashem: a name and a place.