Our very own Dr Nadia Valman was a key organiser of the ‘The Great Yiddish Parade’, which took place on 19 November 2017.
The event was a re-enactment of an 1889 protest march by Jewish immigrants in Victorian Whitechapel. That year, strikes were erupting all over the East End, and demonstrators demanded better conditions and wages for all East End workers.
The Great Yiddish Parade of 1889 used the medium of music, song and oratory to build solidarity and attract others to their cause. Their protest songs, in Yiddish — the language of Jewish immigrants — were recreated by a band of klezmer musicians and singers. At Mile End Waste, a strip of green space in Whitechapel where political rallies were held in the nineteenth century, speakers addressed the audience of participants and locals with oratory taken from East End political activists. In the photos below see east London’s forgotten heritage of protest being brought to life in poetry and song.
Thanks to the Being Human festival of the Humanties and QMUL Centre for Public Engagement. Photographs by Ralph Hodgson.
Nadia Valman and Julie Begum in Aldgate
Singer Brendan McGeever with the Great Yiddish Parade song sheet
Vivi Lachs and Julie Begum in Whitechapel
Lucie Glasheen gives song sheets to passersby
The parade passes Aldgate East station
The parade at Middlesex Street
Watching the parade in Whitechapel High Street
Passersby read the song sheet
A shopkeeper watches as the parade passes
Musical director Sarha Moore and musicians
The parade in Whitechapel
Watching the parade in Whitechapel Road
The parade approaches Mile End Waste
Oratory by the statue of William Booth, Mile End Waste
Carrie Hamilton as anarchist orator Emma Goldman
Julie Begum as investigative journalist Olive Christian Malvery
Rabbi Janet Burden of Ealing Liberal Synagogue
Organisers Nadia Valman and Vivi Lachs at Mile End Waste