These days, around 200 Jews live on the tiny island, mostly in the capital Douglas. This small community is without a synagogue, a rabbi, or a place to buy kosher food. However there is a Jewish Cemetery.
The community was represented in the island’s parliament, Tynwald, until recently by Leonard Singer.
He, along with Carol Jempson, were responsible for the island instituting its own Holocaust Memorial Day, the first of which took place in 2001.
The 2018 event was held at St George’s Church in Douglas at 3pm on Sunday 28 January.
The annual event commemorates the millions of lives lost in the Nazi Holocaust and other genocides around the world, and honours those who speak out against persecution and hate.
The Power of Words is the theme for Memorial Day 2018. The service will reflect on how words used as a force for ill in propaganda can spread irrational hatred of others, but are also a powerful tool to capture the memories of survivors, to pass on as a deterrent to future generations.
This year’s service will also highlight internment in the Isle of Man during World War ll.
Organiser Carol Jempson said:
‘The lives of many Manx people were disrupted when their homes were requisitioned to form internment camps, as were the lives of those fleeing Nazi persecution as refugees who were rounded up and transported to the Island.
‘It is difficult to imagine the impact on these groups as they were forcibly removed from their homes. Through words and testimonies we will explore how their lives were affected and the physical and psychological hardships they suffered.’
The multi denominational service is open to everyone, and welcomes people of all faiths and none. The service will feature prose, prayers, music and song, and an address by Lord Bishop of Sodor and Man, the Right Reverend Peter Eagles.
Readings will be given by the Chief Minister Howard Quayle and President of Tynwald Steve Rodan. Mr Quayle said:
‘The day is an opportunity for everyone to learn lessons from the Holocaust and Nazi persecution, and come together in solidarity against prejudice and hatred. This year, the plight of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, who are suffering persecution in the 21st century, will be in our thoughts.’
A reading will be given on behalf of the Island’s Jewish community by Lindsay Quayle and the service will include contributions from pupils at all Island secondary schools.
During World War Two the island became an internment camp for Jewish Refugees from Germany and Austria.
In 1941, there were 200 Jewish physicians from London in Douglas’ Central Camp alone. Specialists and surgeons who had carried their instruments to the Isle of Man assisted local doctors running the camp sick bays and dispensaries, and caring for those with contagious or serious illnesses in hospital facilities in the Falcon Cliff Hotel. Forming close relationships, many attended the Central Promenade Camp Synagogue, whose services, in English took place in the ballroom of the Lido Dance Hall nearby; there was also a synagogue set up in a hut at the Onchan Camp.