Photo Special: The Great Yiddish Parade – Part of Being Human Festival

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

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All Things SED Editor

I am the Web and Marketing Administrator in the School of English and Drama. Amongst my various roles, I run the School's website ( and its Twitter feed (@QMULsed). I also manage the running of the School's Open Days and draft promotional materials.