The role of Jewish East Enders in working with early Sikh arrivals in the UK is set to form part of a new documentary film whose creators are seeking people who can talk to them from a Jewish perspective about the partnerships that developed.
Many of the East End Sikhs made a good living as peddlers, with support from the Jewish community. They were offered goods to sell in advance and also offered lines of credit to get them going. Jewish traders also offered these Sikhs accommodation, helping to make it possible for them later to start their own businesses.
The film is being made by Sebastian van der Velde and his work partner Azadvir Singh, who have made a number of feature documentaries about the Sikh community ('Sikh musical heritage'/Amazon Prime, 'Battle of Amritsar'/Cinema release UK, USA & Canada).
Sebastian says: “We are currently in the research stage of our new documentary about the early migration of Sikhs to Britain. During some of our interviews we discovered that many of the early Sikh arrivals settled in to East London and entered the profitable peddler trade. It seems that this was only possible because of the support they received from the Jewish community to get them started.
“This is clearly a very important part of the history and this story. I was wondering if you would know anyone who might have any further information or stories from a Jewish perspective and would be prepared to have a chat with myself.”