Feb 2002 Journal

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Continental Britons'

Jewish refugees from Nazi Europe

The exhibition 'Continental Britons', which opens at the Jewish Museum in London's Camden Town this Spring, relates the unique history and shared experiences of AJR members who left Nazi-dominated countries to arrive in Britain as refugees with little but hope.

Their story is often only sketchily known by their own children, hardly recalled or appreciated by the Anglo-Jewish community and little remembered or understood by the wider community. Together with a broad programme of lectures, visits, films, concerts and discussions, the exhibition will help to fill this gap and explain how they came to make new lives and families, and contributed to their country of adoption.

Researched, planned and written by a special AJR Project Development Group, and funded by the AJR, the exhibition begins with a review of the life left behind in Germany and Austria, then follows the refugees' arrival and settlement in Great Britain, their experiences during the war, internment and military service, coping with wartime austerity, and the foundation of the AJR and other institutions. After the war it records becoming British, settling in the new homeland, forming a refugee community, and participating fully in the country's economic and cultural life.

Illustrated throughout with documents, pictures, personal memoirs, artefacts, photographs, and with a concise and authoritative commentary, the exhibition will also show audio-visual testimony from refugees in different walks of life. Continental café society will be evoked with memories of the Cosmo Restaurant and an illustrated map of the Finchley Road will help to recall the thriving refugee heartland.
RDC

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