Mar 2005 Journal

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Help wanted for refugees' archives project

Sussex University's computer recording of nationwide German-Jewish refugees' personal and public archives

If you were a German-speaking refugee who came to Britain either as one of the 'Kinder' or as an adult between 1933 and 1950, or if you are a descendant, and are in possession of any papers, letters or photographs relating to those experiences, would you like to see them listed on a unique data base being compiled by the Centre for German-Jewish Studies at the University of Sussex for scholars of the period?

In proportion to its size, Britain received more refugees from Nazi-occupied Europe than any other country. The aim of this project, which is being led by Professors Edward Timms and J. M. Ritchie, is to create a comprehensive database recording the existence and whereabouts of Jewish refugee archival collections in any part of the British Isles, including collections of audio and audiovisual narratives. Both German and English language resources are being sought.

To avoid any possible misunderstanding, while the new database will record the content and location of any documents relating to German-Jewish refugees that are in private or public hands, the University of Sussex is unable to accept the papers themselves. (Several other institutions, such as the Wiener Library, which houses the Bertha Leverton Kindertransport Archive, other universities, the Imperial War Museum, or your county library are among those which may wish to accept your papers, but must be consulted individually.)

Sponsored by the highly respected national Arts and Humanities Research Board, the Sussex project will inaugurate a new era in migration research by recording the extent and variety of archival resources relating to German-speaking refugees, the majority from a Jewish background. To enable the project to be as comprehensive as possible, the Centre requests your help in recording collections which may range in size from a few letters to extensive private and professional papers. Please do not feel that you have to be a famous person for your papers to be included and you will be able to decide whether or not your papers should be made accessible to potential researchers.

In the first instance, please contact the Centre for German-Jewish Studies at Sussex University (not the Kindertransport or the AJR please) by phone, letter or email to give them an indication of the size of your collection. You will be sent a short questionnaire asking for a few basic details about yourself and your papers. Thank you for your co-operation in the vital task of keeping alive the cultural heritage of German-speaking refugees who came to Britain.

Professor Edward Timms
For all enquiries and to offer information, please contact:
Dr Andrea Hammel at the Centre for German-Jewish Studies, Arts Building B 120, University of Sussex, Falmer Brighton BN1 9QN
Tel 01273-877178 email

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