by Kathryn Hadley
‘Refugee Voices’ will be launched this evening during a reception at the Wiener Library as part of Refugee Week 2009. ‘Refugee Voices’ is an audio-visual Holocaust testimony archive featuring a collection of 150 filmed interviews with Holocaust survivors and refugees, who escaped and survived Nazi-occupied Europe and rebuilt their lives in Britain. The interviews, in English, focus on the personal life stories of Holocaust survivors in Britain after the Second World War. The collection includes 450 hours of filmed and transcribed accounts and each interview is accompanied by photographs, artefacts and documents. Visitors will be able to consult the archive at the library.
The project was completed by the Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR), which was founded in 1941 as a self-help organisation by those refugees who fled Nazi-occupied Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia. The association now aims to provide social and welfare services to victims of Nazi persecution living in Britain and to promote and support projects related to Holocaust education and commemoration.
The Wiener Library, founded in 1933 and the world’s oldest Holocaust memorial institution, is the first UK institution to receive a copy of Refugee Voices.
Prior to the official launch ceremony, this evening, a seminar is being organised during the afternoon on ‘War, Refugees and Testimony’. Speakers will discuss the arrival of refugees as a result of war, their contribution to Britain and the historical importance of the stories and testimonies they leave behind.
The Wiener Library Institute of Contemporary History
4 Devonshire Street
London W1W 5BH
Telephone: 020 7636 7247
The website of the Association of Jewish Refugees is http://www.ajr.org.uk/
For further information on the fate of Jewish children who were permitted to travel to Britain to escape the Nazi regime, read our article Kindertransport: Terror, Trauma and Triumph
For further information on the Jewish academics who emigrated to Britain following the Nazi takeover of Germany, read our article No Utopia - Refugee Scholars in Britain
For further information on British attitudes towards refugees especially at times of war, read our article Alien Attitudes?