German Historical Institute London

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In Global Transit

Jewish Migrants from Hitler’s Europe in Asia, Africa, and Beyond


14–18 February 2018

Conveners: Andreas Gestrich (GHI London), Simone Lässig (GHI Washington), Anne Schenderlein (GHI Washington), and Indra Sengupta (GHI London) – (all from the Max Weber Stiftung)
Venue: Loreto College, 7 Sir William Jones Sarani (formerly Middleton Row), Kolkata - 700 071 West Bengal, India
A conference of the Max Weber Stiftung (GHI Washington, GHI London, MWS India Branch Office Delhi) and the American Institute of Indian Studies


The conference will primarily showcase recent research on the experiences of European Jews who fled Europe during the Nazi era. Research on Jewish experiences of exile and refugee outside Europe has overwhelmingly focused on the places where European Jews finally settled: for instance, the United States, Palestine, and South America. However, many Jewish refugees only reached these destinations after months or even years spent moving from place to place in various parts of the world. These were, as it were, lives in global transit. In Global Transit promises to open up new geographic, chronological, and conceptual perspectives on the refugees’ experiences of flight and belonging as well as anti-Semitism and racism at a time of war and colonialism.

India, one of the temporary havens for Jews fleeing persecution in Europe, is a fitting location for a conference on these largely unexplored, transitory havens for European Jews in Asia and Africa.

The conference is the first in a series pf conferences through which the Max Weber Foundation aims to enrich public debate by bringing a historical perspective to the issues of migration and refugee aid. The conference will take place at Loreto College, Middleton Row. It will be accompanied by an exhibition on European Jewish refugees in Calcutta ‘The City as Refuge: Jewish Calcutta and refugees from Hitler’s Europe’.


Conference programme (PDF file)