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German-speaking Jewish refugees and India, 1930s–1950s

Joseph Cronin

Between 1000 and 5000 Jews found refuge from the Nazis in British India during the Second World War, yet comparatively little is known about this cohort.

This project will investigate how policy and geopolitical circumstances impacted upon the life-histories of refugees and trace some of their individual trajectories: how they were able to migrate to India in the 1930s, their experiences during the war years and the circumstances in which they left India afterwards.

The research will draw on a range of sources, including official documents such as policy memoranda and visa applications, along with the correspondence and records of various Jewish aid organizations such as the Council for German Jewry (London) and the Jewish Relief Association (Bombay). These documents are spread across archives in the UK (British Library, Wiener Library), India (National Archives of India, West Bengal State Archives), the US (USHMM) and Israel (Israel State Archives, Yad Vashem). The project will also draw upon unpublished memoirs and letters held in private collections and oral interviews with the descendants of refugees living in the UK. The main output of this project will be a scholarly monograph on the subject, along with at least two journal articles, blog posts, and papers presented at a number of international conferences.