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In Global Transit. Forced Migration of Jews and Other Refugees (1940s – 1960s)

20-22 May 2019

Second Conference in the Series “In Global Transit” organized by the German Historical Institutes in Washington and London in cooperation with the Max Weber Stiftung Branch Offices in Delhi and Beijing, and The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, University of California, Berkeley

Venue: The Magnes Collection, 2121 Allston Way, Berkeley, USA

Conveners: Wolf Gruner (USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research, Los Angeles), Simone Lässig (German Historical Institute Washington), Francesco Spagnolo (The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, Berkeley), Swen Steinberg (Queen's University, Kingston)

This conference is the second in a conference series devoted to people “In Global Transit.” The first conference, which took place in Kolkata in 2017 focused on Jewish and political refugees from Nazi-controlled Europe who fled, at least initially, to European colonies or countries of the global South.

“In Global Transit: Forced Migration of Jews and other Refugees (1940s-1960s)” will build on the 2017 conference, taking a broader perspective and expanding the geographic and analytical focus. It will examine the experience of Jewish refugees who found haven — but not new homes — in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. For most of these individuals, the end of the war did not mean an end to life in transit. To the contrary: after a period of temporary settlement, they found themselves not only once again on the move, but also in a new, more ambiguous situation. On the one hand, growing awareness of the Nazis’ attempt to wipe out European Jewry called attention to the plight of the Jewish refugees. But, on the other, they were just one among many groups in search of permanent homes as the large-scale expulsion of ethnic, religious, and/or national groups became a global phenomenon. The ever-more frequent waves of involuntary migration, in turn, provided the impetus for the development of an international refugee policy — a process in which onetime refugees from Nazi-controlled Europe played a notable part.

Conference programme (PDF file)