One way of reflecting on our theme of being ‘Open to People’ on or around Holocaust Memorial Day, 27 January, is to listen to the voices of Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany in the British Library’s collection, freely available to anyone.
Research into this testimony poses its own challenges, which are discussed in an open access article article by Angela Davis: Belonging and ‘Unbelonging’: Jewish refugee and survivor women in 1950s Britain, Angela Davis, Women's History Review Vol. 26, Iss. 1, 2017.
A striking image can be seen on the National Holocaust Centre’s website which shows the suitcase carried by Ruth Michaelis, now Barnett, when she first came to the UK as a child refugee from Nazi Germany.
In an OpenLearn video Ruth says:
The government gives and the government takes. The Nazi German Government took away nationality from all German Jews. It’s as easy as that.
I found myself having to travel with a piece of A4 sheet paper with ‘Person of no nationality’ written across the top. I shudder even now when I remember how awful it felt.