Narrating the Margins and the CenterKindertransportees' stories of national and religious belonging

Authors Organisations
Type Article
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-228
Number of pages26
JournalShofar
Volume37
Issue number3
Early online date15 Sep 2019
DOI
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 2019
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Abstract

The memories of the child refugees who fled Central Europe on the so-called Kindertransport between December 1938 and September 1939 are the most widely documented of any refugee and migrant group to come the United Kingdom. However, the dominant narrative has been one of migration to and settling in England, despite the fact that the child refugees settled in places across the British Isles, including Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland—the last of which, for example, received an estimated eight hundred Kindertransportees. This essay will investigate how former Kindertransportees negotiate their different identities in their memory narratives. The majority of the Kindertransportees were Jewish, although approximately 20 percent came from families that did not identify as Jewish but were persecuted as Jews. Therefore, there is a complicated interplay of religious identities, those derived from the country the child refugees were leaving behind and those of the country and the nations of settlement. This article will compare those narratives that construct non-English identity as Other, those that adopt separate national identities in the Diaspora with earlier definitions of Englishness versus Britishness, and others that adopt a center/margin hierarchy common in British culture

Keywords

  • Kindertransport, Jewish identity, Jewish refugees, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, child, Child