Refugee Voices

Refugee Voices is a groundbreaking Holocaust testimony collection of 150 filmed interviews with Jewish survivors and refugees from Nazism who rebuilt their lives in Great Britain. It was commissioned by the Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR), with Dr Anthony Grenville and Dr Bea Lewkowicz directing the project. The archive is available at the Malach Centre since February 2013. The collection consists of more than 450 hours of film and forms an invaluable resource for academics, researchers, educationalists and others with a professional interest in the field of refugee, migration and Holocaust studies. The collection has been designed precisely with the requirements of scholars and other professionals in mind.

Refugee Voices user interface

All interviews have been fully transcribed and catalogued enabling a researcher to be able to see an interview and then to read a transcript of the words spoken in it, or vice versa. For ease of reference, both the films and the transcripts are time-coded, making it possible to locate specific passages with a minimum of effort.

Accompanying the collection is a comprehensive database, containing an index of the interviews and details of the interviewees and their life stories. The interviews have been catalogued with 44 separate categories including place of birth, parents' details, manner of emigration, prisons/camps and profession. This provides a wealth of information to researchers, who can easily locate information relevant to a multitude of specific areas of interest, such as Kindertransport, domestic servants and internment on the Isle of Man as well as interviewees from specific places such as Berlin and Vienna. Each interview is accompanied by still shots of photos of family members and friends, places of importance for the interviewee and of other items or documents of special significance in the interviewee's life. These filmed photographs, artefacts, and documents provide a rich source of images for educational or documentary purposes.

In addition to exploring the contribution to Britain made by the refugees, the interviews cover the wide range of experiences of survivors including, amongst others, an interview with a survivor smuggled to safety from Denmark to Sweden, an interview with a woman who was 'exchanged' from Bergen Belsen to Switzerland and an interview with the last person alive today who was present at the signing of the Israeli Declaration of Independence. The archive also features interviews with survivors who have rarely spoken about their experiences.

About the Association of Jewish Refugees

Founded in 1941 by Jewish refugees from central Europe, the AJR provides social and welfare services and grants financial assistance to Jewish victims of Nazi persecution living in Great Britain.

Alongside our team of dedicated social care workers, who attend to the day-to-day needs of our members, we operate more than 40 regional social groups throughout the country, offering our members a unique opportunity to socialise, listen to guest speakers, share their experiences and enjoy entertainment. AJR members receive the monthly AJR Journal, which combines news analysis with leading articles as well as book, theatre and film reviews. The Journal’s historically-oriented leading articles, correspondence columns and the lively Letters to the Editor page eloquently evoke the culture and traditions of the refugees’ origins in pre-war Europe.


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