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28.01.21

Refugees in Empire: Holocaust refugees in British India

How did Jewish refugees carve themselves a place in British Indian society, and how did that society view them?

When the word “refugee” is used in Holocaust studies, it mainly focuses around the role of nation-states that either set up their own refugee aid organisations or worked with other states to set up wider international cooperative efforts. But by doing this, we forget about the context of empires, and that these empires shaped the experiences of Holocaust refugees.

This talk by Pragya Kaul from the University of Michigan will use photographs and writings of Jewish refugees in British India to look at the place of European Jews in colonial hierarchies. It will also address the fact that Jewish people were categorised in certain ways, mostly not by their own choice, both before and following the start of the Second World War; refugees settling in India responded to this changing status in different ways. By including this narrative of empire and the idea of colonial hierarchy, we can ask new questions about Holocaust refugees, and also direct these questions to the archives that allow us to know more about them.

This event is part of our digital event series ‘Transnational Jewish Identities at the Periphery’.

This talk will take place at 7.00pm GMT – if joining us from a different country, please check the timezone appropriate to where you are.