Still In Our Hands: Kindertransport Live Portraits
This exhibition at the Jewish Museum London from November 2018 - February 2019 features portraits of 10 Kinder who were interviewed for the Refugee Voices Testimony Archive of the Association of Jewish Refugees. The fates of the 10,000 Kinder who came to Great Britain fleeing Nazi Europe from 1938 to 1939 were in the hands of many different agencies, governments, voluntary organisations, foster families, and individual sponsors. In the words of one interviewee, the Kinder were ‘thrown around by the tides of history’. Yet, each individual Kind also shaped their own destiny, making his or her way in their personal and professional lives in the UK and elsewhere.
The portraits are intended to demonstrate the connection between then and now – between a world which had not yet been ruptured and a life lived. The Kinder hold their own photos in their hands. They take ownership of the life they lived and the life history they have narrated.
The traumatic experience of the Kindertransport continues to be relevant today, in a world which sees new waves of child migration. The legacy of the history of the Kindertransport lies in our hands and those of future generations.
This exhibition is dedicated to all the Kinder in the Refugee Voices Testimony Archive who shared their life history with us, gave us access to their personal archives and allowed us to photograph them.
‘Continental Britons - Jewish Refugees from Nazi Europe’ was an exhibition presented by AJR and the Jewish Museum in 2002 which related the remarkable and compelling story of the Jewish refugees who fled Nazi persecution in the German-speaking countries before World War II and came to Britain.
Illustrated throughout with documents, photographs, personal memoirs, artefacts and art works, and with a concise and authoritative commentary, the exhibition followed the journey of the refugees - how they arrived, where they settled, their experience of hostels, foster families and internment as enemy aliens. It also touched on the dilemmas and challenges faced by all refugees, past and present, such as the loss of a secure home, the difficulties of adjusting to a new culture and the reception by British society.
A central feature was an audio-visual installation relaying personal testimonies. Contributors included Andrew Sachs (Manuel in ‘Fawlty Towers’), who emigrated to Britain from Berlin in 1938, Lord Claus Moser, Norbert Brainin of the Amadeus Quartet, Anton Walter Freud (grandson of Sigmund Freud) who arrived in the UK from Vienna in 1938, and photographer Wolfgang Suschitzky, also from Vienna. Continental café society was evoked by means of a reconstruction of the Cosmo Restaurant, and an illustrated map of the Finchley Road recalled the heartland of a thriving refugee community.
Continental Britons was a highlight of the Jewish Museum’s seventieth anniversary year in 2002. It was sponsored by and created in partnership with the AJR. The related programme of events was organised in conjunction with organisations including the Wiener Library, Imperial War Museum, London Jewish Cultural Centre, Jewish Music Institute, Ben Uri Gallery, the Freud Museum and the Refugee Council. To view the exhibition panels please click here.
‘Double Exposure: Jewish Refugees from Austria in Britain’ is a photographic exhibition of portraits of 25 Austrian Jewish Refugees who settled in the UK, including the violinist Nobert Brainin, the photographer and cameraman Wolfgang Suschitzky, and the composer Joseph Horovitz.
All 25 interviewees featured in this exhibition have taken part in the Continental Britons and AJR Refugee Voices audio-visual history projects and have given their testimony within the last 10 years. The portraits capture the subjects during the interview, as they appear on screen. The portraits of the interviewees are complemented by short messages and thoughts expressed in the interview (in English and German). These touch on general themes of tolerance, refugees, racism, history, humanity, and identity.
Accompanying the photographic exhibition is a film, which follows the lives of the 25 Austrian men and women depicted in the portraits and explores their double exposure to the cultures of Austria and Britain.
The exhibition was opened at the Austrian Cultural Forum, London in 2011 and has since been displayed in the Literaturhaus, Vienna, the London Jewish Cultural Centre, the Aberystwth Arts Centre, and the German Historical Institute in London. View the exhibition catalogue here.