Online Short Course: Britain and the Refugee Crisis: Then and Now

Chad McDonald's picture
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
British History / Studies, Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies, Immigration & Migration History / Studies, Jewish History / Studies, Race / Ethnic Studies

In 2021, when there are more than 79.5 million displaced people across the world and the British Home Secretary proposes re-housing refugees on distant islands, an understanding of refugees as innocent people rather than an invasion is sorely needed. Through an exploration of British responses to the 1930s and 1940s Refugee Crisis, this course will reveal a neglected history of support for refugees from remarkable people and institutions of all faiths and none.

Weekly Topics:

  1. "Tradition of Hospitality": James Parkes versus Rising Antisemitism across Europe (301BRCa)
  2. "An Appeal to the British Public": Eleanor Rathbone and Victor Gollancz’s Campaign for European Jewry (301BRCb)
  3. "The Power of Good": Nicholas Winton and the Prague Kindertransports (301BRCc)
  4. "Ungrudgingly Opened its Doors": The West London Synagogue’s Legacy of Rescue (301BRCd)

Time: Sundays, 6.30pm to 7.45pm
Dates: 17, 24, 31 January, & 7 February 2021
Course name and code: Britain and the Refugee Crisis: Then and Now (301BRC)

Venue: On Zoom (link will be provided before each session)
Cost: Full price £60; Concessions £25; Single session £20

This course is hosted by the Sir Martin Gilbert Learning Centre, working in partnership with the University of Southampton’s Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations, West London Synagogue, and the Lyons Learning Project.


Dr Jennifer Craig-Norton is an Honorary Fellow of the Parkes Institute, University of Southampton. Her publications include The Kindertransport: Contesting Memory (Indiana University Press, 2019) and Migrant Histories and Historiographies: Essays in honour of Colin Holmes (Routledge Studies in Radical History and Politics, 2018), co-edited with Christhard Hoffman and Tony Kushner. In 2019, she received a grant from the West London Synagogue looking into their historic work with refugees, and she is writing a book on Jewish refugee domestics and nurses, 1938-1950.

Dr Tony Kushner is Professor in the Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations and History Department at the University of Southampton. He has written widely on the British Jewish experience, especially social history and comparative migration. His most recent books are The Battle of Britishness: Migrant Journeys since 1685 (Manchester University Press, 2012) and Journeys from the Abyss: The Holocaust and Forced Migration from the 1880s to the Present (Liverpool University Press, 2017). He is currently working on a study of a Jewish triple murderer and, with Dr Aimee Bunting, Co-Presents to the Holocaust. He is co-editor of the journal Patterns of Prejudice and deputy editor of Jewish Culture and History.

Dr Chad McDonald is a Visiting Fellow at the Parkes Institute, University of Southampton, and Academic Skills Tutor (Arts and Humanities) at the University of Chester. He is the curator of the award-winning travelling exhibition James Parkes and the Age of Intolerance, which has visited Christian, Jewish, and civic venues throughout Britain. Chad is the Social Media Editor for the journal Patterns of Prejudice.

Contact Info: 

For booking enquiries, please email the Sir Martin Gilbert Learning Centre, indicating whether you would like to book for the whole course (recommended) or individual sessions.