Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies

Multimedia Archive



The book--her fourth co-authored with Professor Robert Jan Van Pelt of Waterloo University-- is built around the stories of Hitler's first victims, Jews who fled Germany and Austria between 1933 and 1939. The book examines the ever-dwindling choices open to asylum seekers, and the often painful decisions of the people who dealt with them – consuls, immigration officers and other government officials, church, health and social workers, volunteers and private individuals. Government policy and individual practice, and international action and local initiatives loomed large in this chapter of Holocaust history.

Adam Kirsh of The New Republic writes, "The refugees Dwork and van Pelt write about…were largely assimilated Jews in an advanced, urban society, and their stories offer the all-too-imaginable scenario of law-abiding citizens whose government turns, gradually but inexorably, into their enemy."

Dwork told Jewish Week that "the past can offer us guideposts and points to think about," referring to current examples of economic and political refugees and how communities might prepare for the absorption of such refugees. "When I look at the way Jewish refugees have enriched communities where they settled -- in terms of human capital, not money -- I feel great about refugees coming to my community, and look forward to their participation," she said.

Debórah Dwork
"Flight From the Reich: Refugee Jews, 1933-1946"
September 10, 2009
Tilton Hall, Higgins University Center, Clark University
RT: 64 minutes
Sponsored by: Strassler Family Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies