Justice for the Refugee: The Refugee Experience in Great Britain During World War II

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Lovell, Kelly
In light of the current refugee crisis as a result of the war in Syria, this presentation takes a look at another refugee crisis in European history. During the 1930s and 1949s, millions of people fled their home countries to escape persecution. Thousands of people attempted to make their way to Great Britain in the hope of finding a warm welcome. However, Britain remained very selective when deciding who to allow into the country. This presentation, accompanied by a PowerPoint and informational handouts, explores the different immigration and refugee policies in place in Britain during the 1930s and 1940s, as well as the experiences of different refugee groups such as communists, academics and Jewish people. The British government favored the admittance of certain groups over others, and this presentation will explore how categories affected a person’s treatment. The presentation will include a discussion of the internment camps used briefly in Britain and the opinions of the general public. GOAL/OUTCOME #1 Participants will be able to reflect on current events through a historical lens. GOAL/OUTCOME #2 Participants will examine individual experiences in order to build general understanding of a complicated situation. GOAL/OUTCOME #3 Participants will understand how to look to the past to help create a more just and equal future.
Kelly Lovell, History Major, The College at Brockport Kelly Lovell is a senior history major in the Honors College, studying adolescent social studies education with a minor in sociology. Her presentation is based on her Honors Senior thesis, which examines British immigration policy during the 1930s and 1940s, as well as how these policies affected the experiences of refugees. Kelly has been recognized by the Department of History at Brockport for her previous research papers with the Robert Griswold History Award and the Arthur M. Lee History Award.