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Hybrid Lunchtime Exhibition Talk: Red Cross Messages from Nazi Germany, with Anthony Grenville

June 28, 2023 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

This event is organised as part of the Holocaust Letters exhibition events series organised by the Holocaust and Genocide Research Partnership. 

Red Cross messages had been introduced during the First World War, when an urgent need developed for a means that would re-establish the communications that had been severed by the conflict, for example between prisoners of war and their families at home. During the Second World War, as conventional means of communication were increasingly denied to Jews trapped in the Third Reich, Red Cross messages came to play a vital part in what remained of the contacts between those Jews and their family members who had escaped abroad; little systematic attention has, however, as yet been devoted to them. The restriction of those contacts to brief messages of 25 words reflected the cruel restrictions that were imposed on Jews in the Third Reich in almost all aspects of the final stage of their lives before their deportation to the east. This talk will examine as an example the communications between my mother, Gertrude Grünfeld (Grenville), in London and her parents in Vienna, as these developed from normal letters to the use of a post office box in neutral Portugal and finally to Red Cross messages. 

About the Speaker 

Dr Anthony Grenville, BA, D.Phil (Oxford), lectured in German at the Universities of Reading, Bristol and Westminster, 1971-96. He worked for the Association of Jewish Refugees, including as Editor of its monthly publication, AJR Journal, 2006-17. He is a founder member of the Research Centre for German & Austrian Exile Studies, University of London, and has been its Chair since 2013. He served on the executive committee of the Gesellschaft für Exilforschung (Society for Exile Studies) and was awarded honorary membership in 2021. He co-created the exhibition Continental Britons (Jewish Museum, 2002) and co-founded the AJR’s Refugee Voices collection of filmed interviews. He has published numerous books and articles in the field of exile studies, including Jewish Refugees from Germany and Austria in Britain, 1933-1970 (2010). 

This event is free, although registration via the link below is required. Please note that our free events are run by staff volunteers. Thank you for your patience should we have any technical or audio difficulties. We will do our best to correct them but this is not always possible.

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