National Lottery funds study on Second World War refugees in Wales
Left to right: James Bulgin, content leader for the IWM Holocaust Galleries, Barbara Winton, Daughter of Kindertransport helper Sir Nicholas Winton, Dr Andrea Hammel and Lord Alf Dubs at the Imperial War Museum London, in March 2018.
06 November 2019
An Aberystwyth University project looking at the experiences of refugees who came to Wales after fleeing the Nazis, and the local communities that welcomed them, has received a share of a £2m National Lottery Heritage Fund grant.
The work forms part of the Imperial War Museum (IWM) Second World War and Holocaust Partnership programme; a public engagement collaboration between IWM and eight regional partners across the UK.
The programme aims to engage new audiences in projects which explore local Second World War and Holocaust collections and themes within the UK.
Aberystwyth University’s part in the programme is led by Dr Andrea Hammel, Reader in German in the Department of Modern Languages, who specialises in researching refugees of the 1930s and 1940s and especially the Kindertransport.
Dr Hammel said: “It is exciting to be part of this national partnership which will support and enable knowledge exchange across the UK. I think it is important to show the complex history of the Second World War. Research on the involvement of Welsh communities in the Second World War has often focused on combatants, but refugees and their civilian helpers are an important aspect which has long been overlooked.”
Each of the eight regional partners will uncover and share stories through research and public engagement activities, and host a paid one-year Digital Internship. The result of the work will be showcased through an exhibition at IWM London, online and at regional venues through a touring digital experience.
As well as supporting IWM’s national Second World War and Holocaust Partnership programme, the £2,079,200 grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund will contribute towards the new Second World War and The Holocaust Galleries and a brand new digitally-enabled Learning Suite at IWM London, opening in 2021.
Stuart Hobley, Area Director London & South, The National Lottery Heritage Fund said: “These new galleries will ensure the voices, stories and legacies of one of the world’s most defining parts of history can be shared and remembered for generations to come. The National Lottery turns 25 this year, in that time over £7.9billion has been raised for the UK’s heritage. The perspectives of communities are a vital part of that heritage and IWM’s partnership and digital programme will enable people across the UK to reflect on the important stories of the Second World War and The Holocaust.”
Diane Lees, Director-General, IWM said: “We are delighted to announce this generous pledge from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, which will help IWM to deepen public understanding of the causes, course and consequences of the Second World War and The Holocaust. Our new galleries will be unique in presenting the complex narrative of the Holocaust within the context of the Second World War and will create an accessible, engaging narrative populated by the stories of real people from diverse communities. Through the Second World War and Holocaust Partnership, we will share the diversity of these experiences, reconnecting audiences across the UK with the enduring national legacy of the conflict and its relevance today.”
The other regional partners within the IWM Second World War and Holocaust Partnership programme are: Cornwall’s Regimental Museum and the Museum of Cornish Life; the Holocaust Exhibition and Learning Centre, Holocaust Survivors’ Friendship Association; the National Holocaust Centre; Manchester Jewish Museum; National Museums Northern Ireland; Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums; Highlanders Museum, and Fort George. Aberystwyth University is the only partner in Wales.
Dr Hammel is Committee Member of the Research Centre for German and Austrian Exile Studies, Institute of Modern Languages Research, University of London; a member of the Editorial Board of their Yearbook (Rodopi); and a committee member of the Association of Exile Studies in Germany. She has recently been involved in an Open Air Exhibition on the Kindertransport 1938/9 in Berlin.