Cities Of Refuge: German Jews In London And New York, 1935-1945

Cities Of Refuge: German Jews In London And New York, 1935-1945
by Lori Gemeiner Bihler / / / PDF


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Contrasts the experiences of German Jewish refugees from the Holocaust who fled to London and New York City. In the years following Hitlers rise to power, German Jews faced increasingly restrictive antisemitic laws, and many responded by fleeing to more tolerant countries. Cities of Refuge compares the experiences of Jewish refugees who immigrated to London and New York City by analyzing letters, diaries, newspapers, organizational documents, and oral histories. Lori Gemeiner Bihler examines institutions, neighborhoods, employment, language use, name changes, dress, family dynamics, and domestic life in these two cities to determine why immigrants in London adopted local customs more quickly than those in New York City, yet identified less as British than their counterparts in the United States did as American. By highlighting a disparity between integration and identity formation, Bihler challenges traditional theories of assimilation and provides a new framework for the study of refugees and migration. This is the first comprehensive comparative study of German Jewish immigration during the period of National Socialism. Comparing German Jews who fled their homeland and resettled in London with those who resettled in New York City, Bihler carefully documents the distinct structural conditions each group encountered and consequently the divergent lives the two immigrant groups led. Bihlers numerous significant insights would be unattainable without her intellectual commitment to rigorous comparative study. Judith M. Gerson, coeditor of Sociology Confronts the Holocaust: Memories and Identities in Jewish Diasporas

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