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The University of Southampton
The Parkes Institute

Immigrants – Aliens – Displaced Persons: Reassessing the Jewish Mass Migration from Eastern Europe 1860–1950 Seminar

5 November 2013
Lecture C Avenue Campus University of Southampton SO17 1BF

For more information regarding this seminar, please email .

Event details

Part of the Parkes Institute Seminar series

Were Jewish migrations in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries exceptional or typical? To answer this question my talk seeks to present a broadly contextualized reassessment of Jewish migrations on a global scale between 1860 and 1960. The time frame reaches from the beginnings of the Jewish mass migration from Eastern Europe to the dissolution of the last camps for Jewish displaced persons in West Germany during the 1950s. I suggest moving the focus from the (relative) success story of Jewish immigration in different countries to the actual migration process and thus to migrants who before 1914 could and did exercise agency but were often deprived of it after 1914.

The history of Jewish migrants and migrations betrays a crucial transformation in the history of global migrations, the shift from a period of relatively open (albeit gradually closing) borders before 1914 to severe migration restrictions on both sides of the Atlantic, forced migration and displacement on an unprecedented scale after 1914. Through the transnational lens of the Jewish diaspora I want to touch on four themes: the transformation of and relationship between the migration policies in different states before and after 1914; the rise of a transnational Jewish sphere, represented in particular by Jewish humanitarian associations supporting migrants; the business of migration; and the agency of average Jewish migrants.

Tobias Brinkmann (MA, Indiana University, Bloomington, 1992; Ph.D., Technical University Berlin, 2000) is the Malvin and Lea Bank Associate Professor of Jewish Studies and History at Penn State University, University Park, PA. Between 2004 and 2008 he taught at the Department of History and the Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations at the University of Southampton, UK. Brinkmann is a member of the Academic Council of the American Jewish Historical Society and of the Board of the Leo Baeck Institute, London. He was the John F. Kennedy Memorial Fellow at the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University in 2007/08. He is currently working on a study about Jewish migration from Eastern Europe between 1860 and 1950.

Recent publications: Sundays at Sinai: A Jewish Congregation in Chicago (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012); Editor of Points of Passage: Jewish Transmigrants from Eastern Europe in Scandinavia, Germany, and Britain 1880-1914 (New York: Berghahn, 2013).

All welcome.

Jewish migrants boarding a ship

Speaker information

Professor Tobias Brinkmann , Penn State University. Malvin and Lea Bank Associate Professor of Jewish Studies and History

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