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Public Seminar Series, Michaelmas term 2018

Series convenors: Professor Matthew Gibney, Professor Cathryn Costello, Professor Tom Scott-Smith

Seminar held on 21 November 2018

About the seminar

The 80th anniversary of the Kindertransport is a fitting time to reflect on the programme and reassess the ways in which it has been remembered in this country. The enduring narrative of the Kindertransport as a heroic response that rescued and saved 10,000 predominantly Jewish youngsters under the age of seventeen has reappeared in the national conversation in the context of current refugee crises. Utilising rare archival evidence from Kindertransportees’ case files as well as testimonial sources, this lecture will seek to explore the ways in which the dominant celebratory narrative of the Kindertransport fails to encompass the entire scope of the Kinder and their families’ actual experiences. In contesting the memory of the Kindertransport as an unequivocal act of altruism on the part of the British nation and people, the lecture will also explore the ways in which it is a misreading of the Kindertransport to hold it up as a model response to humanitarian crises involving children.

About the speaker

After completing an MA at the California State University, Sacramento in 2010, Dr Craig-Norton left a secondary teaching career and came to Southampton University to begin a PhD in 2011, researching the Kindertransport under the supervision of Professor Tony Kushner. She completed her doctorate in 2014 and is currently serving a three-year term as a British Academy Post-doctoral Fellow at Southampton University as a member of the Parkes Institute. Her research project, “‘The right type of refugee’: Jewish Domestics and Nurses in Britain 1933-1948’, examines the lives of the over 20,000 Jewish women who came to the UK in the 1930s to serve as servants in British homes and the thousand or so who arrived as student nurses. In addition to research, she is involved in teaching and supporting the Parkes Institute in its outreach and public engagement activities.


Photo: Asylum-seekers leaving Lesvos after the Government authorised them to continue procedures on mainland Greece. Credit: UNHCR/Yorgos Kyvernitis