COLLECTIONS ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST ERA
The Archives Centre (SJAC) is documenting the experiences of those who came to Scotland in the 1930s and 1940s – those who came on the Kindertransport, or through the efforts of Bertha Pappenheim, Nicholas Winton and others; the several hundred refugee doctors from Germany and elsewhere who were able to requalify here in Scotland; holders of domestic service visas, political refugees, Polish soldiers, refugee businessmen who rebuilt their businesses in Scotland -so providing much needed employment, refugee artists, refugee rabbis and cantors, concentration camp survivors and others.
The collections deposited here by refugees and/or their families have preserved a rich resource for historians, researchers, educationalists and others. The collections include German, Austrian, Polish, Hungarian and Czech birth, marriage and death certificates, photographs, family trees, identity documents, passports, legal documents, medical reports, school and university certificates, character references and work references, military records and war medals.
In addition, the SJAC holds correspondence, interviews and personal testimony, press cuttings, Home Office and Red Cross documents, records of refugee hostels and agricultural farm schools and artefacts relating to the refugees.
We are examining the contribution made by these refugees to Scottish society in many areas and also the role of the Jewish community and wider Scottish society in receiving, assisting and absorbing the refugees – including agricultural training schools and hostels, the Women’s Appeal Committee and a number of other support groups.
We are also looking at self-help organisations such as the Society of Jewish Refugees and the Mutual Refugee Aid Society (MRAS), as well as the refugee centres in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
As part of this story, we are also interested in documenting the response of the Jewish and non-Jewish community in Scotland.
The SJAC Scottish Holocaust-era Study Centre allows the material to be seen in the context of Jewish history in Scotland and of Scottish history at that time.
The display “Scotland a Sanctuary” is located in the Succah. This includes a graphic panel display looking at the period 1933- 1945/46 drawing from the SJAC collections. A series of panels form a timeline of events in Scotland and in Nazi Germany/ occupied Europe from 1933 through to the end of the Second World War. Other panels reveal the response in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Ayrshire, tell the stories of Holocaust survivors who came to live in Scotland and highlight some of the refugee contributions to Scotland. In the adjacent Study Centre, there are hands-on learning kits for schoolchildren, based on the experiences of three refugees who found sanctuary in Scotland, whose collections are housed in the SJAC.
There is a specialist library of over 200 reference books on the Holocaust, including refugee autobiographies and biographies (some of these books once belonged to individual refugees in Scotland).
Digital resources include a catalogue of over 3,000 key documents and photographs from the SJAC collections. There is also now searchable digital access to the Glasgow Jewish Echo, 1928-1950, as well as links to around 30 related websites.
SJAC has a growing collection of almost 50 interviews and personal testimonies from this period, as well as around 40 interview transcripts from the Gathering the Voices project and around 20 autobiographies and biographies.
The Scottish Holocaust -era Study Centre provides access to the refugee- era collections of the Scottish Jewish Archives Centre. To discuss research into these collections, contact the Archives Centre at firstname.lastname@example.org .
To arrange a school visit, see: https://sjhc.org.uk/school-visit/