This fonds was created by the Institute of Germanic Studies in the 1990s as a collection of material from a variety of sources related to the theme of exile. The material does not share any provenance above file- and sub-series-level groupings. These groups have been arranged into two series: material created by or relating to organizations and material created by or relating to individuals.
Material Created By or Relating to Organizations
This series contains records created by a variety of organisations related to the subject of refugees and exiles from Nazi-occupied Central Europe. The organizations can be broadly classified into the following groups:
1. Refugee organizations funded by the British government (the Czech Refugee Trust Fund);
2. Grass-roots level refugee groups like the the Birmingham Jewish Refugee Club, and the culturally-oriented Freier Deutscher Kulturbund and the Heinrich Heine Club, as well as informal groups of prisoners in the internment camps;
3. Refugee organizations affiliated to non-governmental international movements (PEN Centre of German-speaking Writers Abroad); and
4. Organizations carrying out research into exile-related subjects, such as the Kurt Hiller Gesellschaft and the Research Centre for German and Austrian Exile Studies at the Institute of Germanic Studies (now the Institute of Modern Languages Research). The records of the latter organisation form the greatest proportion of this series, and include the audio recordings and transcripts of an oral history project on German-speaking exiles in the UK carried out in the mid-1990s.
The records of organizations in the first of these two categories date mainly from the period 1940 to 1946; the records of the organizations in groups 3) and 4) date from the post-war period (mainly from the 1980s and 1990s). All but one of the organizations, the Kurt Hiller Gesellschaft, are UK-based.
Material Created By or Relating to Individuals
The latter series (records of individuals) contains records created by or relating to individual German-speaking exiles from Nazi-occupied Central Europe (mainly Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia). Most of the material fits into one of the following two categories:
1. Official documents, personal papers and memoirs of ordinary refugees who came to the UK in the 1930s;
2. Correspondence, plays, poems and other scripts (for example for radio broadcasts) of political activists, scholars, journalists, poets and other writers who went into exile in the UK and other countries. Notable amongst this material are the papers of the journalist Rudolf Olden, which include a draft copy of his biography of Hitler; poems and letters by the Austrian writer Fritz Gross; and correspondence between the British Germanic Studies scholar Professor C.P. Magill and the Austrian writer Felix Braun covering the period 1939 to 1970. There are also records of the cultural activities of internees in Mooragh Internment Camp, Isle of Man, and the autobiography of the scholar and activist Berhand Herzberg.
A box-list is available.