AJR Announces New Partnerships

From left to right: AJR Chief Executive Michael Newman, Center for Jewish History’s Chief of Archive and Library Services Rachel Miller and United Kingdom Special Envoy for Post-Holocaust Issues

The Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR) has announced two new partnerships which will enable audiences in the US and Europe to access and use the AJR Refugee Voices testimony archive. 


In a first collaboration with a US partner, the entire collection of 270 AJR Refugee Voices interviews will now be held at the Center for Jewish History in New York, which provides a collaborative home for the American Jewish Historical Society, American Sephardi Federation, Yeshiva University Museum, the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, and  Leo Baeck Institute. 


The Center for Jewish History’s Chief of Archive and Library Services, Rachel Miller said, “The Center for Jewish History is honoured to be the first US institution to provide access to these testimonies. These voices from the UK will broaden the rich digital footprint of the oral histories documenting the refugee and immigrant experiences of Central and Eastern European Jewish survivors, Iraqi Jews, and Soviet era refuseniks currently available to our US audience.”


The partnership with Austrian organisation erinnern.at and its online testimony platform weiter erzählen, opens up new digital learning avenues. This is the first time a collection of entire Refugee Voices interviews (Herta Kammerling, Walter Kammerling, John Chillag, Francis Max Steiner and Valerie Klimt) will be fully accessible online through a partner organisation. erinnern.at collects and presents video and audio interviews with victims of National Socialism with an Austrian connection. It is part of Austria’s Agency for Education and Internationalization which provides programmes for teaching and learning about National Socialism and the Holocaust. 


Refugee Voices is AJR’s ground-breaking Holocaust testimony collection of filmed interviews with Jewish survivors and refugees from Nazi Europe who fled to Great Britain prior to the Second World War or who came to the country at war’s end. Alongside the filmed interviews, the archive comprises photographs and documents that describe, in their own words, the lives of a remarkable community of people. 


AJR Refugee Voices can already be accessed at many of the world’s leading institutions for Holocaust studies and research, including Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, the Memorial de la Shoah in Paris and the Wiener Holocaust Library in London. The collection is also available for students at several UK and European Universities, such as Southampton, Essex and Leeds as well as the Freie University Berlin where it complements two other Holocaust survivor testimony archives. Recent publications using material from the Refugee Voices collection include Rebecca Clifford’s book ‘Survivors: Children Lives after the Holocaust’ and Deborah Cadbury book on Bunce Court entitled ‘The School that escaped the Nazis.’


Dr Bea Lewkowicz, director of the AJR Refugee Archive, said, “As we approach the 20th anniversary of the establishment of Refugee Voices, we are delighted to expand our international partnership and to share the many Holocaust testimonies we have collected with new audiences. It is our fervent hope that the precious stories we have captured will be used for research and study, to combat Holocaust denial and distortion, and to preserve for posterity a unique history and cultural heritage.”


The AJR is the leading national charitable organisation exclusively delivering social, welfare and volunteer services to Jewish victims of Nazi oppression living in Great Britain. 


The AJR is also the largest supporter of Holocaust educational programmes, projects and initiatives to commemorate the Holocaust in the UK.


The AJR has produced the ground-breaking audio-visual testimony archive, Refugee Voices. This collection of 250 filmed interviews creates a legacy of the experiences of the refugees and will advance and enhance Holocaust research for future generations. Refugee Voices enables Holocaust researchers and scholars to watch up to 500 hours of film and read fully edited and transcribed accounts. Researchers are assisted by timecodes that, together with a summary sheet and key words section, direct users to specific sections of the films.


The AJR’s ‘My Story’ project tells the life stories of Jewish refugees and Holocaust survivors through the production of individual life story books to be kept as treasured memories and tools for reminiscence and to raise awareness about the Holocaust and Nazi oppression.