as requested by Yad Vashem
for the paper entitled



by Dr Jennifer Taylor (October 2009)

for acceptance into their records

Dr Jennifer Taylor
Research Centre for German and Austrian Exile Studies,
Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies, University of London

I am indebted to Peter Kurer for suggesting the outline of this paper, and to Peter Kurer and Bill Williams for providing the details of the Manchester Quaker Refugee Committee and other material from the Manchester area.  Grateful thanks are also due to the staff of the Library of the Religious Society of Friends, London, for their assistance.

Dr. Jennifer Taylor, Research Centre for German and Austrian Exile Studies,
Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies, University of London

Dr. Peter F. Kurer,
Contemporary Witness, Manchester

Professor Eric Hobsbawm CH, FBA,
President, Birkbeck, University of London

Peter Kurer is quite right. While everybody knows vaguely that the Quakers did wonderful work, including the saving of Jewish refugees, the full extent of their achievement has not been recognised. Neither all of the archive material nor the memories of those helped by the Quakers have been adequately explored, and it is most important that this should be done before the generation of the 1930s disappears. I think Peter Kurer is to be congratulated for initiating the idea of the Missing Chapter and contributing his own memories to it.

If he wants more supporters for this initiative I am ready to add my signature:

Professor Dan Stone, FRSA.  
Professor of Modern History. Royal Holloway, University of London  

I concur. The important work of the Quakers ought to be recognised and, to that end, further research needs to be encouraged. Apart from the archives material in Friends House, London and in Philadelphia, I believe there are relevant papers in the archive of the Jewish Refugee Committee and elsewhere that could help to shed light on this vital, but woefully neglected history.  It would be wonderful if funding could be obtained to allow a PhD student or a more experienced researcher to carry out a substantial historical investigation into the role played by Quakers in saving the lives of Jews from the Third Reich; even better would be if that could happen soon, whilst the opportunity to interview the last survivors still exists.

I am happy to add my name to the list of supporters of Peter Kurer’s initiative.

Professor Edward Timms, OBE
Centre for German-Jewish Studies, University of Sussex

There is some urgency in the recognition of the Quakers as rescuers, in particular in Holocaust Museums as there are still holocaust survivors alive who may be able to bear witness to published work and who may be able to initiate further research.

The history of Jewish survival from Nazi Europe is incomplete without the inclusion of detailed accounts of the work of the Quakers as rescuers.

To encourage the rectifying of this omission and further research along these lines and to introduce some urgency into this matter, we the undersigned support the authenticity of this work and express the hope that the information it contains will be added in appropriate museums and institutions around the world.

Bill Williams
Research Fellow, Centre for Jewish Studies, University of Manchester.
Honory President, Historic Adviser and a founder member of Manchester Jewish Museum.

The Quakers of Manchester shared with the Jewish community the burden of supporting refugees arriving in the Manchester region from 1938. They found placements and guarantors for refugees who would otherwise have found it impossible to gain entry to Britain. They created a network of hostels for their accommodation and set up the Society of Friends Refugee Committee for Manchester and District, to supervise their welfare. Other Quakers gave help to refugees imprisoned as ‘enemy aliens’, working hard for their release.

Without Quaker support, many seeking entry to Britain would have been refused, and many who found their way to Manchester would have had much greater difficulty in the remaking of their lives.

At least 4,000 refugees were given support by Manchester Quakers. The Quakers also shared with the Jewish community the management of Region 10 of the Refugee Children’s Movement, with responsibility for nearly 1,000 Kindertransport children in the north of England