Bill Williams
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The forgotten refugees
Manchester and the Basque children of 1937
in ‘Jews and other foreigners’
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In applying immigration law, the British government made the occasional concession and its agents at the ports of entry their occasional mistake. The British public had apparently become persuaded by 1937 that the regulations contained in the Alien Acts represented a valid and minimal defence of the ‘national interest’. The temporary and conditional admission of the Basque children suggests the very limited impact which even as potentially explosive a mix of international events, popular sentiment and voluntary action, such as that which came to exist in the spring of 1937, might exert on public as well as governmental perceptions of the national interest. It seems clear from the imagery and language surrounding discussions of the Basque children that notions of Britain's humanitarian tradition floated freely within the whole of Britain's political spectrum.

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‘Jews and other foreigners’

Manchester and the rescue of the victims of European fascism, 1933–1940


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