Bill Williams
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‘Serious concern’
The Manchester Quakers and refugees, 1938–1940
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In the face of an increasing number of refugees reaching Manchester, the Quaker ISC could not justify any more than the Jewish community, what was at best a haphazard response to their needs. On 20 October 1938, the ISC declared itself ‘seriously concerned with the need to help the increasing number of refugees in this country’. The sense of a ‘refugee crisis’ had been developing since the Anschluss in March 1938. The most likely explanation, as it had been earlier in the case of the Jewish response, was pressure exerted from London. In the European capitals from which Kindertransports set out, Quakers helped families find places for their children, took part in organisational work, saw off children whose parents were barred from platforms, accompanied transports to Harwich, and arranged for the children to be met and befriended in London and Manchester.

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‘Jews and other foreigners’

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


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