Bill Williams
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‘Humanitarianism of the greatest value’
Manchester Rotarians and refugees
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The Rotarian experience might give those inclined to portray the late 1930s and early 1940s in simple terms as a battleground between European Fascism and democratic values exemplified by British institutions, further cause for thought. Although leading Manchester Rotarians were prepared to thus contextualise their club's policies, it seems clear that not all Manchester Rotarians were free from the kind of prejudice which, in its more intense form, had inspired Nazism. Of those who were, not all were prepared to pay respect to the particular heritage of the Jewish people. Humanitarian intent towards refugees, whether of the British state or of British voluntary organs of philanthropy, however real, however valuable in its results and however conceptualised as an expression of a distinctively British tradition, was tempered by equally traditional concerns about the character and impact of ‘Jews and other foreigners’.

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‘Jews and other foreigners’

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


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