Bill Williams
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The saved and the trapped
Refugees and those they left behind
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There are references to the anxieties of unaccompanied child refugees about the fate of their parents. This is, in fact, a theme in refugee history most often marginalised by those who wish to emphasise the humanity of the British state in the rescue of refugees. This chapter measures the concessions government sanctioned against the desperation of those seeking entry from Germany, Austria and, Czechoslovakia after March 1938. From afar, with their family lives already disrupted, child refugees became the vulnerable and inappropriate witnesses to tragic chains of events which they could do little or nothing to control and which overtook parents who persisted, against all the odds, in roles of distant care and in the hope of a future reunion.

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‘Jews and other foreigners’

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


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