Thomas Jones, “The Foreign Jews Protection Committee: refugee protection and relief in First World War Britain” (17 mars)

Jeudi 17 mars 2022 à 17h_ Thomas Jones (University of Buckingham) “The Foreign Jews Protection Committee: refugee protection and relief in First World War Britain”. 

The First World War was a watershed moment in the history of political and religious asylum in Britain. Though now mostly remembered for the welcome given to Belgian refugees in 1914, the war years saw the permanent end to the legal framework of asylum and prevailing public attitudes towards refugees that had been shaped by the Victorian notion of a universal ‘right of asylum’. Refugees’ rights were significantly curtailed, and many deemed to be of hostile national origin or political orientation were interned and deported, with postwar legislation permanently embedding the new restrictionist dispensation. 

This paper will explore these developments by examining the Foreign Jews Protection Committee, a refugee organization that transformed itself several times in response to the shifting political landscape of these years. Alternatively a mass campaigning body, a registered ‘war charity’, and a conduit facilitating the flow of information and relief funds between the British state and resident refugee populations, the remarkably adaptive FJPC illustrated the bewildering and decisive changes to British asylum wrought in these years.

Thomas C. Jones is a Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Buckingham. His work focuses on exile, transnationalism, and political thought in modern Europe. He was a founding member of the AsilEuropeXIX network and is currently writing a history of asylum in Britain for Harvard University Press.