About the project

As part of theĀ Second World War and Holocaust Partnership Programme (SWWHPP) led by the Imperial War Museums (IWM), the project ‘Refugees from National Socialism in Wales: Learning from the Past for the Future’ explores the hidden stories of those who fled from Central Europe due to the National Socialist dictatorship and found sanctuary in Wales in the 1930s and 1940s.

Led by Dr Andrea Hammel, Director of theĀ Centre for the Movement of People (CMOP), and Dr Morris Brodie of Aberystwyth University, the project has several co-curated outcomes, including a film and exhibition, which were shown at the Aberystwyth Arts Centre in late 2022. The project also contributed to a Digital Installation which is to be permanently located at IWM London.

The issue of forced migration is one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century and this project encourages learning from the past for the future. Dr Hammel, Dr Brodie and filmmaker Amy Daniel have worked with different groups, such as present-day and historical refugees and those assisting refugees today, to develop a creative response linking different refugee stories in Wales. The project addresses questions about the diversity of Welsh society, religious and linguistic differences, and social, educational and economic challenges.

The exhibition premiered at the Aberystwyth Arts Centre between November 2022 and January 2023, before moving to the Senedd and Pierhead Galleries in Cardiff between February and April 2023. It was then shown in the Upper Waiting Hall at the Palace of Westminster in May 2023, and at the Pontio, Bangor in June 2023. The project film is available online, and there were also workshops accompanying the exhibition. In addition, Honno Press has published a book by Dr Hammel, Finding Refuge: Stories of the men, women and children who fled to Wales to escape the Nazis. The book was the Books Council of Wales’ Book of the Month in December 2022.