Holocaust Refugees in Transit: Race, Encounters, and Empire in Asia

Mar 22, 2023  | 4:00 - 6:00pm ET

An In Global Transit International Standing Working Group Workshop at the GHI Washington | Presenters: Eliyana Adler (Penn State), Atina Grossmann (Cooper Union, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum), Ke-chin Hsia (Indiana University Bloomington), and Pragya Kaul (Michigan University) | Co-conveners: Kimberly Cheng (GHI Washington) and Ran Zwigenberg (Penn State)

In recent years, the Holocaust has played a prominent role in Asian cultures of memory. However, the Holocaust’s impact on Asia was not just cultural. During World War II, many Asians witnessed the Holocaust firsthand, and tens of thousands of Jewish refugees transited through Asia. In Asia, Jewish refugees challenged Asian locals’ conceptions of both the figure of the Jew and of the white man; for Jews and Asians, their interactions with one another as racial others brought stark questions of race, racism, identity, gender, class, and colonial entanglements to the fore. This workshop event surveys Jewish refugee transit to destinations in Asia such as China, India, Iran, and the Soviet Union, and Jewish refugees’ encounters with their Asian neighbors. We seek to examine the experiences of refugees from the point of view of both Jewish victims of persecution and the colonized or semi-colonized Asian societies that hosted them, thereby bridging Asian and Jewish perspectives. 

Please email Kimberly Cheng cheng@ghi-dc.org if you are interested in attending.