Contrasts the experiences of German Jewish refugees from the Holocaust who fled to London and New York City.
In the years following Hitler’s rise to power, German Jews faced increasingly restrictive antisemitic laws, and many responded by fleeing to more tolerant countries. Cities of Refuge compares the experiences of Jewish refugees who immigrated to London and New York City by analyzing letters, diaries, newspapers, organizational documents, and oral histories. Lori Gemeiner Bihler examines institutions, neighborhoods, employment, language use, name changes, dress, family dynamics, and domestic life in these two cities to determine why immigrants in London adopted local customs more quickly than those in New York City, yet identified less as British than their counterparts in the United States did as American. By highlighting a disparity between integration and identity formation, Bihler challenges traditional theories of assimilation and provides a new framework for the study of refugees and migration.
Lori Gemeiner Bihler is Assistant Professor of History at Framingham State University.