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Jewish Refugees after WWII

“America, a nation of immigrants, has a dark past of rejecting “the other.” This history includes the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the National Quotas Act of 1924 and the World War II internment of Japanese Americans. Even in the aftermath of the Holocaust, our borders were barely open to Jewish survivors. In 1945, a million Jewish, Polish, Latvian, Lithuanian, Estonian, Ukrainian and volksdeutsche refugees in displaced persons camps in Germany and Austria faced resettlement. Three-quarters of the million in the DP camps were not Jewish. “The Last Million: Europe’s Displaced Persons from World War to Cold War,” David Nasaw’s new book, recounts how the United States was slow to create adequate camps for the Jewish survivors, and, in the next decade, new laws pushed back on accepting large numbers of Jewish refugees.” Read full story here.

Latest in Boston College Trial

The trial of a leading loyalist has heard a handwriting expert concluded his signature may link him to a set of interviews given to Boston College. Winston Rea, 69, from Springwell Road, in Groomsport, County Down, faces up to 19 charges. They include aiding and abetting the murders of two Catholic men. Mr Rea denies all the charges, which are based on interviews he allegedly gave to the US college. Read full story here.

“The Loss of Oral History”

A new award-winning photography book “The Loss of Oral History” by Jalal Shamsazaran documents his father’s decline from Alzheimer’s disease. He says: “What bothers my father is not forgetting, but instead, it is remembering. Often my 83-year-old father recalls and relives the 1915 invasion of Tabriz by Russia, the death of soldiers and holy fighters of the democratic party in Azerbaijan, the central government killing fathers as their sons bared witness. My father and my aunt are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, a path that my grandfather had taken as well. This disease is hereditary in our family. My father’s present condition may end up being my own in the future.” See the images and story here and here.

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Hazel de Berg’s Interviews

“Hazel de Berg (1913–1984) was a woman of immense talent who, from 1957 onwards, created the National Library of Australia’s first oral history collection. Over 27 years, she recorded the voices of 1,290 Australians born between 1865 and 1953, including artists, writers, composers, scientists and many others. In December 2020, her legacy reaches a whole new audience as part of an innovative collaboration between the National Library and the National Portrait Gallery. Extracts from her recordings bring to life a wide range of portraits, matching visual and audio elements to create an immersive and moving experience. Visitors to the Portrait Gallery (and people across the world who download the specially designed app) will be able to hear extraordinary Australians in their own words (a great many of whom have passed away), thanks to Hazel de Berg’s efforts recording them decades prior.” Read more here.

Greek Australians’ Stories

“Through their visual project “Greek Australians: In Their Own Image,” Australian documentary photographer Effy Alexakis and her historian collaborator Leonard Janiszewski have shone a light on a kind of Greek-Australian history that few are familiar with, with more than 2,000 recorded oral history interviews as well as various types of documentation.” Read more here.

Boston College Interviewee on Trial

Winston Rea believed loyalist leaders should have stopped the activities of the Shankill Butchers during the Troubles, his trial has heard. Mr Rea, from Springwell Road, in Groomsport, County Down, faces 19 charges relating to offences allegedly committed between 1973 and 1996. The 69-year-old denies all charges. The charges against Mr Rea are based on contributions the prosecution say he made to an oral history project at Boston College in the United States. Read more here.

Oral History of Caviar

“A memorandum of understanding was recently signed between the head of Iranian National Commission for the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Hojjatollah Ayyoubi, and the CEO of Specialized Agricultural Services Holding Company, Mohammad Mojabi, to found Iran’s National Caviar Museum. The museum will be located in the city of Kiashahr in the northern Gilan Province, Mehr News Agency reported. Based on the MoU, the two sides will collaborate on international issues related to caviar and for compiling the oral history of the Caspian Sea caviar.  Read full story here.

Sixth Floor Museum

“Dealey Plaza is widely hailed as the birthplace of Dallas, it’s also known for something much more grim — the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963.  A new digital exhibit at the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza will help visitors explore the events of Nov. 22, 1963 without ever having to leave their homes.  The interactive guide offers a variety of multimedia features, most notably a narrated walking tour that lets visitors explore the site of the Kennedy assassination.  The guide will be the first of its kind, as it offers a detailed history of Dealey Plaza.”  Oral history excerpts are included.  See the guide here.