A moral business: British Quaker work with refugees from fascism, 1933-39

Holmes, Rose (2015) A moral business: British Quaker work with refugees from fascism, 1933-39. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

This thesis details the previously under-acknowledged work of British Quakers with refugees from fascism in the period leading up to the Second World War. This work can be characterised as distinctly Quaker in origin, complex in organisation and grassroots in implementation.

The first chapter establishes how interwar British Quakers were able to mobilise existing networks and values of humanitarian intervention to respond rapidly to the European humanitarian crisis presented by fascism.

The Spanish Civil War saw the lines between legal social work and illegal resistance become blurred, forcing British Quaker workers to question their own and their country’s official neutrality in the face of fascism. The second chapter draws attention to both the official structures and the unofficial responses of humanitarian workers.

Female domestic servants were the largest professional category of refugees from fascism to enter Britain. Their refuge was largely negotiated by other women, which has not been acknowledged. In the third chapter, I focus on intimate histories to approach a gendered analysis of humanitarian intervention.

Finally, I argue that the Kindertransport, in which Quaker leadership was essential, represents the culmination of the interwar voluntary tradition and should be seen as the product of a complex, inter-agency effort.

I argue that the Quaker work was hugely significant as a humanitarian endeavour in its own right. Beyond this evident and momentous impact, the Quaker work should be seen as a case study for the changing role of both voluntarism and humanitarianism between the wars. This dissertation illustrates the ways in which the interwar period saw both the professionalization of the humanitarian sector, and an increasing recognition that governments had to support private charities in their humanitarian responses to international crises.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Education
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BX Christian Denominations > BX4800 Protestantism > BX7600 Friends. Society of Friends. Quakers
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2015 05:29
Last Modified: 07 Jul 2017 06:03
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/54158

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