World Jewish Relief in partnership with London Metropolitan Archives has completed an epic project to digitise the hundreds of thousands of case files we hold on the Jewish refugees whom we helped during World War Two. The project took an astonishing two years to complete with indexing alone (creating searchable keywords) taking twenty months. We now hope to reunite people with their family history by making these records available to them for free.
The original paper records fill over 660 boxes of archives and cover 99 meters of shelving. The somewhat more accessible digital records are free for family members to access at the London Metropolitan Archive or by contacting our volunteer archivists at World Jewish Relief who will conduct searches for you.
Our archive boxes at the LMA.
Our database holds records for around 35,000 of the 65,000 German and Austrian Jewish refugees who arrived in the UK during 1933- 45 including many on the Kindertransport and those detained in the Kitchener Camp in Richborough. During this time new arrivals would register with the Jewish Refugee Committee, part of the Central British Fund for Germany Jewry (CBF), now known as World Jewish Relief at our base in Bloomsbury House. Each file contains the type of assistance refugees received, as well as detailing their lives prior to arriving in the UK including information on relatives in ghettos or concentration camps.
example of case file
Amongst the historic files on the database are some of the children who arrived in Britain on the Kindertransport, these historic records detail names of parents, home towns, transport arrived on, information on families and schooling once they had arrived in Britain as well as financial and other assistance received from World Jewish Relief. The documents contain photographs and forms of identification such as certificates and passports.
In 1945, World Jewish Relief were responsible for bringing over 732 mainly child survivors of concentration camps known as ‘The Boys’ and our database holds their details. We also have a displaced persons file.
These files are a portal to an important piece of history and we are keen to reunite family members with their records. Do contact us to see if we can find your family history. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Learn more about our archives and apply for your family records here.
Read Rita’s story about how the archives helped her to explore her family history.