series event

“How (not to) write the history of refugees”

Jessica Reinisch
(Birkbeck, University of London)

Faced with reports of current migration into Europe, many commentators are searching for historical comparisons and precedents. Both the Kindertransport of 1938 and the Hungarian refugee crisis of 1956 have been misleadingly cited as precedents to be emulated by policymakers today. However, these comparisons are stripped of their context, and as a result counter-productive or misleading. I will look at some of these supposed precedents and consider what, if any, long-term continuities in European resposes to refugees we can identify.