Debating the Zeitgeist and being Second Generation
David, Miriam E. and Moos, Merilyn (Eds)
This book is not a study about the second generation but gives voice to the second generation themselves. It provides fascinating and unique insights as to how the ‘second generation’ feels about themselves and their place within their communities.
The powerful combination of life stories framed within an astute analytical lens reminds us of the need for classrooms today to understand the relevance of such pasts to the present, and to the sorts of futures we might want to imagine.’
Dr Tom Haward, UCL Centre for Holocaust Education
This book’s aim is to give a voice to 12 British-born children of refugees from Nazism - the so-called ‘second generation’.
In the current zeitgeist of Brexit and beyond, exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, the authors want to ensure that nothing like Nazism and its deeply embedded antisemitism ever happens again. They are all committed to gender, social and sex-based equality, human rights, anti-racism and support for refugees today as the basis of social transformation.
As they are all now in the twilight of their lives, they explore how far being the child of a parent who had fled fascism affected their political leanings and made them into the passionate anti-racists and human rights campaigners that they are. They also consider how their heritage gave them a feeling of ‘being distinct’ and contributed to their political legacy.
The book is highly topical, given the contemporary conversations about Britishness and/or Englishness post-Brexit, and the ways that migrants and refugees are now ‘othered’, marginalised or made to feel different. This is despite the fact that they or their children may have been born in Britain. The authors all empathise with the plight of current migrants and refugees, and most celebrate their own European Jewish heritage.