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Overcoming boundaries? questions of identity in the experience of German-speaking exiles in Ireland 1933–45

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dc.contributor.advisor Holfter, Gisela Schulz, Birte V. 2021-01-05T10:04:28Z 2021-01-05T10:04:28Z 2020
dc.description peer-reviewed en_US
dc.description.abstract Between 1933 and 1945 a relatively small number of people fled Nazi Germany and made their homes in Ireland. The oral and written testimonies collected and analysed here trace the physical and psychological journey of eight exiles who lost their homes, their jobs, their cultural and linguistic communities and sometimes even family members. The analysis of these sources focuses on how, as a consequence of this fundamentally felt loss, the exiles had to develop strategies to cope with these changed circumstances and rethink categories such as home, nationality and personal identity. The first chapter deals with Ireland in the context of exile studies. It explains why Ireland has only recently become part of international exile studies and gives a brief history of the discipline with special emphasis on the relevance of oral history. It also outlines the methodology used. The second chapter outlines how the category of identity is one of the most widely discussed in the human and social sciences and highlights core issues which are particularly relevant to the experience of exile, such as the precarious nature of personal identity, the subsequent need to build up a stable idea of the self and the traumatic effects a challenge to familiar strategies of identification can have on the individual. After exploring the experience of exile as a concrete manifestation of these issues, it also gives a more detailed account of the theologian Paul Tillich’s concept of the boundary and how his ideas may prove a useful tool in the analysis of the collected testimonies. The next three chapters are dedicated to the stories of the refugees. They follow a largely chronological order and trace the painful journey of the exiles who lost their homes, their jobs, their friends and family, and their cultural and linguistic communities and had to establish themselves in new surroundings in Ireland. With special emphasis on the testimonies by Monica Schefold, John Hennig, Peter Schwarz, Hans Reiss, Marianne Neuman, Herbert Karrach, George Clare, and Ernst von Glasersfeld, the chapters explore how identity is negotiated by each of the participants on their way from the familiar into the unknown. The third chapter deals with the lives the exiles led at home, their family backgrounds and their relationships with their respective home countries. In keeping with the overall argument that the experience of exile poses a fundamental challenge to individual identities, this chapter explores how the participants remember their lives before they were forced to emigrate and leave those lives behind. The narrative focuses on the categories of home life, school and work, and religion as they play an important part in how we see ourselves. The fourth chapter shows how the lives described in the previous chapter came under threat and follows the exiles’ journey to Ireland, focusing on their preparations, expectations and the administrative hurdles they had to overcome to be granted a visa and travel to Ireland. It also outlines the first impressions people had of Ireland and how they settled in their new unfamiliar surroundings. The fifth chapter concentrates on the lives of the exiles in Ireland and beyond. In looking at the attitudes the refugees were met with, issues surrounding language, culture and religion, and the contributions the exiles made to Irish society as well as any links to their host countries, its aim is to paint a vivid image of the complex nature of living in exile. In order to facilitate a comparison with the lives the exiles led in their home countries, the same categories of home life, school and work life, and religion have been chosen for special attention. The final chapter gives a summary of the findings and reflects on their implications for exile studies and identity studies. en_US
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.publisher University of Limerick en_US
dc.subject Nazi Germany en_US
dc.subject exiles en_US
dc.subject Ireland en_US
dc.title Overcoming boundaries? questions of identity in the experience of German-speaking exiles in Ireland 1933–45 en_US
dc.type info:eu-repo/semantics/doctoralThesis en_US
dc.type.supercollection all_ul_research en_US
dc.type.supercollection ul_published_reviewed en_US
dc.type.supercollection ul_theses_dissertations
dc.contributor.sponsor IRC en_US
dc.rights.accessrights info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess en_US

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