“The Foreign Jews Protection Committee: refugee protection and relief in First World War Britain” – Thomas C. Jones (Buckingham) – Franco-British History Seminar

Posted on March 17, 2022

17 March 2022 - 17 h 00 min - 18 h 30 min

“The Foreign Jews Protection Committee: refugee protection and relief in First World War Britain” – Thomas C. Jones (Buckingham)

The First World War was a watershed moment in the history of political and religious asylum in Britain. Though now mostly remembered for the welcome given to Belgian refugees in 1914, the war years saw the permanent end to the legal framework of asylum and prevailing public attitudes towards refugees that had been shaped by the Victorian notion of a universal ‘right of asylum’. Refugees’ rights were significantly curtailed, and many deemed to be of hostile national origin or political orientation were interned and deported, with postwar legislation permanently embedding the new restrictionist dispensation. 

This paper will explore these developments by examining the Foreign Jews Protection Committee, a refugee organization that transformed itself several times in response to the shifting political landscape of these years. Alternatively a mass campaigning body, a registered ‘war charity’, and a conduit facilitating the flow of information and relief funds between the British state and resident refugee populations, the remarkably adaptive FJPC illustrated the bewildering and decisive changes to British asylum wrought in these years.

Thomas C. Jones is a Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Buckingham. His work focuses on exile, transnationalism, and political thought in modern Europe. He was a founding member of the AsilEuropeXIX network and is currently writing a history of asylum in Britain for Harvard University Press.


Franco-British History Seminar – partnership

The  History Seminar Franco-Britannique has been organised since 2000 at the University Paris-Sorbonne, now in partnership with the Institute of historical Research, London, and with the following research centres: AGORA (Cergy Pontoise), CREA (Paris Ouest-Nanterre-La Défense), CREW (Paris 3-Sorbonne Nouvelle),  CRULH (Lorraine), LARCA (Université de Paris) and the  Maison française d’Oxford. Every year, the programme conveys the latest insights from foreign and French-based researchers in British history, medieval, modern and contemporary British history. Phd and master degree students as well as all researchers with an interest in British history are welcome.

  • Sessions on Thursdays from 5pm to 7pm.
  • At the Maison de recherché de l’université Paris-Sorbonne (28 rue Serpente, Paris 6e).
  • Room D421 (screens at the entrance confirm location)
  • The year’s programme is on the SFB website HERE
  • Talks are taped and archived on the website of the Institute of historical Research Here.

Next sessions

  • 24 March: Nigel Leask (Glasgow) : “‘As Little Known as… Kamtschatka’: Reflection on the Highland Tour in the Long 18th Century’
  • 31 March: Hugh McLeod (Birmingham), autour de son livre Le déclin de la chrétienté en Occident. Autour de la crise religieuse des années 1960 (traduit par Elise Trogrlic, Labor et Fides, 2021)
  • 7 April: Barbara Crosbie (Durham) : ‘The Rising Generations: Age Relations and Cultural Change in Eighteenth-Century England’
  • 14 April: Chris Manias (Kings College London), ‘The Age of Mammals: Nature, Development and Palaeontology in the long nineteenth century’
  • 21 April: Emma Griffin (East Anglia), autour de son livre Bread Winner. An Intimate History of the Victorian Economy (Yale University Press, 2020)
  • 12 May: Laura King (Leeds), ‘The School Case of Poor Harold: Families’ multi-generational remembrance of deceased children in twentieth-century England’