PhD and A Cup of Tea: Wiener Library Talk


PhD and a Cup of Tea: The War Refugee Board: Using Methodology to Address the Controversies of American Response

Thu 29 Sep 2016, 4.30pm-5.30pm

The Wiener Library, 29 Russell Square, London, WC1B 5DP

We’re delighted to welcome recent PhD recipient, Dr Rebecca Erbelding, to discuss her research on the War Refugee Board and American policy during the Holocaust.

In January 1944, President Franklin Roosevelt announced that it was American policy to attempt to rescue and provide relief for Jews and other victims of Nazi persecution. The story of his new agency, the War Refugee Board, tasked with carrying out the new policy, has been overshadowed by an entrenched historiography that has simplified American response to the Holocaust as a story in which the country knew nothing, and did nothing. By examining the War Refugee Board’s records using new research technology, it’s clear that the agency was much more robust, creative, and daring than we previously thought.

Dr Rebecca Erbelding (PhD, History, 2015) has been an archivist and historian at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum for thirteen years. She is currently detailed to work on the Museum’s upcoming exhibition, which will examine the role of Americans during the Holocaust. Her revised dissertation on the War Refugee Board will be published by Doubleday in the spring of 2018.

Tea will be served from 4.30pm and there will be a chance for the audience to ask Dr Erbelding about her research following the talk.

Tickets are free but please book as spaces are limited.

The Wiener Library is always looking for people (either PhD candidates or recent PhD recipients) to present their work in an informal seminar-like setting at the Library and if people wish to get in touch about doing so they can email Education and Outreach Manager, Barbara Warnock at The library has a dedicated space for talks, discussions, film screenings etc. so this represents an opportunity for students to present their work in front of an enthusiastic audience of all ages.


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