Welcome to "Nowhere to Go"

Nowhere to go. Jewish Refugees 1938-39 is a project offering online materials on the topic of flight and escape – taking the situation of German and Austrian Jews in 1938-39 as a starting point for a reflection on the situation of refugees and escaping today.

The materials consist of three comprehensive historical modules (The Evian conference, the Kindertrasport and the St. Louis) and of an exercise that can be used in all modules, designed to reflect on individual thoughts and positions regarding refugees and escape and to create a link between past and present.

Evian Conference

Based on the international conference on refugees in Evian in 1938 the participants deal with four core questions:

  • To what extent am I responsible to help foreigners?
  • What is the proper balance between self-concerns and international obligation for refugees?
  • What are legitimate and non-legitimate concerns for rejecting refugees?
  • To what extent is diplomacy effective or necessary to solve such problems?


This module examines the characteristics and challenges of being a refugee (especially a child refugee) through the prism of the Kindertransport rescue operation. Other aspects discussed in this module are the role of the media and language in shaping our perception of reality and of strangers and the various considerations that motivate state policy in regard to refugees. Unlike the other modules, this unit begins in the present and not in the past, and ends with an open discussion about the advantages, disadvantages, and challenges of looking at the past in order to learn in the present.

St. Louis

This module discusses the voyage of the St. Louis from various perspectives, looking at the key figures who played a role in the affaire. Working in small groups with primary sources and presenting them in the plenum, enables a comprehensive understanding of the affair , as well as the  reasons that led the ship’s passengers to leave their homes in Germany, Czechoslovakia and Austria. The module examines the relevance of the St. Louis case today and opens a discussion on complex questions regarding responsibility, civic duty and personal and international moral obligation.


The Barometer is an exercise that can be used in all modules – either as an introduction or  as a ending unit. The main aim of the exercise is to reflect critically on a range of positions on the subject of “Refuge and Refugees”, and allow participants to formulate and explain their on position on the subject.