In the aftermath of the November pogrom of 1938, thirty thousand Jewish men were arrested and sent to concentration camps. After being released, around one hundred rabbis were able to leave Germany for Great Britain. But escaping Germany was not the end of their personal hardship. Once respected community leaders, rabbis arrived destitute and depended on charitable organisations for their livelihoods. Some would be classified as enemy aliens and faced with internment once again. The refugee rabbis would not to be discouraged, however, and they began, at first just a small circle, to reclaim their place in Jewish life once again. In a new country, a new context, and in the midst of around eighty thousand refugees, the rabbis were able to reignite their work and embarked on a great number of initiatives and projects. They were able to place the German Jewish heritage into Anglo-Jewry, where it continues to live on today.
Prof. Astrid Zajdband, PhD, MA, MSc, BSc, holds a PhD from the University of Sussex and published the book From Heimat into the Unknown: German Rabbis in British Exile with DeGruyter in 2016. She currently teaches European and Business History at Bentley University, Waltham, MA as well as Aviation Management at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. She is a frequent guest speaker on German Jewish heritage in Europe and the US.