3698 - Inter- and Cross-Cultural Dialogues¿The Group Correspondence of Exiled Youth

In April 1938 a group of 15-16 year old Austrian schoolboys of Jewish heritage met on the Sweden Bridge in Vienna after having been thrown out of school after the Anschluss. Before leaving the country they came up with a plan for a group letter. The correspondence, which the former pupils from the Franz-Josef-Gymnasium kept up for over ten years, chronicles their flight, arrival in the countries of exile, their adaptation and integration into their new home, and major changes in their lives (marriages, children, jobs).      

The correspondence became both an inter- and cross-cultural dialogue. Writing from Switzerland, Palestine, England, France, and the United States, the youth compared their experiences in the respective new surroundings to their home culture and discussed how they experienced emigration differently. In many cases it led the correspondents to reflect on their own „cultural baggage“ (Leo Spitzer). In my presentation, I focus on the ways in which the boys did or didn’t reflect on racism and anti-semitism, and on the governments in their lands of exile. I will also highlight the boys‘ discussion of the changes in their expectations and values through the exposure to a new culture.

Palavras-chaves: exile, correspondence, youth

Autores: Vansant, Jacqueline (University of Michigan-Dearborn, USA, Ud States of Am / USA)


University of Vienna | Dr.-Karl-Lueger-Ring 1 | 1010 Vienna | T +43 1 4277 17575