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Students from the ORT Technical School in Berlin

Date: c 1939
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Heinz Lippmann
Classification:Photographs
Object Name: Photograph
Object No: ANMS0219[005]

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    Description
    A black and white photograph of students and their teachers from the ORT Jewish Technical School in Berlin. It is most likely these are the boys and teachers that left Berlin in August 1939 for England. Heinz Lippmann is in the group but unidentified.

    SignificanceThis photograph is part of a collection of personal papers belonging to Heinz Lippmann that provide an insight into an important episode in the history of Australian migration this century.
    They are primary sources in the DUNERA case in which the ship, HMT DUNERA, transported German and Austrian Jewish refugees from England to Australia in 1940. On arrival in Australia these men were interned in a camp at Hay and later at Orange in New South Wales. Lippmann was then moved toTatura in Victoria.
    HistoryThe ORT Technical School in Berlin was opened as a response to the growing anti-Semitism in Germany and the lack of further educational opportunities encountered by young German Jews. The school was allowed to be established on the proviso that its mission was to train Jewish youths in preparation for emigration. The school was placed under the protection of the ORT Parlimentary Advisory Council in Britain and the joint British Committee ORT-OZE, the result of which saw it untouched during Kristallnacht on November 9, 1938. But as the situation worsened over the following year and it was decided to evacuate the students and teachers to England.

    The chairman of the Joint British Committee ORT-OZE, Colonel Lieutenant James Henry Levey arranged with British Ministry for Labour, the Home Office and the Gestapo to move the school to premises in Leeds. It was decided to make the move in two groups of around 100 students each, accompanied by teachers and their spouses. The first group managed to leave Berlin on 29 August 1939, travelling by train to Holland and then ship to England. The second group, scheduled to leave the following week on 3rd September, did not make it out of Germany.

    Despite their perceived safety in England, the students were made very aware that their situation there was precarious and temporary. Although they were Jewish refugees they were still seen first and foremost as being German. At their technical school and in the hostel where they stayed, the boys were provided with guidelines on how to minimise tensions within the English community. These guidelines were produced by the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the German Jewish Aid Committee and each boy must adhere to. Generally speaking the students were advised to avoid any situations that might encourage anti-refugee feelings. The guidelines stipulated "DO NOTHING at any time to arouse the slightest hostility and do not attract attention...Never speak German in the streets, so that you can be heard. Try not to speak German at all if you can help it, and if any speak it quietly.. Do not have any conversations in trains, cars or buses. Do not, at any time in the streets, discuss the war situation."

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