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Senedd exhibition tells the story of refugees who have sought sanctuary in Wales

03 Mar 2023 2 minute read
‘Refugees from National Socialism in Wales: learning from the past for the future’ exhibition

An exhibition showcasing the stories of refugees in Wales has gone on display at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay.

‘Refugees from National Socialism in Wales: learning from the past for the future’ has been co-curated by Dr Andrea Hammel and Dr Morris Brodie from Aberystwyth University’s Centre for the Movement of People, together with refugees and those who are assisting refugees with resettlement in Wales.

The exhibition traces the history of those who have sought sanctuary in Wales, from those who fled from National Socialism in Central Europe in the 1930s and 40s, to modern day refugees.

The exhibition includes artworks, objects, photographs, and literature created by refugees and those working alongside them, from across the decades.

Dr Hammel has also been collaborating with Aberystwyth-based filmmaker Amy Daniel, working alongside groups of refugees and those who help them, to develop a creative response linking different refugee stories in Wales.  The film will be screened as part of the exhibition.


Dr Hammel, Reader in German and Director of the Centre for the Movement of People at Aberystwyth University, said: “As a nation, Wales has a long history of providing sanctuary for refugees. Our exhibition gives a voice to these refugees, and allows us to discover their stories through their own words and pictures.

“The exhibition highlights the positive contribution these men, women and children have made to life and culture here in Wales.  The refugees who resettled in Wales in the 1930s and 1940s made this part of the world their home, and are now very much a part of the fabric of Welsh life.

“The same is true of the Syrians, Afghans and Ukrainians who followed them and are already having a cultural and economic impact in Wales, establishing businesses, raising families, introducing new cuisine, and much more.”

The exhibition was curated as part of the Second World War and Holocaust Partnership Programme, led by Imperial War Museums and funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

It will be on display at the Senedd Oriel & Pierhead Futures Gallery in Cardiff until 18 April 2023.

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Eva Schenkel Arnott
Eva Schenkel Arnott
1 year ago

I was born in Vienna, Austria in 1936 to a father from an assimilated Jewish family and a non- Jewish mother. We were refugees in 1938 and settled in Cardiff in 1949., where I attended the excellent Cardiff High School for Girls. After graduating from UCNW Bangor I emigrated to the US but have many happy and grateful memories of Wales.

Ivor Schilling
Ivor Schilling
1 year ago

Can you believe that this story about refugees coming to Wales was actually the main item marking St David’s Day on the Welsh tv news? Its almost as though we are only of value provided we can accommodate outsiders. Cant we have just one day out of each year that is not focused upon those in Wales who have varying backgrounds to ours/

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