Natalie Eppelsheimer, associate professor of German, joined Middlebury College in the fall of 2008 after earning her Ph.D. from the University of California in Irvine. She teaches German language courses from the introductory to the advanced level as well as courses on the Holocaust and on exiles and refugees. Moreover, she regularly facilitates professional development workshops on teaching German language and culture undergraduate courses, specifically the teaching of difficult topics such as the Holocaust and refugee experiences. Her monograph “Roads Less Traveled: German Jewish Exile Experiences in Kenya” is forthcoming with Peter Lang’s Exile Series.
Questions of Belonging: Victims of Nazi-persecution in Colonial Kenya
This paper deals with narratives and experiences of German and Austrian refugees–most of them Jewish–in the British Colony Kenya, where victims of Nazi persecution found haven between 1933 and 1945. In particular, it explores the peculiar paradox that those who fled from Germany and Austria and settled in Kenya lived: on the one hand, they were victims of Nazi racism; on the other hand, they often found themselves in the position of colonizers, who were privileged to purchase, lease, or live on land that was off limits to non-whites in the Kenya Colony and who also had access to the native labor force. The paper examines the refugees’ position in light of colonial power-structures in Kenya and their reception by the British settler society as well as their reception by the Indian community in Kenya. It also explores refugees’ encounters with native Kenyans.
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