Throughout 1938, a new territory rapidly appeared along the borders of East-Central European states: the No Man’s Land, where unwanted Jewish refugees and expellees were trapped. These Jews were forced to camp alongside roads, in the fields, in dilapidated buildings, between border posts, or they were interned behind wires. This lecture will present new perspectives on the large-scale expulsions of Jews, reactions of states in the region, and the introduction of ethnic categorization of refugees. It will explore the meanings of the No Man’s Land, from a physical space between the lines to a figurative one amounting to revocation of rights and citizenship.
Dr. Michal Frankl, a Researcher at the Masaryk Institute and Archives of the Czech Academy of Sciences, is the recipient of the 2016 Sorrell and Lorraine Chesin / JDC Archives Fellowship. He is using the fellowship toward his research on citizens of the No Man’s Land and the transformation of Jewish citizenship in East-Central Europe in 1935-1939, and on the role of Jewish aid organizations.