Photo Credit - Gathering the Voices 2016

Photo Credit - Gathering the Voices 2016

In this post, we would like to let you know about Gathering the Voices, a project which has gathered – and made available online – testimony from people who sought refuge in Scotland from Nazi-dominated Europe, preserving these stories for future generations.

Photo Credit - Gathering the Voices 2016

Photo Credit – Gathering the Voices 2016

Claire Singerman, one of the founders, describes how the project came about:

‘In 2012, six of us got together with the aim to gather and contextualise oral testimony from people who sought sanctuary in Scotland to escape the racism of Nazi-dominated Europe. Our original plan was to concentrate on the Scottish experiences of refugees who came to Scotland, either as young adults or children, and find out more about their engagement in the cultural, political and economic life here. Inevitably, all the interviewees also told us about their family life before they emigrated and discussed the terrible events that had brought them to Britain in the first place. Their testimony is remarkable and their ability to adapt to a new culture truly inspirational.

‘Gradually our project grew and grew. First we decided to make the testimonies freely accessible by digitising the interviews and putting them on the Internet at www.gatheringthevoices.com. Here we were helped greatly by contacts we had at Glasgow Caledonian University and by the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, Sense over Sectarianism and many local charities. Then, realising the educational value of what we had, we began to create a large educational bank of material to go on the website.’

‘Next we created a travelling exhibition that can go into schools and other public places and which gives a flavour of the stories and photographs on the website. It has been very popular and so far has been seen in 40 venues and by at least 18,000 adults and about 3,500 children. Two thousand of these pupils have heard talks from members of the Gathering the Voices Association. Most recently we have added an excellent computer ‘serious game’, which allows players to experience the travels and tribulations of a young Polish girl caught up in the Second World War through her own testimony.’

To find out more about this fantastic resource, and to contact the organisation, please visit the website.

A travel permit dated to 1939

Photo Credit – Gathering the Voices 2016