Newmarket Refugees project

Jewish refugees in Newmarket in WW2 – Volunteer Researcher

At the present time this opportunity is open only to members of the Suffolk Liberal Jewish Community.

This project will take as its starting point a memoir written by Fritz Ball which records his time living in Newmarket as a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany. It is a partnership project between Suffolk Archives and the National Horseracing Museum.

Fritz was born in Berlin in 1893. In 1921 he married Eva Gutfield and they had three sons together. Fritz worked as a lawyer until he was barred from his profession in 1935. He was arrested and spent several months in Sachsenhausen concentration camp.

In 1938 Fritz and Eva managed to send their eldest son to New York. In March 1939 they secured places on the Kindertransport for their two younger sons. Finally, in May 1939 Fritz and Eva managed to get permission to leave Germany for the UK. Their intention was always to reunite the family in America, but it would be another seven years before this would happen.

Fritz and Eva spent about three years living in Newmarket in Palace House Stables, which is today part of the National Horseracing Museum. The 1939 Register records Fritz and Eva among 25 Jewish refugees all living at Palace House Stables.

Fritz wrote a memoir about his experiences in Germany and the UK in the 1930s and early 1940s, and a translation of the portion of the memoir which deals with his time in Newmarket has been recently deposited at Suffolk Archives. This project aims to undertake further research into Fritz and Eva’s time in Newmarket, and to find out about other Jewish refugees who were living in the town at the same time. We also hope to collect contemporary stories from refugees living in Suffolk today.

We will then share these stories in engaging and memorable ways with wider audiences, for example, through music, as Fritz was a talented cellist and the importance of his cello features throughout his memoir.

What's involved?

With support from Suffolk Archives staff, volunteer researchers will carry out historical research into Fritz and Eva’s time in Newmarket, and the wider stories of other Jewish refugees living in the town. Research questions include:

  • Are there records of Fritz’s musical performances in Newmarket?
  • Who are the other refugees who lived at Palace House Stables? Where did they settle after the war?
  • How did Palace House Stables come to be used as accommodation for refugees?
  • How long was Palace House Stables used as accommodation?
  • What happened to the Jewish children who were accommodated in Newmarket?
  • Does anyone who lived in Newmarket at the time have memories of the refugees living there?

Researchers will be asked to keep good records of their findings and to share these so that they can be shared with wider audiences.

Initially this research will be carried out using digitised records online, particularly on Ancestry and the British Newspaper Archive (log ins will be supplied and training given). Once archives and libraries are able to open up again there will be further research to be done in non-digitised records, particularly Newmarket newspapers.

Why get involved?

  • Help us to research the stories of Jewish refugees in Newmarket for the first time
  • Help to share this important history with audiences in Newmarket and beyond
  • Apply skills you already have and develop some new ones
  • Travel expenses are funded

How to get involved?

  1. Sign into your account or sign up to Volunteer Makers.
  2. Accept the challenge.
  3. Await a response from Suffolk Archives with more information

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