REFUGEES

Sweden at first takes tens of thousands, then announces it’s going to send 60,000 home. Denmark is presented taking away their jewels, like the Nazis. It must be more complex than this. I must try to find out, then write about it.

Yesterday evening I was taken ill during the film The Big Short (is that the title?), and had to come home. In bed I watched a documentary on an obscure Swedish TV channel (99, I think), about Jewish refugees in the 1930s. I hadn’t realised how resistant the USA was to taking them in. Instead she tried to persuade Britain to settle them in her Palestine mandate. Switzerland did take them in, but insisted they had a large red ‘J’ stamped in their passports, so they could be sent back when the crisis was over. Others rejected them. An international conference at Evian failed to reach agreement on how to share them out. Britain took tens of thousands – 130,000 I think, all told (that is in Britain itself, excluding Palestine). They and their descendants of course have proved a terrific boost in every area of British life. I don’t know the figure for Sweden, but I imagine – or would like to think – that she was generous too. The refusal of other countries added enormously to the Jews’ tragedy.

The present-day parallels, are of course striking. Possibly the lessons too.

I still don’t know how the Big Short ended. Did the banks collapse (surely not), or did Superman zoom in to save us? I may be confusing it with a trailer for a Superman film that came on before. I had a fever. Don’t spoil it for me; I’m hoping to go again when I feel better. (Joke – of course I know what The Big Short was about.)

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