#Borders: the papers of the Institute of Jewish Affairs

The Institute of Jewish Affairs was established in New York City under the auspices of the World Jewish Congress of the 1st February 1941, based on proposals made by New York – based historian Dr Jacob Robinson.

The aim of the Institute was to conduct a thorough investigation of Jewish life over the previous 25 years, the interwar period and World War II, to understand the conditions of the Jews during the war, and to suggest how Jewish rights might be claimed in a post-war settlement. In particular, the focus was to rehabilitate the lives of the Jewish population in Europe after the horrors of the Shoah, where possible, if they were willing to remain or return to their homes. Whenever not possible, migration in Palestine was considered the preferred option.

The Institute initially conducted research on political science and law, economics, migration and colonisation, and post-war reconstruction, as well as reports affecting the Jewish people in all countries during the time of the war. The Institute also indexed holdings of other institutions, particularly on aliens, anti-Jewish measures, recent aspects of anti-Semitism, autonomy, colonisation, migrations, minorities, the territorial questions of World War I, post-war changes.

In 1965, the Institute was relocated in London, maintaining its programme of research and publications into contemporary issues affecting Jewish communities across the world. Among its regular publications were “Anti-semitism world report”, “East European Jewish Affairs”, “Patterns of Prejudice”, and other. The Institute was renamed the Institute for Jewish Policy Research in 1997, and it contnues to operate today.

Given the work of data gathering and analysis conducted since its establishment, it is easy to see the enormous importance of the Institute’s archives. The University of Southampton Special Collections holds the collections of the papers for the UK: https://www.archivesportaleurope.net/ead-display/-/ead/pl/aicode/GB-738/type/fa/id/gb738-ms237-41/search/0/Papers+of+the+Institute+of+Jewish+Affairs

For #Borders, we invite you to study sequence 9, on the politics of Israel, Palestine, and the Middle East, one of the most complex and tragic history of sovereignty over a territory in modern times

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