Following a paper trail from Vienna to the Mugga Way tip : a comparative study of one hundred years of assimilation

Publication Type:
Thesis
Issue Date:
2007
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NO FULL TEXT AVAILABLE. Access is restricted indefinitely. ----- In 1993 six boxes of letters and diaries were recovered from the Mugga Way Tip in Canberra. The people whose lives are documented in this collection were well- educated, middle class and mostly, left-wing. Many met as a result of their work with the BBC Monitoring Service during the Second World War, where they worked translating Nazi German broadcasts for the British Government. They were all assimilating Jews who had originated from Vienna, migrated to Britain and then, in the case of some, to Australia. This thesis follows their journey resulting in a comparative study of the assimilation process in these three countries. It examines the emancipation-assimilation process focusing on the middle classes and the cultural elite, reflecting the experiences of the people in the collection. It looks at the entire spectrum of the assimilation from acculturation; where the traditional culture and religion is maintained whilst merging into the dominant culture to the structural version; which involved abandoning all elements of the traditional religion and culture in an attempt to merge whilst concealing one’s heritage and background. The people in the collection adopted the structural version of assimilation and it is this that is the focus of this thesis. It examines the lives of the correspondents, utilising the collection, oral history and published and unpublished memoirs. It argues that assimilation, in its structural form, can lead to a sense of alienation from both the traditional culture and that of the dominant culture into which they are striving to merge. It examines the paradoxical nature of assimilation and the various different vehicles utilised in the process as well as its impact on and their relationship with the dominant culture into which they are integrating. It follows the lives of the people who dedicated themselves both to the assimilation process but also to contributing to the societies in which they lived.
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