Dunston, Fred: Papers regarding Youth Aliyah

Scope and Content

Papers of Fred Dunston, 1939-2002, relate to Youth Aliyah and comprise correspondence and papers between the those responsible for the management of the refugee centres at Great Engeham Farm, Kent and Bydown and Braunton, Devon, relating to the management of the institutions; also some letters from the child refugees.

Administrative / Biographical History

Fred Dunston (previously Fritz Deutsch), the depositor, worked in the Youth Aliyah offices and later the Palåstinaamt, Vienna (after the former was destroyed during Kristallnacht), and also as youth leader or member of the Elternschaft in the Youth Aliyah centres of Great Engeham Farm, Kent, Braunton and Bydown, Devon.

Youth Aliyah or Aliyat Hanoar, as it was known in Hebrew, was created by Recha Freier, wife of a Berlin Rabbi, in 1932. Combining productive agricultural training with educational and Zionist values it gave many young Jewish children a purpose and occupation during the period of mass unemployment, the result of the breakdown of the German economy.

Circumstances in late 1938 Europe meant that it became imperative to send Jewish children abroad. Auslandhascharah was the overseas version of Youth Aliyah where children and young people were trained with a view to eventually emigrating to Palestine. England was added to the list of countries and the London office soon became the busiest, reflecting the popularity of Great Britain as a destination.

Funding of the centres came from the British Council of the Young Pioneer Movement for Palestine (Hachsharath Hanoar), whose executive committee comprised Mrs Israel M. Sieff, Mrs Norman Laski, Mr M. Schattner and Mrs Lola Hahn-Warburg.

Great Engeham Farm, Kent, was received as a gift as a result of an advertisement in the London Times . It opened in June 1939 and a total of 134 children and 30 chalutzim lived there rent free. It served primarily as a transit camp for between 300 and 350 children aged 13-16.

Bydown, Devon, was founded by a group from Great Engeham Farm who were forced to move there in November 1939 when Kent was designated off-limits to aliens. Its headmaster was Dr. Fridolin M. Friedmann, a former headmaster of the Landschulheim of Caputh, near Berlin. It closed at the beginning of October 1941 when the lease ran out.

The agricultural training centre at Braunton, Devon, was a collaborative project between Youth Aliyah, Hechaluz and the British Council of the Young Pioneer Movement for Palestine. The accommodation housed 30 people who engaged in farm work. The centre existed between March and December 1940.


Chronological by institution

Conditions Governing Access


Acquisition Information

Fred Dunston

Other Finding Aids

Description exists to this archive on the Wiener Library's online catalogue

Archivist's Note

Entry compiled by Howard Falksohn.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies can be made for personal use. Permission must be sought for publication.

Corporate Names