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< All Fellows and Scholars

Ms. Rosa de Jong

Rosa de Jong
Alexander Grass Memorial Fellow

“From European Ports to Caribbean Homes: Second World War Refugees in Global Transit”

Professional Background

Rosa de Jong received her Research Master’s in History (2018) and Bachelor’s degrees in History and Philosophy (2016) from the University of Amsterdam (the Netherlands). Currently she is PhD Candidate at the Department of History at the University of Amsterdam, and Guest Researcher at the KITLV (Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies) in Leiden and at NIOD (Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies) in Amsterdam. Additionally, Rosa de Jong was the final editor for Holland Historisch Tijdschrift and served on the Humanities PhD council and the Central PhD Council at her university. Previously, she worked at the KITLV as a junior researcher for a project on the colonial and slavery past of the city of Rotterdam, which resulted in a number of public events as well as three books.

Over the last four years she has visited several archives in the Caribbean, the USA, and Europe, among which the Neve Shalom Archive in Suriname and the Mongui Madoru Library in Curaçao. She has interviewed many people who endured the flight to the Caribbean and some of their descendants and also incorporates photos and documents from their private archives. She draws upon a broad variety of sources that testify to the small-scale experiences of individuals such as personal letters and diaries, as well as sources with a broader policy-view such as governmental documents. She uses sources in Dutch, German, French, English, and Spanish.

Fellowship Research

Rosa de Jong was awarded a Grass Memorial Fellowship for her research project, “From European Ports to Caribbean Homes: Second World War Refugees in Global Transit.” This project, which has also been funded through the NWO, investigates the refugees who fled during the Second World War from the Dutch Low Countries via different European ports to the Caribbean, ending up mainly in Jamaica, Suriname, Curaçao and Cuba. She is interested in the dynamics between the Jewish refugees’ agency, the colonial administration, the European governments, and the complex societies in which they arrived. She presupposes that the intersections and intertwining of class, race, gender, religion, age, and nationality are pivotal for understanding the many interactions and relationships occurring along these flight migrations; therefore, intersectionality is the overarching theoretical concept that frames this project.

This fellowship allows her to use the archival collections of the USHMM, where many survivors of this journey “speak” for themselves through recorded interviews, diaries, and memoirs. She will predominantly focus on the oral histories and personal papers of these refugees accessible at the Mandel Center. The vast collection of oral histories contains interviews with survivors and personal accounts that add a generational depth of understanding and will help to gain insight into the great variety of experiences of these flights to the Caribbean region.

Residency Period: January 1, 2021 through August 31, 2022