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Jews As Active Citizens

Past and Present 28 February- 1 March 2021


The Australian Association for Jewish Studies, founded in 1987, held its 33rd Annual Conference in Canberra at the ACT Community Centre.

The conference aimed to interrogate the notion of “active citizenship” as it relates to Jews and the Jewish community – how have Jews participated in, and even constructed, political and communal life, across history and across disparate societies and cultures? To what extent is Jewish identity relevant to these political contributions? Where does active citizenship occur – is it publicly performed in synagogues or parliaments, or are activities in the private sphere also fundamental to the growth and sustainability of society and citizens? And how do categories of race, class and gender affect the answers to these questions?

Dr Kilsby presented to the session of ‘Responses to and stories of Jewish Migration and Statelessness’, drawing upon his story Eichengruen-Edwards and the Case of Continental Tyres to investigate the migration and citizenship of German Jew, businessman, volunteer officer and treasurer of the Automobile Club of Victoria Edward Edwards and his family, and his World War One internment and subsequent deportation despite being naturalised citizens and having two children born in Victoria.