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Free German League of Culture


The Free German League of Culture was founded in Hampstead in December 1938 by German refugees from Hitler with the aim of preserving and advancing Free German Culture, at a time when culture was being suppressed in Germany itself.

Throughout its eight-year existence, the League enjoyed the backing of numerous distinguished British supporters from all walks of life whose support was crucial in legitimising its existence.

Although it was founded as a non-party political organisation, the Communist faction among the refugees came to play an increasingly important role in League activities. This attracted the attention of the British intelligence organisations, MI5 and Special Branch which kept a watchful and suspicious eye on the League until its closure in 1946.

Professor Charmian Brinson is Emeritus Professor of German at Imperial College London and a founder member of the Research Centre for German and Austrian Exile Studies (University of London). She has published extensively in the field of German-speaking refugees in Britain, 1933-1945, her chief research interests being political exile and women in exile.)

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