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Events mark Iowa refuge from Nazi reign

West Branch hostel welcomed WWII refugees

Refugees from Nazi Germany are shown at the Scattergood Hostel near West Branch around 1940. The hostel operated until March 1943 in Scattergood school buildings. The school was closed at the time. Some refugees attended classes at the University of Iowa; many spoke to area groups while in West Branch. (PHOTO COURTESY OF AMERICAN FRIENDS SERVICE COMMITTEE)
Refugees from Nazi Germany are shown at the Scattergood Hostel near West Branch around 1940. The hostel operated until March 1943 in Scattergood school buildings. The school was closed at the time. Some refugees attended classes at the University of Iowa; many spoke to area groups while in West Branch. (PHOTO COURTESY OF AMERICAN FRIENDS SERVICE COMMITTEE)

It was 80 years ago that the Scattergood Friends School and Farm near West Branch briefly was used not as a school but as a hostel for refugees fleeing the Nazis during World War II. A series of events, starting Wednesday, will mark the anniversary.

Starting at 10 a.m., Iowa Public Radio will interview on its “Talk of Iowa” program one-time child refugee Edith Lichtenstein, who was 2 when her family fled Nazi Germany and eventually lived for 10 months in the Scattergood Hostel. The program also will interview Michael Luick-Thrams, author of “Out of Hitler’s Reach,” which recounts the 1939-43 history of the Iowa hostel.

Then from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Luick-Thrams will lead a program at Temple Judah, 3221 Lindsay Lane SE in Cedar Rapids, one of several events to come around the state where the public can learn more about this legacy.

The public is invited to attend this free event.

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