What’s a Refuge?

This question concludes the exhibition, pointing to the agency of refugees and who is allowed or able to speak. But this question also addresses us as visitors – and our role in recent forced migration processes around the globe.

“The friendliness of the Canadians towards the foreigners in their country is one of the first things noticed by an immigrant.”

Gleb Krotkov, 1933

“I beg of you not to ask anything of a political nature.”

Gerhard Schmidt, 1935

“I am looking forward to meeting you and I know I shall be very happy at Queen’s University. I have heard so much about the cordiality of your people and the beauty of your country.”

Krystyna Zbierańska, 1940

“Harmonious living together of people of different faiths is based solely on mutual understanding.”

Alfred Bader, 1944

“I was here only five days, and already there were ten people I could say hello to!”

Petros Antonopoulus, 1953

“Of course there are many anecdotes connected with Queen’s and with local Jewish residents. Suffice it to say that Alfred Bader and I received every prize and scholarship that was available at Queen’s. This raised some eyebrows at Queen’s since both of us (so called ‘refugees’) set new standards of excellence.”

William Low, 1985

“I was immensely excited about being married and being a prof – and full of anticipation – but viewed the relocation to Kingston and Queen’s with something like amusement.”

John Meisel, 2012

“A refuge for me means having a safe space where I can dream as big as I want, without fearing for my life. It means sharing my opinions and not being silenced when speaking up. Since seeking refuge in Canada, I have been able to practice my basic human rights that I have been deprived from.”

Alaa Khalaf, 2021