Universität Erfurt

Dr. Dr. Jutta Vinzent: Fellow

Universität Erfurt
Max-Weber-Kolleg für kultur- und sozialwissenschaftliche Studien
Postfach 900221
99105 Erfurt



Jutta Vinzent (M.A. Munich, Dr. Phil. Cologne, PhD Cambridge) is Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) for Modern and Contemporary Art at the University of Birmingham, UK.

Her interests focus on issues of exile, and postcolonialism with a particular emphasis on art practices, exhibition cultures, spatio-temporal issues, religion and self/identity formation related to avant-garde, modern and contemporary art in Germany, the UK and their colonies. In this context, Vinzent has become intrigued by the approaches of Entangled History and network theories.


Vinzent's project will explore the impact of Jewish internment in the British Empire on ritual life. As a consequence of the beginning of war, the British Empire decided to intern all Germans, including many Jewish refugees who escaped Nazi Germany in the years leading to the war, in the UK and her colonies because of fear of espionage. All Germans from the age of 16 were imprisoned for a short period and released because of public pressure. While women went home after their release, most men were enlisted in the British Army, in which they served alongside the British until the end of the war. These internment camps were not comparable with internment in France, where the camps were transit locations for death camps, but rather closer in nature to camps for PoW (prisoners-of-war). Internees did not have the freedom to leave, but were also not forced to work, resulting in a number of cultural outputs. Most of them were Jewish, so that one can speak of an enclave of German Jews.

The project’s central question is to what extent the internment camp was marked by religious agents, practices and spaces and to the other, to which extent religion characterised the agents, practices and site of internment, which will also help distinguish better the terms ‘religion’ (as cultural or spiritual Judaism, for example). Religion here is not understood as an institution or in terms of its belief system, but rather in terms of rituals. Conventionally, rituals have been considered as events and materialised in objects as the mediators of traditions and of stability (Bell, 1997). However, Rüpke has challenged this idea and suggested that rituals can also change, each time they are performed (Rüpke, 2003). To this extent, this project will focus on internment camps in the British Empire, as it attempted to regulate internment centrally from London for all colonies, offering therefore an administrative unity with a global outlook. The project will focus on three case studies, namely the UK, Kenya and India. While in the UK, refugees were among themselves, in Kenya refugees were interned together with PoWs from neighbouring Abyssinia, which was an Italian colony with many Catholic missionaries who were interned in the same camp as the German Jewish refugees. India is relevant because of the interaction with a number of religions, mirroring rather a diversity and spreading of religion. Camps in the UK were mainly located on the Isle of Man (with c. 55,000 Jews being interned), in Kenya in Kabete (on the outskirts of Nairobi), in Nairobi, the Highlands and in Gilgil (with 200-300 Jewish refugees) and in India internment camps were located in Mumbai, Calcutta and New Delhi (with about 500 to 700 Jewish refugees). These case studies will help bring forward a variety of aspects of the mutual relationship between religious life and internment.

Weiteres Forschungsprojekt

The individual and dividual in modern and contemporary fine art



Nutzermenü und Sprachwahl