Oral History Testimonies – Refugees & Migrant Stories

Refugee and migrant stories play an important role in Ben Uri’s work – listening to other people’s stories in order to more accurately tailor projects and programming, and learn more about our communities. The oral testimonies also form a key part of our archive and resources, providing a wealth of first hand accounts from those who have experienced migration.

Listen below to excerpts of oral history testimonies from refugee’s from across the globe, to those who have chosen to make the UK their home.

To run alongside our current exhibition, we have recorded an interview with Austrian born Harry Heber. Listen here to hear his memories of the Anschluss, fleeing Austria on the Kindertransport and making his life here in the UK.

To run alongside our current exhibition, we have recorded a series of interviews with Polish artists, who represent three generations of migration: Holocaust Survivor, Martial Law in Poland and contemporary movement across open boarders.  All their work is included in Art Out of the Bloodlands, our current show at the gallery.

Alicia Melamid Adams

Excerpts from an interview with Alicia Melamed Adams recorded on 1st June 2017. 

Listen to her fascinating life story, how she escaped persecution during her childhood and teens as well as her art career in her new British homeland.

Alicia Melamid Adams

Excerpts from an oral history interview with artist Joanna Ciechanowska recorded on 16th May 2017. 

Listen to Joanna talk about discovering her Jewish heritage, growing up in 1950s Poland and how and why she settled in the UK.

Maria Ngom

Excerpts from an oral history interview with artist Maja Ngom recorded on 10th May 2017. 

Learn about Maja’s heritage and upbringing in Poland, and how this has impacted on the work she makes, as well as her plans for the future.

To accompany our exhibition ‘Refugees: The Lives of Others’, we have interviewed German UK citizens, including those who had to flee Germany prior to World War Two, and younger generations who have chosen to become residents within the UK.

To listen to excerpts from these interviews, scroll down and click on the recordings below. 


Daisy came to London as a Kindertransport child in January 1939. Listen to her memories of growing up in Germany, how the Quakers saved her life, and how she carved a life for herself in the UK.

Ralph Blumenau

Ralph, formerly Claus, was born in 1924 and came to the UK with his family in 1937. Ralph shares his memories of growing up in Nazi Germany, escaping with his family to the UK, and becoming naturalised in 1948.

Gerta Regensburger

Born in 1928 in Germany, Gerta escaped to Belgium on the Kindertransport in 1939, eventually arriving in the UK later that year. Listen to her childhood memories of that period as well as her reflections on her early career.


Barbara, a German UK resident and non-refugee, reflects on her motivation to relocate to the UK in 1991, and what the future may hold for her post Brexit.

Argula Rublack

Argula reflects on her childhood growing up in Germany with a British mother and German father, considers her identity and how she found herself living in the UK.


Excerpts from an interview with Afghani refugee Sayed. 

Sayed talks about his journey from Afghanistan to the UK, his early experiences of being an Asylum Seeker and the importance of making art to him.

Read a transcript of the interview here


If you are interested in listening to the complete interviews, please

Contact Us




Contact Ben Uri Learning Department