chapter  1
We Refugees
ByHannah Arendt
Pages 10

A refugee used to be a person driven to seek refuge because of some act committed or some political opinion held. Before this war broke out we were even more sensitive about being called refugees. In 1933 that Mr. Cohn found refuge in Prague and very quickly became a convinced Czech patriot—as true and as loyal a Czech patriot as he had been a German one. Time went on and about 1937 the Czech government, already under some Nazi pressure, began to expel its Jewish refugees, disregarding the fact that they felt so strongly as prospective Czech citizens. With refugees from Germany the word assimilation received a "deep" philosophical meaning. History has forced the status of outlaws upon both, upon pariahs and parvenus alike. The latter have not yet accepted the great wisdom of Balzac's "On ne parvient pas deux fois"; thus they don't understand the wild dreams of the former and feel humiliated in sharing their fate.