Accessibility Tools

  • Content scaling 100%
  • Font size 100%
  • Line height 100%
  • Letter spacing 100%

Ebony Nilsson

Ebony Nilsson

Ebony Nilsson is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences at Australian Catholic University. She is a historian of migration and security during the Cold War. Her first book is Displaced Comrades: Politics and Surveillance in the Lives of Soviet Refugees in the West (2023). 

Ebony Nilsson reviews ‘No Country for Idealists: The making of a family of subversives’ by Boris Frankel

May 2024, no. 464 22 April 2024
I first met Boris Frankel when he was a thirteen-year-old, in the pages of a file at the National Archives of Australia. I was working on Russian migrant families in Australia that decided to return to the Soviet Union, but then tried to come back to Australia. Boris and his sister Genia had travelled more than 1,500 kilometres from the Crimea to Moscow, alone, in 1959, in the hopes of persuading ... (read more)

‘The lives of ‘ordinary’ people: From Siberia and Shanghai to Kings Cross’ by Ebony Nilsson

January-February 2024, no. 461 18 December 2023
It was mid-afternoon when I turned a typewritten foolscap page from 1939 and found the name I had been searching for: Detective Sergeant Mischenko. The report was a pretty banal cry for resourcing. Poor Mischenko was doing the work of two detectives in Japanese-occupied Shanghai and desperately needed some assistance. On turning the page, I felt like Archimedes himself (though running through th ... (read more)

Ebony Nilsson on The Australian Labor Party’s uneasy history with immigration

July 2023, no. 455 27 June 2023
BREAKING – Australian Border Force has intercepted an illegal boat trying to reach Australia. Keep our borders secure by voting Liberal today. On election day in 2022, thousands of Australian voters – perhaps already in line at their local primary school, democracy sausage in hand – received this text message. Refugees had not been a hot-button issue in this election, and the messages wer ... (read more)

Ebony Nilsson reviews 'Destination Elsewhere: Displaced persons and their quest to leave postwar Europe' by Ruth Balint

January-February 2023, no. 450 28 December 2022
We often talk about refugees in terms of crisis: ‘unprecedented’ floods of thousands, waves of humanity displaced and now knocking at the door somewhere else. The scale can indeed be staggering. World War II displaced perhaps two hundred million people (one in every ten), worldwide. Figures like this are almost paralysing. How to solve a crisis of this scale, let alone attend to any one refuge ... (read more)