Refugee Blues is a poem written by W. It takes place in Europe during World War II, and it is written in the voice of a German Jew and what he and his loved one had to go through during Hitler's reign. W.H. Auden grew up in the United Kingdom and later became an American citizen. It was assumed that he wasn't pleased with Europe and that his suffering reputation made him move to the United States. The poet brings up a lot of themes such as fear of the Jews, their persecution or even the power of Hitler and the Nazi regime. W.H. Auden effectively presents the suffering of the German Jews through animalistic imagery, symbolism, the use of contrasts and repetition which emphasise the inevitability of the fate of the Jews. .
The author uses contrast to emphasize a huge gap between the rich and the poor, the German Jews in this poem. "Some are living in mansions, some are living in holes"; "If you've got no passport you are officially dead, but we are still alive, my dear." The author uses antonyms such as "dead and alive", "mansions and holes" to show the difference between the two worlds. The word "holes" clearly shows how German Jews were forced to live in inhumane conditions and were treated like animals that could only afford a hole in the ground. The words "mansion and holes" are used to compare the sizes and the connotations carried by the words. The mansion is associated with something big and bright while a hole is described as something small and dark. "Dead and Alive" are very strong words that are used to describe the pain of the German Jews. The word "dead" is a very dark and negative expression that emphasizes their miserable life and the amount of darkness surrounding the Jews. The word "alive" is used to symbolise hope and even a relief knowing that they still exist and have another chance of surviving.