100,000 Jewish emigrants annually in 1930s

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michael mills
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100,000 Jewish emigrants annually in 1930s

Post by michael mills » 09 May 2002 03:38

On another thread, there was a discussion about the claim made by an author connected with the IHR, Walter Sanning, that 100,000 Jews emigrated from annually during the 1930s.

I pointed out that that claim had been made by the German Historian Hermann Graml in an Expert Opinion prepared for the Institut fuer Zeitgechichte, and it may have been a misreading of information about Jewish emigration from the whole of Eastern Europe, and not only Poland.

I had previously found the source of the misinformation, and have now had the opportunity to look it up again.

It occurs in the article, "Migrations of the Jews", in Volume 7 of the Universal Jewish Encyclopedia published in 1942.

In Section V "The Care of the Migrants Through Jewish Organisations", Sub-Section 1 "The Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS)", written by Isaac L Asofsky, we find the following (pp. 555-556):

"With the passage of the 1924 Immigration Quota Law by Congress and the necessity of exploring the possibilities for immigration to the other parts of the world, HIAS sought to strengthen and enlarge its activities abroad. In 1927, it entered into an agreement with the Jewish Colonisation Association (ICA) of Paris, France, for the purpose of forming what has since become known as HICEM, the abbreviated name for the HIAS-ICA Emigration Association. This association, with headquarters in Paris, and branch offices in thirty-two countries of emigration, transit and immigration, became the European arm for a world-wide immigrant and refugee service. IN THE PERIOD BETWEEN 1925 AND 1939, AN AVERAGE OF 100,000 JEWISH MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN EMIGRATED FROM THE AREA OF JEWISH MISERY IN EUROPE EACH YEAR [my emphasis]. In consequence of this effort, hundreds of thousands of Jews had been helped to settle not only in the United States, but in the dominions of the british Empire, in the Far East, in South and Central America, and in Palestine. Notable was the program of rescue carried out by the HIAS-ICA for the benefit of refugees from Germany since the advent of the Nazis in 1933. After the invasion of France by the German forces in 1940, the HIAS-ICA headquarters moved to Lisbon, Portugal".

It is apparent that Graml must have interpreted the term "area of Jewish misery" as applying to Poland only. However, it included other countries where Jews were persecuted to a greater or lesser extent, in particular Rumania, but also Hungary and the Baltic States. After 1933 it included Germany, after March 1938 Austria, and after September 1938 Czechoslovakia.

An average of 100,000 annually from 1925 to 1939 yields a total of 1.5 million, over 15 years.

In Section IV "Modern Times" of the article, in Sub-Section 3 "Migration Movements under Nazi Pressure", it is stated on page 552 that from 1933 to the beginning of 1940 a total of 260,000 left Germany proper, 124,000 migrated from Austria, and 43,000 fled from Czechoslovakia. If that total of 427,000 is deducted from the 1.5 million, that leaves a figure slightly over one million as the total of Jews who migrated from Eastern Europe between 1925 and the start of the Second World War. The great majority of these must have come from Poland.

Of course, it is possible that Asofsky exaggerated somewhat, in order to praise the work of HIAS.

I drew the attention of Professor Zimmerman to the above source of the 100,000 figure used by Sanning before publication of his book on "Holocaust Denial" that has been extensively quoted by a number of contributors to this forum. However, he does not seem to have had regard for my advice, perhaps preferring to regard the figure of 100,000 Jewish emigrants per year as one simply plucked out of the air.

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Roberto
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Post by Roberto » 09 May 2002 11:45

It is apparent that Graml must have interpreted the term "area of Jewish misery" as applying to Poland only. However, it included other countries where Jews were persecuted to a greater or lesser extent, in particular Rumania, but also Hungary and the Baltic States. After 1933 it included Germany, after March 1938 Austria, and after September 1938 Czechoslovakia.


And before that it probably included also and especially the Soviet Union.

An average of 100,000 annually from 1925 to 1939 yields a total of 1.5 million, over 15 years.

In Section IV "Modern Times" of the article, in Sub-Section 3 "Migration Movements under Nazi Pressure", it is stated on page 552 that from 1933 to the beginning of 1940 a total of 260,000 left Germany proper, 124,000 migrated from Austria, and 43,000 fled from Czechoslovakia. If that total of 427,000 is deducted from the 1.5 million, that leaves a figure slightly over one million as the total of Jews who migrated from Eastern Europe between 1925 and the start of the Second World War. The great majority of these must have come from Poland.


Why must the great majority have come from Poland? Can Michael Mills show any evidence? In what way is Poland supposed to have encouraged emigration more than the other countries belonging to the “area of Jewish misery”?

The question in regard to Poland is: How many emigrated after the Polish census of 1931? See below.

I drew the attention of Professor Zimmerman to the above source of the 100,000 figure used by Sanning before publication of his book on "Holocaust Denial" that has been extensively quoted by a number of contributors to this forum. However, he does not seem to have had regard for my advice, perhaps preferring to regard the figure of 100,000 Jewish emigrants per year as one simply plucked out of the air.


What exactly did Michael Mills write to Professor Zimmerman?

In his chapter on Polish demographics, Zimmerman writes the following:

Poland’s Demographics

The number of Jews counted in the Polish census of 1931 was 3,113,900. Estimates of the Jewish population in 1939, the year Poland was invaded by Germany and the Soviet Union, place the population between 3.3 and 3.5 million. In The Dissolution of Eastern European Jewry (hereafter cited in the text) Walter Sanning tried to depopulate Poland of its Jews so that few would come under Nazi control. He placed the actual number of Jews in Poland at the war’s outbreak in 1939 at 2,664,000 (p. 32).

He did this by citing a statement in a publication by Munich’s Institute of Contemporary History that in the years following 1933 about 100,000 Jews annually emigrated from Poland. The Institute gives no source for this assertion. In fact, this is the only mention of Polish emigration in the article. The article deals mostly with German-Jewish emigration. Moreover, the article does not state to which countries these Jews emigrated from Poland whereas it gives such a discussion for German emigrants. The purpose of the article, as is clear from the title, is to deal with German emigration.

[Footnote: Hermann Graml, “Die Auswanderung Der Juden aus Deutschland Zwischen 1933 und 1939” [The Emigration of Jews from Germany Between 1933 and 1939], Gutachten des Instituts für Zeitgeschichte (Munich, 1958), 79-85. The article only lists two sources in its bibliography. One of the sources is Mark Wischnitzer’s Die Juden in der Welt [The Jews in the World] (Berlin:1935). However, Wischnitzer’s figures on Polish-Jewish emigration deal with the period from 1921 and do not support the Institute’s figures. Die Juden in der Welt, 204-207, 212-215. Wischnitzer had used the official numbers when discussing Polish-Jewish emigration. (Source cited in note 5 herein.) It is possible that Herman Graml, the author of the Institute’s article, misunderstood Wischnitzer’s data.]

The official Polish figures for the years 1931-1937 place total Jewish emigration at 109,716. These figures were published in 1940, before the Holocaust, so that Sanning could not claim they were “politically motivated”. The figures also gave a breakdown as to which countries the Polish Jews immigrated. A Jewish emigration of the size claimed by the Institute would surely have been noticed. However, there is no mention of such a large scale emigration in any of the studies dealing with Polish Jews in the inter war years from 1919-1939. When figures are cited, the official ones are used. A study of minorities in Poland during the inter war years also cites the official Polish emigration figures. It is probable that few, if any, are even familiar with the Institute’s numbers.

Sanning did not take into consideration that there were simply not enough outlets for a Jewish emigration of the size claimed. Most Polish-Jewish emigration from 1931 onwards was to Palestine. However, there were severe restrictions on immigration to Palestine and Polish Jews had to compete against other Jews. Moreover, within the Polish-Jewish Community there was a concerted effort to discourage Jewish emigration by such diverse groups as Jewish Bundists, assimilationists and even Zionists.

Faced with an overwhelming amount of evidence that the Polish-Jewish emigration of 100,000 annually could not have taken place, most scholars would probably relegate the Institute’s statement to a footnote. At the very least, any serious writer who wanted to use such a number would ask the Institute how it obtained its figures and where these alleged emigrants went. It is obvious that Sanning never did this. However, this writer did make such an inquiry of the Institute. The Institute’s reply failed to shed any light on its figures.

[Footnote: I wrote to the Institute on April 18, 1996 citing the official statistics. I asked how the Institute arrived at the 100,000 annual number and where these Jews immigrated to. In the reply of May 22, 1996 I was only referred to the article, which the Institute sent me. However, as noted above, the article does not address these issues.]

This would not be the first time that Sanning seized at a number, no matter how tenuous, and used it as authority while ignoring all contrary evidence. He would usually justify his source by stating that they were “Zionist” or “Jewish”. He incorrectly called the Institute “pro-Zionist” (p. 32) and state that its figures were right while the official figures are subject to doubt. However, Sanning could not trace these emigrants to any country. He simply said they went to Palestine, the United States, South America and Western European countries without providing any details. The official figures trace the destinations as well as departures.[…]


I’ll let our readers decide whether and to what extent any disregard for Michael Mills’ “advice” becomes apparent from the above.

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Post by viriato » 10 May 2002 14:19

Roberto asked:

The question in regard to Poland is: How many emigrated after the Polish census of 1931?


Some more numbers about emigration/imigration from/to Poland from 1926 to 1933:

Emigration:

1926/1930: 964100
Of these 679100 to Europe (France 285100, Germany 362600)
To countries outside of Europe 285000 (USA 42700, Canada 103700, South America 119600, Palestine 12300)

1931: 76000

1932: 21400

1933: 35500 (France 11400, Palestine 10300, South America 3800, USA 1300, Canada 1100)

Imigration (overwhelming previous polish emigrants):

1926/1930: 459700
Of these 426000 from Europe (Germany 320200)

1931: 76000

1932: 38600

1933: 18800
Of these 14900 from Europe

In 1931 and 1932 there was a net inmigration due to the great depression. Most of the imigrants might have come from the countries more touched by the economic woes (Germany and USA).

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Roberto
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Post by Roberto » 10 May 2002 16:20

viriato wrote:Roberto asked:

The question in regard to Poland is: How many emigrated after the Polish census of 1931?


Some more numbers about emigration/imigration from/to Poland from 1926 to 1933:

Emigration:

1926/1930: 964100
Of these 679100 to Europe (France 285100, Germany 362600)
To countries outside of Europe 285000 (USA 42700, Canada 103700, South America 119600, Palestine 12300)

1931: 76000

1932: 21400

1933: 35500 (France 11400, Palestine 10300, South America 3800, USA 1300, Canada 1100)

Imigration (overwhelming previous polish emigrants):

1926/1930: 459700
Of these 426000 from Europe (Germany 320200)

1931: 76000

1932: 38600

1933: 18800
Of these 14900 from Europe

In 1931 and 1932 there was a net inmigration due to the great depression. Most of the imigrants might have come from the countries more touched by the economic woes (Germany and USA).


Interesting figures, thanks.

What is the source? Are these official Polish figures?

Do these figures refer only to Jews, or do they also include non-Jewish emigrants from / immigrants to Poland?

Do you also have figures for the years 1934 to 1939?

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Post by viriato » 10 May 2002 21:32

Roberto wrote:

What is the source? Are these official Polish figures?

Do these figures refer only to Jews, or do they also include non-Jewish emigrants from / immigrants to Poland?

Do you also have figures for the years 1934 to 1939?


The source is the Enciclopedia Italiana, Milan 1936, vol XXVII and is based according to the vast bibliography on the official records.

The figures are for the total polish population. Separate jewish migrants tables are not available. One has only a hard clue of jewish emigration when Palestine is mentioned.

And no, unfortunately I don´t have the numbers for 1934/1939, although I'm still looking for them in the libraries. I hope I can find something...

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Post by michael mills » 13 May 2002 08:06

And before that it probably included also and especially the Soviet Union.


No. The USSR was not considered a place of "Jewish misery". There was no official anti-Semitism there.

The "area of Jewish misery" comprised the countries where Jews were persecuted, discriminated against, and lived in misery. They were primarily Poland and Rumania, and to a lesser extent Hungary and the Baltic States. After 1933 Germany was added to the list.

I guessed that the majority of Jewish emigrants from eastern Europe came from Poland because its Jewish population was far greater than any of the other countries above.

There was minimal Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union. In fact, there appears to have been some Jewish immigration INTO that country from Poland, particularly during the 20s. Certainly Lucien Wolf proposed a mass evacuation of Polish Jewry into Soviet Russia in 1920, after the Bolshevik victory in the Russian Civil War, when it became obvious that Jews would be better off there than in the new states of Eastern Europe, which were highly anti-Semitic. I have no data on the size of the migration, but I know that it was definitely proposed.

In the mid-30s, the Soviet Union offered to take all the Jews from Poland who wanted to migrate, and settle them on agricultural colonies in Ukraine, Crimea and Birobidjan. The offer was not taken up to any great extent, so far as I know, since it was opposed by the Polish rabbis who feared that any Polish Jews who migrated into the Soviet Union would become bolshevised and lose their religion. Details on the scheme can be found in a book by Yehuda Bauer on the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (I cannot remember the title offhand).

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Post by Roberto » 13 May 2002 10:06

No. The USSR was not considered a place of "Jewish misery". There was no official anti-Semitism there.


Neither was there any official anti-Semitism in Hungary, as far as I know. And the USSR was mostly made up of territories where anti-Semitism had been strong prior to the advent of Communism. I find it hard to believe that Jewish organizations would have thought that Bolshevism had brushed such sentiments away.

The "area of Jewish misery" comprised the countries where Jews were persecuted, discriminated against, and lived in misery.


They didn’t exactly live in safety and luxury in the areas of the former Pale of Settlement, did they?

They were primarily Poland and Rumania, and to a lesser extent Hungary and the Baltic States. After 1933 Germany was added to the list.


Is there a comprehensive listing of the “areas of Jewish misery” in the source referred to? If so, it would be good to have a quote.

I guessed that the majority of Jewish emigrants from eastern Europe came from Poland because its Jewish population was far greater than any of the other countries above.


I appreciate the admission that the assertion was based on a mere guess. Other factors that probably had an influence on the emigration figures are the extent to which immigration was encouraged/discouraged by the Polish government and local Jewish organizations. Were these factors taken into account?

There was minimal Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union.


What does “minimal” mean? Figures would be appreciated.

In fact, there appears to have been some Jewish immigration INTO that country from Poland, particularly during the 20s.


There also seems to have been immigration into Poland from various countries during the 1930’s, which in the early years of the great depression broke even with the population loss through emigration. See the figures provided by Viriato.

Certainly Lucien Wolf proposed a mass evacuation of Polish Jewry into Soviet Russia in 1920, after the Bolshevik victory in the Russian Civil War, when it became obvious that Jews would be better off there than in the new states of Eastern Europe, which were highly anti-Semitic. I have no data on the size of the migration, but I know that it was definitely proposed.


Which doesn’t mean that anything became of it. Who was Lucien Wolf, and what exactly were his words, by the way?

In the mid-30s, the Soviet Union offered to take all the Jews from Poland who wanted to migrate, and settle them on agricultural colonies in Ukraine, Crimea and Birobidjan. The offer was not taken up to any great extent, so far as I know, since it was opposed by the Polish rabbis who feared that any Polish Jews who migrated into the Soviet Union would become bolshevised and lose their religion.


So there were Jewish voices in Poland against emigration to the Soviet Union. It seems that there were also strong
voices among Polish Jewry against emigration to other countries:

Most Polish-Jewish emigration from 1931 onwards was to Palestine. However, there were severe restrictions on immigration to Palestine and Polish Jews had to compete against other Jews. Moreover, within the Polish-Jewish Community there was a concerted effort to discourage Jewish emigration by such diverse groups as Jewish Bundists, assimilationists and even Zionists.


John C. Zimmerman, Holocaust Denial, page 4

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Post by viriato » 13 May 2002 13:53

I have found some intersting numbers of jewish emigration to Palestine. The first source is from "Word Population and Production" published by The Twentieth Century Fund of New York in 1953. The authors are W. S. Woytinski and E. S. Woytinski.

Jewish Imigration into Palestine:

1923-8175
1924-13892
1925-34386
1926-13855
1927-3034
1928-2178
1929-5249
1930-4944
1931-4075
1932-9553
1933-30327
1934-42359
1935-61854
1936-29722
1937-10536
1938-12868
1939-27561
1940-8398
1941-5856
1942-3733
1943-8507
1944-14464
1945-13121
1946-17760
1947-21542
1948-119005
1949-239424
1950-169620

Another source is a portuguese translation of a work by the french demographer Pierre George "Introduction à l'étude geographique de la population du monde". Pierre George states thet for the years 1919/1931
3/4 of the jewish imigration into Palestine were from eastern Europe. Of those 36000 came from Russia and 50000 Poland and baltic states. For the period 1933/1939 60000 imigrants came from Germany, Austria and Hungary, 80000 from Poland, 20000 from the Balkans, 10000 from the Middle East and 20000 from all the other countries. In 1940/1945 (total of 50000 imigrants) 10000 came from Germany, Poland and other points of Central Europe, 13000 came from the Balkans, 15000 from the Middle East. Most of the others came from western Europe. According to Pierre George it was in this late period that several jews from Amsterdam introduced in Palestine the working on diamonds in Palestine.

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