Refugees from Nazism  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Many refugees from Nazism were Jewish or half-Jewish but there were also significant numbers of non-Jewish refugees including scientists, "degenerate" artists, politicians and many others. They fled to neighbouring countries in the mid to late 1930s using temporary visas to get out of Nazi Germany and Nazi Austria. The families had been ostracised from professions, schools and even public places by the Nazi anti-Jewish laws.

In January 1933 there were about 500,000 Jews living in Germany, 1% of the population, of which 1/3 lived in Berlin. When the Nazis took power about 37,000 Jews left mostly to neighbouring countries. However, despite the Nuremberg laws and reduction in civil rights emigration remained constant but not excessive throughout the 1930s. This was due in part to unwillingness by European countries and USA not to take in additional refugees. (see SS St. Louis)

To the United States

German Jews who emigrated to the United States to escape Nazism included Hannah Arendt, Rudolf Arnheim , Erich Auerbach , Albert Einstein , Siegfried Kracauer , Fritz Lang , Robert Siodmak and Kurt Weill

Unwillingness by European countries and USA not to take in refugees

International response to the Holocaust

There was nonetheless during the mid 1930s plenty of people publicising the plight of German Jews. The Internationally famous British pianist Harriet Cohen was very active in this respect talking to the British Prime Minister and even playing a concert in America with Albert Einstein to raise funds to help Jewish scientists leave Germany. The American journalist, Dorothy Thompson was also very active in this respect. According to Bennett Cerf in Try and Stop Me (1944), she socked a woman who made pro-Nazi remarks in her presence — after asking her to step outside.

The European situation deteriorated in 1938 with the annexation of Austria in March, the increase in personal assaults on Jews during the spring and summer and the nationwide Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) with attacks in Germany and Austria on Jewish shops, confiscation of Jewish property and destruction of over a thousand synagogues. This led to a sudden increase in visa requests. However the European countries, including Britain, as well as the USA government would still not significantly increase the permitted levels of immigration. Though the British, as an emergency measure did admit 10,000 unaccompanied children under the Kindertransport programme, leaving parents behind on what turned out to be the eve of the Second World War. As youngsters, they adopted the English language for everyday use, and fitted into the homes and schools that they found in Britain.

See also

Emergency Rescue Committee, Holocaust, brain drain, European migration to America, German Jews who emigrated to the United States to escape Nazism, Anti-Jewish legislation in prewar Nazi Germany, Germans and Austrians who fought for Britain, German Resistance, Jewish refugees, international response to the Holocaust, resistance during the Holocaust




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Refugees from Nazism" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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