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Yehuda Bauer: My Brother's Keeper

A History of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee 1929-1939

[Holocaust preparations in Europe and resistance without solution of the situation]

The Jewish Publication Society of America, Philadelphia 1974

Transcription with subtitles by Michael Palomino (2007)

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Chapter 1. A Time of Crisis: 1929-1932

[1.5. Eastern Europe: Crop failures, nationalism and economic crisis provoke harsh anti-Semitism since 1928/1929]

[1928/9: Eastern Europe: Crop failure - destabilization of Jewry economically and politically - government actions against Jews]

Masses of Jews were living under the most unsettled circumstances, economic and political. After the crises of 1924-26, another general crop failure in 1928/9 all over Eastern Europe affected the economies of those countries. The Jewish middle class was still largely dependent on small trading operations involving the village-town relationship, and as peasants all over Eastern Europe became economically weaker, the Jewish position became increasingly precarious.

This also affected the political position of the Jews. Since the peasants formed the majority of the population in all these countries, the various governments made efforts to assuage them. Their direct economic relations with the Jews and their inability to pay the Jewish traders and artisans turned the peasant-Jewish relationship into political antagonism, expressed in nationalism and anti-Semitism among large sections of the population. While these tendencies had been ingrained among the population for centuries, they were virulently expressed when economic crisis and increased nationalism coincided in the late 1920s. (p.28)

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