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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)



Chapter 6. The Beginning of the End
[G.] Emigration and flight

[6.18. Jewish Emigration figures for Germany, Austria, Bohemia, Moravia, and Danzig  1938-1939]

Total Jewish emigration from Germany, Austria, and the Czech lands (Bohemia and Moravia) after October 1938 is not easy to reconstruct. The figures given in Table 19 probably do not include many "non-Aryans", who should really be included. But they may serve as an estimate based on material in JDC files.

Large-scale emigration started immediately after the November pogrom; the figures were staggering compared with those for earlier emigration. This time JDC had no hesitations - its leader had learned the lesson of the previous years, as had the leadership of HIAS and HICEM, the two emigrating organizations supported (p.259)

Table 19: Estimate of Jewish Emigration in 1938 and 1939
From Germany
From Austria
From Bohemia and Moravia
From Danzig
Total for year

* Various JDC sources estimated that out of the 20,000, 5,000 were German and Austrian refugees.
(End note 92: Sources:
-- R21, 1939 draft report;
-- R54, Troper letter, 5/16/39 [16 May 1939] (he puts emigration from "old" Germany in 1938 at 34,369);
-- R10, newsletter, 6/15/39 [15 June 1939];
-- R12)

by JDC. There were few illusions left. At a meeting of some of the wealthy contributors to JDC at the end of 1938, James G. McDonald said that "to many people in Europe to crush a Jews is no more unworthy or reprehensible than to step on vermin and crush the life out of such creatures. The war that the Nazis are waging is not a war against the Jews of Germany, but against all Jews, whose influence must be obliterated and who themselves should either be exterminated or driven out of all civilized lands."

In concluding his talk he added: "If you think that because you live in the United States you are immune, you are very foolish."

(End note 93: 31-Germany, refugees 1939-1942, Hyman to David L. Podell, 3/30/39 [30 March 1939])

Unfortunately what the people who listened to McDonald thought of his remarks is not recorded. But words that today sound like prophecies, yet were totally unacceptable before the events of November, were listened to attentively (if sceptically) afterward.