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World Books of Jewish Interest


A scholarly and vigorous chronicle of the significant events, movements, and personalities of four thousand years of Jewish history, this work has established itself as the standard one-volume history of the Jewish people. $6.00



Like the Zionist movement itself, this stirring book encompasses the entire world, with special attention devoted to Zionism in the United States. An accurate and complete account, Fulfillment covers all the significant events and personalities. ILLUSTRATED, $5.00

The Jews in America:



T h e impressive contributions of the Jewish community in America, now numbering five million proud and useful citizens, in war and peace, in all spheres of American life, are amply revealed in this lucid and definitive work. ILLUSTRATED, $6.00

Theodor Herzl:



Here, along with Ludwig Lewisohn's evaluation of Herzl as man, writer, and statesman, is a representative collection of Herzl's own creative writings, many of them never before translated into English: essays, short stories, plays, selections from the Diaries, speeches, rcportorial work, and the whole of The Jewish State. $4.00

Visas to Freedom
The History of HI AS
by Mark Wischnitzer
T h e dramatic story of seven decades of rescue work by T h e Hebrew Immigrant

Aid Society


Visas to Freedom:
The History of WAS

Mass migrations have been the lot of the Jew since Biblical days. In some par ticulars these migrations have been distinct from parallel movements among other peoples. Despite adjustment and integration Jews have always retained their essential group distinctions and their identification with the rest of their scattered people. The H I A S - Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society born of urgent need at the turn of the century, was kept alive and flourishing by wars and distress. Like a drop of water which reflects in miniature the life pulsing about it in the ocean, H I A S has served as a mirror of Jewish misery and need. Though essentially an American organization, the influence and work of 11 IAS were felt across the seas and in every comer of the globe. In this scholarly account of the long history of the H I A S . Dr. Mark Wischnitzer demonstrates the selflessness of the dedicated social worker. Moving modestly in the background is a galaxy of America's most distinguished men and womenjurists, statesmen, social w orkers, pedagogues, writersall of whom have contributed to the growth of America and. by their devotion and loyalty, to the strength of H I A S : the renowned lexicographer who served as interpreter on Ellis Island in order to case the lot of the immigrant; the busv editor who found time to attend Board meetings; the industrialist who casually wiped out a mortgage which was choking the organization; the Board members who traveled

(continued on back flap J

(continued from front flap) hundreds of miles in order to participate in deliberations. More than the history of an organization. Dr. Wischnitzer's book is a tribute to the noble men and women who have helped to make the four letters of H I A S a bvword in the homes of millions of Jews throughout the world.

M A R K W I S C H N I T Z E R was born in Poland in 1882. A graduate of the universities of Vienna and Berlin, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Berlin. From 1908 to 1 9 1 3 he was editor of the Jewish Encyclopedia in Russian, and subsequently published and edited other books, among them a history of the Jewish people among them a sociological history of the Jewish people. He lectured at the Oriental Institute in St. Petersburg (Leningrad) from 1909 to 1928. Dr. Wischnitzer was secretary general of the Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden in Germany, in charge of their social and cultural relief program in eastern Europe, and in this position from 1933 to 1937 he directed the mass emigration of Jews from Germany to western Europe and overseas. In 1941 he came to America, where he served as professor of History and Jewish Sociology at Yeshiva University in New York until his death in October, 1955.

T h e World Publishing Company


Visas to Freedom

to Freedom

hy Mark Wischnitzer


Cleveland and New York

Library of Congress catalog card number: 56-10429



Copyright 1956 by The United Hias Service. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher, except for brief passages quoted in a review appearing in a newspaper or magazine. Manufactured in the United States of America.



JOHN L. BERNSTEIN 1873-1952 A great leader, a noble Jew, fighter for man's rights and human dignity


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

The Young Community T h e Beginnings The Rise of H I A S W a r Years Challenge of Postwar Times Closing the Gates Under the Sign of Depression Exodus from Germany World W a r IIThe First Phase (September 1939 to December 1 9 4 1 )

21 37 52 75 91 110 121 135


10 World W a r IIThe Second Phase (December 1941 to November 1945) 11 The Challenge of Peace 12 H I A S in Israel 13 T h e Last Decade 14 T h e Merger

176 205 241 250 260

27I 276

Presidents of Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society: Kasriel H. Sarasohn, Max Meyerson, Leon Sanders, John L. Bernstein, Abraham Herman, Samuel A. Telsey, Ben Touster facing page 32

Jewish Immigration to the United States, 1 8 8 1 - 1 9 2 0 (chart) Iron Curtain escapees seek H I A S assistance in West Berlin Castle Garden, New York Ellis Island, New York Harbor Playtime at the New York H I A S Shelter Preparations for a feast at the N e w York H I A S Shelter Inmates of Foehrenwald camp wait to register at H I A S office Children at Foehrenwald H I A S - I C A staff at Marseilles, June 1942 Jews register for emigration at Cine Citta camp, Italy DPs in Marseilles Jews enter France from Germany after World W a r II HIAS convoy at Trieste en route to Australia 97 97 128 128 129 129 160 33 64 65 65 96 96


En route to Bremerhaven First shipload of DPs comes to the United States after World W a r I I Embarkation at Bremerhaven Landing at the Port of New York Plaque commemorating H I A S - I C A workers who perished at the hands of the Nazis HIAS aids a mother seeking to reach her children H I A S assists a group in annual alien registration Learning T h e Pledge of Allegiance at the New York H I A S Shelter Citizenship class at the New York H I A S Shelter The creation of United H I A S Service, Inc., December 23, 1953 A young immigrant


161 192 192

193 224 224

225 225

256 257

by Solomon Dingol

W I T H THE APPROACH of the tercentenary of the landing of the

first group of Jews on North American shores, on September 24, 1654, a decision was taken by the Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society ( H I A S ) to publish a history of Jewish immigration to the United States, as its contribution to the tercentenary celebration. T h e Board of Directors, at its February 1 7 , 1953 meeting, adopted the following resolution: A G R E E D , That HIAS engage the services of an outstanding scholar and expert in the field of immigration, to prepare a manuscript on the history of immigration to the United States in connection with the Tercentenary Celebration . . . and that the manuscript . . . should, on publication, be dedicated to the late John L. Bernstein. Several historians of prominence were consulted and it was their suggestion that H I A S limit itself to the writing of the HIAS history, which, with its wealth of material and records, would represent a valuable contribution to the cumulative history of Jewish immigration to the United States. The advice of the historians was reported at a subsequent meeting of the Board, which gratefully accepted their competent suggestion and acted accordingly. Ben Touster, president of the Society, appointed a Publica11





tion Committee consisting of Solomon Dingol, chairman; Edward M. Benton, Adolph Held, and Samuel Goldstein. The assignment to write the book was given to Dr. Mark Wischnitzer, professor of history at Yeshiva University. Dr. Wischnitzer was not only eminently qualified as a scholar, having already to his credit an authoritative work on the subject of Jewish migration,* but also as an experienced worker in the field, from 1 9 2 1 to 1938, as secretary general of the Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden in Berlin. As originally planned, the book was to have been completed by the end of 1954. Dr. Wischnitzer plunged into the work with his usual enthusiasm and thoroughness, but neither he nor the Committee had realized what a tremendous task he had undertaken. Many months of research, meticulous consultation of old minutes, newspaper clippings, correspondence, and publications of various organizations were required before pen could be put to paper. In addition there were the countless conversations and interviews with current and former officers and workers of H I A S ; masses of first-hand data had to be recorded. An organizational life spanning more than seven decades had to be resurrected. Dr. Wischnitzer submitted the first draft of the book during the month of September 1954a miracle of industry in view of his mountainous undertaking. T h e draft was read by members of the Publication Committee as well as by a few competent men outside the organization, who all marveled at the volume of research that had gone into the making of the book. With rare humility and a graciousness which was characteristic of him, Dr. Wischnitzer accepted suggestions for changes and gratefully made note of them. In May of 1955 the second draft of the mansucript was ready. In June of that year, upon the invitation of Professor Benzion Dinur, Israel Minister of Education and, himself, a distinguished
* To Dwell in Safety, The Story of Jewish Migration Since 1800, Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia, 1948.



historian, Dr. Wischnitzer took advantage of a sabbatical leave from his post at Yeshiva University and went to Israel to participate in a project to prepare a comprehensive history of the Jews in Russia. Upon his return to the United States in October, Dr. Wischnitzer planned to make the final revisions of his manuscript. He so advised this writer in a letter from Israel dated September 1 4 , 1 9 5 5 . On October 1 5 , 1955, however, shortly before he was to leave Israel, he died of a heart attack in his hotel in Tel Aviv. The task of preparing the manuscript for publication was left to the present writer, who invited the assistance of Ilja M. Dijour, research director of H I A S and a trusted friend and co-worker of the late Dr. Wischnitzer, and Samuel Duker. The manuscript was read by Samuel Goldstein and Adolph Held, members of the Publication Committee. Edward M. Benton was consulted on many details. I want to acknowledge my indebtedness to the members of the Committee for their valuable suggestions. Thanks are due to Director Martin Bursten and Lyon Mearson of the H I A S Public Relations Department for valuable assistance. I am particularly grateful to Evlin Yehoash Dworkin for shaping the final draft of the manuscript and for preparation of the index. To Ben Touster, the last president of H I A S , and to the members of the Board, I wish to express my appreciation for their cooperation.

W I T H I N T H E GREAT PANORAMA of Jewish history, extending in

time from remotest Biblical days and embracing in space the entire world, the tasks of the Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society are not novel. Religion and tradition have commanded the Jew to shelter the wayfarer. It was therefore proper for the first comers who found niches for themselves in the New World to extend a brotherly hand to those who followed them. Traditionally, Jews have felt a responsibility for one another; from this feeling sprang the great philanthropic institutions which figure so prominently in Jewish communal life. In the New World this tradition found itself in happy accord with the American tendency to rely on voluntary associations of citizens for achieving commonly desired social ends. The first known immigrant-aid society dates back to April 2 7 , 1 8 7 0 , when the Hebrew Emigrant Aid Society of the United States was founded by the Board of Delegates of American Israelites and the Hebrew Benevolent Society, each contributing $250 "for temporary relief to those here and soon to arrive." But this organization was short-lived. A second Hebrew Emigrant Aid Society was founded on November 27, 1 8 8 1 , the year of the Russian pogroms and also the first year of Jewish mass emigration from eastern Europe. Despite the similarity of names, neither of these organizations is to be confused with the later Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society, presently known as H I A S . There was a





marked difference in their ideology and psychological approach to the eastern European immigrant of those early days. The Hebrew Emigrant Societies, which were supported chiefly by wealthy German Jews, themselves immigrants of a previous generation, looked down upon the eastern European J e w and, at best, regarded him as an object of charity. T h e H e b r e w Immigrant Aid SocietyHIASfounded by eastern European Jews, looked upon every newcomer as an equal and welcomed him as a brother. T h e nearest approach to a parent organization of H I A S was
the H e b r e w E m i g r a n t A u x i l i a r y Society, w h i c h was founded on

February 6, 1882 by a group of Russian Jews in New York "to aid their newly arrived countrymen." However, the immediate predecessor of H I A S was the Hebrew Sheltering House, organized by eastern European J e w s in 1889 under the Hebrew name Hachnosas Orchim to provide shelter for homeless immigrants and transients. T h e Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society was formed thirteen years later, in 1902, under the pressure of almost daily contingents of immigrants. In 1909 the Hebrew Sheltering House merged with the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society to form the

known internationally as H I A S . The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society had its origins in one of the mushrooming landsmanshaften established in New York by Jewish immigrants. T h e Society originated in a store on the lower East Side, at a meeting summoning public-spirited Jews to help provide traditional burial for Jews who had died on Ellis Island. From this limited purpose the Society expanded with the needs of the immigrants and the readiness of the founders to meet widening claims for assistance. Since that original meeting, the H I A S has grown to its present size and complexity. Until 1 9 1 5 it confined its activities to the United States; the great pressure of immigration in those days was more than enough to absorb all its energy. Then,



during World War I, H I A S extended a helping hand to the refugees in Europe and the Far East; and, since then, its range of operations has become world-wide. In the postwar years ( 1 9 2 0 - 2 2 ) H I A S established offices in Poland, Rumania, Latvia, Lithuania, Danzig, Turkey, and France to assist the victims of war and pogroms, and was especially active in uniting families separated by the war and its chaotic aftermath in eastern Europe. In 1927 H I A S joined with the Jewish Colonization Association ( I C A ) and Emigdirect to form a joint organization HICEMwhich assumed the international direction of Jewish emigration, transmigration, and immigration. W h e n the Nazis came to power in 1 9 3 3 , H I C E M devoted its resources of men and money to rescue as many Jews as possible from the Hitler Terror, the desperate work of mercy going on day and night. At the end of 1953, H I A S activities embraced western Europe, North Africa, the Near East, Latin America, Australia, New Zealand, and the state of Israel, with offices in fifty countries. The name " H I A S " has become more than a household word during the almost seventy years of its existence. It has come to symbolize asylum for the weary and help for the needy, and is a beacon of hope for the homeless wanderer.

Visas to Freedom

The Young Community

The Inquisition Follows Its Victims T h e discovery of the continent of America opened new prospects to the Jewish victims of persecution in Europe. Since the original expeditions to America were organized by the Spaniards and the Portuguese, it was quite natural that the first Jews who reached the New World came from the Iberian Peninsula. T h e year 1492 signalized not only the discovery of America but the expulsion of the Jews from Spain as well. At first, baptism had offered to the Sephardic Jews an escape from the uncertainties and dangers of emigration. But these New Christians, or Marranos as they were called, though spared expulsion, were closely watched by the Inquisition, which rightly suspected them of adhering secretly to their old faith. This surveillance impelled a large Marrano emigration to the Spanish and Portuguese dominions: Cuba, Jamaica, Mexico, Chile, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, and other colonies. Little information has come down to us about this pioneer immigration. T h e long arm of the Inquisition reached out to the New World, and





whichever Jewish families managed to escape the autos-da-fe" in Mexico City, Lima, Rio de Janeiro, and Cartagena merged beyond identification into the surrounding population. The Americas attracted other European nations to their shores, especially the British, French, Dutch, and Danes. In the British and Dutch colonies settlers were generally admitted without discrimination of creed. W h e n Bahia (Salvador), a Portuguese possession, was occupied by the Dutch fleet in 1624, the Marranos who had been living there openly returned to their ancestral faith. But the Dutch rule was of short duration and the fate of those crypto-Jews who had renounced Christianity may well be imagined. The Dutch rule of Recife (Pernambuco), Brazil, which they conquered in 1630, lasted until 1654, when it was retaken by the Portuguese. T h e Jews were given three months in which to wind up their affairs and leave the colony. In May 1654 8 P exiles, led by Aboab da Fonseca, set sail for Amsterdam in a convoy of sixteen ships. A smaller group left for Dutch Guiana, and a remnant of Marranos, whose identity had not been discovered, stayed on. Twenty-three Jews bought passage on the French sailing ship St. Charles, with New Amsterdam as their destination. They landed on the island of Manhattan in September 1654. However, they were not the first Jews to set foot on North American soil, as is commonly believed. One month earlier, on August 22, Jacob Barsimon had arrived in New Amsterdam from Holland. With this nucleus of twenty-four began the history of the Jews in North America.
a r o u 01






Up to 1783 there were five Jewish communities in North America: in New York, Newport, Charleston, Philadelphia, and Savannah. Contrary to common belief, the Sephardic element was not long in majority. In New York it was predominant at best until 1724, and in Savannah until 1 7 3 0 . Although historically prominent, the Sephardic congregation of Newport numbered barely a dozen families. In Philadelphia and Charles-

The Young Community


ton the Ashkenazim were, from the beginning, the larger element, even though the Sephardic ritual was observed in the synagogue. From the middle of the eighteenth century until the eighties, the Jewish immigration was markedly German. German Jews had come along with the Hessians as sutlers, and had remained in the country after the Revolutionary War. Jewish Pioneers from Germany Jews began arriving from Germany in ever-increasing numbers in the late eighteenth century. Economic and social restrictions weighed heavily on them in the German principalities. Barred from agriculture, the crafts, and the professions, Jews struggled to make a livelihood as peddlers and petty moneylenders. Special taxes and legal prohibitions placed on marriage made life all the more unbearable. T h e bulk of the Jewish population in Germany was steeped in poverty and misery. To such people, the United States held out the glowing promise of political freedom and economic opportunity. Many Jewsand non-Jewish Germans as wellgrasped eagerly at the chance to start a new life. Their first goal was Pennsylvania, particularly Philadelphia and Lancaster. German emigration came to a brief halt in the Napoleonic era ( 1 8 0 0 - 1 8 1 5 ) when the French army, along with its cannon, brought something of the liberal spirit of the French Revolu tion to the occupied areas of western and southern Germany, making life more tolerable for the Jews. But famine, unemployment, and an upsurge of German anti-Semitism in the wake of Napoleon's retreating army ( 1 8 1 5 ) once more directed Jewish thoughts to departure overseas. Jews of Berlin Appeal to Major Noah In 1 8 1 9 a group of Jewish intellectuals in Berlin formed the Society for the Advancement of Jewish Culture and Learning (Verein fur Kultur und Wissenschaft der Juden). They ad-





dressed a letter to Mordecai M. Noah, the American champion of Jewish settlement in the United States, asking him to accept the position of "Extraordinary Member and Correspondent General for the United States of North America" and maintain correspondence with them "about the means of promoting the emigration of European Jews to the United States, and how such emigration may be connected with the welfare of those who may be disposed to leave a country where they have nothing to look forward to but endless slavery and oppression." ( 1 ) What Leopold Zunz and the other signers of the letter had in mind was nothing less than a Jewish emigration agency operating in both countries. While the Berlin Society was cautiously inquiring about the "state of the Jews in America," Jewish emigration from Bavaria had been going steadily forward. By 1839 ten thousand Jews had left Bavaria for the United States. Quite a number of families took along with them to the New World a cantor, a religious teacher, a Shochet, and a Mohelthe basic personnel of a sound religious community. The newcomers, after landing in New York, pressed inland to Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri. To be sure, quite a number remained in New York; the growth of New York synagogue membership from 2,000 in 1836 to 7,000 in 1840 must be ascribed to this influx. The Forty-Eighters

With the failure of the revolutions of 1848 in Berlin, Vienna, Prague, and Budapest, all hope of the Jews that they would attain constitutional freedom and equality was lost for the time being. Accelerated emigration followed. T h e clashes and conflicts between Poles and Germans in the province of Posen and between Czechs and Germans in Bohemia aggravated the feeling of insecurity among the Jews. Jews from Alsace, and many from Bohemia as well, were on the move to the

The Young Community


United States, settling largely in San Francisco, where they formed a congregation of their own. T h e Forty-Eighters were, for the most part, members of the professional class, including many doctors, engineers, rabbis, teachers, and journalists. In 1869, with the granting of political emancipation to the Jews in Germany, the momentum of emigration declined, to be replaced by a steadily growing emigration from eastern Europe. Exodus from Rumania No sooner had Rumania obtained sovereignty in 1858, following the Paris Congress, than it launched an anti-Jewish policy. By refusing to grant Jews citizenship, the Rumanian Government deliberately marked them as unwanted aliens and temporary residents. Benjamin F. Peixotto, United States Consul in Bucharest in 1 8 7 1 , recognizing the precarious situation of the Rumanian Jews, came forward with the suggestion of large-scale emigration to the United States. At a conference of Jewish representatives from America and western Europe, held in Brussels in 1872, the project was debated at length; but, at the urging of a delegation of Rumanian Jews, it was finally dropped. This group, representing a small minority who enjoyed citizenship, contended that mass emigration would seriously set back their efforts to obtain general emancipation for the Jews in Rumania. Subsequent developments confirmed Peixotto's estimate of the situation. Matters came to a head in the nineties, when numerous "alien" Jews were expelled from the country, Jewish artisans were ousted from their various guilds, and a pogrom, instigated by the chief of police, raged in Jassy for several days. Famine, which swept the country that year ( 1 8 9 9 ) , added to the misfortunes of the Jews. Between 1899 and 1903, 29,513 Rumanian Jews emigrated to the United States.

26 Escape from Galicia




In Galicia, the most backward province of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, economic distress rather than political discrimination made life unbearable for the Jews. At the Second Zionist Congress in Basel in 1898, Theodor Herzl called attention to the plight of Jewish workers in Boryslaw who had lost their jobs when the petroleum industry was taken over by foreign capital. T h e development of the garment industry in Vienna reduced the Galician tailors to penury; large numbers of Jewish teamsters were rendered idle by the expansion of railways; the establishment of Polish and Ukrainian cooperative stores cut the ground from under the Jewish village shopkeepers. In 1900, half a million out of a total Jewish population of 800,000 in Galicia were found to be indigent. Jan Laszinski, a deputy in the Austrian Parliament, estimated that 90 per cent of the Galician Jews were completely poverty-stricken. The resettling of Jews in other provinces proved only an ineffectual palliative. T h e majority saw no solution other than emigration and left in great numbers for Germany, France, Belgium, England, and the United States. Between 1890 and 1900 the United States absorbed an average of 10,000 Galician Jews annually; the following decade, an average of 15,000 arrived every year. Pioneers from Eastern Europe Of the Jews of Russo-Polish origin, only a trickle came to America during the Colonial period. Notable among them were Haym Salomon (born in Lissa, Poland), who gave financial assistance to the first American Government during the Revolutionary War, and Mordecai M. Mordecai, a resident of Baltimore in the 1780s, who was born in Lithuania. The plight of Russian Jews living under the oppressive rule of Nicholas I became the concern of Jewish leaders abroad. In 1846 Sir Moses Montefiore visited the Pale of Settlement and

The Young Community


submitted suggestions for reforms to the Russian government. T h e German rabbis Ludwig Philipsohn and Zacharias Frankel saw no other solution for Russian Jews but mass emigration. T h e French philanthropist Jacob Israel Altaras went to Russia in 1846 in the hope of interesting the authorities in a Jewish group settlement in Algiers. Nothing came of all these proposals and the situation remained one of chronic misery until 1868 when a cholera epidemic and ensuing famine in the provinces of Kovno and Suvalki brought about a spurt in Jewish emigration. People fled for their lives, many dying of exhaustion and hunger by the waysides, but the Russian Government did nothing to cope with the situation. Quick action was called for. Western European Jewry was roused. T h e Alliance Israelite Universelle and the Union of German Jewish Communities could suggest only one solutionemigration overseas. A Central Frontier Committee was set up in Koenigsberg on the Prussian border to select able-bodied emigrants and help them in their plight. T h e Russian Government made no move to meet the emergency. A number of Jewish leaders in Russia denounced the flight from Russia as desertion. T h e Jewish community in America received the refugees from Russia with mixed feelings. T h e Board of Delegates of American Israelites voiced opposition to any sizable immigration of Russian Jews, fearing it might jeopardize the position of the Jews already resident in the country. Simon Wolf, prominent in Jewish communal life, Edward S. Solomon, Governor of the Territory of Washington, and Benjamin Franklin Peixotto, president of B'nai B'rith, spoke out in behalf of the Russian refugees. Heartening endorsement came from San Francisco, where a Relief Society for immigrants was at once set up. First Hebrew Emigrant Aid Society T h e New York Hebrew Leader of April 5, 1870 reported quite matter-of-factly, " T w o hundred and fifty of the immigrants are already here; 500 are on the way, and nine ships have





been chartered by the Koenigsberg Frontier Committee to send over more. Thus it seems that the emigrants are to be provided for immediately." As a result of the newly created situation and of the feeling that "each should take care of his own" (as voiced by Israelite in its February 1 8 , 1870 issue in which it urged the Russian and Polish Jews of New York to organize their own "Aid Association"), the Hebrew Emigrant Aid Society of the United States was founded on April 27, 1870. Its constituent agencies were the Board of Delegates of American Israelites and the Hebrew Benevolent Society. Each contributed $250 to defray administrative costs, and funds were solicited for the provision of "temporary relief to those here and soon to arrive." The refugees were to be sent "West and South" to enable them to earn a living. A group of twenty-three Russian immigrants was sent west in a body. Notices were placed in the newspapers, requesting employment for carpenters, coppersmiths, tailors, bakers, and houseworkers, male and female. Sabbath observance was stipulated. Ephraim Japha, president of Shaarei Zedek, and Newman Cohen, president of Beth Israel Bikur Cholim (both, Polish congregations in New York) were active in the affairs of the Hebrew Emigration Aid Society. A Congressman's Plea for Russian Jewry All hope for an improvement in the status of Russian Jews was destroyed during the increasingly reactionary final years of the reign of Alexander II ( 1 8 7 0 - 8 1 ) . Representative Samuel S. Cox of New York, in a speech delivered in Congress in behalf of the Jews of Russia, made public a letter addressed to the Jews of America by a group of Russian Jews which read, in part, as follows: We ask you, we pray, we implore, we beseech you to come to our rescue, to take us out of our bondage, out of our misery; to give us a chance in your great and glorious land of liberty, whose

The Young Community


broad and trackless acres offer an asylum and a place for weary hearts and courageous souls willing to toil and by the sweat of the brow earn their daily bread . . . (2) On March 1, 1881 Tsar Alexander II was assassinated by Russian revolutionaries. The reign of his successor, Alexander I I I ( 1 8 8 1 - 9 4 ) , epitomized reaction. Before long, anti-Jewish agitators began to spread the idea that the Jews were the cause of the misery and poverty of the peasant class and that if the latter were to take the punishment of the Jews into their own hands they would have the blessing and approval of the "Little Father"that is, the Tsar himself. The first anti-Jewish riot came on April 1 5 , 1 8 8 1 , in Elisavetgrad, to be followed by a wave of pogroms which spread like wildfire, from the Kherson province to Bessarabia, Kiev, Chernigov, Podolia, and Volhynia, and continued to rage throughout the summer. Kiev and Odessa were the scenes of especially violent riots. In December of the same year a pogrom was instigated in Warsaw that continued for three days. In March 1882 the pogroms again flared up. T h e savagery of the pogromists in Balta (Podolia) exceeded even that which had been displayed in the onslaught of 1 8 8 1 . Some 160 towns, hamlets, and villages suffered attacks; over 100,000 Jews were rendered destitute or homeless. Property damage was estimated at eighty million dollars. On May 1 0 , 1882 new government restrictions barred all hamlets and villages to Jewish settlement. Evicted from their homes, Jews fled to the cities, which were already overcrowded and unable to receive such huge contingents of destitute Jews. Panic seized the Jewish community. Streams of fugitives made their way to the frontier. Brody, in Austrian Galicia, became a chief concentration point for the refugees; it coped with 20,000 newcomers, who outnumbered its own normal population of 15,000. T h e single goal to which all these unfortunates clung was an Atlantic port and, eventually, a boat to America.





The trek of the pogrom victims to the New World had begun in the summer of 1 8 8 1 . T h e first immigrant ship docked in New York on September 9, others following immediately after. It is estimated that 13,614 (according to another estimate, 18,894) Russian Jewish immigrants came to the United States in the course of 1 8 8 1 - 8 2 . On September 1 4 , 1 8 8 1 a group of men gathered in New York at the Young Men's Hebrew Association to discuss ways and means of aiding the newcomers. Judge Myer S. Isaacs, who presided, announced that various cities had promised their cooperation. A temporary agency, the Russian Emigrant Relief Committee, was established with Charles L. Bernheim as chairman. But, lacking an experienced staff, and with no funds at its disposal, the Committee was unable to cope with the situation created by the ever larger contingents of refugees. Second Hebrew Emigrant Aid Society On November 27, 1881 a meeting was called to consider the establishment of a more permanent body than the Russian Emigrant Relief Committee. During the deliberations Jacob H. Schiff asked whether any other race or nationality had such an agency. "Plenty of them," was the answer. E. L. Boas, of the Hamburg-American Line, pointed to the agencies set up by the Germans and the Irish to assist their immigrants. Thereupon the proposal to create a "Hebrew Emigrant Aid Society" was promptly adopted. H. S. Henry, as president, and D. L. Einstein, Frederick Nathan, Joseph Reckendorfer, and Julius Goldman were elected officers of the Society, and a Board of forty-five directors was chosen. None was to receive a salary. Offices were established at 15 State Street, in the basement, and a former lunatic asylum on Ward's Island was made over into a reception center for the immigrants. Some time later the Schiff Refuge was founded, for which Jacob H. Schiff contributed ten thousand dollars, and a medical service was organized for the immigrants.

The Young Community


At Castle Garden, which, until 1892, was the New York receiving station for the examination of immigrants, the Society provided meals, transportation, and the services of an employment bureau. A commission was formed to help settle the immigrants on the land and to explore opportunities in industry. Up to February 1882 the Society had found employment for 400 immigrants in New York and 200 in New Jersey and nearby localities. T h e Society provided a twelve-dollar suit of clothes for each person starting out on a new job. The Immigrants Find a Champion

On February 6, 1882 the Hebrew Emigrant Auxiliary Society was organized by the Russian Jews of New York, with offices at 105 East Broadway, to aid their newly arrived countrymen. Some twenty congregations contributed to the operating funds of the Society. W h e n the Society's first secretary, Manuel A. Kutsheedt, collapsed under the ardors of his work, Michael Heilprin volunteered to replace him without remuneration. Heilprin was born in Piotrkov, Russian Poland, in 1 8 2 3 , the son of an eminent rabbi. He first emigrated to Hungary, where he served the revolutionary government of 1848-49 as a press secretary. In 1865 he came to America, where he became an associate editor of Appleton's American Cyclopedia. During the Civil W a r he wrote antislavery articles for the New York Tribune. Under Heilprin's management, the atmosphere in the Society's offices improved greatly. His patience and sense of close identity with the unfortunates in his care were frequently put to the test. In the words of his biographer, he not infrequently was compelled to argue earnestly with the more impatient and obstreperous of the immigrants, who could not or would not understand that the land of liberty was, like the countries of the world, subject to laws and restrictions that must be obeyed. Perhaps more trying of all, he had to overcome, as far as lay in his power, the prejudice of those of his race who could




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Chart of Jewish Immigration to the United States above: total number of Jewish immigrants in each year from 1 8 8 1 to 1 9 2 0 .





First Hebrew Sheltering House Association T h e first Hebrew shelter in New York was founded in 1882, but the full name of Hebrew Sheltering House Association was not adopted until seven years later. The American Hebrew for November 23, 1889 reports as follows: The first mass meeting of the new downtown association was held on Sunday last at 1 7 7 East Broadway. The hall was crowded, and one hundred new members were enrolled. The meeting was opened by the chairman of the Society, Mr. K. H. Sarasohn, who briefly explained the object of the Society, namely, to aid in providing temporary shelter, as well as employment, to the great masses of immigrants continually coming to this country . . . The Society already numbers 500 members. The dues are three dollars annually. The "Hachnosas Orchim" intends to begin work by January 1. Early in 1890 quarters were rented at 80 Essex Street. T h e Association's officers, in addition to President Kasriel H. Sarasohn, were S. Eliasberg, Aron Kaplan, S. L. Marcus, and Mayer Applebaum. Sarasohn, a native of Russian Poland who had come to the United States in 1886, was the publisher of a Yiddish newspaper and a prominent figure in Jewish communal work. After its first year the Association acquired a building at 2 1 0 Madison Street at the cost of $18,500. Jacob Schiff donated $500, and Russian and Polish Jews another $3,780. The Association's offices and a recreation hall for two hundred persons were located on the first floor; the second and third floors were living quarters for male residents, and the fourth floor for women. A number of rooms were set aside for families. The annual report of May 1891 showed that 3,086 persons 2 , 3 1 3 men, 286 women, and 487 childrenhad passed through the Shelter, the average length of stay being six days. Food, clothing, and a variety of services were made available to the residents. Of the 2 , 3 1 3 men, 1,379 were mechanics who were provided with jobs in New York, partly by the United Hebrew





Charities, but chiefly by the Association itself. T h e sheltering facilities at 2 1 0 Madison Street soon proved inadequate and additional private lodgings had to be rented. The Rising Tide On March 28, 1891 the Russian Government ordered the expulsion of all Jews from Moscow. Twenty thousand Jews for the most part artisanswere the victims of this measure. Anticipating further expulsion orders, thousands of Jews fled to Germany, France, England, Palestine, Canada, South Africa, and the United States. Farmers were brought to Argentina. The exodus to the United States during the two years of 1891 and 1892 was 107,710more than seven times the number that had arrived a decade earlier. American Jewry was still not strong enough to shoulder the financial responsibilities caused by the new large-scale immigration, now augmented by refugees from Rumania and Galicia. Dr. Julius Goldman and Jesse Seligman were sent as delegates to a Jewish conference on migration held in Berlin on October 2 1 - 2 2 , 1891 to appeal for the assistance of European bodies. Dr. Goldman stated that unless support from Europe were forthcoming, many refugees would have to be shipped back. The sum of $400,000 was voted for immigrant-aid work in America. Several kinds of assistance were now furnished to the refugees. While the Baron de Hirsch Fund, established in 1890, furthered agricultural settlements and provided cheap housing, vocational training, and programs of Americanization, the United Hebrew Charities and the Sheltering House Association continued to concern themselves with the immediate needs of the refugees. Different People, Different Attitudes

In the article called "Justice" (Jiidische Gazetten, 1894), the United Hebrew Charities and the Sheltering House (Hachnosas Orchim) were sharply contrasted:

The Young Community


The Hachnosas Orchim was organized by poor Russian Jews. When an immigrant arrived, they would let him stay in the home for a few days before telling him to go out and look for work. At the Charities he would find an imposing building that swelled his expectations. But when, after calling again and again and again, he could not even get a chance to say that he was hungry, he would become frantic. We do not want to criticize our German brethren. We have our faults too . . . It is up to us, the Russian Jews, to help our poor countrymen and keep them from being insulted by our proud brethren to whom a Russian Jew is a schnorrer, a tramp, a good-for-nothing . . . In the philanthropic institutions of our aristocratic German Jews you see magnificent offices, with lavish desks, but along with this, morose and angry faces. A poor man is questioned like a criminal. He trembles like a leaf, as if he were standing before a Russian official . . . In the fall of 1896 a mass meeting was held at the Pythagorean Hall, 1 7 7 East Broadway. T h e speakers denounced the too strict and tyrannical application of the immigration laws and the overbearing behavior of the United Hebrew Charities representative at Ellis Island, which in 1892 had become the official control station for immigration. T h e meeting resolved to set up a Hebrew Immigrant Protective Association. A temporary committee was appointed, with Gershon Rosenzweig ( 1 8 6 1 - 1 9 1 4 ) , Hebrew writer and scholar, as chairman. Fifteen dollars and sixteen cents were collected at the meeting. T h e committee went to Ellis Island, where it was cordially received by the authorities. Twenty-nine Jews who had been detained because of red tape were immediately released. On October 2, 1896 the Association was incorporated, with the stipulation that "the duration of said Corporation shall be twenty-five years." Philadelphia, next to New York, was most active in organizing immigrant aid in the eighties. T h e moving spirits in this work were a group of outstanding communal leaders. At a meeting on September 2 1 , 1884 the Association for the Protection





of Jewish Immigrants was founded. Due to the representation of various national groups in the leadership of the Association, it quickly gained in popularity. One thousand seventy-six immigrants were taken care of in 1884 and 2 , 3 1 0 in the following year. T h e number kept increasing during the nineties. In 1888 Louis E. Levy ( 1 8 4 6 - 1 9 1 4 ) , inventor and editor, had been elected president, and it was under his leadership that in 1 9 1 3 the Association joined what is known now as H I A S .

The Beginnings

Channeling the Tide As the numbers of immigrants from eastern Europe rose to 60,000 a year by 1900, with an even larger influx predicted by experts, immigration aid began to be concentrated in several large organizations. In 1901 the Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden was set up in Berlin, since Germany was the main transit country at that time. T h e Jewish Colonization Association ( I C A ) of Paris, founded by Baron Maurice de Hirsch in 1891 to settle Jews on the land, began to lend a hand to Jewish migrants and between 1899 and 1903 helped the Rumanian Jews to emigrate. In 1904 the St. Petersburg Information Bureau of I C A expanded its activities to include emigration service. In New York 1902 saw the establishment of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society. (4) Henceforth these three bodies would be the principal agencies concerned with the problems of Jewish emigration, transmigration, and immigration. 37

3 An Obscure Society




T h e Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society had originally been the Voliner Zhitomirer Aid Society, one of the innumerable small landsmanshaften in New York. It was founded late in 1902 in the store of M a x Meyerson. Shortly thereafter it adopted its new name. T h e Society's first offices were at 80 Stanton Street. T h e founders, as the original name indicates, hailed from Zhitomir, capital of the Russian province of Volhynia. Meyerson, however, was from Kamenec, in the neighboring province of Podolia, and the Kamenec Society and the Congregation Nusach Haari soon joined the new organization. T h e grand old man of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (later H I A S ) , John L. Bernstein, became a member in 1904. Forty years later he recalled how the idea of establishing the Society occurred to its foundersMax Meyerson, Harris Linetzky, and Abel Cooper. Originally these public-spirited men had been concerned with the problem of providing decent burial for those unfortunates who died at the immigration station on Ellis Island. At a meeting of the Rabbi Jochanan Lodge of the Independent Order Brith Abraham, it was revealed that a penniless immigrant had died and been buried in potter's field; something had to be done. In the course of their dealings with the authorities in this matter, these men became aware of the general plight of the immigrants. They immediately tackled the entire problem of aiding the immigrants to get a proper start in the strange New World. (5) The Kishinev Pogrom The pogrom that raged in Kishinev from April 6 to 8, 1903 shocked the entire world. To a generation that has experienced the barbarity and blood lust of Nazism, the 45 dead and close to 600 injured in the pogrom may sound like negligible numbers. But in the more sensitive days at the beginning of this century it seemed a holocaust. W h e n the London Times pub-

The Beginnings


lished reports indicating that the Russian authorities had taken a hand in instigating the pogrom, indignation in the United States knew no bounds. Once again a pogrom was the signal for a great wave of emigration. A total of 37,846 Jews left Russia for the United States in 1902; 47,689 in 1903; and 77,544 in 1904. First Officers of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society Max Meyerson was the first president of the Society, and he maintained his close association with the organization until his death in 1 9 3 2 . Vice-President John L. Bernstein ( 1 8 7 3 1 9 5 2 ) , a lawyer and ardent Hebraist, was born in Niezhin, Russia and arrived in the United States at the age of eighteen. Vice-President Jacob Massel, educator and journalist, originally from Kletzk, immigrated to the United States after living for several years in England. He served the Society in many capacities. Dr. David Blaustein, at that time superintendent of the Educational Alliance and a noted lecturer and writer, was honorary secretary. A native of Lida, Russia, he landed in Boston in 1886. In 1900 he accompanied Robert Watchorn, Immigration Commissioner at Ellis Island, to Rumania to make an on-thespot study of the causes of emigration. Blaustein's reports in The American Hebrew ( 1 9 0 0 - 1 9 0 1 ) were widely read. He later lectured on immigration at the New York School of Philanthropy. He died in 1 9 1 2 at the age of forty-six. T h e treasurer of the Society was Harris Linetzky. He was subsequently a director for more than twenty-five years (died 1 9 3 3 ) . T h e Advisory Committee was headed by Joseph Barondess ( 1 8 6 7 - 1 9 2 8 ) , an outstanding labor leader who, like Meyerson, was a native of Kamenec-Podolsk. Of the twenty-nine directors ( 6 ) , mention should be made of Reverend Zevi Hirsch Masliansky ( 1 8 5 6 - 1 9 4 2 ) , native of Slutzk, who came to the United States in 1895 where he became famous for his Yiddish and Hebrew oratory. Reverend Philip Jaches, born in Kalvarya,





served as director for many years; he had been a trustee of the short-lived Hebrew Immigrant Protective Association. Samuel Mason, the First Manager Samuel Mason, a Russian-born accountant, became manager of the Society in 1907 and was influential in its affairs for many years until his death in 1950. In Providence, Rhode Island, where he spent his youth, Mason and a group of friends founded the Touro Cadets. At the outbreak of the SpanishAmerican W a r in 1898, the Cadets offered their services to the Governor of Rhode Island. In 1900 the company, under the command of "Captain" Samuel Mason, organized a drill competition in New York, the proceeds of which went to benefit Jewish refugees from Rumania. Mason called a convention of Jewish societies (7) for the promotion of physical culture among the Jewish youth. Theodor Herzl, who had received an invitation, replied as follows: (8) Ausses July 6, 1901 Dear Sir, I am pleased and thankful to have received your announcement of a convention of delegates of American Jewish youth organizations to be held in Newport on July 28, with the object of discussing the problem of improving the physical fitness of our people. You are right in assuming that this meeting is of the keenest interest to me. Nothing that concerns the moral and physical improvement of my dispersed brothers can be a matter of indifference to me. All my hopes for our national future rest on the youth and the poor. For some time now I have been looking hopefully toward America, because it is my conviction that this land of bursting energy will furnish a roof of steel for the dispersed elements of our people over there. Be strong and energetic, my brothers! The day will come when your strength and energy shall be summoned to serve under the banner of Israel! With Zion's greetings, Theodor Herzl

The Ellis Island, "Isle of Tears"


One of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society's first acts was to station a representative at Ellis Island. After several false starts, the right man was found in 1904 in the person of Alexander Harkavy ( 1 8 6 3 - 1 9 3 9 ) . Writer and lecturer in Hebrew and Yiddish and author of several English-Yiddish dictionaries, Harkavy was a versatile and able man. He worked at Ellis Island until 1909, enjoying the confidence of the Commissioner of Immigration, William Williams. W i t h Harkavy's coming to the immigration station, the lot of the Jewish immigrant improved greatly. Harkavy's main task was to intervene with the Board of Inquiry in behalf of immigrants slated for deportation. Due to language barriers and legal formalities, immigrants scheduled to be deported were rarely able to defend themselves; hence the Society's help was vital. Another important service of the Society was to fight against the shocking conditions obtaining in the ships' steerages. Representatives of the Society were sent to the boats to investigate immigrant complaints. T h e Hamburg-American Line was induced to guard against abuses by the ships' personnel, and to post notices in Yiddish explaining the rules and regulations passengers were expected to observe. W h e n the immigrant was cleared at Ellis Island, the Society sought to place him with relatives, a task often requiring much tedious research. If all went well, the immigrant received a railway ticket (at a reduced rate) and was sent off, properly admonished against the wiles of the unscrupulous. One of the most effective and resourceful services of the Society was its Employment Bureau, which, according to the annual report for 1908, was "kept open every night, except Friday." During the winter of 1907-8 there was considerable unemployment in New York City. Jacob Massel, speaking of that period, recalls that city editions of the English papers were brought into the headquarters of the Society, fresh off the





presses on Park Row, then New York's journalistic center. Members of the Board would remain till early morning, scanning the want-ads and advising the immigrants. The Society's Bureau of Distribution maintained close contact with the immigrant-aid agencies in Boston, Baltimore, and Philadelphia, the three chief ports of debarkation, next to New York. These agencies later became branches of H I A S . Membership outside New York grew so rapidly that in 1908 local groups of supporters were organized in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Elizabeth, Trenton, Perth Amboy, West Hoboken, Bridgeport, and Stamford. T h e Society's information service handled inquiries from all parts of the world. The growing volume of the Society's work impelled it to move to 248 East Broadway in 1907. Additional quarters were rented at 224 East Broadway and it was there that the headquarters were established. A Migration Guide in Yiddish In 1908 the Society began to issue a bilingual monthly, The Jewish Immigrant (Der Yiddisher Immigrant), most of its space being given to the Yiddish section. Its purpose was defined in an editorial in the January 1909 issue: It may be said that before the advent of our monthly journal, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society was doing only half its work. It was doing all that could be done to facilitate the landing of all such immigrants as are by law entitled to land, and befriend them when landed. But now, with the publication of the Jewish Immigrant, we are warning off all such as would not be legally allowed to land. That is practically what the Yiddish portion of the Jewish Immigrant is devoted to. It circulates largely in Russia, in the great emigration centers, where issue after issue since the first number is being most eagerly devoured. Harkavy conducted a column in Yiddish in which he explained immigration laws and gave advice on proper behavior at the immigration station. One reads with amusement the feature "Tell the Truth" by Joseph Erlich of the Philadelphia

The Beginnings


Association for the Protection of Jewish Immigrants. (9) It is, in the moral it points, reminiscent of Sholem Aleichem's " T h e Draft," in which a harried Jewish father cannot make up his mind whether to add on or deduct a year from his son's age when speaking to a Russian official. Great is his relief when he is advised by a friend to tell the truththis he had not thought of! T h e Yiddish press welcomed the new publication. T h e Tegliche Presse (Cleveland) called it a "pillar of fire" guiding the immigrant all along the way from Europe to the United States. Upon the Society's merger with the Hebrew Sheltering House Association, however, the publication was discontinued. European Agencies Step into the Breach From its inception the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society cautioned European agencies against directing unsuitable immigrants to the United States. In November 1906 Alexander Harkavy was sent to Europe to confer with the Jewish Colonization Association in Paris, the Hilfsverein in Berlin, the Jewish Territorial Organization in London, and their various committees in the ports of Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Bremen, Hamburg, and Liverpool. He kept a diary of his trip, jotting down in it various points which he felt should be brought to the attention of the agencies: ( 1 0 ) To exact fair treatment for the emigrants in places where they are housed while in transit as well as on the ship during voyage. To guard against loss of the emigrants' belongings. To effect fair treatment of emigrants at the frontiers. To take particular care of the deported immigrants unable to return to their native country. To render all possible aid to them. Harkavy visited shipping companies and emigrant hostels, and everywhere found a ready response to his request for information. Of special interest to Harkavy were the views of communal leaders on the question of emigration and immigration adjust-





ment. Dr. Paul Nathan, a leader of the Hilfsverein, sent a message to American Jewry which Harkavy carefully noted in his diary: The Jews in America should be good citizens, Nathan urged, but they need not on that account give up their ideals. Personal convictions are private affairs. It is economically undesirable that the immigrants should live in great numbers together. Jewish ideals may well be preserved in small communities. In Paris, Harkavy visited Max Nordau. "It is unfortunate," Nordau told him, "that that country is open to our people. Jews should live in groups in order to be able to preserve their character and ideals . . . T h e immigrants should Americanize themselves, and in such a manner that their [Jewish] ideals are preserved, side by side with their Americanism." T h e secretary general of the Jewish Colonization Association, Dr. E. Schwarzfeld, dwelt more on the practical aspect of the problem. He warned against settling in New York. I C A would offer reduced ship passage rates to those who agreed to settle in the interior. Dr. Schwarzfeld suggested the formation of mutual-loan societies for the purpose of advancing money for passage. Israel Zangwill, with his nostalgic admiration for Russian Jews, inherited, no doubt, from his Russian-born father, stated to Harkavy, among other things: The Jewish masses who are now pouring into America are the most civilized element in the whole immigration. Not only do they represent an ancient highly moralized civilization, but their acquaintance with Hebrew and Yiddish literature puts them on a far higher scale of literateness than the bulk of the immigration. The Russian Jews in particular have so great a capacity for idealism that it is almost their destruction in the world of practice. [A reference to the Jewish rejection of Uganda, in favor of a Palestine homelandat the time, the most remote of possibilities.] Such an idealistic element is just what latter-day America needs. Their language, Yiddish, has produced several masterpieces of literature, as anyone may convince himself by reading

The Beginnings


the work of Peretz, "Stories and Pictures," recently published in an excellent English translation . . . Harkavy returned to the United States on January 20, 1907. In an address at the Educational Alliance a few days later, he pointed out the shortcomings of the commercial companies which handled emigrants in Europe. Most serious was the plight of those deported from the United States who were often simply dropped off and left stranded in transit countries. Other unfortunates were those who could not or would not return to their native countries. For the voluntary agencies Harkavy had nothing but praise. He assured his audience that the oft-made charge that the European agencies were knowingly encouraging the emigration of the unfit, thereby wasting facilities and services, was entirely groundless. ( 1 1 ) Tsarist Subsidy Refused An incident recalled by John L. Bernstein from his rich store of Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society experiences illustrates how, from the very first, the Society maintained the American Jewish tradition of nonsectarian philanthropy. A group of fiftyfour Russian peasants landed in New York some time in 1905. Having no relatives in the United States to act as guarantors, and lacking the twenty-five dollars required in lieu of a guarantee, the men in the group were detained for deportation. Harkavy remonstrated with Commissioner Williams, pointing out that the Russians were hale and hearty farmers who were not likely to become public charges. W h e n he was unsuccessful in his representations, Harkavy signed a guarantee for the men, who were then found lodgings at the Society's expense (fifteen cents a night, per person). All of the men obtained work after a while, with the exception of one who was hospitalized in Philadelphia (the Society met the bill of about a hundred dollars). T h e peasants wrote home that no Russian representative had met them at Ellis Island but that a Jewish society had inter-





vened on their behalf, gotten them admitted to the country, and helped them out in the first few days. W h e n it learned of this, the Russian Government, through its Embassy in Washington, offered the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society an annual subsidy of six thousand rubles for assistance to Russian subjects. John L. Bernstein recounted years later how the offer came up for discussion at a special meeting of the Board of Directors. Some favored accepting the money; others argued that since immigrants often left Russia illegally, there was a danger that the Russian Government might attempt to get information about them from the Society. Then, too, Jewish public opinion would strongly oppose the acceptance of any subsidy from the Tsarist Government. T h e offer was rejected on the grounds that the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society was a voluntary nonpartisan organization and did not wish to limit its independence by accepting governmental support. Finances In its first years the Society had constantly to contend with the problem of insufficient funds. It was impossible to maintain a regular staff in 1904 with a monthly budget of sixty dollars. Mason, when he was first appointed in 1907 for a period of three months, was paid a weekly salary of thirty-five dollars. T h e five hundred dollars necessary for printing and mailing letters to launch a membership campaign was lacking. At a meeting called to discuss fund raising it was proposed that three people present contribute a hundred dollars apiece. When this suggestion met with no response, an alternate proposal of fifty dollars each from six contributors was made, again with the same lack of response. Finally loans were obtained from three outsiders, upon the endorsement of promissory notes by two directors of the Society. So precarious was the Society's financial position that it was unable to purchase a bus for picking up immigrants at the barge office. By 1908, however, the Society's annual income had grown to $13,045.




Working with Other Agencies T h e Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society had an agreement with the National Council of Jewish Women (founded in 1893) under which the latter was to care for unaccompanied Jewish women and girls, while the Society would assist those women and children who had come to join their husbands and fathers. T h e Society's Bureau of Distribution also cooperated with the Industrial Removal Office ( I R O ) , set up in 1901 with Baron de Hirsch's funds. This agency tried to prevent congestion in the big cities along the Atlantic seaboard by helping to establish the immigrants throughout the various states. Across the street from the Society, at 229 East Broadway, were the headquarters of the Hebrew Sheltering House Association. This old institution, established in the 1880s, had a shelter at 2 1 0 Madison Street where it provided immigrants with a roof over their heads and with food and clothing. It also maintained soup kitchens for the local poor. Gradually, although intended originally only for immigrants, its dormitories filled up with transients and aged indigents, necessitating enlargement of the quarters in 1899. Hebrew Sheltering House Association (1904-9) With the number of immigrants mounting steadily after the Kishinev pogrom, the Shelter sought larger quarters in two adjoining houses at 2 2 9 - 3 1 East Broadway. Though the organization was making herculean efforts, many needy immigrants were still going uncared for. Thus, in 1906-7, out of a total of 149,182 immigrants only 4,197 could be housed. That the Shelter was unable to cope with its task may be inferred from the fact that a Rumanian Relief Committee was operating a shelter at the same time and that, in 1906, the Federation of Galician and Bucovinian Jews (founded in 1903) erected its own immigrant shelter on Rivington Street.





In 1907 the Hebrew Sheltering House Association gave up the care of the aged, continuing for a time its services to transients and local indigents. A decisive change in the policies of the Shelter was brought about by Jacob H. Schiff, who contributed the sum of $5,000, with a promise of further support, on condition that the Shelter confine its work to immigrants. The Rivals Join Forces T h e Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society evidenced its disapproval of the methods employed by the Hebrew Sheltering House Association by refusing to contribute to its maintenance in 1903. It was commonly known that both agencies had correspondents in the same cities in the United States as well as in Europe, and that both were doing very much the same type of work. Here again the weight of Jacob H. Schiff's opinion was able to overcome the mutual antagonism and bring about a fusion of both agencies. Judge Leon Sanders, elected to the presidency of the Shelter in January 1909, was the moving force. At a conference of the Boards of Directors of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society and the Hebrew Sheltering House Association held on March 1 6 , 1909, the merger of the two agencies was proposed. Reports submitted to the meeting showed that the financial status of both organizations was very similar. In 1908 the Shelter had an income of $14,209 and expenditures of $ 1 4 , 753; by February 1909 it had a $1,600 shortage. T h e Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society's income and expenditures for the same period were $ 1 2 , 5 1 1 and $13,303resulting in a deficit of about $800. By amalgamating, the Society could save the cost of rent, since the Shelter had ample office space, dormitories, dining rooms, kitchens, and other facilities. T h e conference recommended that the two agencies merge under the name of the Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society, that all their assets, as well as liabilities, be taken over by the new body, and that the Board of Directors for the

The Beginnings agency. Jewish Press Hails Merger


balance of 1909 consist of forty members, half from each

T h e proposals were approved by the membership of both agencies and the amalgamation became effective on March 30, 1909. " H I A S , " which was adopted as the cable name of the new organization, has since become almost a household word in American Jewish life. T h e reaction of the Jewish press was unanimously enthusiastic. The American Hebrew of April 2 commended "the sound sense and capacity for self-government shown by the more recent comers among us. T h e fact that they have submitted the proposed amalgamation to a vote of all the members is especially gratifying, inasmuch as it is so democratic and American a method." The Jewish Tribune (Portland, Oregon) of April 9 anticipated an improvement in "the system of aiding newcomers" as a result of the merger. Jacob H. Schiff's part in bringing about the amalgamation was particularly commended. Across the Atlantic, as well, the amalgamation was welcomed. T h e Zionist weekly Razswet acclaimed the unification of "the two important American agencies," and the St. Petersburg bimonthly Der Judischer Emigrant pointed out that the unification of the two bodies would eliminate much of the inefficiency occasioned by lack of funds and competition. First Election of Officers and Advisors (1909)

Judge Leon Sanders ( 1 8 6 7 - 1 9 3 8 ) of the Sheltering House became first president of H I A S ; Nathan Hutkoff, honorary president; Max Meyerson and Leon Kamaiky, vice-presidents. A native of Lithuania, Kamaiky was a publisher of Yiddish newspapers and an Orthodox leader; he served H I A S for many years. Harry Fischel ( 1 8 6 5 - 1 9 4 7 ) , treasurer of the Sheltering House since 1890, became treasurer of H I A S and served in that capacity until his death. Samuel Mason of the Hebrew Immi-





grant Aid Society became general manager of the new organization. T h e Advisory Board included Jacob H. Schiff ( 1 8 4 7 - 1 9 2 0 ) , who remained close to H I A S all his life; Louis Marshall ( 1 8 5 6 1 9 2 9 ) , co-founder and president of the American Jewish Committee; Oscar S. Straus ( 1 8 5 0 - 1 9 2 6 ) , jurist, diplomat, and communal leader, who as Secretary of Commerce and Labor under President Theodore Roosevelt was in charge of immigration; Cyrus L. Sulzberger ( 1 8 5 8 - 1 9 3 2 ) , prominently identified with immigrant rehabilitation since the 1880s; Morris Loeb ( 1 8 6 7 1 9 1 2 ) , chemist and philanthropist, a director of the Jewish Agricultural and Industrial Aid Society (founded 1 9 0 0 ) ; Abram I. Elkus ( 1 8 6 7 - 1 9 4 7 ) , Jewish leader and United States Ambassador to Turkey; M a x J. Kohler ( 1 8 7 1 - 1 9 4 5 ) , historian and authority on immigration legislation; Simon Wolf ( 1 8 3 6 - 1 9 2 3 ) , lawyer, communal leader, and veteran champion of Jewish immigration since 1869; Mayer Sulzberger ( 1 8 4 3 - 1 9 2 3 ) , jurist and scholar, who was one of the founders of the Association for the Protection of Jewish Immigrants, in Philadelphia; Julian W. Mack ( 1 8 6 6 - 1 9 4 3 ) , federal judge and Zionist leader; and Stephen S. W i s e ( 1 8 7 4 - 1 9 4 9 ) , the noted rabbi and Zionist leader. ( 1 2 ) The Program of HIAS T h e objectives of H I A S were defined as follows: To facilitate the lawful entry of Jewish immigrants into the various ports of the United States; to provide those in need with temporary shelter, food, clothing, and such other aid as may be found necessary; to guide the immigrants to their destination; to help them obtain employment and thus prevent them from becoming public charges; to discourage their settling in congested cities; to maintain bureaus of information and to publish literature on the industrial, agricultural and commercial status of the country; to encourage them to follow agricultural pursuits; to take proper measures to prevent ineligible persons from emigrating to the United States; to foster American ideals among

The Beginnings


the newcomers and to instill in them through a knowledge of American history and institutions a true patriotism and love for their adopted country; to make better known to the people of the United States the many advantages of desirable immigration and to promote these objects by means of meetings, lectures, and publications. It is characteristic of the spirit which was to dominate the work of H I A S that, at its birth, with the future unknowable, the founders conceived their organization in its broadest possible scope, yet pragmatic and idealistic.

The Rise of HIAS

I N THE PERIOD 1909-14 H I A S grew from a modest welfare society in New York to a national organization with branches in Baltimore, Boston, and Philadelphia, an office in Washington, national directors in several hundred cities, a countrywide membership, and affiliations outside the United States. T h e huge influx of the years 1904-8, occasioned in large part by the Kishinev (1903) and October (1905) pogroms, when more than 100,000 Jewish immigrants arrived annually, decreased considerably in 1909 when only 57,750 entered the United States. This sharp drop was due largely to the depression of 1907 and the increase in unemployment in the United States during 1908. W i t h the worsening of conditions for European Jews, immigration again began to mount, rising to 84,260 in 1 9 1 0 and reaching a high of 138,051 in 1 9 1 4 . Never again were so many Jewish immigrants to enter the United States in a single year. Struggle for Improvements at Ellis Island With the upsurge of immigration, conditions at Ellis Island began to figure prominently in the press, in letters back home, 52

The Rise of HIAS


and in complaints to the welfare agencies. T h e buildings proved inadequate for the reception of all the immigrants whose eligibility had been questioned during shipboard inspections. Sanitary facilities were lacking, the food was poor, and there were cases of ill-treatment. As many as five thousand persons were handled daily, under these conditions, in 1907. One can readily imagine the bewilderment and misery into which the newcomers were plunged. To be sure, not all the blame could be laid at the door of the Ellis Island officials, who were "conscientiously doing their best to perform a most difficult public duty." ( 1 3 ) T h e statement from Philip Cowen's Memoirs of an American Jew regarding the good care given immigrants at Ellis Island in the period preceding World W a r I is undoubtedly somewhat biased since Cowen himself was for many years an immigration inspector at the receiving station. Charles Nagel, Secretary of Commerce and Labor, under whose jurisdiction immigration fell, frankly admitted that conditions at Ellis Island were unsatisfactory and blamed Congress for refusing the necessary appropriation to improve matters. That the situation had still not improved may be inferred from the grievances voiced by British subjects in the years immediately after World W a r I. Ambassador Geddes, who investigated the matter, gave a moving account of his findings in his Despatch from H. M. Ambassador at Washington Reporting on Conditions at Ellis Island Immigration Station (London, 1925). Detention of Immigrants

Since detention of immigrants for questioning had become a permanent feature of Ellis Island routine, something had to be done by the welfare agencies to care for the needs of the detainees. Little could be done for those marked for deportationthe diseased, the mentally deficient, and those who were likely to become public charges. But those who were being de-

The Rise of HIAS

I N THE PERIOD 1909-14 H I A S grew from a modest welfare society in New York to a national organization with branches in Baltimore, Boston, and Philadelphia, an office in Washington, national directors in several hundred cities, a countrywide membership, and affiliations outside the United States. T h e huge influx of the years 1904-8, occasioned in large part by the Kishinev (1903) and October (1905) pogroms, when more than 100,000 Jewish immigrants arrived annually, decreased considerably in 1909 when only 57,750 entered the United States. This sharp drop was due largely to the depression of 1907 and the increase in unemployment in the United States during 1908. W i t h the worsening of conditions for European Jews, immigration again began to mount, rising to 84,260 in 1 9 1 0 and reaching a high of 138,051 in 1 9 1 4 . Never again were so many Jewish immigrants to enter the United States in a single year. Struggle for Improvements at Ellis Island W i t h the upsurge of immigration, conditions at Ellis Island began to figure prominently in the press, in letters back home, 52

The Rise of HIAS


and in complaints to the welfare agencies. T h e buildings proved inadequate for the reception of all the immigrants whose eligibility had been questioned during shipboard inspections. Sanitary facilities were lacking, the food was poor, and there were cases of ill-treatment. As many as five thousand persons were handled daily, under these conditions, in 1907. One can readily imagine the bewilderment and misery into which the newcomers were plunged. To be sure, not all the blame could be laid at the door of the Ellis Island officials, who were "conscientiously doing their best to perform a most difficult public duty." ( 1 3 ) T h e statement from Philip Cowen's Memoirs of an American Jew regarding the good care given immigrants at Ellis Island in the period preceding World W a r I is undoubtedly somewhat biased since Cowen himself was for many years an immigration inspector at the receiving station. Charles Nagel, Secretary of Commerce and Labor, under whose jurisdiction immigration fell, frankly admitted that conditions at Ellis Island were unsatisfactory and blamed Congress for refusing the necessary appropriation to improve matters. That the situation had still not improved may be inferred from the grievances voiced by British subjects in the years immediately after World W a r I. Ambassador Geddes, who investigated the matter, gave a moving account of his findings in his Despatch from H. M. Ambassador at Washington Reporting on Conditions at Ellis Island Immigration Station (London, 1925). Detention of Immigrants

Since detention of immigrants for questioning had become a permanent feature of Ellis Island routine, something had to be done by the welfare agencies to care for the needs of the detainees. Little could be done for those marked for deportationthe diseased, the mentally deficient, and those who were likely to become public charges. But those who were being de-





tained for various reasons prior to their ultimate admission could be helped in a number of ways. T h e law granted immigrants the right of appeal from the decisions of the Board of Inquiry before the Department of Commerce and Labor in Washington. T h e following quotation from its annual report for 1 9 1 3 will illustrate the help H I A S gave to the deferred cases (that year 103,869 Jewish immigrants landed in New York; H I A S representatives at Ellis Island dealt with 3,726 cases): These 3,726 cases represented the number in which our representatives had to take a direct and personal interest, for each case had to be taken up with the authorities at Ellis Island or with the Department at Washington or both, and involved applications for rehearings, getting evidence, bringing friends and relatives to the assistance of the detained immigrant, appeals, petitions, and other legal measures. . . . Of these 3,726 cases, 1,944 5 - percent of the detained or excluded, were admitted on rehearings, the boards on special inquiry reversing their own decisions on presentation of additional evidence. 461 were admitted, out of 736 appealed for by our Society, 146 were admitted out of 548 appealed for by others; 3 were admitted after writs of habeas corpus were secured by others; 6 died and one escaped; 1,199 Jewish immigrants of a total of 103,869 Jewish arrivals or 1.2 percent were deported.
or 2 1

The Ellis Island bureau of H I A S was managed from 1909 to 1 9 1 4 by I. Irving Lipsitch, an attorney, formerly employed by the United Hebrew Charities, while Simon Wolf represented the agency in Washington in the period 1 9 1 1 - 1 4 . Lipsitch had the reputation of appealing only "strong" casesthis was important to the reputation of H I A S and the success of its intercessions. Secretary Nagel reportedly once said to Simon Wolf, "It must be a weak case, or Lipsitch would have appealed it!" H I A S was ever on the alert to protect the immigrants' interests. W h e n an arbitrary twenty-five dollar head tax was introduced by Immigration Commissioner William Williams, though

The Rise of HIA&


the legally required tax was only four dollars, H I A S appealed against the Commissioner's edict and the excessive tax was abolished. The resources of the Washington representative, Simon Wolf, were greatly strained by the cases referred to him by the immigrant-aid societies in Baltimore, Boston, and Philadelphia. In 1 9 1 3 these agencies became branches of H I A S and a permanent office was set up in Washington, with Louis S. Gottlieb as its head. Simon Wolf continued to help with his counsel. The Washington office worked closely with the H I A S Law Committee in New York, which consisted of Isidore Hershfield ( 1 8 6 9 - 1 9 4 9 ) , a lawyer and communal worker, John L. Bernstein, and Abram I. Elkus. In the course of his legal work for H I A S , Hershfield had occasion to appear before a New York State legislative committee (established in 1 9 1 1 ) to plead in behalf of immigrants who had contracted mental disorders after their entry into the country. As a result of his testimony, the committee recommended that immigrants afflicted with mental disorders within three years after their arrival in the United States should not be liable for deportation if evidence could be furnished that the causes for the ailment arose after immigration. The Great Debate on Immigration in Congress There were sporadic outbreaks of anti-immigration feeling in the United States throughout the latter half of the nineteenth century. They gained strength in the nineties with the formation of the Immigration Restriction League in Boston. T h e historian John Fiske, president of the League, advocated immigration restriction on the basis of the theory that the southern and eastern European peoples were inferior to the northern and western Europeans whom they had vastly outnumbered since 1881 in immigration to the United States. Maintaining that he was espousing a liberal immigration policy in the American tradition, he cast about for some method to





eliminate the elements he regarded as undesirable. Literacy tests seemed to provide the instrument for barring masses of immigrants from southern and eastern Europe where illiteracy was high. As a matter of fact, in January 1891 Senator Henry Cabot Lodge had proposed such a measure in an article in The North American Review. A bill setting up a literacy requirement for immigrants was passed in both houses of Congress, but was vetoed by President Cleveland on the grounds that it marked a "radical departure from our national policy relating to immigration." T h e restrictionists were undeterred by the President's veto. Immigration statistics for the period 1899-1909 showed a high percentage of illiteracy among teen-age and adult immigrants from southern Italy (54 per cent), Rumania (34.7 per cent), and Poland (35.4 per cent) as compared with immigrants from Germany (5.1 per cent), Great Britain ( 1 . 1 per cent), and the Scandinavian countries (.4 per cent). In the view of the antiimmigrationists, this was further proof that the literacy test would "combine the requirements of restriction, individual selection and group selection." Time and again, bills calling for the institution of literacy tests for immigrants were introduced in one house of Congress or the other. One of these was the Burnett-Dillingham Bill which was vehemently opposed by the Secretary of Commerce and Labor, Charles Nagel. At the annual meeting of the B'nai B'rith in Chicago in 1 9 1 3 , Nagel stated that an immigrant who had a healthy body, a sound mind, and the will to work was desirable. To be sure, there were members in both houses who advocated free and unlimited immigration. Congressmen William S. Bennett and William Sulzer of New York, and Senators Asle J. Gronna (North Dakota), James E. Martine (New Jersey), and Boies Penrose (Pennsylvania) are but a few of the many who staunchly opposed the literacy test and other restrictive proposals.

Trie Rise of HIAS HIAS's Fight against the Literacy Test


Judge Sanders and Jacob Massel, president and secretary of H I A S respectively, addressed a telegram to a number of senators and congressmen, expressing satisfaction "that the calm judgment of the American People is not in favor of the further restriction of immigration," and pointing out that the immigrants who had so far reached the country "have not given cause for the Congress of the United States to legislate for the exclusion from our shores of their kind." T h e senators and congressmen were asked "not to permit the spirit of narrow nationalism to override the just veto of the Chief of the Nation." T h e telegram was written into the Congressional Record of February 1 7 , 1 9 1 3 . T h e pro-immigrationists carried out a country-wide educational program which stressed the un-American character of the restrictionist movement. Even more perturbing to them was Senator Dillingham's proposal to restrict immigration to a given percentage for each national group already residing in the country. T h e proposal fell through but its underlying principle was later to triumph and become the basis for the quota immigration legislation. T h e Boston Immigrant Aid Society carried on its own campaign against the Burnett-Dillingham Bill. It called a meeting in Burlington, Vermont, Dillingham's state, to demonstrate that the citizens of Vermont did not approve of the bill. T h e Burnett-Dillingham Bill eventually passed in both houses of Congress and President Taft, like Cleveland before him, vetoed it on February 1 4 , 1 9 1 3 , declaring, "I cannot make up my mind to sign a bill which, in its chief provision, violates a principle that ought in my opinion to be upheld in dealing with our immigration." T h e Senate repassed the bill, but the House sustained the President's veto on February 1 9 , 1 9 1 3 . In the course of the debate in the House, Representative J. Hampton Moore read a





poem by one of his constituents, Louis A. Amonson of Newton, Pennsylvania. It concluded with the verse: We bring our picks and shovels To meet your greatest need, Don't shut the gates upon us Because we cannot read. The poem circulated among the members of the House.
National Liberal Immigration League

The National Liberal Immigration League was a voluntary nonsectarian agency established in New York in 1905 for the purpose of "counteracting the many active organizations which have spread throughout the country, all having the same purposethe unfair restriction if not suppression of immigration." An immediate spur to the founding of the League was a bill introduced in December 1905 by Representative Gardner, requiring a forty-dollar head tax from each immigrant. A mass meeting was held in Boston to protest against the Gardner Bill and eventually it was shelved. The president of the League was Edward Lauterbach, who had been a delegate of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society to a Conference on Migration held in Vienna in 1882; Lauterbach became a member of the Advisory Board of HIAS in 1909. Nissim Behar ( 1 8 4 8 - 1 9 3 1 ) , a Sephardic Jew who immigrated to the United States in 1 9 0 1 , was its managing director. Born in Jerusalem, Behar had been educated in Paris at the Ecole Orientale, to which he was sent by Adolphe Cremieux. He organized a number of schools of the Alliance Israelite Universelle in the Near East and for fifteen years served as headmaster of the first technical school in Jerusalem. Upon his arrival in New York, Behar became active in immigrant Americanization work. He took part in the fight to compel the Russian Government to honor the passports of American Jews wishing to travel in Russia. As a result of Behar's untiring efforts, hundreds of distin-






guished men and women, educators, jurists, high government officials, and legislators became League members. Charles E. Eliot, Woodrow Wilson, Andrew Carnegie, Jane Addams, Cardinal Gibbons, and Bishop Potter were among the supporters of the organization. The League published pamphlets, including one in Yiddish, and a book by Edmund I. James, President of the University of Illinois, The Immigrant Jew in America (New York, 1906)a fine study of the adjustment of Jewish immigrants to the American scene. The League mobilized the liberal forces of the country against the restrictive literacy test. Petitions bearing several hundred thousand signatures were sent to President Taft prior to his veto of the bill. In recognition of his efforts, President Taft sent Behar the pen with which he had written his veto message to Congress.
North American Civic League for Immigrants

In 1908, three years after the National Liberal Immigration League was founded in New York, another voluntary nonsectarian agency sprang up, the North American Civic League for Immigrants, with headquarters in Boston, where the Immigration Restriction League had started its campaigns in the nineties. The first president of the North American Civic League was the noted engineer and inventor John Hays Hammond. On its Board of Managers were the social reformer Jacob A. Riis; Robert Watchorn, a former Commissioner of Immigration; Felix Warburg; and Jacob A. Hollander, an economist of Johns Hopkins University. The organization maintained branches in many parts of the country and even had a Yiddish section, headed by Jacob de Haas, a leading Zionist who had been one of Herzl's secretaries. The main objective of the North American Civic League was to promote a wider geographic distribution of the immigrants. The New York-New Jersey branch, especially, tried to ease the overcrowded conditions in its area. Agents were placed at rail-



way stations to inform immigrants about the opportunities in the interior of the country. Recommendations were made to the Immigration Commission of New York State, a body set up by Governor Charles Evans Hughes, with Louis Marshall, a champion of liberal immigration, as its chairman. The North American Civic League worked hand in hand with the immigrant-aid societies and tried to avoid any duplication of function. Often it relieved the agencies of the unpleasant duties involved in carrying the defense of immigrants into court. Because of its nonsectarian membership, the League was often able to succeed where the agencies might have failed.
The First Annual Meeting of HIAS

The first annual meeting of the amalgamated Hebrew Sheltering House Association and the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Societyor HIAS, as it was by then knowntook place on January 2 1 , 1 9 1 0 . The merger had, on the whole, proved as favorable as anticipated. Economies in the amount of ten thousand dollars had been achieved and membership was growing. The report of the Shelter revealed that the old Jewish tradition of indiscriminate relief was still unbroken in the organization. "We pride ourselves," President Sanders pointed out, "that there is no Jewish bread line in the city of New York." It will be remembered that the Shelter had committed itself to Jacob H. Schiff to limit its work to immigrant welfare. However, it found itself unable to abandon the very principles on which the Shelter had been based and, though it did excellent work for the immigrants, it still continued to devote a significant part of its efforts to the housing of homeless wayfarers and the feeding of local indigents. In his address at the annual meeting, Jacob H. Schiff developed the theme of scattering large numbers of immigrants throughout the country instead of concentrating them in one area. "There are a million Jews in this city," he said. "We have made these million Jews a blessing to the community instead

The Rise of HIAS


of a burden . . . The problem of immigration is behind us, the problem of distribution is ahead of us." Schiff was, at this time, absorbed in furthering the Galveston Projecta plan to disembark immigrants at Galveston so that they might settle in the Southwest, and, if possible, to induce them to engage in agriculture. He dreamed of establishing Jewish communities west of the Mississippi, where two or three million people could easily be absorbed. The climax of the meeting was the speech of Immigration Commissioner William Williams, who had been criticized in the press for his arbitrary laying down of the law and bias in the treatment of certain groups of immigrants. However, there was no antagonism shown him at the meeting and he had displayed good will in consenting to come. In his defense he said that there were immigrants living in the country four and five years who could still not speak a word of English. To this, Abram Elkus retorted that surely he did not refer to the Jews? There was a certain note of irony in the fact that the next speaker, Reverend Zevi Hirsch Masliansky, addressed the gathering in Yiddish. He took up the question of the physical standards immigrants were required to meet and, according to a report
published in The American Hebrew (January 28, 1 9 1 0 ) , devel-

oped the somewhat abstruse and ingenious idea that "the strong man, by his very strength, may some time be a menace to the country, while the physically weak may turn out to be an asset to the nation." Misled by the applause following Masliansky's address, the Commissioner thought that he must have been the object of the speaker's attack, but upon being assured that this was not so, he again took the floor to promise his full cooperation with all groups in carrying out the immigration regulations.
Membership and Leadership

The outbreak of World War I in August 1 9 1 4 marked the end of the first period of HIAS's activities. With 46,357 individual members and affiliated organizations (landsmanshaften,



fraternal orders, the Workmen's Circle, and the Jewish National Workers' Alliance) and an annual budget of $113,000 as compared with the $18,000 in 1909 (the year of the merger), HIAS had become an important factor in the American Jewish community. The two auxiliary organizations of HIASone bearing the name of Rose N. Lesser,* which already existed as a unit within the Hebrew Sheltering House Association, and the Hebrew Sheltering House League, founded in 1910contributed to the budget of HIAS from their own sources.
National Directors

To enlist country-wide support and interest in the work of HIAS, a National Board of Directors was established in August 1 9 1 1 , selected by the HIAS Board of Directors from every Jewish community in the United States. The National Directors attended the annual meetings of HIAS and could also attend meetings of the Board of Directors whenever they happened to be in New York; thus they could keep in close touch with headquarters. Their reports included data on the progress and adjustment of immigrants in their respective communities. In 1 9 1 3 the number of national directors reached 918, representing forty-four states and territories, in addition to one from Puerto Rico and two from Canada. The years 1 9 1 3 and 1 9 1 4 saw new men come to the fore. Isaac Silberstein, Isaac Heller, and Louis Edward Levy, the chairmen respectively of the Baltimore, Boston, and Philadelphia branches, became vice-presidents of HIAS; and Abram I. Elkus, Albert Rosenblatt, Samuel Mason, who had resigned as general manager in July 1 9 1 4 , and Herman Bernstein ( 1 8 7 6 1 9 3 5 ) , writer and journalist, became directors. A noteworthy addition to the HIAS Advisory Board was the late Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis ( 1 8 6 5 - 1 9 4 1 ) ,
* Rose N. Lesser founded the Women's Auxiliary of the Hebrew Sheltering House Association, about 1896. Upon her death, in 1908, the organization was renamed for her.

The Rise of HIAS


elected in May 1 9 3 1 . He was practicing law in Boston at the time and was admiringly referred to as "the people's lawyer."
National Organizers

The work of the national directors was supplemented by that of the "national organizers," who were employed by HIAS to recruit members. Outstanding among them were Stanley Bero, an energetic campaigner, and Dr. Rachmil Kornblith, a rabbi by training who had launched a membership campaign and fund-raising activities for HIAS in the New England area in 1 9 1 3 and continued this work until 1 9 5 1 . He succeeded in evoking the interest and enlisting the cooperation of Reform and Conservative congregations which had theretofore been unaware of the plight of the eastern European immigrants. He inspired respect and admiration for the tireless efforts of HIAS to improve the material and spiritual life of the Jewish newcomers. The national organizers worked mainly through the congregations. It was the Orthodox groups which responded most readily to the appeals of HIAS, with the Conservative and Reform following. Yet, the organizers reported, it was not unusual to hear people ask, "What makes you do this type of work? Why not let the immigrants shift for themselves?"
HIAS Branches: Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia

The immigrant-aid societies in Baltimore, Boston, and Philadelphia became HIAS branches between 1 9 1 3 and 1 9 1 5 , although close cooperation with HIAS had been established long before that date. From 1 9 1 3 on, HIAS had granted them subventions. The three branches retained "complete autonomy and home rule." ( 1 4 ) Their chairmen served as vice-presidents of HIAS.
Jobs for Immigrants

With increasing employment opportunities, following the crisis of 1907-8, immigrants were readily absorbed into the



garment, cap-making, and fur industries and, to some extent, into farming. The HIAS Employment Bureau, working in cooperation with the United Hebrew Charities, the Industrial Removal Office, and the Jewish Agricultural and Industrial Aid Society, was instrumental in finding jobs for a large number of immigrants. In evaluating such figures as 1,052 placements in 1 9 1 0 , 1,393
in 1 9 1 1 , 2,437 i
n x

9 9

1 2

9 3

a n

d >77 in 1 9 1 4 , one

must bear in mind that relatives and friends were also on the lookout for jobs for the immigrants. At the same time, too, many of the immigrants preferred to set themselves up in business whenever possible, rather than hire themselves out. The Employment Bureau mediated between immigrant and employer, settled disputes so as to avoid recourse to the courts, and secured the release of people detained at Ellis Island for lack of means of support by getting them bona-fide offers of work. Out-of-town employment offers were carefully checked and arrangements with labor unions made. Nothing can be more instructive than a perusal of a list of placements. In 1 9 1 2 , for instance, out of the 2,437 applicants for the most part unskilled workers with a sprinkling of professionals567 were placed in "various trades": 16 blacksmiths, 15 brass workers, 14 brush makers, 27 carpenters, 5 coopers, 36 iron workers, 11 leather workers, 36 locksmiths, 24 machinists, 4 plumbers, 24 tinsmiths, 11 watchmakers, and 5 wood turners. More than 60 other trades were represented. Tailors, usually regarded as the principal Jewish artisans, accounted for only 85 placements, or 14.7 per cent of the trades group.

HIAS set up a so-called "follow-up" system in 1 9 1 1 to keep track of every immigrant who landed in New York, whether he remained in the city or went elsewhere, whether he had availed himself of the services of HIAS or not. Immigrants proceeding to the interior were registered and classified by HIAS at



able, in 1 9 1 2 , to direct 844 persons, out of the 14,912 it handled, to 1 5 6 locations in the United States, Canada, Cuba, and
Panama; in 1 9 1 3 the figure was 1,979
o u t

a t o t a

^ * 539

handled. Obviously the immigrant-distribution plans were not too successful. The reasons for this were of a psychological nature. Having been completely uprooted, the immigrant clung to his landsleit and to a milieu that he knew. The idea of leaving this anchorage behind and striking out for the unknown could only appeal to the more enterprising and daring. For the rest, such incentives as settlement away from New York could offer were not sufficient to overcome the fear that strange surroundings would have an adverse effect on cultural traditions and the preservation of family integrity. In the pre-World War I period, HIAS was lauded for "the great energy and resourcefulness that has been injected into its varied activities" and for "the robust vitality which promises much for the future." However, the announcement in 1 9 1 1 of a deflection of immigration to the West Coast via the Panama Canalthen nearing completionand of HIAS's plans for opening branches in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, Tacoma, and Seattle, was met with considerable skepticism. Morris D. Waldman, then general agent of the Galveston Bureau, admitted that the Galveston Project to divert immigration to the West had achieved very little. He asked acidly whether "the Jewish immigrant is so fond of travel that he will come to the country by the more roundabout way of the Panama Canal." Waldman regarded the establishment of HIAS branches in the West as a waste of money. Serious objections to the plan were also raised by Lucius L. Solomons of San Francisco, a member of the HIAS Advisory Board. He pointed to the limited employment opportunities on the West Coast. Nevertheless, early in 1 9 1 3 , the B'nai B'rith set up a Pacific Coast Immigrant Aid Society, rejecting HIAS's offer of cooperation.

The Preservation of



Cultural Integrity

During the High Holidays, religious services were conducted by HIAS at Ellis Island. The Passover Seder at the Island became a notable event and was attended by communal leaders and HIAS workers. Provision was made at Ellis Island for the performance of all religious ceremonies which a Jew requires from the cradle to the grave. At the Shelter, services were held in the synagogue on weekdays, the Sabbath, and holidays. Children were given religious instruction on Sabbath afternoon. HIAS succeeded in stopping the distribution of proselytizing literature among the Jewish immigrants at Ellis Island. The question of providing kosher food for the immigrants, during the sea voyage and their detention at Ellis Island, was a primary concern of HIAS. Rabbi Herbert S. Goldstein, the biographer of Harry Fischel, treasurer of HIAS, describes how strict observers of the dietary laws among the steerage passengers would abstain from eating cooked food on board ship when they were unable to obtain kosher food, with the result that they were in poor physical condition upon their arrival at Ellis Island. Many a rejection by the immigration officers can plausibly be ascribed to undernourishment arising out of this circumstance. For the newcomer to show improvement at the physical re-examination, he had to be encouraged to eat, and this he would do only if he had the assurance that his food was prepared according to ritual law. A committee composed of Leon Kamaiky, Harry Fischel, and Isidore Hershfield presented a formal request to Washington on February 4, 1 9 1 1 for the establishment of a kosher kitchen at Ellis Island. The committee was received by President Taft and the permission it sought was granted. Secretary Nagel ordered that forty-seven people who had been scheduled for deportation be held over until the installation of the kosher kitchen, with



the result that, upon re-examination, they were found physically fit to land.
Immigration from the Balkans and Near East

The huge influx of Jews from Russia, Rumania, and Galicia early in the twentieth century overshadowed the immigration from other areas. However, under the pressure of natural catastrophes and economic want, Balkan and Middle Eastern Jews began to arrive in considerable numbers. In the 1 8 9 9 1907 period 2,732 Levantine (Sephardic) Jews came to the United States. For a brief period the revolution of the Young Turks (1907) arrested the exodus, for it raised high hopes for radical improvement in the situation of the Jews in Turkey and Palestine. But in the years 1908-13, which included two Balkan Wars ( 1 9 1 2 and 1 9 1 3 ) those hopes were dashed and about 10,000 Jewish emigrants left the Middle Eastern region for the United States. The Sephardic immigrants settled for the most part in New York, with smaller groups going on to Atlanta, Cincinnati, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Rochester, where they formed their own congregations and fraternal orders. To meet the needs of the Sephardic immigrants, HIAS, in the summer of 1 9 1 1 , set up an Oriental Department, and the Educational Alliance opened English classes for them. However, the adjustment difficulties of the Levantine group were not confined to language alone. To begin with, they were unaccustomed to the severity of the North American climate; and, more important, apparently their marked cultural differences were a barrier to the establishment of contact with any large resident group. The plight of these people was serious. At a special meeting of the HIAS Board of Directors on December 2 1 , 1 9 1 1 , President Sanders presented their case. The Levantine immigrants wanted to go to Cuba; some, in fact, had already gone. This placed the HIAS in a quandary. It was not the province of the agency, some of the directors argued, to

The Rise of HIAS


seek new territory for immigrants. On the other hand, it stood to reason that the group had a better chance of finding a congenial milieu, appropriate living conditions, and opportunities for work in a Spanish-speaking and southern country. It was decided to sound out the Cuban Government's attitude toward oriental Jewish immigration and explore the living conditions there. Stanley Bero was sent to Cuba as the emissary of HIAS. We shall see, later, how these first contacts with Cuba were expanded after World War I. Meanwhile, the Levantine immigration into the United States continued at an annual rate
of 2,000. Americanization

The rapid absorption of the incoming Jews into the mainstream of American life was furthered by the United States naturalization policy. As soon as an immigrant set foot on American soil he became a potential citizen and was encouraged to take out his "first papers." From the very first, his goal was to obtain citizenship. For this, a rudimentary knowledge of English and a familiarity with American institutions was mandatory. The organization of English classes for immigrants was one of the tasks of the HIAS Department of Education. In addition to classes given at its own building, HIAS arranged with the Jewish Civic Federation of the Bronx, the Hebrew Educational Society of Brownsville, the Hebrew Free School of Williamsburg, and the Hebrew Educational Alliance of Greenpoint to admit immigrant students. Immigrants were encouraged to attend night schools. Lectures on "Trades and Industries," "Opportunities in the West," and "America," delivered in the HIAS building in 1 9 1 3 , were attended by 2,730 persons. A special cultural service was arranged for Ellis Island. In 1 9 1 3 the HIAS distributed some 38,000 copies of Yiddish newspapers and periodicals among the detainees. In the period 1 9 0 9 - 1 3 more than 35,000 were helped to obtain citizenship.




Bulletin of Information

From 1 9 1 2 to 1920 HIAS published a monthly report called the Jewish Information Bulletin, which appeared simultaneously with a Yiddish edition. The Bulletin fought against all forms of immigration restrictions and furnished extensive data and suggestions on adjustment to the American scene. Now a rare item, the files of the Bulletin are an invaluable source of information. The publication has been used as a reference by all students of immigration. It is interesting to note that in 1 9 1 2 Walter S. Clarke, professor of political science at the College of the City of New York, used the Bulletin as a text for his course on immigration. The Titanic and Volturno The sinking of the Titanic on April 1 2 , 1 9 1 2 , one of the great disasters of modern times, made a searing impression on the minds of the American people. Close to sixteen hundred passengers, officers, and crew members lost their lives. Isidor Straus, a noted communal leader, merchant, and congressman, and his wife Ida, who refused to be rescued without her husband, went down with the ship. When news of the disaster reached New York, HIAS immediately got in touch with its Liverpool correspondent to ascertain whether any Jews had been among the rescued passengers. Twenty-two of the survivorsIrish, French, Syrian, and Jewishwho were brought to New York on the Carpathia were cared for by HIAS. A Women's Relief Committee organized by HIAS raised $2,350, which was distributed among the needy survivors, regardless of creed. Another ocean catastrophe following soon afterfire aboard the Volturno on October 9, 1913again required emergency assistance to survivors. Of the 500 survivors, 326 were brought to New York and nearby ports. HIAS offered its Shelter to 241 of them and procured transportation, food packages, and cloth-

The Rise of HIAS


ing for 265. These were people of all faiths and included Austrians, Bulgarians, Frenchmen, Germans, Dutch, Hungarians, Macedonians, Rumanians, Serbs, and Russians. The Red Cross Emergency Relief Committee expressed its gratitude to HIAS and sent a contribution of $1,250 toward its expenses. The British Consul General, the Austrian Consul, and the Commercial Attache" of the Russian Embassy in Washington called to express their appreciation for the splendid relief work done in the emergency by HIAS.
Appraised of the Work of HIAS

The Jewish press of Russia reported extensively on all matters relating to immigrants in the United States, as well as policies and programs of aid and rehabilitation. Israel Zangwill, after reading the annual HIAS report, wrote, on February 29, 1 9 1 2 , "The contents struck me as so rich in valuable and varied matters on every aspect of the immigration problem, that I yesterday sent my copy to Russia to the director of the Galveston Emigration, with a recommendation to study it as it deserved." Speaking of the same report, Max Nordau wrote, on March 1, 1 9 1 2 , "It evokes the tragic picture of the Wandering Jew, the whole misery of the 'stranger in the strange land,' also the consoling beauty of Jewish kindheartedness, brotherhood and charity." In paying tribute to HIAS, Nordau stressed "the practical sense which seems a peculiar feature of the American mind, even in its most idealistic manifestations." A year later Nordau remarked, in a letter to HIAS, "Your results will, I trust, make the American legislator pause and think. Mr. Taft has, by his veto, gained a claim upon immortality. I cannot imagine America repudiating her traditional glory by locking her door against poor immigrants." The president of the World Zionist Organization, David Wolfsohn, hailed all the Jewish efforts to ameliorate the "temporary hardships" of Jewish immigrants "so long



as our great aim, the creation of a permanent Home for our people, is not attained."
Plans for a Central Jewish Migration Agency

The idea of achieving closer contact with the European Jewish migration societies was advocated at HIAS Board meetings on several occasions. However, a decision taken on June 1 3 , 1 9 1 1 to engage a permanent HIAS representative for Europe was not carried out. In 1 9 1 2 the Board of Directors approved a plan for enlarging the Advisory Board of HIAS to include members in foreign countries; this would strengthen ties with "all Jewish immigrant aid societies throughout the world." It was felt that closer cooperation among Jewish leaders concerned with immigration problems was required. In connection with this plan, President Sanders went to Europe in July 1 9 1 2 to consult with Dr. James Simon, president of the Hilfsverein (Berlin), Emile Meyerson, general director of ICA (Paris), and Israel Zangwill, head of the Jewish Territorial Organization (London). The Jewish Chronicle of London supported Sanders' plan of coordinated action; and the editor, Leopold J. Greenberg, who was then fighting against the British Aliens Act of January 1, 1906, wrote in his editorial of September 6, 1 9 1 2 , "We are glad that influential support has been given to Judge Sanders' suggestion; and the unceasing eagerness with which restrictionists are pursuing their views will, we hope, stimulate Jews to an effort to carry the plan into speedy action." However, the plan miscarried, chiefly because of the opposition of the executors of the Baron de Hirsch Fund from which HIAS was then receiving an annual subvention, and also because of internal opposition. The general manager of the Industrial Removal Office, David M. Bressler, also voiced opposition to any plan for cooperating with European agencies beyond providing them with information on immigration laws. In a review of the HIAS report for
1 9 1 2 , he wrote (Jewish Charity, February 1 9 1 3 , p. 9 ) :

The Rise of HIAS


We feel that full consideration has not been given to the consequences inherent in it. Will it not be understood, in certain quarters, as a covert attempt to encourage immigration to our shores? No one realizes more strongly than we do the need for supplying information concerning our immigration laws and decisions to intending immigrants and thereby to equip them with a knowledge as to who may or may not be admitted. Beyond that, however, we deem it inexpedient to go. Foreign cooperation, no matter how educational in origin and purpose, may create false impressions and a suspicion that there are ulterior motives concealed in the plan. The plan proposed is by no means new, and we trust that the sane counsels which have thus far rendered it inoperative will again prevail. Meanwhile, under the pressure of the situation in Russia, the Libau Committee of ICA sent its chairman, Dr. Nissan Katzenelenson to New York for an exchange of views. Libau was the main Russian port of embarkation. At a conference of the HIAS Executive Committee with Katzenelenson on June 4, 1 9 1 4 , in which Jacob Schiff, Abram Elkus, and Max J. Kohler took part, various projects were discussed, such as a Central Information Bureau, the founding of an Emigration Bank, and the creation of a "Beneficiary Membership Class" to insure immigrants against becoming public charges as a result of sickness and accident. It was resolved to open a branch of the Jewish Colonial Trust in New York and to organize a Central Information Bureau, the latter, apparently, in Berlin. It was arranged that the president and first vice-president of HIAS would meet with Dr. Katzenelenson and others in Berlin in August of 19x4 in order to work out detailed plans. However, on the first of August, war broke out. The period 1909-14 was the high point in unlimited immigration. It was also a period of intense activity on the part of certain sectors who wished to erect barriers against particular ethnic groups, the Jews included. A number of organizations displayed an increasingly anti-



alien attitude. The American Federation of Labor, at its convention in November 1 9 1 4 , voiced opposition to the American open-door policy and endorsed pending Congressional bills which would limit immigration by the imposition of literacy or educational tests. While outstanding American educators were condemning restrictive policies, others, such as the economist Jeremiah W. Jenks, the sociologist H. P. Fairchild, and the sociologist Edward A. Ross of the University of Wisconsin, approved the literacy test. Ross's book The Old World in the New (New York, 1 9 1 4 ) made a "frank plea for the radical restriction of immigration," and Fairchild's Immigration (New York, 1 9 1 3 ) vindicated restrictive measures. Champions of the literacy test as a means of restricting immigration again brought the matter up before Congress during the administration of Woodrow Wilson ( 1 9 1 3 - 1 7 ) . This time their efforts bore fruit, and the literacy test became a part of the restrictive immigration Act of February 5, 1 9 1 7 , passed over President Wilson's veto by a vote of 287 to 106 in the House and 68 to 19 in the Senate.

War Years

Outbreak of World War 1

With the beginning of hostilities in 1 9 1 4 , signaled by the German declaration of war on Russia on August 1, the ships of the HamburgAmerican and North German Lloyd Lines, chiefly used by the emigrants to the United States, ceased operations. So did the boats in Libau. Of the more than three million Jews then in the United States, about two thirds were of eastern European descent and most of them still had relatives in Russia. Thousands of women and children whose husbands and fathers had preceded them to the New World were now left stranded, condemned to separation, at least for the duration of the war. Some small groups of Jews were caught by the outbreak of war in various countries. The Turkish Government ordered all resident aliens either to leave or become Turkish subjects. Some of those who preferred to leave came to the United States; but, arriving as they did without funds, they were threatened with deportation.



Another group of Russian Jews arrived at Ellis Island from France after a long residence in that country. The men had volunteered for service in the French regular army, but when the French authorities sought to enroll them in the Foreign Legion instead, they refused and departed for the United States. Still another group, ousted from Palestine by the Turkish authorities, arrived in New York at the end of 1 9 1 5 but was refused entry into the country by the immigration authorities. In all these cases HIAS intervened with the immigration authorities. Citing the precedent of a group of recently admitted Belgian war refugees, HIAS guaranteed that the arrivals from Turkey would not become public charges, whereupon they were permitted to land. A similar appeal was made in behalf of the group from France; they too were allowed to remain. In the case of the Palestinian refugees, HIAS argued that they were victims of persecution and as such their admission to the country was not subject to the ordinary regulations. Here too the intervention of HIAS was successful.
Deportations Averted

When the war began, there were a number of aliens, Jewish and non-Jewish, at Ellis Island awaiting deportation. Because of the hazards of wartime travel, HIAS appealed for a postponement of the deportations until conditions were safer. These efforts were vigorously opposed by the shipping companies which had brought these people to the United States and were legally responsible for their maintenance until their departure. Time and again they sought permission from the authorities to embark the deportees, but were refused upon the intervention of HIAS. Finally, in May 1 9 1 5 , the companies secured permission for the embarkation of two hundred people aboard the Tsaritsa, bound for the port of Archangel. HIAS immediately appealed to President Wilson, asking for a delay pending a hearing before the Secretary of Labor.

War Years


At the hearing, the HIAS pointed to the dangers of attack at sea and to the hardships the deportees would have, once they landed in Archangel, on their long trek to their homes in western and southern Russia. In support of their argument, the HIAS representatives submitted a telegram received from George Kennan, the American authority on Russia and author of the
famous study on Siberia and the Exile System, who had been

asked for an opinion about a journey from Archangel down to the south of Russia. Kennan wrote: Deportee immigrants sent to southern Russia by etape [under guard] from Archangel would have to travel 1 , 0 0 0 to 1 , 2 0 0 miles. As railroads are crowded with troops and war munitions, immigrants would have to go on foot, at a rate of fifteen miles a day. They would march under guard with common criminals and would be herded with the latter in dirty, infested prisons at night, with inevitable delays. Journey would occupy three to four months and would be attended with great hardships, privations and risk. Most of the weaker members would probably die from exposure and disease. I doubt very much our moral right to subject human beings to such experience. We are trying to relieve suffering and prevent death in Russia, but by returning these people we would increase both. Secretary of Labor William B. Wilson ordered that the deportation of the two hundred people be indefinitely postponed. They were permitted to remain in the country on HIAS's bond until such time as travel conditions would be safe. Secretary Wilson's decision was hailed in this "novel issue raised for the first time in the history of the immigration department in this
country" (Jewish Charity, June 1 9 1 5 ) .

In June 1 9 1 5 there was the case of twenty-six mentally ill aliens who were put aboard the Kursk by the New York State Hospital Commission a day before sailing time, to be shipped back to Archangel. A hearing was asked for immediately and a HIAS delegation, which included Louis Marshall, appeared on behalf of the aliens and a stay of deportation was secured.



The Siberian-Far Eastern Route to


With the Atlantic sea routes closed to them, and with Japan an ally of Russia, emigrants began, early in 1 9 1 5 , to go eastward through Harbin or Vladivostok in order to reach Japan and, from there, embark for the United States. The first of these refugees reached San Francisco in April. By December their number had reached 320. In May, HIAS opened a branch in that city, with Harry K. Wolf as its president. Later in 1 9 1 5 a group of immigrants reached Seattle, where they were cared for by the Social Service of the local B'nai B'rith. But with the number of arrivals growing steadily, and available funds proving inadequate, HIAS was asked to help. In January 1 9 1 6 a Seattle branch of HIAS was established, with Leo Schwabacher, a prominent businessman and communal leader, as president. By May of that year some 900 refugees had arrived in Seattle from the Far East. Except for those who joined relatives elsewhere in the country, these refugees settled in the West and Northwest and contributed in the establishment of Jewish communities in those parts.
First HIAS Mission to War-torn Europe

One of the greatest wartime problems was to help families to keep in touch with their scattered members. This became a major concern of HIAS. Isidore Hershfield, a HIAS director, was sent to Europe to see what could be done. Secretary of State Robert Lansing gave Hershfield letters of introduction to the United States diplomatic and consular officers in Europe with the request that he be given all possible assistance in "ascertaining the whereabouts of persons in Europe whose relatives in the United States are anxious concerning their welfare." Provided, in addition, with letters from the French Consulate General in New York Hershfield set sail for Rotterdam, where he arrived on October 2 1 , 1 9 1 5 . Shortly thereafter a central European office of HIAS was opened in that city.

War Years


The chief work of this office was to establish communication between families in the United States and their relatives in zones occupied by Germany and Austria-Hungary, which were the chief regions of Jewish population. The cooperation of the Hilfsverein in Berlin and the Israelitische Allianz in Vienna was enlisted. Both organizations received inquiries from Jewish families in the occupied zones about relatives in the United Stateswhich they then turned over to the Rotterdam HIAS bureau. The bureau compiled lists of the names received from the Hilfsverein, the Israelitische Allianz, and the Jewish communities of Holland and other European countries, and sent them on to New York. When the first list of names arrived, HIAS announced in the press that the information would be made available to the public on Monday evening, January 3, 1 9 1 6 , at the Bank of the United States, 77 Delancey Street. A huge crowd gathered at the premises, necessitating the opening of three floors of the building. Officers of HIAS divided the lists among them and, standing on tables in the various rooms, read the names to the people packed together in eager, worried expectancy. One of the readers would shout a dozen names without a response from the crowd in his room. There would be dead silence during the reading, each person listening to catch a familiar name. Then a name known to someone in the room would be pronounced. There would be a sudden cry, an excited exclamation, and the others in the room would turn in participating joy to the one whose lost father or mother or sister or brother or child had been found . . . there would be a little applause, or sympathetic exclamations, as the fortunate person, maybe an aged man or a bent old woman, hurried from the room to the information desk for more data about the discovered one. . . . But there was another side of the story, a sad, pitiful side. Many poor men and women came among the first and waited until the last were leaving the building, and heard nothing of those they sought. Some of those who heard well-loved names and went eagerly to the information desk learned there that the



missing one who had been found was dead or ill or in prison. Friends were needed to comfort the bereaved and distressed, and friends were not lacking. There was more gladness than sadness in the great crowd, however, for more learned good news of missing relatives than bad news, and those who had no news built their hopes upon the next receipt of information. . . .
German General Staff HIAS of America Permits Postal Communications with

Hershfield went from Rotterdam to the war zone, which he toured for six weeks, visiting Vilna, Kovno, Grodno, Bialystok, Lublin, and a number of smaller places. He spent a longer time in Warsaw, the seat of the German Governor General. Upon his arrival in Berlin, he submitted a petition to the German authorities, requesting that the Jews living in occupied districts be permitted to correspond with their relatives in America. The German authorities at first rejected this request, but then agreed to permit short communications on printed forms in German or Polish, to be addressed to the Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society in New York. The message permitted was, 'We are well but need financial assistance. Please help us. We send heartfelt greetings." Official placards, "Letters to America," were posted throughout the German-occupied zone and announcements were circulated in the press. Similar facilities were granted by the AustroHungarian High Command in its zone of occupation. Non-Jewish residents in the military zones of Germany and Austria could also make use of the HIAS facilities to communicate with relatives in the United States. The delivery of letters and money remittances from America to residents in the occupied zones was entrusted to the Hilfsverein in Berlin and the Israelitische Allianz in Vienna, both organizations enlarging their staffs to cope with the huge amount of work involved. By the end of the war in 1 9 1 8 , HIAS had received a total of

War Years


300,000 communications. It was helped in the delivery of messages to non-Jews by the Polish National Alliance and the Lithuanian National Society, both in New York. The New York Lithuanian weekly Tevine, in an article entitled "Tears of Blood" ( 1 9 1 6 ) , fulsomely praised the aid given to their people by the Jews, "against whom so many prejudices and hatreds prevailed in Lithuania . . . Should we not blush with shame knowing this to be a fact?" The article went on, ". . . shall we not put aside all petty misunderstandings and in the future work hand in hand with them for the good of humanity?" It should be added that, owing to Hershfield's personal intervention with the authorities in the war zone, about seven thousand women and children whose husbands and fathers were in America were allowed to proceed to the United States, arriving in 1 9 1 6 and early 1 9 1 7 .
Hershfield's Report

On June 29, 1 9 1 6 , thousands of people gathered in Carnegie Hall in New York to hear Hershfield's report on his mission to Europe. The Secretary of Labor, William B. Wilson, congressmen, and distinguished communal leaders also addressed the gathering. Hershfield's account of conditions in war-torn Europe made a profound impression. Secretary Wilson, in his address, said: As your representative was telling the story of his visit abroad, my own memory went back some forty-five or forty-six years, when I too was an alien living in an alien country with my father a resident in the United States. I was a little chap then, I realized little of the problems facing us, but I can recall how those problems affected my beloved mother; I can recall how, as a little boy, I was sent daily to the post office in order to get news from my father in the United States. The worry, the nervousness, the sleepless nights of that mother, when from causes unknown there were days and days of delay in the receipt of the expected letter, and the joy when it came. And so, when your representative told the story of those wives and of those children over there in Poland waiting for the letters from the



father and husband in the United Statesletters that never came, letters for which there was no method by which they could come, that old situation appeared as a picture before my mind's eye; and when he told the story of how he had prepared the way and opened the means of communication I said within the innermost depths of my soul, thank God that such a Society and such a man was in existence to better the means of communication and relieve the terrible strain. And a way was opened, not simply for the people of his own race or for the people of his own religion, but for all the residents of that portion who desired to communicate with their relatives in the United States. After his appearance at Carnegie Hall, Hershfield also spoke in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, and Seattle.
Eight Congressmen Visit HIAS

On Capitol Hill, the work of Hias in establishing postal communication between people in this country and relatives and friends in the war zone aroused much interest. Eight congressmen, most of them members of the House Committee on Immigration, visited Ellis Island and the HIAS headquarters at 229 East Broadway on August 1, 1 9 1 6 . The congressmen were: Frederick C. Hicks, New York; Albert Johnson, Washington; Nelson E. Matthews, Ohio; Robert M. McCracken, Ohio; Merril Moores, Indiana; Isaac N. Siegel, New York; Horace M. Towner, Iowa; and George J. Young, North Dakota. They were accompanied by Dr. Frederick C. Howe, Immigration Commissioner at Ellis Island; James E. Sutter, Clerk of the House Committee on Immigration; and Louis S. Gottlieb, head of the HIAS Legal Office in Washington, D.C. In examining the work of the HIAS's Bureau of Foreign Relations, which had conducted the letter exchange, the congressmen took note of the fact that the service had benefited people, regardless of race or creed.
The Russian Revolution

On February 23 (old-style calendar), 1 9 1 7 , disturbances broke out in St. Petersburg which ended in the collapse of the

War Years


Romanov monarchy. A provisional government, set up on March 2, called for the convocation of a constituent assembly, democratization of local government, a broad political amnesty, the abolition of restrictions on civil liberties, and equal rights for all citizens without distinction of race and creed. On March 22, the Official Gazette of the Provisional Government published a law granting complete civil equality to the Jews. Thus six million Russian Jews became overnight free citizens of a free country. The law was published three days before Passover, and in many a Jewish home this new text of liberation was read in addition to the traditional Haggadah at the Seder. New vistas opened before Russian Jewry, now delivered from the nightmare of Tsarist rule. The National Workmen's Committee on Jewish Rights, founded in New York in 1 9 1 4 , right after the outbreak of war, to fight for Jewish civil rights in Russia at the Peace Conference, wound up its work, feeling that its goal had been achieved. All over Russia, Jews began to prepare for a nation-wide convocation at which a Jewish representative organization was to be established. This plan, however, was soon aborted. On October 25 (November 7 ) , 1 9 1 7 , the Kerensky government was overthrown by the Bolsheviks and years of civil war, banditry, and pogroms succeeded.
The Siberia-Japan Route Again

The devaluation of Russian currency caused by the collapse of the monarchy caught a number of emigrants, chiefly women and children, in mid-passage through Siberia and Japan, leaving them virtually penniless. News about great numbers of them stranded in Yokohama reached America through the press and through immigrants who managed to reach the United States. An investigation by the American Consul General of Yokohama, made upon HIAS's request to the State Department, confirmed the reports. The tiny Jewish community of Y o k o h a m a set up an emergency Emigrant Aid Society, with B. Kirshbaum



as president, but its funds were soon exhausted. Benjamin W. Fleisher, editor of the Japan Advertiser in Tokyo, apprised Jacob H. Schiff of the serious situation. HIAS immediately sent three thousand dollars to Fleisher, instructing him to lease a building in Yokohama for use as a refugee shelter, and undertook to defray the costs of maintaining and housing the emigrants.
First HIAS Mission to Japan

Samuel Mason, member of the HIAS Board of Directors and chairman of its Committee on Foreign Operations, left New York on November 1 6 , 1 9 1 7 , arriving in Yokohama on New Year's Day, 1 9 1 8 . He found that the old Royal Hotel at 87 Yamashita-cho had been leased as a refugee shelter, with operating funds provided by Moissei A. Ginzburg, a Russian businessman residing in Japan. Mason found a situation of confusion and mismanagement as a result of misunderstandings and rivalry among the local Emigrant Aid Society, Ladies' Committee, and the Ginzburg Home for Russian Emigrants. His first step was to arrange to have the building taken over by HIAS, which he accomplished on February 1 1 . He then supervised the renovation and installation of sanitary facilities in the shelter. The swarms of swindlers hovering around the refugees were frightened off. Refugees suffering from diseases were hospitalized; vaccination and disinfection were arranged for all migrants who had passed through Siberia. The American Consulate was requested to arrange with the State Department to have cables transmitted from the refugees to their relatives, care of the HIAS in the United States. Passage reservations were made with the Canadian Pacific Ocean Services and the Japanese line Toyo Kisen Kaisha. The Japanese Government agreed to waive the money qualifications stipulated by its immigration rules, in favor of the refugees entering Japan in transit to the United States. Refugees arriving at western Japanese ports were met by an agent

War Years


of the Yokohama shelter. Close contact was maintained with the Jewish relief committees of Harbin and Vladivostok. English classes were arranged for the refugees whose stay in Yokohama was likely to be prolonged. A synagogue conducted daily services on the premises of the shelter. Up to March 1 5 , 1 9 1 8 almost 700 persons were helped to sail for America. In 1 9 1 8 a Seder for 260 residents was held at the shelter on Passover, with guests from the Jewish community of Yokohama attending. This was undoubtedly a unique occurrence in Japan. The program distributed to the guests gave the Jewish, Japanese, and English dates. Below is the menu in its original spelling: Gefilte Litvishe and "Morer" Russia Potage Egyptiens Chremslach a la Wilna Afikomen Palestinian Compot Americaine
HIAS Operations in Manchuria and Siberia

Samuel Mason left Yokohama for Harbin (now known as Pinkiang) on April 8. From there he went to Nikolsk and Vladivostok. The trip resulted in relief for 3 1 1 stranded refugee families. A Central Information Bureau for Jewish War Sufferers in the Far East was set up in Yokohama, with branches in Harbin and Vladivostok. The Harbin branch was to play an important relief role up to World War II. Refugees continued to arrive in Yokohama. By August 1 9 1 8 a total of 1,706 had been aided by the Yokohama bureau: 1 7 2 men, 624 women, and 9 1 0 children under the age of sixteen. One hundred and six of this number were non-Jews from Poland, Russia, Armenia, Syria, and Persia. The destinations of the refugees sailing from Yokohama and Kobe were: United States, 1,551; Canada, 103; South Africa, 1 5 ; Hawaiian Islands, 1 1 ; Argentina, 1 0 ; China, 4; India, 1; 11 returned to Siberia at HIAS's expense.

86 The Brotherhood


of Man

Among the upper-class refugees from Soviet Russia in Kobe was a daughter of A. S. Suvorin, publisher of the ultra-conservative and anti-Semitic St. Petersburg daily Novoye Vremya. As her funds were vanishing, she left her children with a governess and sailed for America to seek assistance. Meanwhile the governess died and the children were left penniless, whereupon the HIAS took them into the Yokohama shelter. After the mother was located, the children were brought to the United States to join her. The grateful mother wrote to HIAS, "There was no one to whom I could turn. And to think that I was one of the biggest stockholders in Novoye Vremya and my father was always a bitter anti-Semite!" Mr. Mason replied, "Our aim is purely humanitarian. We firmly believe in the brotherhood of man."
Louis Marshall and Jacob H. Schiff Support HIAS

On his return from the Far East, Samuel Mason fell ill and his report was read by John L. Bernstein at a public meeting at Cooper Union on October 1 2 , 1 9 1 8 . Lester L. Schnare, American Vice-Consul in Yokohama; Thomas B. Hohler, Counsellor to the British Embassy in Washington; and Chonosuke Yada, Japanese Consul General in New York, paid tribute to HIAS. Louis Marshal], speaking in behalf of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, promised to assist HIAS's effort for the thousands of refugees moving "from the Urals to the Pacific." The AJDC made good this pledge by contributing five thousand dollars a month to HIAS for its Far East program. Jacob H. Schiff's interest in HIAS was climaxed by his generous gift, in August 1 9 1 8 , of the forty thousand dollar mortgage which he had held for ten years on the property of the old Hebrew Sheltering House at 229-31 East Broadway. As no interest had been paid by HIAS all those years, the donation actually amounted to over sixty thousand dollars.

War WAS in Siberia



In November 1 9 1 8 Samuel Mason again left New York for the Far East. Vladivostok at this time was a teeming and disorganized encampment of refugees, demobilized soldiers, and released war prisoners. Conditions were much the same in Khabarovsk, Blagovestchensk, and Chita. In May 1 9 1 9 , all the way from Vladivostok to Irkutsk, "wives and children were asking for the whereabouts of their husbands and fathers in all parts of the world; the addresses in their possession were most hazy; they knew that the head of the family was in America or in South Africa, but they knew neither the city nor the street." The ebb and flow of the contending Bolshevik and anti-Bolshevik armies added to the panic among the refugees, who could neither go forward nor return to their homes. The anti-Semitic agitation conducted in the sphere of Admiral Kolchak's army caused great apprehension. In Irkutsk the situation was more settled. At a convention there in March 1 9 1 9 of more than sixty Jewish communities of Siberia and the Urals, a Jewish National Council had been established, headed by the engineer Moses Novomeiski, later to achieve note as a leader in Palestine. Mason established in Irkutsk, a Central Information Bureau for Jewish War Sufferers in Siberia and the Urals; its purpose was to help wives and children of American residents to join their husbands and parents, and to discourage the emigration to the United States of people not likely to be admitted. At the other end, some eight thousand people were seeking information at the HIAS office in New York as to the whereabouts of relatives in Siberia. The lists were forwarded, via Yokohama, to Harbin, Vladivostok, and Irkutsk. Many families were reunited as a result of this efficient location service. To help war refugees on their way through Chicago from San Francisco, Seattle, and Vancouver, arrangements were made with J. C. Badesh of the Chicago Hebrew Sheltering Home to



meet the trains arriving from the West. HIAS headquarters in New York was informed in advance of the arrival of the refugees, which gave it time to locate relatives and friends. At the end of 1 9 1 9 the Chicago Sheltering Home became a branch of HIAS. The Chicago Federated Orthodox Charities, which had until then defrayed the costs of the Sheltering Home, agreed to contribute ten thousand dollars a year to HIAS toward the maintenance of the Shelter.
Growing Membership, Changing Leadership

The membership of HIAS passed the hundred-thousand mark in 1 9 1 9 . That year, the income was about $328,000, expenditures about $300,000. Judge Sanders resigned his post in June 1 9 1 7 and John L. Bernstein was elected president on October 1 7 . Leon Kamaiky and Albert Rosenblatt became vice-presidents, along with Harry K. Wolf of San Francisco and Leo Schwabacher of Seattle. Earlier the labor leader Adolph Held had been elected to the Board of Directors, as was Alex Kahn, also from labor circles. Abraham Elias Lubarsky ( 1 8 5 6 - 1 9 2 0 ) , a native of Odessa, resident in New York since early in the century, joined the Board during the war. As chairman of the Agricultural Committee, he urged immigrants to engage in farming in order to help the war effort. Leon S. Moisseiff (1872-1943), the noted bridge engineer and author, became a director in 1 9 1 8 , assuming the chairmanship of the Department of Transportation and Distribution. Israel Friedkin ( 1 8 9 0 - 1 9 3 9 ) , publisher of the New York Yiddish daily Jewish Morning Journal, headed the Committee on National Work, which coordinated the activities of HIAS branches and committees. Mrs. Leon Kamaiky presided over the Committee on Female Immigrants and the Education Committee. Judge Aaron J. Levy, Joseph E. Eron, an educator, and Bernard Semel, a leader of Galician Jews in America, were directors on the Board.

War Years


Samuel Mason withdrew as general manager at the end of 1 9 1 4 and Irving Lipsitch, formerly representative of HIAS at Ellis Island, took over. He was in turn succeeded by Jacob R. Fain in 1 9 1 6 . Mason returned to the executive staff of HIAS in the newly created post of managing director, just before leaving on his mission to the Far East in 1 9 1 8 . The executive staff of HIAS then also included Isaac L. Asofsky as office manager.
Summary of a Busy Decade

Between the years 1909 and 1 9 1 9 , HIAS registered 482,742 immigrants to the United States. The Ellis Island bureau interceded for 28,884 ' ^ f special inquiry, and secured the admission of 22,780 on rehearings; 6,104 deported. In this period the Shelter lodged 32,022 persons and provided 1,176,000 meals. The Department of Distribution and Transportation assisted 84,023 immigrants to reach their destinations. The HIAS Employment Bureau was "one of the most important factors in the placement work of the city of New York." The Committee on Education assisted 64,298 immigrants to secure naturalization papers, and conducted 525 English classes and lectures on American institutions. During the war, Liberty Loan and War Saving Stamp drives were conducted among the immigrants. The Bureau of Information, cooperating with the Committee on Education, served a total of 750,000 persons. The Bureau of Foreign Operations and the United States immigration stations helped 681,816 persons to communicate with relatives and friends.
ne r w e r e





The Act of February 5, 1 9 1 7 which barred illiterates from immigrating to the United States took effect on May 1, 1 9 1 7 . Only 3 per cent of the Jewish immigration of 1 9 1 7 were affected by the Act. The percentage was actually smaller, since wives entering the country to join their husbands were not subject to



the restriction. Nevertheless, H I A S and other agencies fought the bill as a matter of principle, and out of fear that, if unchallenged, this restriction would be followed by others. In 1 9 1 8 strenuous efforts were made in Congress to enact the Burnett Bill suspending immigration for a period of four years, it being claimed that America was passing through a period of readjustment. At a hearing of the House Committee on Immigration, President John L. Bernstein and H I A S directors Joseph E. Eron, Isidore Hershfield, and Leon S. Moisseiff questioned the bill's workability and pointed out its un-American character. They suggested a number of mitigating amendments which were accepted. T h e bill did not come up for a vote before the session of Congress ended, but it was an ominous portent of the future.

Challenge of Postwar Times

Pogroms and Epidemics The Peace Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was signed by the Soviet Government and the Central Powers on March 3, 1 9 1 8 while civil war and lawlessness gripped Russia. Pogroms, comparable in violence only to the Chmelnitsky massacres of 1648 and 1649, swept over the Ukraine, White Russia, and eastern Galicia. In 1 9 1 8 and 1 9 1 9 , some 1,200 pogroms took place, concentrated mostly in the Ukraine. About 50,000 Jews were killed and an even larger number injured and maimed. Several hundred communities were completely wiped out. Rumania, Poland, and the Baltic countries were inundated with refugees. T h e American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee immediately offered help. It proved possible to repatriate some refugees to Russia after order had been restored.


Second Mission to


The war had completely disrupted the migrant-aid machinery so laboriously developed by the Jewish philanthropic organizations in the years before 1 9 1 4 . The St. Petersburg Information Bureau of the Jewish Colonization Association, with its 500 branches in the western provinces of Russia, and the Hilfsverein of Berlin, with its wide network of committees throughout Germany, had been compelled to stop all migration work during the war. Migrant aid was now much more complicated than in prewar times because of the passport and visa regulations instituted by the new statesEsthonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland. Under these circumstances, none but an American organization was likely to manage the difficult task of dealing with the various countries concerned. In 1 9 1 9 , when it became apparent that shipping facilities would soon be available, some 30,000 registered at the HIAS offices in the United States in the course of a few weeks, requesting help in bringing over their relatives from Europe, a number reaching almost 250,000. HIAS addressed itself to the problem of arranging the immigration, particularly of women and children separated from their families in the United States by the long years of war. A HIAS committee headed by John L. Bernstein went to Washington to consult with the authorities and to inquire what might be done to facilitate the immigration of wives and children of American citizens. Assistant Secretary of State William Phillips assured the committee that the refusal to grant visas to women and children was only temporary, arising from the War Department's order to keep ships free for the repatriation of American soldiers and war workers. By November 1, 1 9 1 9 , Phillips stated, the situation would be relieved and visas could be issued. On November 3, 1 9 1 9 the Board of Directors appointed a committee to go to Europe for the purpose of exploring the

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situation. The committee, consisting of Leon Kamaiky and Jacob Massel, with Louis Busker as secretary, left New York on February 5, 1920. After establishing contact with Jewish leaders in London, Brussels, Antwerp, and Paris, which took until the end of March, the committee went to Warsaw. There, at Muranowska 34, in the heart of the Jewish section of the city, a HIAS office was set up. This was to be the Warsaw headquarters of the organization for many years to come. Relations with the authorities were greatly helped by the Hon. Hugh Gibson, United States Minister to Poland, who introduced the committee to the Polish Minister of the Interior and the Chief of the Department of Immigration and Emigration of Poland. Upon their arrival in Warsaw, the members of the HIAS committee were immediately besieged by people anxious to join their relatives in the United States before some new catastrophe might engulf them. The committee responded to this sense of urgency by arranging with the authorities to reduce the usual waiting period of six to eight weeks before the issuance of passports to a few days. With the approval of the American Consulate, visa applications were filled out in the HIAS office, where a special staff was maintained for this purpose. Postal conditions in Europe were in such a chaotic state during this period that 90 per cent of the affidavits sent from the United States were lost in the mail. In view of this, the HIAS committee prevailed upon the Consul to accept ordinary letters inviting relatives to join their families in the United States as proof of earnest desire on the part of the Americans to have their relatives with them. The Consul consented, and authorized the HIAS to obtain such letters. In the case of a wife whose husband was in the United States, letters showing that he had been sending her money for expenses were accepted in lieu of an affidavit. There was at this time only one American consulate in all of Poland, and that was in Warsaw. (A consulate had functioned in Lvov for a brief period.) Since visa applicants had to appear



personally at the Consulate, families would arrive in Warsaw, wait around for their visas, and then have to return home to make final arrangements for their journey overseas. In many cases, as a time- and money-saving measure, people would sell out everything they owned and come to Warsaw to stay until their papers were arranged. But Warsaw was overcrowded, hotel rates were exorbitant, and travel conditions bad. People who had burned their bridges behind them before coming to Warsaw, only to have their applications refused, were in a desperate plight. In order to avoid these unnecessary tragedies and the drain on the emigrants' pocketbooks, HIAS asked whether it would not be possible to have out-of-towners send in their documents by mail and, if these were found in order, have them forwarded to the Consulate. However, this plan was turned down by Washington. Because of the scarcity of ship accommodations and the disorganized railway services throughout Europe right after the war (it took two weeks to reach the western ports from Poland), HIAS established a new emigration route to the United States via Danzig, which could be reached overnight from Warsaw. From Danzig, which had no direct boats to New York, the Cunard and White Star Lines brought the emigrants on small steamers to England, where they embarked on ocean liners for the United States. For the French Line, emigrants were sent to Le Havre. Later, boats began to sail directly from Danzig to American ports. To house emigrants in Danzig while they waited for their boats, a camp was set up in the suburb of Troyl. Kosher meat, which was scarce in Danzig, was brought in twice a week from Posen; there was a plentiful supply of fish. In order to avoid the delay of money transfers from relatives in America, the New York office of HIAS arranged to have money deposited with it for visa holders abroad, and then cabled the money to Danzig the same day.

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While Massel remained in Warsaw, Kamaiky visited a number of cities in Poland and Lithuania to investigate the emigration situation. He found one American consulate in Riga, Latvia for both Lithuania and Latvia; the Consul went once a month to Kovno, Lithuania for three days, during which time he had to handle some 200 visa applicants daily. Two months after the committee's arrival in Warsaw, the reunion of families began. Some 50,000 wives, children, and parents reached the United States by the end of 1920. The Danzig operations necessitated establishing a H I A S office in that city. Another was opened in Lvov (somewhat earlier a Paris office had been set u p ) . It was difficult to find trained workers and the money for the organization's expanding overseas work. John L. Bernstein, who had spent the months of July and August 1920 in Europe, gave a first-hand report on conditions in eastern Europe to the H I A S Board. He had been in Danzig at a very critical moment in the Soviet-Polish War, when Warsaw, threatened by the advancing Bolshevik army, had been evacuated by the Polish Government and the American Embassy and Consulate left the city. Jacob Massel, with his aides and staff, remained there to the last, however, securing passports and directing emigrants to Danzig on special trains placed at their disposal by the Polish authorities. The thousands of refugees streaming into Danzig aggravated the housing and feeding problem. Among the facilities provided the emigrants by H I A S , the Loan Fund was a special blessing, since it enabled them to pay for their board and lodging and for cables to their relatives in America. The Battle of Warsaw, on August 1 5 , 1920, flung back the Red Army and decided the war; an armistice was concluded in October. T h e H I A S resumed its work in Warsaw and other parts of Poland. H I A S branches were opened in Rovno (Volhynia) and Baranovichi, a railway junction in the province of Polesie, to serve the large Jewish populations of eastern Poland. Late in 1920, and in 1 9 2 1 , branches were also set up in Riga



and Kovno for the Baltic states, as well as in Kishinev and Bucharest for Rumania.
Adolph Held Takes Charge

With its expanding tasks and expenses, HIAS soon found itself with a large deficit. The Board was advised by the president that "unless the Society can do its work in an adequate manner in Europe, it would be best to withdraw from Europe altogether." It was decided to work out a budget for one year and approach the Joint Distribution Committee for financial support. However, the negotiations conducted with the JDC in November and December 1920 failed. Meanwhile HIAS continued with its migrant-aid program in the hope that the Jewish communities in Europe would soon be on their feet again and in a position to take over. A new commission, consisting of Adolph Held, Judge Hugo Pam of Chicago, and Max Meyerson, with a staff of workers, left for Europe in January 1 9 2 1 . Judge Pam and Meyerson returned after a few months, leaving Adolph Held to carry on the work, assisted by Alexander Shluger, an American-trained social worker.
Negotiations with the Soviets

The forces of recovery were already at work, and in August 1920 the World Jewish Relief Conference ("Werelief") was founded in Carlsbad, embracing sixty welfare organizations in Europe and overseas. Professor David Simonsen of Copenhagen was elected president, and Leon Motzkin secretary; the seat of the agency was in Paris. The HIAS commission and the Paris agency summoned an Emigration Conference in Prague in October 1 9 2 1 , the outcome of which was the establishment of Emigdirect (United Committee for Jewish Migration), with headquarters in Berlin. Emigdirect began operations the same year. Twenty-seven or-

Playtime at the children's room of the H I A S Shelter in N e w York City.

Young immigrants anticipating their first Thanksgiving Day dinner at the H I A S Shelter in N e w York City.



Hardest hit by the Quota Law were the peoples of eastern and southern Europe and, of course, the Jews of Poland, Rumania, Lithuania, Russia, and Latvia, who fell under the quotas of their native countries. Jewish immigration was reduced from
119,036 in 1 9 2 0 - 2 1 to 53,524 in 1 9 2 1 - 2 2 . Despair gripped the

Jews of eastern Europe when it became known that the law was to be extended to June 1 9 2 3 . Faced by the insurmountable barrier of the Quota Law, the Jewish voluntary agenciesEmigdirect, HIAS, ICA, and others began to turn their attention to the Latin American countries as possible places of refuge.
The Last Year of Free Immigration

The fiscal year July 1, 1920 to June 30, 1 9 2 1 was the last year of free immigration to the United States, if one overlooks such restrictions as the literacy test. As indicated, 119,036 Jews, or 14.8 per cent of the total number of immigrants, entered the country that year. A breakdown of this figure is of interest. The number of males was 52,710; females, 66,326. There were 17,616 boys and over 17,000 girls under the age of sixteen. There were 20,303 married women and 4,159 widows; the number of females over sixteen was 24,696; the number of single males, 21,947. Out of the total number of 119,036 immigrants, 116,566 had come to join relatives; 1,781 to friends; and 689 independently. More than half of the immigrants (64,601) were listed as being without occupations; this was due to the great proportion of women and children among them. Of 50,823 persons (4,012 were not accounted for) there were: 21,402 skilled and 9,514 unskilled workers; 13,398 domestic servants; 5,052 merchants; and 1,557 professionals. The professionals listed were: rabbis, teachers, physicians, lawyers, architects, engineers, artists, sculptors, scientists, writers, and musicians. Before World War I, professionals formed 1.3

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per cent of the total Jewish immigration; from 1921 on, the percentage grew to 5.2 and highera clear indication that conditions for the Jewish professional in Europe had deteriorated considerably. The number of deportees among the Jewish immigrants in the fiscal year 1920-21 amounted to 1,195, or over 1 per cent. Grounds for deportation were disease, likelihood of becoming public charges, and passport irregularities. The 119,036 men, women, and children who immigrated to the United States in 1920-21 owed their rescue to the European committee of HIAS, under the direction of Adolph Held. In Warsaw alone, in the year ending September 1 8 , 1 9 2 1 , information and other kinds of services were requested by 352,800 persons; 24,500 cables were sent to relatives in America; 27,000 cases were referred to Warsaw by New York headquarters; $6,565,445 were transmitted to emigrants; 54,000 affidavits were registered; 40,000 letters were sent, and 32,400 received.
In the Western Hemisphere

While the Quota Law drastically curtailed immigration into the United States, pressure upon the Jewish populations of Europe did not abate and emigrants grasped at any country that would accept them. Following the armistice of 1 9 1 8 , a lively agitation began in the Dominion of Canada in favor of large-scale immigration to populate the vast, uninhabited stretches of the country. Public opinion clamored to raise the country's population from eight to fifteen million. However, the business depression of 1920, with its aftermath of unemployment, shattered this plan, and in the three years between 1920 and 1923 only 23,000 Jews were admitted into Canada. Doubly menaced by the ogre of unemployment and the difficulties of adjustment to a new country, the immigrants were in a serious plight. Max Meyerson went to Canada on behalf of HIAS in August 1 9 2 1 . As a result of the report he brought back, the Board granted a thousand



dollars in October, renewing it for November, to aid the most urgent cases. Joseph Barondess, on the HIAS Board since 1 9 1 2 , visited Canada in November. He returned with a suggestion that 400 recent Jewish immigrants be taken from Canada to Cuba. Canada was in the limelight again at the end of 1923. In November, several hundred Jewish immigrants from Russia landed in New York, but since their country's quota was already exhausted they were ordered deported. The November quota had, upon the intercession of HIAS, been previously reserved for immigrants from Russia who had arrived in September and October, in excess of the quota, and been permitted to land on parole. These people were now charged to the November quota, leaving the unfortunates who had actually arrived in November, out in the cold. The situation was a difficult one. A delegation from the American Jewish Congress intervened with the Secretary of Labor; Louis Marshall took the matter up personally with President Coolidge. The result was that the Government agreed to permit special cases to enter the country, but the others had to go back. To avoid wholesale deportation, the American Jewish Congress, with the cooperation of HIAS and prominent Jewish and nonJewish Canadians, prevailed upon the Canadian Government to permit 500 of the immigrants to enter Canada for a temporary stay, until July 1924, when the quota would again be open. Lyon Cohen, the representative of the Jewish Colonization Association in Canada, was prepared to guarantee that the group would not become a public charge, provided HIAS would deposit fifteen thousand dollars with the Association. Joseph Barondess, vice-president of the American Jewish Congress, who was in Canada at the time, arranged the matter, and the United States Labor Department then consented to have the immigrants transferred to Canada. Cuba, a goal of Jewish immigration since before World War I, saw an increasing number of arrivals in 1 9 2 1 . Albert Rosen-

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blatt, vice-president of H I A S , made a trip to Cuba, where he enlisted the cooperation of the Ashkenazic and Sephardic groups. However, the situation proved beyond the powers of local philanthropy, as the new arrivals found little employment and many had to seek relief. T h e matter was reported to the Joint Distribution Committee, which took the refugees in Cuba under its wing. At a meeting of November 2 1 , 1 9 2 1 the Board of H I A S resolved to handle only migration cases. But in 1924, as we shall see, H I A S became deeply involved in the migrantaid programs in Cuba. Mexico, too, was a goal of the immigrants in 1 9 2 1 , if only as a stepping stone to the United States. A H I A S commission, consisting of Leon Sanders, Abraham Herman (who had become a director in 1 9 2 0 ) , and Louis S. Gottlieb, H I A S representative in Washington, D.C., went to Mexico in July 1 9 2 1 . However, it was found "inadvisable at the present time to send any immigrants to Mexico owing to political and economic conditions." ( 1 5 ) New Headquarters of HIAS H I A S headquarters at 2 2 9 - 3 1 East Broadway had proved inadequate almost from the outset. The purchase of more spacious quarters for the Shelter and offices had been contemplated as far back as 1 9 1 3 but left in abeyance, owing to lack of funds. During World W a r I, when immigration slackened, the problem was hardly acute. But with the war over, and a larger immigration anticipated, it was decided to look about for a new building. In November 1 9 1 9 , the former Astor Library building, at 425 Lafayette Street, was offered for sale to HIAS's treasurer Harry Fischel. T h e purchase, at a cost of $325,000, was announced at the annual meeting of H I A S on January 1 1 , 1920. Jacob H. Schiff, addressing a H I A S meeting for the last timehe died on September 25was elated at the purchase. He said: What a wonderful meeting! What a wonderful testimonial to

VISAS TO F R E E D O M 102 the Society, to the interest in it of the Jews of New York, nay, of the Jews of America and of their confidence in its management. It is fitting that in an assembly such as this, the directors should announce . . . the great step forward the Society has just made in acquiring the old Astor Library, one of the monumental buildings of our city, for the future home of the Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society. I suppose you all know the building. It is situated in a most suitable location, where the directors of the Society would likely have chosen a site, had they been compelled to erect an entirely new building. The building is perhaps a bit large, but the Jews of America have always done large things and the Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society has perhaps done the largest things for the Jews of America. I remember when old Mr. Sarasohn came to me one day, years ago, and said, "Mr. Schiff, what do you think of it, we must have a guest-house, a sheltering house for our people who come here from Russia and the Near East. We must have a building capable of housing at least 40 to 50 people. We are going to take a house at the junction of East Broadway and Canal Street to serve as a Hebrew Sheltering House." That was a big thing then. However, in the course of a few years, they had to do a bigger thing; they combined the immigration work and the sheltering work and bought their present home at 229 East Broadway and they mortgaged it to the hilt, in order to get the money with which to buy it. I think they took a mortgage on it of $ 4 0 , 0 0 0 and they invested perhaps from $10,000 to $20,000 more. That measured the strength of the Society at that time and now they have undertaken to buy a house for $325,000 or we might say for $400,000 because, as our Treasurer has told us, they must put in an additional $75,000 for improvements, and they will have a mortgage on it of $225,000. So you see what progress these gentlemen are making. But they understand the Jews of New York and the Jews of America; they know that from the man who gives a dollar to the man who gives a thousand dollars, all will do their proportionate share.

T h e Building Fund Committee, set up in March 1920 under the chairmanship of Albert Rosenblatt, launched an appeal for $400,000. Early in 1 9 2 1 , $300,000 was raised. An additional $150,000 was raised later to cover the cost of remodeling the

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building. It had been erected in 1 8 5 1 , and enlarged by the addition of wings in 1880; it now needed a thorough renovation, which came to more money than had been estimated. The new building was dedicated on Sunday, June 5, 1 9 2 1 . A delegation consisting of Judge Sanders, Leon Kamaiky, and Harry Fischel had gone to Washington to invite President Warren G. Harding to the dedication ceremonies. While regretting that he could not attend, the President promised a message. Five thousand people gathered in the auditorium of the former Astor Library. President Harding pressed a button in the White House, and bells were set ringing through the building in New York to signal its official opening; two flags, the American and the Zionist, on the platform were unfurled. Harry Fischel and Albert Rosenblatt, who were the leading spirits in the fund drive and the purchase of the building, addressed the assembly. Fischel handed the keys of the building to John L. Bernstein, president of HIAS, who then read President Harding's message, which concluded as follows: "I am informed that the purchase of the new house was made possible through gifts from persons who came to America as immigrants. It seems to me there could be no more emphatic testimony to the usefulness and effectiveness of your Society's work for Americanization." Theodore G. Risley, the solicitor of the Department of Labor, addressed the meeting on behalf of the Department and made a plea for "a square deal" for the immigrant. Oscar S. Straus praised the achievements of the immigrants who had organized HIAS, which had a membership now approaching 140,000; they had labored, he said, "to make the task of those who came after them somewhat easier." The whole of the following week was given over to various dedication ceremonies. On Monday, June 6, HIAS celebrated "Immigrants' Day." Children who had been sheltered by HIAS in the previous year presented the American flag to Secretary of Labor James J. Davis, who spoke as the representative of President Harding, as did Edward J. Henning, the Assistant Secre-



tary of Labor. Frederick C. Wallis, New York Commissioner of Immigration, read an address on "Receiving the Immigrant." Alexander Kahn discussed "The Immigrant and Labor"; Bernard Semel, "The Immigrant as a Businessman." Tuesday was "Americanization and Naturalization Day." Merton A. Sturges, Chief Naturalization Examiner of New York, spoke on "The Immigrant as an American"; William McAndrew, Associate Superintendent of Public Schools, on "The Immigrant and the Public Schools"; Adolph Lewisohn, on "The Immigrant in Industry and Commerce"; Peter Wiernik, editor of the Jewish Morning Journal, on "The Jewish

Press as an Americanization Factor"; Abraham Herman, on "Americanizing the Jewish Immigrant"; the Hon. Samuel Markewich, on "The Immigrant in Jurisprudence." Wednesday was "Auxiliaries', Branches', and National Directors' Day" and featured addresses by Isaac Heller, president of the Boston branch; Mrs. Leon Kamaiky and Mrs. Nettie Lesser Berg, as president and honorary secretary, respectively, of the Rose N. Lesser Auxiliary; Dr. B. B. Berkowitz, president of the Hebrew Sheltering House; Abraham M. Fisch, of the same organization; Rev. Philip Jaches; Harris Linetzky. Thursday was "Rehabilitation Day." The European work of HIAS was surveyed by the leaders of the Society, John L. Bernstein, Leon Kamaiky, Jacob Massel, and Harry Fischel; Charles Paston spoke of his experiences in Danzig and Alexander Harkavy told of the HIAS work in Warsaw. The new building's synagogue was dedicated on Friday and Saturday, June 10 and 11 by Rev. Philip Jaches and Rev. Barnett Siegel. The first annual meeting at the new quarters took place on March 1 2 , 1922. The building is still in use today.
Struggle for Survival

HIAS's work in Europe in 1920 entailed considerable expense which taxed the organization's resources to the limit. To

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cover its deficit, in November 1920 HIAS sought financial assistance from the Joint Distribution Committee. The Joint offered a grant over a six months' period, but under conditions that HIAS found unacceptable. Negotiations dragged on for more than a year, while the deficit kept growing despite the adoption of economy measures. The president of HIAS pictured the situation as follows in his 1922 report: "We began the year's work faced by a heavy deficit of $300,000 and needed an additional $200,000 for the work itself. We would not, in justice to the immigrant, discontinue our European work. We could not close our doors here. We could in no wise lessen the effectiveness of the Ellis Island Bureau or weaken the Washington Bureau. Nor could we say to our branches: stop operations." Negotiations with the Joint Distribution Committee were resumed early in 1922. In a letter to John L. Bernstein, dated June 9, 1922, Louis Marshall presented the Joint's offer of $153,750 to cover part of the deficit, with the understanding that the balance would be "fully paid by the officers or directors of HIAS, or by the contributions of others, so that the entire deficit shall be completely extinguished." The terms of the grant required HIAS to close down its foreign branches not later than November 30, 1922 and to discontinue the transmission of money from American residents to relatives abroad, either directly or indirectly. Thus, the Joint contended, HIAS would be able "without further delay to conduct its activities on the war basis, and thus avoid the expense and complications resulting from activities in foreign lands." "Activities on the war basis" meant limiting HIAS operations to America. The Board of Directors informed Marshall that before making any commitments it would first attempt to raise the necessary funds by a public appeal, for it felt that HIAS had "a mandate from American Jewry for its European work." In a letter dated June 22, Marshall repeated the offer of the Joint, promising that a substantial part of the money would be paid immediately and repeating the stipulations outlined in his





previous letter. T h e H I A S Board, meeting on July n, passed the following resolution: Inasmuch as the acceptance of the propositions of the Joint Distribution Committee involves the immediate cessation of all our work in Europe, and inasmuch as the Board of Directors deems that the doing of this work in Europe has been sanctioned by its members and Jewry generally, and the same should therefore not be discontinued without an expression of opinion to such effect by its members and Jewry generally, a public appeal for funds to make up our deficit should be made. The response of the public to such an appeal will be an indication whether our members and Jewry generally desire the continuance or discontinuance of our work in Europe. If the appeal shall yield sufficient funds to cover our deficit, the work in Europe should be continued. A Campaign Committee of twenty-seven, under the chairmanship of Jacob Massel, was then set up. T h e reports of the progress of the campaign to the Board of Directors make dramatic reading. By November 1922 more than $250,000 had been raised. By December of 1923 the goal of $500,000 had been exceeded by $ 1 5 , 2 0 2 . It was reportedly "one of the most popular campaigns ever conducted by the Jews in America." There were not many large donors, but the number of contributions of twenty-five, fifty, and seventy-five cents was most revealing. Many a donor accompanied his contribution with a note, telling how he had been helped by H I A S . Practically every city in the United States responded to the appeal. T h e contributions came from the following sources: $222,870 from individuals; $120,283 from congregations; $69,054 from labor unions; $68,010 from the Workmen's Circle; and $33,320 from lodges and societies. Labor helped considerably to make the campaign a success. T h e amount raised by the various unions also included individual donations. T h e Campaign Committee included three prominent labor figures: Joseph Baskin, Max Pine, and B. C. Vladeckin addition to Adolph Held and Alexander Kahn, directors of H I A S . Labor was particularly interested in the

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European work of HIAS, and when the rumor spread that the money raised would be used only for covering the deficit, union circles demanded that HIAS issue a statement reaffirming its intention of keeping the European operations going. At a cost of $79,157 ( 1 5 per cent), the campaign netted $436,000. The deficit was wiped out. Work in Europe could go on.
Economy Measures

The outcome of the campaign had exceeded the most optimistic expectations. Nevertheless, it was decided to reduce HIAS's commitments in Europe by turning over certain portions of the work to the European agencies associated with Emigdirect. All HIAS branches in Poland, with the exception of the Warsaw office, were to be discontinued. Of the Rumanian branches only one, with an annual budget of fifteen thousand dollars, was to be retained. The Kovno branch was to receive only fifteen hundred dollars annually. Subsidies to other European committees were to be canceled. These recommendations were approved by the Board of Directors at a meeting on December 1 2 , 1 9 2 2 . And, in fact, the monthly budget for the work in Europe during 1923 did not exceed ten thousand dollars. Two separate departments were created to handle migrant aid and the remittance of money to Europe. Adolph Held was placed in charge of the migrant aid; and E. W. Lewin-Epstein, of the Remittance Department.
HIAS Immigrant Bank

Money transmitted to relatives abroad through the HIAS was paid out in American dollars and became an important factor in expediting the emigration process. American bankers, looking upon the matter from another standpoint, thought the system highly unsound, and insisted on converting the money into foreign currency before sending it abroad. HIAS pointed out that the currency purchased in the United States would





give the recipients in Europe less in purchasing power by the time it reached them, due to the steadily declining foreign exchange. To quote John L. Bernstein, " T h e bankers criticized and upbraided us. They even complained to the government that we were doing a banking business without a license. The fact that we were not engaged in buying and selling exchange was no answerwe were technically violating the law. We were called to account, and after we had an interview with the Superintendent of Banks of the state of N e w York, he said, 'I am sorry. Y o u are doing a very good piece of work, but you are violating the law, and I have no power to let you violate the law. But I will do this for you. I will give you a bank charter.'" And so, the H I A S Immigrant Bank, a fully licensed New York State bank, began to function on April 1 6 , 1923, taking over the work of the H I A S ' s Remittance Department. In all, the Department had, between 1920 and 1923, sent close to sixteen million dollars to Europe, the major part for emigration purposes. The H I A S Immigrant Bank limited its operations to receiving and transmitting money to relatives abroad. No commercial or savings deposits were accepted. T h e trifling amount 2 per centcharged for service was used to cover the bank's administrative costs and help finance H I A S work in Europe. Work at Home With the expansion of its European activities in the period 1920-23, HIAS's work at home also increased. T h e 119,036 immigrants who arrived in 1 9 2 0 - 2 1 , followed by 53,524 and 49,989 in the two succeeding years, meant new responsibilities for the organization. More than 50 per cent of the 1 9 2 0 - 2 1 arrivals availed themselves of H I A S services in New York or at the branches in Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore, Chicago, San Francisco, and Seattle. Similarly the Ellis Island and Washington offices were kept busy.

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m 1


In spite of the postwar economic slump, H I A S found jobs for 2,429 people in 1920, 3,180 in 1922 and 2,474 9 3Citizenship courses were given, and 36,442 individuals were aided with their applications for first and final citizenship papers. T h e Shelter continued to serve transients as well as immigrants. True, the figure of 1 5 , 2 9 1 nights' lodgings provided to immigrants in 1922 does not seem very impressive. It reflects, however, the change in the character of the immigration. T h e time when the immigrant came as a friendless and homeless pioneer to a new country had passed. T h e immigrants of 1 9 2 1 and 1922 were mostly women and children coming to join the heads of their families. Changes in Administration Abraham Herman, as already noted, served as a director of H I A S from 1920 on. Joseph Baskin, Max Pine, B. C. Vladeck, and Congressman Isaac N. Siegel were elected to the Board in 1922. Also elected that year were Aaron Benjamin, who had helped to obtain the charter for the H I A S Immigrant Bank; E. W. Lewin-Epstein, who had served as H I A S representative in Europe; Rabbi M. S. Margulies; Nathan Schoenfeld, a communal leader; and Morris Weinberg, the publisher of the Yiddish daily The Day. Adolph Copeland of Chicago was elected a vice-president. Isaac L. Asofsky, who joined H I A S as clerk before World W a r I, was appointed general manager in 1922 after the resignation of Jacob R. Fain. In 1923 Isidore Hershfield assumed the post of H I A S representative in Washington.

Closing: the Gates

1924 was a dark one in the history of immigration to the New World. The gates traditionally wide open in welcome to the poor and the oppressed were now virtually slammed shut. Drastic limitations cut down the entrance of aliens into the United States to 167,000 per year, as against the 1,198,892 and 805,000 in the years of free immigration, 1 9 1 3 and 1 9 2 1 . The Act of May 1 9 , 1 9 2 1 had reduced the annual quota of immigrants to 357,000, with preference given to those coming from northern and western Europe. The Act was extended for a year in 1922, and again in the following year. As a result, 55.7 per cent of the aliens admitted in 1923 were from northern and western Europe, 27.2 per cent from southern and eastern Europe and Turkey, 12.4 per cent from Mexico, and 4.7 per cent from other countries. The corresponding figures for 1 9 1 3 were: 20.8 per cent, 75.6 per cent, 1 . 1 per cent, and 2.5 per cent.

The Act of May 26, 1924

Congress continued to consider measures aimed at further restriction of immigration, particularly from northern and west110

Closing the Gates

ern Europe. Under the Act of May 1 9 2 1 , the quota of each national group was set at 3 per cent of its representation in the United States population according to the 1 9 1 0 census. This was found to provide too large a number of the "less desirable" stocks, and so the census of 1890 was adopted as a basis and the quota percentage was reduced from 3 to 2. Congressman Albert Johnson and Senator James A. Reed were the sponsors of the new bill, which passed with sweeping majorities (308 to 58 in the House, and 69 to 9 in the Senate) and was signed by President Coolidge. The Johnson Bill became a law as the Act of May 26, 1924. This Act cut the annual immigrant quota from 357,000 to 167,000. It meant a reduction of 87 per cent for southern and eastern European nationals but only 29 per cent for those coming from northern and western Europe. Poland, Russia, and Rumania, where Jewish emigration was an urgency, were particularly affected. The Polish quota dropped from 30,977 to
5,982; the Russian, from 24,405 to 2,148; and the Rumanian,

from 7,419 to 603. Donald Taft, author of Human Migration ( 1 9 3 6 ) , attributes the adoption of the new law to three factors: postwar anti-alien feeling; organized labor's fear that immigrants threatened its standard of living; racial bias. In this last connection, it is revealing that a German journalist, Contard Schnueck, who visited the United States in 1925, welcomed the restrictive law and congratulated the United States "on taking cognizance of the danger threatening the German race." ( 1 6 )

When the new law went into effect on July 1, 1924, it left thousands of emigrants who were already in possession of visas and steamship tickets stranded at various ports in Europe. About 8,000 Jewish emigrants from Russia were faced with the despairing news that the Russian quota for 1923-24 had already been filled. Louis Marshall, Stephen S. Wise, and John L. Bernstein



made representations in Washington on their behalf, but to no avail. For the emigrants, return to Russia was out of the question. They set their hopes on the 1924-25 quota, but with the drastic cut in the Russian quota brought about by the Act of 1924, this hope was tenuous. Meanwhile emigrants from Poland and Rumania continued to pour into the ports of embarkation, only to discover that their chances of being admitted to the United States were extremely doubtful. The Jewish organizations were deluged by frantic appeals for help. The situation of the emigrants was made even more perilous by the threat of expulsion from the countries in which they found themselves stranded. On May 27, 1924 HIAS sent a delegation to Europe. Aaron Benjamin, B. C. Vladeck, Morris Weinberg, and HIAS's general manager, Isaac L. Asofsky, arrived in Southampton on June 1 3 . Their objectives were: 1) To induce the governments of the European countries in which the emigrants were stranded to grant them temporary asylum, pending a final solution of the problem. 2) To induce the steamship companies to maintain the emigrants until they reached their destinations, were returned to their homelands, or found new countries of settlement. 3) To explain to the emigrants the implications of the new immigration law. 4) To extend temporary aid to the local communities caring for the stranded refugees and relief to distressed individuals. 5) To urge European organizations and leaders to take a more active interest in the plight of the emigrants and to coordinate their efforts with those of HIAS and other American agencies. The HIAS delegation visited the ports in England, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Danzig, and various places in Poland, Latvia, and Rumania. The number of stranded refugees was estimated as follows: Southampton 800; the French ports

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550; Rotterdam 2 1 5 ; Hamburg and Bremen 550; Danzig over 400; Poland 600; Latvia 1,300; Rumania 3,600a total of 8,015. Thanks to the efforts of the delegation, the deportations were stayed and the steamship companies agreed to care for the emigrants until final destinations were found for them. The French Government agreed to have the emigrants stay in the country, provided they did not become public charges. The French steamship companies agreed not to charge the emigrants for board and lodging. HIAS appropriated funds for the maintenance of an employment bureau in Paris, to be set up under the supervision of the World Jewish Relief Conference.
Emergency Action Called For

The situation demanded concerted action. On June 5 HIAS headquarters in New York invited all national Jewish organizations to meet at the HIAS building to discuss the critical situation abroad. At this meeting it was decided to call an emergency conference under the joint sponsorship of HIAS, the American Jewish Committee, the American Jewish Congress, the National Council of Jewish Women, the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, and the United Hebrew Trades. Representatives of forty-four organizations gathered at the Astor Hotel in New York on June 22, 1924. ( 1 7 ) Abraham Herman of HIAS opened the meeting; Louis Marshall and Stephen S. Wise presided over the two sessions. Marshall surveyed the immigration restrictions which had culminated in the Act of 1924. John L. Bernstein depicted the situation of the stranded refugees. The conference elected an Emergency Committee on Jewish Refugees, with Louis Marshall as chairman, and called for the raising of five hundred thousand dollars for its work. HIAS pledged to contribute one hundred thousand dollars. A commission was sent to Mexico to investigate the immigration possibilities in that country. Funds were allotted to ease the refugee situation in Cuba and Canada.



Early in 1924 unscrupulous shipping agencies had lured a number of stranded refugees to Cuba on the promise of getting them to the United States from there. About 6,000 were thus victimized. Their arrival in Cuba posed a serious problem for the small Jewish community in Havana. Upon the initiative of HIAS, the National Council of Jewish Women sent Cecilia Rasovsky and Vera Shimberg to Cuba to investigate the situation. Their report was read at the HIAS Board of Directors meeting on May 27, 1924. HIAS appropriated fifteen hundred dollars a month for one year to help support the refugees in Cuba. Morris Asofsky, Mrs. Adolph Held (who had been doing volunteer work in HIAS's European offices), and Cecilia Rasovsky went to Havana in June 1924 to set up the Jewish Committee for Cuba. This Committee was composed of representatives of HIAS, the National Council of Jewish Women, and the local United Hebrew Congregation ("Centra Maccabeo"). An office was opened at 1 3 1 Calle Cuba, with an information bureau, a social center, synagogue, library, classes in English and Spanish, a loan fund, an employment bureau, and a clinic under the direction of a trained nurse.
Canada Responds

The Canadian Government had barred immigration from eastern Europe by an Order-in-Council of February 23, 1923, exceptions being made for bona-fide farmers, farmhands, female servants, and the children under eighteen and wives of legal Canadian residents. Scandinavians, Germans, French, Belgians, British, and Americans were, however, freely admitted. The Order-in-Council of 1923 was followed by the issuance of confidential instructions, based on racial discrimination, to Canadian immigration officials and shipping companies.

Closing the Gates


Because of the emergency situation it was decided to appeal to the Canadian Government for a temporary relaxation of its immigration regulations. Lyon Cohen, president of the Canadian Jewish Congress, and S. W. Jacob, member of the Canadian Parliament who was closely connected with the Canadian branch of ICA and with the JIAS (Jewish Immigrant Aid Society in Canada), made a plea to their government to admit 5,000 Russian Jewish refugees who were stranded in Rumania. This request was granted and the refugees soon began to arrive, at the rate of a hundred a week, ICA being charged with their care. As the Canadian Jewish community was unable to meet the financial obligations entailed by the agreement, HIAS contributed twenty thousand dollars to relieve the community's current needs. Joseph Barondess and Cecilia Rasovsky went to Canada to help the local agencies in this relief action.
The United Evacuation Committee

Still unsolved was the problem of the future of the Jews in Europe who held American visas rendered useless by the restrictive quota system. They faced the alternative of giving up the thought of emigrating to the United States or of resigning themselves to a long wait for their turn to come, if it ever would. Felix Warburg, chairman of the Joint Distribution Committee, visited a number of the European port cities and found the plight of the stranded refugees appalling. It was the consensus of opinion that the negotiations with governments, agencies, and shipping companies and the complex legal questions involved in the problem of the stranded refugees required the full-time attention of a special agency. To this end the Emergency Committee on Jewish Refugees of New York, the ICA, and the Emigdirect met in Paris on July 1 2 - 1 3 , 1925 and founded the United Evacuation Committee. Its sole purpose was "to aid in the removal of emigrants and refugees now stranded in various European ports and cities, and to secure them suitable homes where they could become self-sustaining,



or to repatriate them." ( 1 8 ) A sum of $485,000 was to be provided for the new agency80 per cent to come from the Emergency Committee and 20 per cent from ICA. ICA undertook to settle qualified refugees on its farms in Argentina, Brazil, and Canada. The United Evacuation Committee was made up of Louis Marshall, Stephen S. Wise, and Dr. Bernhard Kahn, European director of the JDC, representing the Emergency Committee; Dr. James Simon, Leonard L. Cohen, and Otto Schiff, a leading figure in migrant-aid work in London, for the ICA; Dr. James Bernstein, Leon Motzkin, and Wolf Latzki-Bertoldi, for Emigdirect. Dr. Bernstein was European representative of HIAS, Leon Motzkin was the secretary of the World Jewish Relief Conference, and Latzki-Bertoldi was a member of the executive of Emigdirect. The administration of the United Evacuation Committee was entrusted to three managers: Dr. Bernhard Kahn of the JDC; Edouard Oungre, vice-director of the ICA; and I. Yefroikin, representing Emigdirect. Headquarters were established in Paris. The Committee set November 1926 as the deadline for the completion of its task. It began its work in August 1925 with 5,526 cases. By the end of November 1926 a total of 2,827 persons had been helped to emigrate overseas: 1 , 1 7 7 ^ United States; 532 to Palestine; 494 to Canada; 373 to Brazil; and 251 to Argentina. Another 1,326 were either settled in the countries of their temporary sojourn, with a grant of two hundred dollars per family, or were legally repatriated to the Soviet Union. Over thirteen hundred chose to remain where they werein some cases this meant several yearsbefore they were able to depart for the United States and other countries. The Evacuation Committee's negotiations with the shipping companies resulted in the cancelation of the indebtedness incurred by stranded emigrants during their stay in various ports and the refund of passage money to those who were unable to proceed to their destinations.
to e

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The Committee's agents, Samuel Yanovski, a veteran migration worker connected with ICA, and Dr. Werner Senator, on behalf of the JDC, visited a number of port cities. This writer, then secretary general of the Hilfsverein in Berlin, visited Hamburg and Bremen. The migrant-aid organizations of the countries in which there were stranded refugees cooperated closely with the Evacuation Committee.
Work in Europe

Migrant-aid work in Europe, directed after 1922 in increasing measure by Emigdirect, was taken over entirely by the Evacuation Committee in September 1924. HIAS contributed fiftyfive thousand dollars yearly, up to 1926 when it reduced its subsidy to forty thousand dollars. The work in Poland was turned over to the Jewish Emigrant Aid Society (JEAS), with headquarters in Warsaw. HIAS granted this organization an annual subsidy of eighteen thousand dollars. Dr. James Bernstein had become European representative of HIAS in November 1924, located in Warsaw. He was in charge of money transfers from relatives in the United States and also acted as HIAS representative on the Board of Directors of Emigdirect, helping in the shaping of its migration policies. In 1926 he transferred his headquarters from Warsaw to Berlin, where Emigdirect was located.
HIAS under Attack

At the end of 1924 HIAS was sharply attacked in the Yiddish satirical weekly Dcr Groisser Kundes (The Big Stick)

November and December 1924, January and February 1925 edited by Jacob Marinoff. The attack was abetted by letters to the editor, mostly from disgruntled former HIAS employees. Louis S. Gottlieb, former head of the HIAS office in Washington, was a particularly vocal critic. The Kundes campaign could not be ignored. HIAS invited the national Jewish organizations concerned with migration to





investigate the charges made by the Kundes. Nineteen out of twenty-one accepted. They and their representatives were: Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America American Jewish Congress Fancy Leather Goods Workers Union Independent Order B'nai B'rith Independent Order Brith Abraham Independent Order Brith Sholom Independent Workmen's Circle of America International Ladies Garment Workers Union

Joseph Schlossberg Dr. A. J. Rongy Osip Wolinsky Louis Fabricant Adolph Stern Martin O. Levy Hyman Yacknitz Israel Feinberg Max Amdur Abraham Baroff Nathan Zvirin Hillel Rogoff A. Brownstein Jacob Weiss Samuel Weinstein Samuel Siegel Samuel H. Hofstadter Rabbi A. S. Pfeffer Max Zuckerman M. C. Feinstone S. Herbert Golden Dr. S. Silverberg

Jewish National Workers Alliance of America J. L. Peretz Writers Club Joint Board of the Furriers Union Order Brith Abraham Order Sons of Zion Poale Zion Central Committee Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada United Cloth Hat and Cap Makers of North America United Hebrew Trades United Synagogue of America Workmen's Circle

A committee of "Representatives of National Jewish Organizations Appointed to Investigate Charges against H I A S " was organized. A subcommittee, composed of Dr. A. Rongy, Joseph Schlossberg, and Samuel Weinstein, translated the Kundes material into English and drew up the formal charges. T h e committee elected Louis Fabricant chairman, Dr. Rongy vice-chair-

Closing the Gates


man, Dr. Silverberg treasurer, and Samuel Weinstein secretary. A firm was engaged to record the testimony and the minutes of the committee. ( 1 9 ) Marinoff, the editor of Kundes, appeared before the committee with his counsel, K. Henry Rosenberg, who examined and cross-examined the witnesses, along with Louis S. Gottlieb and other complainants. HIAS was represented by several of its directors; the general manager, Isaac L. Asofsky; the Washington representative, Isidore Hershfield; and Leon Motzkin, executive secretary of the World Jewish Relief Conference and one of the leaders of world Zionism. The charges concerned, mainly, the financing of the European refugee work in the hectic 1920-21 period, when HIAS had incurred its deficit. That remittance funds were sometimes drawn upon in cases of emergency was admitted. However, as the Committee of Investigation established, the money was always replaced. (20) Another charge, that HIAS fund raising involved disproportionately high expenses, seems unfounded and naive, in the light of contemporary experience. The assumption of the complainants that men of modest station should work without remuneration for long periods of time, and make extended trips to Europe at their own expense, reflected an old-fashioned, aristocratic view of philanthropy which was hardly compatible with the grim requirements of the postwar situation. The Committee of Investigation cleared HIAS of all the charges brought against it. It should be noted that the very
thorough Study of Budgeting of National Organizations made

in 1922 by the Bureau of Jewish Social Research in New York had discovered no irregularities in those HIAS operations which
the Kundes questioned.

HIAS emerged from this trying experience strengthened in popular esteem. Membership had risen to 156,765 individual contributors and 4,919 corporate members. The Board of Directors was enlarged to include Louis Fabricant, Morris Fein-



stone, Samuel Goldstein, and Nathan Zvirin. Samuel Goldstein told the writer that the Kundes episode, more than anything else, had led him to appreciate the great achievements of HIAS. Goldstein became a director in 1926, and treasurer in 1947.
A New HIAS President

In 1926, after an incumbency of ten years, John L. Bernstein resigned as president of HIAS. His lifelong friend, Abraham Herman ( 1 8 7 8 - 1 9 4 7 ) , a director since 1920, was elected president, in which post he served until his death on March 25, 1947. Herman came to the United States in 1 8 9 1 . In 1902 he was graduated from the Brooklyn College of Pharmacy. He was active in the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York, the American Jewish Committee, the American Jewish Congress, the Lebanon Hospital (New York), and the New School for Social Research.

Under the Sign of Degression


On April 3, 1927 the leading Jewish migration agencies joined together for the first time in the realization of a plan for unification of activities, which had been conceived by HIAS as far back as 1 9 1 2 . The first attempt at unification had been made by ICA at a special conference in Brussels in June 1 9 2 1 . It fell through because ICA wanted to create a highly centralized body which, to the delegates of democratic Jewish organizations, seemed merely an extension of ICA management. Emigdirect had been set up at a conference called by HIAS and the World Jewish Relief Conference, and had enjoyed HIAS's financial and moral backing ever since. Thanks to this support, Emigdirect was able, in a comparatively short time, to organize emigration committees in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Rumania, Turkey, France, England, and the Far East. Among its leading spirits were Dr. Julius Brutzkus, Miron Kreinin, Wladimir Tiomkin, Oscar Cohn, and Dr. Alfred Klee. The first executive



director was Dr. Zinovi Tiomkin, succeeded in 1925 by Ilja M. Dijour, now HIAS director of research. Emigdirect was founded the year when the first restrictive quota laws were introduced in the United States ( 1 9 2 1 ) . These new laws turned the agency's attention to South America. W. Latzki-Bertoldi, a member of Emigdirect's executive, visited Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay in 1923 and 1925. He found some prospects for a carefully selective immigration in Argentina, Brazil, and Chile. Latzki-Bertoldi recommended that new immigrants be settled in the hinterland; in particular he warned against any further concentration of Jewish immigrants in Buenos Aires, and recommended that Bahia Blanca be used as the port of debarkation. His other suggestion was for full cooperation with ICA, whose colonization experience in Argentina and Brazil was extensive. ICA welcomed this suggestion and the way was paved for cooperation between the two agencies. Another factor was instrumental in cementing the relations of the two organizations. Late in 1925, as we have seen, ICA and Emigdirect, together with the Emergency Committee on Jewish Refugees of New York, in whose establishment HIAS had played an important role, formed the United Evacuation Committee to assist the refugees stranded in European ports. Thus, for more than a year, ICA, Emigdirect, and the American leaders had been working together. On a visit to New York in October 1926, Miron Kreinin, the president of Emigdirect, proposed to the Board of HIAS that it carry on its migration work in coordination with ICA and Emigdirect. His proposal met with keen interest. Dr. James Bernstein, European representative of HIAS, entered into direct negotiations with the ICA administration in Paris, and later these negotiations were vigorously continued by B. C. Vladeck (member of the HIAS Board) during his visit in Paris. When he returned to New York, Vladeck reported on his negotiations before the HIAS Board, on January 1 1 , 1927. It was contemplated that the new organization, HICEM (HIAS-ICA-EMIG-

Under the Sign of Depression


DIRECT), would have its offices in Berlin. Emigration to South America would be directed from Paris. HIAS would contribute 60 per cent of the budget, ICA the balance. (Emigdirect was in no position to contribute funds.) Vladeck urged immediate action, in view of the desperate situation of the Jews in Poland and Rumania. His report was unanimously approved, and on February 1 5 , 1927 Dr. James Bernstein was authorized from New York to conclude the agreement.
Agreement Reached

The agreement between HIAS, ICA, and Emigdirect was signed in Paris on April 3, 1927. It was to run for three years, renewable for another three. HIAS's share of the first year's budget was approximately the sum it was spending annually on its European operations. The local branches of HIAS, ICA, and Emigdirect outside the United States became branches of HICEM. Committees caring for migrants in countries of transit also joined the new body. When it was launched, HICEM had branches in Poland, Danzig, Latvia, Lithuania, Rumania, Turkey, England, Belgium, France, Holland, Portugal, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and China. ( 2 1 ) HIAS continued, under the joint agreement, to concern itself with all aspects of Jewish immigration to the United States.
A World-wide Program

HICEM was launched at a time when the chief countries of Jewish immigration were drastically restricting admission and new areas of immigration had to be sought. In the transit countries or countries which the emigrants were leaving behind, the program of HICEM was as follows: a) To advise Jewish emigrants as fully as possible about conditions in the countries of immigration and, more particularly, about the possibilities for finding work in industry and agriculture.



b) To provide the emigrants with such legal and consular help as they might needi.e., to help them to procure all the documents and visas necessary for emigration. c) To protect the emigrants, before departure and en route, from mistreatment and chicanery, and, as far as possible, make the conditions of their voyage easier. d) To prepare emigrants for conditions in their new homes, providing them with instruction in language and industrial and agricultural skills. In the countries of immigration, HICEM's objectives were: a) To arrange for the reception of immigrants upon debarkation and to provide maintenance for the initial period of integration. b) To provide assistance to employment offices in port cities and inland. c) To institute language courses and industrial training for the newcomers. d) To establish cooperative loan funds for the immigrants. e) To protect women and girls traveling alone.
Conditions in Poland and Lithuania

Because of the deteriorating economic situation of the Jews in Poland and Lithuania, the need for emigration became increasingly urgent in the late 1920s. In both countries the basis of Jewish economic life was being undermined by governmentfostered cooperatives and government-controlled industries, ousting many Jews from their positions. Discrimination against Jews in public works further contributed to their unemployment. By the end of 1925 half the Jewish working population in Poland was idle. Early in 1926, 2,060 of the 2,800 Jewish shoemaker shops in Warsaw had to close down; 2,055 * * 3,000 men's tailoring shops went out of existence. The jobless faced starvation and the city of Warsaw and the Jewish community set about organizing soup kitchens.
ou :

Under the Sign of Depression


Emigration as a solution for the Polish Jews was limited by the quota system. The United States had entered into the great depression of 1929, and American consulates were instructed to be chary in the granting of visas. Jewish immigration to the United States declined to 5,692 persons in 1 9 3 1 as against 11,526 in the previous year. In 1932 the figure dropped to 2,755. After 1930 Canada, also engulfed by the depression, imposed new immigration restrictions: 649 Jews entered in 1 9 3 1 as compared with the 3,421 in 1930. In Australia the Immigration Act of 1925, based on nationalistic and racial principles, erected a barrier against any sizable Jewish immigration. The South African Immigration Quota Act of 1930 reduced the number of Jewish entries from 1,881 in that year to 885 in 1 9 3 1 . The story was much the same in Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay indeed everywhere. The only bright spot was Palestine, which absorbed 4,075 newcomers in 1 9 3 1 and 9,583 in 1932. Palestine received more Jewish immigrants in 1932 than all the other countries combined. In Poland HICEM operated through JEAS (Jewish Emigrant Aid Society). Its work consisted of directing emigrants to countries open to them, training them for maximum skill and adaptivity in their prospective homes, and providing legal and other services within its budgetary limitations. In 1927 JEAS registered 55,286 applicants for emigration, but only 18,074 ^ d be accommodated that year. The number of applications rose still higher in 1928 and 1929. The English, Spanish, and French courses organized in Warsaw by JEAS were attended by 1,378 persons in the period 1927-29. In Lithuania, where the Jews were scattered throughout the country, it was impractical to institute courses. In Rumania (Kishinev and Czernovitz) the English and Spanish classes attracted only a few hundred pupils. The results in industrial training also proved disappointing. Evening courses for electricians, in Warsaw, and those for carpenters, in Lvov, were poorly attended, and then mostly by



persons looking for work or marking time until their visas were granted. As a result, the courses were discontinued; it was clear that training in the countries of immigration would be more practical. The limited agricultural training given in Poland proved more successful. In 1927, 730 people registered; of the 1 5 5 placed on farms all but 14 completed their apprenticeship. In 1928, out of 685 persons who registered for training, 102 stayed out the full course and 74 emigrated60 to Palestine, others to Argentina, Brazil, and France. Emigration to France proved successful in 1929. Four hundred and twenty laborers were placed in various sections of the country. However, the economic crisis which hit the French farmers in 1930 caused a number of the Jewish immigrant farm workers to leave for the cities. In 1930, upon the initiative of JEAS, a hostel for Jewish emigrants was set up in Warsawthe Podliszewski Home for the Jewish Emigrant, named after the president of the organization, A. Podliszewski. HICEM helped financially in the erection of the Home. JEAS also organized clinics all over Poland to treat eye diseases, one of the deterrents to immigration.
En Route with the Emigrant

Despite the best efforts of HICEM, emigrants often arrived at transmigration centers without visas, tickets, or some other essential document. They were also frequently held up on medical grounds, despite having been checked physically prior to departure for the centers. In their anxiety to leave, they all too frequently fell into the clutches of unscrupulous elements who preyed on these unfortunates at frontier stations and in the port cities. The committees in Danzig, Rotterdam, Antwerp, Paris, Le Havre, Southampton, and Liverpool found plenty of work to do to straighten out the chaos and confusion before they could get the emigrants finally embarked for their destinations.







In Germany the Hilfsverein, working in cooperation with HICEM, met emigrants at railway stations, represented them at consulates, and obtained railway and boat tickets for them at reduced rates. Because Germany was one of the few countries in Europe which had a Chinese consulate, it was the Hilfsverein in Berlin which obtained Chinese visas for the emigrants. Latvia was a way station for emigrants from Soviet Russia. In the 1920s Russia had not yet closed its frontiers and there was a flow of Russian Jewish emigrants westward via Riga. Since 1923 ICA had maintained an office in Moscow to assist Jewish farm colonies and cooperatives in southern Russia. In 1928, with government permission, ICA established an Information Bureau for prospective emigrants. It published information in the press, helped locate persons scattered during the revolution and civil war, and obtained identification papers for emigrants. Those bound for the United States had to get their visas from the American Consul in Riga. HICEM in Riga handled many difficult cases; some 320 rejections in 1928 and 1929 were cleared on re-examination. When a group of 300, bound for Canada, was detained in Riga, HICEM intervened with the Canadian Government, which sent a special commission from Ottawa to look into the matter. As a result, 60 per cent were released and permitted to proceed to Canada. The HICEM branch in Riga also took care of emigrants on their way to South Africa, just before the new restrictions became law in 1930. Emigration from Soviet Russia was as follows:
1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 5,000 7,500 2,000 1,200 450 200 250 100 16,700



Over four thousand of the Russian emigrants went to the United States; the remainder to Latin America, Canada, Palestine, and other countries. After 1932, with the completion of the first Five Year Plan, the economic condition of the Jews in Soviet Russia was somewhat ameliorated and emigration dwindled. Overseas immigration restrictions and Russia's Iron Curtain policy likewise contributed to the decline. The Far Eastern Jewish Central Information Bureau for Emigrants (Daljevcib) in Harbin, founded by HIAS in 1 9 1 8 , was still very active in the late 1930s. A total of 1,727 people passed through its office in 1928 and 1929, on their way to the United States, central and southern China, Mongolia, the Philippines, India, Australia, South Africa, Palestine, Canada, Latin America, Soviet Russia, and Western Europe. The group that went to southern ChinaTientsin (which had a Jewish community of 400 families in 1 9 3 0 ) , Tsingtau, Tshifu, Canton, and Nankingsoon sent for their families. The Harbin bureau, headed by Meyer Birman, who spent thirty years in Harbin and Shanghai in the service of HIAS, was particularly successful in tracing relatives and reuniting families. Some of the cases they saw through to a happy conclusion have an almost fairy-tale quality.
Paving the Way in Latin America

Early in 1928 a HICEM delegation consisting of Aaron Benjamin of HIAS, Miron Kreinin of HICEM, and Louis Oungre of ICA went to Argentina and Brazil. South America seemed to offer excellent immigration possibilities; conditions there were comparable to those in the United States half a century earlier. As Benjamin later reported to the HIAS Board (July 24, 1928), immigrants in Argentina were in a far better position than the Jewish immigrants from Russia had been in the United States in the 1880s. In Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay they found friends and landsleit. The Soprotimis (Society for the Protection of Jewish Immigrants) in Buenos Aires had been operating since 1922. The HICEM delegation estimated

Cine Citta camp, Italy. HIAS aide registering Jews for emigration.



of ICA and president of the Hilfsverein for twenty-five years, he was thoroughly acquainted with Jewish migration problems. The other directors were: O. dAvigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Leon Cohen, and L. G. Montefiore, London; all the council members of ICA; Miron Kreinin, Leon Motzkin, Edouard Oungre, and Solomon Reinach, Paris; Aaron Benjamin, Dr. James Bernstein, E. W. Lewin-Epstein, and Jacob Massel, New York; Dr. J. Brutzkus, Oscar Cohn, M. Joachimsohn, Dr. Alfred Klee, Professor Eugen Mittwoch, and Dr. J. Stern, Berlin; Dr. Julius Blau, Frankfurt-am-Main; Jules Philippson, Brussels; Israel Bernstein (a HIAS official), Warsaw. Managing directors of HICEM were: Dr. James Bernstein for HIAS (succeeded in 1928 by Aaron Benjamin), Edouard Oungre for ICA, and Miron Kreinin for Emigdirect. The secretariat consisted of Ilja M. Dijour for HIAS-Emigdirect, and M. Melamed for ICA. Headquarters were first in Berlin; then, from 1928 on, in Paris.
Depression of 1929-33

The great depression that struck in 1929 threatened much of the work and even the existence of the welfare organizations. HIAS's resources shrank at an alarming rate, contributions fell off, and deficits rose. In August 1930 HIAS informed HICEM and its branches that their work might have to be discontinued altogether, in view of the financial situation. This news evoked a flood of appeals from Europe. Pleas came from Israel Levi, Chief Rabbi of France, Albert Einstein, Chaim Nachman Bialik, Simon Dubnow, and from communal leaders in Poland, Rumania, Holland, and Belgium. Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay joined their voices in the general cry of protest. HICEM dispatched a delegation to New York to persuade HIAS not to give up. At its annual meeting on March 1, 1 9 3 1 HIAS announced that it had renewed its agreement with ICA and Emigdirect for another three years, with the understanding that the agreement would be canceled if HIAS funds were not sup-

Under the Sign of Depression


plemented sufficiently by membership fees, organization contributions, and other sources. The support from various sources proved most heartening, yet HIAS was unable to contribute more than forty thousand dollars to the HICEM budget of 1 9 3 2 , while ICA gave sixty-five thousand. This was in sharp contrast to the situation obtaining in previous years when HIAS had furnished the major portion of the budget.
On the American Front

Jewish immigration to the United States in the quota year 1924 fell to 11,463. It declined still further in 1931 (to 5,692) and 1932 when it dropped to 2,755. An Executive Order of President Hoover, dated September 8, 1930, advised American consuls to consider with particular care the employment chances of prospective immigrants and to refuse visas if no evidence were offered to show that the applicant would not become a public charge. Under the circumstances, one would have expected a falling off in the work of the immigration agencies. However, this was not the case. Although only 11,483 Jews entered the United States in 1926, as compared with the more than tenfold figure of 119,036 in 1 9 2 1 , the number of applications received and processed62,567in 1926 was disproportionately greater than the figure of five years before (89,380). The same number of people attended citizenship classes in both years (2,500). The number helped to acquire naturalization was still a sizable figure10,825 in 1926 as compared to 14,377 in 1 9 2 1 . Though fewer immigrants were arriving, more ships were being used: 622 boats in 1927; 784 in 1 9 3 1 . This meant additional work for the HIAS pier service, which functioned at every debarkation in the ports of New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and San Francisco.
Tracing the Lost

Tracing lost relatives and friends continued to require incessant efforts. In 1932 HIAS headquarters received inquiries



from Europe, South America, South Africa, China, and other areas, regarding the whereabouts of people in the United States. At the same time American residents sought the help of the organization in locating their kin abroad. Many of these cases eloquently illustrate the confusion and chaos of those days. An Argentine Jew, on a visit to Santiago, Chile, asked the HICEM office there for help in locating his brothers and a sister in the United States. HICEM forwarded the request to HIAS in New York, which located one of the brothers, who had himself been asking HIAS to help him locate the rest of his family. A twenty-year-old girl in New York learned that the couple she had regarded as her parents had adopted her when she was four months old. Her real parents, she learned, were somewhere in China. At her request, HIAS forwarded the information to Harbin, where it was learned that the father had died and the mother had remarried. Mother and daughter began to correspond. An orphan girl in Harbin worked in a movie theater. She had one brother "somewhere" in the United States. The Harbin Jewish Central Information Bureau for Emigrants sent the data to the New York office of HIAS. HIAS traced the brother, although he had changed his name. He had been a private in the American army and was sent overseas to France, where he fell in battle. Through the efforts of HIAS the sister was able to collect the soldier's insurance$9,658. The Shelter of HIAS enlarged its facilities during the years 1929-33 because of the increasing need of the unemployed. The number of meals served to immigrants as well as to needy residents was:
1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 65,908 79,982 156,301 438,311 420,038

Under the Sign of Depression


The Shelter was used increasingly by the unemployed who came to New York to seek work. Of the 2,462 men sheltered in 1 9 3 1 , 40 per cent were out-of-towners. The duration of stay was from 1 to 169 days. The Employment Bureau of HIAS soon felt the impact of the depression. In 1929 it found jobs for 1,046 immigrants; in 1930 only 499 could be placed; and in 1 9 3 1 the figure dropped to 463. The activities of HIAS branches in Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Seattle naturally declined. However, the pier service was maintained in Boston, San Francisco, and Seattle. Chicago operated a shelter. Philadelphia cared for the people who were to be deported. Baltimore tried to find employment for newly arrived immigrants. Boston, Chicago, and Philadelphia were particularly active in raising funds for the HIAS organization as a whole. In 1929 the HIAS Council of Organizations was founded for the purpose of serving as a propaganda and fund-raising arm for the society. The first chairman was Saul Polokoff, followed by Morris Feinstone, and, currently, Louis Gallack. The Council has become a most important adjunct of the HIAS, with a number of national chapters. It has succeeded in drawing hundreds of organizations into the periphery of HIAS supporters.
Judge Knox Appeals to HIAS

We have seen that on a number of occasions HIAS was able to halt deportation proceedings. Joseph Gelber had been brought from Galicia as a child, grew up and married in the United States. In 1933 he went for a short visit to Mexico. Upon his return he was ordered deported because he had stated that he was an American citizen although he had apparently never taken out his citizenship papers. He was in difficulties with the law. In his distress he wrote to United States District Court Judge John C. Knox, who handed the matter over to HIAS. HIAS instructed its Washington representative to ap-



peal to the Secretary of Labor. The Secretary telephoned to Ellis Island to stay the deportation, but Gelber had already been placed aboard a ship. A shore-to-ship call was made by the Department of Labor, and Gelber was ordered released. Gelber went personally to Judge Knox to express his gratitude. The Judge subsequently wrote to HIAS: I was quite amazed on Saturday morning on reaching my office to find Gelber there. He looked upon his release from the ship on which he was to be deported as a miracle and wished to thank me for it. I told him that it was your organization that had worked the miracle and that he should render thanks to you. There is nothing that I could do for this man as a Judge of the Court and I knew of no act that I could take on his behalf, save to call his case to your attention. I congratulate you on your success in having had him released. The promptness of your action and the results obtained indicate that you have a most efficient organization.

Exodus from Germany

Adolph Hitler was appointed Chancellor of the Reich by President Hindenburg. The anti-Jewish program of the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nazi), first formulated on February 24, 1920, had given clear indication of what German Jewry could expect should the party ever come to power. Yet only a few realized the danger, the majority of German Jews believing, or hoping, that the responsibilities of power would "sober" the Nazi Party and restrain it from carrying out its demagogic anti-Semitic program. In 1930, when the Nazi Party won 107 seats in the Reichstag, some Jews heeded the warning and left the country, intending to return once the danger was over. The Jewish community, soon to be subjected to a government-directed anti-Semitic attack unparalleled in history, had, prior to Hitler's rise, felt itself to be a secure and solid part of the German environment. Jews in Germany enjoyed full civic rights and had attained high economic and cultural status. They figured prominently in mining, railway construction, shipping, insurance, textile manufacture, the chemical industry, ironware
O N JANUARY 3 1 , 1933




production, banking, and commerce. They were active in the fields of literature, art, and science, making distinguished contributions in biology, medicine, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and technology. The German Jewish middle class was well off and supported a large variety of cultural and communal welfare institutions. The upper class contributed generously to hospitals, laboratories, universities, museums, and scientific expeditions. Under the Weimar Republic, proclaimed in 1 9 1 9 , social discrimination such as had still existed under the Kaiser was largely removed. Together with French, British, and American Jewry, the Jews of Germany took an active part in Jewish philanthropy and the defense of Jews in the backward countries of the Near East. They also assisted Russian and Rumanian Jews in their fight for civil and political rights and did their share in behalf of the Jewish emigration from eastern Europe.
Nazi Boycott and Atrocities

On March 30, 1933 Hitler's cabinet received plenary powers from the newly elected Reichstag. On April 1 a nation-wide boycott of Jewish businesses was carried out. The law of April 7 eliminated all but a handful of Jews from government posts. Hand in hand with "legal" acts went a campaign of systematic violence by Nazi groups and party members. Jews, many with faces slashed and beaten, besieged the offices of the Hilfsverein and the Palestina Amt of the Jewish Agency, asking for assistance to leave the country. Those who were in immediate danger of being seized and thrown into concentration camps were taken across the border without delay; but for the majority, other solutions had to be found.

On March 1 3 , 1933 Justice Brandeis, viewing the German development from Washington, tersely remarked, "The Jews must leave Germany." A week later, on March 1 9 , the annual

Exodus from Germany


meeting of HIAS expressed the same thought by adopting the following resolution: WHEREAS, Reports received from Germany clearly indicate a state of terror and of outrages committed upon the Jewish citizens of that country, and whereas it is evident that Jews of Germany are being subjected to unjust and inhuman acts of discrimination tending to deprive them of their rights, be it resolved that HIAS join with all other organizations in sharp and emphatic protest against the discriminating condition and against the atrocities committed upon the Jews in Germany. The meeting also resolved to request the President of the United States to rescind the Executive Order of 1930 limiting the admission of immigrants within the quota law, which was intended originally as a temporary measure. In view of existing conditions in Germany, resulting in political and religious persecutions, the resolution continued, . . . the American consuls abroad should be instructed to grant visas to such victims of discrimination as may desire to seek a haven of refuge in the United States. The President was also to be petitioned "to issue such an order, which is but in harmony with the principles upon which our Republic is founded." Subsequent events showed only too clearly that German Jewry's most urgent need was for a place of refuge. Action by the United States in opening the doors to the doomed might have prevented, or at least reduced, the extent of the catastrophe. A letter addressed by HIAS to the President, asking that the Executive Order of 1930 be rescinded, received a reply (April 1 6 ) from the chief of the Visa Division of the Department of State, as follows: The quota for Germany is currently underissued, and no delay because of the quota is experienced by an alien chargeable thereto in having consideration given to his application for immigration visas. Applicants who are able successfully to meet all the requirements of the immigration laws must be granted



visas. It may be added, however, that a consular officer is required by the Immigration Act of 1924 to refuse an immigration visa to an alien who he knows, or has reason to believe, is inadmissible to the United States. But this was only official reassurance. In practice, the American consulates in Germany were not very cooperative.
Flight from Germany

The attitude of the American Government caused bewilderment on the other side of the ocean. The German boycott of April 1 and its accompanying acts of violence had provoked mass flight. The HICEM offices in Paris and the capitals of other countries adjacent to Germany were crowded with evergrowing numbers of refugees. Aaron Benjamin, vice-president of HIAS, went to Europe on June 20, 1933 to study the situation at first hand. He reported back: ". . . whereas practically every country has opened its doors to the refugees from Germany, the United States Government has done practically nothing so far. They [the European Jews] cannot understand why America is not doing as much or why the Jews of America cannot obtain the same concession as was obtained in other countries." James G. McDonald, appointed High Commissioner for Refugees on October 25, 1 9 3 3 , expressed the general feeling of disappointment when he stated that the democracies had failed in a case of "common humanity." Professor Donald R. Taft, in
his Human Migration ( 1 9 3 6 ) , remarked that the American im-

migration policy "closed the most inviting of all opportunities to relief. America indeed no longer plays the role of the Promised Land to the oppressed of other nations."
Efforts to Help

A proper appraisal of the efforts of HIAS and HICEM in assisting Jewish emigrants from Germany in 1 9 3 3 - 3 9 requires mention of the development of Nazi policy with regard to the

Exodus from Germany


Jews. Beginning early in 1933 with boycotts, violence, and the elimination of Jews from professional, political, and cultural life, it led to mass flight abroad. By the second half of that year, the storm abated somewhat and refugees began to return. They were given assurances that certain spheres of life in Germany would be open to them and were encouraged to rebuild their own cultural and educational institutions. The Nuremberg Laws of September 1935 marked a resumption and intensification of the anti-Jewish campaign. Early in 1936 economic pressure and persecutions were increased, again signaling a wave of emigration. The third phase was heralded by the Nazi invasion of Austria in March 1938. The fury unleashed against the Austrian Jews was paralleled by expropriations, brutalities, and expulsions in the Reich, which reached an organized climax in the bloody pogroms of November 1938 throughout Germany. German Jewry reached this tragic impasse at a time when a decline in world migration had set in. Up to 1920 over 3,000,000 Jews, most of them from eastern Europe, had migrated to the West. But the United States Immigration Restriction Acts of 1 9 2 1 and 1924, which were matched by similar restrictions in other countries, drastically reduced Jewish as well as non-Jewish immigration. The depression of the 1930s had even brought about a reverse movementfrom the New to the Old World. In 1 9 3 1 - 3 5 there were 79,634 more departures from the United States than arrivals. When the Nazis seized power in 1 9 3 3 , the world was still suffering from the effects of an unexampled economic crisis.
Occupational and Psychological Handicaps

The occupations of the German Jews were a serious handicap to their immigration overseas. Among the eastern European immigrants to the United States in the 1899-1914 period, there had been 514,000 skilled workers, representing 62 per cent of all those with gainful occupations. In contrast, according to



the official vocational census in Germany, June 1 6 , 1 9 3 3 , Jews showed a most undesirable occupational distribution in terms of overseas employment possibilities. Over 61 per cent of the gainfully employed were engaged in commerce and transportation; and of the balance, a considerable proportion were members of the liberal professions for whom prospects in the immigration countries were particularly bleak. Unlike the eastern European Jews, to whom privation and discrimination were familiar features of life in their native countries, the German Jews, in pre-Nazi days, had enjoyed a high degree of economic stability and active participation in German social and cultural life. With this assurance now lost to them, German Jews felt hopelessly cut adrift and shuddered at the prospect of a life in exile. Under the circumstances, the task of advising and aiding the German Jewish refugees was not an easy one. Once the original panicky flight of 1933 subsided, HICEM reorganized its machinery and outlined a program of aid: the selection and transportation overseas of refugees; assistance to those bound for Palestine or hoping to settle in European countries; repatriation of refugees who wished to return to Germany; and help to foreign Jews residing in Germany who wished to return to their countries of origin, mostly to Poland, Lithuania, and Hungary. Spectacular progress was achieved. In 1933 HICEM directed 12 per cent of the people in its care to countries overseas; in 1934 the figure rose to 52 per cent, and in 1935 to 71 per cent. Help to refugees moving from one European country to another was gradually cut off, and local committees were urged to do likewise, with the result that by 1935 such cases were no longer reported. All in all, HICEM managed to send off and settle 8,600 people in various countries in 1933-34. T h transportation of these refugees was a very costly matter. According to law, Jews leaving Germany could take no more than ten reichsmarks out of

Exodus from Germany


the country. That meant that transportation costs had to be laid out for each emigrant, for poor and rich alike. In the case of a group of 243 German Jews who were going to Brazil, an expenditure of $420 per person was required because of a Brazilian regulation admitting only first-class passengers to the country. HICEM could not afford such huge outlays from its regular budget. Three major Jewish agenciesthe American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the Jewish Colonization Association, and the Central British Fund for German Jewryundertook to defray the passage and landing costs. Immigration to the British Dominion and colonies was handled by a special body set up by the German Jewish Refugee Committee and HICEM, called Anglo-Hicem. HIAS was closely connected with these activities. From 1933 on, its contributions to the HICEM budget increased annually. In 1934, John L. Bernstein became chairman of the HICEM Executive Committee. Unable to contribute financially, Emigdirect withdrew that year, and HIAS and ICA carried on their teamwork, retaining the name HICEM, which now stood for

The great pressure for lands of asylum was now felt. Samuel A. Telsey, who became a director of HIAS in 1933, and later its president, made a trip to Europe in the summer of that year. Dr. Abraham Coralnik (died 1937), a noted journalist and a director of HIAS since 1930, visited Mexico and Guatemala in May 1934; he set up a local committee in Guatemala, and on his return to New York made a number of suggestions regarding immigration possibilities in that country. Solomon Dingol, who was elected to the HIAS Board in 1934, went to Europe in that year to make a first-hand assessment of the situation. Later in 1934 Abraham Herman and John L. Bernstein visited western Europe, Palestine, and Soviet Russia. In Palestine they



made arrangements for the HIAS Immigrant Bank to remit money from American relatives to Palestine residents through the Mizrachi and the Workers' Bank. In Moscow they negotiated with the Torgsin agency to speed up delivery of food parcels from the United States and with the Comzet (Committee for the Settlement of Jews on the Land) to facilitate the emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union. The fee for a passport in Russia was $550 for a worker and $ 1 , 1 0 0 for anyone

else. As a result of the HIAS's intercession, the passport fee was reduced in 1936 to $40, regardless of the status of the applicant.
Assisting Emigration to Palestine

HIAS-ICA did a great deal for immigration to Palestine. In 1936, when the flow of immigrants was about to be interrupted as a result of the proclaimed White Paper Policy, HIASICA was able to expedite the sailing of those already in possession of certificates and waiting to leave. Dr. Werner Senator (died 1 9 5 3 ) of the Immigration Department of the Jewish Agency wrote to HIAS from Jerusalem on October 26, 1936, "It is our pleasant duty to express to you our thanks for the help extended by the HIAS-ICA Emigration Association to the immigrants en route to Palestine . . . There has been grave apprehension regarding the possibility of a temporary stoppage of Jewish immigration, and we are very anxious to hasten the departure of the immigrant groups. We were, in a large measure, able to accomplish this task due to your help." All in all, HIAS-ICA helped 14,145 persons to reach Palestine
in the 1933-39 period6,145 from Germany and about 8,000

from Poland, Lithuania, Rumania, and Turkey. HIAS-ICA contributed approximately fifty dollars per person, a total of over seven hundred thousand dollars. The outlay for emigrants from Germany was covered by funds provided by the Joint Distribution Committee, ICA, and the Central British Fund for German Jewry. The cost of transportation of the non-German

Exodus from Germany


emigrants was shared by HIAS-ICA and the Palestine office of the Jewish Agency. The technical work of transporting the emigrants to Palestine was conducted by the European branches of HIAS-ICA.
Situation in Eastern Europe

While attention was focused on the Jewish tragedy in Germany, HIAS did not overlook the plight of Polish Jewry. Nazism cast its baneful shadow over Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Rumania. The economic situation in these countries had been deteriorating steadily since the 1920s. Of the 3,000,000 Jews in Poland in 1935 fully one third were unemployed and virtually destitute. Anti-Jewish agitation flared up again and again. Thus, in the town of Przytyk, Poland, early in 1936, the anti-Semitic National Democratic Party (Endek) forced the villagers to stop trading with Jews. They closed the weekly markets to Jewish merchants, and climaxed their efforts with riots, accompanied by the pillaging of Jewish property, beatings, and killing. Jews who had relatives in the United States and Canada asked them for help to leave Przytyk. A central relief committee was organized in Warsaw to help the pogrom victims, but the Polish Government banned any fund-raising efforts. On May 1 7 , 1937 the city of Brest-Litovsk (Brzesc) was the scene of riots in which a number of Jews were killed. The Dziennik Narodowy (a virulently anti-Semitic daily of Warsaw) of that date was jubilant over the fact that the city was at last being Polonized, with the manual trades and commerce being wrested from Jewish hands. Jews were forced to sell their businesses to Poles who moved in from the western provinces. The local HIAS-ICA office was also attacked by the mob. Polish politicians were harping on the theme of the "superfluousness" of the Jews. The Polish Radical Party (established in January 1936), one of the country's so-called "liberal" groups, advocated government-sponsored Jewish emigration. On



February 20, 1936 two Polish senators in the Budget Committee demanded the wholesale emigration of the Jews and urged their government to approach American and British welfare organizations for assistance in carrying out the evacuation. In 1937 the Polish Government sent a special mission to investigate settlement possibilities in Madagascar, the French-held island off the east coast of Africa, with a view to inducing Polish Jews to settle there. Leon Alter, executive director of JEAS (the Polish branch of HIAS-ICA), was a member of that mission, though only in a private capacity since the Jewish organizations would not lend themselves to any forced-evacuation plans. Another Jewish member of the mission was the agronomist Solomon Dyck. Alter and Dyck disapproved of the project, and French Jewish circles viewed it with skepticism. Nothing came of the Madagascar plan, but it was later revived by the Nazis, who toyed with it briefly before launching their campaign of wholesale extermination. Meanwhile life became increasingly intolerable for Jews in Poland. Medical, legal, and other professional groups began to apply the "Aryan" principle in their membership policies. In the universities anti-Semitism was rife and the economic boycott in the country continued unabated. Peasant youth, deserting the villages, invaded the cities and displaced Jews from their jobs. The government, while considering the Madagascar plan, stifled all emigration by prohibiting the transfer of capital out of the country. By order of the Commission of the Ministry of Finance for Control of Foreign Exchange, only fifty English pounds could be taken out of the country by any individual. With this amount the emigrant could get nowhere. To get a so-called capitalist visa for Palestine, an immigrant was required to produce a thousand pounds; Australia required two hundred pounds' landing money; Cuba demanded five hundred dollars' deposit for every immigrant; and so on. Such was the situation which Solomon Dingol, Alexander Kahn, Bernard Shelvin, and Benjamin G. Weinberg encoun-

Exodus from Germany


tered on their trips to Poland in 1 9 3 6 - 3 7 in behalf of HIAS. They succeeded in establishing closer relations between the JEAS headquarters in Warsaw and the American Consulate.
The Transportation Fund for Eastern European Jews

With the doors of most overseas countries shut, or at best only slightly ajar, the mass emigration of Polish Jewry remained a theoretical project. However, it was possible to transfer small groups of Jews out of the country, provided the necessary funds were made available. Since the large welfare organizations were devoting their resources exclusively to the urgent emigration needs of the German Jews, it became apparent that some special fund was required for the transportation of eastern European Jews. A strong advocate of such a fund was Israel Bernstein, for many years a devoted and highly regarded representative of HIAS in Warsaw, at that time in charge of the relief and transportation funds sent by Americans to their relatives in Poland through the HIAS Immigrant Bank. A HIAS delegation (Abraham Herman, Samuel A. Telsey, and Isaac L. Asofsky) proposed it to ICA at a convention of HIAS-ICA on June 29-July 1, 1936. ICA readily acceded to the plan, agreeing that a special fund should be set aside for this project, two thirds to be contributed by it and one third by HIAS. In 1937, 488 emigrants from eastern Europe were helped by the Transportation Fund; 867 in 1938; and 937 in 1939. These did not include emigration to the United States, since institutionally supported immigration is against the law in this country. Danzig Danzig, established as a Free City in 1 9 1 9 under the protection of the League of Nations, was spared the Nazi terror during the years 1933-35. During this period it served as a haven for many German Jews. But the Nazi Party in Danzig was growing; and, despite the resident Commissioner of the League of Nations, it succeeded in establishing an anti-Semitic



regime on the German pattern. Attacks on Jews, especially on those coming from Poland on business, began in 1935; the adoption of discriminatory measures against native Jews by the Danzig Senate soon followed. By 1936 all the anti-Nazi parties had been silenced and in 1937 the hate campaign against Jews was in full swing. Anti-Jewish riots were staged in mid-October 1937. Thus the Danzig Jews now joined the tragic roster of Jewish communities for which emigration was the sole salvation. The HIAS-ICA branch in Danzig, under the directorship of J. Wierosub, had been supervising Jewish emigration from Poland, which was channeled through the ports of Danzig and Gdynia. To this work there was now added the task of removing Danzig's native Jewish population, as well as the Polish, Russian, and stateless Jews who had settled in the Free City over the course of years. Registration of the Jews in Danzig was conducted separately for those wishing to emigrate overseas and those seeking repatriation to their countries of origin. This task was entrusted to Itzhak Giterman of the Joint Distribution Committee. In January 1938 HIAS-ICA sent Ilja Dijour to Danzig to prepare a plan of action. Dijour arranged with the director of the Bank of Danzig to permit the proteges of HIASICA to convert up to three hundred thousand guldens into foreign currency, certifying that the money was needed for emigration purposes. This sum sufficed for a hundred families, each emigrant family being permitted to take three thousand guldens (a hundred dollars) out of the country. (In Germany, emigrants were permitted to take with them only ten marks, or about five dollars.) Departures from Danzig now took place at an accelerated rate. Out of the 7,000 Jews residing in Danzig in 1937, about 4,000 had left by November 1938. By August 1, 1939 only 1,666 Jews remained in the city.
Czechoslovakia, Italy, and Spain

As has been stated, when the Nazi onslaught first occurred, practically all the countries of central and western Europe ac-

Exodus from Germany


cepted large numbers of refugees from Germany. Local Jewish communities, with the generous support of American, British, and French welfare agencies, provided immediate relief and made every effort to find employment for the refugees. Czechoslovakia and Italy, as well as Spain, became countries of refuge. In 1936 HIAS-ICA set up a committee in Prague to help Jews of Germany and Czechoslovakia (especially from the poverty-stricken district of Sub-Carpathia) emigrate overseas. Until the outbreak of the war, this committee was most active, under the leadership of Maria Smolka, who was later arrested, deported, and murdered by the Nazis. The annexation of the Sudetenland in September 1938 and the entrance of the Nazi army into Prague in March 1939 put an end to Czechoslovak democracy and the thousand-year-old Jewish community. The HIAS-ICA committee in Milan, the great industrial and commercial center of northern Italy, was established in 1936, after Saadiah Czerniak, a staff member of ICA, had made an investigation of the refugee situation in Italy. The Milan committee sought to establish the newcomers in Italy, as well as to help them emigrate overseas. There were still cases of voluntary repatriation to Poland and other European countries which required the committee's help. But the respite in Italy and Czechoslovakia was of short duration. In 1938 Italy embarked on an anti-Semitic, racist policy that closely followed the Nazi pattern. A royal decree of September 7, 1938 provided that all persons of full Jewish parentage who had taken up residence in Italy since January 1, 1 9 1 9 were to leave the country within six months. Discriminatory decrees affecting the political, social, and cultural life of Italian Jewry followed in due course, setting their exodus in motion. After the fall of the monarchy in Spain in 1 9 3 1 , a trickle of Jewish migrants from eastern Europe went to that country the first entry of Jews into Spain since their expulsion in 1492. It was understood that the Spanish Republican Government



would view with favor a resettlement of Jews. HICEM, thereupon, set up an office in Barcelona in 1932 and in the same year dispatched a commission to Madrid, consisting of Rabbi Ernest Ginsburger of Geneva and IIja M. Dijour. From an interview with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Luis Zuluetta y Escolano, they learned that the government would welcome the return of Sephardic Jews. By the end of 1934 there were about 4,000 Jews in Barcelona, and smaller groups in Madrid, Seville, Valencia, and Toledo. No barriers were placed in their way. Another HICEM office was opened in Madrid in 1934. With the fall of the Republic and recognition of the triumphant Franco government by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, the position of the German Jewish refugees in Spain became politically insecure.
The Austrian Tragedy

On March 1 2 , 1938 the Nazi army marched into Vienna. The 180,000 Austrian Jews were thereby promptly cut off from the rest of the world. On March 25 HIAS-ICA in Paris cabled to the HIAS in New York, "Time being Austrian Jews trapped. Only few succeeded in escaping to Switzerland and Poland. . . . Can HIAS help?" HIAS made an emergency appropriation and suggested that ICA contribute an equal sum. In August HIAS transmitted another ten thousand dollars. In the meantime the exodus from Austria had begun.
The Gestapo Takes Over

Between November 8 and 1 0 , 1938 the Nazi Party organized a systematic nationwide pogrom in Germany, rounding up Jews for the concentration camps, burning synagogues, and demolishing stores, offices, and private homes. This was the beginning of the end. The Munich Pact of September 1938, which had made the Sudeten region part of the Reich, placed 25,000 additional Jews at the mercy of the Nazis. Those who fled to Czechoslovakia were caught six months later when

Exodus from Germany


Czechoslovakia became a Nazi protectorate (March 1 9 3 9 ) . This brought another 120,000 Jews into the Nazi trap. After the pogroms of November 1938 there was no further argument. Gestapo agents provided fictitious visas and ordered Jews shipped off regardless of whether there was a place for them to go or not. Armed with these false visas, the refugees were not permitted to land upon reaching their destinations, as the Gestapo had well foreseen. The ships then took them to other ports, where they were again refused entrv. Thanks to the intervention of HIAS-ICA and its branches in Latin America, quite a number of people were spared the agony of returning to Germany. Early in 1939 the Koenigstein and Caribia sailed from Germany with 286 Jews aboard, bound for ports in the British West Indies. Since their visas were invalid, the passengers were not permitted to land. HIAS-ICA mobilized its branches in Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador, with the result that one group was admitted to Venezuela and one to Ecuador. A number of people, denied entry to Mexico, and scheduled to return to Germany, found asylum in Cuba. In March 1939 three ships docked at Montevideo, Uruguay, bringing 95 refugees who were not permitted to disembark because of false visas. The local HIAS-ICA branch persuaded the Uruguayan authorities to permit them to land, with the understanding that they would proceed to Chile. In May 1939, three vessels with 150 refugees aboard set sail for Uruguay, their ultimate destination being Paraguay. Securing their admission required the united efforts of the HIAS-ICA branches in Buenos Aires, Montevideo, and Asuncion. The incident of the St. Louis attracted international attention. On May 1 5 , 1939, 907 Jews left Hamburg for Cuba on the Hamburg-American liner St. Louis. Upon arrival in Havana ten days later, they were refused entry because the Cuban Government had in the meantime issued a decree canceling all the landing permits previously granted by its Commissioner of Immigration. The efforts of HIAS and the Joint Distribution



Committee to induce the authorities to reverse this decision were of no avail. The boat was ordered to take the refugees back to Germany. Despair swept over the passengers when they learned what fate was in store for them. HIAS in New York alerted its affiliate committees in France, Belgium, and Great Britain. Max Gottschalk, a leading member of HIAS-ICA in Brussels, appealed to the Belgian Minister of Justice, Emile Janson (who later died in a German concentration camp), and the Belgian Government granted asylum to 300 of the desperate refugees. In France, Baron Robert de Rothschild prevailed upon his government to permit the debarkation of another 300 in Boulogne-sur-Mer. Great Britain and Holland took in the rest. This was virtually an eleventhhour rescue.
The Far East

Beginning with 1933 and 1934, more and more Jewish refugees were leaving Germany for the Far East. Because of its extensive connections in China, Japan, the Philippines, IndoChina, Malaya, and Australia, the Harbin office of the Far Eastern Central Information Bureau was in a position to keep both HIAS-ICA in Paris and the Hilfsverein in Berlin informed of employment possibilities for immigrants, particularly for those in the professions. The Bureau also helped the newcomers in their financial and legal difficulties, in addition to trying to place them in jobs. With the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War in July 1937, the Jews of Harbin (Manchukuo) began to move to southern China, Siam (Thailand), India, the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, the Western Hemisphere, South Africa, and Palestine. Return to the Soviet Union declined, and clandestine infiltration into Manchukuo from Russia virtually ceased. Since many of the refugees were former Russian subjects, and now "stateless" persons, the Harbin bureau encountered con-

Exodus from Germany


siderable difficulty in helping them, as even Japan refused to grant transit visas to the "stateless." In 1938 Shanghai, the only haven which required no entrance visas, became the chief goal of many thousands of German Jewish refugees. Their number reached about 17,000 in August 1939, creating a serious relief problem. Under the circumstances, HIAS-ICA decided to transfer the Harbin bureau to Shanghai, appropriating ten thousand dollars to help it establish itself in that city.

In 1927 the Soviets had launched the project of a Jewish settlement in Biro-Bidjan, a region in the Far East named after two tributaries of the Amur River, the Bir and Bidjan. In 1934 this region was proclaimed a Jewish Autonomous District (Oblast). Funds had been raised in the United States since the 1920s to assist the venture, and widespread propaganda hailed it as a "solution" of the Jewish problem. From the outset, HIAS leadership had realized the inherent implausibility of the plan as well as the unsuitability of the area for Jewish settlement. When HICEM began to sponsor the emigration of German Jews to Biro-Bidjan, a cable signed by Abraham Herman, Jacob Massel, Alexander Kahn, B. C. Vladeck, and Isaac L. Asofsky was dispatched to Paris expressing HIAS's disapproval of this move. Dr. Joseph Rosen, an authority on the Jewish situation in the Soviet Union, declared at a conference with HIAS leaders in January 1935 that it was neither advisable nor feasible to send German refugees either to the Soviet Union proper or to Biro-Bidjan. In the meantime a group of Jewish physicians went to Soviet Russia to explore possibilities for immigration. Late in the summer of 1936 Adolph Held visited Biro-Bidjan and later, in his report to the HIAS Board of Directors on September 1 5 , advised caution in sponsoring the Biro-Bidjan project. But by



the end of 1937 those German Jewish refugees who had gone to the Soviet Union were leaving as fast as they could. As for the Russian Jews themselves, they evinced little enthusiasm for Biro-Bidjan and no desire to settle there. The number of Jewish settlers constantly diminished. (The New York Times correspondent, Harrison E. Salisbury, who visited Biro-Bidjan in June 1954, was told by its administrative head that the Jews actually formed only one of various nationalities living in the area and there was, therefore, no reason to call it a Jewish Autonomous District.)
The Evian Conference

On March 24, 1938twelve days after the Nazi invasion of AustriaPresident Franklin D. Roosevelt issued a call to the nations of the world to confer together about an orderly and humane solution of the problem of the refugees from Germany, Jewish and non-Jewish. Thirty-two countries were invited to attend. At the same time the President directed the United States Consular Service to give special consideration to the visa applications of Jews in Germany and Austria within the limits of the joint quota for these two countriesi.e., 27,370 persons annually. As a consequence, Jewish immigration to the United States from the Reich and other countries rose to 43,450 in
1938-39, as against the 19,736 of the previous year. HIAS

promptly enlarged its staff and expanded its services. (22) President Roosevelt's call on March 24 was hailed as a turning point in a confused situation. The HIAS Board, meeting the next day, decided to convoke a Conference of National Jewish Organizations for the ensuring of uniform action. Meanwhile preparations were being made for the representatives of the thirty-two nations to meet at Evian (Switzerland). The original plan was to invite all European governments, except Germany, to deal with the refugee problem and with the problem of emigration, as resettlement was deemed inevitable in view of the systematic Nazi persecutions. The Conference

Exodus from Germany


was also to consider Palestine as a possible haven for the persecuted. However, Great Britain was opposed to bringing Palestine into the discussion; and after secret negotiations with London, it was decided to invite only countries of immigration and to confine the discussion to the refugee problem, but not to general emigration. The Conference took place on July 6 - 1 1 , 1938. The various Jewish agencies engaged in refugee relief and migration work all sent delegates to Evian. HIAS-ICA sent Dr. James Bernstein and Edouard Oungre. The memoranda submitted by the Jewish organizations to the Conference covered a variety of subjects. The German agencies stressed the need for a systematic emigration, while the American, British, and French agencies dwelt, in addition, on the necessity of protecting the Jews of central Europe against political and economic discrimination. The memorandum submitted by HIAS-ICA was signed by the following: Dr. James Bernstein, HIAS; O. E. dAvigdorGoldsmid, ICA; Sir Herbert Samuel, British Council for German Jewry; Neville Laski, Board of Deputies of British Jews; Sir Leonard G. Montefiore, the Anglo-Jewish Association; Otto M. Schiff, the German Jewish Aid Committee; J. Rosenbaum, the Agudas Israel World Organization. In this document it was stated that the "anti-Jewish feeling in Poland, Rumania, and Hungary has been alarmingly intensified by the example and propaganda of Germany." The memorandum went on to draw the attention of the Conference to the grave situation in which the 5,000,000 Jews of eastern Europe found themselves. For many of them emigration could be the only feasible solution. Palestine should be given first consideration for immigration. Those "fit and well qualified" for resettlement overseas should be helped, with a view to the benefit to the receiving countries. The task, it was pointed out, was beyond the resources of the voluntary organizations; it presented an international social problem comparable to that of the Greek refugees from Turker who were resettled in the 1920s. It was a problem "which can



not be solved by philanthropy alone or by any efforts of the Jewish communities alone, but requires a combination of government action and voluntary organization." The Evian Conference revealed the utter inability of the participants to "rise to any constructive measure." (23) Some delegates pointed out that their countries had already admitted a large number of refugees, others drew attention to the difficulties involved in an open-door policy. The delegate of the Dominican Republic declared that his government would grant "advantageous concessions to Austrian and German exiles, agriculturists with an unimpeachable record, who would satisfy the Dominican legislation on immigration." But the question, of course, was how to convert sufficient numbers of urban people into "agriculturists with an unimpeachable record" so as to meet the Dominican requirements. A more practical proposal was made by the Australian representative six weeks later; Australia was willing to admit 15,000 refugees from greater Germany over a three-year period ( 1 9 3 9 - 4 1 ) . The other governments failed to commit themselves in any way. Before concluding its deliberations, the Evian Conference set up an Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees (IGCR), with which HIAS remained in close cooperation.
Appraisal of HIAS Work

The respite granted by the Nazis in 1936 and 1937 had a lulling effect on the Jews in Germany. It seemed then that at least the middle-aged and elderly would be allowed to stay on. All efforts were therefore concentrated on getting the younger people out of the country. At the end of 1935 the Reichsvertretung, Hilfsverein, Jewish Agency, and Youth Aliyah in Germany, and HIAS-ICA, the Joint Distribution Committee, and the many ad hoc refugee committees in Europe conceived the plan of bringing 25,000 younger people out of Germany every year. Training centers in farming, trades, and languages were established and public meetings were held to inform the pro-

Exodus from Germany


spective emigrants about living conditions and employment prospects overseas. The writer recalls one such meeting in Frankfurt-am-Main at the end of 1937, with Nazi officials in attendance to make sure that the speakers did not depart from their prepared statements. Among the speakers was Max M. Warburg, president of the Hilfsverein. A few days later the banker Martin Aufheuser, in Munich, referred to the Frankfurt meeting and expressed astonishment at Warburg's outspoken endorsement of emigration; he doubted the wisdom of such advice. One year later Aufheuser himself barely succeeded in fleeing the country. Although 11,352 Jews entered the United States in 1937-38, as against 6,252 in 1935-36, it was no great number, considering the need for emigration. Yet the German quota was at no time filled. To be sure, the specter of the depression still lurked, and with it the fear of admitting to the country large numbers of penniless people who might become public charges. But, thus far, as in the past, the Jews had taken care of their own; even in the years when immigration from eastern Europe was heaviest, public relief had not been burdened with Jewish immigrants. At the annual meeting of HIAS on April 25, 1937, Fiorello H. La Guardia, Mayor of New York, after an enthusiastic reception by the large gathering, said, "They told us in those days that too many were coming over. The answer to that is that immigration was a wholesome and splendid thing. The people who came into the country in that time are established here as good, loyal, and useful American citizens." Referring to the fear of unemployment, which loomed large in the public mind, Representative John J. O'Connor, chairman of the Committee on Rules of the House of Representatives, said: In my opinion America should still be the sanctuary of all peoples fleeing from persecution. That was its origin and the policy continued until 1924which date, by the way, coincided



Committee to induce the authorities to reverse this decision were of no avail. The boat was ordered to take the refugees back to Germany. Despair swept over the passengers when they learned what fate was in store for them. HIAS in New York alerted its affiliate committees in France, Belgium, and Great Britain. Max Gottschalk, a leading member of HIAS-ICA in Brussels, appealed to the Belgian Minister of Justice, Emile Janson (who later died in a German concentration camp), and the Belgian Government granted asylum to 300 of the desperate refugees. In France, Baron Robert de Rothschild prevailed upon his government to permit the debarkation of another 300 in Boulogne-sur-Mer. Great Britain and Holland took in the rest. This was virtually an eleventhhour rescue.
The Far East

Beginning with 1933 and 1934, more and more Jewish refugees were leaving Germany for the Far East. Because of its extensive connections in China, Japan, the Philippines, IndoChina, Malaya, and Australia, the Harbin office of the Far Eastern Central Information Bureau was in a position to keep both HIAS-ICA in Paris and the Hilfsverein in Berlin informed of employment possibilities for immigrants, particularly for those in the professions. The Bureau also helped the newcomers in their financial and legal difficulties, in addition to trying to place them in jobs. With the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War in July 1937, the Jews of Harbin (Manchukuo) began to move to southern China, Siam (Thailand), India, the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, the Western Hemisphere, South Africa, and Palestine. Return to the Soviet Union declined, and clandestine infiltration into Manchukuo from Russia virtually ceased. Since many of the refugees were former Russian subjects, and now "stateless" persons, the Harbin bureau encountered con-

Exodus from Germany


siderable difficulty in helping them, as even Japan refused to grant transit visas to the "stateless." In 1938 Shanghai, the only haven which required no entrance visas, became the chief goal of many thousands of German Jewish refugees. Their number reached about 17,000 in August 1939, creating a serious relief problem. Under the circumstances, HIAS-ICA decided to transfer the Harbin bureau to Shanghai, appropriating ten thousand dollars to help it establish itself in that city.

In 1927 the Soviets had launched the project of a Jewish settlement in Biro-Bidjan, a region in the Far East named after two tributaries of the Amur River, the Bir and Bidjan. In 1934 this region was proclaimed a Jewish Autonomous District (Oblast). Funds had been raised in the United States since the 1920s to assist the venture, and widespread propaganda hailed it as a "solution" of the Jewish problem. From the outset, HIAS leadership had realized the inherent implausibility of the plan as well as the unsuitability of the area for Jewish settlement. When HICEM began to sponsor the emigration of German Jews to Biro-Bidjan, a cable signed by Abraham Herman, Jacob Massel, Alexander Kahn, B. C. Vladeck, and Isaac L. Asofsky was dispatched to Paris expressing HIAS's disapproval of this move. Dr. Joseph Rosen, an authority on the Jewish situation in the Soviet Union, declared at a conference with HIAS leaders in January 1935 that it was neither advisable nor feasible to send German refugees either to the Soviet Union proper or to Biro-Bidjan. In the meantime a group of Jewish physicians went to Soviet Russia to explore possibilities for immigration. Late in the summer of 1936 Adolph Held visited Biro-Bidjan and later, in his report to the HIAS Board of Directors on September 1 5 , advised caution in sponsoring the Biro-Bidjan project. But by



with the revival of bigotry movements and groups in our country. The Jews originally fled to these shores to escape the horrors of persecution in Tsarist Russia. Their plight in Europe today is no less heart-rending. In this good hour of 1937, America should still be the haven for the persecuted Jews of the world and for all peoples subjected to group discrimination.

The 1920s were a period of trial for HIAS: in 1922 it was saved from financial collapse only by the generous support given it in an emergency campaign, and in 1929-30 it had to consider seriously withdrawing from HICEM. Nevertheless, when catastrophe struck in Germany, in 1933, HIAS rose to meet the situation. It plunged vigorously into rescue work, actively participated in the HICEM programs, and assisted German and Austrian refugees in the United States. The HIAS Shelter offered a refuge to thousands of newcomers from central and western Europe, as it had done in the days of the eastern European immigration. When a crisis arose in the Jewish situation in Poland, in 1936-37, involving 3,000,000 people, just at a moment when the Jewish welfare agencies were straining all their resources to assist Nazi victims in Germany, HIAS responded by establishing the East European Transportation Fund. Thanks to the cooperation of American Jewry at large, the resources of HIAS during this period ( 1 9 3 3 - 3 9 ) ^ income of $261,411 in 1932 to $469,325 in 1939. There was still a deficit, but it was ultimately liquidated by the splendid efforts of HIAS's staunch friends and supporters.
r o s e r o m an

Additions to Board of Directors

During the period 1933-39 the following new members were elected to the HIAS Board of Directors: Edward M. Benton, lawyer; Rabbi Aaron D. Burack, professor at Yeshiva Uni-

Exodus from Germany


versity; Harry Epstein; Herman }. Greenhut; Murray I. Gurfein, lawyer and former assistant district attorney of New York; Reuben Guskin, president of the Workmen's Circle; Solomon Dingol, editor; Harry G. Herman; Harry Lang, journalist; Dr. David Linetzky; and the Hon. Adolph Stern of the Independent Order Brith Abraham.

World War I I The First Phase

[ S E P T E M B E R 1939 TO D E C E M B E R 1941]

ON AUGUST 22-24, *939 conference was convoked in Paris by HIAS-ICA and the European bureau of the Joint Distribution Committee to discuss the problem of the Jews in Germany and the Nazi-occupied territories and the situation of German and Austrian refugees in the various European countries. Representatives of welfare and migrant-aid societies from more than fifteen European and overseas countries participated in the conference. Only a year had passed since the Evian Conference of July 1938, but the savage November pogroms in Germany and Austria had left the conceptions of that meeting far behind. The reports submitted to the conference in Paris revealed that about 380,000 Jews had left Germany, Austria, and the Czech Protectorate in the six and a half years of forced emi158

World War II-The First Phase


gration (March 1933 to August 1939)- But still there were close to 500,000 Jews left in these areas:

COUNTRY Germany Austria Czech Protectorate TOTAL

1933 500,000 180,000 200,000 880,000

(1933-39) 270,000 100,000 10,000 380,000

(August 1939) 230,000 80,000 190,000 500,000

Of the 380,000 emigrants, about 190,000 had left for overseas, the rest going to various other parts of Europe, chiefly England and France. Of these, only a handful were able to settle permanently in their countries of refuge; the great majority lived in uncertain status in the transit countries. The Paris conference was concerned both with the refugees and with the Jews living under Nazi rule. News of the SovietGerman Pact reached the conference at its first session on August 22. Myron C. Taylor, the personal representative of President Roosevelt at the Vatican and vice-chairman of the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees, said, in addressing the delegates, "It may well be that in the next few days maybe only within the next few hoursevents will bring upon the stage of human activity action which will for the moment cloud and make simple and of small consequence the interests of 500,000 refugees. [This figure] may be augmented into tens of millions." (24) These prophetic words clearly expressed the fate that awaited central and eastern European Jewry in a Nazi global war. Some of the social workers at the conference returned home at once because of the tense atmosphere in their own countries, only to fall victims there of Nazi fury. Maria Smolka, who had won the love and admiration of the refugees in Prague in the period 1933-39, was murdered by Gestapo agents a few weeks after her return from the Paris conference. Dr. Otto Hirsch and Dr. Paul Epstein, the two outstanding leaders of the Reichsvertre-



tung der Juden in Deutschland, were put to death in Nazi prison camps in 1 9 4 1 . Leon Alter, director of JEAS, returned to Poland with the last train to cross the German-Polish frontier. He barely had time to close up the JEAS offices a week after the war began, before he fled through Rumania and Italy, back to Paris.
HIAS Meets the Challenge

On September 1, 1939 German armies invaded Poland; on September 3 Great Britain and France declared war on Germany. HIAS-ICA at the time had committees in thirty-two countries. Fortunately the headquarters of HIAS were in the still neutral United States. On September 1 9 , 1939 HIAS in New York received a cable from the Hilfsverein in Berlin which read, "Continuance of emigration possible and urgently requested. There are many emigrants with valid immigration visas. Passage on neutral lines obtainable against free foreign currency. Italian Line offers till 22nd on Neptunia to east coast of South America 50 reservations from $200. Please remit immediately $10,000 to Italian Line 624 Fifth Avenue and advise Italia Genova through Italian Line New York." A similar cable reached HIAS from Prague. The HIAS-ICA offices in Latvia and Rumania appealed to HIAS for help in handling the influx of Jewish refugees from war-torn Poland. In October 1939 Abraham Herman and Solomon Dingol (president and vice-president of HIAS) went to Washington to find means of establishing contact between the Jews in Poland and their kin in the United States. Congressman Sol Bloom, chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Norman H. Davis, chairman of the American Red Cross, were approached. The delegation also called on Robert Pell, Secretary of the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees, and submitted a memorandum of suggestions on the treatment of the refugees during the emergency. It was requested that



Trieste: D P s in H I A S convoy en route to Australia eating during a stop.

First shipload of D P s to come to the United States after W o r l d W a r I I , May 20, 1946.

World War II-The First Phase


refugees in the United States on temporary visas, and refugees who had entered illegally, be permitted to remain in the country, at least for the duration. It was further asked that Great Britain be prevailed upon to open the doors of Palestine to the refugees. There was also the question of the unused quota numbers which the immigration countries might make available to the refugees. A number of practical suggestions were advanced regarding transportation on neutral vessels and the procuring of foreign currency for the relief of the refugees. The war created a serious financial problem for the Jewish Colonization Association which was registered as a British philanthropic agency and now, owing to wartime regulations, could not use its funds outside the sterling area. On October 1 9 , 1939 HIAS was informed that ICA would not be able to contribute its share toward the HIAS-ICA budget of 1940. HIAS was therefore faced with the problem of making good the deficiency. The Board of Directors resolved, "in view of the friendly relations for twelve years with ICA, to contribute a larger amount to the HIAS-ICA budget and to increase its contribution to the East European Transportation Fund for
1940 from $50,000 to $100,000." Wartime Arrangements

Jewish overseas emigration from Germany continued despite the war. Refugees embarked at the ports of the then neutral countries of Italy, Belgium, and Holland. In October 1939 a HIAS-ICA office was set up in Brussels under the name of BEL-HICEM, Vladimir Shah being sent from Paris to manage it. BEL-HICEM maintained relations with the Jewish agencies in greater Germany and the Czech Protectorate, with the committees in neutral countries, and with HIAS-ICA in Paris. The Paris office concentrated its efforts on getting German, Austrian, Czech, and other refugeesnow technically enemy aliensout of France. In the early days of the war the French



authorities urged HIAS-ICA to evacuate refugees possessing emigration papers to French ports, and get them ready to sail for their places of destination. During September it was possible to transport several hundred refugees from Germany and the Czech Protectorate through France, on their way to the Americas. French policy in this matter was far from consistent. At the same time that France permitted refugees to pass through its territory on their way to the Americas, still other refugees with visas for the Western Hemisphere were taken off Italian boats in the French ports and interned as "German nationals." HIAS-ICA intervened on their behalf and obtained an arrangement whereby the French Admiralty permitted passage of emigrants on lists submitted by HIAS-ICA. These lists were prepared by the HIAS-ICA committees in Italy, which was a neutral country until June 1940. When war broke out there were about 45,000 Jewish refugees German and Austrian nationalsin France. After the friendly reception accorded these escapees from Nazi rule, it came as a shock when all men from eighteen to sixty-five were ordered to detention camps. Living conditions in the temporary barracks and barns were appalling. The food was poor, visitors were barred. From the outset there were many cases of illness and death. HIAS-ICA succeeded in obtaining permission from the military and civil authorities to interview the internees. About sixty camps were visited by HIAS-ICA staff members, and in the case of about 8,000 internees some chance of obtaining overseas immigration visas was found. In the winter of 1939-40, HIAS-ICA took steps on their behalf and about 1,000 persons were able to sail from French ports, on French, British, and neutral boats. In August 1939, with war imminent, the Warsaw JEAS refunded transportation deposits to prospective emigrants and paid off its staff. Leon Alter, director of the office, was able to give an affirmative answer to the Polish Department of Welfare's query whether all JEAS's liabilities had been met.

World War II-The First Phase


The onrush of the Nazi armies in September drove masses of refugees from Poland into Latvia, Lithuania, Rumania, and eastern Poland which had been occupied by the Soviets in agreement with Germany. Vilna, in Lithuanian hands since September 27, was also a goal of the refugees, and the local branch of HIAS-ICA was suddenly faced with the problem of caring for 11,000 homeless people. HIAS headquarters in New York received thousands of requests to trace American relatives and friends of these refugees. HIAS-ICA offices in Lithuania and Rumania intensified their efforts to register refugees for emigration.
The poet Zussman Segalowicz, in Gebrente Trit (Burning

Steps, Buenos Aires, 1 9 4 7 ) , has described his flight from bombed Warsaw to Rovno and further north to Vilna and Kovno, where he arrived at the end of November 1939. He remained in Kovno for sixteen months. According to his report, the refugees were able to live there unmolested until August 1940, when Lithuania (like Latvia and Esthonia) was incorporated into the Soviet Union. The local Jewish communities were helpful in every way. Segalowicz was full of praise for the Kovno HIAS-ICA committee and particularly its director, Isaiah Rozowsky. "Thousands of refugees," he writes, "have blessed him and I am sure will always remember his honest face and his kind words for everyone. Kovno will at all times be associated for us with Isaiah Rozowsky . . . Many of us were rescued by these good people; they cared for us with utter devotion . . . I cannot forget the nightmare of my wandering, but at the same time I treasure every bright moment, every kind word, every night's lodging offered me, every drink of water, every service. These memories are the capital I have gathered in the days of the war. I have nothing else and want nothing else. . . ." The Kovno, Vilna, and Riga committees of HIAS-ICA conferred together in Kovno on December 2 1 - 2 2 , 1939, under the chairmanship of Moshe Schalit, a president of the HIAS-ICA



council before the war. It is indicative of the relatively calm atmosphere prevailing in the Baltic states that the conference could seriously discuss the question of citizenship for refugees wishing to stay in the country and make plans to establish foreign-language courses for those intending to emigrate. Subsequently Moshe Schalit met his death in a concentration camp. I. Valk, another participant at that conference and a leader of HIAS in Vilna, also perished at the hands of the Nazis. Rozowsky escaped from Kovno after the incorporation of Lithuania into the Soviet Union in the winter of 1940. Rozowsky and Segalowicz met again in Moscow. Here Rozowsky helped the poet obtain a Turkish transit visa to reach Palestine. He himself journeyed the long way through Siberia and the Far East to the United States.
The Long Trek

On March 7, 1940 ten German Jewish refugees arrived in Shanghai. With tickets bought in Germany they had traveled all the way through European Russia, Siberia, and Manchukuo to reach their destination. Thus the old migration route of World War I was again revived. The Russo-German Pact and the peaceful relations between the Soviet Union and Japan opened an unexpected door for the German Jewish emigres. They paid for their tickets to the Far Eastern ports in German reichsmarks. From the Orient, Japanese ships offered reducedrate passage across the Pacific to the Western Hemisphere; to attract passengers, they even undertook to obtain transit visas for their passengers from the Manchukuan and Japanese authorities. Traveling via Siberia and the Pacific was safer than crossing the U-boat menaced Atlantic. As a result, the eastern route was increasingly used in 1940 and the first half of 1 9 4 1 . It was a long trek: 6,000 miles by rail to the Far East, and then 4,500 miles by sea to the United States; 8,000 miles to South American ports by way of the Panama Canal; 7,000 miles

World War II-The First Phase


from Japan to Palestine. Some refugees went to Moscow, and from there through Odessa and Istanbul to Palestine. Following the incorporation of the Baltic states into the Soviet Union in 1940, refugees from Poland who had found temporary asylum in these states, as well as the Baltic Jews themselves, took to the road. The HIAS-ICA offices in Vilna, Kovno, and Riga were kept busy helping the increasing number of people anxious to escape Soviet rule. Approximately 2,000 emigrants were helped financially in the latter half of 1940 and the early part of 1 9 4 1 ; others were given legal and technical advice. The exodus gained momentum with the approach of January 3 1 , 1 9 4 1 , the deadline fixed by the Soviet authorities for the departure of Polish nationals who were unwilling to become Soviet citizens. At the other end of the Trans-Siberia route, Yokohama and Kobe were reliving scenes witnessed twenty-four years earlier. In Yokohama the refugees formed their own committee. In Kobe the tiny Jewish community did its best to help the emigrants awaiting embarkation until a HIAS-ICA branch was set up. The latter worked hand in hand with the Far Eastern Jewish Central Information Bureau in Shanghai, ably managed by the indefatigable Meyer Birman. For a short time Isaiah Rozowsky of the Kovno HIAS-ICA office, himself a refugee en route to the United States, and Lazar Epstein of the Warsaw JEAS, were active in the Kobe branch. From July 1, 1940 to June 1, 1941 a total of 4,413 people were assisted during transit through Kobe; 3,092 embarked for various overseas destinations and 1,321 went to Shanghai. The outbreak of the German-Soviet war on June 22, 1941 closed the eastward passage to Jewish emigrants from Germany and the Baltic states. From August on, Jews between the ages of eighteen and forty-five were forbidden to leave Germany; this ban was later extended to the age of sixty. The next stage was deportation to Poland and death in the gas chambers.

i66 Under Nazi Rule


The Nazi Occupation Government in Poland permitted the JEAS in Warsaw to reopen its office in December 1939. JEAS began sending out "tracers" to locate relatives and friends in the United States and other overseas countries, with a view to aiding Jews in Poland to emigrate. It opened a department for emigration to Palestine, as the Palestine Office of the Jewish Agency had been destroyed during the bombardment of Warsaw. From December 1939 to August 1940, JEAS interviewed 10,000 persons and sent 14,500 "tracers" to the HIAS in New York, receiving 2,800 replies. In 1 9 4 1 , on order of the Nazis, JEAS changed its name to "Department of Help to Relatives" of the Jewish Social Self-Help. In the period of April-September 1 9 4 1 , 5,687 requests to contact relatives were sent to HIAS and HIAS-ICA in various parts of the world. On December 1 8 , 1940 HIAS received an appeal from the Jewish Council of the Lublin reservation, which the Nazis had set up in 1939 under the high-sounding name of "The New Jewish State." The Lublin Council asked for immediate relief and assistance in obtaining immigration visas for those with relatives overseas. The number of Jews in the Lublin reservation has not been established. According to various estimates, from 30,000 to 60,000 Jews had been transferred there from Germany and Austria in the final weeks of 1939. In 1940 HIAS began sending food and clothing parcels to Poland. In April 1 9 4 1 , there being no acknowledgment of their receipt, HIAS consulted with the Lisbon HIAS-ICA office as to whether to continue the service. The advice of Dr. James Bernstein was that it should be continued. Food parcels in the amount of several hundred thousand dollars were also sent to Poland by the Lisbon office.
After the Collapse of France

In May 1940 the Nazi armies invaded Belgium and Holland. All refugees from Germany and Austria who were between

World War U-The First Phase


eighteen and sixty-five years of age were sent west and south to be interned for the duration. Then the French armies were overwhelmed and on June 14 the Nazis entered Paris. Under the armistice with Germany, the larger part of the country fell under Nazi rule. Vichy became the capital of unoccupied France. A mass flight began toward the Spanish border. Joining the French, Belgian, and Dutch refugees were the German Jewish refugees who had even more reason than they to flee the Nazi invaders. The HIAS-ICA office in Paris had closed its doors on June 1 0 , moving to Bordeaux. After a week or so it had to move again. Edouard Oungre, with the remainder of the staff, went to Marseilles, where, owing to the general confusion, they were not able to open an office until October. Meanwhile refugees who were apprehensive of extradition to the Reichas provided by the French-German armistice conventionbegan to cross the Pyrenees into Spain in an effort to reach Lisbon (the only neutral port in western Europe and the gateway to the Western Hemisphere). Alarmed at the influx of refugees, Portugal ordered its consuls in unoccupied France to issue visas only to those people who were already in possession of overseas visas, Spanish transit visas, and prepaid passage from Lisbon to countries of immigration. The situation was complicated by the Vichy Government, which refused exit permits to German Jews. The other route, by boat from Marseilles to North Africa, was also blocked, as the Armistice Control Commission seated in Marseilles demanded embarkation certificates which were practically unobtainable. The only possibility left was to cross the Pyrenees illegally into Spain, an expedient entailing extreme physical hardships and danger of arrest by the French police. Particularly imperiled were the political refugees from the Nazi-dominated countriesparty leaders, writers, artists, and scientists whom the Vichy Government considered likely hostages in its dealings with the Nazis.



In New York, the Jewish Labor Committee (founded in 1 9 3 3 ) , under the leadership of Adolph Held, and the Emergency Rescue Committee (founded in 1 9 4 0 ) , made strong appeals to President Roosevelt on behalf of the political refugees. As a result of the urgent appeals addressed to the President, 2,000 political refugees were granted American visas by the United States consulates in Marseilles and Lisbon. HIAS contributed ten thousand dollars for the rescue of the Jewish intellectuals among the political refugees.
Marseilles and Casablanca

Refugees who managed to reach Lisbon had surmounted one important hurdlethey were in neutral territory. In the fall of 1940, when HIAS-ICA opened its office in Marseilles, there were tens of thousands of people who were literally trapped in Vichy France. A large portion of them had, since July, been herded into concentration camps, the most notorious of which were at Gurs and Vernet. Cut off from the outer world, these people were unable to get in touch with consulates and shipping agencies. HIAS-ICA, however, obtained the transfer into the Marseilles area of those who had some chance to emigrate. Men were sent to a camp at Les Milles near Marseilles, women to the Hotel Bompard in the city. The internees were allowed to get in touch with the various consulates in Marseilles, with the aid of HIAS-ICA employees. Obtaining dollars to pay for steamship tickets was another major problem. French francs were not accepted by most of the steamship companies. To overcome this difficulty, HIASICA concluded an agreement with the Banque de France in February 1941 whereby the bank agreed to accept French currency paid by prospective emigrants to HIAS-ICA for transportation. Against these francs, dollars were released from the bank's blocked dollar account at the Chase National Bank in New York. On the basis of this agreement, the Joint Distribution Committee advanced dollars for the purchase of steamship

World War II-The First Phase


tickets, and was later reimbursed by HIAS-ICA. By July 1943 close to $460,000 had accumulated with the Chase National Bank for this operation. Just before leaving Marseilles for Brive, Vladimir Shah was able to withdraw from the Banque de France eight million French francs (about two hundred thousand dollars) which had been deposited with HIAS-ICA by prospective emigrants. When HIAS-ICA was recognized by the Vichy Government as the sole Jewish emigration agency in unoccupied France, the internment-camp authorities b e c a m e more cooperative. This greatly facilitated emigration proceedings. However, when the United States, on July 1 5 , 1 9 4 1 , closed its consulates in Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Holland, Norway, Denmark, Yugoslavia, Greece, Italy, and occupied France, Vichy thought that the United States would soon bar immigration from Europe altogether, and threatened to remove the twelve hundred internees from Les Milles to more strictly guarded camps. HIASICA succeeded in persuading the authorities that the issuance of American visas to refugees in unoccupied France would not be affected by the closing of the American consulates in the occupied area. At this time the Spanish Government ordered its consuls in unoccupied France to stop issuing transit visas to holders of Portuguese transit visas. This spelled death to the refugees' hopes of getting out of France, and especially to the internees who had no chance to attempt even an illegal crossing into S p a i n . Fortunately, however, HIAS-ICA obtained permission to direct emigrants in transit for overseas countries to French Morocco. A temporary interruption occurred in the summer of 1941 when 1,000 people destined for Martinique, the French island in the Caribbean, were stranded in Casablanca and put in concentration c a m p s . R a p h a e l Spanien, a French citizen who directed the HIAS-ICA office in Casablanca, was able to obtain the release of the internees, who then proceeded on their way.





After the closing of the Paris HIAS-ICA on June 1 0 , 1940, Dr. James Bernstein and Ilja Dijour left for Lisbon, where they opened a HIAS-ICA bureau. Portugal, which since 1933 had generously offered asylum to refugees from Nazi persecution, had a small Jewish community of about 1,000 people, dating from the nineteenth centurythe first such community to be established since the expulsion of the Jews from Portugal in 1497. The largest concentration of Jews was in Lisbon, with smaller groups living in Porto, Faro, and Braganza. A Relief Committee for the German and Polish refugees was set up in Lisbon in 1 9 3 3 . It intervened with the authorities on behalf of the refugees, assisting those wishing to remain in Lisbon and Porto, and helping refugees who had gone to Goa, the tiny Portuguese colony in India, and to Angola, the Portuguese colony in Africa. The Lisbon Committee faced a difficult situation in June 1940, when about 18,000 Jewish refugees from France assembled at the Spanish-Portuguese border, frantically seeking admission. Two leaders of the CommitteeProfessor Moses B. Amzalek and Dr. Augusto d'Essaguysucceeded in obtaining official permission for the refugees to cross the Portuguese border. But this was by no means the end of the rescue action. The Lisbon Committee was evidently not in a position to cope financially with the new situation. However, simultaneously with the flow of refugees from France, the major Jewish organizations, such as HIAS and the Joint Distribution Committee, moved their European headquarters from Paris to Lisbon. With the financial help and know-how of these organizations, the Lisbon Relief Committee was able to handle the refugees who kept coming to the border. Refugees also arrived by boat, down the Tejo River. Most of the refugees arrived without visas, some even without identification papers. A representative was posted at the airports to help those who arrived by plane. Dr. d'Essaguy,

World War II-The First Phase


who visited the United States in May 1 9 4 1 , reported to the HIAS Board of Directors that the Lisbon Committee had helped about 42,000 people in the period between June 1940 and April 1 9 4 1 . One of the most vital services rendered by the Committee was negotiating with the Portuguese Merchant Shipping Board on the organization of passenger traffic to the United States and Brazil. Hardly had the HIAS-ICA established its new office in Lisbon in June 1940, when it was besieged by refugees from France, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Hungary, and Italy. By the end of that year about 1,550 refugees were helped to emigrate overseas. Many more could have been rescued but for the crippling obstacles of mistrust, formalism, and official red tape at the consular offices, at a time when an expired visa could very well spell tragedy. Among the thousands of refugees helped to a safe haven by HIAS-ICA in Lisbon were many well-known figures, Jewish and non-Jewish, in world literature, art, science, politics, and public life. To name a few: Jacques Hadamard, the famous French mathematician; the novelist Lion Feuchtwanger; the family of Thomas Mann; Marc Chagall; and the sculptor Naum Aronson. There was a flurry of excitement and amusement when a man identifying himself as "Herzl" turned up at the Sintra airport near Lisbon. When Dr. d'Essaguy, head of the Lisbon Refugee Relief Committee, hurried to the airport, he found "Herzl" to be none other than Friedrich Adler, the noted Austrian Socialist, in mortal fear of being denied asylum. Alexander I. Konovalov, Russian Minister of the Interior in the cabinet of Prince Lvov ( 1 9 1 7 ) , was also assisted by HIAS-ICA in Lisbon, along with noted leaders of the Mensheviks and the old Socialist Revolutionary movement. The two brilliant Socialist leaders Raphael A. Abramovitch and Samuel Zighelboim ("Arthur") were also among those helped at that time. Zighelboim subsequently committed suicide in London (1943) in despair over the crushing of the Jewish resistance in the Warsaw ghetto and in protest



against the indifference of the democratic world to the Nazis' systematic annihilation of Polish Jewry. Alexander Kerensky paid the following tribute to HIAS-ICA in a letter to Ilja Dijour dated May 8, 1 9 4 2 : "All of you have worked with utter devotion to rescue hundreds and hundreds of innocent victims from the fury of the totalitarian powers, making no distinction of religion, race, or opinion. Thanks to you so many of the best representatives of Russian culture find themselves now under the protection of the American flag. It was a great joy for us, Russians in America, to welcome our friends here." Similar tributes were received from Professor Albert Einstein, Marc Chagall, Naum Aronson, and many other outstanding personalities. Transportation facilities presented a major problem to the voluntary agencies in Lisbon. In the first half of 1 9 4 1 , in addition to the refugees under the care of HIAS-ICA, some 30,000 peoplehomeward-bound Americans and various other travelers passed through Portugal. The ships of the American Export Line were almost wholly pre-empted by American citizens and well-to-do Europeans who had made reservations well ahead of time. Accommodations for refugees were soon virtually unobtainable, the more so as there was a black market in transportation, as much as two hundred dollars being paid above the regular ticket price. Although HIAS-ICA was not in a position to pay such sums, it was nevertheless able to obtain transportation at regular prices for 2,856 people during the first half of

The chartering of ships by the voluntary organizations seemed to be the only solution. This, of course, entailed heavy responsibilities. To operate the ships without financial loss it was necessary to find passengers for the more expensive accommodations and run the boats on schedule. HIAS-ICA made arrangements with the Companhia Nacional de Navegaf ao for several hundred lower-class reservations. On one occasion the Nyassa was sent by HIAS-ICA from Lisbon to Casablanca to pick up 200 ref-

World War II-The First Phase


ugees en route to the United States. On another, H I A S - I C A filled the vacant berths on a ship chartered by the Joint Distribution Committee for the transportation of refugees from Germany and German-occupied territories. All in all, H I A S - I C A was able to send off about 3,530 refugees in the second half of 1 9 4 1 , across the submarine-infested Atlantic. It should be noted that a number of voluntary agencies, such as the Unitarians, the Friends Service Committee (Quakers), the Emergency Rescue Committee, the Jewish Labor Committee, and others availed themselves of HIAS's transportation facilities. Caring for the Refugees in the United States According to official data, the following numbers of Jews immigrated to the United States during the 1939-41 period: 1939 (July 1 to June 30, following year) 1940 ( " " " " " " " ) 1941 ( " " " " " " " )

43,450 36,945 23,945 104,340

The figures for 1936, 1937, and 1938 were 6,252, 1 1 , 3 5 2 , and 19,736, respectively. Needless to say, with the augmentation of immigration after 1939, HIAS's program of aid had to be intensified and expanded. In 1940 and 1941 about 1,500 boats carrying Jewish immigrants were met at the piers by H I A S representatives. Close to 20,000 applications for citizenship papers were processed in those two years. T h e Shelter Department gave a total of 84,000 nights of shelter at its Lafayette Street quarters; an overflow of immigrants were placed in various hotels for an aggregate of 1 1 , 1 0 8 nights. During this period 380,000 meals were served at the Shelter, in addition to the usual services to transients and the unemployed. T h e mounting anxiety of the Jews in the United States about their kin in war-torn Europe found expression in 1941 in 641,655



requests addressed to HIAS for guidance, counsel, and assistance. Sums amounting to $2,152,454 were deposited with HIAS to pay transportation costs for friends and relatives in Europe who were seeking asylum overseas.

The widening scope of its responsibilities in the United States and the increase of its contribution to the HIAS-ICA budget for 1940 plunged the HIAS into financial difficulties. It felt constrained to apply to the United Jewish Appeal for a share in the expected income in 1940. The United Jewish Appeal for Refugees, Overseas Needs and Palestine had been functioning since 1939 as the fund-raising arm of the Joint Distribution Committee, the United Palestine Appeal, and the National Refugee Service. However, the Executive Committee of the United Jewish Appeal did not find it practicable to add another agency to its list of beneficiaries. In a letter to HIAS, dated February 2, 1940, the Committee declared that "this action is, of course, not at any time or ever to be construed as a judgment upon the work and merit of the HIAS whose problems have been most sympathetically considered by all concerned. We take it for granted," the letter went on, "that HIAS will continue in 1940 as in the past to make application to Welfare Funds and individuals and to conduct any form of community collection which it finds advisable." At the annual meeting of March 1 7 , 1940 President Herman proclaimed an appeal for "Rescue through Emigration." A resolution was adopted to raise $1,000,000. The Hon. Mitchell May, a former Supreme Court Justice of New York State, was elected national chairman of the campaign; Joseph Pulvermacher, president of the Sterling National Bank and Trust Company of New York, was elected chairman of the Businessmen's Council to promote the campaign. The goal was not immediately reached, but the society's income rose from $582,747 in 1940 to $747,035 in 1 9 4 1 , and continued to increase in the following years.

World War II-The First Phase


Between July 1940 and December 1941 HIAS and HIAS-ICA facilitated the emigration of about 25,000 people from western Europe and from African and Far Eastern ports. About 10,000 persons required financial assistance, involving a total of $2,049,000. Of this amount, $971,000 was provided by the families of the emigres and deposited with HIAS in New York, or by the refugees' own governments-in-exile. The balance of $1,078,000 was provided by the Refugee Transportation Fund, made up of contributions from the Joint Distribution Committee and HIAS. The Central British Fund and ICA were unable to participate because of wartime restrictions prevailing in their respective countries.

10 ^

World War I I The Second Phase

[ D E C E M B E R 1941 TO N O V E M B E R 1945]

IMMEDIATELY AFTER Pearl Harbor, fears arose that all immigration to the United States might be discontinued for the duration. The American members of the HIAS-ICA office in Lisbon were ordered home. But that same week, on December 1 5 , 1 9 4 1 , transportation of refugees to the United States was resumed in Portuguese ships. The Guine, with a capacity of 200, sailed from Lisbon on December 19 with about 450 German and a few French refugees. Among the passengers were the wife and children of Pierre Mendes-France, later the French Premier, who had been imprisoned by the Vichy Government. On board, too, were Dr. James Bernstein and Ilja Dijour, the director and secretary general of European operations of HIAS-ICA, who were returning to New York to submit their reports to HIAS.

World War II-The Second Phase


The overcrowded boat, traveling via Casablanca, Bermuda, and Havana, took twenty-six days to reach New York. With licenses obtained from the United States Treasury on December 1 5 , 1 9 4 1 for remitting funds to Lisbon, the volunteer agencies were in a position to continue their migrant-aid operations. However, emigration was still hampered by a number of legal and political restrictions. Visa regulations had become more stringent following the entry of the United States into the war. Visa applicants now had to be investigated by an Interdepartmental Advisory Committee headed by a member of the Visa Division of the State Department, which in turn included representatives of the Immigration Service of the Department of Justice and the Office of Naval Intelligence. Such investigations, as a rule, took about six months. Then, too, a great number of Western Hemisphere governments refused to admit, as settlers or transients, natives of Germany or Axis-controlled countries. Ecuador was one of the few Latin American countries which followed a comparatively liberal policy toward Jewish refugees.
HIAS-ICA Incorporated in New York

Early in 1942 the HIAS-ICA Emigration Association, which was a French corporation, was dissolved by a decree of the Vichy Government. The Marseilles branch of HIAS-ICA was then made a department of the Union Generate des Israelites de France (UGIF), and was thus able to go on directing Jewish emigration from the south of France and from Morocco. However, in order to continue the work of assistance to migrants the world over and be able to receive funds from HIAS and other organizations, HIAS-ICA was incorporated under the laws of the state of New York on June 30, 1942. The following were elected as directors: Max Gottschalk, Louis Oungre, Dr. James Bernstein, John L. Bernstein, Abraham Herman, Samuel A. Telsey, and Solomon Dingol. Max Gottschalk became president; John L. Bernstein, chairman of the Administrative Committee;



Louis Oungre, treasurer; and Abraham Herman, secretary. Edouard Oungre and James Bernstein were appointed managing directors, and Ilja Dijour executive secretary. A budget of $159,560 for the European and Latin American operations of the Association was approved for the year 1942. James Bernstein returned to Lisbon to direct European operations in close touch with the Marseilles office. Edouard Oungre moved to Buenos Aires to take charge of immigration to the Latin American countries.
Hectic Days in Vichy France

In the summer of 1942 the German Government demanded that Vichy extradite refugees for deportation to labor camps in Poland. Vichy yielded. At first only those who had arrived in France subsequent to 1936 were declared liable to deportation, but as the quota of deportees demanded by the Nazis was not filled, the French police began to round up people residing in France since 1 9 3 3 ; previously stipulated exemptions, based on advanced age or service in the French army, were canceled. This action was accompanied by an order of the Vichy Foreign Office canceling all exit visas already granted to refugees. Visa applications were now to be made through the Foreign Office instead of the Prefecture of Police. The new regulations applied to Jews from Poland, Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, the Saar, and Danzig, as well as to former Russians holding Nansen passports. A group of 600 people on the point of departing for Portugal was stopped and their visas declared invalid. HIAS-ICA in Marseilles dispatched a delegation to Vichy which consisted of Raphael Spanien and Raymond-Raoul Lambert, the great friend and protector of the refugees, later deported with his family and killed in the Nazi gas chambers. The interview with Pierre Laval, the Premier, was unsuccessful; the order canceling the issued exit visas remained in force and the deportations continued. Laval told the delegation that he

World War II-The Second Phase


had to give in on the deportation of refugees in order to save the French Jews. On September 1 4 , 1942 the following appeal was cabled to Marshal Henri Petain and Pierre Laval by the Union Generate des Israelites de France ( U G I F ) , of which H I C E M - F r a n c e was now a member: Convoys alien Jews deported to occupied territory include children aged two to sixteen years, young girls, women, ailing and dying people. Despite refusal transmitted by telephone Tuesday, September 1, beg you give instructions so that at least parents be allowed to entrust their children to U G I F as mothers anxiously request at moment deportation. Insist aliens having volunteered when France at war not be compelled to burn their military identification tags in order to avoid customary retaliation. Heartbreaking scenes took place. Insist in name Administration Board U G I F all assistance organizations and representatives all creeds with whom our Union is in touch so that all decisions involving such cruel consequences be canceled. This appeal was unavailing. On September 1 8 , 1942, Dr. James Bernstein cabled from Lisbon to H I A S headquarters in New York: Spanien arrived today. Are informed 10,000 to 20,000 Jews foreign origin arrived France since 1933 already deported to East European countries. New measures in preparation concerning unlimited number Jews resident unoccupied France. Call your attention to absolute necessity intervene Washington obtain all facilities concerning USA visas. Our institutions France have avoided until now deportation all holders USA visas but could not protect emigrants who have no visas on their passports. We doubt if we can continue save them. Do utmost accelerate delivery visas and give possibility to avoid deportation unfortunate victims. Suggest commission go to Washington. T h e H I A S - I C A office in Marseilles employed seventy-seven people, under the direction of Vladimir Shah, Raphael Spanien, and Alexander Trocki. As the position of the Jews in Vichy



France deteriorated, twenty-five members of the staff were obliged to leave; they were sent overseas. T h e complete occupation of France by the Germans, early in 1943, disrupted the operations of the Marseilles office. Upon order of the Commissioner for Jewish Affairs of the Vichy Government, it moved to Brive, in the district of Correze. Thirty-six staff members (nonFrench nationals) had to be discharged for their own safety. They were granted a subsistence allowance and scattered about in neighboring places. They managed to escape deportation. Sixteen non-French staff members were allowed to remain on at the office in Brive. Of these, eleven were later deported. As Dr. James Bernstein said in one of his reports, members of the H I A S - I C A staff in France "paid dearly for their devotion." In Brive, Shah was able to maintain contact with refugees in hiding. T h e Brive office helped repatriate 188 Turkish and Rumanian Jews; 568 people were furnished with identity papers which enabled them to escape to Spain and Switzerland. Flight to Switzerland and Spain W i t h the Nazis in control of the Vichy zone, Switzerland and Spain were the only remaining adjacent neutral countries to which the Jews of France could flee. At first the Swiss frontier guards drove the refugees back, but under pressure of public opinion of all political shades, the Swiss Government adopted a more lenient policy, with the result that by the end of 1943 Switzerland was offering sanctuary to more than 60,000 refugees of whom about one third were Jews. In 1944 the figure rose to about 100,000 of whom one third were children. About 25,000 of the 100,000 were Jews, outnumbering the normal Jewish population of 18,000. T h e Swiss authorities placed the refugees in camps and housing centers throughout the country. Labor services were required of all able-bodied persons between sixteen and sixty. It may be noted that during the war Swiss citizens, too, performed labor services for the state. Life in the camps, of course, bore no comparison to that in the concentration

World War II-The Second Phase


camps of the totalitarian countries. Hygienic conditions were excellent. T h e refugees were insured against sickness and accident. As a rule, families were kept together. Leaves of absence from one week to a month were granted after 90 to 270 days of work. T h e refugees spent their leaves in the hostels of the American Friends Service Committee. T h e Union of Swiss Jewish Welfare Societies ( I S R A V ) in Zurich shared the costs of the relief work with the Joint Distribution Committee. Children were taken care of by the O S E under the direction of Dr. Boris Tschlenoff of Geneva. H I A S in New York publicized the lists of refugees (altogether 12,000 names) in the American press to contact relatives. T h e net result was that fifteen to thirty thousand dollars monthly were transferred to the refugees in Switzerland through H I A S . H I A S - I C A in Lisbon, in cooperation with I S R A V in Zurich, carried out a preliminary registration of applicants for emigration to the United States and other countries in the Western Hemisphere. In contrast to the generous and intelligently administered assistance provided in Switzerland, the refugees found only difficulties and harassment in Spain. Smugglers who led them across the Pyrenees for exorbitant fees left them in Spain instead of taking them on to the Portuguese frontier as had been agreed. In Spain they were arrested and imprisoned, or sent to concentration camps; all their belongings were confiscated. About 5,000 people reportedly reached Spain in the winter period of 1942-43; 2,000 managed to get to Portugal, while the remaining 3,000 were detained, most of them in the camp at Miranda, near Madrid. T h e Lisbon H I A S - I C A office sent Dr. Samuel Sequerra, a Portuguese Jew, together with a non-Jewish Portuguese attorney, to Madrid to plead with the Spanish authorities, but nothing came of it. T h e situation in the camps improved only when representatives of the Allied governments intervened. Thereafter visitors were admitted to the camps under certain conditions. T h e Miranda camp was gradually evacuated when the consuls of the respective nationals guaranteed maintenance



of the refugees outside the camp. T h e Joint Distribution C o m mittee stood as guarantor for the "stateless" Jews and those of undetermined nationality, upon HIAS-ICA's confirmation that overseas transportation was available. T h e Jewish agencies, it will be recalled, were not permitted to function in Spain. Contact with the refugees was maintained through the Lisbon office. Abraham Amram, a Portuguese Jew, had been specially trained by the office for the work in Spain, and he arranged the emigration of a number of groups to Palestine. By 1944 the refugee problem in Spain was virtually solved. H I A S - I C A was now granted official permission to maintain an office in Madrid, with a branch in Barcelona. It functioned as a section of the Office of the Representation of American Relief Organizations stationed in Spain. H I A S - I C A assisted 1,485 refugees in Spain; of these, 800 Jews of French and other nationalities were brought to North Africa; 450 Spanish and Greek Jews were transferred to C a m p Lyautey in Fedalah, also in North Africa; the remainder were sent to Portugal. Thus the notorious camp of Miranda was finally vacated. T h e Casablanca committee of H I A S - I C A effected the ultimate repatriation of the people from the Lyautey camp back to France. The Situation in Lisbon T h e flood of refugees to Lisbon in 1940 and 1941 began to ebb in 1942. In that year H I A S - I C A arranged for the emigration of about 5,000 people. In the first quarter of 1943 only 2 1 3 people could be sent off. This sharp decline was due to the fact that refugees were arriving illegally in Portugal at that time, and possessed none of the required documents for emigration. Then, too, the visa procedure in the United States had become much more complicated. A group of about 500 people who were unable to leave Portugal lived in forced residence at two health resorts, enjoying, however, permission to visit Lisbon. T h e Lisbon office, the most important H I A S - I C A office in Europe at

World War II-The Second Phase from Europe and the United States. Latin America


the time, had a staff of twenty-four social workers recruited

W i t h Soviet Russia, the United States, and Japan all involved in the war by the end of 1 9 4 1 , emigration possibilities shrank alarmingly. T h e United States admitted 10,608 Jewish immigrants from July 1941 to June 30, 1942 as against 23,737 during the previous twelvemonth. Immigration to Canada and the Latin American countries also declined after 1942. In that year H I A S - I C A committees still gave assistance to 2,500 new immigrants in South America and 2,200 in Central America. Thanks to the close cooperation of the committees in these countries, deportations were avoided. Immigrants denied admittance to Brazil could be directed to Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, or Uruguay. However, with the entry of the United States into the war, a new difficulty arose. Virtually all the Latin American republics severed diplomatic relations with the Axis Powers and lumped refugees together with enemy aliens. T h e effect of this in Cuba, for instance, was the internment in the Tiscornia camp of a group of former nationals of Axis countries en route to Latin America. Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, and Paraguay barred the entry of refugees from Axis countries on the basis of a "dormant convention" denying admittance to persons without passports certified by the authorities of their countries of originwhich, of course, most of the refugees could not produce. Panama, Colombia, and other Latin American republics, followed the same policy. H I A S - I C A representatives intervened with the various Latin American governments, pointing out the difference between an enemy alien and a refugee seeking asylum from persecution in his native land. In a number of cases they were successful. Because of the closing of the Panama Canal to civilian traffic during the war, immigration to the west coast of South America was possible only through Venezuela. T h e H I A S - I C A repre-



sentative in Caracas, the engineer Lazaro Zelwer, succeeded in obtaining from the Venezuelan authorities transit visas for Jewish refugees, and H I A S and the Joint Distribution C o m mittee provided the necessary transportation funds. Early in 1943 the Polish Government-in-exile arranged with the Mexican Government to bring over several thousand Polish refugees from Iran. In the first party of 700 there were 26 Jews, who were looked after by the Mexican H I A S - I C A branch. T h e occasion was used to enlist the cooperation of the Polish E m bassy in Washington to obtain the entry into Mexico of five hundred Polish Jews who were then in Spain and Portugal. During this period small groups of refugees entered Honduras, El Salvador, Haiti, and Santo Domingo. It will be remembered that at the Evian Conference in July 1938 the Dominican Republic had declared its readiness to admit refugees from Germany and Austria as agricultural settlers. Early in 1940 the Dominican Republic Settlement Association of New York concluded an agreement with the Dominican Government for the settlement of 500 Jewish families in Sosua, in the northern part of the island. T h e first settlers arrived in May 1940; more came in 1 9 4 1 . Solomon Trone, a noted engineer, was sent to Lisbon to enlist refugees willing and able to engage in agriculture in the Sosua settlement. About a hundred young men were chosen and H I A S - I C A paid for their transportation to Santo Domingo. T h e island of Jamaica, in the Caribbean, with a Jewish community dating back to the seventeenth century, received two groups of several hundred Polish Jewish refugees from Lisbon in 1942. T h e British Government granted them temporary asylum in the colony, where they were kept in the so-called Gibraltar C a m p 2, near Kingston. H I A S - I C A paid for their transportation, and one of its Lisbon officials accompanied the refugees to Jamaica. By June 1944 about a hundred left the island for various destinations, helped financially and technically by H I A S .

World War II-The Second Phase Attempts to Save Children


In 1940 Mrs. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Marshall Field, Clarence E. Pickett, and others founded the United States Committee for the Care of European Children, to provide asylum "for children who desire or are required to depart from European countries, or whose parents or their relatives desire them to depart from such countries because of war, political or social conditions." In August 1942 the grim news came from Vichy France that alien Jews were being deported. Alarmed particularly over the fate of the children, the United States Committee for the Care of European Children, the American Friends Service Committee, and the President's Advisory Committee on Political Refugees appealed to the State Department for action. After several weeks of negotiations, the State Department agreed to admit 5,000 refugee children into the United States by a special emergency arrangement. T h e United States Committee for the Care of European Children sought to bring over 1,000 children without delay, establishing a four hundred thousand dollar budget for transportation, voluntary escort, and medical supplies. H I A S set aside fifty thousand dollars for this project. Representatives of the American Friends Service Committee, in cooperation with H I A S - I C A in Marseilles, had already selected the children in France and made arrangements for their departure when word came that Vichy would permit only 500 children to leave. On November 7, 1942 a Portuguese boat left Baltimore for France, with a contingent of doctors, nurses, and child experts aboard. One hour after the boat had left, word was received in this country that Laval, the Premier of Vichy France (now occupied by German troops), refused to grant exit permits for the 500 children. However, H I A S - I C A headquarters in New York refused to give up hope. T h e State Department action in granting permission to bring 5,000 children to the United States was an example



which, it was hoped, other countries would emulate. Then, too, Vichy might reverse its decision. Edouard Oungre, director of H I A S - I C A work in South America, was instructed to make similar applications to the governments of Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Ecuador, and Mexico, to offer asylum to children. As a result, Argentina agreed to admit 1,000 children; Brazil, 500; Ecuador, 500; Uruguay, 500; and Mexico, 100HIAS-ICA guaranteeing maintenance. In Ecuador H I A S - I C A deposited with the State Bank a sum of $180,000 for the maintenance of 500 children, at the rate of $ 1 5 per month for each child, over a period of two years. H I A S had voted an appropriation of $100,000 for the Latin American child project. But hopes for saving the children proved vain. T h e Vichy Government remained adamant in its refusal to grant exit permits for the children, and most of them subsequently perished in the holocaust. Bermuda Conference

In January 1943 the British Government, yielding to public opinion, approached the United States with a suggestion "that the problem of refugees from Nazi-occupied territory should be dealt with internationally instead of as hitherto by private charity or by individual governments in isolation." In its reply of February 23, the State Department proposed that representatives of both governments meet for an informal discussion in Ottawa, Canada. After preliminary talks, it was decided to arrange an Anglo-American Refugee Conference in Bermuda. T h e Conference took place April 10 to 30, 1943. T h e Jewish voluntary organizations submitted a number of proposals to the Conference: they suggested that negotiations be undertaken with the Axis Powers for the release of the Jews; those liberated should be granted temporary asylum and maintenance; the W h i t e Paper restricting immigration to Palestine should be abrogated; stateless refugees should be provided with

World War II-The Second Phase


identity papers similar to the Nansen passports established for refugees from Soviet Russia after World W a r I. T h e recommendations of the Bermuda Conference, whose deliberations were conducted in secrecy, became known only in November 1943. They included proposals to revise the mandate of the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees, set up after the Evian Conference in 1938, and to enlarge its membership. Refugee children were to be taken out of France. Refugees who had managed to escape to neutral countriesSwitzerland, Spain, and Turkeywere to be assisted financially. Patrick Malin, a Philadelphia Quaker, was appointed assistant to the director of the Intergovernmental Committee. Needless to say, the voluntary organizations, which bore the heavy load of refugee aid, were bitterly disappointed over the results of the Bermuda Conference. Public opinion was aroused, particularly when Assistant Secretary of State Breckenridge Long, in his report on the Bermuda Conference before the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives (November 23, 1 9 4 3 ) , made the exaggerated claim that about 580,000 refugees had been admitted to the United States between 1933 and 1942. Attorney General Francis Biddle, in an address delivered at the annual convention of H I A S on March 5, 1944, gave the number of aliens admitted to the United States during the period in question as 279,071. Mr. Long's statement did great damage to the cause of the Nazi victims. Confused by the official data, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs hesitated to approve the resolutions introduced by Will Rogers, Jr. and Joseph C. Baldwin "providing for the establishment by the Executive of a Commission to effectuate the rescue of the Jewish people from Europe." T h e Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees, though continued and enlarged by the Bermuda Conference, achieved very little. T h e hope of dealing with the refugee problem at an international level remained a pious wish; the voluntary organi-



zations went on doing their work as before. Fortunately, at this juncture, another neutral country, Sweden, like Switzerland before it, came to the rescue of the refugees. Sweden's Generosity

Early in October 1943 about 1,000 Jews and a small number of non-Jews were rounded up in the Nazi-occupied part of Denmark, put aboard two steamers, and sent off to perform hard labor in Gdynia, Poland. Warned by this, about 8,000 p e o p l e mostly Jewsfled on the night before the total occupation of the country by German troops and, with the assistance of Danish friends, crossed the Sund into Sweden. T h e Swedish Government agreed to care for the refugees, refusing the financial aid offered by the United States and asserting that it considered it its duty to look after people from the Scandinavian countries. From Norway alone there came 30,000 people, 700 of whom were Jews. In addition, Sweden was then harboring about 3,000 Jewish refugees from Germany, Austria, and Finland. T h e small Swedish Jewish community, numbering about 7,000 before World W a r II, helped by setting up a children's home, kosher kitchens, and agricultural training centers for halutzim; it spent approximately $125,000 in 1943 for its relief projects. The community also sent funds to the H I A S - I C A committee in Shanghai to help support a loan bank for refugee artisans and mechanics. H I A S in New York, true to its tradition of lending a helping hand in every emergency, assisted the Jewish communities in Stockholm and Goteborg morally as well as financially. Attorney General Francis Biddle, in his address before the H I A S convention of March 5, 1944, held Sweden up as an example of generosity and fellow feeling: There are other countries, smaller but not less civilized than ours, which have responded far more generously. From 1939 to last November, the Swedish nation admitted 41,000 refugees, of whom 12,000 were children under sixteen, and of whom approximately one third were Jews. Had we furnished refuge on a

World War IIThe Second Phase


similar scale and in the same proportion to our population, 850,000 refugees would have come to the United States since 1939 alone. Canada Reconsiders

Upon the prompting of the Canadian Jewish Congress, the Canadian Government agreed, in November 1943, to admit [ewish refugees stranded in Spain and Portugal. At the request }f the Immigration Department in Ottawa, no publicity was iven to the matter in the initial stage of the negotiations. HIAS-ICA in Lisbon was to select 350 families from among the refugees in the two countries in question. Transportation costs were to be paid by the Refugee Transportation Fund, to which HIAS was contributing. T h e work of selection began in January 1944, in close cooperation with the Senior Canadian Immigration Officer in Spain and Portugal, Charles Cormier, whose knowledge of Jewish immigration to Canada went back to 1 9 2 1 , when he had cooperated with H I A S and I C A in Rumania. A group of 250 families selected by Raphael Spanien in Spain and about 90 chosen in Portugal sailed for Philadelphia on January 28 on the Serpa Pinto. Pier service in Philadelphia and arrangements with the immigration authorities and the railroads were handled by H I A S . Bernard Kornblith, in charge of the H I A S pier service in New York, and Murray LeVine, executive director of the Philadelphia office, accompanied the contingent of 340 families to Montreal and Toronto. The War Refugee Board

T h e systematic extermination of Jews in gas chambers was begun by the Nazis early in 1942. Washington and London learned about the atrocities early in the summer of that year. Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr. noted in his diary (published in Collier's, November 1947) that nothing had been done by the State Department "for nearly eighteen months after the first report of the Nazi horror plan arrived." As more



and more became known about the mass killings, public opinion in America and other democratic countries began to demand action. President Roosevelt, by an Executive Order of January 22, 1944, set up the W a r Refugee Board. It was composed of the Secretaries of State, W a r , and Treasury. Its objective was "the development of plans and programs and the inauguration of effective measures for the rescue, transportation and maintenance and relief of the victims of enemy oppression, and the establishment of temporary refuge for such victims." According to the Executive Order, the W a r Refugee Board as well as the State, Treasury, and W a r Departments were authorized "to accept the services or contributions of any private persons, private organizations, state agencies, or agencies of foreign governments in carrying out the purpose of this order." John W. Pehle of the Treasury Department was appointed executive director of the W a r Refugee Board. T h e Presidential Order was acclaimed in many quarters. H I A S was the first voluntary agency in the United States to respond to the appeal; it appropriated a hundred thousand dollars for the work of the W a r Refugee Board. Abraham Herman, president of H I A S , in his forwarding letter to President Roosevelt, placed all the facilities and personnel of H I A S at home and abroad at the disposal of the W a r Refugee Board. On February 10, upon the request of the W a r Refugee Board, H I A S submitted a memorandum containing concrete suggestions for the rescue of Nazi victims from enemy-occupied territory and their transfer to neutral countries in Europe and the Near East. H I A S pointed out that the rescue of children and aged persons should be given priority and that temporary havens should be prepared in Spain, Portugal, and North Africa. T h e H I A S representatives, Dr. James Bernstein, David J. Schweitzer, Raphael Spanien, and S. Bertrand Jacobson were advised by John W. Pehle to keep in touch with the special envoys of the W a r Refugee Board in Europe and the Near East. O n e special envoy was Ira A. Hirschman, in private life a

World War IIThe Second Phase


department-store executive, who was closely connected with the American Jewish Congress and the United Jewish Appeal. Hirschman was stationed in Istanbul and was active in rescuing Jews from Rumania. He later described his experiences in his book Life Line to a Promised Land. Cooperation between H I A S - I C A and the other voluntary agencies developed rapidly. But unfortunately the W a r Refugee Board had begun to function too late. In spite of the devotion and skill displayed by the emissaries of the Board, the results were tragically meager because of the lateness of the hour. Most of the Jews in Europe had by this time been exterminated. Early in 1944, the American Council of Voluntary Agencies for Foreign Service was established. H I A S was one of the founders, and in June of that year H I A S - I C A joined the Council. T h e Council set up special committees to plan and coordinate the work which was to begin after hostilities had ceased. Free Ports for Refugees

W i t h the occupation of Hungary on March 1 9 , 1944, the 800,000 Jews of that country were delivered up to Nazi fury. T h e infamous Nazi leader Adolph Eichmann arrived in Budapest to organize the slave-labor conscription, deportation to Poland, and extermination of the Hungarian Jews. Neutral countries sought to intervene and a new wave of protests arose in the United States. In April 1944 a group of seventy-two state governors and other public officials, scholars, educators, writers, labor leaders, and businessmen, headed by former New York Governor Alfred E. Smith, sent a petition to President Roosevelt calling for the establishment "in this country of temporary havens of refuge." H I A S issued a pamphlet called Free Ports for Refugees, A Proposal and Its Advocates, which was a compilation of statements by public men and press editorials on the subject. In his message to Congress, President Roosevelt announced that a temporary haven would be established in Fort Ontario, near Oswego, New



York, for 1,000 refugees who had escaped to southern Italy. T h e H I A S - I C A Committee in Italy arranged their sailing. A group of 919 Jews and 65 non-Jews arrived in Fort Ontario in August 1944. In the group were 164 children, 12 of them infants. T h e United States Government made provisions for their accommodation and maintenance. HIAS, in conjunction with the National Council of Jewish W o m e n and the National Refugee Service, contributed funds for clothing and other needs. T h e funds were disbursed through the Coordinating Committee for Fort Ontario, which consisted of representatives of the nearby cities of Oswego, Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, and Utica. T h e Committee employed a social worker to serve as liaison with the camp authorities, his salary being paid by H I A S , the National Council of Jewish W o m e n , and the National Refugee Service. H I A S set up and maintained a kosher kitchen for the refugees. It also contributed funds for education, recreation, and the celebration of Jewish holidays. T h e camp chapel was used by Jews, Catholics, and Protestants; the stricter, Orthodox Jewish group of about two hundred had a separate building for religious services. T h e ultimate fate of the Oswego refugees was uncertain. Some Congressional circles demanded their deportation after the end of hostilities. In a memorandum to the Department of the Interior, to which the W a r Relocation Authority administering C a m p Oswego was subordinated, H I A S pointed out that such an action would visit untold hardships on homeless people. Representations were also made to various congressmen and senators. T h e problem was solved by a Directive of President Harry S. Truman on December 22, 1945, which permitted the Oswego inmates, after pre-examination, to make a voluntary formal departure to Canada and re-enter the United States with full immigration status. H I A S helped the refugees with railroad tickets to Canada and back, with securing the necessary papers, and in contacting relatives. Those without kin in the United States were placed in the H I A S Shelter in New York. By January



Paris to consult the H I A S - I C A office on emigration matters. To meet this situation, branch offices were set up in Nice, Marseilles, Montauban, Montpellier, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Limoges, and Lyons. In November, when it was learned that about 5,000 refugees were stranded in the liberated part of Italy, H I A S - I C A delegated Raphael Spanien to establish emigration offices in Rome, Naples, and Bari. Through the courtesy of Robert D. Murphy, the American diplomatic representative to the provisional government of General Charles de Gaulle, Spanien was provided with a visa for Italy by the State Department in Washington. With the liberation of northern Italy late in 1944, offices were also set up in Milan and other points. Work in Rumania was resumed in September 1944, shortly after the armistice between Russia and Rumania. Dr. Mauriciu Singher took charge of the Bucharest H I A S - I C A office; the former director, Lazar Grousman, had been killed, together with his family, on their way to the Transnistria concentration camp. S. Bertrand Jacobson, H I A S - I C A representative in the Near East, was transferred from Istanbul to Bucharest. This was early in 1945, when no United States consulate had yet been established in Bucharest. T h e Bucharest H I A S - I C A officethe only foreign Jewish organization in Rumania in 1945began by registering Jewish survivors and relaying messages to them from their relatives in the United States. These messages were conveyed by diplomatic pouch through Washington, as no postal facilities were available at the time. At the suggestion of H I A S - I C A in Bucharest, H I A S applied to the Department of the Treasury for a license to transmit money from the United States to Jews in Rumania. T h e license was granted. During 1946 the H I A S Immigrant Bank transmitted a total of $1,689,767 to the Bucharest office for delivery to Rumanian relatives of Jews residing in the United States. The Bucharest H I A S - I C A office was active throughout the

World War IIThe Second Phase


Balkans and in Hungary, where 180,000 Jews had survived the holocaust and were anxious to leave the scene of their agony as fast as possible. Later an office was set up in Budapest. In the winter of 1944 an office, under the direction of David J. Schweitzer, was set up in Istanbul, since Turkey was the chief transit country for emigration from the Balkan countries. T h e Istanbul office played a leading role in arranging migration to Palestine. It also helped to repatriate a number of western European Jews who were stranded in Turkey. T h e American Ambassador in Ankara, Laurence A. Steinhardt, was of great assistance to H I A S , the Joint Distribution Committee, and other agencies engaged in emigration and relief work. In 1945 H I A S - I C A offices were re-established in Belgium, Holland, Sweden, and Switzerland. An office was reopened in London, where a considerable number of refugees had found sanctuary. London was also important as the seat of the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees, the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration ( U N R R A ) , and the Polish and Czechoslovakian governments-in-exile. Work in Latin America While re-establishing its network of committees in Europe during the last twelve months of the war, H I A S - I C A was expanding its work in Latin America. To be sure, during 1943 and 1944 only a trickle of immigrants reached Latin America. Nevertheless, five new branches were set up in the interior of Argentina. H I A S - I C A branches or correspondents were established in many Jewish communities in the southern part of Chile and in the Colombian cities of Cali, Barranquilla, and Medellin. Only by patient work on the spot was it possible to persuade the governments to liberalize their immigration policies. T h e effects of the anti-Semitic propaganda carried on by Nazi emissaries had to be counteracted. Many of the refugees were in need of legal aid; a great number of them had arrived as tourists, or even illegally, and now found themselves in trouble with the



authorities. There were also the countless cases of refugees for whom salvation depended on getting transit visas for Colombia, Argentina, Uruguay, or Venezuela, and this involved legal technicalities with which the average person despaired of coping. Of all the Latin American countries, Ecuador pursued the most liberal policy toward Jewish immigrants. W h e n the new President, Dr. Jose Maria Velasco Ibarra, was elected, fears were expressed about his attitude toward Jewish immigration. Oscar Rocca, H I A S - I C A representative in Ecuador, had an audience with the President on July 1 1 , 1944. In the presence of the Jewish delegation and the Chief of Police, Dr. Ibarra made a statement from which the following is an excerpt: You know that nowadays the world is shaken by one of the crudest wars of all times. The first victims of the war were the Jews. They were robbed, murdered, or banished from their native countries without any motive or reason . . . Jewish people have done wonders in their country Palestine. They have built up towns and transformed desert lands into flourishing colonies, but unfortunately, the Arabs did not leave them alone in their own country. Boats arrived there and were forced to go back to the place where they came from . . . Many of the Jews also came to Ecuador. We Christians of America have a great obligation towards these people, because we are not without guilt. This guilt consists above all in the fact that we have seen the treatment the Jewish people suffered in Germany, without doing anything for them. Latin American Jewry Contributes

H I A S and H I A S - I C A were extremely popular with Latin American Jewry, most of whose members recalled the financial and technical aid which they themselves had recently received from these organizations. Many individuals gratefully reimbursed H I A S - I C A for the money laid out for them when they were in need. This was particularly the case in Chile, where Dr. M. Reinberg of the Santiago office issued an appeal for funds. A new problem had arisen in the early years of the war when

World War IIThe Second Phase


I C A was unable to spend funds outside the sterling area. Edouard Oungre, H I A S - I C A director in charge of projects in South America, took the initiative, and in the summer of 1944 suggested that H I A S and H I A S - I C A conduct a fund-raising campaign in Latin America. In 1945 H I A S set up a Latin American Committee; and Dr. Henry Shoshkes, formerly general manager of the Jewish Central Cooperative Bank in Warsaw, was appointed H I A S field representative for Latin America. He played a large part in strengthening the ties between H I A S and the Jewish communities of this area. HIAS's president, Abraham Herman, in his message to the annual convention on March 1 0 , 1946, said, "I am sure you will be interested to learn that our South American brethren who were so long the recipients of assistance from our shore have reached the point where they feel they can in turn render assistance to their fellow Jews. A number of Latin American communities made H I A S one of the objects of their bounty during the past year, contributing substantial amounts, and more have promised to give H I A S financial support, either by special drives or by allocations from their community chests." Shanghai under Japanese Rule T h e work of the Shanghai office of H I A S - I C A continued at an accelerated tempo after Pearl Harbor. In 1943 more than 25,000 inquiries concerning the whereabouts of refugees were acted on by the Shanghai office, with the cooperation of the International Red Cross and various Jewish communities and individuals in the Far East. More than 7,000 broken families were reunited and the whereabouts of 9,625 refugees in the Far East determined, thanks to this service. After the removal of most of the refugees from Shanghai to its suburb Hongkew, on order of the Japanese authorities the committee carried out a registration of 6,719 families. T h e committee handled remittances arriving for the refugees from Zurich, Stockholm, and Goteborg, as well as for the Interna-



tional R e d Cross. T h e Japanese closely watched this flow of foreign money, suspecting that it might be coming from the United States. T h e head of the Shanghai office, Meyer Birman, was arrested several times and interrogated by the Japanese police, but no illegal transactions were discovered. When military operations ended, the Shanghai committee established an extensive mail service. T h e American G o o d Will Mission, which arrived in Shanghai in August 1945, helped send along 6,000 letters and left their special stamp in the committee's trust. In the fall of 1945 H I A S obtained a license from the United States Treasury Department to forward funds from American Jews to their kin in Shanghai. T h e Shanghai committee was able to re-establish regular communication between European communities and those of the Far East and the Pacific, particularly Australia, with a view to obtaining entry permits for refugees anxious to leave Shanghai. Migration Training Courses

Early in 1944, H I A S organized a training course in New York to prepare social workers for postwar migration work in Europe. T h e New School for Social Research, headed by Dr. Alvin S. Johnson, included the course in its curriculum. One hundred and forty-one students registered for the course; seventy of them were employed by twenty Jewish and non-Jewish social agencies. T h e three months' course was conducted by such experts in the fields of relief work, demography, migration, modern Jewish history, and settlement as Professor Salo W. Baron of Columbia University, Earl G. Harrison (United States Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization), Pierre Waelbroeck (assistant director of the International Labor Office), and staff members of H I A S , H I A S - I C A , the Joint Distribution Committee, the Jewish Colonization Association, the Zionist Organization, and the former Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden. A number of the students later served in the U N R R A , the

W o r l d W a r IIThe Second Phase


International Refugee Office ( I R O ) , the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration ( I C E M ) , and other intergovernmental and international committees, as well as in the Jewish voluntary agencies. A L o n g Partnership Amicably Dissolved In August 1945 it became clear that there would have to be a revision of the basis on which H I A S and I C A had been cooperating. Abraham Herman and Isaac L. Asofsky, as president and executive director of H I A S were delegated to represent the organization in the negotiations with I C A in London in October of that year. They were joined by Murray I. Gurfein, Dr. James Bernstein, and Ilja M. Dijour of the H I A S and Max Gottschalk, Louis and Edouard Oungre of I C A . T h e I C A representatives stated that, in view of the extreme difficulties of disposing of their funds in nonsterling areas and the substantial decrease in those funds, I C A was unable to continue to play its part in the association with H I A S . However, it pledged its cooperation in every other way and was prepared to consider giving financial support to H I A S operations in sterling areas. In view of this, the final H I A S - I C A Board meeting in London, under the chairmanship of Max Gottschalk, decided to dissolve the association and transfer all its existing funds and assets to H I A S , and instruct its branches everywhere to do the same. At a meeting on November 1 3 , 1945 the Board of Directors of H I A S in New York ratified the decision to dissolve the H I A S - I C A Emigration Association and to authorize its directors, Dr. James Bernstein and Edouard Oungre, to take all legal steps necessary to carry out this resolution. T h e central office of H I A S in Europe was to continue in Paris. H I A S then disposed of all the assets and liabilities of the disbanded H I A S I C A , and all its committees became affiliates of H I A S in New York.



United States Operations in Wartime Upon the order of the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service of November 8, 1943 the term "Hebrew" was deleted from all forms, questionnaires, and ship manifests used in classifying immigrants. Technically this meant that from then on no accurate Jewish immigration figures would be available. T h e figure 4,705 for Jewish entries into the United States between July 1942 and June 1943 was still based on official records; the figure 18,000 for the July 1943-December 1945 period was an estimate. In other words, it is roughly estimated that from the middle of 1942 to the end of 1945 somewhat over 22,000 Jews immigrated to the United States. In the period 1943-45 ^ H I A S pier service met 778 ships, trains, and airplanes. Immigrants not immediately admitted into the New York port were brought to Ellis Island, as had been done before the war, where they were taken in hand by the H I A S bureau, headed by William M. Neubau. A kosher kitchen, religious services, and Yiddish newspapers were provided for the newcomers, as in peacetime. In 1942 the Immigration and Naturalization Service of the Department of Justice was transferred from Washington to Philadelphia. H I A S , accordingly, expanded its office in Philadelphia, which functioned under the general supervision of the executive director of the H I A S branch in that city, Murray LeVine. Abraham Rockmore was appointed legal advisor; somewhat later he was put in charge of the Washington legal office, when Louis E. Spiegler resigned.

Early in 1943 H I A S began a registration in the United States and other Western Hemisphere countries of those who wished to locate persons abroad. Thousands of such inquiries were registered during the first few days. Other agencies began to follow suit. In order to coordinate the search, the Central Location Index was set up in New York in 1944, consisting of the following agencies:

World War IIThe Second Phase


American Christian Committee for Refugees (later the Church World Service) American Committee of International Institutes American Friends Service Committee American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee Canadian Location Service Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid SocietyHIAS International Migration Service (later the International Service) International Rescue and Relief Committee National Council of Jewish Women National Refugee Service ( N R S ) Unitarian Service Committee T h e contribution of each to the Central Location Index was predicated on the size of the organization. Almost 60 per cent of all inquiries addressed to the Central Location Index were filed with H I A S . As has already been mentioned, with the liberation of Nazioccupied areas, requests for funds, food, and clothing increased. H I A S had obtained licenses for the transmission of American funds to refugees in Switzerland and Shanghai and to the Jews in Rumania. Food and clothing parcels were forwarded to Belgium, France, Holland, Rumania, the Soviet Union, and Poland. T h e H I A S Employment Bureau was particularly active in wartime, making the additional immigrant manpower available to the war effort. In 1943, 1,365 immigrants were placed in jobs in New York alone, a very considerable figure when compared with the total Jewish immigration for that year (4,705). Since the 1920s H I A S had two representatives (Solomon Dingol and Benjamin G. Weinberg) in the Jewish Occupational Council, a national agency for vocational guidance with headquarters in New York, and made annual contributions to its budget. In 1942 H I A S prepared a survey of its work for the years 1 9 4 0 - 4 1 , a period of expanding wartime programs and increasing financial responsibilities. T h e survey was compiled by Dr. Frederick Grubel and Albert J. Phiebig, under the supervision



of Elisha M. Friedman, consulting economist and author, and Theodor Lang, associate professor of accounting at New York University. In August 1944 the New York State Department of Social Welfare, after an inspection of the H I A S building and a study of its current work, made a number of suggestions for improvements. H I A S agreed to engage a qualified social worker to assume over-all responsibility for case-work service, and to keep more adequate social case records. However, it declined to change its interviewing procedure for persons applying for shelter and food by introducing a number of personal questions. John L. Bernstein, a past president of H I A S , then chairman of the H I A S Committee on Overseas Work, had touched upon this matter a few months earlier in a lecture delivered at the training course on migration problems. "We do not demand," he said, "a curriculum vitae of any man who asks for shelter. We are not interested in his father's name or in his mother's name or his grandfather's name, or his business. We know if he had the money to pay for a night's lodging and for a meal he would not come to us. Many of the peopleand I am not talking about immigrantswho come and are registered do not like the idea of having a record that they had to apply to a charitable institution for a night's lodging or a meal. So we dispense with the procedure of identification. We appreciate that this is unscientific, unprofessional, and does not conform with the best social-service practice, but we find that it is of benefit to those who need our help. And we are willing to deviate from the strict rules of social-service practice in order to do what is best for the people who need our help." Financial Consolidation

T h e growing needs of migrant aid through the years of global war, and the generous response of American Jewry to the appeals of H I A S , are clearly illustrated in the following table of income and expenditures for the period 1942-45:

World War IIThe Second Phase



1942 1943 1944 1945

820,785 971,241 1,250,726 1,481,432

838,150 990,253 1,223,970 1,490,110

Since it did not participate in the United Jewish Appeal, H I A S relied for funds on individual membership dues, contributions from Federations and Welfare Funds outside of New York, bequests, contributions from various organizations, and on its auxiliariesthe H I A S Council of Organizations, Women's Division and the Women's Council of H I A S . T h e Federations and Welfare Funds gave increasingly larger annual allotments. In 1945 alone they allocated $402,225 to H I A S , as against $293,550 in the previous year. T h e executive director, Isaac L. Asofsky, and the well-known Yiddish writer David Ignatoff, then head of the Fund Raising Department, were largely responsible for the steady growth of HIAS's income during the war period. Support was also forthcoming from the European Friends of H I A S , a new group set up in New York in 1943. Its honorary chairman was Baron Robert de Rothschild, indefatigable friend and protector of the refugees, who did so much for them in France in the period 1933-40 and had, himself, to flee his country; Baron Pierre de Guinsburg, another outstanding philanthropist, was chairman; and Henri Torres, the famous French attorney, was associate chairman. Changes in Leadership

During the war years H I A S lost the following directors: Adolf Rosenblatt, vice-president of H I A S and chairman of its Building Fund Committee in 1920 (died 1 9 4 4 ) ; Reverend Zevi Hirsch Masliansky, a founding member (died 1 9 4 2 ) ; Morris Feinstone, labor leader and chairman of the H I A S Council of Organizations (died 1 9 4 3 ) ; Nathan Schoenfeld, associate treasurer for a number of years (died 1 9 4 5 ) ; Bernard Shelvin, Yiddish journalist and one of the pioneer directors of H I A S (died



1941); Harry Epstein (died 1940); and Alexander L. Shluger, a devoted member of the H I A S staff since World W a r I (died

New members were added to the Board of Directors: Jonah J. Goldstein, Judge of the Court of General Sessions and a popular New York communal leader; Maurice Canter; Harry J. Liebovitz; A. L. Malkenson, publisher of the Jewish Morning Journal; Joseph Pulvermacher, who became vice-president of H I A S in 1954; Dr. Mendel Sudarsky, prominent communal leader in Kovno (Lithuania); Harry Wander, a founder of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union; Dr. Harold M. Weinberg; and S. J. Weinstein. T h e global war had confronted private welfare agencies with tasks of an unexampled magnitude and intricacy. Exceptional and bold measures had to be taken to meet them. Many a project failed to materialize. For all the efforts that were made, the assistance that the private organizations was able to render was often too little or too late. T h e exact number of those who were rescued by emigration is not known; estimates vary. One thing, however, is certain: had it not been for the voluntary agencies and the devotion of their staffs, often at the cost of their own lives, many more would have perished at the hands of the Nazis, for the difficulties in the way of obtaining permits and visas and of arranging transportation were generally too much for individuals to overcome. Only an organization such as H I A S - I C A , with its great experience and considerable resources, could have surmounted these obstacles and enlisted the sympathy of the free world and the cooperation of other agencies, as well as governments and international bodies.


The Challenge of Peace

BY 1945 changed circumstances and needs called for radical alterations in the planning and organization of H I A S . For eighteen years, from 1927 to 1945, much of the Jewish emigration, transmigration, and immigration had been handled by the H I A S - I C A Emigration Association. H I A S had been a full partner in the Association, to be sure; it helped determine policies, had its permanent director in the executive, contributed the greater part of the budget, especially in the first years of the Association, and bore the full cost of operations through the war years. Nevertheless, the headquarters of H I A S - I C A had been in Paris, and despite frequent meetings of the American and European members of the H I A S - I C A Council and Executive and continuous contact by mail and cable, it very often happened that major decisions had to be taken at the last moment in Paris with no time to consult New York. Only during the war, when the Board of H I A S - I C A functioned in New York, did a more intimate relationship develop between the two partners. B u t now, in November 1945, with H I A S - I C A dis205



continuing its joint activities, a new and grave responsibility was thrust upon H I A S at a critical historical juncture. Earl G. Harrison's Mission T h e German surrender, on May 9, 1945, presented the Allies with the problem of disbanding the Nazi detention and concentration camps. On June 22 President Harry S. Truman directed Earl G. Harrison, former Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization and member for the United States in the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees since the Bermuda Conference, to make an on-the-spot study of the camps in Germany and Austria, giving special attention to the needs of those who could not or would not return to their native lands. This category including the surviving remnant of the Jewish people. In his subsequent report to the President (released on September 29, 1 9 4 5 ) , Harrison recommended the speedy dissolution of the campslest "we appear to be treating the Jews as the Nazis treated them, except that we do not exterminate them." Harrison supported the petition, submitted by the Jewish Agency for Palestine to Great Britain, asking for an additional 100,000 immigration certificates for Palestine, where most of the Jewish displaced persons wished to go. He also suggested that "reasonable numbers" of immigrants, particularly those with relatives in the United States, be admitted to this country within the scope of existing immigration laws. Such prompt action by two leading democracies would set a pattern for other nations to follow and would at the same time "demonstrate in a practical manner their disapproval of Nazi policy which unfortunately has poisoned so much of Europe." Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry

On September 30 President Truman addressed a letter to the British Prime Minister, Clement Attlee, in which he called attention to Harrison's suggestion for the granting of an addi-

The Challenge of Peace


tional 100,000 certificates to Jews wishing to go to Palestine. As a result of diplomatic negotiations, a joint Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry was set to work in January 1946 for the purpose of investigating the position of the Jews in Europe, establishing the number of people wishing to emigrate to Palestine and other countries, and exploring the possibilities of such a migration. T h e American members of the Committee were: Joseph C. Hutcheson, chairman; Frank Aydelotte; Frank W. Buxton; Bartley C. Crum; James G. McDonald; William Phillips. T h e British members were: John E. Singleton, chairman; W. F. Crick; R. H. S. Crossman; Frederick Legget; R. H. Manningham-Buller; Herbert Morrison. In its report of April 30, 1946 the Committee of Inquiry unanimously recommended that 100,000 certificates for Palestine be granted immediately, and urged the United States, Great Britain, and other countries to endeavor to provide "new homes for all such displaced persons, irrespective of creed and nationality, whose ties with their former communities have been irreparably broken." T h e recommendations of the Committee of Inquiry were supported by Ambassador Edwin E. Pauley, President Truman's Representative on Reparations, in a report on the plight of the DPs submitted in the fall of 1946. Mr. Pauley also suggested a United Nations conference on the resettlement of half a million to a million European Jews. Nothing came of this plan, nor did the report of the Committee of Inquiry produce any substantial results. T h e British Government refused to admit 100,000 Jews to Palestine, alleging Arab opposition as justification for its refusal. It conceded a monthly immigration rate of 1,500, after the exhaustion of the unused certificates granted by the White Paper (May 1 9 3 9 ) . As for the admission of displaced persons to the United States, President Truman declared on December 22, 1945 that the Government would facilitate the immediate entrance of 39,000 DPs, within the framework of the quota law, at the rate



of 3,000 a month, beginning in the spring of 1946. Preference would be given to orphans, whose maintenance was to be guaranteed by the voluntary agencies. T h e President's statement was accompanied by a directive to the Secretary of State, ordering the establishment of consular services at or near the refugee centers and requiring the simplification and speeding up of the procedures in issuing visas. T h e director of the U N R R A was advised of this new policy Most important was the directive's recommendation to the Secretary of State to make arrangements "with welfare organizations in the United States which might be prepared to guarantee financial support to successful applicants," and for the granting of permission to the welfare agencies to issue corporate affidavits for immigrants. Thousands of D P s seeking admission to the United States were penniless and generally unable to obtain individual affidavits from relatives or friends guaranteeing that they would not become public charges. By assuming responsibility for the applicants, the voluntary agencies were able to speed up the immigration proceedings considerably. By means of the corporate affidavit, it was possible to settle such a knotty problem as that of the Oswego group. Strictly speaking the corporate affidavit was not a novelty in United States immigration practice. In 1940, for example, the United States Committee for the Care of European Children was permitted to use it to bring in groups of alien children. T h e possibility of using corporate affidavits acted as a spur to H I A S . Its experience of the past indicated that in the long run it would be running a small risk. Starting with a corporate affidavit for 4,500 refugeesa bold plunge of faith in the future HIAS set aside a reserve of one hundred thousand dollars to meet any potential liabilities which might arise. According to the Presidential Directive, H I A S was under obligation to submit semi-annual reports to the Immigration and Naturalization Service showing the situation of each refugee, and was released from its responsibility only after it could be

The Challenge of Peace


shown that the refugee in question had become fully self-supporting. All in all, H I A S issued corporate affidavits for 4,857 Jewish refugees. Of this number 4,662 were released from government check by the end of 1 9 5 1 ; only 195 remained H I A S liabilities, mostly because of precarious health.

HIAS Operations in Postwar Germany and Austria

In October 1945 H I A S sent Ilja Dijour to Europe as its director of operations in Germany and Austria. Arrangements were made with the headquarters in Frankfurt of U S F E T (United States Forces European T h e a t e r ) , with U N R R A headquarters, with the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees, and with the Immigration Liaison Office of the State Department. At the Immigration Liaison Office were Ugo Carusi, Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization, and Howard K. Travers, Chief of the Visa Division of the State Department, who was then in Europe on a special mission. Most helpful in the negotiations with the United States military and consular authorities was Judge Simon H. Rifkind, Advisor on Jewish Affairs to the Theater Commander. H I A S was the first Jewish voluntary migration agency to be recognized by the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees and by the military government's branch for displaced persons. By an arrangement with Lieutenant-General Sir Frederick E. Morgan, U N R R A director in Germany (December 24, 1 9 4 5 ) , H I A S was authorized to use the facilities of the five hundred U N R R A teams working in Germany and Austria as well as the facilities of the Central Tracing Bureau of U N R R A in Aroldsen. Colonel I. Schottland, head of the U N R R A camps in Germany, suggested that the H I A S director remain in Hoechst, near Frankfurt, attached to U N R R A headquarters as emigration expert for the American, British, and French zones of occupation. In a memorandum to Ambassador Robert D. Murphy, Political Advisor to the Commander of the United States Forces



European Theater, Ilja Dijour pointed out that the conditions prevailing in the camps in all three occupation zones were such as to endanger the health of the inmates during the winter. He therefore proposed that the D P s be transferred to temporary asylums in Spain, Portugal, and North Africa, where they might regain their health and vigor before going overseas. But neither the military authorities nor the leaders of the D P s themselves were prepared to adopt such a radical solution, with the result that the winter of 1945-46 found the displaced persons still in the camps. H I A S offices were set up in all three zones of occupation: in the American Zone at Hoechst, Frankfurt, Berlin, and Munich; in the British Zone at Hanover and Hamburg; and in the French Zone at Baden-Baden. Upon the suggestion of Colonel Schottland, Dijour prepared a guide for displaced persons, summarizing briefly the laws and regulations obtaining in the various countries of immigration, which was published in Frankfurt early in 1946 under the title Where and How to GoA Guide for DPs. When members of the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry visited the DP camps in Germany and Austria in February 1946, Judge Rifkind suggested that H I A S officials go along on the tour. Raphael Spanien of the Paris office went with James G. McDonald to the French zone of occupation. Dijour was called upon to testify before the Committee in Frankfurt on February 6, and afterward in Vienna. Basing his arguments on a memorandum he had previously submitted to the H I A S Board of Directors, Dijour stressed the discrepancy between the 300,000 Jewish D P s in Europe who needed to emigrate and the opportunities, at best, for 15,000 to do so in view of the barriers that had been erected in most countries of immigration. In his testimony Judge Rifkind concurred with the views of H I A S . H I A S officials in Germany received the full cooperation of the American authorities. Ambassador Murphy arranged for the introduction to the United States consuls of the local H I A S

The Challenge of Peace


representativesIlja M. Dijour in Frankfurt, Rabbi Zev Bloom in Munich, Raphael Spanien in Baden-Baden, Murray LeVine in Berlin, and Menachem Kraicer (former J I A S director in Toronto and now H I A S director in Israel) in Bremen and Hamburg. Late in February 1946 H I A S established an office in Vienna. T h e chief rabbi of Vienna, welcoming the H I A S representatives in his Sabbath sermon in the only synagogue remaining of the ninety-eight that had existed in the city before the war, referred to them as "messengers of hope for a new life." The Truman Directive

Early in May 1946 the first ship to carry Jewish DPs to the United States, the Marine Flasher, was preparing to leave Bremerhaven with 800 passengers on board. Ambassador Murphy, who came to wish them Godspeed, addressed the group of departing D P s : "This event marks the beginning of a new stage in America's rescue of Hitler's victims." T h e ship also carried 75 orphans of different nationalities and all faiths Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, and Greek Catholic. When the boat slowly edged into the New York dock on May 20, the sun shone brightly and the passengers, in many faltering accents, sang: My country, 'tis of thee, Sweet land of liberty . . . and from the pier came a roar of welcome from the thousands of waiting relatives and friends. On May 25, 1946 the second boatload of immigrants566 personsarrived in New York on the Marine Perch. Together the two ships carried a total of 520 Jewish passengers, most of them sponsored by H I A S , which also paid their passage. Of the first 1 1 2 visas issued to DPs under the Truman Directive, H I A S received 97. It was a good beginning, but the lack of shipping facilities and strikes in the United States slowed down the transportation of



the DPs. At one time more than 2,000 displaced persons with American visas were Icept waiting in the Bremen staging area. When they grew restless and fearful that their visas might expire, H I A S , along with other voluntary agencies, appealed to President Truman. At the President's order in December 1946, four Liberty Ships were detailed to ply between Bremerhaven and New York. There were other difficulties too. Most of the DPs in Germany and Austria were non-German and belonged to nationalities with oversubscribed quotas. There were also the usual delays caused by the inadequate personnel at the consular offices, and perhaps some anti-Jewish feeling here and there, as was pointed out in the press. T h e H I A S representative in the Bremen area, Gregory Meisler, a former officer of the Polish army and a DP himself, was particularly successful in overcoming many of these difficulties, winning the affection and esteem of his superiors and of the emigrants. A Characteristic Day On the eve of the departure of the Marine Flasher, Ilja Dijour, director of H I A S operations in Germany, called the H I A S area director in the British Zone, Menachem Kraicer. T h e latter was not in his office in Hanover. Telephone calls to several places in the British Zone also failed to locate him. Finally he was reached at the H I A S office in the Bergen-Belsen camp, where he was registering DPs for emigration to Canada. "You are urgently needed in Bremerhaven," Kraicer was told. "Be sure to be there tomorrow morning before 10 A.M., and bring along the papers of the 29 DPs who are going to America. Unless you get there in time they will not embark tomorrow." "How can I manage that?" came the voice from Bergen-Belsen. "It is late, and pouring rain. How can I cover 300 miles in so short a time?" T h e voice from Frankfurt wearily replied, "It is up to you, but remember, 29 emigrants! They are scheduled to leave tomorrow on the Marine Flasher. If you fail, they may have to wait for months." T h e man in Frankfurt hung up.

The Challenge of Peace


Kraicer had begun work that day at 6 A.M. From sheer exhaustion he fell asleep. After fifteen minutes or so he started awake. Muttering to himself, he rushed out of the barracks and into his jeep. T h e rain was still beating down. He drove on doggedly until he reached the Autobahn. He put on speed. He did not realize how fast he was going. Suddenly there were lights alongside him and he was waved to a stop. T h e Military Police. T h e officer said something about speed limits. Kraicer said, "Yes, but this is urgent. D P s at Bremerhaven. Marine Flasher. Papers. H I A S . " He pointed to his armband. "HIAS? All right," said the officer, "follow our car!" And off both cars went at top speed in the rain. At nine in the morning they were in Bremerhaven. Just in time. Mr. Kraicer shook hands with the MP officer and thanked him for his help. "Oh, that's all right," the officer answered. "You see, H I A S brought my zaide [grandfather] to America." In the two and a half years from May 1946 to October 1948, 12,649 Jewish DPs were brought to the United States on corporate affidavitsHIAS guaranteeing for 4,857 and the remainder accounted for by the Joint Distribution Committee and other agencies. Polish Exodus

Early in 1946 there began the repatriation of Polish Jews from the Soviet Union, to which they had fled en masse after the Nazi invasion in 1939. Though offered Soviet citizenship, they preferred to return to Poland, regardless of the uncertainty of their future there. As Zorach Wahrhaftig (research fellow of the World Jewish Congress's Institute of Jewish Affairs) wrote in his Uprooted Jewish Refugees and Displaced Persons after Liberation (1946, p. 7 5 ) : Their return to Poland was a pseudo-repatriation. It lacked the necessary ingredients of a bona-fide homecoming. It was rather the final visit of a mourner to his family burial plot, the refugee's last look at his native land, to which his forefathers had been

214 VISAS TO F R E E D O M attached for generations but which he had to leave forever. His homage paid to dear ones, his last glimpse taken, he set out on a new exodus in the hope of eventually reaching a more hospitable shore. T h e bloody pogrom in the city of Kielce on July 4, 1946 made up the minds of those who were still debating whether to stay on in Poland or to escape. There was a general flight, not only from Kielce and its environs, but from all of Poland. T h e new exodus swept westward to Germany, Austria, and Italy, the way stations to Palestine, the Western Hemisphere, and Australia. Deteriorating economic and political conditions in Hungary and Rumania likewise impelled great numbers of Jews to flee westward. In the winter of 1946-47, the total number of Jewish DPs in camps in Germany, Austria, and Italy reached almost 250,000. Paris Headquarters

After the end of the war, Paris became the seat of HIAS's European headquarters. T h e political and strategic position of France in western Europe, and its numerous ports, made it the natural center for Jewish migration movements. Dr. James Bernstein reorganized the Paris office to accord with postwar conditions and then, early in 1946, retired from his post as European director after twenty-one years of dedicated work. He was succeeded in that post by Lewis Neikrug, formerly with the American Jewish Committee. Paris headquarters directed the activities of H I A S offices and correspondents in about fifteen European countries, excepting the Soviet Union. Working closely with the H I A S in New York, it established policies on emigration from Europe, made decisions on transportation, regulated procedures, and coordinated programs in the various European areas. W i t h the expansion of activities in the 1940s, soon the Paris headquarters had a staff of a hundred employees.






Entry into the United States The misery of the DPs was indescribable. Failing a miracle, only an act of Congress could resolve the problem. But for this, public opinion had to be roused. A nation-wide organization was required to bring home to the American people the plight of the victims of Nazism and Fascism and their need to find a home. In December 1946 a Citizens Committee on Displaced Persons was founded under the chairmanship of Earl G. Harrison. H I A S , among other voluntary agencies, worked hard to bring about the creation of the Citizens Committee. John L. Bernstein, the dynamic chairman of the H I A S executive, was one of its architects. T h e Committee aimed "to secure passage of an emergency act by Congress which would permit 400,000 displaced persons to enter the United States in a period of four years [which] would equal less than half the number of quota immigrants who could legally have come here during the war." More than 150 national organizationsProtestant, Catholic, and Jewish welfare agencies, professional groups, and women's clubsjoined with the Citizens Committee. T h e United Council of American Veteran Organizations, the Catholic W a r Veterans, the American Federation of Labor, the Congress of Industrial Organizations, though previously opposed to immigration, declared their support. T h e Jewish Labor Committee, under its chairman Adolph Held (a veteran in the migration work of H I A S ) , urged the labor unions to support the aims of the Citizens Committee. As a result of the Citizens Committee's work, a bill was introduced in the House of Representatives on April 1, 1947, providing for the admission into the United States of 400,000 DPs during a period of four years. This was the Stratton Bill ( H . H . 2 9 1 0 ) , so called after its sponsor William G. Stratton, congressman from Illinois. However, hearings in the Judiciary Subcommittee of the Eightieth Congress from July 4 to July 18



brought no results; a similar bill introduced in the Senate did not even come up before a committee. In the second session of the Eightieth Congress a bill was passed (June 1 8 , 1948), known as the Displaced Persons Act of 1948, which fixed the number of DPs to be admitted for the period July 1, 1948 to June 30, 1950 at 205,000. T h e bill stipulated that the D P s must have entered Germany, Austria, or Italy before December 22, 1945. This deadline militated greatly against the Jewish DPs, many of whom, as we have seen, fled from Poland, Hungary, and Rumania as late as 1946 and 1947. T h e bill assigned 40 per cent of the total number of visas to nationals of the Baltic states and 30 per cent to farmers. T h e bill also "mortgaged" future immigration by stipulating that the number of persons admitted under its provisions be deducted from future regular quotas. T h e voluntary agencies regarded some of the provisions of the bill as racist and "un-American." President Truman signed the bill on June 25, 1948 with "very great reluctance." He declared, "The Bill discriminates in callous fashion against displaced persons of Jewish faith. This brutal fact cannot be obscured by the maze of technicalities in the Bill or by the protestations of some of its sponsors . . . this Bill excludes Jewish displaced persons, rather than accepting a fair proportion of them along with other faiths . . ." Liberal senators and congressmen, and large sectors of American opinion, strongly condemned the bill. As a result, an amendment to the Displaced Persons Act of 1948 was passed on June 1 8 , 1950 (two weeks before its expiration, June 30), increasing the number of DP visas from 205,000 to 341,000 and changing the date of eligibility from December 22, 1945 to January 1, 1949. Another amendment extended the program to December 31, 1951. A Displaced Persons Commission was created on June 25, 1948 to administer the DP program. It functioned until June 30, 1952, with local headquarters in Washington and overseas

The Challenge of Peace


headquarters in Frankfurt. U g o Carusi, former Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization, was chairman of the Displaced Persons Commission from August 1948 to December 1950, when he was succeeded by John W. Gibson. Commissioners were Edward M. O'Connor and Harry N. Rosenfield. T h e activities of the Commission were summarized in M e m o to America. The DP Story. The Final Report of the United Statet Displaced Persons Commission (Washington, 1 9 5 2 ) .

HIAS and the DP Program

From June 1948 to December 1 9 5 1 , 313,991 DPs arrived in the United States, of whom 56,736 were sponsored by Jewish welfare agencies (see table on next p a g e ) . From this tabulation, we see that the percentage of Jews among the D P s admitted during the 1948-51 period was 18.7, or slightly more than the percentage of Jewish DP's in the camps, which was 18.6. T h e year 1949 witnessed the greatest influx of Jewish DPs 26.2 per cent of the DP arrivals for that year. However, even in that year, their number was exceeded by that of the Catholic DP immigrants (36.6 per cent of all arrivals for that year). But statistics do not tell the whole story. Nearly every surviving Jewish family in central and eastern Europe had been broken up by the war and Nazi atrocities. Parents and children were scattered over many countries. To reunite them and enable families to emigrate as a unit was one of the primary tasks of H I A S workers in the field. Obtaining the documents required for emigration presented almost insurmountable difficulties. Throughout the war, people had fled from one place to another, escaped from concentration camps to hide in villages and forests, and reappeared under assumed names. Identity papers were destroyed; false papers, fabricated baptismal certificates, or, most often, no papers at all, were a common thing. Never before did social workers counseling migrants face problems of such complexity as in the aftermath of World W a r II.

Displaced PersonsArrivals in the United States Sponsored by Religious and Nonsectarian Organizations (1948-51)

















Catholic Organizations Protestant Organizations Jewish Organizations Others

1,098 310 847 250

43.8 12.4 33.8 10.0

43,605 18,519 31,282 25,767

36.6 15.5 26.2 21.7

27,932 32,169 10,245 16,651

31.1 36.9 11.8 19.2

41,441 30,190 14,362 19,323

39.5 28.6 13.6 18.3

114,076 81,188 56,736 61,991

36.3 25.9 18.7 19.1

Table compiled by Ilja M. Dijour from reports of the Displaced Persons Commission and the sectarian and nonsectarian voluntary agencies.

The Challenge of Peace


On top of it all, there was the psychological problem of handling terrified, harassed, and shattered human beings. Understanding, patience, and kindness were required. For this reason H I A S employed DPs wherever possible to administer its DP program. T h e H I A S machinery set up for DP work in Germany and Austria at the end of 1945 was the largest in the history of the organization in any one country, and it kept growing to keep pace with the flood of refugees streaming in from Poland and Rumania. W i t h the expansion of the German and Austrian programs, H I A S offices functioned in Hoechst, Frankfurt, Munich, Foehrenwald, Stuttgart, Berlin, Bremen, Hanover, Regensburg, Baden-Baden, Vienna, Linz, and Salzburg. H I A S representatives were also stationed in the DP camps. Close cooperation was maintained by the H I A S offices with the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees and its successor (in 1 9 4 7 ) , the International Refugee Organization of the United Nations ( I R O ) . HIAS's contractual arrangement with the I R O lasted until February 1952. Working with U S N A and JDC In the postwar period, assistance to Jewish immigrants to the United States was provided not only by H I A S but also by the United Service for New Americans ( U S N A ) in the United States and the migration services of the Joint Distribution Committee in Europe. Whereas before World W a r I, under conditions of free and unlimited migration, there had been one Jewish migration agency in each country, now, under conditions of severely restricted migration, there were several organizations in the field. No doubt H I A S , U S N A , and J D C each felt that it was best equipped to perform the work; but the result of this zeal to serve produced unnecessary competition and, in many instances, an overlapping of services. During 1946 and 1947 Jewish public opinion in the United States was demanding an end to duplication of work and



waste of funds and efforts. T h e Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds in New York was particularly helpful in bringing about closer cooperation; and on October 25, 1949 the H I A S - J D C DP Coordinating Committee was formed, with headquarters in Frankfurt, the seat of the European office of the United States Displaced Persons Commission. Max Newman of H I A S and E t t a Deutsch of the J D C were put in charge of the Frankfurt office; ten directors (five from each agency) were sent to the DP areas in Amberg, Augsburg, Berlin, Frankfurt, Hanover, Linz, Munich, Schweinfurt, Stuttgart, and Vienna. T h e more complicated cases were referred to headquarters in Frankfurt, which took them up with the United States Displaced Persons Commission, a procedure that saved much time and red tape. Cases not settled in Germany were referred to Washington for top-level decision. Cooperation among H I A S , U S N A , and J D C was maintained until the end of 1 9 5 1 , when the immigration of DPs into the United States virtually ended. T h e H I A S offices in Germany and Austria then reorganized and resumed their normal migration activities. Along with the establishment of the H I A S - J D C DP Coordinating Committee, there was concluded a gentleman's agreement between H I A S and U S N A giving H I A S the responsibility for all the preparatory work of immigration, as well as the reception of the immigrants upon arrival, while U S N A was charged with all resettlement work outside New York City. It was further agreed that H I A S would obtain individual sponsors to underwrite assurances for D P s while U S N A would concentrate its efforts on obtaining community assurances, on a quota system. Postwar Emigration Work in Eastern Europe At the end of 1945, with war over, H I A S resumed its work in Poland. Leon Alter, the veteran H I A S leader, took charge of the Warsaw office; branches were also established in Lodz,

The Challenge of Peace


Cracow, and Wroclaw (Breslau). T h e Central Committee of the Jews in Poland, which had been founded in 1944 and enjoyed a semi-official position, recognized H I A S as the sole Jewish emigration agency in the country. T h e Polish Government of that timea coalition of democratic groups and the Polish Communist partyissued an order requiring prompt action on the applications of Jews for emigration passports. After the flight caused by the Kielce pogrom on July 4, 1946, and the elimination of the democratic elements from the government, hopes for any reconstruction of Jewish life in Poland faded. There were still an estimated 80,000 Jews in Poland, the greater part of them concentrated in lower Silesia. H I A S therefore opened a new office in Gliwice (Gleiwitz), in the expectation of a continuing emigration. But from 1948 the H I A S officials encountered increasing difficulties in obtaining emigration passports for their proteges. Still, in 1949, they were able to arrange the emigration of 567 persons. On December 3 1 , 1949 the Polish Government ordered the closing of all foreign welfare agencies, including H I A S . In Czechoslovakia about 40,000 Jews had survived. After the liberation from Nazi rule, this country became a gathering point for Jewish refugees from Rumania, Hungary, Poland, and the Soviet Union en route to western Europe. Early in 1946 H I A S reopened its Prague office under Harry Baltsan, former representative of H I A S in the Near East. Later another office was opened in Bratislava. In 1949, following the Communist coup, the Czech Government ordered that both offices be closed. Before this, however, H I A S managed to assist 920 Jews to emigrate overseas. After that the Iron Curtain clanged shut. T h e H I A S office in Budapest, Hungary was set up in 1945. After Israel, the comparatively few Hungarian Jews who were allowed to leave the country chose as their chief goals Australia, Brazil, Chile, and Uruguay. In 1949 the Budapest H I A S office was the only remaining foreign Jewish welfare agency in the country. Despite rigid restrictions, it was able to help 2 1 4 emi-



grants, most of them elderly people, to depart that year. This marked the end of HIAS's effective work in Communist Hungary. HIAS's postwar office in Bucharest was able to distribute funds sent by Americans to their kin in Rumania, through the H I A S Immigrant Bank. B u t these operations had to be discontinued in 1947 owing to the rapidly growing inflation of Rumanian currency. In 1947-48 the Bucharest office helped more than 2,000 Jews to emigrate overseas. This was a remarkable achievement in view of the steadily intensified anti-emigration policy of the Rumanian Communist Government. In 1950 the Bucharest office, the last foreign voluntary agency permitted to function in Rumania, helped 7,746 Israel-bound Jews to reach the port of Constanza. In the same year, however, the office was ordered closed by the Rumanian authorities. Though most of the Bulgarian Jews emigrated directly to Palestine, right after the war, several hundred persons were assisted by the H I A S office in Sofia to emigrate to the United States and other overseas countries. In 1950 the Sofia office was ordered closed by the Communist authorities in Bulgaria. Thus, one by one, the doors were shut in Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, Rumania, and Bulgaria. The Far Eastern Scene T h e oldest H I A S committee outside the United States, the Far Eastern Jewish Central Information Bureau for Emigration ( D A L J E V C I B ) in Shanghai, went out of existence in 1950. Founded in Harbin (Manchukuo) in 1 9 1 7 , it was staffed mainly by Jewish social workers who had fled from Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution. T h e Harbin committee gave invaluable assistance to refugees from the Soviet Union on their way to the Far East and the Americas. As previously noted, in the 1930s the committee had been of great service to refugees from Nazi Germany. In 1939 the committee moved to Shanghai,

The Challenge of Peace


where it dealt with the problems of 20,000 refugees from Nazidominated countries. In the postwar era the Shanghai committee helped refugees to emigrate to Australia, to the Americas, and to Europe. On his way back from Australia in 1948, Dr. Henry Shoshkes of H I A S visited the Shanghai office. Upon his return to New York, he presented to H I A S headquarters certain recommendations concerning the activities of the Shanghai committee and the eventual discontinuance of that distant outpost in the Far East. W h e n the Chinese Communists occupied Shanghai, the director of the H I A S office, Meyer Birman, embarked for the United States. A skeleton staff remained in Shanghai and worked with the local I R O mission for more than a year thereafter, assisting people anxious to emigrate to Israel or Australia or to be repatriated to Germany and Austria.

HIAS in France
Paris was the gathering point for Jews throughout Europe who believed that it afforded them a better chance to emigrate overseas. This concentration of refugees and emigrants confronted the Paris office of H I A S , as well as its branch offices throughout France, with formidable tasks in the postwar period. Most of the refugees in France were in jeopardy because of the lack of legal documents. H I A S undertook to guarantee to the authorities that the refugees' stay in the country would be temporary, pending their ultimate emigration. Though the sojourn of the migrants was often prolonged by the legal complexities involved in emigration, the French authorities proved understanding and cooperative. In 1949 H I A S assisted 20,000 persons in various ways, 2,559 ^ them being French citizens or permanent residents. In 1 9 5 1 there were still over 50,000 Jewish refugees in France awaiting the chance to go overseas. T h e serious problem that they presented was somewhat mitigated by HIAS's securing identity cards and working permits for the



skilled craftsmen among them. W i t h the stabilization of the economic situation, many of them chose to legalize their stay and remain in the country permanently.

HIAS in Italy
At the suggestion of the U N R R A mission to Italy in 1947, H I A S dispatched representatives to the DP camps at Milan, Turin, Rivoli, Cremona, and several other points, where about 23,000 Jewish D P s were concentrated. HIAS's chief concern was to help the displaced persons to emigrate, but it was also presented with the problem of h e l p ing many native Jews who wished to emigrate. T h e Fascist experience had changed the outlook of Italian Jewry, which had been among the best adjusted Jewish communities in Europe. A leader of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities expressed the change thus: "Before 1938 we Jews were Italians, now we are Italian Jews." Finally there were the postwar refugees from Poland, Rumania, and Hungary, for whom Italy was a jumping-off place for Israel and some forty other countries of immigration. H I A S officials at the ports of Genoa and Naples helped to get these people embarked for overseas destinations. T h e Italian headquarters of H I A S were in Rome, in charge of Dr. Alexander Klein, a former communal leader of Zagreb ( C r o a t i a ) ; he coordinated the work of the branch offices in Naples and Bari in the south, and of Milan, Genoa, Florence, and Modena in the north. Over-all supervision of these activities, including the work in the DP camps, was the responsibility of Leon D. Fisher, American director of H I A S in Italy. Arrangements made by the European director, Lewis Neikrug, with the Italian shipping lines facilitated the transportation of H I A S proteges from the Italian ports to Australia and Latin America. All these activities received full recognition and every cooperation from the Italian Government.

Documentation assistance was always an important function of H I A S : a group being assisted in their annual alien registration, according to law.





sorsoften new residents themselveswho proved unable to meet their sponsorship obligations. Overseas, HIAS workers were seeing to it that Canada-bound DPs were sped on their way. Thus, for instance, thanks to an agreement with the Netherland Emigration Foundation in The Hague, the H I A S in Amsterdam was able to arrange transportation on the Vollendam for a Canada-bound group of Jewish DPs. In July 1950 the Canadian Government liberalized its immigration policy by admitting distant relatives of Canadian residents, and independent artisans. HIAS officials in the occupation zones of Germany began to help DPs file applications in accordance with the new regulations. The H I A S offices in Hanover, Hamburg, Bremen, Dusseldorf, and Bergen-Belsen were entrusted by the I R O with the supervision of all matters relating to emigration to Canada from the British zone of occupation. The head of the HIAS office for the British Zone was M. Kraicer, himself a Canadian. The I R O paid for the transportation of the DPs across the ocean. In 1 9 5 1 , however, it warned that it would refuse to embark the DPs unless their sponsors provided the cost of inland transportation in Canada. The Board of Directors of HIAS immediately agreed to finance inland transportation and expenditures en route for all emigrants going to Canada under its auspices.
Australia and New Zealand

The United Jewish Overseas Relief Fund, founded in Melbourne, Australia in 1940 to support relief and rehabilitation work in Europe and facilitate immigration to Australia, worked closely with H I A S from August 1945 on, following the end of hostilities in the Pacific area. The HIAS committee in Shanghai then sent the first contingent of refugees to Australia. In its report to the annual meeting of November 23, 1947 the Relief Fund pointed to HIAS as the only agency "predominantly con-

The Challenge of Peace


cerned with Jewish emigration." Later on, when the Joint Distribution Committee also began to send emigrants to Australia, the Relief Fund cooperated with it. Jewish emigration from Europe to Australia after the war progressed rather slowly, because of shipping shortage and the preference given to British immigrants. The Australian Ministry of Immigration stipulated that vessels carrying emigrants from Europe to Australia were not to take more than 25 per cent of Jewish passengers. Some British vessels declined to accept Jewish passengers altogether. In 1947 the European director of HIAS, Lewis Neikrug, was successful in arranging with the Dutch Ministry of Navigation for the transportation of Jewish emigrants to Australia. In February 1947 the Johan de Wit took aboard 400 HIAS-sponsored emigrants bound for Sydney. The group included DPs from Germany and Austria, and refugees from Poland, Hungary, and other countries. H I A S paid the Dutch Government $420 per passenger, or a total of $160,000. About 2,000 persons were brought to Australia by HIAS in 1947. Transportation continued to be a major problem, and HIAS now arranged for Italian vessels to embark DPs and other Australia-bound Jewish emigrants waiting in Italian ports and in Marseilles. Planes were chartered to fly emigrant groups from Paris to Sydney. Ships of the Messageries Maritimes also carried emigrants from Marseilles to Australia, the Ville d'Amiens making the trip via the Panama Canal. In 1950 the H I A S in Amsterdam, headed by George Hirsch, arranged with the Netherland Emigration Foundation in The Hague to place its shipping facilities at the disposal of Australia-bound Jewish emigrants sponsored by H I A S . The Australian Jewish Welfare and Relief Society of Melbourne, under the presidency of Leon Fink, worked in close cooperation with HIAS. The Australian authorities relied on the Society's assurances that the immigrants would not become public charges and would be provided with shelter. HIAS



purchased two sheltersthe H I A S House at Camberwell, near Melbourne, in 1950, and the John L. Bernstein Shelter at Canberra, Melbourne in 1953. In the meantime, the Australian Jewish community campaigned vigorously to have the 25 per cent limitation on Jewish passengers dropped from instructions to British boats bringing immigrants to Australia. T h e Executive Council of Australian Jewry ( E C A J ) made representations to the government on this matter and undertook to see to it that the flow of Jewish immigration did not exceed the Commonwealth's absorptive capacity. As a result the 25 per cent clause was annulled in May 1949. A part of the Jewish postwar emigration also went to New Zealand. T h e United Jewish Committee for Relief Abroad in Wellington cooperated closely with H I A S in New York. T h e H I A S programs in Australia and New Zealand involved considerable expenditures for transportation and shelter. But the infusion of new elements into the Jewish communities of these democratic Dominions brought gratifying results. T h e governments of Australia and New Zealand and the Jewish organizations of these countries deserve much credit for opening their gates wider to immigrants. In 1933, when the exodus from Nazi Germany began, Australia had an estimated Jewish population of 30,000; in 1953 this number had risen to 55,000. When, after the Evian Conference of 1938, the Australian Commonwealth offered to admit an increased number of refugees, it initiated a liberal immigration policy which it did not fail to maintain in the postwar period. Latin America

As far back as the year 1926 Abraham Herman, former president of H I A S , had foreseen the role Latin America would play as a center of Jewish settlement, and in that year H I A S began to extend its support to the Jewish immigrant-aid societies in Latin America. Subsequently H I A S - I C A established

The Challenge of Peace


a network of committees in the South American republics. With this preparatory work done, it was possible to face the difficulties of the postwar years with a measure of optimism. At the close of World W a r II Jewish immigration to Latin America still encountered considerable obstacles. T h e widespread unfavorable attitude toward Jews was the result of religious prejudice, Nazi propaganda, economic factorsor all of these combined. To combat this hostility, an energetic educational campaign was undertaken. It is indicative of these difficulties that in 1945 HIAS-sponsored immigration to the twenty-one Latin American republics amounted all in all to 395 persons. In the period 1 9 4 5 - 5 1 , however, a total of 24,806 Jewish immigrants were admitted to Latin America. T h e table on the next page graphically shows this extraordinary increase. T h e increase of immigration to Chile, Colombia, Uruguay, and Venezuela in 1947 was due to the more liberal immigration policies adopted by these countries. Argentina issued two decrees, one in 1948 and one in 1949, legalizing the status of some 10,000 persons, of whom 8,270 were Jews, who had entered the country by some irregular means. Credit is due to Mark Turkow, director of H I A S headquarters in Buenos Aires, for the educational work he carried on in cooperation with the local Jewish immigrant-aid society, Soprotimis. Domestic Activities

T h e number of persons fed and lodged at the H I A S Shelter on Lafayette Street in New York has always served as a gauge of immigration trends:

1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951

6,245 20,413 37,782 37,195 200,750 180,417 205,948

51,258 138,727 170,228 162,145 604,075 526,347 609,785

HIAS-sponsored Immigration to Latin America 1945-51

Total of Jewish Immigrants Venezuela Colombia Argentina Other Latin American Countries Paraguay Uruguay Ecuador Mexico







1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951

395 1,713 4,309 8,714 4,515 3,052 2,108


5,180** 3,090** 1,053 878

95 450 193* 544 102 464 375

381 113 19 252 217 982

25 115 729 704 165 178 152


551 212 245 163 25

285 245 186 214 111

61 30 34


102 150 415 106 24 223 110


25 105 100 598 321 107 126 25

551 320 530 303 226 23 253 147

400 197 125 48


20 13 19 270*** 250*** 92 68




2,068 1,219 1,041 480

1,130 1,277 1,732 751


* The HIAS office in Rio de Janeiro registered 2,637 Jewish arrivals, but only 193 stayed on in Brazil, the rest continuing on to Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, and Chile. " * These figures include Jewish immigrants who arrived illegally in Argentina from other countries

and whose entry was then registered and legalized in 1948-49. *** These immigrants went to the following countries: Santo Domingo, Haiti, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Trinidad, and Curacao.

The Challenge of Peace


Never before in the seventy-odd years of its history had the H I A S Shelter extended a helping hand to so many distressed people as in the years 1 9 4 9 - 5 1 . T h e 402,038 meals served during the depression year of 1932 do not approach the 609,785 of 1 9 5 1 . At various times in the past the Shelter had been criticized as an unnecessary institution, and suggestions had even been made that it be closed down. But in times of emergency, such as the early depression years and again in the years 1 9 4 9 - 5 1 , it was clear to all what a blessing the Shelter was. Agreement with NY AN A Early in 1950 the New York Association for New Americans ( N Y A N A ) , established in 1949 as the New York branch of the United Service for New Americans ( U S N A ) , proposed that H I A S take over the entire sheltering program and offered to cover the expenses involved. T h e matter was brought up before the Board meeting of H I A S on April 26, 1950 and it was the decision of the directors not to accept any payment from N Y A N A for the sheltering of immigrants "as it comes within the purview of H I A S functions." An agreement was concluded with N Y A N A on May 1, 1950 by Samuel A. Telsey, president of H I A S , whereby H I A S assumed financial and administrative responsibility for the full sheltering program. H I A S was to provide shelter to all Jewish immigrants destined for New York City, Long Island, and Westchester County who could not be discharged to relatives and friends. N Y A N A was given office facilities in the H I A S building for carrying on its resettlement work for the D P s sponsored and sheltered by H I A S . In 1950 as many as 1,100 persons were sheltered and fed daily. H I A S rented additional sleeping space in fourteen hotels, but all the meals were served on the Lafayette Street premises. Immigration and Naturalization Laws T h e legal formalities in connection with immigration and naturalization became more complex in the postwar period.

232 VISAS TO FREEDOM T h e Internal Security Act of 1950 required aliens to register at the beginning of 1 9 5 1 . H I A S set up alien-registration bureaus at its New York headquarters and all its branches throughout the United States. More than 50,000 persons were thus assisted to comply with the law. In addition to rendering a vital service to the government, H I A S at the same time encouraged the interest of the aliens in becoming citizens. T h e result was a record number of requests for the filing of first and second papers, and an increased enrollment in the H I A S citizenship and English-language courses. With the increased flow of immigrants in the late 1940s, the language and citizenship classes were improved and expanded. English courses were conducted by volunteer teachers, under the auspices of the H I A S Women's Division. T h e Sunday citizenship class, which was extremely popular, was conducted by Ilja M. Dijour, H I A S director of research, who compiled a handbook called United States History and Civics in Questions and Answers. Twenty-five thousand copies of this booklet, which was published in Yiddish and English, were distributed free of charge, upon request, to individuals, public schools, and other groups interested in the subject of Americanization. Finances A survey of H I A S in the period 1946-51 would be incomplete without a glance at the financial requirements of its different programs and the funds that were actually raised to meet them.

1946 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951

$1,964,309 2,032,215 2,345,716 2,244,202 1,678,275 1,726,232

$1,985,645 2,717,572 2,390,754 2,464,917 1,700,181 1,774,901

In 1947 the Latin American and South African Jewish com-

The Challenge of Peace


munities began to contribute financially to the work of H I A S . Organized fund raising for Jewish relief and welfare purposes first began in Latin America in 1945, and within a few short years substantial sums were being forwarded annually to H I A S . Following a report by Dr. Shoshkes to Jewish leaders in Johannesburg in January 1948, the South African Jewish W a r Appeal (the relief branch of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies) voted to contribute to the work of H I A S in the DP areas. In 1949 H I A S was designated as one of the beneficiaries of the funds raised by the South African United Appeal Campaign. T h a t same year a South African H I A S committee was founded, with Abel Shaban, noted South African industrialist and Jewish communal leader, as president, and Rabbi Moses C. Weiler, Dr. Henry Sonnabend, professor at the Johannesburg University, and others as members. With $706,451 allocated to it in 1948 by the Federations and Welfare Funds, H I A S reached the highest annual income of its history in that year$2,345,716. This sum included $450,000 that the International Refugee Organization ( I R O ) had granted to H I A S , according to a contractual arrangement between the two bodies, to cover the transportation and maintenance costs for HIAS-sponsored D P s whom the I R O had resettled. This contribution was one expression of IRO's recognition of the outstanding role which H I A S played in carrying out the I R O resettlement programs. T h e director general of I R O , William Hallam Tuck, in a cable to the H I A S annual convention of March 1 1 , 1949 in New York, expressed his appreciation of HIAS's cooperation with I R O as follows: . . . I have spoken of HIAS as being allied with IRO. In at least one case HIAS has taken over. In the port of Marseilles, through which passes a steady stream of individual migrants, HIAS independently performs all of the necessary functions to speed them on their way, reception, billeting, embarkation for Jewish and noifjewish IRO eligibles alike.



HIAS has earned the deep gratitude of I R O and many hundreds of refugees through this service. Individual migration in many ways represents an ideal form of resettlement for refugees. It provides the individual with a fixed destination, a definite job, housing, and in most cases friends and relatives to help him over a difficult transition period. But such movements of individuals or small groups are much more difficult to arrange and administer than the large mass resettlement schemes offering outlets to thousands of refugees . . . It is in this field of individual migration that HIAS, continuing the tradition it has established over many years, has played an outstanding role. . . . T h e years 1947-49 were the period of greatest need and largest expenditures. Transportation and services to migrants in Europe and Latin America represented the biggest items of expenditure, amounting to a total of $4,937,577 during this three-year period. In 1948, moreover, H I A S was maintaining more than a hundred offices in fifty-odd countries. Shelter and food expenses reached their peak in the period 1 9 4 9 - 5 1 . A comparison of expenses during the postwar years shows the sharp increase that took place: 1946 1947 1948 $79,159 88,788 89,867 1949 1950 1951 $302,701 379,954 478,195

T h e year 1947 ended with a seven hundred thousand dollar deficit for H I A S , but the Society pointed to it "with pride instead of apologies to the Jewish community." T h e deficit was brought about by a number of factors. One of these was the temporary cessation, in the closing months of 1947, of the reimbursements due to H I A S for the transportation and maintenance of refugees in certain countries, following the transfer of refugee work from the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees to the International Refugee Organization ( I R O ) . H I A S also incurred unforeseen expenses for the maintenance of emigrants in ports and staging areas occasioned by the frequent postponement of sailing dates.






A Generation Passes Away Abraham Herman died on March 25, 1947. He had served H I A S as director and president since 1926, through one of the most fateful periods of modern Jewish history. His close friend and co-worker, John L. Bernstein, who had preceded him as president of H I A S , died on August 22, 1952 in his seventy-ninth year. A founding father and outstanding leader of H I A S , John L. Bernstein served American as well as world Jewry for almost fifty years. His devotion to the cause of the Jewish migrants and his concern for them as individuals earned him the gratitude of thousands; to many of them he was "Mr. H I A S . " Like Abraham Herman, he had come to the United States as an immigrant boy. Both men experienced in their own lives the poverty and persecution that drove their people out of Tsarist Russia, to seek a new life in democratic America. Jacob Massel, closely associated with H I A S for almost half a century, died *in 1954. On January 1, 1948 Harry Fischel died in Jerusalem. A religious leader and philanthropist, Fischel had been treasurer of H I A S for almost half a century. Elizabeth Lesser, president of the Women's Division of H I A S , died on February 3, 1947; the daughter of Rose N. Lesser and founder of the Rose N. Lesser Auxiliary of H I A S , Elizabeth Lesser served the Society for thirty-five years. She was also active in work for underprivileged children. Benjamin G. Weinberg, assistant treasurer of H I A S , died in 1949. B o m in Odessa, he was a banker by profession and closely involved in communal work in New York. In 1 9 5 1 Reuben Guskin, the labor leader, Dr. Mendel Sudarsky, and Harry Wanderall directors of HIASpassed away. Elias A. Cohen, director of H I A S for two decades, died in Israel the same year. Abraham Baron, secretary of the H I A S Council of Organizations and its representative on the Board of Directors, died in 1949.



Alfred Decker, for a number of years chairman of the Chicago branch of H I A S , died in 1948. Julius Schaefer, president of the Seattle H I A S and a devoted friend of immigrants, died in 1 9 5 1 . Samuel S. Fels, an industrialist and noted philanthropist, one of the founders of the Association for the Protection of Jewish Immigrants in Philadelphia (which later became a branch of H I A S ) , died in 1950. T h a t same year H I A S lost two great friends and sponsors: Israel Matz, industrialist, philanthropist, and promoter of Hebrew culture; and Al Jolson, the popular American singer and movie actor, who bequeathed a hundred thousand dollars to H I A S in his will. Both men had come to this country as immigrants from eastern Europe and deeply appreciated the work done by H I A S . In the postwar years H I A S lost many faithful staff members. Isidore Hershfield died in 1949 at the age of eighty; he had served H I A S as a member of the Board of Directors for fortyfive years. His mission for H I A S to the German- and Austrianoccupied zones of Russia in 1 9 1 5 was an outstanding achievement for the Society. From 1923 to 1942 he was the HIAS's indefatigable counsel in Washington, D . C . T h e roll of those who passed away is long: Lewis Neikrug ( 1 9 5 3 ) , director of European operations since 1946; Murray LeVine ( 1 9 5 3 ) , executive vice-president of H I A S in Philadelphia and for thirty-two years manager of the H I A S office in that city; Vladimir Shah (1949), for many years director of H I A S in France; Herbert Picard ( 1 9 5 1 ) , executive director of H I A S in San Francisco; Bert J. Tucker ( 1 9 5 3 ) , executive director of the Chicago H I A S ; David Wertheim ( 1 9 5 3 ) , H I A S representative in Israel; May Paley ( 1 9 4 6 ) , a devoted social worker for three decades; Siegmund Lifschitz ( 1 9 4 9 ) , an able and promising young member of the H I A S staff, the son of Samuel Lifschitz who was secretary of the Hilfsverein in Berlin for many years; Jacob Kirschenbaum ( 1 9 4 6 ) , a journalist who gave much of his time and energy to HIAS; M a x Horovitz, the

The Challenge of Peace


first pier representative of H I A S , and Philip Smirnoff and Samuel Liebovitz, loyal staff workers, died in the same year1951. Changes in Leadership and Administration Abraham Herman was succeeded as president by Samuel A. Telsey, a former vice-president. In 1952, Ben Touster, an industrialist, communal leader, and director of H I A S since 1948, was elected president. Solomon Dingol, editor of The Day, a director of H I A S since 1934 and vice-president since 1944, was elected chairman of the Executive Committee in 1953, succeeding John L. Bernstein who had died in August of that year. Four vice-presidents were elected in 1 9 5 2 : Murray I. Gurfein, Mrs. Herman J. Leffert (president of the H I A S Women's Division), Herbert C. Kranzer, and Louis Gallack (chairman of the H I A S Council of Organizations). In 1950, for the first time, presidents of H I A S branches in the United States and abroad were elected vice-presidents of the organization. These were: Samuel Abrams, Boston, Mass. Dr. Paul E. Carliner, Baltimore, Md. Jacobo Feuermann, Buenos Aires, Argentina Leon Fink, Melbourne, Australia Reynold H. Greenberg, Philadelphia, Pa. Enrique Kalusin, Havana, Cuba A. B. Levi, Sao Paulo, Brazil Philip N. Lilienthal, Jr., San Francisco, Cal. Marcus Maus, Mexico City, Mexico Abraham J. Minkus, Chicago, 111. Dr. Mordechai Nurok, Tel Aviv, Israel Sam Prottas, Seattle, Wash. Abel Shaban, Johannesburg, South Africa Harry Fischel was succeeded as treasurer of H I A S by Samuel Goldstein, an officer of the organization since 1925. T h e new

238 were:


members elected to the Board of Directors in the postwar period

Mrs. Nettie Lesser Berg (1953) Mrs. Morris Berger (1953) Bernard Bienstock, a lawyer and former Assistant Attorney General (1952) Benjamin C. Browdy, Zionist leader (1949) Nathan Chanin, general secretary of the Workmen's Circle (*954) Harry J. Dunn (1953) Dr. Florence Freedman, chairman of the HIAS Women's Division Board of Directors (1953) Louis Gallack, chairman of HIAS Council of Organizations (*953) The Honorable Louis Goldstein (1950) Barney Greenberg (1953) Mrs. Abraham Herman, a president of the HIAS Women's Division (1953) Mrs. David Kestenbaum (1953) Harold Kovner (1948) Herbert C. Kranzer (1949) Abraham Miller, secretary-treasurer of the N. Y. Joint Board Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (1952) Congressman Abraham J. Multer of Brooklyn (1953) Isidore J. Pudnos, vice-chairman of the HIAS Council of Organizations (1954) Leo M. Rayfiel, Judge of the U. S. District Court (1948) Hugo E. Rogers, President of the Borough of Manhattan (1947) Jacob J. Rosenblum, lawyer and civic leader (1952) Jerry Segall, president of the JIAS of Canada (1954) Saul R. Siegel, an active campaigner for HIAS (1952) Sam Streitfeld (1953) Louis Stulberg, a vice-president of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (1952) Mrs. Rose Tabachnik (1953) Morris Tigel (1953) Bernard Tomson, attorney, educator, and author (1952) Mrs. Ben Touster (1953) Rudolph L. Weissman, economist, author, and lecturer (1952) Abraham S. Wilk (1948)

The Challenge of Peace responsibility of the following committees:


T h e planning and implementation of H I A S programs was the

Executive Committee; Solomon Dingol, chairman Public Relations Committee Committee on Subsidiary Organizations Murray I. Gurfein, chairman (HIAS Council of Organizations, HIAS Women's Division, etc.) Finance Committee; Joseph Pulvermacher, chairman Fund Raising Committee 1 , . , . T 1 R. , .. ^ ... > Herbert L. Kranzer, chairman Labor Relations Committee J Overseas Committee; Saul R. Siegel, chairman Committee on Projects in Israel; Samuel Goldstein, chairman Law Committee; Edward M. Benton, chairman House and Shelter Committee; Mrs. Herman J. Leffert, chairman Isaac L. Asofsky, executive director of H I A S , retired in 1952, after forty years of service to the organization. Dr. Arthur T. Jacobs, management consultant of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies in New York, was appointed executive director of H I A S in July 1953. Israel G. Jacobson, formerly a director of the Joint Distribution Committee for various European areas, was appointed director of European operations of H I A S , succeeding Lewis Neikrug. Raphael Spanien, a veteran official of H I A S in Europe, continued to serve as assistant director of European operations at the headquarters in Paris.
u 0 v

World W a r II and the years of turmoil and distress that followed it put H I A S to its hardest test. But wherever the harried and the homeless were to be found, there too one could find the men and women of HIASin Paris, Marseilles, Lisbon, Casablanca, Vilna, Kovno, Harbin, Shanghai, and Kobe; in the DP camps of Germany, Austria, and Italysuccoring the distressed and preserving the pitiful remnant who had been able to escape the bloodthirst of the Nazi Moloch. And as this remnant, overjoyed, but exhausted and bewildered, at last arrived in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Chicago, San Francisco,



and Seattle, in Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, and M o n t e v i d e o there H I A S was again, to greet and help them. While H I A S participated in many formal deliberations concerning migration and resettlement schemes sponsored by governmental, intergovernmental, international, and voluntary bodies, as well as agencies of the United Nations, the help it gave was always of a direct, personal, and warm nature. There were undoubtedly situations when caution should have been thrown to the windsas when in Lisbon, in 1 9 4 1 , the immediate chartering of boats to transport the refugees might have saved the day. Though funds were available, and public support was assured, there was sometimes that indecision and procrastination which are inevitable in a democratic organization. On the other hand, time and again H I A S stood firm in the face of crisis and hardship. There was the seven hundred thousand dollar deficit in 1947. Far from breaking down, H I A S doubled and tripled its efforts and overcame the crisis. In 1948 the loss was made up and the Society even expanded its program. This was the year of climax. It also ushered in a new stage in the organization's long historythe establishment of the state of Israel turned a part of HIAS's energies in the direction of the Near East.


HIAS in Israel

HIAS's connection with emigration to Palestine goes back to the early 1920s. At that time the World Zionist Organization maintained emigration offices only in Trieste, Vienna, Berlin, and Warsaw. In Kovno, Riga, Danzig, Bucharest, and Istanbul it was the H I A S offices that helped emigrants to go to Palestine. T h e selection of suitable immigrants was the responsibility of the Zionist Organization, except in Istanbul, where the H I A S office was entrusted with the distribution of Palestine immigration certificates. To enlarge this service, the H I A S Committee on Plans and Scope, in New York, suggested in 1925 that the World Zionist Organization advise its Palestine offices to forward to H I A S headquarters lists of prospective emigrants having relatives in the United States. T h e purpose behind this proposal was to assist the emigrants to contact American kin who might help them with funds for transportation to Palestine and for the landing deposits required of the various categories of immigrants. T h e result of this suggestion was the formation, on Feb241



ruary 1, 1926, of a Joint Committee of H I A S and the Zionist Organization of America, under the chairmanship of Joseph Barondess of H I A S . Nothing, however, came of this venture. Nor did the project of the newly founded H I C E M Association ( 1 9 2 7 ) to open an office in Tel Aviv to assist immigration to Palestine materialize. At the time there was an economic crisis in Palestine and large numbers of Jews were leaving the country. Zionist leaders feared that the establishment of a H I C E M office in Palestine might stimulate further emigration. Palestine Immigration10.27-48

When emigration to Palestine declined in the period 1 9 2 7 32, H I A S - I C A was approached by various Palestine offices of the Jewish Agency in Europe to assist in the transportation of halutzim. H I A S - I C A responded by allocating one hundred thousand dollars, for this purpose. T h e persecution of Jews in Germany by the Nazis during the period 1 9 3 3 - 3 9 coincided with a period of economic collapse for Polish Jewry, both of which set off a vast migration to Palestine, calling for an all-out effort by the voluntary Jewish organizations to cooperate with the Jewish Agency. H I A S - I C A met the challenge by undertaking to care for 6,145 refugees from Germany in various European countries and contributed $307,250 toward defraying the cost of their transportation to Palestine. At the same time, it helped transport 8,000 Jewish emigrants from eastern Europe to Palestine. H I A S - I C A made a signal contribution to the Youth Aliyah by transporting 1,000 children out of a total of 5,000 brought to Palestine in the period ending in 1939. This action was duly acknowledged at the Twenty-second Zionist Congress at Basel in 1946. During World W a r II, cooperation between H I A S and the Jewish Agency for Palestine greatly increased. In March 1943 Wilfrid Israel, of the famous Israel Department Store in Berlin, an outstanding communal leader, went to Lisbon on behalf of the Jewish Agency to select candidates in Portugal and Spain

HIAS in Israel


for Palestine immigration certificates. There being no Palestine office in either of these countries, H I A S - I C A in Lisbon, working together with Wilfrid Israel, served as such and was so recognized by the British Passport Control Office. Wilfrid Israel perished on the plane that was taking him back to London when it was shot down by the Germans, who mistook it for the plane that was bringing Winston Churchill back from his Casablanca interview with President Roosevelt. When Palestine offices were subsequently opened in Lisbon and Casablanca, H I A S helped in the first direct sailing to Palestine of 800 refugees from Spain and Portugal, on the Nyassa, in February 1944. David J. Schweitzer, a H I A S representative, escorted the refugee transport. He concluded an agreement with the Jewish Agency in Tel Aviv on the terms of HIAS's participation in Palestine immigration work. This was followed by the opening up of a H I A S office in Tel Aviv, under the directorship of Chaim Lerner, formerly director of H I A S in Czernovitz (Bucovina). In 1944-45, H I A S helped to finance the emigration of the Yemenite Jews from Aden, of the Bokharan Jews from Iran, and of the deportees of Mauritius whom the British now gave permission to enter Palestine, their original goal. T h e idea of establishing a shelter for new immigrants in Palestine was discussed with the Jewish Agency at this time, although the plan was not carried out until several years later. T h e report of the Immigration Department of the Jewish Agency to the Twenty-second Zionist Congress (1946) is replete with data about this work of H I A S during the war. In the postwar era, H I A S assisted 5,394 emigrants to go to Palestine, 447 of whom were from France and the balance from the British Occupation Zone in Germany. First HIAS Delegation to Israela 948 W i t h the proclamation of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948, H I A S began to consider the extension of its operations to that country. A memorandum outlining HIAS's activities since



1902, and the program of work it planned to carry on in Israel, was submitted to the Israel authorities. T h e proposals, worked out in a series of joint meetings of the Special H I A S Committee for W o r k in Israel and the H I A S Board of Directors, called for H I A S : 1) To assume financial responsibility for a shelter and the daily sustenance of 1,000 immigrants in Israel, in one or several camps, over a period of one year. 2) To arrange for and defray the cost of plane transportation of immigrants to Israel, at the rate of two planes a week. 3) To organize facilities for transmitting relief remittances to newly arrived immigrants in Israel from relatives and friends in the United States and elsewhere. 4) To defray a larger share of the cost of inland transportation of Jewish emigrants going to Israel. With these proposals in hand, a H I A S delegation consisting of Solomon Dingol, Samuel Goldstein, and Isaac L. Asofsky left for Israel on November 2 1 , 1948. An agreement was concluded with the Anglo-Palestine Bank in Tel Aviv to permit American relatives and friends of newcomers to Israel to send cash remittances to them through the H I A S Immigrant Bank in New York. T h e air-transportation plan was somewhat modified by David Remez, then Minister of Communications and Transportation, who proposed that the funds offered by H I A S for the chartering of planes be used instead for their purchase by the Israel Government. These planes would be placed at the disposal of H I A S for the DPs under its care. After the termination of the H I A S DP operation, the planes would revert to government ownership. No progress was made in the protracted negotiations with the Jewish Agency regarding HIAS's proposed measures for sheltering newcomers to Israel, though the offer met with sympathetic

H I A S in Israel


understanding. In reporting back to the Board of Directors in New York, the H I A S delegation offered an additional suggestion for the creation of a H I A S Loan F u n d for immigrants in Israel. T h e annual meeting of H I A S on March 1 3 , 1949 approved a decision of the Board to allocate five hundred thousand dollars to the State of Israel as an advance payment on its pledge to finance the transportation of DPs by air to Israel. T h e check was made payable to the Israel consulate general in New York, after a license was obtained from the State Department. T h e transmission of private funds through the H I A S Immigrant Bank started in February 1949. In June of the same year David Wertheim, a Zionist leader and Histadrut representative for Latin America, was appointed director of H I A S programs in Israel. Free Loans

H I A S began to take root in Israel. At the end of 1949 it became a partner in the Merkaz, or central organization, of the Free Loan Associations (Gemilut Hesed) in Israel, which had been founded in 1943 by the Jewish Agency and the Mifde Ezrachi. A C o m m o n Fund was established by the Jewish Agency and H I A S to help new arrivals (olim) with small, interest-free loans. In the first year of operations, H I A S contributed fifteen thousand Israeli pounds to this revolving fund, out of a total investment of thirty-six thousand. By 1953 H I A S had put forty thousand Israeli pounds into the C o m m o n Fund. Merkaz, it should be mentioned, began with nine free loan associations; by 1953 their number had grown to 252. In that year about 3,500 families, newly arrived in Israel, were granted small loans to help establish them in business or home crafts. A few cases will illustrate the work the Free Loan Association was able to do with the financial help of H I A S . A tailor, paralyzed in both legs as a result of years spent in Nazi camps, was



able with his interest-free loan to buy a motor for his footpedaled sewing machine, which was otherwise of no use to him. A loan to a widow with a serious chronic condition enabled her to fly to the United States where she was cured. A loan helped a new immigrant to start a carpentry shop where he specialized in making ironing boards. Another immigrant, who barely eked out a living repairing lamps, was helped by a loan to establish a thriving hardware shop. A loan to a shoemaker who had been working out in the open enabled him to move into a shop. Resettling Polish Jews

T h e air-lift project for Israel did not materialize. T h e president of H I A S , Samuel A. Telsey, reported to the annual meeting of March 4, 1 9 5 1 that the five hundred thousand dollars given to the Israel Ministry of Communications and Transportation "could not be used for the purposes intended originally." However, an occasion soon offered itself for H I A S to put this money to other uses. Through an arrangement between the Polish and Israel governments (1949), about 20,000 Polish Jews who had registered for emigration to Israel were permitted to leave Poland. A Public Committee (Vaad Tsiburi) headed by Itzhak Grinbaum, previously Minister of the Interior of the State of Israel, was formed and the H I A S funds in Israel were allocated to the Committee for the benefit of the new arrivals from Poland. T h e sum of $280,000 was spent on feeding, sheltering, and other needs of the immigrants. H I A S money also helped to build houses for the new arrivals near Lydda and in the vicinity of Beersheba, in the Negev. Early in 1 9 5 1 the project was successfully concluded. Sheltering Newcomers

As immigrants continued to stream into the country, the housing problem in Israel became very acute. T h e H I A S Board

H I A S in Israel


of Directors, at a special meeting in October 1950, discussed plans for broadening the HIAS's sheltering program. In November, Samuel Goldstein and Isaac L. Asofsky were sent to Israel to conduct negotiations on the matter with the Israel Government, the Jewish Agency, and other concerned parties. In June 1 9 5 1 H I A S sent Isaac L. Asofsky and Lewis Neikrug to Israel to conclude arrangements for the sheltering program. Menachem Kraicer, former H I A S director in the British zone of occupation in Germany, who had taken up residence in Israel, was appointed director in July 1 9 5 1 , replacing David Wertheim who had resigned his position to return to the United States. Owing to his connections with the "Aliyah Bet" which had carried out underground emigration work to Palestine in the British Zone, Kraicer's prestige in Israel was high; in addition, he was an experienced H I A S worker, fully conversant with the problems of immigration and sheltering operations. T h e H I A S Committee for Israel in Tel Aviv was reorganized, with Dr. Mordechai Nurok, Minister of Post and Telegraph in the Israel Cabinet and a staunch supporter of H I A S in Riga in the 1920s, as chairman. Zwi Klementynowski, an attorney, and Eliahu Levontin, of the famous Palestine pioneer family, were among the leading members. H I A S launched its sheltering program in July 1 9 5 1 , primarily to meet the problem of single men and women among the new arrivals. Situated near industrial centers where their tenants could find employment, the shelters could be found from the Carmel to the Negev. There were separate shelters for men and women, the latter especially benefiting from them as their economic position was especially difficult. H I A S greatly improved the shelters. Water was piped into the houses; fire hazards were reduced; the system of collecting rents was improved. It was stipulated that a shelter could not be occupied by the same person for more than six months. As of September 1 9 5 1 the following shelters operated with HIAS's cooperation:


Bat Yam Beersheba (Negev) Bnei Brak Givat Aliyah HaifaKfar Motzkin & Gesher Jaffa Jerusalem Kfar Ata Kfar Saba Kfar Shmaryahu Ness Ziona Petach Tikva Ramat Gan Ramat Itzhak Ramleh (Convalescent Home) Rishon Lezion Tel Arish Tel Aviv

6 1 2 3

5 7 4 9 5 4 33 5 1 1 10 5 1 135

24 10 21 38 105 71 77 12 36 27 17 149 13 5 9 51 38 8

80 50 87 165 420 257 308 48 70 60 60 562 49 20 38 140 186 55 2,655


By September 1952 the total number of immigrants who had resided in the various shelters (on a rotation basis) was about 8,000. In 1953 the number of shelters was reduced and the number of beds in the dormitories was increased, aggregating a total of 2,975 beds. In the first year (June 1 9 5 1 to July 1952) H I A S contributed $154,000 of the total budget of $231,000, or 65 per cent of the cost of operation. T h e cultural work in the shelters was the concern of the Israel Department of Education, the Histadrut, the Hapoel Hamizrachi, and the Progressive Zionists. Remittances to Israel through the H I A S Immigrant Bank amounted to $491,197 in the period February 1949-53. Under the terms of an agreement between H I A S and C A R E (Cooperative for American Remittances to E u r o p e ) , announced on January 27, 1 9 5 1 , H I A S was established as the exclusive agency in the United States to accept C A R E food-parcel orders for individuals in Israel. During 1953 about 8,150 people in the

H I A S in Israel


United States sent C A R E packages, amounting to $104,000, to Israel. C A R E distributed 1,225 free parcels to families in Israel certified by H I A S as needy. Emigration from Israel To discourage emigration from Israel, H I A S set up a special counseling service. Experience had shown that people were frequently impelled to leave the country on trifling grounds. Sometimes all that was needed was encouragement and advice to the newcomer to give himself a chance to get used to conditions. There were, of course, exceptional situations, as when old or infirm people felt that they would be better cared for if reunited with relatives in the United States, Canada, and Australia. In such cases H I A S , with the approval of the Israel Government and the Jewish Agency, offered its assistance. In 1952 H I A S helped 263 persons to emigrate to other countries. To make it easier for people living far from Tel Aviv to avail themselves of the H I A S counseling service, another office was set up in Haifa, the port of entry for immigrants arriving by boat. Beersheba Beersheba, the gate to the Negev and one of the most ancient cities in Israel, has developed rapidly in recent years. T h e terebinth planted there by the patriarch Abraham (Genesis 21:33) regarded by the Talmudical sages of the second century as a symbol of refuge for the wayfarer. T h e H I A S representatives who laid the cornerstone for a hostel in Beersheba, in 1954, were thus observing an ancient tradition. T h e shelter consists of a main building which includes an assembly hall, a library, a music room, and an American-style cafeteria. In addition, in the two wings, there are fifty apartment units, consisting of a bed-sitting-room combination and kitchen for couples or groups of single men. Currently the hostel houses foreign technicians, engineers, and scientists working in the Negev.
w a s


The Last Decade




In the period 1 9 4 5 - 5 1 H I A S assisted an average of 21,350 Jewish migrants a year. During the period from 1952, through the first half of 1954 the total number of Jewish migrants served by H I A S was 12,000. T h e table below indicates the number and destination of HIAS-sponsored migrants during those two and a half years:

1952 3,645 2,378 1,000 193 7,216

1953 2,111 836 650 228 3,825

1954 (first half) 413 158 374 41 986


United States British Dominion (Canada, Australia, New Zealand) Latin America Israel and Other Countries

6,169 3,372 2,024 462 12,027

To understand the sharp decline in agency-sponsored and other Jewish migration, we must bear in mind the following: 250

The Last Decade


the United States Displaced Persons Act of 1948 (amended in 1950) made it possible, as we have seen, for a large number of Jews in Europe to immigrate to this country. Whereupon Canada, Latin America, Australia, and other overseas countries, following the example set by the United States, also opened their doors wider. T h e last group of displaced persons to benefit by the DP Act entered the United States in the early months of 1952. Then, on June 27, 1952, the Immigration and Nationality (McCarran-Walter) Act was passed over the veto of President Truman. It marked the return to a restrictive immigration policy, not only in the United States but also in other Western Hemisphere countries. The McCarran-Walter Act

In 1947 the United States Senate authorized a committee investigation of the myriad immigration and naturalization regulations in the United States (S. Res. 1 3 7 ) . Following the publication of the report, The Immigration and Naturalization Systems of the United States, by the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 20, 1950, immigration bills were submitted in the Senate and the House. T h e bill sponsored by Senator Pat McCarran and Representative Francis E. Walter was finally adopted on June 27, 1952 by a vote of 278 to 1 1 3 in the House and 57 to 26 in the Senate. T h e new Act became effective on December 24, 1952. T h e Act retained the national-origins quota features of the Act of 1924 and the "mortgaging" of quotas introduced in the Displaced Persons Act of 1948; it retained the old grounds for deportation, and added new ones; it introduced new grounds for expulsion; it eliminated any opportunity for temporary residents to acquire a more permanent status, and it made it extremely difficult for aliens to acquire the right of permanent residence. Fifty per cent of the quota was made available to persons with specified skills, thus reducing considerably the chances of immigrants not so endowed. More precarious were

252 VISAS TO FREEDOM the provisions of the Act concerning naturalization. Special penalties were imposed on naturalized persons and new rules were established for the revocation, cancelation, and loss of citizenship. T h e Act stamped a naturalized citizen as a secondclass American. T h e few liberal provisions of the Act were lost in the maze of restrictions. While racial discrimination as regards naturalization was eliminated, it was retained in the immigration quotas. Only a token quota of 2,000 was granted to all Asian and Pacific nationals. T h e only unqualified positive provision was designed to promote the reunion of families by granting nonquota visas to husbands of American wives, and preference to husbands of resident alien wives. T h e McCarran-Walter Act met with widespread indignation before and after its passage. T h e president of H I A S , Ben Touster, pointed out the dangers and difficulties of the Act at a gathering of editors of foreign-language newspapers on June 1 6 , 1952. T h e meeting sent a resolution to President Truman and all members of Congress, condemning the Act for the discriminatory treatment of potential immigrants, resident aliens, and naturalized citizens. T h e chairman of the H I A S Executive Committee, Solomon Dingol, acting on behalf of the editors, presented a brief to the special Commission on Immigration and Naturalization appointed by President Truman on September 4, 1952. T h e chairman of the Commission was Philip G. Perlman, former Solicitor General of the United States; the vice-chairman was Earl G. Harrison; the executive director, Harry N. Rosenfield, was closely connected with postwar migration work. Spokesmen for hundreds of governmental, religious, civic, and welfare agencies exposed the un-American character of the Act. On October 8 the Hon. Louis E. Levinthal of Philadelphia issued a forceful statement on the Act in behalf of H I A S , U S N A , and the National Council of Jewish Women. Denouncing its undemocratic character, Levinthal called for new immigration legislation, drawn up in the spirit of fairness and

The Last Decade


humaneness. While there were "in Europe and adjacent areas millions of refugees, jobless and in need of settlement . . . migration has reached the lowest point since World W a r II." This condition, the statement went on, should be remedied "to maintain our position of leadership" in migration, as in other world problems. "The McCarran Act, however, is based on an archaic quota system, arbitary rules, and iniquities incompatible with the spirit of American democracy." In addition, the chairman of the H I A S Law Committee, Edward M. Benton, together with Jack Wasserman, immigration counselor in Washington, D . C . , drew up a statement which was presented to the President's Commission on Immigration and Naturalization on November 6, 1952, calling for the repeal of the McCarran Act, which "cannot be defended except upon the fully discredited theory of racism, and flies in the face of the fundamental principle that an individual is to be judged only upon his personal merit and not upon the color of his skin or the place of birth." T h e Commission on Immigration and Naturalization submitted its report to the President on January 1, 1953. (25) It expressed the hope that its recommendations "will assist Congress in the consideration of legislation to improve the immigration and naturalization laws and policies of the United States." Its chief recommendations were that the nationalorigins quota system be dropped entirely and replaced by a unified quota system; that the grounds for deportation of aliens not be retroactive, nor should a person be penalized for acts which were not prohibited when committed; that a naturalized citizen should not be deprived of his citizenship for conduct subsequent to naturalization, unless citizenship had been fraudulently obtained. These recommendations were incorporated in a new Omnibus Immigration and Citizenship Bill introduced on August 3, 1953 by Senator Herbert H. Lehman and several other senators; in the House, the bill was sponsored by Representatives Eman-

254 VISAS TO F R E E D O M uel Celler, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr., and twenty-two others. However, the overwhelmingly anti-immigrationist temper of the Eighty-third Congress doomed the bill. Refugee Relief Act of 1953 President Dwight D. Eisenhower took issue with the Act in his first State of the Union Message on February 2, 1953. Asking Congress to review the Act, he said: ". . . we are one and all immigrants, or sons and daughters of immigrants. Existing legislation contains injustices. It does in fact discriminate. I am informed by members of Congress that it was realized, at the time of its enactment, that future study of the basis of determining quotas would be necessary. I am, therefore, requiring the Congress to review this legislation and to enact a statute that will at one and the same time guard our legitimate national interests and be faithful to our basic ideas of freedom and fairness to all." However, the McCarran-Walter Act was not revised by Congress. President Eisenhower proposed an emergency refugee program in a message to both houses on April 22, 1953. It was introduced by Senator Arthur V. Watkins ( U t a h ) on May 1 5 . Hearings took place in June, and on August 7, 1953 the Refugee Relief Act was passed. It provided for the entry of 209,000 persons of various categoriesescapees from Communism, emigrants from overpopulated countries (Greece, the Netherlands), displaced orphansover a three-year period, over and above the quotas. In addition, 5,000 persons already in the United States on temporary permits were given an opportunity to acquire permanent immigrant status. A special office to coordinate the work of the six government departments concerned (State, Treasury, Army, Justice, Labor, and Welfare) was set up. In the first year after the adoption of the Act, 9,000 immigration visas were granted; 2,000 persons immigrated, among them 24 Jews.

The HIAS and Other Agencies



Upon the initiative of the United States, the Intergovernmental Committee for European MigrationICEMcomposed of representatives of twenty-three governments, began activities in February 1952, succeeding to the responsibilities of the International Refugee Organization ( I R O ) . From February 1, 1952 to February 28, 1953, I C E M in Europe transported 84,492 migrants overseas. Together with I C E M , the H I A S set up a revolving fund for eligible Jewish migrants, I C E M paying $100 per person (later $ 1 2 5 ) and H I A S making good the balance. During the first year of I C E M operations, H I A S resettled over 3,000 Jewish refugees. I C E M was headed by the Hon. Hugh Gibson, former American Minister to Poland. T h e United States Escapee ProgramUSEPwas established on March 22, 1952 with the object of helping the victims of oppression to escape from behind the Iron Curtain. George Warren, Department of State Advisor on Refugees, was in charge of the work. All refugees who had made their escape after January 1, 1948 were eligible. T h e program provided supplementary care and maintenance for the escapees, including resettlement in cooperation with the voluntary agencies. As of the summer of 1953, about 20,000 escapees had been registered in western Europe, of whom 15,000 were receiving assistance in resettlement; 4,000 have already been resettled in twenty-two overseas countries. H I A S cooperated in assisting eligible Jewish escapees, including 600 Jews from East Germany who had fled to West Berlin early in 1953. T h e Fifth Session of the United Nations General Assembly appointed a UN High Commissioner for Refugees, with headquarters in Geneva. T h e work of the High Commissioner began on January 1, 1 9 5 1 and resulted in the negotiation of a number of international agreements affecting refugees. Cooperation with voluntary agencies in Geneva and with the American Council of Voluntary Agencies for Foreign Service in the United States



was secured through its Standing Committee, H I A S participating in both organizations. In countries where both the High Commissioner and the H I A S maintained offices, individual refugee cases were handled jointly. H I A S cooperated actively with the American Council of Voluntary Agencies and in 1953 the executive director of H I A S , Dr. Arthur T. Jacobs, joined the Council's special committee on the Refugee Relief Act. H I A S also took part in the Non-governmental Organizations Interested in Migration ( N G O ) , an international group of voluntary agencies attached to the U N , and in the National Council on Naturalization and Citizenship ( N C N C ) , an American group. H I A S immigration experts cooperated with the National Community Relations Advisory Council ( N C R A C ) , which represents the leading Jewish community councils in the United States, as well as national Jewish organizations. Administration1952-54 Although, beginning with 1952, the volume of emigration from European countries declined, there was no decline at all in the amount of technical and administrative work performed by H I A S . To process and transport 3,000 immigrants in 1953 meant the handling of ten times as many applications as before. Experts in migration know what the handling of 30,000 cases a year involves, and especially now, when there are, in addition, the requirements of the McCarran-Walter and Refugee Relief Acts to be met. As of the middle of 1953, H I A S offices were functioning in London, Brussels, Amsterdam, Paris, Marseilles, Rome, Genoa, Milan, Vienna, Salzburg, and Munich. In October of 1953 H I A S reorganized its Frankfurt office. There was a small Jewish community of 2,000 persons there, and in the adjacent British Zone some 4,500 Jewsall of whom were in need of emigration counsel. Frankfurt had an additional importance, as the headquarters of the United States Escapee Program in Europe and because of its proximity to Bonn, the capital of West Germany.


In response to an invitation extended by Mr. Edwin Rosenberg, acting on his own initiative for the community, the undersigned representatives of the Hebrew Sheltering & Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), the Joint Distribution Committee(jDC), the United Service for New Americans {USNA), and the National Council of Jewish Uomen (NCJW), have met from time to time over a period of fifteen months for the purpose ^ exploring the possibilities of eliminating wasteful duplication and overlapping of tne migration services rendered by these organizations. By common consent, Mr. Rosenberg acted as chairman and presided over these meetings. Having concluded our deliberations, we are firmly convinced that the most effective, unified and efficient service can be rendered to the Jewish migrant and to the Jewish community by the adoption of the following proposals which we have unanimously agreed to submit to our respective Boards for approval. 1. HIAS, JDC and USNA shall form a unified national and international Jewish migration agency, which shall be known as UNITED HIAS SERVICE, INC. HIAS and USNA shall consolidate all of their respective functions and services, and upon consolidation, shall absorb all of the migration services rendered by JDC, whereupon JDC shall withdraw from the migration field, The organizational structure of the unified agency, UNITJD HIAS SERVICE, INC., shall be composed of the present membership of



o~~*^- -~-~ ** ^ u i n j j t u vi -"o Bj-ououi ui w uwursejnre ris*BO meet this challenge by recommending the creation of the one unified all-inclusive national and international Jewish migration agency envisioned in these proposals. As the first step toward the realization of his goal, we, the undersigned, pledge to exert our best efforts to secure at an early date favorable and effective action on these proposals by. our respective Boards.

UNITED SERVICE FOR NEW AMERICANS .^p (*- President - f\ Chairman, Board of

Walter H. Bieringer

& i tii i iV LtiI&UH &*v-LjLr,

Mrs. Louie Broido Member, Executive Committee Herbert C . Kranaers /\ Edward M. M. Warbi



Edward M. Benton

<^Lia&acuti cutive

Executive ViMChairman Moses A. Leavitt

NATIONAL COUNCIL OF JEWISH WOMEN President Mrs, Irving H. Engel Chairman, Committee Mrs, J, Bernard Saltzman y




creation o f U N I T E D H I A S S E R V I C E , I N C . , December 23, 1953.

The Last Decade


On the other side of the Atlantic, in Latin America, H I A S maintained headquarters in Buenos Aires and had offices in Rio de Janeiro, Montevideo, Santiago, and Quito. In other places H I A S worked through a committee or through local or national welfare organizations. In the United States the branch offices in Boston, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco, and Seattle still functioned actively. In Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, H I A S worked through affiliated welfare agencies. Shelter Policies

W i t h immigration slowing down, Mrs. Herman J. Leffert, head of the House and Shelter Committee, raised the question of whether the old practice of admitting needy transient or resident Jews to the Shelter (Hachnosas Orchim) should not be revived. After hearing the Committee's report, the Board agreed ( 1 9 5 3 ) that temporary shelter should be offered only to certain categories of needy nonimmigrants. These included individuals and families who, for religious reasons, were unwilling to go to municipal lodging houses in New York City or who would not travel on the Sabbath or High Holy Days; transients temporarily stranded in New York City while awaiting funds for transportation; and individuals and families coming to the city under a plan arranged by a community agency outside of New York, and needing temporary shelter until the implementation of the plan. Returnees One of the saddest aspects of migration work is represented by "returnees." Recent history knows many such cases: the hapless deportees who cannot meet immigration requirements; refugees who have been shunted around, from one shore to another, without finding a resting place; the discouraged immigrant, unable to adjust to his new environment, who prefers to return to whatever unhappiness and misery may await him in his old home. T h e latter category, though to all appearances



less deserving of sympathy, are nonetheless tragic victims of disordered times and upheaval. A group of 8 0 0 German Jews who had left Israel and reentered Germany illegally before the end of August 1953 had been assembled in the camp at Foehrenwald. A smaller group which arrived later found refuge in the damaged Moehlstrasse synagogue in Munich. T h e German authorities granted the group in camp a stay of deportation until February 1 7 , 1954. T h e squatters in Munich were less lucky. In a sudden raid, sixty-seven of their number were arrested. Through the intervention of the H I A S office in Munich, the women were released upon payment of small fines while the men were given sentences up to twelve days, instead of six months as had been threatened. H I A S then obtained Brazilian visas for the entire group. T h e case of the "illegal returnees" became something of an issue and was taken up on September 13 at a conference with the Federal Foreign Office in Bonn. T h e conference was attended, on the German side, by officials of the Federal and Bavarian Ministries of Interior and Finance, and, on the Jewish side, by representatives of the Israel Purchasing Committee in Germany, the Joint Distribution Committee, H I A S , the Central Council of Jews in Germany, the Bavarian Association of Jewish Communities, and a committee appointed by the returnees. T h e Germans proposed a "tentative understanding" whereby the "illegals" entering Germany after the deadline of August 1 7 , 1953 would receive no support from the Jewish organizations, and the authorities would be free to jail or deport those apprehended. In New York, H I A S president Ben Touster reacted to this proposal in a statement of September 1 5 , in which he said: HIAS could not be in agreement with a policy which dictates the arrest of migrant Jews who are seeking to find permanent homes. The reasons which prompt people to migrate are often inexplicable. Our Society recognizes the sovereignty of nations

The Last Decade


to make laws, but cannot agree to the incarceration of homeless people who are forced by circumstances to sojourn temporarily in countries situated on their transmigration route. Our Society has never advised Jews to travel on "illegal" routes, but feels it is its sacred duty to safeguard them, in every legal way, from arrest and deportation. It has never been HIAS's policy to refuse aid to any migrant Jew in trouble, and we certainly have not and will not issue such threats to despairing homeless people. We strive to cooperate with governments, but do not use threats to Jews in our efforts to achieve amicable solutions to problems. At HIAS's initiative, the Brazilian Consulate in Frankfurt granted additional visas for the returnees. In return, H I A S gave the Brazilian Government its assurance that it would provide for the maintenance of the immigrants. T h e help of the Brazilian Jewish communities was enlisted in the matter of caring for the newcomers. T h e situation was a delicate one, as the Zionist organizations of Brazil protested against providing support to people who had left Israel. H I A S cared for the immigrants for the first two months, until the Joint Distribution Committee took over the task of resettling them. Smaller contingents of the Foehrenwald group were sent to Argentina, Uruguay, Canada, and Australia.

< 14

The Merger

IN ITS SEVEN DECADES of service, H I A S has come to the assistance of hundreds of thousands of Jewish immigrants. It can truly be said that few Jewish families in this country have not had some of their members helped upon arrival in the New World by the H I A S . Like the name of a beloved friend or relative, that of H I A S evokes a warming glow of recognition and the kind of affection that is ordinarily accorded a human being, not an organization. In recent years, it has been felt, both in the United States and abroad, that there is a decided area of duplication and overlapping in the operation of the major migration agencies in this country. T h e argument was frequently advanced that a consolidation of these bodies would eliminate multiple representations to governmental and intergovernmental agencies and do away with the confusion experienced by migrants overseas and their sponsors in the United States as a result of competing services. Efforts toward this end had been made from time to time. A first and partial step in this direction was achieved in the 260

The Merger


United States in August 1946, when the National Refugee Service and the Service to Foreign Born of the National Council of Jewish W o m e n merged to form the United Service for New Americans ( U S N A ) . Efforts to include H I A S in this merger, as in others, were unsuccessful. In 1927 H I A S joined with I C A to establish the H I C E M which, for eighteen long and difficult yearsincluding the Nazi catastrophe and World W a r IIcarried on the work of assisting Jewish refugees and emigrants in Europe. After the war, in 1949-50, H I A S and the European staffs of J D C and U S N A combined services to obtain the release of Jewish displaced persons from the camps in Germany and Austria. But these, in the final analysis, were merely temporary arrangements which could be dissolved at will by any of the participating parties. One of the men who felt most strongly on the subject of consolidation was Edwin Rosenberg, well-known community leader, a former president of U S N A , chairman of the Executive Committee of the New York United Jewish Appeal, and Executive Committee member of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds. In his subsequent account of the steps which led to the final merger, Rosenberg stated: When, in the summer of 1952, a new president was elected by HIAS, a man whom I knew and one who had been active in communal affairs, I thought the time propitious for another attempt to effect a consolidation of the Jewish agencies operating in the migration field . . . I had the privilege of meeting first with some of the top leadership of HIAS, then of USNA and J D C . It was soon apparent to all of us that we had to think in terms of one world-wide Jewish migration agency . . . a single national and international migration agency which would encompass all of the operations of HIAS and of USNA, as well as the migration activities of J D C . (26) T h e first conference, an informal one, was held at the Advertising Club in New York; those present were Edwin Rosenberg, Ben Touster, president of H I A S , and Solomon Dingol, chair-



man of its Executive Committee. It was at this meeting that the matter of a merger was first mentioned. There was immediate opposition by the H I A S officers, who pointed out that H I A S had been performing its work to the satisfaction of the immigrants for nearly three quarters of a century, and apparently to the equal satisfaction of the community, which had covered its budget of operations; they saw no need, therefore, for consolidation with other agencies. In addition, they expressed some fears for the future of the H I A S as a result of any merger. Rosenberg, on the other hand, stressed the great benefits which the migrants and the community would derive from the proposed amalgamation. Actually, during that first conference the word merger was carefully avoided. Instead, consolidation of activities was talked of. T h e discussion lasted about two hours and Rosenberg succeeded in persuading Touster and Dingol that it was the duty of H I A S to explore the matter further. Reporting back to his Board of Directors, President Touster asked for authority to appoint a committee "to explore the matter" together with representatives of the other migration agencies. Authority having been granted, the president appointed Solomon Dingol and Edward M. Benton, counsel of the H I A S , as delegates to the joint conference. Shortly thereafter, VicePresident Herbert C. Kranzer was added to the H I A S delegation. T h e first joint meeting with the delegates of U S N A , J D C , and the National Council of Jewish W o m e n was held in October 1953 at the Hotel Waldorf Astoria, with Edwin Rosenberg presiding, as he did at all subsequent meetings. Due to the skill of the chairman, the delegates soon found themselves not merely exploring but actually negotiating. There were a number of points of disagreement and a second meeting was scheduled for the following week. O n e of the major controversies revolved around the name of the new body to emerge from the amalgamation. H I A S insisted that the new agency carry its name, not only because

The Merger


of its seniority in the migration field, but also because its name stood for a definite philosophy in migration work; while its technique was that of a social-service agency, its approach to the immigrant was of a more intimate, neighborly character, which appealed very strongly to the Jewish masses and institutions which supported H I A S . United Service for New Americans insisted on maintaining its own identity in the new agency for precisely the same, and some additional, reasons. It objected to the H I A S approach to immigration problems and had developed its own procedures in migration work, particularly in the matter of community participation in the resettlement of immigrants, and therefore felt it essential to have its name and philosophy carried over into the merged agency. T h e Joint Distribution Committee, as the major Jewish socialservice agency in the United States, was certainly entitled to have its name incorporated in that of the new agency, thus adding to the new body's prestige in the community. However, J D C was the first to relinquish its claim to figure in the new name, and U S N A and H I A S compromised by agreeing to insert the latter name between the first two words of the former: U N I T E D H I A S S E R V I C E . This name was agreed to by all the participating bodies. The financing of the new agency was another obstacle. U S N A had always been subsidized by the United Jewish Appeal, while H I A S raised its own funds. It was obvious to all that, whereas the merger would eliminate duplication of services and result in the saving of considerable expenses, nevertheless the budget of the consolidated agency would far surpass the sums heretofore either raised by H I A S or contributed to U S N A by the United Jewish Appeal. Some of the delegates suggested that the new agency join the United Jewish Appeal and H I A S , in return, give up its own fund raising. H I A S objected to this proposal on two grounds. First, it had close to 40,000 members who contributed



to it annually. Many of these members also supported the United Jewish Appeal and would not increase their annual contributions to the latter if it included as beneficiary the new body of which H I A S was to be a member. Many of the small contributors to H I A S felt a sense of personal obligation to the organization which they could feel for no other institution. If H I A S were to give up raising its own funds, many of these contributions would be completely lost and, in the end, the community would be the loser. Second, H I A S jealously guarded its independence and balked at subjecting its policies to the dictates of outside committees on whom it would have to rely for its appropriations. A compromise was finally reached whereby H I A S retained its right to continue raising funds and the J D C agreed, in the event of a deficit due to the increased budget of the consolidated agency, to make an annual grant up to a million dollars for the first two years of the merger to cover the deficit. A third major problem was the disposition to be made of the various local services such as "information," "affidavits," "aid in naturalization," etc., conducted by H I A S and its national branches, as well as by U S N A through the agency of the National Council of Jewish W o m e n . H I A S insisted on retaining these activities, and the Council advanced equally strong arguments for continuing these services as heretofore. T h e problem was finally solved by mutual agreement to continue the status quo until a survey could be m a d e and recommendations presented to the Board of the unified agency. Other problems arose, necessitating further discussion. There were the questions of merging staffs, dismissing personnel, closing offices here and abroad, andmost vital to all the bodies concernedthe ironing out of differences of policy and attitudes. It took fifteen months of meetings and conferences before the tired negotiators and their tireless chairman could append their signatures to a paper which has now become a historic

The Merger


document, known as the Joint Proposals. Its preamble reads as follows: In response to an invitation extended by Mr. Edwin Rosenberg, acting on his own initiative for the community, the undersigned representatives of the Hebrew Sheltering & Immigrant Aid Society ( H I A S ) , the Joint Distribution Committee ( J D C ) , the United Service for New Americans (USNA) and the National Council of Jewish Women ( N C J W ) , have met from time to time over a period of fifteen months for the purpose of exploring the possibilities of eliminating wasteful duplication and overlapping of the migration services rendered by these organizations. By common consent, Mr. Rosenberg acted as chairman and presided over these meetings. Having concluded our deliberations, we are firmly convinced that the most effective, unified and efficient service can be rendered to the Jewish migrant and to the Jewish community by the adoption of the following proposals which we have unanimously agreed to submit to out respective Boards for approval. After enumerating nine points of agreement, the document concludes: We are fully cognizant, in considering a matter as vital as this, that the interests of the migrant and that of the total Jewish community must be held paramount. Moreover, we recognize the great need to marshal all available communal resources to cope with the manifold problems arising out of restrictive measures that impede the rescue, rehabilitation and resettlement of the remnants of persecuted and homeless Jewry in many parts of the world. The present situation offers a unique challenge that we believe should be met courageously and in a forthright manner. Looking beyond the special interests of our own individual organizations and fully convinced of the wisdom of our course, we rise to meet this challenge by recommending the creation of the one unified all-inclusive national and international Jewish migration agency envisioned in these proposals. As the first step toward the realization of this goal, we, the undersigned, pledge to exert our best efforts to secure at an early date favorable and effective action on these proposals by our respective Boards.



T h e document was signed by the chairman, Edwin Rosenberg, and by the following members of the negotiating committee, representing their respective organizations: For J D C : For HIAS: Edward M. M. Warburg, chairman Moses A. Leavitt, executive vice-chairman Ben Touster, president Solomon Dingol, chairman, Executive Committee Herbert C. Kranzer, vice-president Edward M. Benton, member, Executive Committee Walter H. Bieringer, president Mrs. Louis Broido, chairman, Board of Directors Mrs. Irving M. Engel, president Mrs. J. Bernard Saltzman, chairman, Negotiating Committee


For N C J W :

The proposals were signed on December 23, 1953. On January 28, 1954 a report was submitted to the Board of Directors of HIAS, which then consisted of the following members: Ben Touster, president; Solomon Dingol, chairman, ex. com.; Murray I. Gurfein, Mrs. Herman J. Leffert, Herbert C. Kranzer, and Louis Gallack (vice-presidents); Samuel Goldstein (treasurer); Dr. Harold M. Weinberg (associate treasurer); Abraham S. Wilk (secretary); and Morris Asofsky, Aaron Benjamin, Edward M. Benton, Mrs. Nettie Lesser Berg, Mrs. Morris Berger, Dr. James Bernstein, Bernard Bienstock, Benjamin C. Browdy, Rabbi Aaron D. Burack, Nathan Chanin, Dr. Florence B. Freedman, Harry Ginsberg, Hon. Jonah J. Goldstein, Barney Greenberg, Adolph Held, Mrs. Abraham Herman, Alexander Kahn, Mrs. Leon Kamaiky, Jacob Massel, Abraham Miller, Abraham J. Minkus, Hon. Abraham J. Multer, Isidore J. Pudnos, Joseph Pulvermacher, Hon. Leo F. Rayfiel, Hugo E. Rogers, Jacob J. Rosenblum, Daniel G. Ross, Joseph Schlossberg, Saul R. Siegel, Hon. Adolph Stern, Sam Streitfeld, Louis Stulberg, Mrs. Rose Tabachnik, Samuel A. Telsey, Morris Tigel, Bernard Tomson, Mrs. Ben Touster, Morris Weinberg, S. J. Weinstein, and Rudolph L. Weissman; honorary vice-presidents were: Samuel Abrams (Boston), Dr. Paul E. Carliner (Baltimore), Jacobo Feuerman

The Merger


(Buenos Aires, Argentina), Leon Fink (Melbourne, Australia), Reynold H. Greenberg (Philadelphia), Enrique Kalusin (Havana, C u b a ) , A. B. Levi (Sao Paulo, Brazil), Philip N. Lilienthal, Jr. (San Francisco), Shalom Linetzky (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), Marcus Maus (Mexico City, Mexico), Harry J. Dunn (Chicago), Dr. Mordechai Nurok (Tel Aviv, Israel), Sam Prottas (Seattle), Jerry J. Segall (Montreal, Canada), Abel Shaban (Johannesburg, South Africa). Of course the honorary vice-presidents, except for occasions when they happened to be in New York, never attended Board meetings. An exception was Reynold H. Greenberg of Philadelphia, who, due to his relative proximity to New York and his keen interest in H I A S , managed to attend Board of Directors meetings very frequently. T h e members present at the Board meeting at which the report of the negotiating committee was heard subjected the submitted document to the keenest criticism and scrutinized every point of the Joint Proposals. T h e document was approved in principle, but not in substance. New instructions were given to the negotiating committee, resulting in further meetings with the representatives of the other participating bodies. Supplementary Joint Proposals were drafted; however, these no longer dealt with matters of principle but were confined to the mechanics of the merger and the problems of administration. T h e climax came on August 3, 1954 at 4:30 P.M. In a tense atmosphere, President Ben Touster opened a special meeting of the H I A S Board of Directors for the purpose of receiving the Board's approval of "the consolidation of our society with the United Service for New Americans to form a single world-wide Jewish migration agency to be called UNITED HIAS SERVICE, INC." Following is an excerpt of the official minutes of that historic meeting. President Touster said: HIAS, in its glorious history of seven decades, has always kept in touch with the changing timesit was, in fact, the constant challenges posed by the emergencies of the changing times that



have always directed and dictated the policies of our organization. With many other leaders of the Jewish community, HIAS felt that changed conditions have removed any justification for the existence of three Jewish organizations in the migration field. We believe that a single agency will operate more efficiently, more economically and more effectively. About 22 months ago a committee was formed, under the chairmanship of Mr. Edwin Rosenberg, consisting of representatives of HIAS, USNA, J D C and the National Council of Jewish Women, to explore the possibilities of establishing a single national and international Jewish migration agency. On January 28th of this year the Negotiations Committee announced that, after more than 16 months of discussion and study, it had agreed upon a set of proposals to consolidate HIAS and USNA to form U N I T E D HIAS S E R V I C E , INC., and that the new agency would take over all the migration services of J D C . With your approval, united in a great cause, we can go forward into the future armed with our ideals and our experience. In the new consolidated agency, we will add a bright page to the history of aid and rescue that we have so far inscribed. We pledge a continuation of the great work without diminution and with increased effectiveness, and your approval of the consolidation proposals will speed us on our humanitarian mission. T h e secretary of H I A S , Abraham S. Wilk, then moved for adoption of the following resolution which was seconded by Hugo E. Rogers: WHEREAS, H E B R E W S H E L T E R I N G AND I M M I G R A N T AID S O C I E T Y has been and is now rendering, both in this country and abroad, service of various kinds to migrants, and W H E R E A S , U N I T E D S E R V I C E F O R N E W A M E R I C A N S , I N C . has been and is now rendering similar and related service in this country, working abroad with and through Migration Service of American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, and W H E R E A S , It is the consensus of this meeting that a single unified national and international Jewish migration agency should be formed to render the most effective service to migrants and that H E B R E W S H E L T E R I N G A N D I M M I G R A N T A I D S O C I E T Y and U N I T E D S E R V I C E F O R N E W A M E R I C A N S , I N C . should consolidate all

The Merger


of their respective functions and services and should absorb all of the migration services rendered by American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, NOW, T H E R E F O R E , B E I T R E S O L V E D , That H E B R E W S H E L T E R I N G A N D I M M I G R A N T A I D S O C I E T Y and U N I T E D S E R V I C E F O R N E W A M E R I C A N S , I N C . be consolidated so as to form a single new corporation to be known as U N I T E D H I A S S E R V I C E , I N C . , pursuant to an agreement of consolidation substantially in the form presented to this meeting. On a roll call the following thirty-six members, who were present at the Board of Directors meeting, responded favorably: Morris Asofsky Edward M. Benton Mrs. Nettie L. Berg Dr. James Bernstein Bernard Bienstock Rabbi A. D. Burack Solomon Dingol Louis Gallack Harry Ginsberg Samuel Goldstein Barney Greenberg Reynold H. Greenberg Murray I. Gurfein Adolph Held Mrs. Abraham Herman Alexander Kahn Herbert C. Kranzer Isidore J. Pudnos Joseph Pulvermacher Hugo E. Rogers Jacob J. Rosenblum Saul R. Siegel Joseph Schlossberg Hon. Adolph Stern Sam Streitfeld Mrs. Rose Tabachnik Samuel A. Telsey Morris Tigel Bernard Tomson Ben Touster Mrs. Ben Touster Dr. H. M. Weinberg Morris Weinberg S. J. Weinstein Rudolph Weissman Abraham S. Wilk

Mrs. Morris Berger, Dr. Florence B. Freedman, and Mrs. Herman J. Leffert voted against the resolution. Thus the last chapter in the life of H I A S as an independent society came to a close. Early in the century, H I A S gained its name of Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society through a merger with the Hebrew Sheltering Society; now, in mid-century, it was giving up its cherished name in a merger with the United Service for New Americans.



But the change of name now, just as half a century before, implied no change of activities or ideology. Independent or united, the name of H I A S will always remain in the mind of the community and in the hearts of its leaders as a symbol of service to the Jewish migrants the world over. H I A S is merely reborn in U N I T E D H I A S S E R V I C E . May it live long and serve well!



1. The letter was published in the Commercial Advertiser (New York) on October 1 6 , 1822 and sympathetically commented upon in the paper's editorial column. 2. In what language the original letter was written and how it came into the hands of Congressman Cox, we do not know. His speech appeared as a pamphlet in 1880. 3. Gustav Pollack, Michael Heilprin and His Sons, New York, 1912. 4. Not to be confused with the Hebrew Emigrant Aid Society of 1 8 8 1 - 8 3 , dealt with in the previous chapter. 5. "Hias Then and Now," Rescue Information Bulletin, Vol. I, No. 7-8 (July-August, 1944), p. 5. 6. Morris Asofsky Joseph Barondess John L. Bernstein M. Blank David Blaustein Arthur Concors Abel Cooper M. Ettenberg Harry Fischel Louis Glass L. Gordon 271 B. Greenberg H. Hyman Rev. Philip Jaches A. Kruger N. Lamport L. Lerner Benjamin Levinson Harris Linetzky K. Mandel Rev. Z. H. Masliansky Jacob Massel

VISAS TO FREEDOM H. T. Mendelson Max Meyerson Jacob Saphirstein S. Schechter M. Sincofi David Wasser A. Waxberg

Convention of Jewish Societies for Promoting Physical Culture Among the Jewish Masses, Newport, R. I., 1 9 0 1 , a very rare pamphlet. The letter (written in German) is in the possession of the Jewish Theological Seminary library. Dr. Isaac Rivkind, of the Seminary library, published it in an article in Dos Yiddishe Folk, 1944, No. 6, pp. 7-9. The article "Tell the Truth" was reprinted in the St. Petersburg bimonthly Der Jiidischer Emigrant, January 1 5 , 1909. Diary of a Visit to Europe in the Interests of Jewish Emigration, 1906-07. The little notebook is preserved in the Archives of the American Jewish Historical Society, New York. Rabbi Isadore S. Meyer, librarian of the Society, and Dr. Isaac Rivkind of the Jewish Theological Seminary library have been most helpful in indicating valuable sources of information. The American Hebrew, February 1, 1907. The HIAS Board of Directors in 1 9 1 1 consisted of: Morris Asofsky Irving Bachrach John L. Bernstein Henry Brightman Arthur Concors Abel Cooper Louis Eisenberg Harry Fischel I. Gilman Philip Hersch Isidore Hershfield Nathan Hutkoff Morris Jablow Rev. Philip Jaches Leon Kamaiky Mrs. Leon Kamaiky Harris Linetzky Morris Maltz Rev. Z. H. Masliansky Jacob Massel Max Meyerson M. H. Phillips Nathan Roggen Leon Sanders Jacob Saphirstein E. Sarasohn H. Sirotta Miss Sommerfield Nathan Weissbaum Miss Carrie Wise



The Advisory Board in 1 9 1 1 consisted of: Reuben Arkush, New York Isaac W. Bernheim, Louisville, Ky. Abram I. Elkus, New York Moses Fraley, St. Louis, Mo. Max J. Kohler, New York Edward Lauterbach, New York Morris Loeb, New York Julian W. Mack, Chicago, 111. Louis Marshall, New York Jacob H. Schiff, New York Isaac N. Seligman, New York Ben Selling, Portland, Ore. Lucius S. Solomons, San Francisco, Cal. Oscar S. Straus, New York Cyrus L. Sulzberger, New York Meyer Sulzberger, Philadelphia, Pa. Stephen S. Wise, New York Simon Wolf, Washington, D.C. 3. Henry P. Fairchild, Immigration, New York, 1925 edition), p. 189. (revised

4. The Hebrew Immigrants' Protective Society of Baltimore was set up in 1903. The Boston Emigrant Aid Society (1882) was taken over by the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society and incorporated as such in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, June 16, 1904. For the Philadelphia Association for the Protection of Jewish Immigrants, see Chapter One. 5. Minutes of the Meeting of the Board, August 1 0 , 1 9 2 1 . 6. Der Tiirmer, Stuttgart, February, 1925. 7. The participating organizations were: Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America American Jewish Committee American Jewish Congress Central Conference of American Rabbis Federation of Galician Jews Federation of Hungarian Jews Federation of Jewish Women's Organizations Federation of Polish Jews


VISAS TO F R E E D O M Federation of Temple Sisterhoods Federation of Ukrainian Jews of America Hadassah Women's Organizations Hannah Lavenburg Home Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society of America (HIAS) Independent Order B'nai B'rith Independent Order Brith Abraham Independent Order Brith Sholom International Fancy Leather Workers' Union International Furriers' Union International Order Free Sons of Israel Jewish Council of Greater New York Jewish Immigrant Aid Society of Canada Jewish Ministers' and Cantors' Association Jewish National Workers Alliance Jewish Socialist Verband Jewish Welfare Board Joint Board Bakers and Confectionery Union Mizrachi Organization of America National Council of Jewish Women Order Brith Abraham Order Sons of Zion Poale Zion Progressive Order of the West Temple Emanu-El Union of American Hebrew Congregations Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations Union of Orthodox Rabbis Union Cloth Hat and Cap Makers United Hebrew Trades United Order True Sisters United Orthodox Synagogue United Rumanian Jews of America United Synagogue of America Yehuda Zion Club Zionist Organization


Work of the United Evacuation Committee (August 1, 1 9 2 5 November 30, 1 9 2 6 ) , compiled by Lucien Wolf, Paris, 1927.

19. A copy of the records, covering 1,369 pages, is preserved in the HIAS files.

Appendix Notes


20. Report of Committee of Representatives of National Jewish Organizations, June 18, 1925. Mimeographed copies of the report are preserved in the HIAS archives and in the Library of Y I V O Institute for Jewish Research, New York. 21. JEAS Committee in Warsaw, with branches in Vilna, Lwow, Lodz, Grodno, Rovno, Bialystok, Brest-Litovsk, Pinsk, and Weiherowo. L A T V I A : Committees in Riga and Libau. L I T H U A N I A : Committee in Kovno. D A N Z I G : Hilfsverein fur Jiidische Emigranten. R U M A N I A : Committees in Bucharest, Cernauti (Czernovitz), and Chisinau (Kishinev). B E L G I U M : Socite Philanthropique Ezra, Antwerp. H O L L A N D : Montefiore Vereeniging, Rotterdam. F R A N C E : Comite Central d'Assistance aux Emigres Juifs, Paris, with branches in French ports. E N G L A N D : Association for the Protection of Jewish Girls, London; Transmigrants' Aid Committee, Liverpool. P O R T U G A L : M. H. Sorin, representative in Lisbon. T U R K E Y : Comite de Secours aux Refugies Juifs, Istanbul. C H I N A : Far Eastern Jewish Central Information Bureau for Emigrants (Daljevcib), Harbin. A R G E N T I N A : Sociedad de Protecci6n a los Immigrantes Israelitas (Soprotimis), Buenos Aires. B R A Z I L : Sociedad Beneficiente, Rio de Janeiro; Ezra, Sao Paulo.

22. HIAS representatives met 703 boats bearing Jewish immigrants in 1937, and 955 boats in 1938; 21,768 nights of lodging and 189,208 meals were offered in the Shelter in 1937; and 27,305 nights of lodging and 210,208 meals in 1938; 19,337 affidavits were drawn up in 1937, and 37,666 in 1938. 23. Ismar Elbogen, A Century of Jewish Life, Jewish Publication Society of America, Philadelphia, 1944, p. 662. 24. Morris C. Tropper, Contemporary Jewish Record, Vol. Ill, No. 3, pp. 227-28. 25. The report was published under the title Whom We Shall Welcome. 26. The Jewish Community, November 1954. DP camp photos not otherwise credited are by Martin A. Bursten.


Abramovitch, A . , 1 7 1 Abrams, Samuel, 2 3 7 , 2 6 6 A d d a m s , Jane, 5 9 Adler, Friedrich, 1 7 1 Agudas Israel W o r l d Organization, 1 5 3 Alexander II, 2 8 , 2 9 Alexander III, 2 9 Alliance Israelite Universelle, 2 7 , 58 Altaras, Jacob Israel, 27 Alter, Leon, 1 4 4 , 1 6 0 , 1 6 2 , 2 2 0 Amalgamated Clothing W o r k e r s . of America, 1 1 3 , 1 1 8 , 2 7 3 Amdur, Max, 1 1 8 American Christian Committee for Refugees, 2 0 1 American Committee of International Institutes, 2 0 1 American Council of Voluntary A g e n cies for Foreign Service, 1 9 1 , 2 5 5 , 256 American E x p o r t Line, 1 7 2 American Federation o f Labor, 7 4 , 2 1 5 American Friends Service Committee, 173, 1 8 1 , 1 8 5 , 201 American Good Will Mission, 1 9 8

Amonson, Louis A . , 5 8 Amram, Abraham, 1 8 2 Amzalek, Moses B . , 1 7 0 Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry, 2 0 7 , 2 1 0 Anglo-American Refugee Conference. See Bermuda Conference Anglo-Hicem. See H I C E M Anglo-Jewish Association, 1 5 3 Anglo-Palestine Bank, 2 4 4 Applebaum, Mayer, 3 3 Aronson, N a u m , 1 7 1 , 1 7 2 Asofsky, Isaac L . , 89, 1 0 9 , 1 1 2 , 1 1 9 , 1 4 5 , 1 5 1 , 199, 203, 239, 244, 247 Asofsky, Morris, 1 1 4 , 2 6 6 Association for the Protection of Jewish Immigrants (Philadelphia), 3 6 , 4 3 , 50, 2 7 3 Attlee, Clement, 2 0 6 Aufheuser, Martin, 1 5 5 Aydelotte, Frank, 2 0 7 Badesh, J . C , 8 7 Baldwin, Joseph C , 1 8 7 Baltsan, Harry, 2 2 1 Baroff, Abraham, 1 1 8 Baron, Abraham, 2 3 5 Baron, Salo W . , 1 9 8 Barondess, Joseph, 3 9 , 1 0 0 , 1 1 5 , 2 4 2 Baron d e Hirsch F u n d , 3 4 , 4 7 , 7 2 Barsimon, Jacob, 22 Baskin, Joseph, 1 0 6 , 1 0 9 Bavarian Association of Jewish C o m munities, 2 5 8 Behar, Nissim, 58 B e l - H I C E M . See H I A S - I C A Beneficiente, 1 2 9 Benjamin, Aaron, 1 0 9 , i r 2 , 1 2 8 , 1 3 0 , 1 3 8 , 266 Bennett, William S . , 56 Benton, E d w a r d M . , 1 5 6 , 2 3 9 , 2 5 3 , 262, 266

American Hebrew, The, 3 3 , 3 9 , 49,

6i, 272 American Jewish Committee, 5 0 , 1 1 3 , 273 American Jewish Congress, 1 0 0 , 1 1 3 , 1 1 8 , 191, 273 American Jewish Historical Society, 2 7 1 American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, 86, 9 1 , 96, 1 0 1 , 1 0 5 , 106, 1 1 5 , 1 1 6 , 1 4 1 , 1 4 2 , 146, 149, 154, 1 5 8 , 168, 170, 1 7 3 - 7 5 . 1 8 1 , 182, 184, 195, 198, 2oi, 2 1 3 , 219, 220, 2 2 5 , 2 2 7 , 258, 259, 2 6 1 - 6 4 , 6 8

American Joint Distribution Committee. See American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee American Red Cross, 1 6 0


Berg, Mrs. Nettie Lesser, 2 3 8 , 266 Berger, Mrs. Morris, 2 3 8 , 2 6 6 Berkowitz, B . B . , 1 0 4 Bermuda Conference, 1 8 6 , 1 8 7 , 2 0 6 Bernheim, Charles L . , 3 0 Bernstein, Herman, 62 Bernstein, Israel, 1 4 5 Bernstein, James, 1 1 6 , 1 1 7 , 1 2 2 , 1 2 3 , 1 3 0 . i 5 3 > i66> 1 7 0 , 1 7 6 - 8 0 , 1 9 0 , 1 9 9 , 2 1 4 , 2 2 3 , 266 Bernstein, John L . , 3 8 , 3 9 , 4 5 , 4 6 , 5 5 , 86, 88, 90, 9 2 , 9 5 , 1 0 3 - 0 5 , 1 0 8 , i n , 1 1 3 , 120, 1 4 1 , 1 7 7 , 202, 2 1 5 , 2 3 5 , 237 Bero, Stanley, 6 3 , 69 Beth Israel Bikur Cholim, 28 Bialik, C h a i m N a c h m a n , 1 3 0 Biddle, Francis, 1 8 7 , 1 8 8 Bienstock, Bernard, 2 3 8 , 2 6 6 Bieringer, Walter H . , 2 6 6 Birman, Meyer, 1 2 8 , 1 6 5 , 1 9 8 , 2 2 3 Biro-Bidjan, 1 5 1 , 1 5 2 Blau, Julius, 1 3 0 Blaustein, David, 39 Bloom, Sol, 1 6 0 Bloom, Zev, 2 1 1 B'nai B'rith, 2 7 , 5 6 , 66, 7 8 Board of Delegates of American Israelites, 2 7 , 2 8 Board of Deputies of British Jews, 1 5 3 Boas, E . L . , 3 0 Brandeis, Louis D . , 6 2 , 1 3 6 Bressler, D a v i d M . , 7 2 British Aliens A c t , 7 2 British Council for German J e w r y , 1 5 3 British Passport Control Office, 2 4 3 Broido, Mrs. Louis, 2 6 6 B r o w d y , Benjamin C , 2 3 8 , 2 6 6 Brownstein, A . , 1 1 8 Brutzkus, Julius, 1 2 1 , 1 3 0 Burack, Aaron D . , 1 5 6 , 2 6 6 Bureau of Jewish Social Research, 119 Burnett Bill, 90 Burnett-Dillingham Bill, 5 6 , 5 7 Busker, Louis, 93 Buxton, F r a n k W . , 2 0 7 Canadian Jewish Congress, 1 1 5 , 1 8 9 , 225 Canadian Location Service, 2 0 1 Canadian Pacific Ocean Services, 84 Canter, Maurice, 2 0 4 C A R E . See Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe Caribia, 149 Carliner, Paul E . , 2 3 7 , 2 6 6


Carnegie, A n d r e w , 59 Carpathia, 70 Carusi, U g o , 2 0 9 , 2 1 7 Catholic W a r Veterans, 2 1 5 Celler, Emanuel, 2 5 4 Central British F u n d , 1 7 5 Central British F u n d for German J e w r y , 141 Central Committee of the J e w s in P o land, 2 2 1 Central Conference of American Rabbis, 273 Central Council of J e w s in Germany, 258 Central Frontier Committee (Koenigsberg), 2 7 , 2 8 Central Location Index, 2 0 0 , 2 0 1 Central T r a c i n g Bureau of U N R R A , 209 Chagall, M a r c , 1 7 1 , 1 7 2 Chanin, Nathan, 2 3 8 , 2 6 6 Chartering of ships, 1 7 2 Chicago Federated Orthodox Charities, 88 Citizens Committee on Displaced Persons, 2 1 5 Clarke, Walter S . , 70 Cleveland, Grover, 5 6 , 5 7 Cohen, Elias A . , 2 3 5 Cohen, Leon, 1 3 0 Cohen, Leonard L . , 1 1 6 Cohen, L y o n , 1 0 0 , 1 1 5 Cohen, N e w m a n , 2 8 Cohn, Oscar, 1 2 1 , 1 3 0 Collier's, 189 Commissioner for Jewish Affairs of the Vichy Government, 1 8 0 Commission on Immigration and N a turalization, 2 5 2 , 2 5 3 Committee for the Settlement of J e w s on the L a n d ( U S S R ) , 1 4 2 Common F u n d , 2 4 5 Companhia Nacional de Navegacao, 172 Comzet. See Committee for the Settlement of Jews on the L a n d Conference of National Jewish Organizations, 1 5 2 Congregation Nusach Haari, 38 Congress of Industrial Organizations, 215 Congressional Record, 57 Contemporary Jewish Record, 2 7 5 Coolidge, Calvin, i n Cooper, Abel, 3 8 Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe, 2 4 8 , 2 4 9


Emergency Rescue Committee, 1 6 8 , 1 7 3 Emigdirect, 96, 98, 1 1 5 , 1 1 6 , 1 1 7 , 1 2 1 23, 141 Emigrant A i d Society (Boston), 2 7 3 Emigrant A i d Society ( Y o k o h a m a ) , 8 3 , 84 Endek. See National Democratic Party Poland Engel, Mrs. Irving M . , 266 Epstein, Harry, 1 5 7 , 204 Epstein, L a z a r , 1 6 5 Epstein, Paul, 1 5 9 Erlich, Joseph, 42 Eron, Joseph E . , 88, 90 Evian Conference, 1 5 2 - 5 4 , 1 5 8 , 1 8 4 , 187, 228 Executive Council of Australian Jewry ( E C A J ) , 228 Ezra, 1 2 9 Fabricant, Louis, 1 1 8 , 1 1 9 Fain, Jacob R., 89, 1 0 9 Fairchild, Henry P., 74 Fancy Leather Goods Workers Union, 118 F a r Eastern Jewish Central Information Bureau for Emigrants (Daljevcib), 1 2 8 , 1 5 0 , 1 6 5 , 2 2 2 Federal and Bavarian Ministries of Interior and Finance, 2 5 8 Federal Foreign Office, 2 5 8 Federation of Galician Jews, 2 7 3 Federation of Galician and Bucovinian Jews, 47 Federation of Hungarian Jews, 2 7 3 Federation of Jewish Women's Organizations, 2 7 3 Federation of Polish Jews, 2 7 3 Federation of Temple Sisterhoods, 2 7 4 Federation of Ukrainian Jews of A m e r ica, 2 7 4 Feinberg, Israel, 1 1 8 Feinstone, Morris C , 1 1 8 , 1 1 9 , 1 2 0 , 1 3 3 , 203 Fels, Samuel S., 2 3 6 Feuchtwanger, Lion, 1 7 1 Feuerman, Jacobo, 2 3 7 , 266 Field, Marshall, 1 8 5 Fink, Leon, 2 2 7 , 2 3 7 , 2 6 7 Fischel, Harry, 49, 67, 1 0 1 , 1 0 3 , 1 0 4 , 235, 237 Fisher, Leon D . , 2 2 4 Fiske, John, 55 Fleisher, Benjamin W . , 84 Fonseca, Aboab da, 22 Fort Ontario, 1 9 1 , 1 9 2 , 208 Forty-Eighters, T h e , 2 5

Coordinating Committee for Fort Ontario, 1 9 2 Copeland, Adolph, 1 0 9 Coralnik, Abraham, 1 4 1 Cormier, Charles, 1 8 9 Corporate affidavits, 2 0 8 , 2 1 3 Council of Jewish Federations and W e l fare Funds, 2 2 0 Cowen, Philip, 5 3 Cox, Samuel S., 28 Cremieux, Adolphe, 58 Crick, W . F . , 2 0 7 Crossman, R . H . S . , 2 0 7 C r u m , Bartley C , 2 0 7 Cunard Line, 94 Czerniak, Saadiah, 1 4 7 Daljevcib. See F a r Eastern Jewish tral Information Bureau for grants d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, O . E . , 1 3 0 , Davis, James J . , 1 0 3 Davis, N o r m a n H . , 1 6 0 Decker, Alfred, 2 3 6 D e Gaulle, Charles, 1 9 3 , 1 9 4 Department of Help to Relatives, d'Essaguy, Augusto, 1 7 0 , 1 7 1 Deutsch, Etta, 2 2 0 Dijour, Ilja M . , 1 4 6 , 1 4 8 , 1 7 8 , 209-12, 232 Dingol, Solomon, 1 4 1 , 1 4 4 , 1 6 0 , 239, 244, 2 5 2 , 262, 266 Displaced Persons A c t of 1 9 4 8 , 251 Displaced Persons Commission, 220 Dominican Republic, 1 5 4 , 1 8 4 Dubnow, Simon, 1 3 0 Dunn, Harry J . , 2 3 8 , 2 6 7 Dyck, Solomon, 1 4 4 T>zienni\ Narodowy, 143 CenEmi153


199, 237, 216, 217,

Ecole Orientale, 58 Educational Alliance, 3 9 , 4 5 , 68 Eichmann, Adolph, 1 9 1 Einstein, Albert, 1 3 0 , 1 7 2 Einstein, D . L . , 3 0 Eisenhower, D w i g h t D . , 2 5 4 Elbogen, Ismar, 2 7 5 Eliasberg, S . , 3 3 Eliot, Charles E . , 59 Elisavetgrad pogrom, 29 Elkus, A b r a m I . , 5 0 , 5 5 , 6 1 , 6 2 , 7 3 Emergency Committee on Jewish Refugees o f N e w Y o r k , 1 1 3 , 1 1 5 , 1 1 6 , 122 Participating organizations, 2 7 3 - 7 4

Frankel, Zacharias, 27 Freedman, Florence, 2 3 8 , 2 6 6 Free Loan (Israel), 2 4 5 Free Ports for Refugees, 1 9 1 - 9 3 French Line, 94 Friedkin, Israel, 88 Friedman, Elisha M . , 2 0 2 Friends. See American Friends Service Committee Gallack, Louis, 1 3 3 , 2 3 7 - 3 8 , 266 Galveston Project, 6 i , 6 5 , 66, 7 1 Gardner Bill, 58 Geddes, Auckland C . G . , 5 3 Gelber, Joseph, 1 3 3 , 1 3 4 Gemilut Hesed. See Free Loan German Jewish A i d Committee, 1 5 3 German Jewish Refugee Committee, 141 Gibbons, James, Cardinal, 59 Gibson, H u g h , 9 3 Gibson, John W . , 2 1 7 Ginsberg, Harry, 2 6 6 Ginsburger, Ernest, 1 4 8 Ginzburg, Moissei A . , 84 Ginzburg H o m e for Russian Emigrants, 84 Giterman, Itzhak, 1 4 6 Golden, S . Herbert, 1 1 8 Goldman, Julius, 3 0 , 3 4 Goldsmid, O . E . d'Avigdor-, 1 3 0 , 1 5 3 Goldstein, Herbert S., 67 Goldstein, Jonah J., 204, 2 6 6 Goldstein, Louis, 2 3 8 Goldstein, Samuel, 1 2 0 , 2 3 7 , 2 3 9 , 2 4 4 , 247, 66

Hadassah Women's Organizations, 2 7 4 Hamburg-American Line, 3 0 , 4 1 , 7 5 Hammond, John Hays, 59 Hannah Lavenburg Home, 2 7 4 Hapoel Hamizrachi, 2 4 8 Harding, Warren G . , 1 0 3 Harkavy, Alexander, 4 1 , 4 3 , 44, 4 5 , 104 Harrison, Earl G . , 1 9 8 , 2 0 6 , 2 1 5 , 2 5 2 Hebrew Benevolent Society, 28 Hebrew Educational Alliance of Greenpoint, 69 Hebrew Educational Society of Brownsville, 69 Hebrew Emigrant A i d Society ( 1 8 8 1 ) , 3 Hebrew Emigrant Aid Society of the United States ( 1 8 7 0 ) , 2 8 , 3 2 Hebrew 31 Hebrew Free School of Williamsburg, 69 Hebrew Immigrant A i d Society, 3 7 - 3 9 , 41-43, 45-47 Hebrew Immigrant Protective Association, 3 5 , 4 0 Hebrew Immigrants' Protective Society (Baltimore), 2 7 3 Hebrew Leader, The, 27 Hebrew Sheltering H o m e ( C h i c a g o ) , 8 7 , 88 Hebrew Sheltering House, 3 5 , 86 Hebrew Sheltering House Association, 3 3 . 3 4 . 47> 4 8 , 49 Hebrew Sheltering House League, 62 Heilprin, Michael, 31 Held, Adolph, 88, 96, 9 7 , 99, 1 0 6 , 1 0 7 , 1 5 1 , 1 6 8 , 2 1 5 , 266 Held, Mrs. Adolph, 1 1 4 Heller, Isaac, 6 2 , 1 0 4 Henning, E d w a r d J . , 1 0 3 Henry, H . S . , 3 0 Herman, A b r a h a m , 1 0 1 , 1 0 4 , 1 0 9 , 1 1 3 , 120, 1 4 1 , 1 4 5 , 1 5 1 , 160, 174, 1 7 7 , 1 7 8 , 190, 197, 199, 228, 2 3 5 , 2 3 7 Herman, Mrs. Abraham, 2 3 8 , 2 6 6 Herman, Harry G . , 1 5 7 Hershfield, Isidore, 5 5 , 6 7 , 7 8 , 80, 8 1 , 90, 1 0 9 , 1 1 9 , 2 3 6 Herzl, Theodor, 2 6 , 4 0 , 59 H I A S , 49 ff w o r k in the U. S. and abroad: A u s tralia, 2 2 7 , 2 2 8 ; Baltic area, 9 6 ; Central Europe, 7 8 ; Danzig, 94 ff; Eastern Europe, 9 3 , 9 5 , 96, 1 0 7 , 1 4 5 , 1 8 9 ; F a r East, 8 3 - 8 7 ; Israel, 2 4 1 ff; shelters, 2 4 8 , 2 4 9 ; Middle Emigrant Auxiliary Society,

Gottlieb, Louis S., 8 2 , 1 0 1 , 1 1 7 , 1 1 9 Gottschalk, M a x , 1 5 0 , 1 7 7 , 1 9 9 Gozlen, Eduard, 1 9 3 Greenberg, Barney, 2 3 8 , 2 6 6 Greenberg, Leopold J . , 7 2 Greenberg, Reynold H . , 2 3 7 , 2 6 7 Greenhut, Herman J . , 1 5 7 Grinbaum, Itzhak, 2 4 6 Gronna, Asle J . , 5 6 Grousman, L a z a r , 1 9 4 Grubel, Frederick, 2 0 1 Guine, 1 7 6 Guinsburg, Pierre de, 2 0 3 Gurfein, Murray I . , 1 5 7 , 1 9 9 , 2 3 7 , 2 3 9 , 266 Guskin, Reuben, 1 5 7 , 2 3 5 Haas, Jacob de, 59 Hachnosas Orchim. See Hebrew Sheltering House Hadamard, Jacques, 1 7 1


Marseilles, 1 6 7 , 1 6 8 , 1 8 5 N o r t h Africa, 1 6 9 , 1 8 2 , 1 9 3 Palestine, 2 4 2 Poland, 1 4 3 Portugal, 1 7 0 , 1 7 9 , 1 8 1 , 1 8 9 Rumania, 1 6 0 , 1 9 4 Shanghai, 1 9 7 Spain, 1 8 2 Sweden, 195 Switzerland, 1 9 5 Transportation F u n d , 1 4 5 Turkey, 1 9 1 , 194, 1 9 5 Vilna, 1 6 3 - 6 5 H I A S - J D C D P Coordinating Committee, 2 2 0 H I A S - Z O A Committee, 2 4 2 H I C E M ( H I A S - I C A - E m i g d i r e c t ) , 1 2 2 ff, 262 Biro-Bidjan, 1 5 1 Branches, 2 7 5 England, 1 4 1 Germany, 1 2 7 , 1 3 8 - 3 9 L a t i n America, 1 2 8 , 1 2 9 Palestine, 2 4 2 Poland, 1 2 5 f f Spain, 1 4 8 Hicks, Frederick C , 8 2 Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden, 3 7 , 4 3 , 4 4 , 7 2 , 7 9 , 80, 9 2 , 1 1 7 , 1 2 7 . 1 3 0 , T36, 1 5 0 , 1 5 4 , 1 5 5 , 1 6 0 , 1 9 8 Hirsch, George, 2 2 7 Hirsch, Otto, 1 5 9 Hirschman, Ira A . , 1 9 0 , 1 9 1 Histadrut (Israel), 2 4 8 Hitler, Adolph, 1 3 5 , 1 3 6 Hofstadter, Samuel H . , 1 1 8 Hohler, T h o m a s B . , 8 6 Hollander, Jacob A . , 5 9 Hoover, Herbert, 1 3 1 Horovitz, M a x , 2 3 6 House Committee on Foreign Affairs, 187 House Committee on Immigration, 82 H o w e , Frederick C , 82' Hughes, Charles Evans, 60 Hutcheson, Joseph C , 2 0 7 Hutkoff, Nathan, 49 Ibarra, Jose Maria Velasco, 1 9 6 I C A . See Jewish Colonization Association ICEM. See Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration Ignatoff, D a v i d , 2 0 3 Immigrant A i d Society (Boston), 5 7 Immigration and Nationality A c t See McCarran-Waltcr A c t

HIAS {continued) East, 1 9 1 ; South Africa, 2 3 3 ; 2 0 0 ; Western Europe, 7 9 , 2 0 9 , United States, 5 4 , 5 5 , 6 3 , 7 8 , 88, 214, 221, 224, 226 alien registration, 2 3 2 Building F u n d Committee, 1 0 2 , 1 0 6 C A R E , agreement with, 2 4 8 Central Information Bureau, 7 3 , 89 Committee for W o r k in Israel, 2 4 4 Committee on Foreign Operations, 8 4 , 89 Committee on Overseas W o r k , 2 0 2 Committee on Plans and Scope, 2 4 1 cooperation with U N bodies, 2 5 5 , 256 Council o f Organizations, 1 3 3 , 2 0 3 D P camps, 2 1 9 E a s t European Transportation F u n d , 156, 161 education of immigrants, 69, 88, 89 Ellis Island, 5 4 , 64, 6 7 , 89 E m p l o y m e n t Bureau, 6 4 , 89, 1 3 3 F o r t Ontario, 1 9 2 fund-raising, 63, 203, 233 House and Shelter Committee, 2 5 7 Immigrant Bank, 1 0 8 , 1 4 5 , 1 9 4 , 2 2 2 , 244, 2 4 5 , 248 L a w Committee, 2 5 3 Location Service, 7 9 , 1 3 2 , 1 6 3 , 2 0 1 N Y A N A , agreement with, 2 3 1 parcels, 1 6 6 Refugee Transportation F u n d , 1 7 5 religious services, 67 Shelter Service, 1 3 2 , 1 5 6 , 1 7 3 , 1 9 2 , 229, 230, 2 3 1 , 2 5 7 W a r t i m e Postal Service, 82 W o m e n ' s Council, 2 0 3 W o m e n ' s Division, 2 0 3 , 2 3 2 Women's Relief Committee, 70 See also H I A S - I C A , H I C E M H I A S - I C A ( H I A S - I C A Emigration A s sociation), 1 4 1 , 1 4 5 , 1 5 0 , 1 5 3 , 1 5 4 , 1 6 0 , 1 6 1 - 6 3 , 7 7 > 9i> !99> 5 Belgium, 1 5 0 , 1 6 1 , 1 9 5 Czechoslovakia, 1 4 7 Danzig, 1 4 5 , 1 4 6 E v i a n Conference, 1 5 3 Holland, 1 9 5 Immigration to Palestine, 1 4 2 Italy, 1 4 7 , 1 6 2 , 1 9 2 , 1 9 4 Japan, 1 6 5 Kovno, 1 6 3 , 1 6 5 L a t i n America, 1 4 9 , 1 8 3 , 1 8 4 , 1 8 6 , 195, 196, 228 Latvia, 160, 163-65 London, 1 9 5
! 1 2 0

Immigration and 'Naturalization Systems of the United States, 2 5 1 Immigration Liaison Office, 209 Immigration restrictions, 5 5 - 5 7 , 8 9 - 9 0 , noff, 1 2 5 , 139, 1 7 7 , 227, 250-54 See also British Aliens A c t ; Burnett Bill; Burnett-Dillingham Bill; Displaced Persons A c t of 1 9 4 8 ; Gardner Bill; Immigration Restriction League; McCarran-Walter A c t Immigration Restriction League, 5 5 , 59 Independent Order B'nai B'rith, 1 1 8 , 274 Independent Order Brith A b r a h a m , 3 8 , 118, 1 5 7 , 274 Independent Order Brith Sholom, 1 1 8 , 274 Independent Workmen's Circle of America, 1 1 8 Industrial Removal Office ( I R O ) , 4 7 , 64. 6 5 , 7 2 Interdepartmental Advisory Committee, 1 7 7 Intergovernmental Committee for E u ropean Migration ( I C E M ) , 1 9 9 , 2 5 5 Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees ( I G C R ) , 1 5 4 , 1 5 9 , 1 6 0 , 1 8 7 , 1 9 5 , 206, 209, 2 1 9 , 2 3 4 Internal Security A c t o f 1 9 5 0 , 2 3 2 International Fancy Leather Workers' Union, 2 7 4 International Furriers' Union, 2 7 4 International Ladies Garment Workers Union, 1 1 3 , 1 1 8 International Migration Service, 2 0 1 International Order Free Sons of Israel, 2 7 4 International Red Cross, 1 9 7 , 1 9 8 International Refugee Office (IRO), 199, 219, 223, 233, 234, 255 International Rescue and Relief C o m mittee, 2 0 1 I R O . See Industrial Removal Office; International Refugee Office Isaacs, Myer S . , 30 Israel, Wilfrid, 2 4 2 , 2 4 3 Israel Department of Education, 2 4 8 Israelite, The, 28 Israelitische Allianz, 7 9 , 80 Israel Purchasing Committee, 2 5 8 Italian Line, 1 6 0 Jaches, Philip, 3 9 , 1 0 4 Jacob, S . W . , 1 1 5 Jacobs, Arthur T . , 2 3 9 , 2 5 6 Jacobson, Israel G . , 2 3 9


Jacobson, S. Bertrand, 1 9 0 , 1 9 4 James, E d m u n d I . , 5 9 Janson, Emile, 1 5 0 Japan Advertiser, 84 Japha, Ephraim, 28 J D C . See American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee J E A S . See Jewish Emigrant A i d Society Jenks, Jeremiah W . , 7 4 Jewish Agency, 1 3 6 , 1 4 3 , 1 5 4 , 1 6 6 , 206, 2 2 5 , 2 4 2 - 4 5 , 2 4 7 Jewish Agricultural and Industrial Aid Society, 5 0 , 64 Jewish Central Cooperative Bank, 1 9 7 Jewish Charity, 7 2 , 77 Jewish Chronicle, The ( L o n d o n ) , 72 Jewish Civic Federation of the Bronx,

Jewish Colonization Association ( I C A ) , 3 7 , 4 3 , 44, 7 2 , 7 3 , 92, 98, 100, 1 1 5 , 116, 1 2 1 - 2 3 , 1 2 7 - 3 . Mi. 142. 153. 1 6 1 , 1 7 5 , 189, 197-98 Jewish Committee ( C u b a ) , 1 1 4 Jewish Community, The, 2 7 5 Jewish Council of Greater N e w Y o r k , 274 Jewish Council of the Lublin reservation, 1 6 6 Jewish Emigrant A i d Society (Poland) J E A S , 1 1 7 , 1 2 5 , 144, 1 4 5 , 160, 162, 165-66 Jewish Immigrant A i d Society (Canada)JIAS, 1 1 5 , 225, 274 Jewish Labor Committee, 1 6 8 , 1 7 3 , 2 1 5 Jewish Ministers' and Cantors' Association, 2 7 4 Jewish National Council (Siberia and the U r a l s ) , 87 Jewish National Workers' Alliance of America, 6 2 , 1 1 8 , 2 7 4 Jewish Occupational Council, 2 0 1 Jewish Socialist Verband, 2 7 4 Jewish Social Self-Help, 1 6 6 Jewish Territorial Organization ( L o n don), 4 3 , 7 2 Jewish Theological Seminary, 2 7 2 Jewish Tribune, The (Portland, Ore.), 4? Jewish Welfare and Relief Society (Melbourne), 2 2 7 Jewish Welfare Board, 2 7 4 J I A S . See Jewish Immigrant A i d Society J . L . Peretz Writers Club, 1 1 8 Joachimsohn, M . , 1 3 0 Johan de Wit, 2 2 7


Leavitt, Moses A . , 1 6 6 Leffert, Mrs. Herman J . , 2 3 7 , 2 3 9 , 2 5 7 , 266, 269 Legget, Frederick, 2 0 7 Lehman, Herbert H , 2 5 3 Lerner, Chaim, 2 4 3 Lesser, Elizabeth, 2 3 5 Lesser, Mrs. Nettie, 1 0 4 Levi, A . B . , 2 3 7 , 2 6 7 Levi, Israel, 1 3 0 L e V i n e , Murray, 1 8 9 , 2 0 0 , 2 1 1 , 2 3 6 Levinthal, Louis E . , 2 5 2 Levontin, Eliahu, 2 4 7 L e v y , Aaron J . , 8 8 L e v y , Louis E d w a r d , 3 6 , 6 2 Levy, Martin O., 1 1 8 Lewin-Epstein, E . W . , 1 0 7 , 1 0 9 , 1 3 0 Lewisohn, Adolph, 1 0 4 Liberty Ships, 2 1 2

Johnson, Albert, 8 2 , 1 1 1 Johnson, A l v i n S . , 1 9 8 Joint. See American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee Joint Board Bakers and Confectionery Union, 2 7 4 Joint Board of the Furriers Union, 1 1 8 joint Distribution Committee. See American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee Jolson, A l , 2 3 6 Jiidische Gazetten, 34 Jiidischer Emigrant, Der (St. Petersburg), 49, 2 7 2 Kahn, Alexander, 88, 1 0 4 , 1 0 6 , 1 4 3 , 1 5 1 , 266 Kahn, Bernhard, 1 1 6 Kalusin, Enrique, 2 3 7 , 2 6 7 Kamaiky, Leon, 49, 6 7 , 88, 9 3 , 9 5 , 1 0 3 , 104 Kamaiky, Mrs. Leon, 8 8 , 1 0 4 , 266 Kamenec Society, 38 Kaplan, Aron, 3 3 Katzenelenson, Nissan, 73 Kennan, George, 77 Kerensky, Alexander, 1 7 2 Kestenbaum, Mrs. David, 2 3 8 Kirschenbaum, Jacob, 2 3 6 Kirshbaum, B . , 83 Kishinev pogrom, 3 8 , 5 2 Klee, Alfred, 1 2 1 , 1 3 0 Klein, Alexander, 2 2 4 Klementynowski, Z w i , 2 4 7 Knox, John C , 1 3 3 , 1 3 4 Koenigstein, 149 Kohler, M a x J . , 5 0 , 7 3 Konovalov, Alexander I . , 1 7 1 Kornblith, Bernard, 1 8 9 Kornblith, Rachmil, 63 Kovner, Harold, 2 3 8 Kraicer, Menachem, 2 1 1 - 1 3 , 2 2 6 , 2 4 7 Kranzer, Herbert C , 2 3 7 - 3 9 , 2 6 2 , *>6 Kreinin, Miron, 1 2 1 , 1 2 2 , 1 2 8 , 1 3 0 Kundes, Der Greisser, 11719 Kursk., 77

Liebovitz, Harry J . , 204

Liebovitz, Samuel, 2 3 7 Lifschitz, Samuel, 2 3 6 Lifschitz, Siegmund, 2 3 6 Lilienthal, Philip N . , 2 3 7 , 2 6 7 Linetzky, David, 1 5 7 Linetzky, Harris, 3 8 , 3 9 Linetzky, Shalom, 2 6 7 Lipsitch, I. Irving, 5 4 , 89 Lithuanian National Society, 81 Lodge, Henry Cabot, 56 Loeb, Morris, 50 L o n g , Breckenridge, 1 8 7 Lubarsky, A b r a h a m Elias, 88 M c A n d r e w , William, 1 0 4 McCarran, Pat, 2 5 1 McCarran-Walter A c t , 2 5 1 - 5 4 McCracken, Robert M . , 82 McDonald, James G . , 1 3 8 , 2 0 7 , 2 1 0 Mack, Julian W . , 5 0 Madagascar plan, 1 4 4 Malin, Patrick, 1 8 7 Malkenson, A . L . , 204 Mann, Thomas, 1 7 1 Manningham-Buller, R. H . , 2 0 7 Marcus, S . L . , 3 3 Margulies, M. S., 109 Marine Flasher, 2 1 1 , 2 1 2 Marine Perch, 2 1 1 Marinoff, Jacob, 1 1 7 , 1 1 9 Markewich, Samuel, 1 0 4 Marshall, Louis, 5 0 , 60, 7 7 , 86, 1 0 0 , 105, i n Martine, James E . , 5 6 Masliansky, Zevi Hirsch, 3 9 , 6 1 , 2 0 3 Mason, Samuel, 4 0 , 4 6 , 49, 6 2 , 8 4 - 8 7 , 89

Kutsheedt, Manuel



L a Guardia, Fiorello H . , 1 5 5 Lambert, Raymond-Raoul, 1 7 8 L a n g , Harry, 1 5 7 L a n g , Theodor, 2 0 2 Lansing, Robert, 78 Laski, Neville, 1 5 3 Latzki-Bertoldi, Wolf, 1 1 6 , 1 2 2 Lauterbach, E d w a r d , 5 8 Laval, Pierre, 1 7 8 , 1 7 9

Masscl, Jacob, 3 9 , 4 1 , 5 7 , 9 3 , 9 5 . i 4 > 106, 1 3 0 , 1 5 1 , 2 3 5 , 266 Matthews, Nelson E . , 8 2 Matz, Israel, 2 3 6 Mauritius, 2 4 3 Maus, Marcus, 2 3 7 , 2 6 7 May, Mitchell, 1 7 4 Meisler, Gregory, 2 1 2 Melamed, M . , 1 3 0 Melamede, Bernard, 1 9 3 Mendes-France, Pierre, 1 7 6 Merger, T h e , 2 6 0 ff H I A S Board of Directors, 266 H I A S Resolution, 2 6 8 , 269 Joint Proposals, 2 6 5 , 2 6 7 Negotiating Committee, 2 6 6 Participating organizations, 2 6 1 , 2 6 2 U N I T E D H I A S S E R V I C E , 263, 267, 269, 270 Merkaz, 2 4 5 Messageries Maritimes, 2 2 7 Meyer, Isadore S., 2 7 2 Meyer, Rene, 1 9 3 Meyerson, Emile, 7 2 Meyerson, M a x , 3 8 , 3 9 , 49, 96, 99 Mifde Ezrachi, 2 4 5 Migration conferences, 3 4 , 58 Miller, A b r a h a m , 2 3 8 , 2 6 6 Minkus, Abraham J . , 2 3 7 , 2 6 6 Mittwoch, Eugen, 1 3 0 Mizrachi (Palestine), 1 4 2 Mizrachi Organization of America, 274 Moisseiff, Leon S., 88, 90 Montefiore, Leonard G . , 1 3 0 , 1 5 3 Montefiore, Moses, 27 Moore, J . Hampton, 5 7 Moores, Merril, 82 Mordecai, Mordecai M . , 26 Morgan, Frederick E . , 209 Morgenthau, Henry, J r . , 1 8 9 Morrison, Herbert, 2 0 7 Motzkin, Leon, 96, 1 1 6 , 1 1 9 , 1 3 0 Multer, Abraham J . , 2 3 8 , 2 6 6 Murphy, Robert D . , 1 9 4 , 2 0 9 , 2 1 1 Nagel, Charles, 5 3 , 5 4 , 5 6 , 6 7 Nansen passports, 1 7 8 , 1 8 7 Nathan, Frederick, 30 Nathan, Paul, 44 National Community Relations A d visory Council ( N C R A C ) , 2 5 6 National Council of Jewish Women, 47, 1 1 3 , 1 1 4 , 1 9 2 , 2 0 1 , 2 5 2 , 2 6 1 , 262, 264, 268, 274 National Council on Naturalization and Citizenship ( N C N C ) , 2 5 6


National Democratic PartyPoland (Endek), 1 4 3 National Liberal Immigration League, 58, 59 National Refugee Service, 1 7 4 , 1 9 2 , 201, 261 National Workmen's Committee on Jewish Rights, 83 Neikrug, L e w i s , 2 1 4 , 2 2 4 , 2 2 7 , 2 3 6 , 239, 247 Neptunia, 160 Netherland Emigration Foundation, 226, 227 Neubau, William M . , 200 Newman, Max, 220 N e w School for Social Research, 1 9 8 N e w Y o r k Association for N e w Americans ( N Y A N A ) , 2 3 1 Nicholas I, 26 Noah, Mordecai M . , 24 Non-governmental Organizations Interested in Migration ( N G O ) , 2 5 6 Nordau, M a x , 44, 7 1 North American Civic League for Immigrants, 5 9 , 60 North German Lloyd Lines, 75 Novomeiski, Moses, 87 Novoye Vremya, 86 Nuremberg L a w s , 1 3 9 Nurok, Mordechai, 2 3 7 , 2 4 7 , 2 6 7 N Y A N A . See N e w Y o r k Association for N e w Americans Nyassa, 1 7 2 , 2 4 3 O'Connor, E d w a r d M . , 2 1 7 O'Connor, John J . , 1 5 5 October pogroms, 52 Office of the Representation of American Relief Organizations, 1 8 2 Omnibus Immigration and Citizenship Bill, 2 5 3 Order Brith Abraham, n 8 , 2 7 4 Order Sons of Zion, 1 1 8 , 2 7 4 OSE, 181 Oswego. See Fort Ontario Oungre, Edouard, 1 1 6 , 1 3 0 , 1 5 3 , 1 6 7 , 186, 197, 199 Oungre, Louis, 1 2 8 , 1 7 7 , 1 7 8 , 1 9 9 Pacific 66 Coast Immigrant Aid Society, 241,

Palestine immigration certificates, 243 Paley, M a y , 2 3 6 Pam, Hugo, 96 Paston, Charles, 1 0 4 Pauley, E d w i n E . , 2 0 7

Pearl Harbor, 1 9 7 Pehle, John W . , i g o Peixotto, Benjamin F . , 2 5 , 2 7 Pell, Robert, 1 6 0 Penrose, Boies, 56 Perlman, Philip G . , 2 5 2 Petain, Henri, 1 7 9 Pfeffer, A . S . , 1 1 8 Phiebig, Albert J . , 2 0 1 Philippson, Jules, 1 3 0 Philipsohn, L u d w i g , 2 7 Phillips, William, 9 2 , 2 0 7 Picard, Herbert, 2 3 6 Pickett, Clarence E . , 1 8 5 Pine, M a x , 1 0 6 , 1 0 9 Poale Zion, 2 7 4

Rockmore, Abraham, 200 Rogers, H u g o E . , 2 3 8 , 2 6 6 , 2 6 8 Rogers, W i l l , J r . , 1 8 7 Rogoff, Hillel, 1 1 8 Rongy, A . J . , 1 1 8 Roosevelt, Franklin D . , 1 3 7 , 1 5 2 , 1 5 9 , 168, 190, 191 Roosevelt, Mrs. Franklin D . , 1 8 5 Roosevelt, Franklin D . , J r . , 2 5 4 Roosevelt, Theodore, 50 Rosen, Joseph, 1 5 1 Rosenbaum, J . , 1 5 3 Rosenberg, E d w i n , 2 6 1 , 2 6 2 , 2 6 5 , 2 6 8 Rosenberg, K . Henry, 1 1 9 Rosenblatt, Albert, 6 2 , 8 8 , 1 0 0 - 0 3 Rosenblum, Jacob J . , 2 3 8 , 2 6 6 Rosenfield, Harry N . , 2 1 7 , 2 5 2 Rose N . Lesser Auxiliary, 6 2 , 2 3 5 Rosenzweig, Gershon, 3 5 Ross, Daniel G . , 2 6 6 Ross, E d w a r d A . , 7 4 Rothschild, Robert de, 5 0 , 2 0 3 Rozowsky, Isaiah, 1 6 3 , 1 6 4 , 1 6 5 Rumanian Relief Committee, 47 Russian Emigrant Relief Committee, 30 Russian Relief Committee (Cincinnati), Russian Relief lis), 3 2 Committee (Indianapo-

Poale Zion Central Committee, 1 1 8 Podliszewski, A . , 1 2 6 Polish National Alliance, 81 Polish Radical Party, 1 4 3 Polokoff, Saul, 1 3 3 Portuguese Merchant Shipping Board, 171 Potter, Henry Codman, 59 President's Advisory Committee on Political Refugees, 1 8 5 Progressive Order of the West, 2 7 4 Progressive Zionists, 2 4 8 Prottas, S a m , 2 3 7 , 2 6 7 Pudnos, Isidore J . , 2 3 8 , 2 6 6 Pulvermacher, Joseph, 1 7 4 , 2 0 4 , 2 3 9 , 266 Pyrenees route, 1 6 7 , 1 8 1 Quota immigration laws. See Immigration restrictions Rasovsky, Cecilia, 1 1 4 , 1 1 5 Rayfiel, L e o M . , 2 3 8 , 2 6 6 Razsu/et, 49 Reckendorfer, Joseph, 30 Red Cross Emergency Relief Committee, 7 1 Reed, James A . , 1 1 1 Refugee camps, 1 6 8 , 1 6 9 , 1 8 1 - 8 4 Refugee Relief A c t ( 1 9 5 3 ) , 2 5 4 , 2 5 6 Refugee Transportation F u n d , 1 8 9 Reichsvertretung der Juden in Dcutschland, 1 5 4 , 1 5 9 Reinberg, M . , 1 9 6 Remez, David, 2 4 4 Returnees, 2 5 7 , 2 5 8 Rifkind, Simon H . , 2 0 9 , 2 1 0 Riis, Jacob A . , 5 9 Risley, Theodore G . , 1 0 3 Rivkind, Isaac, 2 7 2 Rocca, Oscar, 1 9 6

St. Charles, 22 St. Louis, 1 4 9 Salisbury, Harrison E . , 1 5 2 Saltzman, Mrs. J . Bernard, 1 6 6 Samuel, Herbert, 1 5 3 Sanders, Leon, 4 8 , 49, 5 7 , 60, 6 8 , 7 2 , 88, 1 0 1 , 1 0 3 Sarasohn, Kasriel H , 3 3 , 1 0 2 Schaefer, Julius, 2 3 6 Schalit, Moshe, 1 6 3 , 1 6 4 Schiff, Jacob H . , 3 0 , 3 3 , 4 8 , 4 9 , 5 0 , 60, 6 1 , 7 3 , 84, 86, 1 0 1 , 1 0 2 Schiff, Otto M . , 1 1 6 , 1 5 3 Schlossberg, Joseph, 1 1 8 , 2 6 6 Schnare, Lester L . , 8 6 Schoenfeld, Nathan, 1 0 9 Schottland, I . , 2 0 9 , 2 1 0 Schwabacher, L e o , 7 8 , 8 8 Schwarzfeld, E . , 4 4 Schweitzer, David J . , 1 9 0 , 1 9 5 , 2 4 3 Segall, Jerry J . , 2 3 8 , 2 6 7 Segalowicz, Zussman, 1 6 3 Seligman, Jesse, 34 Semel, Bernard, 88 Senate Judiciary Committee, 2 5 1 Senator, Werner, 1 1 7 , 1 4 2 Sequerra, Samuel, 1 8 1

INDEX Shaarei Zedek, 28 Serpa Pinto, 1 8 9 Shaban, Abel, 2 3 3 , 2 3 7 , 2 6 7 Shah, Vladimir, 1 6 1 , 1 6 9 , 1 7 9 , 1 8 0 , 193. 236 Sheltering House Association. See Hebrew Sheltering House Association Shelvin, Bernard, 1 4 4 , 2 0 3 Shimberg, Vera, 1 1 4 Shluger, Alexander L., 9 6 , 204 Shoshkes, Henry, 1 9 7 , 2 2 3 , 2 3 3 Siberia route, 1 6 5 Siegel, Barnett, 1 0 4 Siegel, Isaac N . , 8 2 , 1 0 9 Siegel, Samuel, 1 1 8 Siegel, Saul R., 2 3 8 , 2 3 9 , 2 6 6 Silberstein, Isaac, 62 Silverberg, S . , 1 1 8 , 1 1 9 Simon, James, 7 2 , 1 1 6 , 1 2 9 Simonsen, David, 96 Singher, Mauriciu, 1 9 4 Singleton, John E . , 2 0 7 Sino-Japanese W a r , 1 5 0 Smirnoff, Philip, 2 3 7 Smolka, Maria, 1 4 7 , 1 5 9 Society for the Advancement of Jewish Culture and Learning, 24 Solomon, E d w a r d S . , 2 7 Solomon, H a y m , 2 6 Solomons, Lucius L . , 6 6 Sonnabend, Henry, 2 3 3 Soprotimis, 1 2 8 , 1 2 9 , 2 2 9 Sosua. See Dominican Republic Soviet-German Pact, 1 5 9 , 1 6 4 Spanien, Raphael, 1 6 9 , 1 7 8 , 1 7 9 , 1 8 9 , 190, 194, 2 1 0 , 2 i i , 239 Spiegler, Louis E . , 2 0 0 Steinhardt, Laurence A . , 1 9 5 Stern, Adolph, 1 1 8 , 1 5 7 , 2 6 6 Stern, J . , 1 3 0 Stratton Bill, 2 1 5 Stratton, William G . , 2 1 5 Straus, Isidor, 70 Straus, Oscar S . , 5 0 , 1 0 3 Streitfeld, Sam, 2 3 8 , 2 6 6 Stulberg, Louis, 2 3 8 , 2 6 6 Sturges, Merton A . , 1 0 4 Sudarsky, Mendel, 2 0 4 , 2 3 5 Sulzberger, Cyrus L . , 5 0 Sulzberger, Mayer, 50 Sulzer, William, 56 Sutter, James E . , 8 2 Suvorin, A . S . , 8 6 Sweden, Jewish refugees in, 1 8 8 Tabachnik, Mrs. Rose, 2 3 8 , 2 6 6 Taft, Donald R., i n , 1 3 8


T a f t , William H o w a r d , 5 7 , 5 9 , 6 7 , 7 1 Taylor, Myron C , 1 5 9 Tegliche Presse, 43 Telsey, Samuel A . , 1 4 1 , 1 4 5 , 1 7 7 , 2 3 1 , 2 3 7 , 246, 266 Temple E m a n u - E l , 2 7 4 Tevine, 81 Tigel, Morris, 2 3 8 , 2 6 6 Times, The ( L o n d o n ) , 38 Times, The ( N e w Y o r k ) , 1 5 2 Tiomkin, Wladimir, 1 2 1 Tiomkin, Zinovi, 1 2 2 Titanic, 70 Tomson, Bernard, 2 3 8 , 2 6 6 Torgsin, 1 4 2 Torres, Henri, 2 0 3 Touro Cadets, 40 Touster, Ben, 2 3 7 , 2 5 2 , 2 5 8 , 2 6 1 , 2 6 2 , 266, 267 Touster, Mrs. Ben, 2 3 8 , 2 6 6 T o w n e r , Horace M . , 8 2 Toyen Kisen Kaisha Line, 84 Travers, H o w a r d K . , 209 Tribune, The ( N e w Y o r k ) , 31 Trone, Solomon, 1 8 4 Trocki, Alexander, 1 7 9 Tropper, Morris C , 2 7 5 T r u m a n , Harry S . , 1 9 2 , 2 0 6 , 2 0 7 , 2 1 2 , 216, 2 5 1 - 5 3 T r u m a n Directive, 2 1 1 Tsaritsa, 76 Tschlenoff, Boris, 1 8 1 T u c k , William Hallam, 2 3 3 Tucker, Bert J . , 2 3 6 T u r k o w , Mark, 2 2 9 Uganda Project, 44 Union Generale des Israelites de France (UGIF), 177, 179 Union of American Hebrew Congregations, 3 2 , 2 7 4 Union of German Jewish Communities, 27 Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations, 1 1 8 , 2 7 4 Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada, 1 1 8 , 2 7 4 Union of Swiss Jewish Welfare Societies ( I S R A V ) , 1 8 1 Unitarians, 1 7 3 Unitarian Service Committee, 2 0 1 United Cloth Hat and Cap Makers of North America, 1 1 8 , 2 7 4 United Council of American Veteran Organizations, 2 1 5 United Evacuation Committee, 1 1 5 , 1 1 6 , 1 2 2 , 274


INDEX W a r Relocation Authority, 1 9 2 Warren, George, 2 5 5 Wasserman, Jack, 2 5 3 Watchorn, Robert, 3 9 , 59 Watkins, Arthur V . , 2 5 4 Weiler, Moses C , 2 3 3 Weinberg, Benjamin G . , 1 4 4 , 2 0 1 , 235 Weinberg, Harold M . , 2 0 4 , 2 6 6 Weinberg, Morris, 1 0 9 , 1 1 2 , 2 6 6 Weinstein, Samuel, 1 1 8 , 1 1 9 Weinstein, S . J . , 2 0 4 , 2 6 6 Weiss, Jacob, 1 1 8 Weissman, Rudolph L . , 2 3 8 , 2 6 6 Werelief. See World Jewish Relief C o n ference Wertheim, David, 2 3 6 , 2 4 5 , 2 4 7 White Paper, 1 4 2 , 1 8 6 , 2 0 7 White Star Line, 94 Wiernik, Peter, 1 0 4 Wierosub, J . , 1 4 6 Wilk, Abraham S., 2 3 8 , 266, 268 Williams, William, 4 1 , 4 5 , 5 4 , 6 1 Wilson, William B . , 7 7 , 8 1 Wilson, W o o d r o w , 5 9 , 7 4 , 7 6 Wise, Stephen S . , 5 0 , i l l , 1 1 3 , 1 1 6 Wischnitzer, Mark, 1 1 7 Wolf, Harry K . , 7 8 , 8 8 Wolf, Lucien, 2 7 4 Wolf, Simon, 2 7 , 5 0 , 5 4 , 5 5 Wolfsohn, David, 7 1 Wolinsky, Osip, 1 1 8 Workers' Bank (Palestine), 1 4 2 Workmen's Circle, 6 2 , 1 0 6 , 1 1 8 , 1 5 7 World Jewish Relief Conference ( W e r e lief), 9 6 , 1 1 3 , 1 1 6 , 1 1 9 , 1 2 1 World Zionist Organization, 7 1 , 2 4 1 Yacknitz, H y m a n , 1 1 8 Y a d a , Chonosuke, 86 Yanovski, Samuel, 1 1 7 Yefroikin, I . , 1 1 6 Yehuda Zion Club, 2 7 4 Yiddisher Immigrant, Der, 42 Y o u n g , George J . , 8 2 Y o u n g Men's Hebrew Association, 30 Youth Aliyah, 1 5 4 , 2 4 2 Zangwill, Israel, 4 4 , 7 1 , 7 2 Zelwer, Lazaro, 1 8 4 Zighelboim, Samuel ( " A r t h u r " ) , 1 7 1 Zionist Congress, 2 6 , 2 4 2 , 2 4 3 Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), 198, 2 4 1 , 242, 274 Zuckerman, M a x , 1 1 8 Z u n z , Leopold, 24 Zvirin. Nathan, 1 1 8 , 1 2 0

United Hebrew Charities, 3 2 , 3 4 , 3 5 , 5 4 . 64 United Hebrew Congregation ( C u b a ) , 114 United Hebrew Trades, 1 1 3 , 1 1 8 , 2 7 4 U N I T E D H I A S S E R V I C E . See Merger, The United Jewish Appeal, 1 7 4 , 1 9 1 , 2 0 3 , 263 United Jewish Committee for Relief Abroad, 2 2 8 United Jewish Overseas Relief F u n d , 226 United Nations H i g h Commissioner for Refugees, 2 5 5 United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration ( U N R R A ) , 1 9 5 , 1 9 8 , 208, 209, 224 United Order T r u e Sisters, 2 7 4 United Orthodox Synagogue, 2 7 4 United Palestine Appeal, 1 7 4 United Rumanian J e w s of America, 274 United Service for N e w Americans ( U S N A ) , 2 1 9 , 220, 2 3 1 , 2 5 2 , 2 6 1 - 6 9 United States Committee for the Care of European Children, 1 8 5 , 2 0 8 United States Escapee Program ( U S E P ) , 255 United States Forces European Theater ( U S F E T ) , 209 United Synagogue o f America, 1 1 8 , 274 U N R R A . See United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration U S N A . See United Service for N e w Americans Vaad Tsiburi (Public Committee), 2 4 6 V a l k , I., 1 6 4 Ville d'Amiens, 2 2 7 Vladeck, B . C , 1 0 6 , 1 0 9 , 1 1 2 , 1 2 2 , 123, 151 Voliner Zhitomirer A i d Society, 38 Vollendam, 226 Volturno, 70 Waelbroeck, Pierre, 1 9 8 Wahrhaftig, Zorach, 2 1 3 W a l d m a n , Morris D . , 66 Wallis, Frederick C , 1 0 4 Walter, Francis E . , 2 5 1 Wander, Harry, 2 0 4 , 2 3 5 Warburg, E d w a r d M . M . , 2 6 6 Warburg, Felix, 5 9 , 1 1 5 Warburg, M a x M . , 1 5 5 W a r Refugee Board, 1 9 0 ,

About the Author

M A R K W I S C H N I T Z E R was born in Poland in 1882. A graduate of the universities of Vienna and Berlin, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Berlin in 1906. From 1908 to 1 9 1 3 he was editor of the Jewish Encyclopedia in Russian, and the Encyclopedia Judaica in German. He lectured at the Oriental Institute in St. Petersburg (Leningrad) from 1909 to 1928. Dr. Wischnitzer was secretary general of the Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden in Germany, in charge of their social and cultural relief program in eastern Europe, and in this position he directed the mass emigration of Jews from Germany to western Europe and overseas from 1933 to 1937. He wrote Die Juden in der Welt ( 1 9 3 5 ) , a sociological study of the Jews, and To Dwell in Safety ( 1 9 4 8 ) , the story of Jewish migration since 1800, in addition to many articles in historical and sociological reviews on the economic and political history of the Jews in Russia, Poland, and Lithuania. In 1941 he came to America, where he served as professor of History and Jewish Sociology at Yeshiva University in New York until his death in October 1955.