Monday, 7 November 2011

Efforts to aid German Jews in 1930s

It’s always good to go back to primary resources, to find out what people were actually talking about at the time. I uncovered some very interesting snippets at the Wiener Library last week. I was looking at the minutes of committee meetings of German Jew relief organisations. This includes the Council for German Jewry, the Central Council for Jewish Relief and the Central British Fund for Jewish Relief. Some interesting occurrence came to light: A Conference for the Relief of German Jews was held as early as 29 October to 3 November 1933. The problems were occurring that early and we knew about them. There was heavy involvement by the Rotschilds. German refugees should never become a burden on the state – that could lead to British anti-Semitism. There was plenty of unemployment and poverty in Great Britain. The Archbishop of Canterbury was involved form the start. Appeals were put into the Jewish press form the beginning and as early as August 1933 into the general press. German young people were being trained for emigration. They were being offered skills they could use in Palestine and in other new homelands. The need for Kindertransport children to have an entrance visa and passport was removed at the end of 1938. Their normal ID card would suffice. However, this was not often understood by the families applying for the transport of by the German authorities. Could more children have been saved if communication had been clearer? Despite avoidance of burdens on the tax-payer, the government loaned money to the Movement for the Care of Children from Germany on 1 December 1939 There was some competition between various aid organisations and sadly form time to time egos got in the way.

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