German Jewish Immigrants

Commentary by Dr. Gerhard Falk


The German Jews in America - A Minority Among a Minority


is the subject of my next and 23rd book. This book contains two chapters concerning the German Jews who came to this country in the 19th century and founded Reform Judaism as well as the great investment banks and department stores.

     The major part of this forthcoming book is devoted to the German Jews who came here because of the Nazi horrors between January 1933, when Hitler was appointed German chancellor, and December 1941, when the U.S. entered the Second World War.

      There were then about 580,000 Jews in Germany among a population of 62 million (82 million now). At once the Nazi government seized all Jewish bank accounts, fired all Jews from their jobs, prohibited Jews from doing business, and deprived Jews of any license to practice any profession. This made the German Jews destitute and therefore unable to pay the travel expenses of those few fortunate enough to receive a visa from the American consuls in Germany. Moreover, the Roosevelt administration deliberately reduced the quota allowed by Congress for German born applicants to one fifth so as to keep Jews from coming here.

     Meanwhile the American Jewish community, in love with Roosevelt, agreed with him that German Jews should be kept from coming here and did next to nothing to help their Jewish brethren in danger of mass murder. Therefore only 130,000 of the German Jews were allowed to come here, mainly because they had relatives willing to pay for their passage and file an “Affidavit of Support” with the I.N.S.

     Once in this country, the rejection of the German refugees continued. Indeed, some rallies led to the accumulation of money for the relief of the refugees. That money was, however, spent in the main on salaries for “executive directors” of charitable organizations as well as associate directors, assistant directors, travel funds, and kosher dinners. Hardly anything went to the new arrivals who were, in fact, left on their own.

     One exception to this development were some one hundred famous scholars who were funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and constituted the “University in Exile” housed within “The New School of Social Research” in New York. Other scholars were attached to a number of black colleges in the South.

     In view of the disdain shown the German Jewish refugees, they had to promote their own “salvation” and did so magnificently. According to a Harvard University study, a considerable majority of the Nazi era Jewish refugees achieved great success in business and the professions. Their assimilation and acculturation proceeded far faster than that of any group of refugees before or after them.

     Unfortunately, the majority of the German Jews of the 1930’s and 1940’s abandoned the Jewish community after having been told that they were all arrogant and unwelcome. American Jews at that time claimed that their parents and grandparents had been mistreated when they traveled though Germany on their way from the Russian Empire to America and that therefore the time had come for revenge.

     Today, the number of German born Jews and their descendants is dwindling quickly. Their story is not found in the histories of the American Jewish Community. Therefore I have written this book so that those who suffered so much because they were Jews not be forgotten.

Shalom u’vracha.

Dr. Gerhard Falk is the author of numerous publications, including Assassination, Anarchy, & Terrorism (2012).

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