BRI­TISH PALES­TINE’S HUGE ROLE AS A REFUGE

The Jewish Chronicle - - Comment&analysis -

Edie Fried­man makes an im­por­tant con­tri­bu­tion ( JC Es­say, Oc­to­ber 24) to the timely sub­ject of asy­lum. I would like to add a foot­note. When speak­ing of Bri­tain as a refuge for Jews flee­ing Nazism dur­ing the 1930s, one needs to con­sider Bri­tish Pales­tine as well as the UK. Ac­cord­ing to Sir Martin Gil­bert in The Holo­caust: “Of the 75,000 Jewish refugees of 1933, 1934 and 1935, the largest sin­gle group — 30,000 in all — had gone to Pales­tine…”

By the end of 1936, nearly 12,000 Pol­ish Jews had been ad­mit­ted to Pales­tine. In 1937, af­ter the vi­o­lent Arab ri­ots, an­other 7,000 Ger­man and Pol­ish Jews were ad­mit­ted to Bri­tish Pales­tine. Then, of course, Bri­tain gave in to Arab pres­sure and lim­ited Jewish en­try to Pales­tine. What is of­ten over­looked is that about one third of the Bri­tish Em­pire forces serv­ing in North Africa were Mus­lims which is why Bri­tain did not want to fight against Mus­lims in Pales­tine. Through­out the Mid­dle East, the Arabs were pro-Hitler and anti-Bri­tish. In 1938 the For­eign Of­fice al­lowed sev­eral thou­sand Jews to en­ter Shang­hai without visas, while Cham­ber­lain agreed to al­low 10,000 Ger­man Jewish chil­dren to en­ter Bri­tain, while re­ject­ing the Jewish Agency’s ap­peal for 21,000 ad­di­tional en­try pa­pers for Pales­tine. For all its com­plex­ity, Bri­tain did more to res­cue Jews than most other coun­tries and de­serves credit for that. Joseph Feld Brent Bridge, Lon­don NW11

My for­mer col­league Edie Fried­man’s ar­ti­cle was most stim­u­lat­ing. How­ever, I must point out that the Board of Guardians was never the fore­run­ner of the Board of Deputies, but of the Jewish Wel­fare Board, and thus of Jewish Care. Neville Na­gler For­mer di­rec­tor gen­eral Board of Deputies Dawlish Drive, Pin­ner

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