Let our children go : Youth Aliyah in Germany 1932-39 / by Brian D. Amkraut
Includes bibliographical references (p. 403-437)
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Electronic version from ProQuest
Youth Aliyah, an organization established to promote the resettlement of Jewish teenagers from Germany in Palestine, is generally viewed by scholars as an important educational and absorptive institution for Jewish Palestine and the State of Israel. This dissertation, however, examines the activity of Youth Aliyah within the framework of the German Jewish community in which it was founded. It addresses the following questions: What challenges did Youth Aliyah face from within the German Jewish community? What leading figures and institutions supported or criticized its work? How did Youth Aliyah contribute to German Jewry's attempt to reorganize and reinvent itself after Hitler's rise to power? Did Youth Aliyah succeed in realizing its mission? How can the historian assess that success? Youth Aliyah endeavored to remove Jewish teenagers from Germany and settle them in Palestine for education and agricultural training on collective and cooperative farming settlements. The impetus for the project arose in early 1932, in response to the economic uncertainty facing young Jews in Germany. Recha Freier, a Zionist social worker, believing that the social and political climate in Germany was growing increasingly hostile to Jews, proposed that young Jews migrate to Palestine immediately and undertake occupational retraining there. Although Freier's plan initially met with resistance from groups in both Germany and Palestine, by mid-1933 the organizational machinery that allowed Youth Aliyah to function was in place, including an office in Palestine directed by Henrietta Szold. Though conflicts persisted at some levels, Youth Aliyah did effectively bridge the gap between Jews of differing ideological convictions, drawing support from sources throughout the entire spectrum of German Jewry. Compared to other agencies promoting the emigration of unaccompanied Jewish youths from Germany, Youth Aliyah achieved statistical success, bringing over 5,000 young Jews directly to Palestine before World War II. Yet its contribution to German Jewry's struggle for survival must also be understood in psychological terms. Through both its optimistic promise of hope for young Jews and its educational and social activities, Youth Aliyah helped lift German Jewry's falling morale.
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