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Zionist Palestine Office, Thessaloniki, Greece (Fond 1435)

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 2017.430.1 | RG Number: RG-11.001M.53

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    Various reports, news bulletins, correspondence and appeals of the Palestine Bureau. Includes general reports on the activities of the Thessaloniki Palestine Bureau for 1924-1926; reports to the leadership of the Zionist Federation of Greece on Jewish settlements in Palestine, on the fundraising activities on behalf of Jewish victims of pogroms in Palestine, financial records (register of donated funds, salaries etc.) and extensive correspondence between Palestine Bureau and various Jewish organizations, Jewish communities and private individuals. Also includes questionnaires of Greek Jews applying for permission to immigrate to Palestine, personal files of candidates for emigration, lists of persons for emigration to Palestine arranged by profession, age, marital status, photos etc.

    Note: Some of the materials may originate from the fond 1428 (The Jewish Community of Thessaloniki, USHMM Archives RG-11.001M.51) including correspondence files, financial records, applications for divorce, minutes of the sessions of the Thessaloniki Religious Court (Beth Din), marriage contracts, and courts summons.

    The entire collection was copied in 2017, though one file is still located with parts of RG-11.001M; see the finding aid for details.
    Alternate Title
    Palestine Bureau, Salonika, Greece
    inclusive:  1918-1940
    Credit Line
    Forms part of the Claims Conference International Holocaust Documentation Archive at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. This archive consists of documentation whose reproduction and/or acquisition was made possible with funding from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Collection Creator
    Palestine Office
    Palestine Office, a Zionist institution whose meaning and function was entirely different before World War I and after it. In 1908 a Palestine office (Palaestinaamt) was established in Ereẓ Israel, with its seat in Jaffa, by the executive of the World Zionist Organization. Headed by Arthur *Ruppin, it served under the Ottoman regime as the central agency for Zionist settlement activities, including land purchase and aiding immigration. (2) After World War I the name Palestine Offices was applied to Zionist "consulates" in the Diaspora countries charged with the organization, regulation, and implementation of Jewish immigration to Palestine. The first Palestine Office of this kind was set up in Vienna in 1918. Subordinated from 1921 to the Immigration Department of the Zionist Executive, which functioned under the provisions of the Mandate as the *Jewish Agency for Palestine, the Palestine offices were run in every country by a commission (Palaestinaamtskommission) composed of representatives of various Zionist parties, on the basis of parity or according to their strength at the last Zionist Congress, frequently with a preponderance of Labor Zionists and always with a strong representation of pioneering youth movements. The composition and functions of the Palestine offices were governed by the resolutions of Zionist Congresses, particularly the 12th, 13th, and 14th (1921–25).

    In the 1920s and 1930s the Palestine Office distributed the immigration "certificates" issued by the Mandatory government to the Jewish Agency; dealt with hakhsharah (i.e., agricultural training of ḥalutzim); provided information to prospective immigrants; prepared and provided the necessary travel documents; and served as a link to the British consulates and the authorities of the country concerned. In those years Palestine offices existed in most European capitals (the largest being in Warsaw) as well as in exit ports to Palestine (like Trieste) and large provincial towns of some countries with a dense Jewish population (like Poland). After the outbreak of World War II, the Geneva Palestine Office engaged in rescuing Jews from Axis-dominated territories and transferring them to Palestine. In later stages of the war, the offices in Istanbul and Teheran – and after its end, those in Vienna, Munich, Rome, and Marseilles – acquired particular importance in these rescue operations. After World War II the Palestine offices unofficially assisted the "illegal" *immigration to Palestine of refugees and survivors of the Holocaust.

    With the establishment of the State of Israel (1948), the jurisdiction and activities of these offices underwent considerable change. They were named offices of the immigration Department of the Jewish Agency and, mostly administered by emissaries from Israel, were charged with nongovernmental functions complementary to those of the consulates of the Israel government, as, e.g., the promotion and organization of Jewish immigration to Israel and particularly the transport of immigrants needing the Jewish Agency's assistance.

    Bibliography: World Zionist Organization Protocols of the Zionist Congresses, esp. of the 12th, 13th, and 14th; Zionist Organization, Executive Report… to the 22nd Zionist Congress (1946); JL, S.V. Palestina-Aemter [Source: Jewish Virtual Library]
    Fishman, D. E. and Kupovetsky, M, Kuzelenkov, V. (ed.), Nazi-Looted Jewish Archives in Moscow. A guide to Jewish Historical and Cultural Collections in the Russian State Military Archive. Scranton: University of Scranton Press 2010. Published in association with the United States Holocaust memorial Museum and The Jewish Theological Seminary.

    Browder, G. C. Captured German and other Nation's Documents in the Osobyi (Special) Archive, Moscow. Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of Conference Group for Central European History of the American Historical Association. Internet access:

    Physical Details

    14 microfilm reels (digitized) ; 16 mm.
    approximately 26,000 digital images : JPEG.
    System of Arrangement
    Fond 1435 (1918-1940). Opis 1-1; Dela 56. Arranged in two series: 1. Records relating to Jewish settlements in Palestine; 2. Records of "The Jewish Community of Salonika" (originated from Fond 1428)

    Note: 14 new microfilm reels, replacement in 2017.

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    Reproduction and publication only with written permission of the Russian State Military Archives

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Source of acquisition is the Russian State Military Archive (Rossiĭskiĭ gosudarstvennyĭ voennyĭ arkhiv), Osobyi Archiv, Fond 1435. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Archives received the filmed collection via the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum International Archival Programs Division in October 2017.
    Note: This collection replaces the incomplete collection received by the Museum Archives earlier (1993)
    Record last modified:
    2023-08-25 10:01:22
    This page:

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