Wolfgang Benz Technical University of Berlin Why did the majority of German Jews not escape the impending catastrophe caused by Hitler and the National Socialists by fleeing from Hitler's sphere of influence? Those who ask this naïve question neither think about the economical and administrative difficulties which stand in the way of emigration nor do they consider the political hurdles put in the way of German, and later other European, Jews by potential receiving countries. Loss of status, almost always incurred by emigration, and a lack of professional qualifications for the country of immigration proved further difficulties. Assimilated German Jews' identification with Germany was a significant, maybe even the most significant reason, which stood psychologically in the way of emigration.1 Very few German Jews reacted to the new German government with thoughts of emigration. The realization that the basis for Jewish life in Germany was lost was not widespread among Jews in the spring of 1933. The difficulties of emigration (these ranged from the "Reichsfluchtsteuer" emigration tax and progressive economic harassment to pillage and plunder before emigration) were one hurdle; the problems posed by the immigration authorities (proof of available means, professional qualifications, affidavits and guarantors) were the
Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies – Purdue University Press
Published: Jan 6, 2004
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