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WHY DIDN’T JEWS LEAVE WHEN THE NAZIS CAME TO POWER?

Similar to their fellow citizens, German Jews were patriotic citizens. More than 10,000 died fighting for Germany in World War I, and countless others were wounded and received medals for their valor and service. The families of many Jews who held German citizenship, regardless of class or profession, had lived in Germany for centuries and were well assimilated by the early 20th century. From 1933–39, the German government passed and enforced discriminatory laws targeting Jews at a relatively gradual pace. Up until the nationwide anti-Jewish violence of 1938, known as Kristallnacht, many Jews in Germany expected to be able to hold out against Nazi-sponsored persecution, as they hoped for positive change in German politics. Before World War II, few could imagine or predict killing squads and killing centers.

Those who made the difficult decision to leave Germany still had to find a country willing to admit them and their family. The search for safe haven was very difficult. The Evian Conference of 1938 showed this when almost every nation in attendance declined to change its immigration policies. Even when a new country could be found, a great deal of time, paperwork, support, and sometimes money was needed to get there. In many cases, these obstacles could not be overcome.

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Originally posted 2017-12-17 21:24:53.