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Between Home and Homeland

Youth Aliyah from Nazi Germany

Written by Brian Amkraut

Publication Year: 2006

The emigration of Jewish teenagers to Palestine to escape Hitler’s Germany.
While the future darkened for the Jews of Germany as Hitler and his followers assumed and consolidated power in Germany, a number of efforts, at first random, uncoordinated, and often at cross-purposes with one another, were set underway both within and without German cities to facilitate the departure of Jews. Among them was the organization, “Youth Aliyah” (aliyah refers to the Zionist goal of a homecoming for Jews in historic Israel). To this day Youth Aliyah is considered by Israelis as a major contribution to the foundation of a Jewish presence leading to the modern state of Israel. Brian Amkraut follows the organization from its establishment, its alliances and antagonisms with other Jewish organizations, its problems on every side, perhaps the greatest being sheer human optimism ("surely things will get better").

Although the several thousand youths who were saved by removal from the Holocaust were a small percentage of the young Jewish population, the Youth Aliyah program is widely celebrated by those who seek examples of Jewish agency, of attempts to resist the coming horror.


Published by: The University of Alabama Press

Series: Judaic Studies Series


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p. vii

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pp. ix-x

A number of individuals and institutions must receive proper credit for allowing me to finally bring this work to publication. The Interuniversity Fellowship in Jewish Studies sponsored a year of archival research in Israel, and New York University’s Institute for Advanced European Studies supported a summer in Germany. My doctoral research was ...

List of Abbreviations

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pp. xi-xii

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Introduction: Dealing with the Nazis

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pp. 1-16

While the synagogues were burning throughout the Third Reich on November 10, 1938, not all Jewish institutions were targeted for destruction. In a strange turn of events, Gestapo officials could be found protecting some Youth Aliyah training facilities, where Jewish teenagers prepared for emigration from Germany to the land of Israel. On other ...

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1. 1932—The Decisive Year

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pp. 17-31

The history of Youth Aliyah most accurately begins during Weimar Germany’s closing year. Historians of modern German Jewry have recognized 1932 not just as a watershed of German history but also as a time of singular significance for Germany’s Jewish population.1 Yet this chronological classification does not only revolve around the ...

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2. Spreading the Word

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pp. 32-59

As the Weimar Republic collapsed during the early 1930s and while Recha Freier envisioned a mass exodus of young Jews to Palestine, Chanoch Reinhold (later Rinnot) seemed destined to follow the path of the stereotypical bourgeois German Jew. Though an ardent Zionist and former member of the youth group Kadimah, at the beginning of 1933 ...

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3. Emigration or Welfare Movement?

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pp. 60-91

Though Nazi policies became more oppressive, not all Jews were yet convinced that the time had come to evacuate. Even for those seriously considering emigration, Palestine was not generally viewed as the optimal destination. Among younger Jews, however, the notion of a new life in the land of Israel grew increasingly attractive. This generation ...

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4. After the Pogrom [Includes Image Plates]

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pp. 92-128

From a confidential interview given by a Youth Aliyah representative in Austria: “Hitler entered Austria on a Friday and many were taken to Dachau. From one family all four sons disappeared—they are still in Dachau. The youngest is a girl who is now left alone with her parents. When the Youth Aliyah office offered to give her a certificate, ...

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5. Conflicts and Resolutions

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pp. 129-159

From Youth Aliyah’s inception, the participation of Orthodox Jews received special consideration and posed unique challenges to the program’s unity and its ideological integrity. The organization committed itself to the immigration of observant Jews within the Youth Aliyah framework, yet realizing this goal proved troublesome. Of approximately ...

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pp. 160-167

On the night of November 8, 1938, Margit went to sleep in the Frankfurt orphanage as usual, but she was woken up by terrible shouts and banging on doors. The door was broken open as Nazis stormed the building, destroying everything. She heard shouts of “fire” and when she finally left ...


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pp. 169-204


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pp. 205-206


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pp. 207-226


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pp. 227-232

E-ISBN-13: 9780817381622
Print-ISBN-13: 9780817315139

Illustrations: 12
Publication Year: 2006

Series Title: Judaic Studies Series
Series Editor Byline: John Smith, Will Wordsworth See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 424521060
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Between Home and Homeland

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Palestine -- Emigration and immigration -- History -- 20th century.
  • Jews -- Germany -- Politics and government.
  • Jews -- Germany -- Migrations.
  • Jewish children in the Holocaust.
  • Zionism -- Germany -- History -- 20th century.
  • Germany -- Emigration and immigration -- History -- 20th century.
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