Tracking the plight of refugee Jews during and after the Nazi era, the authors of Auschwitz offer a comprehensive survey of various countries' responses to the refugee crisis and their often self-serving motives America, fearing immigrants would become public charges, required financial affidavits from American family or friends, which proved insurmountable for most European Jews. Britain granted visas to Jews of international repute, such as Sigmund Freud, but to only 50 Jews with licenses to practice medicine and 14,000 Jewish women willing to work as domestic servants. Eager to increase its white population, a racist Dominican Republic allowed healthy young refugees from Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia to work on large-scale agricultural colonies. Internment camps in the Soviet Union offered a chance for survival while detention camps in France were conduits to the concentration camps and death. The establishment of the state of Israel resolved postwar Jewish refugee problems but ironically triggered an immediate Jewish refugee flood from Muslim countries. Although well researched and written, this work's specialized focus deems it more appropriate for academics and others with a special interest in the Holocaust or refugee policy. 50 photos, 2 maps. (Apr.)
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Most Holocaust studies understandably focus on the plight of the victims in death camps and those who suffered the outrages committed by special SS units as the Wehrmacht rampaged across Eastern Europe. Here, the authors shed light on Jews who attempted to escape the fate that their tormentors planned. Beginning with the Nazi ascension to power in 1933, many German Jews saw the writing on the wall. Their emigration was surprisingly orderly, and was facilitated by “cooperative” German officials. The fortunate ones found refuge in Britain, the U.S., and Palestine. Others, like the family of Anne Frank, fled to soon-to-be occupied nations, including the Netherlands and France. As Dwork and van Pelt chillingly recount, orderly emigration soon gave way to panicky flight as Nazi persecution increased and windows closed in various nations that had seemed receptive. There are heroes here, including Gentiles who sheltered and smuggled Jews, and villains who knowingly denied Jews a safe haven and condemned them to certain extinction. This is an excellent examination of a rarely emphasized aspect of the Holocaust. --Jay FreemanSee all Editorial Reviews