During the Great Depression, why did countries not welcome Jews trying to leave Germany and Austria?

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kapokkid eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The idea that would be most correct is that of jobs being scarce and so a combination of anti-semitism and protectionism helped to stoke the fires of anti immigration and anti semitic groups.  This in turn led to political pressure to tighten immigration quotas in the name of protecting jobs but of course quotas were based on formulas that favored immigration from northern european countries and from ethnic groups that did not include Jews.

Sometimes in the intense focus on the atrocities of the Holocaust, we lose track of the fact that anti-semitism was rampant throughout much of Europe and in the United States as well.

etotheeyepi | Student

Voyage of the Damned is a fictional account an ocean liner carrying Jews from Germany to Cuba in 1939.


The passengers were denied entry into Cuba and many latter died in Nazi death camps.

The passengers asked for asylum in the United States, but they were denied.  Some people think they were denied asylum because officials of the American State department hated Jews.

That may seem strange now; but at the time, irrational anti-Semitism was a common thing.