Saturday 16 May 2015

How much do we really learn from history?

"German Jews Pouring into This Country". This is what the The Daily Mail, a British tabloid newspaper, had to say about German Jews seeking refuge from Nazi brutality in 1938. The article quotes a magistrate stating that "The way stateless Jews from Germany are pouring in from every port of the country is becoming an outrage. I intend to enforce the law to the fullest",

The reporter continues by reassuring the reader that enforcement is fortunately increasingly effective: "even if aliens manage to break through the defences it is not long before they are caught and deported".

1938 Daily Mail article

This article did not reflect some extremist, far right-wing sentiment, but a widespread anti-Semitic sentiment in Europe and the concomitant fear of massive immigration of Jewish refugees from Germany, who had been stripped of their German citizenship by the Nazi regime. In the late 1930s, when the situation of Jews in Nazi Germany became increasingly dangerous, European nations and the United States only accepted limited numbers of Jewish refugees

The Nazis initially saw emigration as an important 'solution' to what they called the 'Jewish Problem', including emigration to Palestine. However, European and American countries became increasingly reluctant to host significant numbers of Jewish refugees, while the British closed Palestine to Jewish immigration in 1939. When MS St. Louis, a German ocean liner tried to find a refuge for 915 German Jews, they were denied entry to Cuba, the United States and Canada, before returning to Europe, where many were killed during the Holocaust.

Also neighbouring countries like the Netherland and Switzerland closed their borders out of fear of being inundated with Jewish refugees, and many were sent back to Germany. (Although, thanks to smugglers, thousands were able to get out despite tough border controls). Such immigration restrictions were often defended with the argument that the crisis-stricken European countries could not bear the burden of large-scale Jewish immigration, but widespread anti-Semitic sentiment was generally the real reason. 

For instance, in 1938 the Dutch prime minister Colijn argued that allowing in more refugees would cause economic pressures. Wryly, he explained that the border closure was actually in the interest of Dutch Jews themselves, because allowing in more refugees would further fan the flames of anti-Semitism.  In an official statement the Dutch government proclaimed that "a further intrusion of alien elements will be harmful of the maintenance of the Dutch race. The government finds that, in principe, our limited territory should be reserved for its own people". 

How much do we really learn from history? 


  1. wonderful post and it is very interesting one. scholarship essay writing service is providing the successful writing papers.

  2. I was a pupil at elementary school in 1964 and learned about the Second World War in the Netherlands; and I was told that never again the Netherlands would act like they did to the Jews fleeing from Germany in the thirty's. Lately I've often thought back to this teaching. The teacher was really a very good teacher in many ways; and somehow I am happy that he can't be alive to see what's happening now: he was around 65 at the time.

  3. I posted this elsewhere but it disappeared so rewrote it again.

    Population of EU is over 500 million so if estimates are right current wave of refugees are less than 0.002% of the EU population. How much will that really affect quality of life? It's far less than new children born each year. I mean if every one helps like 2 Euros per year that's enough for their survival! How is that a crisis?!

    In 2013, Spain alone provided tourists accommodation establishments for 252 million nights.

    On a typical summer day there are at least 30k flights inside EU providing transport for well over 8 million people each DAY.

    How come transporting and temporary settlement of 1 million in a YEAR is called a crisis?!

    Turkey alone is hosting 2 millions of them, not once I heard them scream in media that there's a crisis going on! Now we are talking about all EU countries! How much bigger is the combined GDP of EU countries?

    Obviously, if EU "wants" to help it's a piece of cake for them to handle.

    This whole 'refugee crisis" looks more like an ugly parade to me.


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