How did British Jews respond?

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Reflect!

Why might British Jews have been divided in their responses to the influx of Jewish refugees?

What effect might the influx of refugees have had on the population within 1930s Britian?

The JRC, the Board of Deputies and the Anglo-Jewish Association gave an asssurance to the British government. What was this assurance and why might they have given it?

How is the plight of present day refugees to Britain different to that experienced by Jewish refugees in the late 1930s?

Has the British government's stance to refugees changed? If so, how?

British Jews were divided in their response to Nazism. The economic and political uncertainties of the 1930s meant that any minority group was vulnerable. Antisemitism was at a high level in Britain at that time. Many Jews were frightened that more coming in to Britain would make their situation more vulnerable. 

Left wing Jewish activists in the East End of London led demonstrations and asked for a boycott of German goods. The Jewish leadership in Britain rejected this request for an official boycott, however, because they thought it would increase antisemitic attacks in Germany.

No burden on the state

Nevertheless, many Britons, both Jewish and non-Jewish, wanted to help solve the plight of the German Jews. In March 1933 the German-Jewish Refugee Council (JRC) was established. The JRC, along with the Board of Deputies and the Anglo-Jewish Association, lobbied the government to ease restrictions. They pledged that none of the refugees would be a financial burden on the state. Accommodation would either be paid for or provided.

Other refugee relief and aid committees were set up throughout Britain. This support enabled about 75,000 Jewish refugees to enter Britain between 1933 and 1939, over 10,000 of whom were children.