Part Five in a series about Jews and the Second World War
Part One: British and French Appeasement of Nazi Germany
Part Two: Soviet Russia as ally of Nazi Germany
Part Three: United States Isolationism from Nazi Germany
Part Four: France: Ally of the West to Collaborator with Nazi Germany
It would be safe to say that the vast majority of nations that came under Nazi Germany's hegemony during the Second World War (1939–1945) were not unhappy to see their Jewish populations rounded up, squashed into ghettos, and deported to concentration and death camps, if not executed or starved sooner than that.
There are a few notable exceptions of nations that saved many of their Jews or assisted in the escape of Jews from Nazi dominance and persecution. It is not a long list, but they are worth noting and deserve honorable mention, even though every one of them could have done much more to help the Jews.
Considering the fact that Russia started out the war as an ally of Nazi Germany in 1939 but was nevertheless attacked by Nazi Germany in 1941, coming under the siege of war and the place where the Nazis started a major phase of the Holocaust with the deployment of Einsatzgruppenthat shot close to a million and a half Jews, it is a fact that millions of Jews were saved in Russia.
Prior to the Second World War over three million Jews lived in the Soviet Union and its territories. About two million Russian Jews survived the war and the Holocaust. According to Wikipedia, concerning the Holocaust in the Soviet Union: "At the start of the conflict, there were estimated to be approximately five million Jews in the Soviet Union of whom four million lived in the regions occupied by Nazi Germany in 1941 and 1942. The majority of Soviet Jews murdered in the Holocaust were killed in the first nine months of the occupation during the so-called Holocaust by Bullets. Approximately 1.5 million Jews succeeded in fleeing eastwards into Soviet territory; it is thought that 1.152 million Soviet Jews had been murdered by December 1942."
As many as half a million Jews served in the Soviet Red Army fighting Nazi Germany during the war and between 120,000-140,000 Russian Jewish soldiers died fighting against the Nazis. The approximately two million Jews of the Soviet Union would eventually move out and mostly move to Israel and the United States fifty years after the end of the Second World War.
Ironically, latter-day Germany that had rid itself of all its Jews during Hitler's reign has been inundated with a new flow of Jews from the former Soviet Union that now number over 100,000 in the 21st Century.
One of the consequences of Russia's early pact with Germany when Russia attacked Poland on September 17, 1939 was that quite a few Polish Jews took advantage of Russian rule to escape into theSoviet heartland and move as far east as Siberia. Over 300,000 Jews from Nazi controlled Poland passed over to Soviet-controlled Poland as well. Some estimate that the escape of Jews from Poland to the Soviet Union was about one million people.
The JTA has a report from 1943 where it is asserted that Russia helped 1,750,000 Jews to escape the Nazis. "Life as an escapee of the Holocaust was terribly difficult and often lethal, but it at least offered the opportunity for survival and, therefore, an experience fundamentally different than the systematic genocide the Nazis unleashed on those left behind in the territories under their control." (Shelter from the Holocaust: Rethinking Jewish Survival in the Soviet Union ).
The escape into eastern Russia by Polish and Russian Jews who faced the advancement of the German army was significant. Very accurate numbers are hard to come by but there are many stories that have been written about how Jews were either shipped out by the Soviets or fled the Nazis by fleeing to central Russia and Siberia because the borders were wide and porous, examples are:
* "Saved by Deportation: An Unknown Odyssey of Polish Jews" (2016, Film): "In 1940, a year before the Nazis started deporting Jews to death camps, Joseph Stalin ordered the deportation of approximately 200,000 Polish Jews from Russian-occupied Eastern Poland to forced labor settlements in the Soviet interior. As cruel as Stalin's deportations were, in the end they largely saved Polish Jewish lives, for the deportees constituted the overwhelming majority of Polish Jews who escaped the Nazi Holocaust."
* "Polish Jews in the Soviet Union (1939–1959):History and Memory of Deportation, Exile, Survival" (2021, Book): "The majority of Poland’s prewar Jewish population who fled to the interior of the Soviet Union managed to survive World War II and the Holocaust. This collection of original essays tells the story of more than 200,000 Polish Jews who came to a foreign country as war refugees, forced laborers, or political prisoners."
* "Mir Yeshiva: Escape to the East:...In the fall of 1940, the Mir Yeshiva students and faculty traveled via the trans-Siberian railroad to Vladivostok, Russia; and then by ship to Tsuruga, Japan." From there they moved to Shanghai, China during the war.
Bulgaria was allied with the Nazis but somehow refused or confused many of the orders they got to deport their approximately 50,000 Jews to concentration and death camps. Bulgaria's wartime record is mixed and historians have not come to an agreement on why and how Bulgaria saved so many of its own Jews while participating in the death of neighboring Greek Jews. The Bulgarian's were not "saints" and did send to their deaths thousands of Greek Jews.
Bulgaria: "During the war, German-allied Bulgaria did not deport Jews from the core provinces of Bulgaria. The Bulgarian authorities did, however, deport Jewish residents from Greek and Yugoslav territories that Bulgaria had occupied in 1941....Targeted in these first deportations were the Jewish residents of Bulgarian-occupied Thrace, Macedonia, and Pirot (about 13,000 Jews), and approximately 8,000 Jews from Sofia, the Bulgarian capital. During the first half of March 1943, Bulgarian military and police authorities carried out the deportation of 11,343 Jews residing in the Bulgarian-occupied territories. Once the Jews were in German custody, German authorities transported them to Treblinka, where virtually all were killed in the gas chambers or shot." However, when it comes to the Jews of Bulgaria proper most of them were somehow saved from the Nazi hangman's noose. "In 1945, the Jewish population of Bulgaria was still about 50,000, its prewar level."
The sordid details and the ins and outs of the politics and scheming that went on are labyrinthine as described in the rescue of the Bulgarian Jews. Among other things, in summary from Wikipedia:
* The Bulgarian King, Tsar "Boris III was reportedly not antisemitic; despite the risk of being branded a British agent, he sympathized with the Jews and used his influence to help them...
* National Assembly deputy chairman Dimitar Peshev...forced Interior Minister Petar Gabrovski to revoke the deportation order. On March 17, Peshev and another 42 MPs filed a protest with Prime Minister Bogdan Filov against the deportation of Jews from Bulgaria....On May 2, 1943, after Germany increased pressure on the Bulgarian authorities...
* The plan included all 48,000 Bulgarian Jews. There were two different plans; Plan A called for the immediate deportation of all 48,000 Jews, and plan B mandated the relocation of all Jews from Sofia to the countryside. Boris III chose plan B...
* On May 21, 1943, the government authorized the Commissariat of Jewish Affairs to move all 'persons of Jewish origin' living in Sofia to villages and towns in the Bulgarian countryside....
* Boris III was dissuaded from continuing the deportations and assigned Jews to forced-labour camps throughout the country, telling Adolf Eichmann and Adolf Hitler that Bulgaria needed them for railroad construction and other industrial work....
* Across the country, deported Jews were sheltered in the homes of local Jews or housed in empty schools....
* Historians differ about who should receive the most credit for the rescue of the Bulgarian Jews: the Tsar, the church, the politicians who interfered, or the Bulgarian people. Resistance to the antisemitic policy indicated that antisemitism was foreign to Bulgarian society."
There is no one "rational" rule or explanation for such an event. All one can say that it is God's Will, as we say in the High Holiday prayer of Unetanneh Tokef recited on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur: "On Rosh Hashanah will be inscribed and on Yom Kippur will be sealed – how many will pass from the earth and how many will be created; who will live and who will die... But Repentance, Prayer, and Charity mitigate the severity of the Decree."
So Bulgaria has a mixed record. On the one hand it was complicit in the Holocaust of Jews in Greek territories it had conquered, on the other hand when it came to the Jews of Bulgaria proper it was beneficent and mostly let them survive. Eventually about 35,000 surviving Bulgarian Jews would move to the new Jewish state of Israel.
Denmark and Sweden
Denmark was conquered by Nazi Germany in April of 1940, while Sweden remained neutral and unoccupied. The rescue of the Danish Jews happened under the noses of the German forces, Wikipedia citing L. Goldberger's "The Rescue of the Danish Jews": "The Danish resistance movement, with the assistance of many Danish citizens, managed to evacuate 7,220 of Denmark's 7,800 Jews, plus 686 non-Jewish spouses, by sea to nearby neutral Sweden during the Second World War. The arrest and deportation of Danish Jews was ordered by the German leader Adolf Hitler, but the efforts to save them started earlier due to the plans being leaked on September 28, 1943 by German diplomat Georg Ferdinand Duckwitz.
The rescue is considered one of the largest actions of collective resistance to aggression in the countries occupied by Germany during the Second World War. As a result of the rescue, and of the following Danish intercession on behalf of the 464 Danish Jews who were captured and deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, over 99% of Denmark's Jewish population survived the Holocaust."
Therefore there is no article in Wikipedia about "The Holocaust in Denmark" because the main event was the Rescue of the Danish Jews. Still, the 464 Danish Jews who did perish in the Holocaust in Denmark are significant. Judaism teaches in the Mishna (Sanhedrin 4:5); "Adam (Man) was created as a single individual to teach you that whoever destroys one Nefesh (life) of a Yisrael (Jew), the Torah considers it as if he destroyed a full world, and whoever saves one Nefesh (life) of a Yisrael (Jew), the Torah considers it as if he has saved an entire world." That means that the murder by the Nazis of at least four hundred and sixty four Danish Jews was equivalent to the destruction of 464 entire worlds and not to be minimized! The murder and destruction of Six Million Jews during the Holocaust is the destruction of six million worlds! See the Jewish Virtual Library: Estimated Number of Jews killed in the Final Solution.
Thus, "Neutral Sweden provided sanctuary for some Norwegian Jews in 1940 and for virtually the entire Danish Jewish community in October 1943. The Danish resistance movement organized the escape of 7,000 Danish Jews and 700 of their non-Jewish relatives across the Sund Channel from Denmark to Malmo, Sweden." (Holocaust Encyclopedia).
Raoul Wallenberg (1912–1945) was a Swedish diplomat who saved thousands of Jews in German-occupied Hungary from German Nazis and Hungarian fascists. He served as Sweden's special envoy in Budapest, Hungary, between July and December 1944 and issued protective passports and sheltered Jews in buildings he declared as Swedish territory. The actual number of people rescued are estimated to be in the range of 4,500 individuals, according to Yad Vashem. Between May and early July 1944 more than Hungarian 400,000 Jews had been deported by freight train. All but 15,000 were sent directly to Auschwitz. With fellow Swedish diplomat Per Anger, Wallenberg issued "protective passports" which identified the bearers as "Swedish" subjects thus preventing their deportation.
During the 1920s and 1930s the world outside of Europe almost entirely closed its borders to immigrants especially to Jews trying to flee the rise of the Nazis. For example, the Immigration Act of 1924 stopped mass immigration to the United States. Canada set up entry restrictions "in 1930-31, the Canadian government responded to the Great Depression by applying severe restrictions to entry." The immigration policies of Australia during the 1930s restricted the number of Jewish refugees: "In June 1938 at the Evian Conference was held in France to discuss the Jewish refugee crisis by which time there were hundreds of thousands of Jewish seeking to immigrate. Although many nations attended the conference and expressed their concerns for the refugees, No progress was made towards re-settlement of the refugees. Australia agreed to accept 15,000 Jewish refugees over three years with Australia's delegate, Tomas W. White saying 'As we have no real racial problem, we are not desirous of importing one.' (Brookings Institute). These are examples anti-Jewish refugee policies of the leading English-speaking nations outside of Europe.
It is therefore nothing short of a miracle that a Jew during the bitter and tumultuous 1930s could somehow pay their way and find their way to the international city of Shanghai in China. As reported in the Smithsonian "Europe's Jews Found Refuge in Shanghai": "When European Jews targeted by the Nazis sought help from nations around the world, most of their pleas went unanswered: At a 1938 (Evian) conference of 32 countries, for instance, only the tiny Dominican Republic agreed to welcome additional German Jewish evacuees. Countries such as the United States, Canada and Cuba, meanwhile, turned away ships of desperate refugees at ports and tightened immigration laws. While most places shut Jews out, one offered safe harbor: Shanghai, the cosmopolitan coastal city then under Japanese occupation. About 20,000 Jews settled in Shanghai between 1938 and 1941."
During this time an entire famous Lithuanian yeshiva found its way to Shanghai and was rescued from the flames of the Holocaust. Professor D. Kranzler in his epic work "Japanese, Nazis and Jews: The Jewish Refugee Community of Shanghai 1938–1945", from my own published work at "The Second World War and Jewish Education in America: Mir to New York Via Shanghai": "Kranzler writes that while the Nazis were carrying out their 'Final Solution' to the Jewish problem, about 18,000 Jewish refugees found a haven in the only place in the world whose doors were open without a visa: the International Settlement of Shanghai. This is related to what he calls one of the central themes of his work: 'An extraordinary and ironic twist of fate, or Hashgocho Protis (Divine Providence),.. ..the incredible role of Japan, in actually making possible the survival of 18,000 Jews.'
Amongst this group we find 'the gripping saga of the Mirrer Yeshiva from its first refuge in Kovno to Shanghai through Siberia and Japan.' The ultimate destination of this yeshivah was to be Brooklyn, N.Y., where it arrived almost intact in February 1947. 'It had made its way from the little town of Mir in Poland across Lithuania, through Russia to Siberia, and then to Kobe, and ended its odyssey in Shanghai.' Combined with other individual Talmudic students, the Orthodox group of over 400 students of Talmud 'comprised an elite of East European Jewry in all its partisan divisions.' At the war's end, they were to bring a passionate approach to Talmudic learning in America and later to Israel. On August 1941, on the eve of the High Holy Days, almost the entire Mirrer Yeshiva arrived in Shanghai.
It so happened to be that in the 1930s an assimilated Jewish magnate of Sephardic origins had built a beautiful, and sturdy synagogue called 'Beth Aharon'. It was not used since 1937 when as a result of hostilities, many Jews moved to other parts of Shanghai. The Mirrer Yeshiva viewed this as another act of Divine Providence: 'Since the seating capacity of the synagogue was exactly the same as the number of students, and the building had been used relatively infrequently in recent years, the students felt the synagogue was now fulfilling its true destiny.' Kranzler writes that in Shanghai, the yeshivah quietly continued its uninterrupted schedule of study of fourteen to twenty hours a day.
Adversity had strengthened their resolve. It went on for several years, and the yeshivah had to rely on its own resources and creative spirit to exist. For example, in the face of the shortage of texts, the yeshivah resorted to printing Rabbinic works. Close to one hundred titles in Rabbinic scholarship were reprinted in Shanghai. The printing of one Talmudic tractate was followed by the entire Talmud (except for one title), Bible and commentaries, Maimonides' works, and classics of Jewish ethics and philosophy. The Mirrer Yeshiva's contribution to Torah learning whilst Europe burned remains incalculable. Its ardent pursuit of the most intense form of Jewish education in a world at war remains a key to understanding the great expansion of Orthodox education in America in the post-1945 era."
Eventually, after the war, the European Mir yeshiva divided itself between the Mirrer Yeshiva in Brooklyn, New York, USA and the Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem, Israel which is today the largest yeshiva in the world in numbers of Talmudic students.
The countries of Central and South America were generally hostile to accepting Jewish refugees from Nazism in Europe. However, mention must be made that the countries of Latin America combined did admit tens of thousands of Jewish refugees, as reported by the Holocaust Encyclopedia of the United States Holocaust Museum in Refuge in Latin America:
* "Most Latin American nations were relatively open to immigrants from 1918 to 1933. After the Nazi seizure of power in Germany, however, as the search for refuge intensified, both popular and official resistance to the acceptance of European Jews and other foreigners increased. Latin American governments officially permitted only about 84,000 Jewish refugees to immigrate between 1933 and 1945, less than half the number admitted during the previous fifteen years. Others entered these countries through illegal channels.
* Argentina, which had admitted 79,000 Jewish immigrants between 1918 and 1933, officially admitted 24,000 between 1933 and 1943. Another 20,000 Jews entered Argentina illegally, crossing the border from neighboring countries.
*Brazil admitted 96,000 Jewish immigrants between 1918 and 1933, but only 12,000 between 1933 and 1941.
*Bolivia: Less well-known is the admission of more than 20,000 Jewish refugees between 1938 and 1941 to the Andean nation of Bolivia. Decisive in this enterprise were the efforts of Mauricio (Moritz) Hochschild, a German-Jewish mining magnate.
* After Nazi Germany and its Axis partners began to implement the mass murder of the European Jews in 1941, some Latin American governments issued passports, visas, and citizenship papers through their European legations. These documents played an important role in the rescue of Jews, although many never actually reached the nations that issued the papers. Nevertheless, these documents often enabled them to begin the journey to safety.
*El Salvador: Beginning in 1942, El Salvador made up to 20,000 passports available to Jews under Nazi occupation through its Consul General in Geneva, José Arturo Castellanos . These passports were especially useful in saving lives in Budapest in 1944, when Hungarian Jewry was the last intact Jewish community in occupied Europe."
* Dominican Republic: From the history of the Jews in the Dominican Republic on Wikipedia: "The Dominican Republic was one of the very few countries willing to accept mass Jewish immigration during World War II. At the Évian Conference, it offered to accept up to 100,000 Jewish refugees. It is estimated that 5,000 visas were actually issued, and the vast majority of the recipients did not reach the country because of how hard it was to get out of occupied Europe.... The DORSA (Dominican Republic Settlement Association) was formed with the assistance of the Joint Distribution Committee, and helped settle Jews in Sosúa, on the northern coast. About 700 European Jews of Ashkenazi Jewish descent reached the settlement."
Sadly, the United States was too busy with Isolationism from Europe, the United Kingdom was too busy with Appeasement of the Nazis, and Britain's notable English-speaking democratic colonies and dominions, like Canada, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand who could have easily have taken in many Jewish refugees followed the lead of Mother-Britain and kept their borders tightly shut.
At that time, in the 1930s before the outbreak of war, Britain and France had substantial colonies in Africa but did not offer those as refuges for Germany's and Europe's hunted Jews.
Spain and Portugal
Although Spain under its dictator Francisco Franco was a Fascist state, it did not become a full ally of Nazi Germany. and kept itself out of the war. According to the Yad Vashem Shoah Resource Center: "After France surrendered to Germany in June 1940, tens of thousands of refugees flocked to the Spanish border, hoping to reach Spanish or Portuguese ports from which they would try to leave Europe by ship. In spite of strict rules about entry into Spain that were issued in 1940 and 1941, tens of thousands of refugees managed to cross the border---even if they did not possess a visa to a final destination....Jewish refugees from Germany continued to pass through Spain by train until the German authorities banned all emigration from the Reich in October 1941. During the first half of the war, some 20,000--30,000 Jews were given permission to pass through Spain. During the summer of 1942 the Nazis began deporting Jews from France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. At that point, many Jewish refugees crossed into Spain illegally....The refugees were mainly provided for by the Joint Distribution Committee in Spain. Between the summer of 1942 and the fall of 1944, some 7,500 Jews fled to Spain and were given temporary refuge."
Discussing Spain and the Holocaust Wikipedia notes that: "Ángel Sanz Briz, a Spanish diplomat in Hungary, protected several hundred Hungarian Jews in 1944. After he was ordered to withdraw from the country ahead of the Red Army's advance, he encouraged Giorgio Perlasca, an Italian businessman, to pose as the Spanish consul-general and continue his activities. In this way, 3,500 Jews are thought to have been saved...In total, nine Spaniards have been awarded the title of Righteous Among the Nations by the Israeli institute Yad Vashem."
According to the Holocaust Encyclopedia: "Spain allowed almost 30,000 Jewish refugees to enter, primarily from 1939 to 1941. These refugees, mostly from France, were permitted to cross Spain on their way to Portugal. German pressure reduced the number of Jews admitted entry into Spain to fewer than 7,500 during the years 1942–44, although Spanish consuls distributed 4,000-5,000 identity documents (crucial to escape) to Jews in various parts of Europe. Portugal (a neutral country friendly to the Allies) permitted many thousands of Jews to reach the port of Lisbon. A number of American and French Jewish organizations helped the refugees, once in Lisbon, to reach the United States and South America."
"Close to 30,000 Jews were admitted into Switzerland, although an estimated 20,000 were turned away at the Swiss border." (Holocaust Encyclopedia). While Wikipedia states that: "Approximately 23,000 Jews found refuge in Switzerland, yet the government decided to stay neutral and to only be a country of transit for Jewish refugees. Jewish refugees were treated differently to refugees from other religions with regards to the financial support they received.
The Swiss government persuaded Germany to stamp 'J' on the passport of Jews in order to make it easier to refuse admission to Jewish refugees. When thousands of Jews tried to flee Austria after the Anschluss in March 1938, and again in 1942-1943 when Jews tried to escape deportation from France, the Netherlands, and Belgium, a large part of them were denied access to the country. During the Second World War 25,000 Jews were granted refugee status in Switzerland, but around 30,000 Jews were denied admission to the country. Most of the refugees had left the country by 1953."
There is also the question of the vast amounts of wealth left in the care of Swiss banks that belonged to Jews who perished in the Holocaust that have been unaccounted for. "The World Jewish Congress lawsuit against Swiss banks was launched in 1995 to retrieve deposits made into Swiss banks by victims of Nazi persecution during and prior to World War II. Initiated as WJC negotiations with both the Government of Switzerland and its banks over burdensome proof-of-ownership requirements for accounts, strong support from United States politicians and leaked documents from a bank guard pressured a settlement in 1998 in a U.S. court for multiple classes of people affected by government and banking practices. As of 2015, US$1.28 billion has been disbursed for 457,100 claimants."
However, according to a 2012 report in Haaretz: "the banks owe Jewish heirs $6 billion, based on what their accounts would have been worth if they had survived to this day." And probably much more than that if one takes into account gold, gems and antiques that were locked up in Swiss vaults by Holocaust victims before the war.
Ottoman Turkey had been an ally of Germany and a member of the defeated Central Powers during the First World War but as the Republic of Turkey it was neutral during the Second World War. Turkey during the Holocaust: "denaturalized 3,000 to 5,000 Jews living abroad; 2,200 and 2,500 Turkish Jews were deported to extermination camps such as Auschwitz and Sobibor; and several hundred interned in Nazi concentration camps. When Nazi Germany encouraged neutral countries to repatriate their Jewish citizens, Turkish diplomats received instructions to avoid repatriating Jews even if they could prove their Turkish nationality." So the Turks were quite anti-Semitic, however to their credit: "Between 1940 to 1944, around 13,000 Jews passed through Turkey from Europe to Mandatory Palestine." This included some very well-known rabbis, including the Belzer Rebbe Rabbi Aharon Rokeach (1880–1957) and the Gerrer Rebbe Rabbi Avraham Mordechai Alter (1865–1948).
The Holocaust in Italy is complex because the majority of Italy's approximately 40,000+ Jews somehow survived: "Of the estimated 44,500 Jews living in Italy before September 1943, 7,680 were murdered during the Holocaust (mostly at Auschwitz), while nearly 37,000 survived... Altogether, by the end of the war, almost 8,600 Jews from Italy and Italian-controlled areas in France and Greece were deported to Auschwitz; all but 1,000 were murdered. Only 506 were sent to other camps (Bergen-Belsen, Buchenwald, Ravensbrück, and Flossenbürg) as hostages or political prisoners. Among them were a few hundred Jews from Libya, an Italian colony before the war, who had been deported to mainland Italy in 1942, and were sent to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Most of them held British and French citizenship and most survived the war...
In the nineteen months of German occupation, from September 1943 to May 1945, twenty percent of Italy's pre-war Jewish population was murdered by the Nazis. The actual Jewish population in Italy during the war was, however, higher than the initial 40,000 as the Italian government had evacuated 4,000 Jewish refugees from its occupation zones to southern Italy alone. By September 1943, 43,000 Jews were present in northern Italy and, by the end of the war, 40,000 Jews in Italy had survived the Holocaust."
The Holocaust Encyclopedia records that: "Italian forces protected Jews in the Italian occupation zones in Yugoslavia, France, and Greece. From mid-1942 to September 1943, Italy gave aid to Jews in several areas under its occupation. These included Dalmatia and Croatia, where 5,000 Jews found refuge; southern France, where at least 25,000 Jews fled; and Greece, where 13,000 Jewish refugees found temporary shelter. Despite unceasing demands and protests from the Germans, Croatian fascists, and the Vichy police, the Italian authorities refused to hand over these Jews. The Italians also extended protection to Jews in Tunisia."
With the onset of the Second World War, Australia closed its doors to Jewish refugees from Hitler's Europe, but prior to the outbreak of war, "Australia welcomed nearly 8000 Jewish refugees from 1933 to 1938, with another 5000 arriving in 1939." ("The Holocaust through the lens of Australian Jewish refugees"). From Wikipedia: "The Australian government was initially hesitant in permitting entry to the many Jews who wanted to come, but in 1938 [following the Evian Conference], it allotted 15,000 visas for 'victims of oppression' [not necessarily Jews]. Some 7,000 Jews were able to take up the visas before the outbreak of World War II put an end to the program."
* Throughout the war, nearly 2,000 Jews sought refuge in Albania-proper. Most of these Jewish refugees were treated well by the local population.
* For the 500 Jews who lived in Kosovo, the experience was starkly different, and about 40 percent did not survive the war.
* Approximately 600 Jews were killed in Axis-occupied Albania during the Holocaust.
* Albania-proper emerged from the war with a population of Jews eleven times greater than at the beginning, numbering around 1,800. Most of these subsequently emigrated to Israel. Several hundred remained in Albania until the fall of Communism in the early 1990s before doing the same.
* "In the late 1930s, Philippines president Manuel Quezon welcomed over 1,200 Jews from Germany and Austria into an unlikely haven in the Pacific archipelago.
* With his Open Doors policy, even as most nations closed their doors to Jewish refugees, these Jews — who came to be known as “Manilaners” — escaped Hitler’s growing menace and reached the Philippine capital.
* Were it not for interference by the United States government, however, there could have been thousands more rescued Jews.
* Philippine ambassador to Israel Neal Imperial told The Times of Israel via telephone that while Quezon had wanted to bring tens of thousands of Jews to the Philippines and permanently settle them on the island of Mindanao, his efforts were stymied by the US government, who limited him to accept 1,000 Jews a year, over a 10 year period."
Rabbi Yitschak Rudomin was born to Holocaust survivor parents in Israel, grew up in South Africa, and lives in Brooklyn, NY. He is an alumnus of Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin and of Teachers College–Columbia University. He heads the Jewish Professionals Institute dedicated to Jewish Adult Education and Outreach – Kiruv Rechokim. He was the Director of the Belzer Chasidim's Sinai Heritage Center of Manhattan 1988–1995, a Trustee of AJOP 1994–1997 and founder of American Friends of South African Jewish Education 1995–2015. He is also a docent and tour guide at The Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in Downtown Manhattan, New York. He is the author of The Second World War and Jewish Education in America: The Fall and Rise of Orthodoxy. Contact Rabbi Yitschak Rudomin at[email protected]