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Points of Passage

Points of Passage: Jewish Migrants from Eastern Europe in Scandinavia, Germany, and Britain 1880-1914

Edited by Tobias Brinkmann
Copyright Date: 2013
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 186
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  • Book Info
    Points of Passage
    Book Description:

    Between 1880 and 1914 several million Eastern Europeans migrated West. Much is known about the immigration experience of Jews, Poles, Greeks, and others, notably in the United States. Yet, little is known about the paths of mass migration across "green borders" via European railway stations and ports to destinations in other continents. Ellis Island, literally a point of passageintoAmerica, has a much higher symbolic significance than the often inconspicuous departure stations, makeshift facilities for migrant masses at European railway stations and port cities, and former control posts along borders that were redrawn several times during the twentieth century. This volume focuses on the journeys of Jews from Eastern Europe through Germany, Britain, and Scandinavia between 1880 and 1914. The authors investigate various aspects of transmigration including medical controls, travel conditions, and the role of the steamship lines; and also review the rise of migration restrictions around the globe in the decades before 1914.

    eISBN: 978-1-78238-030-6
    Subjects: History, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Introduction Points of Passage: Reexamining Jewish Migrations from Eastern Europe after 1880
    (pp. 1-24)
    Tobias Brinkmann

    Few topics in modern Jewish history have been as exhaustively researched as the Jewish mass migration from the Russian and Austro-Hungarian Empires between the early 1880s and mid 1920s. It is indeed difficult to overlook the studies examining the arrival, community building, and assimilation of Jewish immigrants, especially in the American urban context. The eastern European mass migration transformed Jewish life around the globe. In Britain, Palestine, South Africa, Argentina, Australia, and many other places Jewish immigrants established new communities or outnumbered older Jewish settler, often en within a few years.¹ Jews also moved within eastern Europe in large numbers...

  6. Part I. Medicalization of Borders

    • 1 Germs of Anarchy, Crime, Disease, and Degeneracy: Jewish Migration to the United States and the Medicalization of European Borders around 1900
      (pp. 27-44)
      Barbara Lüthi

      In a fervent call to enforce American immigration restrictions in Europe, the American publicist James Davenport Whelpley stated in a 1905 magazine article that even good laws and an intelligent government were not always effective in preventing “paupers, criminals and deficients” from leaving European countries. He added, “[N]ever for a moment can vigilance relax in the administration of the American exclusion laws. The situation is grave and threatening. … An emigration tide unless thoroughly policed carries with it the germs of anarchy, crime, disease and degeneracy.” Nevertheless, Whelpley stressed the “tremendous progress” in the field of migration control throughout the...

  7. Part II. Transit through Scandinavia, Germany, and Britain

    • 2 Immigrants or Transmigrants? Eastern European Jews in Sweden, 1860–1914
      (pp. 47-62)
      Carl Henrik Carlsson

      In 1866, Josef Pagrotsky, a young Jewish man, arrived in Sweden. He had been born in the smallshtetlof Raczki in the Suwalki Gubernia (province) of Russian Poland, near the border with East Prussia. He soon settled in the Swedish city Karlstad, about the same time as his sister Esther and her husband Nissen Felländer also settled there. Esther and Josef’s younger brothers, Ruben and David, soon joined them, while their sister Ada moved to London. Two of the Pagrotsky siblings, Mordechai Meier and Reizel, remained in the vicinity of Raczki. Each of the seven siblings married and had...

    • 3 Emigrant Trains: Jewish Migration through Prussia and American Remote Control, 1880–1914
      (pp. 63-84)
      Nicole Kvale Eilers

      On the morning of 5 October 1910, a train arrived in the German port city of Bremen at 8:54 A.M.¹ Although dozens of trains would stop at Bremen’s main train station that Wednesday, this particular train differed from most others. This train included four special locked cars that contained 129 eastern European emigrants, many of whom were Russian Jews. Because of their special status as eastern EuropeanDurchwanderer(transmigrants), these passengers had been segregated from other passengers since the Russian border. Each of these 129 people was more than just a passenger on another train to Bremen, and more than...

    • 4 Transmigrants between Legal Restrictions and Private Charity: The Jews’ Temporary Shelter in London, 1885–1939
      (pp. 85-104)
      Klaus Weber

      Between 1880 and 1914, the total figure of Jewish immigration from eastern Europe to Britain ranged between one hundred and twenty thousand and one hundred and fifty thousand.¹ These figures, however, refer only to Jews who Settled in Britain permanently. Many more Jews moved through Britain, mostly to the United States and a few other destinations in South America, South Africa, and Australia. This essay sheds light on the activities and strategies of the Jews’ Temporary Shelter (JTS), one of Anglo-Jewry’s major philanthropic institutions, in managing the flow of migrants and transmigrants in and through Britain. During this period, its...

  8. Part III. Atlantic Passages

    • 5 The Improvement of Travel Conditions for Migrants Crossing the North Atlantic, 1900–1914
      (pp. 107-129)
      Drew Keeling

      European migration to the United States in the early twentieth century was a demographic phenomenon of unprecedented scale underpinned by a complex business in international travel. North Atlantic shipping line records document the associated large and highly cyclical passenger movements to and from major U.S. ports:¹

      The North Atlantic crossing was a ubiquitous feature of this mass migration, though not necessarily the most arduous stretch of the overall relocation. Between 1900 and 1914, about half of European emigrants to the United States moved indirectly by way of at least one third country before continuing on to a ship requiring at...

    • 6 Russian-Jewish Transmigration and Scandinavian Shipping Companies: The Case of DFDS and the Atlantic Rate War of 1904–1905
      (pp. 130-147)
      Per Kristian Sebak

      Between 1880 and 1914, an estimated 1.5 million Jews emigrated from czarist Russia to North America.¹ The vast majority passed through border stations into Germany and Austria-Hungary. They continued by train to the ports of Hamburg, Bremen, Rotterdam, and Antwerp, where they boarded steamers for North America. Beginning in the early 1890s, some opted for an alternative route that led from the Russian port of Libau on the Baltic to the British ports of Hull, Grimsby, and London. From there, migrants traveled by train to the port of Liverpool, sometimes to Glasgow, and after 1900 to Southampton. The rising Jewish...

    • 7 The Boys and Girls Not from Brazil: From Russia to Rio and Back Again Via Southampton and Hamburg, 1878–1880
      (pp. 148-162)
      Tony Kushner

      On 13 December 1879 theSouthampton Times’s “Shipping Intelligence” reported the arrival of the Royal Mail West India and Brazil Steam Packet Company’sMinho.The ship had called at Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, St. Vincent, Lisbon, and Vigo, bringing the mail from all these ports. It also brought with it £6,650 in specie, all gold, a “large cargo of general merchandise” and “a full complement of passengers.”¹ For a busy and fast expanding port in commercial Britain, there was nothing particularly unusual in theMinho’s disembarkation at Southampton.² Yet alongside this dockside intelligence, theSouthampton Timesreported elsewhere an...

  9. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 163-164)
  10. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 165-170)
  11. Index
    (pp. 171-175)