Research Report: Pre-War Reactions to Nazi Anti-Jewish Policies in the Jewish Press Conferences
This is a comparative investigation carried out between 1972 and 1975 to study Jewish public opinion in non-Nazi Europe towards the Third Reich’s persecution of Jews in the decade before the war. Five countries participated in this study: Britain, the Netherlands, Italy, Poland, and Rumania. Only in 1933 was it grasped that antisemitism was a dominant factor in Nazi ideology. The threat to German Jewry was realized in Britain in 1935, and in Italy and Holland in 1936. Rumania lagged behind. Poland called on Jews to stand up and fight. Varying policies were proposed to combat Nazism. Most countries supported emigration to Palestine, except Poland, which encouraged resistance. Jews in four of the countries studied came out in support of refugees arriving in their countries; the one exception was Italy whose Jews justified the non-granting of asylum for their brethren. At first German Jewry was blamed for the misfortunes falling on them. Jews in each country were influenced by local conditions and ideological preconceptions in their response to the situation.