April 27, 1994
The Nazi persecution of German Jewry between 1933 and 1939 elicited a strong response from virtually every corner of the Jewish world. Jewish responses were, however, limited by the political and economic weaknesses of diaspora Jewish communities at the time. Lacking a strong-willed defender, the Jewish communities were able to undertake only limited rescue actions. Moreover, even such actions as were undertaken elicited considerable differences of opinion among Jewish leaders and communal activists. This essay elucidates some of the options for action that were available to diaspora Jews in the 1930s, seeking to place the failure to rescue German (and later, European) Jewry into its proper historical and analytical context.