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Numbers of Holocaust Refugees That Canada (Didn’t) Accept
“During the twelve years of Nazi terror, from 1933 to 1945, while the United States accepted more than 200,000 Jewish refuges; Palestine, 125,000; embattled Britain, 70,000; Argentina, 50,000; penurious Brazil, 27,000; distant China, 25,000; tiny Bolivia and Chile, 14,000 each, Canada found room for fewer than 5,000.”
Excerpted from NONE IS TOO MANY, Irving Abella and Harold Troper, Toronto, 1982ISBD 0-919630-31-6. (Canada & The Jews of Europe, 1933-1948)
From Hannah Rosen’s Diary
Events are happening so rapidly that I am compelled to record my thoughts in this diary. Ever since Adolf Hitler was appointed chancellor on 30 January 1933,(2) life has gotten so bad that I have decided that I must leave.(3) My name is Hannah Rosen. I’m twenty now and able to think on my own. I live in Friedberg,(4) Germany, and used to go to Friedberg Gymnasium before I was thrown out by the Nazis two years ago. Last year, after her husband died of diabetes, my older sister, Rebecca, and her seven year old son, Daniel, moved in with my parents. Lisle, my mother, is kind and sympathetic, but worries too much and carries a burden too heavy for her small shoulders. My father, Karl, is strong and kind. I trust him more than any other person in the world.
It has been decided. My uncle and aunt, Max and Ruth Riegner, who live in Chicago, will send me an affidavit(5) so I can geta visa to go to New York. Their son, Gerhart,(6) who lives in Geneva, has written me to tell me that when I get to the United States, I should contact Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, who will give me a job at the American Jewish Congress (AJC) in New York.(7)
Today, I leave with mixed feelings. My family has lived in Friedberg since the 1600s.(8) I don’t want to leave, but I know it is safer in America.(9) I only wish my parents and sister would come with me, instead of being so obstinate.(10) I know I must look forward and not look back. I’ll board the ship proudly with a suitcase in each hand and my diary hidden inside my blouse.
As I enter New York harbor and behold the Statue of Liberty, I feel a surge of emotion. How wonderful it is to feel secure again!(11)
I rent a small flat in Manhattan and get ajob at the AJC. I meet Rabbi Wise.(13) I tell him about my family, how I am trying to bring them here, and how I want to urge the Roosevelt administration to let more Jewish refugees into America.
Rebecca wrote me that our family went to visit our old friends, the Heinrichs. I know this means that they have gone into hiding.
The Evian Conference just ended.(14) President Roosevelt had called for it, raising all of our hopes by making it seem as if something would be done. However, nothing was accomplished. Was it all just for show?
I read in The New York Times (NYT) about a pogrom in Germany. Thousands of Jewish shop windows were smashed and hundreds of synagogues burned.(15) I hope my family is safe.
I received a letter from Rebecca relating the destruction on the 9th. Father’s shop is a wreck. Rebecca says that all Jews have been strippedof their positions, wealth, and property.(16) Now the Nazis propose an income tax for “Nazi charity.”(17) Rebecca has saved a bit of money to give to the Heinrichs to help pay for food. She is crowded in with three other families.
The ship, St. Louis, sailed to Cuba with 900 Jews, was turned away,and then headed to the U.S. coast. The U.S. government didn’t let the refugees in, forcing them back to Germany.(18) This makes me so angry. We’ve got to find a way to stop this from happening.
Despite the reports of the Jews’ worsening situation, the WJC and other Jewish organizations confront one main obstacle: the unwillingness of the Roosevelt administration and Congress to allow more Jews to immigrate by raising the quota limits.(19)