Between Home and Homeland: Youth Aliyah from Nazi Germany
The emigration of Jewish teenagers to Palestine to escape Hitler’s Germany. While the future darkened for the Jews of Germany as Hitler and his followers assumed and consolidated power in Germany, a number of efforts, at first random, uncoordinated, and often at cross-purposes with one another, were set underway both within and without German cities to facilitate the departure of Jews. Among them was the organization, “Youth Aliyah” (aliyah refers to the Zionist goal of a homecoming for Jews in historic Israel). To this day Youth Aliyah is considered by Israelis as a major contribution to the foundation of a Jewish presence leading to the modern state of Israel. Brian Amkraut follows the organization from its establishment, its alliances and antagonisms with other Jewish organizations, its problems on every side, perhaps the greatest being sheer human optimism ("surely things will get better").
Although the several thousand youths who were saved by removal from the Holocaust were a small percentage of the young Jewish population, the Youth Aliyah program is widely celebrated by those who seek examples of Jewish agency, of attempts to resist the coming horror.
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