Most Likely Destination of Jewish Refugees and Fate of Judaism After Holocaust with No Israel?

I'd like to propose an unorthodox answer, Venezuela, after WWII, the country provided entry to various Europeans (including Jews), so in a stillborn Israel scenario, I could see it becoming an attractive destination (especially since it's far from Europe)
Strong possibility as is Argentina. Despite being a refuge for Fascists, Peron was Against Anti Semitism and sheltered Large numbers of Jews. IOTL McDonald's only Kosher Restaurants are in Israel and Argentina.
 
Strong possibility as is Argentina. Despite being a refuge for Fascists, Peron was Against Anti Semitism and sheltered Large numbers of Jews. IOTL McDonald's only Kosher Restaurants are in Israel and Argentina.
Would be interesting to see how a bigger Jewish influx into Argentina would go, considering there were officially over 300,000 Jews living there IOTL and possibly as many as 500,000 depending on various estimates.
 
Decades ago I recall hearing or reading something about a proposal to relocate Jewish WW2 refugees to Namibia (which was, at that time, a UN mandate under South African administration). Was that a bona fide historical proposal, or was it something I simply recall reading in a spy/war novel?
 
Decades ago I recall hearing or reading something about a proposal to relocate Jewish WW2 refugees to Namibia (which was, at that time, a UN mandate under South African administration). Was that a bona fide historical proposal, or was it something I simply recall reading in a spy/war novel?
I have heard about Australia, Kenya (at the time the proposed area was part of the Uganda protectorate), and Alaska as proposals for the mass relocation of Jewish refugees, but I have not heard about Namibia, this would be quite interesting assuming that this was actually proposed in real life.

Useful to mention that as far as I recall, Apartheid South Africa saw (European-descended) Jews as fellow Whites, and the majority of Afrikaner Nationalists were not anti-semitic (except for a minority of Nazi sympathizers among them in WWII), in this scenario, Apartheid South Africa, and by extension, South West Africa/Namibia have a bigger White population, but at the same time, what would Apartheid SA be without the support of Israel?, perhaps they never get nukes?, and with a bigger White population in SW Africa/Namibia, would South Africa insist in maintaining control of it even during the negotiations to end Apartheid?

Edit: My bad, this thread is talking specifically about the destination of Jewish refugees after WWII with a no-Israel scenario, not about proposals for Jewish states and/or settlements before the Holocaust, however, the Kenya plan was proposed as late as 1938 in a Jewish magazine as I recall though.
 
Last edited:
Decades ago I recall hearing or reading something about a proposal to relocate Jewish WW2 refugees to Namibia (which was, at that time, a UN mandate under South African administration). Was that a bona fide historical proposal, or was it something I simply recall reading in a spy/war novel?
If this is true it would be interesting for sure but I don’t think I’ve ever read anything that suggested Namibia as a proposal.
 
I have heard about Australia, Kenya (at the time the proposed area was part of the Uganda protectorate), and Alaska as proposals for the mass relocation of Jewish refugees, but I have not heard about Namibia, this would be quite interesting assuming that this was actually proposed in real life.

Useful to mention that as far as I recall, Apartheid South Africa saw (European-descended) Jews as fellow Whites, and the majority of Afrikaner Nationalists were not anti-semitic (except for a minority of them in WWII), in this scenario Apartheid South Africa, and as an extension, South West Africa/Namibia have a bigger White population, but at the same time, what would Apartheid SA be without the support of Israel?, perhaps they never get nukes?, and with a bigger White population in SW Africa/Namibia, would they insist in maintaining control of it even during the negotiations to end Apartheid?
Namibia was a former German colony and continues today to have a noticeable German community in Windhoek. Because the local Germans were separated from the German government I suspect they were as Nazi-free as any German ex-pat population in other allied countries. And doing so could be seen as giving the middle finger to Nazi aspirations of a Mittel Afrika.

but I don’t think I’ve ever read anything that suggested Namibia as a proposal.
It was so long ago that I don't recall where I saw this. It may have even been a fictional spy or war novel.
 
doing so could be seen as giving the middle finger to Nazi aspirations of a Mittel Afrika.
Well, by the time that such Jewish settlement starts in Namibia, Nazi Germany is already destroyed, so there are no such Nazi Mittelafrika aspirations to speak of, unless if we are talking about potential "ratlines" of Nazi officers who wanted to flee to Namibia instead of South America IOTL, but if they did not do it IOTL, then I do not see why they would want to escape to a place with a large Jewish population either.
 
Well, by the time that such Jewish settlement starts in Namibia, Nazi Germany is already destroyed, so there are no such Nazi Mittelafrika aspirations to speak of, unless if we are talking about potential "ratlines" of Nazi officers who wanted to flee to Namibia instead of South America IOTL, but if they did not do it IOTL, then I do not see why they would want to escape to a place with a large Jewish population either.
I meant it only in a retrospective historical sense.
 
After the war - OTL war I mean - the Southern Rhodesians were asked if they could take in some European Displaced Peoples, who I presume must have included at least a few Jewish survivors.

Those charming people refused, on the grounds that these were "the wrong kind of white people".

At least some did make it to Northern Rhodesia though. I once read a thing in which a member of the Northern Rhodesian Asian community (i.e., with roots in South Asia/India) reminisced about how he could only order from the non-white section of a certain store, except when a Polish Jewish guy was on duty, who would let him select from the "whites only" section on the QT.

So, let's suppose that the Rhodesias take a different turn after 1924 - they get a big influx of Fabians or something, maybe - and this part of southern Africa develops in a very fresh direction indeed.

The wild card here would be the indigenous African majority. They wouldn't have been exposed to much in the way of anti-semitism, apart from any "they killed our Lord" stuff the missionaries might have brought in - but the spectre of another wave of Euros coming to settle the veld might elicit a certain hostility.
 

DougM

Donor
I tgink we we may need to be careful here. Yes there is and was a definite Antisemitism in various locations of the world and I surely don’t want to downplay that. We also have to realize that a nation or its people may have other motivations besides Antisemitism that keeps them from accepting Jewish refugees en mass.
Also historically ANY large group that arrives in a country tends to be looked down upon. Historically that has happened in the US with the Chinese, Germans, Irish, and Italians, plus religions such as Jews and Catholics also, to name but a few that happen to be in my own family tree.
And obviously many many many others.
Once again I am NOT downplaying Antisemitism specifically nor racism in general. I am just pointing out that most folks don’t really like it when a large group moves into there neighborhood. This is made worse if they don’t share a culture and again if one group is economically different than the other. Heck this is happening on a smaller level in my very township. As the newer outsiders move in and build big fancy houses and pave dirt roads and build up the area they are mostly wealthier then many that have lived here and the resentment is pretty noticeable.
It is (sadly) the realit of the world. And perhaps a bit understandable as this new group can effect those that are already there.

Once again I am not trying to justify this just saying that there are other reasons besides the obvious racism and religious prejudice that may make any large group of refugees less then welcome.
The US had a population of about 140 million in 1945.
In the first 5 years of Isreal about 3/4 of a million Jews moved there. And estimated 4-6 million Jews Died in the Holocaust. we can assume that a country such as the US or Australia that is welcoming and relatively wealthy and that does not have all the downsides of of Isreal in the first few years will see a pretty large influx. So you could easily get 1 to 2 million and 4-6 million is not out of the realm of possibilities. Heck you COULD get 7-8 million if you tried hard.
This large number is a problem for any country, First off most of those inclined to move will be refugees or the poor. This tends to cost money at least to start for any country that accepts them. And it has a detrimental impact on the lower working poor already in said country as they are most likely to have to compete against this new influx of labor.
And we are looking at between 1/2 of a percent of the population of the US to as much as a couple percent of the population. That is a HUGE shift in economics as well as culture. And other countries would be worse. So ignoring the antisemitism for the moment and we still have understandable reasons why any country may be a bit concerned about letting such large numbers of immigrants in.
And this also ignores anyone that may want to move to any given country such as the US for any other reason. Part of my own family took several years to get permission to move to the US post WW2 and that was with family already here that could and did pay for everything for them including the bonds needed.
So understandable any country needs to control immigration. Once again not saying racism and antisemitism is not part of the issue. Just saying that imagination is a VERY complex issue with many different things involved in it.

For example pre WW2 the US was still struggling with the depression and other factors such as trying to avoid getting dragged into what was looking yo be yet another European War. And these factors added to many others (including racism antisemitism and simple self interest as well as a resistance to change) make it understandable why the US was disinclined to open the doors to large numbers of immigrants. Especially refugees that were fleeing with little more then the clothes on there back. Does that sound mean and nasty? Maybe. But it is understandable that a country looks after its own citizens before those of other countries.
I know some wont like that a May label me an antiemetic or a racists. But there comes a point that a person or country has to look after their own before others. If you are having trouble making ends meet then you are in no position to be handing out charity.

And after WW2 countries had to deal with a lot, Demobilization and getting the troops back into the workforce without blowing up an economy that was already struggling as it shifted away from wartime was a huge concern for everyone including the US. And all countries including the US were in debt from the war. Those war bonds sound great until it is time to pay them off. And lend lease was not free for the US.
So any country be it the US Or Australia or Argentina or what became Israel can only accept so many immigrants in general and refugees in particular.

So i suspect that most Jews will stay right where they were. The US and Australia pr being at the top of the list for those that do immigrate while many many other countries will take what they feel they can.

But even with Isreal it is not like all the Jews in Europe moved.
Actually i suspect that without Isreal you probably see MORE Jews move. As without Isreal I think some countries will increas how many Jewish refugees they will accept. And I also suspect that a Jew in Germany in 1950 would find it a lot easier to move to a developed country such as the US (if they were allowed in) then they would be to move to Isreal and try to build up from very little all the while with neighboring countries trying to destroy you. So without Isreal to use as an excuse I think you will see more Jews allowed into many countries. Just not millions and millions of them.
 
At least some did make it to Northern Rhodesia though. I once read a thing in which a member of the Northern Rhodesian Asian community (i.e., with roots in South Asia/India) reminisced about how he could only order from the non-white section of a certain store, except when a Polish Jewish guy was on duty, who would let him select from the "whites only" section on the QT.
There's a documentary "Memory is Our Homeland" about the large number of Polish refugees, many being Jewish, who settled in British African colonies. The film's writer's family settled in Tanzania. The film tells how Jews, who fled in the run-up to WW2 or as post-war refugees, resisted the local segregationist laws (siding with the other underdogs) so much so that Jewish refugees were often involved with the independence and majority-rule movements during the 1950's and 1960's.

But I've never heard or read about Southern Rhodesians turning away WW2 refugees.
 
I’m starting to think for about the first 20 years or so after the Holocaust (or if Israel lost the 1948 war) most would’ve been stuck in their nations of origin (or would have returned if Israel collapsed early on) or been in refugee camps in Europe. Once the United States re-allocated its quotas in 1965 and abolished them in 1968 and replacing them with broader hemisphere limits then I think the USA would be more receptive to larger waves of Jewish migrants and end up as the primary destination. But that’s still several years away.
 
I’m starting to think for about the first 20 years or so after the Holocaust (or if Israel lost the 1948 war) most would’ve been stuck in their nations of origin (or would have returned if Israel collapsed early on) or been in refugee camps in Europe. Once the United States re-allocated its quotas in 1965 and abolished them in 1968 and replacing them with broader hemisphere limits then I think the USA would be more receptive to larger waves of Jewish migrants and end up as the primary destination. But that’s still several years away.
Assuming a stable situation didn't develop in Eastern Europe. The idea of an Ashkenazic SSR in former East Prussia has some merit, but I think there's also a reasonable scenario where the Soviets resettle the Holocaust survivors roughly where they came from. There would be a lot of tensions, but after 20 years, I could see most Holocaust survivors (and their descendants) choosing to stay.
 
China? It already held a lot of refugees due as it was the only place that didn't care about passports pre-PRC and China didn't have much in terms of Jewish prejudice.
 
Egypt Maybe Historically Egypt has been a refuge of Judaism. but... as Joel Beinin points out the nationalist and Islamic parties like Young Egypt and the MB were starting to create a non-Jewish Egyptian identity back in the 20s so it might not work.
 
In this scenario, would Britain have turned its African colonies into a Jewish homeland? Would we see Jewish Kenya or Jewish Somaliland?

I think that after WW2 it would be far too late. Zionism was basically with idea that Israel should locate there where it has always been and natives might not be too intrested with any Jewish state in Africa.
 
Top