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Exodus from Europe: Jewish Diaspora Immigration from Central and Eastern Europe to the United States (1820-1914)

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This article examines one of the largest exoduses in human history. In less than three decades, over five million Jews from Poland, Germany, and Russia journeyed to what they considered to be the “American Promised Land.” This study serves five main purposes: first, to identify social, political, and economic factors that encouraged this unprecedented migration; second, to examine the extensive communication and transportation networks that aided this exodus, highlighting the roles that mutual aid societies (especially the Alliance Israelite Universelle in Paris, the Mansion House Fund in London, and the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society in New York City) played in the success of these migrations; third, to analyze this diaspora’s impact on the cultural identity of the Jewish communities in which they settled; fourth, to discuss the cultural and economic success of this mass resettlement; and finally, fifth, identify incidents of anti-Semitism in employment, education, and legal realms that tempered economic and cultural gains by Jewish immigrants to America.

Affiliations: 1: University of Texas at Dallas


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