Palestine as Favourite Jewish Migration Destinantion in the Mediterranean. Periodicals as Key Factors in Migration Decision Making?

Term Paper, 2021

21 Pages, Grade: 2,0




I. Introduction

II. Main Part
1. Destination selection – place utility, location-specific capital and information cost Location-specific capital and information cost
2. Jews in Germany around 1930 – quantitative approach
2.1 Economical distribution
2.2 Age distribution, sex ratio, martial rate
3. The “Korrespondenzblatt über Auswanderungs- und Siedlungswesen“
4. Location specific capital of Palestine compared to Tunisia, Egypt and Algeria
4.1 Demand of Jewish goods
4.2 Steady customers
4.3 Wholesalers
4.4 Language
4.5 Urbanization
4.6 Other professions
4.7 Personal ties
4.8 Intermediate result
5. Information cost
6. Jewish migration and Zionism – international view

III. Conclusion



I. Introduction

Opening the website of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (faz) shows the current headline: “Two winners, one loser – ceasefire in the middle east”.1 Israel and the Hamas are agreeing on a ceasefire, after 11 days of bombing based on upheavals around the Al-Aqsa Mosque. This happening is just the most current top of an ongoing smoldering trouble spot, that mingles a bulk of interests, cultures and nations from the middle east and almost all over the world. Even after more than 70 years of existence, Israel doesn´t calm down and the conflict between Arabs and Jews rekindles regularly. But how come, that a huge amount of Jewish people, for most of the human history known as the people without country, settled at the north-eastern edge of the Mediterranean Sea? The following paper wants to investigate reasons, factors and influences of the migration movement towards Israel around 1930. Additionally, I want to take a look left and right. Regarding alternative destinations in the Mediterranean the question arouses, wether they were totally unfitting as migration destination or just not present in respective information sources of that time?

In the first step I will discuss DaVanzas location-specific theory and her model of information cost, which delivers a categorized evaluation of destination selection and considers the impact of information and information availability in migration decision processes. Before combining German Jewish decisions with this theories, German Jewry of the 1930s will be elucidated in a quantitative manner. Especially demographic and economic figures will be used get a notion of Jewish life around 1930 in Germany. After that, I will mingle the theory of location-specific capital and figures together with the migration specific information delivered by the “Korrespondenzblatt über Auswanderungs- und Siedlungswesen”.2 This will not only sharpen the view on requirements and living conditions of different possible destinations in the Mediterranean besides Palestine, it will also function as a study, simulating Jewish decision making on the basis of the KAS. The picture will then be completed by the question, which and how other emigration specific information in Jewish periodicals contributed to destination selection and what role politics, especially the British empire played in these processes. The “Deutsche Nationalbibliothek” announced in March the project” Jüdische Periodika in NS-Deutschland”. Where they had digitalized and published a vast number of Jewish periodicals, from which some of them weren`t available for public eyes before. With this new supply, the role of periodicals in migration decision making can be evaluated with much more detailed information. Especially the question can be observed, why some regions in the Mediterranean were a destination of at least 100 Jewish migrants and others attracted thousands. For my research, Diehl delivered a detailed overview on Jewish periodicals and Zimmermann described Jewish life in Germany enjoyable concise.3 But the field of Jewish migration specific periodicals analyzed by countries and the evaluation of their impact especially with Mediterranean destinations seems to be unappreciated yet. Therefore, my work wants to try to close this gap and starts with an theoretical approach.

II. Main Part

1. Destination selection – place utility, location-specific capital and information cost

As migration is a current topic all over the world, many theories try to approach its causes empirical.

Roseman sets some fitting presumptions: He states, that the choice of a destination is a function of economic opportunities and local amenities, strongly qualified by limited information about alternative destinations.4 Further, classifying migrants as “economic or “noneconomic” is an oversimplification leading to a misconception of factors important to migration.5 Following, a expressive theory should attend these definition and try to overcome such simplifications while delivering a manageable frame.

The most common approach when it comes to seizing migration decision factors is the push and pull model. Even though it is easy to understand, the line between push and pull can be fluent and it does not consider the fact of what information, especially regarding to pull factors, was available for the respective migrant or migrant group. In the following, I will present two other theoretical models which try to overcome the categorization in economic/ non economic , push/pull and consider the fact of information availability.

Location-specific capital and information cost

Da Vanzo approaches the question, why people chose one country over another similarly but focusing more on the information factor. Her model deals with the theoretical term of location-specific capital, what means every factor, that “ties” a person to a particular place.6 For instance she lists home-ownership, job-related assets as existing clientele, a nonvested pension, knowledge of an area and friendships. Such assets are costly or impossible to replace or transfer to another locality. Therefore, giving them up are the costs of moving and “spending” them or not is the obstacle of leaving. Once the decision to leave is made, the migrant does an investment. At this point, it is important, to gather as much information as possible about the considered destination country to minimize the risk of a failing investment.7 Additionally, a potential migrant will only invest in “search” as long as he or she feels the benefits overweighing the costs of information gathering.8

Consequently, the so called concept of information cost shows, that information about potential destination countries is a key factor in decision making. Linking to Da Vanzos first concept, a migrant will choose the country, where the provided information in the decision process makes him “sure”, that the new location provides the opportunity to regain his invested location-specific capital.

Da Vanzos theory, achieves to build a vivid model by referring to the investment situation on two different levels. Even though migrating is not a personal topic for everyone, investing or not is an everyday question, everybody can relate to. Furthermore, the term of place utilities can substantially be covered by the term of location-specific capital, which tries to value individual social phenomena. In addition, The model considers the information factor as an important layer and embeds it logically into the investment hypothesis.

The striking advantage of the location-specific capital is the possibility to exclude political and bureaucratic topics from the current research. As they represent a political will of the destination countries, they barely can be a tying factor in the home country. Even though they are key factors of individual decision making, discussing them apart provides the comparability to other groups and allows a bigger view. Hence, the model of location-specific capital and information cost will be applied to analyze destination selection on the individual level and supplemented by the paragraph of world politics and international Zionism later on.

Following, looking at location-specific capital of German Jews in the 1930s compared with the location-specific capital they expected to regain in North Africa or Palestine will bring us closer to answer the over all question . Firstly, the Jewish situation in Germany has to be analyzed to give the term of location-specific capital meat. Secondly, the situation in North Africa and Palestine will be analyzed with the aid of topical periodicals and subsumed under the term of location-specific capital. A last step will shrink the overviewing and foreseeing position of the historian back to the actual decision makers possibilities by asking the question, how much and which information was even available about the respective countries regarding migration-specific topics.

2. Jews in Germany around 1930 – quantitative approach

As our research topic deals with German Jews around 1930, getting a picture of their composition builds the base of the following research.

After long terms of distinction between the Christian and the Jewish population in Europe, German Jewry was one of the most assimilated Jewish communities.9 From 1918 on, Jews were able to take every profession and become e.g. Judges or civil servants what led to Jews in politic functions.10 They were present in German culture like theatres and movies as well as in architecture or science, the term of a “golden age of the Jewish Republic” does represent the equality Jews experienced and knew to use in a exaggerated, enthusiastic way.11 Nevertheless, German Jewry was partitioned into two parts: Zionists and the non-Zionistic majority, organized in the so called “Central Verein” (CV). Zionism describes the political and social movement within Jewry towards the creation of a Jewish nation in Palestine since the late 19th century.12 Besides the religious messianic expectation, the idea and desire of coming back to “Eretz”, what the area of Israel is called in Yiddish was emerging with modern nationalism and antisemitism in Europe in the end of the 19th century.13 Noteworthy is, that even Jews from North Africa participated to the Zionist idea of resettling in the holy land. For instance, delegates from Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt took part at the 2nd Zionistic Congress in 1898.14

The CV was fighting against antisemitism and for identification with Germany as motherland for Jews.15 The Zionists on the other hand wanted a Jewish nation and were convinced, antisemitism was not to eradicate. Germany was just a diaspora to wait before finally emigrate to Israel.16 After 1933, German Zionism gained more success as its purpose was in line with the Nazi regime. Emigration to Israel grew and the “Havaara-Transferabkommen” which eased emigration towards Israel, especially in cooperation with the regime was part of this movement.17 The Nazis wanted to accelerate Jewish emigration by allowing to take goods to Israel and upon that, they received foreign currencies through the agreement.18

The Jews in the Weimar Republic suffered from the same economic hardship as other Germans, but their recovery was rapid.19 In the course of this participation in public life, assimilation or even separation from Judaism rose. Intermarriage for instance soared to 45 percent.20

The one and only census taken during the Weimar Republic in 1925 counted 564 379 Jews in Germany, less than one percent of the total German population. As a result of urbanization, two thirds lived in the 45 cities with a population of 100 000 or more. In contrast, only one quarter of the total German population was that urbanized.21 By 1933, the total number of Jews had declined because of emigration, birth rate depletion and withdrawal from Judaism to 499 682.22 During the first six years of the Nazi regime, there was a further loss of 280 000 until 1939.23 In sum, German Jews around 1930 were a shrinking minority in the gear of political developments, about to lose their new rights with the upcoming national socialism.

2.1 Economical distribution

The economical distribution of the different professions shown by the census of 1933 delivers a key part to approach location-specific capital. 61 percent of all Jews were engaged in the category of trade and commerce, in contrast of only 18 percent of the population as a whole.24 In addition, the majority of the 23 percent of Jews in the industrial and manufacturing field were also employed in business roles, for instance in offices or sales departments, as business directors or sales representatives.25 Here, textile and clothing industry constituted the most important occupational field of Jews. Jewish business enterprises in Berlin between 1930 and 1945 (total: 5151) show 2710 (number 1) of textile and clothing, 921 of food and semi luxury food, 759 banks and insurances, 348 drugstores, 337 categorized as “other”, 303 selling furniture and 293 of leather and shoe goods.26 The biggest difference between Jewish and non-Jewish Germans shows the field of agriculture: While 29 percent of the total Germans made their living in agriculture, only 1,7 percent of the Jews did so.27

The proportion of Jews employed in public and professional services was 12.5 percent.28 Even though the Weimar Constitution granted the same rights for Jews, the appointment of a Jew to a civil service position was a notable event in the life of the Jewish community.29

Simultaneously, 16 percent of all lawyers and 11 percent of all physicians were Jews, while only 0,7 percent of all engineers were Jewish.30 In conclusion, more than half of all Jews were engaged in trade and commerce and even the small amount, that was engaged in the manufacturing sector did mostly work with their mental capital, as the 12,5 percent in public and professional service did. Fitting in this picture is the relative high percentage of lawyers and physicians and most significantly the enormous small percentage of Jews in agricultural jobs. This data provides a picture of employees and entrepreneurs focused on working with pen and paper rather than with their muscle power.

2.2 Age distribution, sex ratio, martial rate

Looking at the age distribution, 1933 almost half of the Jews in Germany were over 40 years of age. 16.5 percent were 15 and younger, 35 percent between 16 and 39.31 Consequently the stats show, that the Jewish population was old compared to the general German population. Before taking a look at the martial rate, the sex ratio is worth to be mentioned. While there were 1093 women per 1000 men in 1933, the 1939 census shows an increase to 1366 women per 1000 men. Rosenthal explains this phenomenon with the differential emigration of men and their higher mortality rate32 A significant number of 80 percent of men between 25 and 29 and about 40 percent of those between 30 and 39 were single.33 Remembering the figures about Jewish professions can deliver an explanation of this fact: One factor was, that most Jewish man were engaged in trade, where marriage frequently depends on establishing a business.34 In the Weimar Republic and especially after the depression of 1929, reaching economic independence was difficult.35 Additionally one-fourth of Jewish women between 30 and 39 were single.36 Consequently, Jewish population can be characterized by the high percentage of individuals above 40 and the high percentage of unmarried men and women. This figures are also evidently connected to the shrinking Jewish population.

3. The “Korrespondenzblatt über Auswanderungs- und Siedlungswesen“

As the term of location-specific capital is wide and the extent of this work is restricted, it requires comparable categories and specific information to be able to make a profound evaluation. This can be deliverede by the “Korrespondenzblatt über Auswanderungs- und Siedlungswesen”37 as its purpose was, to provide categorized information for Jewish migrants segmented by countries and migration-specific topics. Additionally, connecting the information from the KAS with the location-specifc capital model provides the possibility, to understand destination decision based on a specific source, that was probably the base of thousands of destination decisions. This strategy is in conformity with the model of information cost, as individuals just have a limited time and therefore much more limited sources to gather information compared to the overviewing historian. The following evaluation of the information cost term will open the view and consider other possible sources as alternatives or additions to the KAS, presuming more or especially another investing of research resources.

The „Korrespondezblatt über Auswanderungs- und Siedlungswesen“ was published from 1922 to 1934 by the „Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden, Zentralbüro für jüdische Auswanderungsangelegenheiten“. From 1935 to 1939 the publisher was the „Hilfsverein der Juden in Deutschland, Zentralbüro für jüdische Auswanderungsangelegenheiten“ and from 1936 on it was called „Jüdische Auswanderung“. Managing editors were Dr. Mark Wischnitzer and Arthur Goldschmidt and the circulation in the years 1934 and 1935 for instance was 5000 copies.38 Mark Wischnitzer, born 1882 in Russia, was an editor and the director of the “Hilfsverein der deutschen Juden” until 1938. His topic was the emigration of German Jews and for that, he visited different destinations in Eastern Europe.39

Before going into detail, the paper has to be analyzed closely, especially as it was partially published under Nazi censorship. Jewish as well as non-Jewish press was liable to pre-censorship from 1933 on until 1938 post-censorship was introduced for Jewish and 1939 for every press product.40 Until 1938, 100 different Jewish newspapers and periodicals were published. They did not publish national socialist propaganda because they were not allowed and off course, because they didn´t want to.41 Nevertheless, Jewish authors had to read their articles with “Nazi eyes” before publishing. Regime criticism or a too positive picture of Jews were forbidden and had to be detected and deleted before the officials were upset.42 Besides restrictions, Jewish press had to print new Jewish relevant measures and laws.43 The third category influencing Jewish press was the information, reporters knew, but didn´t or not entirely publish for the best of the Jews. For the KAS relevant was the attention that had to be applied when publishing new migration possibilities.44 The reason was preventing a stampede at the embassies what could have led to the closing of those.45 Arno Herzberg, a Jewish editor in Nazi Germany said: “Every published report on emigration opportunities resulted in masses of Jews converging on the American or South American embassies, leading to the possibility that these outlets would be closed off.”46 Looking at available issues before 1933 compared with the destinations after 1933, new additions are: Dutch-East-India, Egypt, Algeria, Angola, Congo, Kenya, Marrocco, Tunisia, (1933 vol.2), Rhodesia, South West Africa, Tanganyika, Biro-Bidschan, Japan, India, Persia, Phillipines, Central America (all 1934 vol.1), Australia, New Zeeland, Samoa (all 1935 vol.1). Regarding to this number of additions, the statement has to be relativized regarding the KAS. It only had a circulation of 5000 pieces and the possible destinations are evaluated critically. Not every new mention is declared as a fitting destination. Nevertheless, every issues last pages contain the addresses of different embassies in Berlin. Besides, the run on embassies after new information shows the enormous demand of migration destinations and the vast importance of (printed) information.The striking argument for a objective content of the KAS is, that the topic was congruent to the Nazi regime: Emigration was the preferred option of the SD to solve the “Judenfrage” until 1940.47 Providing enough information to support Jewish emigration was consequently in the interest of the authorities.48


1 Stahnke, Zwei Sieger, ein Verlierer.

2 The “Korrespondenzblatt über Auswanderungs- und Siedlungswesen” will be shortened „KAS“ in the following evaluation.

3 3 Zimmermann, Die Deutschen Juden; Diehl, Die jüdische Presse im Dritten Reich.

4 Roseman, Migration Destination Selection p.152.

5 Roseman, Migration Destination Selection p.157.

6 Da Vanzo, Repeat Migration, Information Costs and Location-Specific Capital, p.47.; For another similar approach look at Borjas,G.: Friends or Strangers: The Impact of Immigrants on the U.S. Economy. New York: Basic Books 1990.

7 Da Vanzo, Repeat Migration, Information Costs and Location-Specific Capital, p.47.

8 Da Vanzo, Repeat Migration, Information Costs and Location-Specific Capital, p.47.

9 Zimmermann, Die Deutschen Juden, p.87.

10 Zimmermann, Die Deutschen Juden, p.89. E.g. Kurt Eisner, Walter Rathenau.

11 Zimmermann, Die Deutschen Juden, p.92.

12 Brockhaus, Zionismus.

13 Brockhaus, Zionismus.

14 Brenner, Geschichte des Zionismus, p.99.

15 Zimmermann, Die Deutschen Juden, p.107. See „CV-Zeitung“ vol.22, 1933:“ Das deutschjüdische Schicksal wird sich auf deutscher Erde und nicht anderswo entscheiden“.

16 Zimmermann, Die Deutschen Juden, p.107.

17 Zimmermann, Die Deutschen Juden, p.107.

18 Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung: „Das Havaara-Transfer Abkommen“. Until 1939, 50 000 Jews emigrated to Palestine and took goods worth 150 Million Reichsmark with them.

19 Lavsky, German Jewish Diaspora, p.29.

20 Lavsky, German Jewish Diaspora, p.29.

21 Pierson, German Jewish Identity, p.6.

22 Pierson, German Jewish Identity, p.9. 1933 alone counts 15 000 Jewish emigrants, up to 300 withdrawals of Judaism were measured every year between 1921 and 1930.

23 Rosenthal, Trends of the Jewish Population in Germany, p.235.

24 Rosenthal, Trends of the Jewish Population in Germany, p.252.

25 Rosenthal, Trends of the Jewish Population in Germany, p.252; Pierson, German Jewish Identity, p.17.

26 Hu Berlin online: Jüdische Gewerbebetriebe in Berlin 1930-1945.

27 Rosenthal, Trends of the Jewish Population in Germany, p.252. ; Lavsky, German Jewish Diaspora, p.31.

28 Rosenthal, Trends of the Jewish Population in Germany, p.252. ; Lavsky, German Jewish Diaspora, p.31.

29 Rosenthal, Trends of the Jewish Population in Germany, p.256.

30 Rosenthal, Trends of the Jewish Population in Germany, p.258.

31 Rosenthal, Trends of the Jewish Population in Germany, p.245; Lavsky, German Jewish Diaspora, p.31.

32 Rosenthal, Trends of the Jewish Population in Germany, p.247. He reasons the higher mortality rate with exposure of maltreatment and imprisonment in concentration camps.

33 Rosenthal, Trends of the Jewish Population in Germany, p.251.

34 Rosenthal, Trends of the Jewish Population in Germany, p.251.

35 Rosenthal, Trends of the Jewish Population in Germany, p.251.

36 Rosenthal, Trends of the Jewish Population in Germany, p.251. Such a large proportion excluded from motherhood led to a significant decrease in Jewish fertility that was discussed concerned among Jewish intellectuals of the Weimar Republic.

37 In the following abbreviated as KAS.

38 Deutsche Nationalbibliothek online, Korrespondenzblatt über Auswanderungs- und Siedlungswesen; Diehl, Die jüdische Presse im Dritten Reich, p.131.

39 Encyclopedia Judaica online, Mark Wischnitzer.Unfortunately, information about Arthur Goldschmidt can`t be found. Important dealing with this period, is that both were Jews, therefore barely writing with national socialistic intention.

40 Diehl, Die jüdische Presse im Dritten Reich, p.65.

41 Diehl, Die jüdische Presse im Dritten Reich, p.66.

42 Diehl, Die jüdische Presse im Dritten Reich, p.116: The July issue of „Der Morgen“ was seized after it alleged, that Jews contributed cultural deeds in Germany.

43 Diehl, Die jüdische Presse im Dritten Reich, p.119.

44 Diehl, Die jüdische Presse im Dritten Reich, p.119.

45 Diehl, Die jüdische Presse im Dritten Reich, p.119.

46 Diehl, Die jüdische Presse im Dritten Reich, p.119. See: Herzberg, Arno: A Jewish Editor in Nazi Germany. Quesher vol.8, 1990. P.27.

47 Zimmermann, Die Deutschen Juden, p.50. Contrary to the foreign ministry, the SD accepted even a migration towards Palestine.

48 See p.5 “Haveera-Abkommen”.

Excerpt out of 21 pages


Palestine as Favourite Jewish Migration Destinantion in the Mediterranean. Periodicals as Key Factors in Migration Decision Making?
University of Constance  (Lehrstuhl für Neuere und Neueste Geschichte)
Proseminar: Mediterranean Mobilities – Labor, Colonialism and Violence
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Korrespondenzblatt über Auswanderungs- und Siedlungswesen, Migration, Tunesien, Algerien, Ägypten, Marokko, NS-Dikatatur, Judenmigration, Auswanderungszeitschriften, Israel, Palestina
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Patrick Frehner (Author), 2021, Palestine as Favourite Jewish Migration Destinantion in the Mediterranean. Periodicals as Key Factors in Migration Decision Making?, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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