• Without Open Arms: The Alaska Response to the World War II-era Refugee Crisis

    Author(s):
    David Reamer (see profile)
    Date:
    2018
    Subject(s):
    Jewish history, World War II
    Item Type:
    Article
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/vhx1-3391
    Abstract:
    Through the late 1930s, Alaska’s sparse population hindered its development and created a demographic catch-22. Potential settlers desired the type of infrastructure and economic incentives that only came from a significant influx of settlers. In 1939, the Department of the Interior, which oversaw the then territory of Alaska, proposed a relaxation of immigration limits to allow European refugee settlement in Alaska. Though not explicit in the proposal or later bill, the aim was to provide some relief for Europe’s persecuted Jews. Alaskans angrily and near uniformly rejected Jews as suitable settlers, a response in stark contrast to the prevailing Alaskan exceptionalism that portrayed the territory as a “casteless society.” Alaskan opposition was a factor in the failed attempts to ease Jewish refugee immigration.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    2 years ago
    License:
    Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives
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