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Eastern European Jewish immigrants in England: a quarter-century's view

Lloyd P. Gartner

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Eastern European Jewish immigrants in England: a quarter-century's view* LLOYD P. GARTNER The last twenty-five years have seen Jewish immigration become increasingly central to the interests of Jewish historians in Western countries. Similarly, immigration has assumed a conspicuous place in British historiography and social science. The Jewish community, moreover, has been showing keen interest in its immigrant forebears. Lectures, conferences, exhibitions and popular writing have been in vogue, and scholarly interest has not been lacking. Perhaps we may reflect here on what has been done, and may yet be done, in the historical study of immigration. Fields of historical study have frontiers which seem to be constantly on the move. We are just now witnessing the chronological movement forward from intensive concentration on the Holocaust itself to the period which just followed it in Europe, the years of displaced persons, emigration and the reconstruction of surviving Jewish communities from 1945 to about i960. Not every border, however, is chronological, nor is the movement always forward. For example, Dubnow's outstanding history of Hasidism, which appeared in 1930, interpreted that movement in essentially social terms and stopped at 1815. It is just a century since Schechter's pioneering essay, his first in English, also ended in 1815, after which, as he believed, degeneracy set in. Hasidism since 1815 has yet to attract substantial critical historical attention. Chronologically its frontier has moved backwards, as a brilliant Israeli school has uncovered the roots of Hasidism in Lurianic mysticism, messianism and Sabbateanism. The magnificent work of Scholem has attained international fame, while the outstanding contributions of Dinur (Dinaburg), somewhat earlier, as well as Tishby, J. G. Weiss, Piekarz and R. Shatz-Uffenheimer are common currency to serious Hebrew readers. Their work, together with that of Jacob Katz, has made the transitional age to modernity from 1660 to 1815 probably the most exciting field of historical research in Israel today.1 The year 1815 still seems to remain the limit for the scientific study of Hasidism, but that is bound to change. Similarly, we may look backwards as well as forwards from the main period of Jewish migration between 1880 and 1914. Needless to say, what has been written about the central period itself bears broadening and deepening. During the 1950s Anglo-Jewish history was being studied, by the few who were studying it, until the mid-nineteenth century at the latest. My own Jewish Immigrant in England, which appeared in i960, was not the first work to * Paper delivered to the Society on 11 July 1985. 297</page><page sequence="2">Lloyd P. Gartner advance the chronological frontier. It came out six years after the appearance of Vivian D.Lipman's Social History of the Jews in England 1850-1950, which opened the field of socio-communal history. In 1959 Lipman's excellent, broadly conceived centennial history of the Jewish Board of Guardians (now the Jewish Welfare Board), A Century of Social Service, was published. Its subject is, of course, intimately connected with Jewish immigration. When my own book of i960 appeared, I was less aware of the guiding principles by which I had written than I later became, thanks to intensive contemporary discussion.2 I had a strong sense of the necessity of discovering exactly, so far as possible, the geographic, economic and cultural origins of the immigrants. I knew that Jewish immigration to England-and through England-constituted part of the world-wide movement of Jewish emigrants out of Eastern Europe. This massive Jewish emigration, as I also realized, formed part of the great international emigration of 47,000,000 Europeans between 1847 and 1914.1 also accepted the fundamentally economic causation of Jewish emigration. Pogroms only quickened emigration and also lent it a rhythm which often differed from the fluctuations of the economic cycle. Jewish immigrants arrived in Great Britain and other new countries in order to advance economically, to get ahead in the world. I also considered that the Jewish immigrants were perceived, and perceived themselves, specifically as Jewish workers and Jewish pedlars and Jewish shopkeepers, and not simply as workers, pedlars and shopkeepers who happened to be Jews. Their social, religious and ethnic identity was included in their economic status. Since they were proletarians they established unions to improve themselves in that status, while many of their leaders had ideological systems about the destiny of the proletariat. Strife between workers and employers in the Jewish immigrant trades were as often particularly Jewish quarrels as economic struggles, and Jewish quarrels can be bitter ones. The native Jewish community zealously sought to make the immigrants, and above all their children, healthy, hygienic and British.3 The evidence is neither clear nor unanimous, but the native Jews seem to have assumed, and perhaps preferred, that the immigrant remain working class. These efforts were not met with warm appreciation by the beneficiaries. The Anglo-Jewish model was regarded quizzically or with hostility, but in many cases enviously. At the time I paid what I considered to be necessary attention to the culture of the Jewish people, in its rabbinic or new Hebraic-Zionist and Yiddish forms. Finally, as I have just implied, the Jews did not wish to become permanent proletarians, but to rise into the middle class. Wishes are hard to prove from historical sources. Convincing evidence lies in the protracted and strenuous efforts of the Jewish immigrants and their children-many or most of them-to attain that status, usually by becoming independent businessmen, often failing and trying once more. Since I wrote by these principles, a substantial body of work has appeared. Few if any books or even articles have been devoted to the East European Jewish aspect of emigration history. Works like those of Moses Rischin and 298</page><page sequence="3">Eastern European Jewish immigrants in England Irving Howe4 on New York Jewry pay serious attention to Eastern Europe, but we have yet to see a book which concentrates on East European Jewry with particular attention to which classes of Jews left, which regions they left from, what forces governed the rhythm of departure and who expressed what opinions about the entire movement. As to the reciprocal relations between migration and economic conditions in the lands of departure and lands of arrival, we are far from being able to project a book such as that of Brinley Thomas, Migration and Economic Growth (2nd ed., Cambridge 1973), who ties together the long swings (Kuznets cycles) in the British and American economies to show how they and the flow of migration govern each other. At least for the present we must make do with the 'backgrounds' which books on immigration to Western countries provide, together with what general East European Jewish historiography tells us. Sources in Eastern Europe are sparse or have been destroyed, and those which survive are often unavailable under present conditions. Yet a good deal may be done from Western sources. For example, United States manuscript census records provide enough information about thousands of Russian-born Jewish women for important data concerning Jewish nuptiality in Eastern Europe to be derived. In South Africa, whose East European Jews almost all come from Lithuania, it is also possible to study emigration from that land indirectly. HIAS possesses records of arrivals in New York, and the surviving registers of the Poor Jews' Temporary Shelter in London contain demographic, regional and economic material of great value. More conventional sources, such as the Jewish press as well as the literary works of that great age in Hebrew and Yiddish literature, certainly have much to say. Dickens and Balzac hardly illustrate their times better than did Mendel Mokher Seforim and Sholem Aleichem. Nowhere is there a description of Jewish poverty more harrowing than Bialik's ShiratL When the years of disaster opened with the notorious Kishinev pogrom of April 1903, that event was the subject of the same poet's In the City of Slaughter (Be'ir ha~Haregah). Bialik went to Kishinev as a member of a Jewish commission of investigation sent from Odessa. His report took the form of the famous poem of wrath. However, he did interview extensively, and the manuscript notebooks of his material are extant in the Bialik archives in Tel-Aviv. Strange to say, only two small portions have been published to date.5 Besides the interest inherent in anything written by the greatest modern Hebrew poet, and the light that these notebooks can shed on the creative process from which issued In the City of Slaughter, there is little doubt that they reveal something about the state of mind of victims and witnesses to the barbarous assault which inspired them to think of moving to a new land. Quite a different kind of source are the responsa despatched by East European rabbis to colleagues and communities in the West. These responsa exemplify the continuing attachment to Eastern European Judaism as the master model, however the loyalty was actually modified by immigrants in the West, and also devotion to the great rabbis of Eastern Europe as the true 299</page><page sequence="4">Lloyd P. Gartner religious authorities. The responsa themselves deal with questions like the validity of a defective bill of divorce, sometimes despatched by a husband who would be almost impossible to find again in order to secure from him a technically better get pitturin. Most of the responsa in fact pertain to that most difficult personal problem in Jewish law, the 'agunah-a deserted wife or one whose husband was missing or who maliciously refused to give her a divorce.6 The prevention of 'iggun and the redeeming of fagunot from their plight {tikkun agunot) were always a preoccupation of halakhic authorities. In earlier generations, as evidenced by such important responsa collections as Rabbi Yair Hayyim Bachrach's (1638-1702) Havvot Yair, and the N?da Biyhudah of Rabbi Ezekiel Landau (1713-94), an 'agunah was likely to be a woman whose husband did not return from a business trip. This problem was superseded by that of the husband who emigrated and was heard of no more, or was said to have died overseas. Each case is distinct in its details, which include such matters as the acceptance of testimony or certificates of death from non-Jewish sources, the identification by circumstantial means of unidentifiable remains, or proving the death of someone who apparently drowned out of the sight of land (may y im she'ay n lahem sof). I believe that an expert halakhist will sense the subtleties of cautious broadening and -in fact if not in form-of innovation. Emigration was one of the social facts which had influenced contemporary halakhah. Yet extreme conservatism and a case-by-case method were adhered to. Thus, Rabbi Abraham J. Abelson (1841-1904) of Odessa proposed to lay it down as a rule that passengers aboard a sinking ship on the high seas out of the sight of land who fail to make their way to lifeboats are to be officially given up for dead, but the great respondent Rabbi Shalom Mordecai Schwadron (1835-1911) of Brzezany ('Maharsham') withheld his assent. Although he agreed that shipping routes had changed, meaning that ships now headed for the open ocean and did not hug the coastline, he felt unable to modify generally the rule about 'endless waters'. 'It is hard to rely upon this [new rule] contrary to all the jurists {poskim]\ he declared with what seems a tinge of regret.7 In his responsum, Rabbi Schwadron declared the man dead-and his wife marriageable-on the basis of non-Jewish witnesses, a German death certificate, effects that had been retrieved by fishermen at sea when the body of a drowned man came for a moment to the surface,and his letters to his wife saying he was to board the SS Elbe for the voyage which ended on the sea-bottom in January 1895. Thorough study of the responsa will undoubtedly illuminate many aspects of social and communal history and will also exemplify the subtle and important relationship between religion and society, traditional methods and contemporary needs. Recent research has focussed attention once again on another social problem which attracted much attention during the age of immigration. This was the notorious Jewish traffic in prostitution, which began in Eastern Europe and crossed borders and oceans. During the era of migration the restraints of community and the ties of family became tenuous or were broken, at least 300</page><page sequence="5">Eastern European Jewish immigrants in England temporarily, by hundreds of thousands who emigrated alone. They exchanged the traditionalism and the dull placidity of small towns and villages for the bustle, personal freedom and glitter of large cities. Emigration itself and the new, frequently dizzying social realities that the emigrants encountered, provided the opening for ruthless, calculating Jewish individuals to draw girls into a network of prostitution. Under the pretence of marriage or of good jobs in a great city, poor and attractive girls were lured to Western Europe, South America, South Africa and even the Far East. There some chose, and the others were seduced or physically forced, to become prostitutes, serving the desires of men, including Jews, who were frequently alone in communities with very few white women. Jews were not the only traffickers, and Jewish girls were not the only victims, but they did constitute a conspicuous element in this noxious business. Jewish communities in the countries affected by the traffic fought it, and probably the most tenacious struggle was carried on for many years by the Jewish Association for the Protection of Girls and Women led by the Anglo-Jewish establishment.8 It is well known that the Jewish community's leadership in Great Britain, as in almost every other land, discouraged Jewish immigration. It is probable, however, that the views propagated by the Jewish elite of Eastern Europe had more to do with influencing Jews to remain or emigrate. Until the period of the Kishinev pogrom, the Russo-Japanese War and the failed revolution of 1905-6, the various components of the leadership counselled against leaving, whether they were the traditional religious authorities, the bourgeois digni? taries of the large cities, or the youthful revolutionary socialists who briefly controlled the Jewish community during the revolutionary years. Only during the chain of disaster between 1903 and 1907 and after was opposition to emigration abandoned both in the East and the West. Emigrants in Russia were assisted with information, while in America the Russian Relief Fund lent money to immigrants to bring their families to America at once. It is a fallacy to assume, as I once did, that warnings not to emigrate had no effect. It is true that over 2,500,000 Jews left Eastern Europe, but what of the 5,000,000 and more who stayed behind? One cannot merely assume that inertia held them there. It is not reasonable to discount completely the influence of community leaders and rabbis. Many must have heeded their counsel, especially when letters from immigrants undergoing travail in England or America also said the same. The great Jewish migration before 1914 was a genuine people's movement. In the countries which the Jews left en masse, the ideologists and publicists of the day paid emigration relatively little attention. Their minds were on anti-Semitism and government policies, Zionism, socialism and revolution, or on the maintenance of the traditional religious way of life, and they do not seem to have thought deeply about the mass movement which was sweeping East European Jewry and emptying small towns of their young inhabitants. One reason for this neglect may be simply geographic. Emigrant departures 301</page><page sequence="6">Lloyd P. Gartner were most conspicuous in smaller settlements, far from the centres of public discussion in large, growing cities. Emigrants left in response to manifest pressures at home, and were inspired by hopes and rumours from abroad. To endow emigration with an ideological character seemed gratuitous, and it was ideology which ruled contemporary thinking. A class bias may also underlie the neglect of the subject by contemporaries. The emigrants came from the poor, obscure masses, not from the middle classes or the intelligentsia which were constantly speaking, writing and agitating. Emigration constituted an immense blind spot in their world view.9 Despite warnings and real dangers, not the least of which waited at the British dockside or railway station, Jewish immigrants arrived. Most of them wanted to go on to America via England, which was then a cheaper route than from Hamburg or Bremen direct to New York. Little is known of the operation of transmigration through England, and a document may be presented here which clarifies the practice considerably. In 1898 the Jewish Board of Deputies, out of concern over inaccurate statistics of 'immigrants stated' and 'immigrants not stated to be en route', delegated S. Alexander and Charles Emanuel to obtain information from the well-informed J. Somper, superintendent of the Poor Jews' Temporary Shelter and 'Passenger Agent for the North Atlantic Companies'. These were ten companies, known as the North Atlantic Shipping Ring, which had fixed the price for the voyage in steerage from a Continental port to America at ?7.155. Of this amount, ?2 went into a pool which was divided among the companies. However, the steerage price from Hamburg or Bremen via London and Liverpool to North America was only ?5.16s. To avert the dread possibility that immigrants might circumvent the Shipping Ring's fare, the British companies agreed not to sell steerage passage to America to anyone who had not yet been in England five weeks. Most of the pool's income went to compensate the British firms for their sacrifice of passenger traffic. Matters worked out otherwise. 'Mr. Somper states most emphatically that the arrangement as to the 5 week residence is totally disregarded.' Steerage passengers, on leaving a German port, signed declarations that they intended to live in England. In London, they went to agents, of whom Somper was apparently one, who requested the emigrants to change their names tempor? arily, supposedly to avoid challenges when they reached America, but probably to avoid penalties imposed on British lines by the Shipping Ring. However, the agent reported that 90 per cent refused to sign forms with fictitious names. Just the same, he sold them tickets and filled out forms himself. This opportunity of saving a substantial amount in fare, Somper reported, drew large numbers of immigrants to England. The statistical worthlessness of declarations signed in Germany was thus compounded by the fresh forms submittted to the Board of Trade which purported to show residence in England from five weeks to two years by persons who in fact might not have lived there one week. Somper insisted that only 12 per cent of those who had declared the intention to live in England were to be found there thirty days after their arrival.10 The North 302</page><page sequence="7">Eastern European Jewish immigrants in England Atlantic Shipping Ring, and this system, cracked in 1902 when one of the companies, the Beaver Line, left the cartel and sold tickets cheaply. This brought on the cut-throat Atlantic Rate War which lasted about two years. It is not known how the system operated afterwards.11 Not only statistical precision makes it important how transmigration was carried on. An air of change and mobility pervaded life among the 12 per cent who remained longer than Somper's thirty days. A fellow worker, a next-door neighbour, a worshipper in the same little synagogue, or a trade-union official would disappear from the scene and someone would tell the others he had gone to America. The Jewish immigrant labour market was unstable because newcomers seeking work were constantly arriving from Eastern Europe, while others were leaving. There were other reasons. Workshop labour made it much easier to switch from worker to employer and if necessary back again. Workers in steel, railways or mines could harbour no such dreams. Having low over? head costs, workshops were better adapted than factories to survive the seasonal fluctuations of the ready-made clothing industry, the Jewish metier. It was not the Jewish immigrants who gave that industry its structure, at least before 1910 or so, but the combination of seasonal fluctuation, overhead, demand and technology. Yet it has to be asked to what extent the Jewish worker influenced his industrial environment; and this in turn raises the question whether 'Jewish worker' is a misnomer, and whether such a person is not more properly described as a worker or a slum-dweller who happened to be a Jew. 'Worker' is not some indivisible, unmodifiable ontological category. Culture, upbringing, and much else determine what sort of worker a man or woman will be. Being a Jew is one of these determinants. In Poland or Russia practically no one thought of a category of workers who 'happened to be Jews'. Leaders of the Jewish Bund likewise recognized that Jewish workers constituted a group, one they wanted to make part of the general revolutionary labour movement. When a Jewish worker emigrated and found employment in a clothing workshop in Leeds or Chicago he retained his quality as a Jewish worker, especially if he was new to proletarian labour. He was not a Jewish worker merely by virtue of rejection or hostility, whether sporadic or continuous, on the part of the non-Jewish worker. Being a Jew thus had much to do with one's character as a worker. Such trades as cigars and shoes lost their Jewish workers when factories replaced workshop production, since the Jews declined to work in factories. Many Jews underwent severe conflicts between the religious requirement of Sabbath and holiday rest and the demands of their job. They tended to seek work among other Jews, especially if their mother-tongue was Yiddish rather than English. It is arguable that because of its Jewish work-force's preferences, the ready-made clothing industry retained workshop production longer than it otherwise would have. Certainly the nature of Jewish immigration to England and the structure of the ready-made clothing industry decisively influenced the Jewish labour 303</page><page sequence="8">Lloyd P. Gartner movement. Seasonal work, a constantly changing work-force, the lack of a sharp dividing line between masters and workmen and the ambition of many workers to become independent producers or just to leave the trade, sharply inhibited the development of Jewish trade unionism. The Jewish trade unions were Jewish because their workers and leaders were Jewish, while their goals largely resembled those of British trade unions. It comes as no surprise for Bill Williams to show that during the heyday of the New Unionism in the late 1880 s the leaders of the tailoring unions in Manchester took the initiative in organizing the Jewish tailors in their sweatshops. But after fighting hard, and winning some impressive victories, the Jewish unions fell apart, and this is harder to understand. Williams hardly explains why this happened, but he dismisses the notion that the Jews constituted 'a separate case'. I have maintained that Jewish workers had much in common with English workers in their trade, but that they, as well as the branch of the tailoring trade in which they predominated, retained important separate characteristics. To this extent Jewish workers were indeed 'a separate case'. In 1980 Dr Buckman explained similar early Jewish trade-union failures in Leeds by observing that 'the alien worker had no organizational antecedents of the English type and Jewish individualism rejected discipline.' The second clause is merely a tautology. Of organizational antecedents there were plenty, but of the Jewish religio communal type. Thus, Jewish workers organized Jewish friendly societies, and in Leeds there was a substantial and long-lived Jewish Workers' Burial and Trading Society which provided cemetery rights and kosher meat. That Jewish workers in Leeds were willing to organize as proletarians for avowedly religious purposes is regrettably overlooked in Dr Buckman's book of 1983 about them.12 Those who speak of workers who happen to be Jews dismiss Jewish solidarity in favour of proletarian solidarity. The conflict between the two is by no means self-evident or necessary. But the difference in outlook and aspirations between workers who happen to be Jews and those who happen to be British is so significant that it has to be explained. To 'happen to be a Jew' signifies that culture and historic traditions have been dismissed as irrelevant to the work situation, so that something must have acted upon the workers after they came to England. To claim, as some appear to do, that the Anglo-Jewish community diverted the immigrants from proletarian class consciousness, ascribes far too much power to the men who ran the community. The institutions of the Jewish community were intended not only to relieve physical need without resort to the Poor Law, but also to direct the immigrants and their children towards a socio-cultural goal. They were to be fashioned into English Jews. The education provided in the Jewish schools was meant to raise a generation of skilled workers, and the Jewish Board of Guardians tried always to apprentice Jewish boys to trades. Some special opportunities were informally arranged for youth of unusual talent. For the masses, a measure of decorous traditional Judaism, adopting English ways, speaking English free of a foreign 304</page><page sequence="9">Eastern European Jewish immigrants in England accent, and membership in the skilled working class or among small businessmen summed it up. The social and economic mobility of Jewish immigrants from Russia and Poland needed no encouragement, if indeed any was given.13 The Rothschild Buildings were erected in 1885 under Rothschild sponsor? ship as the Four Per Cent. Industrial Dwellings Co. Ltd., to be a model of decent working-class housing which could turn a profit of 4 per cent. One wonders what was the rate of return on investment in housing when the investors put in their money one hundred years ago. Jerry White's study of life in those buildings has its strength in the documentation it provides from oral memories and local sources. However, the author's repeated derogatory references to 'middle-class values' and his failure to regard the Rothschild Buildings' all Jewish inhabitants other than as poor East Enders, impair his book's value.14 It is firmly established, and was recognized at the time, that immigrants and their children were physically healthier than their neighbours, except for tuberculosis which was endemic to clothing workshops. A Leeds physician who examined 650 Jewish school-children in a poor area in 1903, found them larger, less rickety and having better teeth than Gentile children in the same area. Cultural factors among Jewish workers strongly influenced this result, such as moderation in drink, eagerness to resort to physicians, and hygienic aspects of religious practice.15 One notable development in the decade since the Jewish Historical Society's Conference on Provincial Jewry in Victorian Britain, has been the extension of immigration history out of London. It began with Bill Williams' Making of Manchester Jewry 1740-1873 (Manchester 1976), which set a standard for local Jewish history which has been equalled in few places and surpassed nowhere. This volume, whose successor is to appear shortly, makes it clear that well before 18 81, or even the earlier starting point of 18 70, East European Jews in Manchester were relatively numerous. The two volumes on Birmingham Jewry, edited by Mrs Zoe Josephs,16 while not at the same level, provide a fine example of the possibilities of collective effort by skilful amateurs. Even when no book emerges, these amateur efforts bring to light unknown and otherwise inaccessible historical material which becomes available when deposited in archives. One of the most significant larger developments is the setting of Jewish immigrant history within the new British school of urban, ethnic and immigration history. No longer is immigration to Britain a marginal subject and the history of immigrant groups readily disposed of by facile reference to assimilation. Race and ethnic relations within this country are now a major topic of study for the sociologists and social psychologists, with the historians bringing up the rear. All this has resulted in placing Jewish immigration, and the study of anti-Semitism as well, within a broad interpretative framework. Bernard Gainer's and John A. Garrard's studies of anti alienism, 17 which was frequently tinged with anti-Semitism, were followed by Colin Hohnes' notable work, Anti-Semitism in British Society 1876-193 9 (London 1979). Digging deep into his subject, Holmes finds that British anti-Semitism 305</page><page sequence="10">Lloyd P. Gartner has its own roots and seems little influenced by the German or French variety, at least before the 1930s. Continental anti-Semitism did not beget Cobbett's populist anti-Semitism, nor Hyndman and Quelch's socialist variety, nor the 'rich Jew anti-Semitism' (in Garrard's phrase), which was epidemic during the South African War. More than anywhere else, the strength of British anti-Semitism derived from xenophobia, while racist ideologies found stony soil. However, what most disturbed Jewish immigrants was probably not such ideologies, nor the elegant sneers and sniffs of Edwardian high society at Jewish wealth. Anti-alien agitation, which meant to prevent more of their compatriots from reaching England, had to trouble them. Political anti-alienism was not necessarily anti-Semitic, and some prominent Jews supported immigration restriction, but the anti-alienism of the streets near the Jewish East End and other immigrant districts was indeed so. The thick, smelly slice of low life served up in the oral memoirs of the ex-criminal Arthur Harding (1886 1961), a native of Bethnal Green, who operated around the Jewish East End, recounts what the testimony before the Royal Commission on Alien Immigra? tion in 1902 illustrated extensively:18 Jewish immigrants were annoyed and often molested by natives of the blighted areas they moved into. In this connection one may mention the more fine-grained memories of Robert Roberts, born in Salford in 1905. His work, The Classic Slum (Manchester 19 71), recalls the Jewish pedlars and glaziers who strayed into Salford and were molested by local youngsters. One who opened a store saw his merchandise taken into the street and set afire. On the other hand, Roberts' mother acted compassionately towards these Jews. For unexplained reasons the violent bigotry in Salford subsided noticeably after its peak during the First World War. There is most likely a direct connection between annoying and stone-throwing and molesting of Jews in East End streets early in the twentieth century, and the thugs of that neighbourhood whom Oswald Mosley mobilized as his would-be storm troopers during the 1930s.19 The recent cultivation of the field of Jewish immigrant history has been intensive in patches, but large portions lie fallow. It has not yet left the East End and its kindred neighbourhoods in other British cities. Most immigrants, and almost all their children, left the East End, but the numbers, the chronology and the classes which moved are not known more than vaguely. Once settled in an English, or at least Anglo-Jewish area and the immigrant generation passed on, immigrant history gives way to Anglo-Jewish history. But in historiography that stage has not yet been touched. Very little of what has been written gives the slightest suggestion that Jewish immigration was a world movement. As a small example, recent books on New York Jewry admirably illustrate the value of scrutinizing this sort of mobility.20 The experience of leaving the East End built contemporary Anglo-Jewry, with all that had been brought into it from Eastern Europe and taken out into Anglo-Jewish life. Our brief scrutiny of East European Jewry on the eve of and during their 306</page><page sequence="11">Eastern European Jewish immigrants in England great migration strongly suggests that generations of Jewish life in those lands decisively influenced those who emigrated to Great Britain, the United States, and other countries. For most Jewish emigrants the United States was the goal, and Britain was a long or merely momentary stop en route. Against the steamship companies' devices for maintaining high fares the emigrants pitted their wit and determination not to yield their skimpy funds to the avarice of a cartel. Wherever they settled, Jewish immigrants clustered in large urban colonies, of which the East End of London was one of the largest. It is incorrect and misleading to regard these as ghettoes, which no more describes them spiritually than it does physically. Nor is it much better to see Russian and Polish Jews in the East End as individuals whose Jewish identity somehow became incidental to their life and labour. In my opinion our best historical view is to look on the East End-and this of course refers to its respective counterparts in Manchester, Leeds and elsewhere-as a staging area for access to British life. Here Jewish immigrants cast off and retained and adapted-they did all three things-what they had brought with them from Eastern Europe. With every individual the balance was a different one. In the East End the seeds of assimilation were planted and began to sprout. There too, in sometimes stormy collaboration with native Anglo-Jewry, the content and style of contemporary Anglo-Jewish life began to be elaborated. Class and cultural conflict were present, but so was a fundamental sense of common purpose, enhanced by the tragedies and achievements of twentieth-century Jewish history. NOTES i Simon Dubnow, Toldot ha-Hasidut (3 vols, Tel-Aviv, 1930; repr. in one vol., n.d.); Solomon Schechter, 'The Chassidim', Studies in Judaism I (Philadelphia 1896; repr. 1938) 1-45; Gershom Scholem, Sabbatai Sevi: The Mystical Messiah 1626-1676 (Princeton 1973; originally in Hebrew, Tel-Aviv 1957); idem, The Messianic Idea in Judaism and Other Essays in Jewish Spirituality (New York 19 71); Benzion Dinur, 'The Beginnings of Hasidism and Its Social and Messianic Foundations' (Hebrew), in Be-Mifneh ha-Dorot (Jerusalem 1955; originally published in 1943-5); Y. Tishbi, Netivey Emu nah u-Minut (Ramat-Gan 1964); J. G. Weiss, Studies in East European Jewish Mysticism, ed. David Goldstein (Oxford 1985; originally pub? lished 1946-69); Rivka Shatz-Uffenheimer, Ha Hasidut ke-Mistikah 0erusalem 1978); Jacob Katz, Tradition and Crisis: Jewish Society at the End of the Middle Ages (New York 1961; a new improved translation is to appear); idem, Out of the Ghetto: The Social Background of Jewish Emancipation 1770-1870 (Cambridge, Mass. 1973)-all these exemplify this scholarship. 2 Note my 'Foreword to New Edition', The Jewish Immigrant in England 1870-1914 (2nd ed., London 1973), unpaged (abbreviated here as Jewish Immigrant); see in general my 'A Quarter Century of Anglo-Jewish Historio? graphy*, Jewish Social Studies, XLVIII, 2 (Spring 1986) 105-26. 3 Jewish Immigrant, 174-6, 203-8, 221 37; Aubrey Newman, The United Synagogue 1870-1970 (London 1977) 66-75; Hannah Neustatter, 'Demographic and Other Statistical Aspects of Anglo-Jewry', in A Minority in Britain (ed.) Maurice Freedman (London 1955) 55 136; Lipman, Social Service, Chaps. IV and V; Henrietta Adler, 'Jewish Life and Labour in East London', in The New Survey of London Life and Labour VI (London 1934). 4 Moses Rischin, The Promised City: New York's Jews 1870-1914 (Cambridge, Mass. 1962); Irving Howe, World of Our Fathers: The Journey of the East European Jews to America and the Life They Found and Made (New York 1976); the British edition is en? titled The Immigrant Jews of New York; cf. 307</page><page sequence="12">Lloyd P. Gartner Lloyd P. Gartner, 'Contemporary Historians of New York Jewry', in Contemporary Jewry; Studies in Honor of Moshe Davis (ed.) G. Wigoder (Jerusalem 1984) 109-28. 5 In Heawar (He-Avar) I (1953) 18-30; X (1963)150-4. 6 See generally articles on 'Divorce', 'Agunah' and 'Takkanot' in Encyclopaedia Jud aica (16 vols, Jerusalem 19 71). 7 Knesset Hakhmey Yisrael V (1895) 3-11, esp. 4-5; Shalom Mordecai Schwadron, Sheelot u-Teshuvot Maharsham I (repr. New York 1962) no. 6. Rabbi Abelson evidently did not rule on cases according to his proposal. 8 Jewish Immigrant 183-6; Lloyd P. Gart? ner, 'Anglo-Jewry and the Jewish International Traffic in Prostitution, 1885-1914', AJS Review VII-VIII (1982-3) 129-78; Arthur Goren, 'Mother Rosie Hertz, The Social Evil and the New York Kehillah', in Michael: On the History of the Jews in the Diaspora III (ed.) Lloyd P. Gartner (Tel-Aviv 1975) 188-210; Edward J. Bristow, Prostitution and Prejudice: The Jewish Fight against White Slavery (Oxford 1982); Charles van Onselen, Studies in the Economic and Social History of the Witwatersrand 1886-1914 I (New York and London 1982) 109-43; Victor A. Mirelman, 'The Jewish Community Versus Crime; The Case of White Slavery in Buenos Aires', Jewish Social Studies XLVI, 2 (Spring 1984) 145-68. 9 See my article, 'Jewish Migrants en Route from Europe to America', Jewish History I, 2 (Fall 1986) 49-66; Jewish Immigrant 24-30, 50-4. My conclusion is also based on the sparseness of the discussions of emigration after the 1881-2 episode in Jonathan Frankel's voluminous Prophecy and Politics: Socialism, Nationalism, and the Russian Jews, 1862-1917 (Cambridge 1981). 10 Board of Deputies Archives B2/1/3; cf. testimony of Thomas Hawkey in Royal Com? mission on Alien Immigration, Minutes of Evidence (Cd. 1742, 1903), Qq. 1422-1547. Cheaper rates for travelling via England were a matter of long standing; Sunday Times, 4 April 1852, cited in B. Thomas, op. cit, 96. 11 Jewish Immigrant 35-6; Lamar Cecil, Albert Ballin: Business and Politics in Imperial Germany, 1888-1918 (Princeton 1967) 39-62. Details of the agreement are provided in Erich Murken, Die grossen transatlantischen Linien? reederei-Verb?nde, Pools und Interessengemein? schaften bis zum Ausbruch des Weltkrieges: Ihre Entstehung, Organisation und Wirksamkeit (Jena 1922) 644-8. See in general Philip Taylor, The Distant Magnet: European Emigration to the USA (New York 1971) 145-67. 12 Bill Williams, 'The Beginnings of Jewish Trade Unionism in Manchester, 1889-1891', and Joe Buckman, 'Alien Working-Class Res? ponse: the Leeds Jewish Tailors, 1880-1914', in Kenneth Lunn (ed.) Hosts, Immigrants and Minorities: Historical Responses to Newcomers in British Society 1870-1914 (Folkestone 1980) esp. 225, 292-8; Jewish Immigrant 100-41, which is supplemented in details about Leeds by Joseph Buckman, Immigrants and the Class Struggle: The Jewish Immigrant in Leeds, 1880 1914 (Manchester 1983). I cannot agree with the author's conception of his subject, as I have explained in my review in Jewish Journal of Sociology XXVI, 1 (June 1984) 63-5; cf. the more sympathetic review by David Feldman, Jewish Quarterly XXXI (No. 113) Autumn Winter 1983-4, and his suggestive 'Historio graphical Review', The Historical Journal XXVI (1983) 185-99. The discussion has proceeded in insular terms and stands to profit from comparison with the Jewish labour movement in the United States. See Herbert G. Gutman, Work, Culture, and Society in Industrializing America (New York 1977) 1-119. 13 Jewish Immigrant 163-4, 221-31; Lip man, Social Service 32-144, passim; Williams (see n. 12) 263-307. Chief Rabbi Nathan Adler's proposals in 1846 for expanding the curriculum of the Jews' Free School were met with the managers' reply that the school existed to give its pupils 'an elementary education consistent with their station'. 14 Jerry White, Rothschild Buildings: Life in an East End Tenement Block, 1887-1920 (Lon? don 1980). 15 Jewish Immigrant 158-62 and literature cited there; Derek Fraser, A History of Modern Leeds (Manchester 1980) 69; William Hall, Leeds, letter to The Times, 2 September 1903, concluding: 'The Jewish mother possesses the knowledge and the art of feeding her children, the Gentile has lost it'. 16 (Birmingham Jewish Research Group) Birmingham Jewry 1749-1914 (Birmingham? 1980?); Zoe Josephs (ed.) Birmingham Jewry, Volume II: More Aspects 1740-1930 (Birming? ham 1984). 17 Bernard Gainer, The Alien Invasion: The Origins of the Aliens Act of 1905 (London 1972); John A. Garrard, The English and Immigration: A Comparative Study of the Jewish Influx 1880 1910 (London 19 71); Colin Holmes, 'The Impact of Immigration on British Society 18 70-1980', in Population and Society in Britain 18SO-1980 (eds) Theo Barker and Michael Drake (New York and London 1982) 172-202, and 'J. A. Hobson and the Jews' in his 3o8</page><page sequence="13">Eastern European Jewish immigrants in England Immigrants and Minorities in British Society (London 1978) 125-57; I- Finestein, 'Jewish Immigration in British Party Politics in the 1890 s', in Aubrey Newman (ed.) Migration and Settlement (London 1971)12 8-44. 18 Raphael Samuel, East End Underworld: Chapters in the Life of Arthur Harding (London 1981); Royal Commission (see n. 10), e.g. Qq. 7686-8025, 19793-19996; Gainer (see n. 17) 32, 55-59. 19 Stephen Humphries, Hooligans or Rebels? An Oral History of Working Class Childhood and Youth 1889-1939 (Oxford 1981) 189-203, provides interesting data on mixed Jewish and British youth gangs, although a Marxist inter? pretation is incongruously grafted on it. See also Geoffrey Alderman, 'The Anti-Jewish Riots of August 1911 in South Wales', Welsh History Review VI (1972) 190-200; Nicholas Deakin, 'The Vitality of a Tradition', in Immigrants and Minorities (see n. 17) 158-85; essays on the British Union of Fascists in British Fascism: Essays on the Radical Right in Inter-War Britain (ed.) Kenneth Lunn and Richard C. Thurlow (London 1980). I believe too much reliance is placed on the memoirs of Joe Jacobs, Out of the Ghetto: My Youth in East End Communism and Fascism 1913-193 9 (London 1979) as a source for anti-Fascist activity in the East End. At a completely different level note Herbert H. Asquith's dismissal of Judaism in H. H. Asquith Letters to Venetia Stanley (ed.) Michael and Eleanor Brock (Oxford and New York 1982) 600. 20 Jeffrey S. Gurock, When Harlem Was Jewish 1870-1930 (New York 1979), and Deborah Dash Moore, At Home in America: Second Generation New York Jews (New York 1981). 309</page></plain_text>

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