History Faculty Publications

Document Type

Book Review

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Publication Source

Biblio: A Review of Books


The brutal persecution of the Jews during World War II by the fascist regimes, and their ·consequent flight from Europe to escape Hitler's "Final Solution" have given rise to a rich body of literature which is as vast as it is diverse. Social scientists, in their turn, have grappled with the whys and hows of this meaningless racial repression and have debated at length on the Jews' poignant search for a homeland in Palestine. The en masse migration of the Jews (while it was still possible, until 1939 when, with the outbreak of World War II, all shipping came to a standstill) to different countries like America, Australia, China, and England, seeking refuge and rehabilitation, while it has always had particularistic importance, as in documenting the history of the diaspora, also fits current-day concerns with broad issues of ethnicity, emigration and studies of impact and response in multi-cultural societies.

It is not a widely known fact, and indeed to many it may come as a surprise, that British India was the chosen destination for many German and Central European Jews in search of refuge from the atrocities of Nazism. What is more surprising is that only about 1,000 Jews were allowed into India in the dozen years following the assumption of power by the Nazis in Germany — a truly minuscule number if one considers that almost 6 million Jews perished in the Holocaust.

The publication of Jewish Exile in India 1933-45 attempts to fill the many lacunae in our knowledge of this brief episode of Jewish history and put in perspective the perception in India, of the colonial state, Indian leaders and ordinary people, on the "Jewish Question" during those tumultuous times.

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This review from Vol. 4, Nos. 3 & 4 is made available for download here with the permission of the publisher and the author. Permission documentation is on file.




3 & 4

Place of Publication

New Delhi, India

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