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Flight Without Escape: The Jewish Homeless
 
 
"No German should be asked to live under the same roof with Jews...we must expel them from our house and living areas."
Das Schwarze Korps (SS Journal) November 24, 1938

In the wake of Kristallnacht. the brutal character of Nazi racist policy was apparent. It became clear that there could be no accommodation, only escape. By 1939, Germany's Jews were in flight to any place that would receive them. But options were few. Over half of Germany's Jews had emigrated before the outbreak of war in September 1939. Tragically, with the rapid conquest of Europe by the Nazis, many German Jews were under Nazi control shortly after their escape.


Jews trapped in a no-man's land between Hungary and Czechoslovakia, Winter 1938. CL:Wiener Library, London


Slovakian village Jews in no-man's land on Hungarian- Czechoslovakian border, 1938-1939. CL:Wiener Library, London

Following Kristallnacht. tens of thousands of German Jews fled to Palestine, England, North and South America and Shanghai, China. Their resources exhausted, these refugees faced poverty and sometimes starvation. But most of these refugees survived; those who stayed behind did not.

"We shall now bring the Jewish problem to its complete solution. because it is essential. because we will no longer listen to the outcry of the world. and because actually there is no force in the world that can prevent us from doing so. The plan is clear: total removal, total separation!" Das Schwarze Korps, November 24, 1938


Women in kitchen tent cook for 350 Jews stranded in no-man's land, Winter 1938. CL:Wiener Library London

"It is a shameful spectacle to see how the whole democratic world is oozing with sympathy for the poor. tormented Jewish people. but remains hardhearted and obdurate when it comes to helping them." Adolf Hitler, January 20, 1939

In July 1938, President Franklin Roosevelt initiated a conference in Evian, France, to develop a solution to the German refugee problem. Over thirty nations participated: the conference degenerated into a litany of what would not be done. The conference's failure trapped the remaining Jews of Germany and Austria. Between 1938 and 1939, Jewish refugees were stranded in a no-man's land in the border areas of Central Europe: 3,000 homeless Jews wandered alone along the Slovak/Hungarian border.


A broken-down furniture van gives babies and young children their only protection against the bitter winter cold. CL:Wiener Library. London


Jewish children in no-man's land housed by the Joint Distribution Committee in Kaschau, Winter 1938. CL:Wiener Library, London


Disused furniture vans sent by fellow Jews from Bratislava for the children and seriously ill. CL:Wiener Library, London

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