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Annual 5 Chapter 7

Attempts to Settle Jewish Refugees in Newfoundland and Labrador, 1934-1939
by Gerhard P. Bassler

It may come as a surprise to students of the Holocaust and of Newfoundland history that the Dominion of Newfoundland occupies a place in the history of the Jewish Holocaust. Due to its traditionally liberal refugee legislation, low population density, moderate climate, and challenges for immigrants with skills and capital, the island of Newfoundland and the territory of Labrador, which also belonged to the Dominion of Newfoundland, were widely considered a more suitable haven for European refugees than places like Shanghai and the Dominican Republic. In 1934, 1936, and 1939, proposals were advanced for Jewish group settlement, entailing ambitious plans for the economic development of Newfoundland and Labrador. The proposals envisaged spectacular possibilities for the refugees as well as for Newfoundland, and at least one of them came close to fruition. The contemporary public debate on these proposals and on the desirability of admitting Jewish refugees has been forgotten, and the pertinent historical literature contains no reference to it.

Also unknown, therefore, is the fact that of the thousands of refugees petitioning to enter between 1934 and 1941, the Newfoundland government turned down all but 11 petitions. At the same time, the much smaller, poorer, and far more densely populated Dominican Republic offered sanctuary to 100,000; and the distant, overcrowded, and climatically unsuitable city of Shanghai took 20,000 refugees from Nazi persecution.1

Newfoundland's record thus appears to vie with that of Canada, which took fewer than 4,000 Jewish refugees by the end of 1939. Both countries, it seems, refused to accept a share of responsibility commensurate with their resources and absorptive capacity for the acute preWorld War II refugee problem. Canada, applying unabashedly racial and antisernitic criteria, blocked all but a trickle of desirable refugees until "fully three years after some death camps had been liberated." Irving Abella and Harold Troper have singled out Canada's record as "the worst of all possible refugee receiving states" and concluded that Canada must therefore share some of the responsibility for the fate of Europe's Jews in the Third Reich.2 In light of Abella's and Troper's findings, what is Newfoundland's case for accepting fewer than a dozen Jewish refugees? The purpose of this study is to illuminate Newfoundland's response to the European refugee crisis of the 1930s.

Any appreciation of attempts in the 1930s to settle Jewish refugees in Newfoundland has to take into account (a) Newfoundland's status as a country of emigration rather than immigration, unlike Canada and the United States; (b) the weakness of Newfoundland's Jewish community; and (c) the severity of Newfoundland's economic and political crises in the 1930s.

Emigration has been a prominent feature of Newfoundland life for so long that in the 1930s American and Canadian census data showed 15 percent of the Newfoundland-born living on the mainland of North America. Between 1884 and 1945 Newfoundland (with a population of 197,000 and 322,000 respectively) is estimated to have lost as many as 100,000 people through net migration.3 As Newfoundland's fisherycentered economy stagnated from the beginning of the twentieth century, the country became as uninteresting to immigrants as it was to local and foreign investors. The arrival in the two decades preceding World War I of a small number of Polish Jews, Syrians, Lebanese, and Chinese was therefore a highly visible event, although Newfoundland's non-native ethnic communities of non-British descent never totaled more than one half of one percent of the resident population.

While Newfoundland wanted immigration to settle the lands opened by the transinsular railway completed in 1897 and by the termination of French rights on the west coast in 1904, this desire was accompanied by growing concern for economic self-reliance and for the preservation of the island's ethnic homogeneity in the face of an influx of more or less visible minorities. The dilemma prompted Newfoundland's ruling elite to look to Canada for guidance in the development of a policy that would enable it to regulate immigration. Newfoundland's immigration legislation was thus both restrictive and liberal. For example, according to the 1906 Aliens Act, whereas immigrants were required to show that they had the means of decently supporting themselves, refugees from religious or political persecution were not to be refused leave to land merely on the grounds of the probability of their becoming a charge on public funds.

At the same time, non-British immigration was restricted by the Chinese Immigration Act of 1906 and by the Immigration Act of 1926, which empowered the government to prohibit by regulation "the landing of immigrants belonging to any race deemed unsuited to the climate or requirements of the Colony, or immigrants of any specified class, occupation or character." Based on this authority, a Proclamation was issued in January 1932 that prohibited the entry for two years of all Central and East Europeans (excluding natives of countries to which Newfoundland was selling fish), of persons belonging by race to any country in Asia or Africa, and of all non- Newfoundlanders who were of the laboring classes. The newly installed Commission of Government allowed this Proclamation to lapse in January 1934 because of objections by the Dominions Office in London.4 However, its spirit survived through the 1930s and vitiated the provisions of the 1906 Aliens Act, which retained its legality.

In the 1930s members of Newfoundland's Jewish community, who were refugees themselves or the descendants of refugees from Russian antisemitism, were among the few advocates of immigration as a solution to Newfoundland's economic and social ills.5 But within the Jewish community of St. John, which manifested its solidarity with Germany's persecuted Jews on 2 April 1934 by declaring a boycott on German-made goods,6 there were also those who worried over the prospect of Jewish immigration. "It was the usual fear," noted the Secretary of the Jewish Colonization Association visiting St. John's in March 1934, "that the increase in the number of Jews would prejudice the position of the older residents in the Jewish community."7

The position of Newfoundland's Jewish community was precarious indeed. According to its historian Alison Joanne Kahn, the Newfoundland Jewish community was never the type of autonomous ethnic neighborhood that characterized the larger North American cities. Its core consisted of Polish Jews who had immigrated in the two decades before World War I from the Lithuanian-Polish borderlands, the socalled Jewish Pale of Tsarist Russia. In Newfoundland's ethnically and culturally rather homogeneous society of English, Irish, and Scottish extraction, the founders of a Yiddish-speaking Jewish community of East European origin were "cultural pioneers," a "strange race never before encountered." Entering a rural society that was economically and socially sharply polarized between the masses of poor fishermen and a small ruling class of wealthy merchants, lawyers, clergy, and officials, the Jewish immigrants had to eke out a precarious existence as peddlers, tailors, and small storekeepers. Cultural and economic survival meant keeping a low profile and compromising their religion. Newfoundland's Jews consequently cultivated an unobtrusive image and shunned public life, especially politics. Their social life was narrowly circumscribed, and the temptations and pressures to assimilate were enormous.8

Typical of the local Jewish community's dilemma was what Kahn termed "the irony and the agony" of the Perlin story. Venerated as the founder of the Hebrew congregation in St. John's and its honorary President for Life-his immigration to Newfoundland in 1891 from Russia via London and New York marked the birth of Newfoundland's Jewish community-Israel Perlin is also remembered for dissociating himself socially from local Jews. As an astute and successful wholesale dealer in St. John's, Israel Perlin and his wife aspired to upward social mobility. All their children married gentiles and were eager to assimilate.9

The maturing of a local-born second generation and the addition of Jewish newcomers from Germany, England, and Canada after World War I tripled the size of the Jewish community between 1914 and 1934 from 42 to 120 10 and compounded its problems. Prominent secondgeneration Newfoundland Jews, such as Albert Perlin, and postWorld War I newcomers, such as Frank Banikhin, "wouldn't mix"11 socially with the community. Yet in 1934 and 1936 the Perlins and Banikhin were the most active promoters of settlement projects for Jewish refugees in Newfoundland. Albert Perlin had established himself by the 1930s as Newfoundland's leading journalist and public affairs critic. In 1934 he launched his own newsmagazine Observer's Weekly as the advocate of a more open, progressive-minded, and industrially diversified Newfoundland. It aimed at influencing government policy as well as overcoming a widespread general resentment to foreign skills and expertise-at the time most of it British and Canadian. While Perlin's Observer's Weekly did not openly espouse the cause of admitting Jewish or other refugees to Newfoundland, he acted on the premise that, with a quarter of the population on the dole and tuberculosis rampant in the outports, a campaign for industrial diversification and hence new employment opportunities would have a greater chance of converting Newfoundlanders to open their doors to skilled refugees than would outright appeals for charity.

When Adolf Hitler took power in Germany on 30 January 1933, Newfoundland was in the midst of its severest economic and political crisis since the granting of Representative Government in 1832. Only the intervention of the British and Canadian governments in 1933 saved it from financial bankruptcy. The price, however, for their support was the suspension of democracy and the appointment by Britain of government by commission for an undetermined period. Composed of three British and three Newfoundland Commissioners with a Britishappointed Governor presiding, the Commission had legislative as well as executive functions and assumed office on 16 February 1934. Its proceedings were subject to the supervision of the Dominions Office. The mandate of the Commission was to develop policies for immediate and long-range reconstruction.

Until 1939 differences among Commissioners over economic strategy concentrated on the alternatives of either rehabilitating the cod fishery or directing the unemployed to agriculture and land settlement. Consequently there was little sympathy for immigration. The conflict over priorities in economic reconstruction made it difficult to justify the admission or exclusion of refugees on any scale and invited British intercession in favor of a liberal approach to the refugee question. While de jure conforming with the wishes of London, the Commissioners realized as early as May 1934 that "it is a comparatively simple matter to make effective prohibition in such terms as will not be in any way embarrassing to international relations."12 The government's decision in early 1939 to encourage the development of new industries and its sponsorship of the New Industries Committee appointed by the Board of Trade in November 1938 provided the Commissioners with the economic rationale for select immigration, and hence the select admission of refugees.13

During the period from their assumption of office in February 1934 to the outbreak of World War II, the Commission of Government gave more or less serious attention to three major proposals for group settlement of Jewish refugees. The first proposal was made in mid-March 1934 by the Jewish Colonization Association (ICA), an organization established by Baron de Hirsch in 1890 to resettle Jewish refugees from Russia. The ICA had its headquarters in Paris, and branches in Canada and other countries. Inquiries with the Newfoundland government in 1926 had revealed to the ICA of Montreal that Newfoundland immigration laws were very liberal.14 When early in 1934 the Canadian Jewish Congress began receiving appeals to help German Jews in distress, as well as a request from ICA headquarters in Paris to explore immigration possibilities for them in Newfoundland, the Secretary of the Canadian ICA committee, Simon Belkin, was sent to St. John's.15

Belkin had assumed that due to the continued validity of the 1906 Aliens Act no obstacles in principle stood in the way of persons seeking admission "to avoid persecution or punishment on religious or political grounds." He realized quickly, however, that the Commission, still too preoccupied with reorganizing the government administration to consider the desirability of immigration, would be guided by the fact that 25 percent of the population were on the dole. After interviewing leading personalities in government, business, and industry, as well as in the local Jewish community, Belkin carefully selected 40 refugee families "who would be very useful to the country in its predicament and who would at no time become a public charge."16

The refugee families would be placed at ICA expense and would include the following: five doctors in outports that had lost their medical services; five doctors with two nurses each in five traveling clinics of the kind offered earlier by the Commonwealth Fund; two specialists for the Grace Hospital in St. John's; and dentists for Grand Falls and Corner Brook. Two German Jewish scientists would be employed at the Memorial University College, an idea which the President of the College, Professor A.G. Hatcher, welcomed. There were also provisions for agricultural and industrial development. Since only one modern poultry farm operated near St. John's and Belkin found farming conditions in the most deplorable state, he felt there was room for ten to fifteen new poulty farmers producing eggs and broilers, and engaging in truck farming on the side. The remaining refugees would come with capital to start factories for items that were imported but could be produced locally, such as spring beds, stoves, castings, toilet articles, brushes, paints, soaps, washing powders, fish meal, condensed milk, and flour.17

Among government emigration officials in Germany, the ICA had a reputation for not rushing into any resettlement scheme without having carefully investigated its chances of success, and for refusing to make a profit from the business of resettling Jewish emigrants from Germany. The ICA would send a few younger refugees ahead to the prospective place of settlement; and when their establishment had proven successful, arrangements would be made for more to follow them.18

Belkin had a one-hour conference with Sir John Hope Simpson, Commissioner for Natural Resources, and the strongest and most important of the six Commissioners at the time. Hope Simpson was moved by the idea of the traveling clinics, indicated additional prospects for resource development, and impressed on Belkin his willingness to be of assistance. In a memorandum prepared for the Commission's deliberations, Hope Simpson brought out the positive aspects of the proposal and underlined the absence of any risk for the government. "I know the Association, " he concluded. "It has spent millions in settling Jews in the Argentine and in Russia and is a very wealthy foundation."19

Sir John Hope Simpson, aged 67 and senior British Commissioner, was a man of vision and cosmopolitan experience. A former Member of Parliament and longtime member of the Indian civil service, he had acquired a worldwide reputation for his works of reconstruction in China from 1931 to 1933. As Vice- President of the League of Nations Refugee Settlement Commission from 1926 to 1930, he had been involved in refugee resettlement in Greece, and in 1930 he had gone on a special mission for the British government to Palestine. His famous report on Palestine was condemned by leading Jews as anti-Zionist for considering Palestine too overcrowded for further Jewish immigration, and Hope Simpson indicated to Belkin his desire to prove his goodwill toward the Jewish people.20 As early as the summer of 1933, he is reported to have expressed to the General Secretary of the League of Nations High Commissioner for Refugees his concern with the fate of the victims of racial and political persecution in Germany.21 By the late 1930s Hope Simpson would become commonly recognized as the outstanding international authority on the refugee question.

The Minutes of the Tenth Meeting of the Commission of Government, held on 31 March 1934, record that it was decided to refer Belkin's plan to the editors of the city's daily newspapers with a view to sounding public opinion. However, no publicity was given to the plan in any of the papers. Instead, Belkin received an unsigned letter dated 16 April 1934 from Hope Simpson informing him that "after careful investigation of the whole question, the Commission ... could not see its way to accepting the proposal you made." The Commission, he admitted, realized quite clearly that there was no chance the immigrants could become a charge on the state and that Belkin's foundation would perform a badly needed public service in the outports. But, after considering the matter in all its aspects, the Commission decided "that at the present time it would not be desirable that we should allow immigration and settlement of any kind.22 Probably the views of Thomas Lodge, a strong- willed English Commissioner, prevailed on that occasion. Lodge believed that resettling the urban poor and impoverished outport fishermen into agricultural cooperatives should be the Commission's primary goal. Belkin, who felt the lack of a signature on the reply was not just an oversight and returned the letter for signing, considered the episode a sad epilogue to Hope Simpson's anti-Zionist report on Palestine.23

Another powerful influence that evidently was at work to kill this proposal came from the Medical Board whose Secretary-Trea surer Belkin had interviewed. The Board immediately became alarmed and succeeded in blocking the plan before the media had a chance to publicize it. Word of the Board's opposition to this proposal even reached Burgeo, where one of the refugee doctors was expected to fill a vacancy. An angry letter to the editor of Observer's Weekly wondered whether it was right for Newfoundland's 83 doctors "to prevent thousands of other Newfoundlanders from receiving medical care." The Registrar of the Newfoundland Medical Board was publicly forced to explain that these doctors and professors would ultimately be left to fend for themselves, that they might leave their assigned places to seek practices where medical men were already established, and that the refugees would end up competing actively with local professional men. Furthermore, there was no adequate means "to check upon these German doctors' qualifications."24

The second proposal for group settlement of Jewish refugees was initiated in March 1936 by Frank Banikhin, a member of the St. John's Jewish community and a close friend of Israel Perlin and John Hope Simpson. Benikhin proposed to industrialize Newfoundland by settling skilled Jewish refugees in Labrador on a large scale. The idea of colonizing the barely explored interior of Labrador in combination with some industrial development had already been suggested in 1934 as "the salvation of many of those now on the dole."25

Banikhin had come with his family to Newfoundland in 1917 at the age of 29, after having migrated from his native Ukraine via Germany to Saint John, New Brunswick, in 1907. Considering himself a Reform Jew in St. John's, he remained an outsider in the Jewish community and, like the Perlins, had no intimate social contact with it. His Ukrainian background, education-he spoke seven European languagescosmopolitan interests, and secular frame of mind set Banikhin's world off from the Polish roots, the liturgical orthodoxy, and the total integration into the local economy that the inner core of Newfoundland's Jewish community shared. A shipowner and world trader in various commodities, such as hides, metals, and fish, and with eighteen commercial establishments all over the island and in Labrador, Banikhin had business connections with Canada, the United States, and Germany. As an exporter of pit props to Germany, he had frequent dealings with German sea captains who returned from their voyages to the Lake Melville area in Labrador with ore samples given to them by natives and prospectors. On his business trips to the United States, Banikhin used to take the ore samples with him for assay. The economic potential of Labrador and the possibility of exploring the deposits intrigued him. When his American contacts verified the high ore content of the samples but refused to consider investing capital in such a distant and inaccessible region, Banikhin decided to tackle the job himself with the help of refugees from the Third Reich.26

Although Banikhin, according to the recollections of his son Cyril, had no personal connections with German Jews, he knew that among the growing volume of refugees there were a high percentage of "skilled workmen, craftsmen, engineers, manufacturers, mechanics, etc." and that there were Jewish agencies providing financial aid for their resettlement. There is some evidence that Banikhin may have been encouraged by Hope Simpson to submit a proposal to enable the latter to prove that he cared for the Jews. It seems that Hope Simpson incorrectly attributed the growing public disenchantment with his policies of reconstruction to the anger among local Jews for his coauthorship of a report that recommended the prohibition of Jewish immigration to Palestine.27

Banikhin suggested to Hope Simpson that if a concession were given enabling Jewish immigrants to develop the water power of the Grand Falls (now called Churchill Falls) on the Hamilton (now Churchill) River in Labrador, it would be possible to organize a settlement in the vicinity entirely financed by international Jewish funds. There would, thus, be established in an area hitherto vacant "a manufacturing centre which might conceivably grow to proportions almost beyond belief." Once the not insuperable difficulties of contact with the coast were surmounted, the proposed site would be centrally located as regards the United States and Canada, including western Canada, for which the Hudson Bay route was available part of the year. It would be nearer Europe than either Canada or the United States is. Such a development would bring out "millions of dollars worth of hidden resources," and it "would necessarily use up our unemployed population and would in addition provide a market for a great deal of our produces as it would be purely a manufacturing centre. " Banikhin expressed the conviction that if German Jews, who have a reputation for industriousness and self-reliance and a gift for manufacturing and invention, were brought to Labrador, "the results would be almost staggering."28

Hope Simpson warmly recommended the scheme to his fellow Commissioners as a proposal that "may sound fantastic" but in reality was not "so fantastic as it would appear to be on the surface." The Commission decided to request the views of the British government on the political aspects of the proposal before taking any further action. In a memorandum of 25 March 1936 to Malcolm MacDonald, Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, the Governor of Newfoundland stressed that Banikhin's proposal was "of an entirely different nature" than other plans for settling Jewish refugees that had been proposed earlier by a Zionist organization in Canada. Jewish professional refugees would not compete with professional groups on Newfoundland according to Banikhin's proposal, which "would have as its object industrial development in a country which is vacant at present." The Governor believed the Grand Falls on the Hamilton River in Labrador to be the most important water power on the North American continent and still available for hydroelectric development. Such development would be financed entirely by funds subscribed by Jews in other countries. The Commission would be prepared to give serious consideration "to the settlement of Jews on the Labrador on a considerable scale" on three conditions: first, that the British government raise no political objection; second, that it be endorsed by public opinion; and third, that no financial burden fall on the Newfoundland government.29

Dominions Secretary MacDonald saw no objection in principle to the settlement of Jews in Labrador. But in his reply of 10 July 1936, he let it be know that, on a recent visit to London, Commissioner for Public Utilities Thomas Lodge had considered the scheme "not a practical one, since the Grand Falls on the Hamilton River are very inaccessible and at present there is nothing to which the power obtainable from the Falls could be applied." In addition, a concurrent application for rights in Labrador by Weaver (Minerals) Ltd. covered water power rights, which included the Grand Falls.30 John Hope Simpson, probably anticipating this outcome, had resigned one month earlier from the Commission of Government and returned to England. His resignation removed from the scene Newfoundland's most influential spokesman for accepting refugees from the Third Reich. This became clear when the Commission received a request on 12 June 1936 from A.L. Wurfbain, General Secretary of the late League of Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from Germany, asking whether Newfoundland would accept, "for settlement on the land," a small number of nonJewish refugees from Germany. The Commission rejected it outright, even though it was accompanied with an offer of financial support as the result of a successful special international appeal.31 Cyril Banikhin did not attribute the failure of his father's scheme to any lack of support from the British or Newfoundland governments, but to the refusal of Zionist organizations in New York to raise funds for the project. The Zionists, he contended, made a living from sending Jewish refugees to Palestine, and they were not willing to support any alternative places of settlement:

Dad went to New York full of hope and optimism, but they [the Zionists] were not very receptive and wouldn't budge. They called him a traitor to the Jewish people. So he came back very disappointed and disillusioned, and forgot the whole matter.32
The spontaneous mass flight of Jews since the spring of 1938, following the enlargement of the Third Reich and the Kristallnacht pogrom (9-10 November 1938), revived modified versions of the settlement schemes of 1934 and 1936 in St. John's, London, and New York. "Does all the world contain no land upon which refugees may be settled to work out their own salvation as pioneer communities?" wondered the editor of the St. John's Daily News on 1 November 1938. "Some such tracts there must be," he concluded, "Labrador might even be one of them." One anonymous letter in the Daily News of 15 November 1938 concluded that Newfoundland should not stand by and do nothing. "It is not often that Newfoundland is able to assist others. We think we have so little to offer. But we have the present of freedom.... And we need doctors badly." The writer pointed out that Newfoundland, Canadian, English, and American doctors were very reluctant to accept the conditions of living in Newfoundland outports with the lack of everything and that it should be possible to bring in German-Jewish doctors and assign them to certain territories so they would not interfere with local doctors. "History has shown that any country which has extended ordinary rights to Jews has never lost by it."

In London, John Hope Simpson in early November urged the settlement of a large number of refugees in the dominions and colonies. He was now, in the words of Sir Neill Malcolm, High Commissioner of German refugees since 1936, "commonly recognized to be the outstanding authority on the refugee problem, on which he has been at work for the last twenty years."33 Under the auspices of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Hope Simpson had just published a major study on refugees.34 In a major policy statement of 22 November 1938, Prime Minister Chamberlain promised British aid in settling Jewish refugees in the Colonial Empire. He proposed Tanganyika, Kenya, and British Guiana as suitable areas. On 11 January 1939, the Times of London suggested that Newfoundland should be included in the list of areas under investigation by the Intergovernmental Refugee Committee, established at the Evian Conference in the summer of 1938 to explore refugee immigration possibilities.

By the end of January 1939, a survey of Newfoundland's potentialities on behalf of welfare organizations in New York had apparently already been completed, and the New York journal (31 January 1939) announced that the settling of thousands of Jewish refugees in Newfoundland was being considered. Saul Bernstein, a noted civil engineer, had traveled as a geologist across the island by every means of conveyance and found that, apart from 13 dentists and 20 doctors practicing in and near St. John's, only a handful of medical and dental practitioners served three-quarters of Newfoundland's population of 280,000. With its "absolute need" for doctors and dentists, and its possibilities for farming, Bernstein identified Newfoundland as a "secondary haven" for Central European refugees. Each family would require $2,000 to $3,000 to start life there. He was amazed at the number of unsolicited suggestions coming from across the island that "the oppressed people of Europe would be welcomed." The only quota rule, Bernstein explained, was that newcomers cannot enter as paupers and must not become public charges.

At the beginning of March 1939, the Newfoundland press carried the startling headline: "Proposal to place refugees in Labrador; Provides for Admission of 5,000 Emigrants; $10,000 AVAILABLE."35 It was reported that Henry Klapisch, a Jewish fish merchant from Seattle, had secured an option to purchase certain timber limits in the St. Lewis Bay and Alexis Bay area as a preliminary to settlement. He had under consideration a proposal to export timber as well as to process it in a new furniture factory, to set up a fish cannery, and to transfer entirely new industries from Germany and Czechoslovakia. The development would rely heavily on Newfoundland labor and make St. John's its base for purchases and clearing. At least three large Jewish organizations in the United States were apparently prepared to fund the entire project. It was proposed to settle about 5,000 selected emigrants, adequately financed, during the first year and increase the number year by year as the settlement developed.

Representing the Santa Cruz Oil Company, which was the biggest producer of herring and pilchard oil and meal in California, Klapisch had come to Newfoundland in 1937 with a proposal to launch three plants for the reduction of herring into oil and meal on Newfoundland's south coast and a floating herring-reduction plant on the coast of Labrador. In April 1939 he traveled to New York to firm up this proposal and other deals. But when he returned in July, there were public references only to his floating herring-factory project on the Labrador coast. At the end of July 1939, the president of the Santa Cruz Oil Company spoke to the St. John's Rotary of the need for new industries without mentioning the Labrador settlement project. The fate of Klapisch's refugee scheme at a time when a similar American scheme for settling Jewish refugees in Alaska received some publicity remained somewhat of a mystery.36

Government records reveal that the Newfoundland Commissioner of Finance J.L. Penson, whose department was in charge of immigration, was quietly pursuing a strategy aimed at bringing the Labrador scheme to fruition. A driving force behind the establishment of a new industries committee, Penson was probably jolted into action by a report published 17 January 1939 by the Canadian National Committee on Refugees and Victims of Political Persecution. The report called for an initiative in economic development through new industries not operating in Canada at the time to be launched by refugees. "The immigration of carefully selected individuals or groups of refugees" would bring skilled workers, new arts, crafts, and industries and thus prove of inestimable value to Canada's national economy. "Why should not Newfoundland also avail of the opportunity to reap the benefit?" wondered the editor of the Evening Telegram on 18 January 1939. The editorial drew the readers' attention to the fact that 11,000 Jews permitted to settle provisionally in England since 1933 had not only managed to establish new industries and to remove the center of the fur industry from Leipzig to London, but were also already employing 15,000 Englishmen. Australia, it was reported, would admit 15,000 refugees within the next three years, giving preference to those able to establish new industries.37

On 6 February 1939, Penson inquired confidentially with the Dominions Office in London about suitable refugee enterprises for Newfoundland. His repeated requests for confidentiality, however, and his insistence to London that the Commission have the opportunity to examine proposals before any indication of Newfoundland's attitude was given are indicative of internal dissension and reservations among the Commissioners.38 In April 1939 the Commission was prepared to entertain proposals for "assisted immigration of groups of refugees from Central Europe with a view to their settlement in areas of the country hitherto unsettled, e.g., Labrador." By the beginning of May, the Commission claimed that it had not received any formal approach yet, although Penson confirmed that unofficial inquiries had been received by bodies or persons purporting to represent Jewish refugees.39 A confidential proposition cabled on 27 July 1939 to the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs represents the closest the Newfoundland government ever came to settling groups of Jewish refugees in Newfoundland.

We should be glad of an investigation of certain parts of Newfoundland territory as a possible location for a controlled immigration scheme, cost of investigation following [probably should read "falling"], of course, on this organisation. Actually area to which investigation would probably be directed is Labrador. For guidance of organisation it might be mentioned that industries which appear most likely to be worth consideration in that region are lumbering and paper manufacture, fish canning or curing, and agriculture.40
Unfortunately, it was now too late. The outbreak of war in Europe and the subsequent climate of fear and suspicion of everything foreign that gripped the island generated apprehensions that not only refugees of German birth, but even refugees from countries occupied by or allied with Germany, might be enemy agents.41

That public opinion had exerted pressure on the government to act became obvious as the local press urged the recruiting of such worldfamous manufacturers as the Czech Bata shoe company, whose intended relocation to Canada was initially opposed by the Canadian shoe industry. Such a concern, the Evening Telegram of 22 June 1939 reasoned, might utilize local animal hides and seal skins, which were at the time all sent abroad for processing. Newfoundland, the Daily News of 7 July 1939 agreed, would welcome refugees of the kind reported to be setting up some 20 new industries in Montreal, including glassware, chemicals, plastics, textile specialties, and food products, and employing a total capital of $2 million. "The opportunity is one that may be short-lived, and it is certain[ly] too good an opportunity to be lost for want of trying," the editorial concluded. In the memory of the advocates of industrial development, "the Commission of Government missed the opportunity of a lifetime."42

This account of attempts to settle Jewish refugees in Newfoundland would be incomplete without reference to the thousands of individual refugees who unsuccessfully petitioned for temporary or permanent admission. Begining in the summer of 1938 and increasing sharply in January 1939, personal inquiries and applications for visas forwarded by British consular officers began to pour into St. John's from actual and prospective refugees in Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, Romania, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the United States, Cuba, and Japan. Most of the applicants appeared to be highly qualified professionals and skilled workers. An unsuccessful petition of 3 February 1939 by Dr. G. Lichtenstern, a lawyer in Budapest, was submitted on behalf of 1,000 Jewish families, including educated farmers, engineers, and young merchants, who had "lost their working places furnishing till now all exigencies of their modest existence by the cruel disposals of the [anti-] Jewish law."

The group wishes to earn a territory large enough to nourish [a] thousand families by farm-working and would take along with them economical machines, mill equipment, the same for the proper physicians, several automobiles (tractors for the farm), various manufacturer's fittings and so on for civilized living.43
Among refugees who petitioned for admission were not only German Jews whose lives were in imminent danger and who supplied the Newfoundland authorities with certificates of conduct and assurances of funds for landing and subsistence, but also several first-degree relatives of Newfoundlanders with every conceivable guarantee by their local sponsors. The shifting criteria for the rejection of these applications and petitions left little doubt that access for refugees was entirely at the discretion of the Chief Commissioner for Immigration in St. John's.

Prior to 1936 no cases are known where admission to the country had been denied first-degree relatives of a Newfoundland resident or a British subject. Under the existing state of law, an immigrant was defined as undesirable if he did not possess or was unable to obtain the means to support himself and his dependents in an adequate manner. In addition, admission was denied to lunatics, idiots, or those who, owing to disease or infirmity, would likely become a charge upon the colony.44 In order to cope with the growing tide of refugee applications, Commissioner for Justice L. E. Emerson argued in April 1938 that these and other generous provisions of the 1906 Aliens Act applicable to religious and political refugees were "too liberal in present circumstances." He was concerned that the criterion of belonging to a politically, economically, or racially undesirable class was not covered.45 The Commission agreed to communicate to London its desire to follow the same practice as Canada in the treatment of British subjects and aliens.46 In 1938 the Commission turned down on economic grounds two petitions from a Polish Jew and his family to join his sister, who had been married for seven years to a Newfoundland dry goods store owner of Polish-Jewish descent. Although the applicant's qualifications included a variety of trades in short demand, such as bookkeeping, farming, cement finishing and tile laying, he was given to understand that while the Commission

are prepared sympathetically to consider any applications made on behalf of doctors, specialists, skilled and professional workers, they are not anxious to encourage the immigration or persons not possessing such qualifications and for whom suitable employment is [not] proved to exist. We have therefore further decided that permission shall not be accorded to applicants whose intention is to engage in any employment for which suitable persons of Newfoundland birth are available.47
Alarmed at "being flooded with applications mainly from Continental Jews who desire to settle in Newfoundland," Emerson urged legislation along "strictly Canadian lines," prohibiting the landing in Newfoundland of "persons being natives of or belonging by race to any country other than the United Kingdom."48 The Dominions Secretary, however, objected to the provision for "unqualified exclusion, especially at the moment when the refugee question is so much in the minds of governments and public." The Commission then went along with the British position that a visa by a British consul, granted only after an entry permit had been issued in St. John's, would provide adequate control of immigration.49 By considering each application for a permit "on its own merits," the Chief Commissioner for Immigration achieved the same effect as Emerson's proposed draft legislation. The case of Rose R. Zuber of St. John's confirms that neither financial security nor first-degree family relationship nor any other legally defined criterion was sufficient ground for admitting a Jewish refugee. Rather, as Mrs. Zuber's lawyer charged, "the Commissioner or other Official designated for this purpose, has an unfettered or discretionary power which may be arbitrarily and secretly exercised, to deal with each case as he thinks fit."50

Mrs. Zuber and her husband, who had been married for nine years and were naturalized British subjects, carried on a successful business as ladies' costumiers in St. John's. Over a period of two years, starting in March 1937, Mrs. Zuber had made four futile attempts to obtain permission for her parents as well as her two brothers (aged 21 and 18, and certified mechanics) from Pruzana, Poland, to join her in St. John's. She wrote:

My family are all Polish Jews, and it is because of their increasing fear of prosecution, and the possible confiscation of their property, that they are looking to Newfoundland.... They have no relatives or friends elsewhere outside Poland.
Mrs. Zuber had engaged the services of a lawyer who was told by customs officials as well as by the Commissioner himself "that their decision had been made in the exercise of the absolute discretion vested in Government, for which they decline to give any reason." Suffering "great anxiety and distress" and feeling that she deserved better treatment as a British subject, Mrs. Zuber on 2 March 1939 made a final appeal to the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs. She insisted that there was not the slightest danger of members of her family becoming a charge upon the state or engaging in business detrimental to any Newfoundlanders. She argued that the case of her family deserved to be considered on its own merits and distinguished from the general, and broad, class of "Jewish refugees." Finally, she feared that further delays "may be serious or even fatal" so far as her family was concerned "and that they may not be allowed to leave Poland at all, or only after confiscation of the whole or most of their property." Mrs. Zuber's appeal was sent for reconsideration to the Newfoundland government. Its Chief Commissioner for Immigration replied tersely on 8 July 1939 that there were "no grounds whatever to justify a reconsideration of the case, and the decision already conveyed to you cannot be varied."51 Officially the following classes of refugees were declared eligible for admission in March 1939, subject, of course, to a consideration of each case on its own merits:
(1) persons in possession of specialist and/or professional qualifications and (2) persons desiring to engage in a new industry, or in any occupation which is unlikely to interfere with any established trade, profession or business.52
Unofficially the Commission had been exploring since November 1938 the possibility of using refugee doctors for its district services, which suffered from an acute shortage of trained personnel, especially nurses. The shortage was seriously hampering plans to control tuberculosis and to initiate a program of midwifery training as part of a newly inaugurated health care system to be dispensed by six new cottage hospitals and additional nursing stations across the island. Through the British Federation of University Women, the Newfoundland Department of Public Health was directed to the availability in London of female refugee physicians from Germany and Austria, ready for placement in the nursing services of countries of the Empire. After his first encounter with them in London, the Newfoundland Secretary for Justice cabled the Commissioners assuringly: "type frequently hardly distinguishable from Aryan type. Various ages unmarried. Ready take any job." In January 1939 the Commission decided to set up a committee of Newfoundlanders in London for the selection of "a suitable type of recruit" from among those available. It was envisaged to contract refugees for only nursing services and to forbid them to represent themselves as doctors or to practice as such. As officials were apprehensive of adverse public reaction, it was thought advisable, not "to bring any considerable number of these people here at any one time," but to get them to the country in small numbers, "say one or two together." In this fashion and through the mediation of the German Jewish Refugee Committee in London, a total of eight refugee doctors were brought to Newfoundland by the beginning of the war, six of them Jewish. Seven were employed by the Department of Health on three-year contracts in cottage hospitals and outport nursing stations across the island and in Labrador, and one by the International Grenfell Association in St. Anthony.53

The only other Jewish refugees whose admission to Newfoundland between 1934 and 1939 can be confirmed were a German seaman from Danzig and Rabbi Max Katz with his family of three. The deportation of the seaman, who had jumped ship in August 1938, was prevented by the St. John's Jewish congregation, which offered a bond guaranteeing that he would not be a charge on the colony. His subsequent fate is unknown.54 Rabbi Katz, who had left Germany in April 1937 to look for a position in the United States, was referred in Montreal to the congregation in St. John's, where he arrived on 31 August 1937 for a three weeks' trial period. In St. John's, Israel Perlin arranged to provide Katz with the security of a three-year (later five-year) contract, enabling him to travel to Germany in March 1938 to rescue his wife and two sons * After their return, his and his family's passports were confiscated by the German consul in St. John's on behalf of the German Consulate General in Ottawa and not replaced. In spite of having been stripped of his German nationality by the German government, Rabbi Katz was suspected of collaborating with Nazi Germany in August 1940; and his movements were put under police surveillance. A weekly report of his activities went to the Department of Justice until his emigration to the United States in December 1940.55

Opinions expressed in the columns of the local press reveal that, although there was significant support for new industries, opposition to the arrival of refugees without such industries was at least as strong. Objections to the refugees on the grounds of social class and adverse economic impact went hand in hand with the contention that these refugees constituted a threat to the ethnic identity of the host society and were useless castaways for any country.

The week after Kristallnacht, the editor of the Evening Telegram (16 November 1938) voiced concern over the increase in the number of Newfoundland's foreign-born (excluding natives of the United Kingdom, Ireland, and the Dominions) from 731 in 1911 to 1,601 in 1935. Suggesting that most of the refugees, probably being unskilled as well as penniless, would become a burden to any country accepting them, he urged a considerable stiffening of the immigration regulations to prevent the country from "being overrun by peoples who could not possibly be absorbed in the population." When Newfoundland needs a larger population, advised one commentator in the Evening Telegram on 17 November 1938, "we should first look to British stock." In the Daily News of 21 January 1939, someone characterized Newfoundland as "one of the few countries where the only bar to the ragtail and bobtail of the world is the cursory glance of officialdom." The reason why Newfoundland cannot get any doctors but refugees to come here, an anonymous writer in the Evening Telegram of 11 February 1939 charged, was that British doctors were not given a living wage, nor the necessary things to work with. Those refugee doctors would be "followed by all their relations, good, bad and indifferent until we fail to remain predominantly British." Newfoundlanders would hopefully "strongly object to our country being the dumping ground of people who have been turned out of their own country."

A stinging editorial in the Evening Telegram of 7 July 1939 noted the disembarkation in St. John's of two or three refugee doctors who had been hired to serve as district nurses in the fishing outports. The editor criticized the admission of these refugees on every conceivable ground. "These foreigners" were suspected of taking away jobs from eligible Newfoundlanders, of lacking proper qualifications as doctors and nurses, and of being spies and fifth columnists entering the country under the guise of refugees. They were reproached for not being immigrants with the capital and skills necessary to establish a badly needed new industry or a rare trade that would not interfere with any local industries. The editorial warned:

Who vouches for the bona fides of these newcomers, and what steps are taken to prevent the entry of persons who in the capacity of doctors or nurses would have a great opportunity-in fact the best opportunity-to inculcate ideas inimical to the best interests of a British community?"
In the public debate over the admission of Central European refugees, the overwhelming majority of the comments were opposed to admission. In the absence of unambiguously antisernitic utterances in the local press and in the government documents examined, hostility toward Jews in Newfoundland is not clearly identifiable among the manifestations of a widespread xenophobia toward non-British immigrants. While the fishing outports would have welcomed Jewish refugees, the evidence suggests that a vociferous segment of the St. John's public shared the Commissioners' views on Jews and even pressured them to adopt the policy they did. In Newfoundland antisemitism is not likely the result of negative encounters with the small number of relatively assimilated local Jews,56 but rather a prejudice transferred from Europe and Canada. Antisernitic sentiments are detectable prior to the appearance of a Jewish community on the island and were espoused by such respected citizens as judge and historian D.W. Prowse.57

In the 1930s the actions of the Commissioners speak louder than words. Newfoundland and Labrador might have afforded sanctuary to 10,000 or more refugees if the absorptive capacity assigned to the country by settlement experts had become a criterion for admission. Instead, the Commission turned down all the requests and petitions received by and on behalf of more than 12,000 Jewish refugees from Europe. Newfoundland's eight refugee nurses were recruited in London, not because they were refugees, but because they were the only qualified nurses available in 1939 to assume duties in the fishing outports, for which no one else could be found. The search for ways to keep refugees out on grounds other than economic appears to have been one of the chief concerns of the Commissioner for Justice. In their efforts to bar Jewish refugees from the country, the Commissioners looked to Canada as a model. Since British and Dutch farmers continued to be solicited, the systematic exclusion of non-Aryan refugees was clearly discriminatory.

The seriousness of the Commission's stillborn endeavors to recruit refugee industries in 1939 is difficult to gauge. However, the three proposals for group settlement suggest that challenges for more than eight Jewish newcomers existed, despite the Depression and despite the exodus of Newfoundlanders to the North American mainland. The failure of all attempts to settle Jewish refugees in Newfoundland in the 1930s, regardless of their economic merits and their first-degree family relationship to Newfoundlanders, is inexplicable without identifying antisernitism as a motivating force. "How else," to quote Simon Belkin, "can one interpret the refusal of proposals which would have been so beneficial to the country?"58


The research for this study was made possible with the financial assistance of Multiculturalism Canada.

1 . Alfred W. Kneucker, Zuflucht in Shanghai: Aus den Erlebnissen eines dsterreichischen Arztes in der Emigration, 1938-1945 (Vienna, 1984), pp. 14, 30. Shanghai had offered sanctuary to an additional 60,000 exiles from Russian communism. For the Dominican Republic, see Evening Telegram (St. John's, Newfoundland), 18 June 1987; and Dana G. Munro and others, Refugee Settlement in the Dominican Republic (Washington, 1942).

2. Irving Abella and Harold Troper, None Is Too Many: Canada and the Jews of Europe, 1933-1948 (Toronto, 1983), pp. vi, 237; and "'The Line Must Be Drawn Somewhere': Canada and Jewish Refugees, 1933-1939," Canadian Historical Review 60 (1979): 179.

3. Peter Neary, "Canadian Immigration Policy and the Newfoundlanders, 1912-1939 ' " Acadiensis 11 (1982): 69; David Alexander, "Development and Dependence in Newfoundland, 1880-1970," ibid., 4 (1974): 20.

4. Public Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador [hereafter cited as PANLI, GN 38, S 7-1-1, box 1, file 3; GN 13/2/A, box 227, file "Re: Immigration."

5. Under the title "Prospects of Immigration," Albert Perlin wrote in the Evening Telegram of 3 Oct. 1933: "There would be a good living here for four times our present population, if our economic life were properly planned. ... Our situation is desperate and this and other plans of a similar nature will cost nothing to investigate and may well prove our salvation."

6. David S. Zlatin, "The Administrative History of the Jewish Community in St. John's: Synagogue and Education," Special Project Report, Memorial University of Newfoundland, 1978, p. 9.

7. Simon Belkin, Through Narrow Gates: A Review of Jewish Immigration, Colonization, and Immigrant Aid Work in Canada, 1840-1940 (Montreal, 1966), p. 183.

8. Alison Joanne Kahn, "The Jews of St. John's, Newfoundland: A Rhetorical Approach to a Community Autobiography," M.A. thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland, 1983, pp. 59, 178, 190, 209.

9. Ibid., pp. 238f.

10. PANL, GN 1/1/7, 1914: Governor Davidson to Hon. L. Harcourt, 31 Dec. 1914; Melvin Baker, "Brief Biographical Profiles of Several Ethnic Minorities in St. John's as Taken from the 1921 and 1935 Nominal Censuses, " Centre for Newfoundland Studies, Memorial University of Newfoundland, 1980. Belkin, Through Narrow Gates, p. 187 lists a Jewish population of 190 to 200 in Newfoundland in 1934, with 37 (probably meaning 137) in St. John's.

11. Kahn, "The Jews of St. John's," pp. 239, 244, 248.

12. PANL, GN 13/2/A, box 227, file "Re: Immigration": Commissioner for Justice to E.N.R. Trentham, 14 May 1934.

13. The New Industries Committee, forerunner of the Newfoundland Industrial Development Board, had a mandate to consider proposals for establishment of new industries in accordance with the Gorvin Interim Report of Nov. 1938. The Report was commissioned to advise on rehabilitation and development prospects.

14. PANL, GN 13/2/A, box 227, file: "Immigration 1921-1926."

15. Belkin, Through Narrow Gates, pp. 172f.

16. Ibid., pp. 183f.

17. Ibid., pp. 184f.

18. Koblenz, Bundesarchiv, Z1, Bd. 882: Hermann von Freeden, "Fin Beitrag zur Geschichte der Judenauswanderung aus Deutschland," Dec. 1945.

19. PANL, GN 38, S 2-1-1, N.R. 19: undated memorandum by Commissioner Hope Simpson; Belkin, Through Narrow Gates, pp. 184f.

20. Belkin, Through Narrow Gates, p. 186; Observer's Weekly (St. John's), 24 Feb. 1934 and 10 Dec. 1935; Evening Telegram, 10 Aug. 1939.

21. PANL, GN 38, S 2-1-12, file 7.

22. PANL, GN 38, S 2-1-12, N.R. 39236; Belkin, Through Narrow Gates, pp. 186f.

23. Belkin, Through Narrow Gates, p. 187.

24. Observer's Weekly, I I May, 14 July, and I I Aug. 1934.

25. Ibid., 18 Aug. 1934. On several occassions, the last time in 1932, the Newfoundland government considered selling Labrador to Canada, after the Privy Council's judgment of 1927 had confirmed Newfoundland's historic claims over those of Canada and Labrador. See Peter Neary, "Newfoundland and Quebec: Provincial Neighbors Across an Uneasy Frontier," Bulletin of Canadian Studies 2, no. 2 (1978): 35-51.

26. Interview with Cyril Banikhin, 19 Nov. 1984. Cyril Banikhin is the son of Frank Banikhin.

27. PANL, GN 38, S 2-1-12: Memos 1936, F. Banikhin to Sir John Hope Simpson, 5 Mar. 1936.

28. Ibid.

29. PANL, GN 38, S-2-1-12: Humphrey Walwyn to Malcolm MacDonald, 12 Mar. 1936, and Memorandum submitted by Commissioner for Natural Resources for consideration of Commission of Government, 13 Mar. 1936.

30. PANL, GN 38, S 2-1-12: Memos 1936, Malcolm MacDonald to Sir Humphrey Walwyn, 10 July 1936.

31. PANL, GN 38, S 2-1-12, file 7.

32. Interview with Cyril Banikhin, 19 Nov. 1984.

33. Evening Telegram, 3 and 26 Nov. 1938.

34. Refugees: Preliminary Report of a Survey, issued under the auspices of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, London (New York, 1938).

35. Daily News (St. John's), 2 Mar. 1938; Observer's Weekly, 6 Mar. 1938.

36. Observer's Weekly, 25 Apr., 9 May, 22 Aug. 1939; Evening Telegram, 29 July 1939; Henry L. Feingold, The Politics of Rescue: The Roosevelt Administration and the Holocaust, 1938-1945 (New Brunswick, 1970), pp. 94ff.; David S. Wyman, Paper Walls: America and the Refugee Crisis, 1938-1941 (Boston, 1968), pp. 99ff.

37. Evening Telegram, I Dec. 1939.

38. PANL, GN 1/3/A, 1939, nos. 5-7, file: "Immigration into Newfoundland."

39. PANL, GN 38, S 7-1-2: Memorandum by Commissioner for Finance, 2 May 1939.

40. PANL, GN 38, S 1-1-2: Meeting of 26 July 1939; GN 1/3/A, nos. 5-17, file 9/ 39.

41. PANL, GN 1/3/A, 1938, no. 694/3, file: "Aliens-Treatment of."

42. Newfoundland House of Assembly, Proceedings, 28 Mar. 1955.

43. PANL, GN 1/3/A, 1939, nos. 5-7: Thomas Inskip to Humphrey Walwyn, 18 Feb. 1939.

44. PANL, GN 1/3/A, vol. 134, file 316: H. Walwyn to M. MacDonald, 30 June 1936.

45. PANL, GN 38, S 4-1-5: L.E. Emerson, "Memorandum on Immigration and Deportation," 11 Apr. 1938.

46. PANL, GN 38, S 1-1-2: Meeting of 13 Apr. 1938.

47. PANL, GN 1/3/A, 1934, nos. 303-323, file 316/34.

48. PANL, GN 1/3/A, 1934, nos. 313-323, file: "Immigration into Newfoundland." Canadian limitations on admission were similar to those of Newfoundland but, as Commissioner Emerson pointed out and emphasized, contained "special provisions against persons of undesirable political opinions and against illiterates, and a very broad provision against persons who do not fill the requirements of regulations. The regulations may require money qualifications or may prohibit or limit the number of any nationality or race or any class or occupation or immigrants whose customs, habits or modes of life are deemed undesirable, or who are considered not readily assimilable by Canada. " See above, note 45.

49. PANL, GN 1/3/A, 1934, nos. 303-323: correspondence between Governor Walwyn and Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, 26 Nov. and 2 Dec. 1938.

50. PANL, GN 13/2/A, box 233, file 118.

51. PANL, GN 1/3/A, 1939, nos. 5-7, file 9/39; GN 38, S 3-5-4, file 17; GN 13/2/A, box 233, file 118.

52. PANL, GN 38, S 7-1-2: J.H. Penson, "Applications of Refugees from Cen- tral Europe," 2 May 1939.

53. PANL, GN 13/2/A, box 237, file 40; GN 38, S 1-1 -2: Meeting of 23 Mar. 1939; GN 38, S 61-1-2, file 12; GN 13/2/A, box 193, file 69; l1ka D. Dickman, Ap- pointment to Newfoundland (Manhattan, KS, 1981), p. 15.

54. Evening Telegram, 16 Aug. 1938.

55. PANL, GN 13, box 38, file 88.

56. See above, note 10.

57. The Daily News, 28 Nov. 1895, reported a court case concerning the com- plaint of a German sailor against his Irish mate for alleged incompetency and forgery of his certificate. Judge Prowse decided that the complaint was unfounded and gave the sailor a tongue-lashing as follows: "You know I have no sympathy with you. Here are you, a German from Hamburg, from which everything is adulterated, finding fault with a full-blooded Irishman, who is mate on board a British ship.... You will go if the captain will have you, but I wouldn't give such a miserable specimen of a Hamburg Jew as you are, house room. Go on board or go to gaol.

58. Belkin, Pirough Narrow Gates, p. 187.

Chap 8

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