The politics of immigration, 1881-1905

Migration has been a continuous feature of Jewish history. In modern times, it reappeared after the Chmielnicki massacres of 1648-9 when numbers of Jews fled westwards from Poland and Russia. Britain’s place in Jewish migration is an exceptional and generally honourable one. Its role is admittedly much less import- ant than that of the United States of America, although it is worth noting that in 1914 more Eastern European immigrants were living in London than in any other city except New York and Chicago.1 Britain’s prime importance in this connection was as a land of transmigration, since many Jews landed at an English port on the eastern coastline only to re-embark on a transatlantic ship on the other side of the country. There had been no immigration control in Britain since 1836, when restrictions imposed in 1793 were abolished. A Jewish population which in 18 58 had numbered 36,000, rose

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