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British Restrictions on Immigration to Mandate-Palestine: Greek Jews


A letter from the British Government of Palestine to the Jewish Agency refusing to grant immigration certificates to Zionists and prominent Jews in Greece.

Government of Palestine Office of Commissioner Migration and Statistics
Jerusalem HC/68/41 
28 April, 1941.

Gentlemen, I refer to your letter No.Pol/70/41 of the 11th April regarding the grant of 100 immigration certificates for veteran Zionists and prominent Jews in Greece and I have to inform you that I have submitted your application to Government for consideration.

2. I am directed by Government to inform you that while Government sympathizes with the situation of the Jews in Greece, it is not possible to afford them refuge in Palestine. It would not in any event be possible to grant any substantial relief to Jews in Greece (who number approximately 75,000) by the grant of a limited number of immigration certificates for Palestine.

3. The Government regrets therefore that it cannot see its way clear to assisting these persons in the manner requested by you. I am, Gentlemen, Your obedient servant, E. Mills Commissioner for Migration and Statistics, Acting Director, Department of Immigration. The Executive of the Jewish Agency Jerusalem.

A letter from the Jewish Agency to the Government of Palestine deploring the latter's refusal to grant immigration certificates to veteran Zionists and prominent Jews in Greece - May 14, 1941:

14th May, 1941.
The Commissioner for Migration and Statistics, A/Director, Dept.of Immigration, J e r u s a l e m.

Sir, I beg to acknowledge your communication No. 68/41 of April 28th. The executive of the Jewish Agency deeply regret that the Government has declined to grant 100 immigration certificates to veteran Zionists and prominent Jews of Greece. The argument advanced in your letter that it would not, in any event, be possible to grant substantial relief to the Jews in Greece by the issue of a limited number of immigration certificates for Palestine, might apply with equal force to the Jewish communities of Bulgaria and Yugoslavia for which the Government did appropriate a number of such certificates. Nor can the Jewish Agency understand why, at a time when thousands of non-Jewish refugees from eastern Europe are admitted to Palestine - a measure which they heartily welcome - the gates of this country remain closed to veteran Zionists and Jewish public workers who have all their life been deeply attached to Palestine and many of whom have rendered devoted service to its development.

I have the honour to be, Sir, Your obedient servant, 

A letter from the Association of Greek Immigrants to the Jewish Agency asking for help in the rescue of Zionist functionaries in Greece - March 3, 1943:

Association of Greek Immigrants 
Tel Aviv 
March 10, 1943 
To: Immigration Department of the Jewish Agency
J e r u s a l e m

Dear Sirs: At the request of Mr.Yaffe, we urgently submit the list of the Zionist functionaries who are first in the order of importance in the movement in Greece and who are in need of immediate rescue. Although we were ordered to submit a list of ten names, we added another six in the hope that the qualified authority will be able to rescue a larger number of our movement comrades. With profound gratitude and greetings of Zion,

(Signed) Asher Malakh 
The list is as follows: 
1. Mensh Bensangi 2. Yitzhak Eliyahu Angel 3. Shemtov Allalouf 
4. Yitzhak Alsheikh 5. Shmuel Baje 6. Asher Moisis 7. Yitzhak Amario 
8. Robert Rafael 9. Moshe Barzilai 10. Shlomo Bitti 11. Yomtov Yekuel 
12. Eliyahu Francis 13. Albert Francis 14. Shimon Burla 15. Shlomo Mordokh 16. Albert Amario

P.S.: Most of these men are in Salonika; several are in Athens.


Sources:Yad Vashem