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Galveston Plan

GALVESTON PLAN, a project to divert European Jews immigrating to the United States from the large eastern ports of the United States to the southwestern states. In 1907 Jacob H. *Schiff initiated and financed the plan, hoping to alleviate the concentration of immigrants in the big cities of the northeast and middle west. The Jewish Territorial Organization undertook to continue the task. A Jewish Immigrants' Information Bureau (JIIB), directed by Morris D. *Waldman, was established in 1907 in Galveston, Texas, to settle and sustain the immigrants, who began to arrive in July of that year. Rabbi Henry *Cohen of Galveston was instrumental in the entire effort. The Jewish Territorialist Organization (ITO) was established in 1901 by the United Hebrew Charities of New York, the B'nai B'rith, the Baron de Hirsch Fund, and other Jewish immigrant aid agencies. Its stated aim was to disperse Jewish immigrants to other communities and thus alleviate the plight of Jewish charities in New York. The ITO helped the Jewish emigrants get from Russia to Bremen, Germany, and from there, the Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden cared for the Jewish emigrants and put them on ships for Galveston. Once the Jews got to Texas, the JIIB assumed responsibilities for them and helped them resettle in other communities.

However, several major Jewish immigration organizations refused to assist, and in 1910 the U.S. Department of Commerce and Labor deported a large number of immigrants who had arrived at the port of Galveston, alleging that the immigrants had violated labor laws or were liable to become public charges. Nevertheless, the Galveston plan managed to settle 10,000 immigrants before it ceased operations at the outbreak of World War I as relationships between the Jewish organizations had deteriorated and potential immigrants were less willing to go to Galveston.

For Galveston, see *Texas.


M.D. Waldman, in: Jewish Social Service Quarterly, 4 (1926); Z. Szajkowski, in: JSOS, 29 (1967), 22–26, 81; L. Shpall, in: Jewish Forum, 28 (June-Aug. 1945), 119–20, 139–40, 156–8. WEBSITE:

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.