Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, November 28th, 2023
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
Partner with StudyLight.org as God uses us to make a difference for those displaced by Russia's war on Ukraine.
Click to donate today!

Bible Encyclopedias

The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia

Search for…
Prev Entry
Next Entry
Migues, João
Resource Toolbox
Additional Links

Removal from one region to another. Ever since the Exile, Jews have been forced to wander from country to country, and a full history of their migrations would be almost identical with a complete history of that people.

In the first century the center of Jewish population, taking the whole spread of the Diaspora, was probably somewhere about Tarsus. In the twelfth century it had moved to the neighborhood of Troyes because of the migration of the Jews to Rome, to Spain, to Gaul, to England, and to Germany. By the middle of the sixteenth century, owing to the expulsion and migrations from western Europe, the center of Jewish population had moved over to Poland. It is impossible here to deal with these movements in detail, but the forcible migration of Jews to Babylonia in Bible times, whence they spread to Persia, and, it has been conjectured, even up to Caucasia, is a typical instance of such movements. Expulsion from England removed 16,000 Jews; that from Spain is reckoned to have spread more than 300,000 over the lands bordering the Mediterranean. The medieval history of the German Jews consists almost entirely of wholesale movements of communities from one town to another. Unfortunately in few of these instances are any numerical details available. It was only recentlythat new conditions enable some estimate to be made of the numbers of Jews forced through migration from their native countries.

In recent times a new kind of migration has taken place, due partly to economic causes and partly to persecution, which can be traced in some detail for the past quarter of a century. The chief countries from which emigration has taken place are Russia, Galicia, and Rumania; the chief countries of immigration, England and the United States.


From Russia.

The emigration of Jews from Russia increased remarkably in the seventies and became widespread in the eighties of the nineteenth century. That until then the emigration movement was but slight is evidenced by the fact that between the years 1821-70 only 7,550 Jewish emigrants from Russia and Russian Poland set out for the United States, at that time the most important objective point, and in the decade 1871-80 no less than 41,057 came from Russia alone.

The direct cause which led to the largely increased emigration may be found in the anti-Jewish riots which occurred in the early eighties. Maddened by fear after these riots, the Jewish population, including not a few professional men, formed regular emigrant companies. These removed to Germany, Austro-Hungary, England, France, the United States, and Palestine. There are no exact figures at hand to show the extent of that first emigration movement. The emigration from Russia to the United States, which amounted, on the average, to no more than 4,100 persons a year even in the decade 1871-80, reached in the decade 1881-90 an annual average of 20,700. The following table gives the number of Russian Jews who emigrated to the United States during the several years of this decade according to the figures of the United States Immigration Commission and of the United Hebrew Charities respectively:

Year.From Russia.From Other Countries.

However, while the riots of 1881 were the immediate cause of the increased emigration, the true cause was undoubtedly the very unfortunate economic condition of the Jewish population in Russia, and the riots merely supplied the stimulus. The pioneers were scarcely settled in their new homes when their friends and relatives followed them. The relations between the Pale of Settlement and the countries whither the emigrants moved became more intimate, and because of the more favorable economic conditions in these countries the emigration to them increased. The fluctuations in the separate years covering the period may be explained mainly by the fluctuations in the commercial prosperity of these lands.

The new and repressive measures inaugurated by the Russian government in the early nineties resulted in another increase of Jewish emigration. In 1891 and 1892 occurred the administrative expulsion of the Jews from Moscow and a similar expulsion from the villages and hamlets outside the Pale. It is estimated that there were expelled in this manner more than 400,000 persons. This mass of people rushed to the already overcrowded cities and towns of the Pale, and naturally enough could find no room there. As a result of this those who were expelled by the administration either emigrated themselves or crowded out others from the Pale, and the latter in their turn had to emigrate. The average number of Jewish immigrants to the United States, by far the greater part of whom were from Russia, was in the nineties more than double the number in the preceding decade. For the single years the immigration was as follows:

Year.From Russia.From Other Countries.

In Russia the emigration took place from every part of the Pale and from Poland, but the greater numbers came from the provinces which are nearest the boundary, such as Volhynia, Podolia, Kiev, Grodno, Kovno, Suwalki, etc.

  • Voskhod;
  • G. M. Price, Russkiye Yevrei v Amerikye, St. Petersburg, 1893;
  • Alien Immigration, Reports to the Board of Trade, London, 1893.

E. C.
L. Wy.

Austria and Rumania.

Statistics of the emigration of Jews from Austria and Rumania are accessible for the decade 1890-1900. These are obtained by subtracting the Jewish population of the former date from that of the end of the century. The increase in the Jewish population of Austria during that period was 81,594, but the excess of births over deaths was 186,352, showing that 104,758 had migrated from Austria. The majority of these went from Galicia; and by the same process it is shown that 108,949 Jews left that province, some of them going to other parts of Austria ("Oesterreichische Statistik," , pp. -, Vienna, 1902).

If the same method be applied to Rumania, from data supplied by J. Jacobs in "The Jewish Chronicle," Aug. 21, 1885, and by W. Bambus in Bloch's "Oesterreichische Wochenschrift," 1902, p. 678, it would appear that between 1877 and 1894 the Jewish population increased 26,919, whereas the excess of births over deaths for that period ran to 69,193, showing that in those seventeen years 42,274 Rumanian Jews had emigrated. This number must have increased considerably in the last decade, during which persecution in Rumania has been more severe.

As regards the countries to which these emigrants from Russia, Galicia, and Rumania wend their way,it must be borne in mind that most of the Continental countries rigidly enforce the restrictions forbidding the Jews of eastern Europe to settle within their boundaries, yet, notwithstanding these restrictions, it has been reckoned that nearly 30,000 have settled in Germany since 1875 ("Ha-Maggid," 1903, No. 19). Nevertheless, there have been practically only two asylums for the Jews of the new Exodus, Great Britain and the United States, though numbers have gone to South Africa; but during the Boer war the emigration to South Africa stopped on account of the limitations prescribed by the Cape Parliament against immigration. It is still uncertain at the present time whether the new law will actually stop the migration of Jews to South Africa. A few of the emigrants have been transported by the Jewish Colonization Association to the Argentine Republic (see Agricultural Colonies).

England and United States.

So far as immigration to England is concerned there is difficulty in ascertaining the number, as no statistics of religion are taken there. A conservative estimate ("Jewish Chronicle," Feb. 7, 1902) reckoned the number of alien Jews in London as 55,000, five-sevenths of whom were Russian Poles. The total Jewish immigration during the past twenty years has probably not exceeded 100,000 for all the British Isles, of which 80,000 came directly from Russia.

For the United States fuller details can be given, as records have been kept at the chief ports of entry—New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore—since the great exodus in 1881. Between that year and 1884 74,310 Jews were recorded as reaching the United States, though details no longer exist as to their provenience. From 1884 to October, 1903, the United Hebrew Charities recorded the nationalities of all Jewish immigrants landing at Castle Garden and Ellis Island, and furnish the following figures:


Besides these, up to 1903 there have come in at Philadelphia 50,264 and at Baltimore 28,487, making a grand total of 775,181 of Jewish immigrants actually counted since 1881, of whom it may be conjectured more than 500,000 were Russians, 180,000 were Austrians, and 50,000 were Rumanians.

Altogether during the quarter of a century from 1881 to 1904 there has probably been a migration of Jews numbering close on a million souls, of whom, so far as the imperfections of the records enable one to estimate, about 850,000 have gone to America, 100,000 to England, 30,000 to Germany, and 20,000 have been scattered throughout the rest of Europe. Of these 200,000 came from Galicia, 100,000 from Rumania, and the remaining 700,000 from Russia. Apart from these great streams of migration there is a natural ebb and flood of young men seeking their fortunes in most of the European communities and almost all quarters of the globe. Their numbers are somewhat larger in proportion than those of the rest of the population, owing to their international relationships; but in the more settled communities like those of Holland, France, England, and the United States, where there is no active persecution, there is little tendency toward emigration.

Among the results of migration of which notice will have to be taken in all statistical inquiries are the ages and sexes of the migrants. It has been reckoned that whereas in Russia persons between the ages of 14 and 45 form 45 per cent of the Jewish population, they constitute 70 per cent of those who migrate to America. So, too, while there are 95 Jews to 100 Jewesses in Russia, there are said to be 134 Jews as against 100 Jewesses among those emigrating ("Ha-Ẓefirah," 1903, No. 62). This is confirmed by the records of the United Hebrew Charities in New York, between 1884 and 1902, which show that the immigrants consisted of 222,202 males, 155,000 females, and 197,351 children.

This tends to make the death-rate of any population consisting of Russian Jewish refugees very low, owing to the fact that so many of them are of the ages between 14 and 45, and at the same time renders the marriage-rate very high, as so many of the Jewish immigrants are between 20 and 30, the favorite age for marriage; but it must be borne in mind that there are three men to two women in the stream of migration.

Bibliography Information
Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Migration'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/​encyclopedias/​eng/​tje/​m/migration.html. 1901.
adsFree icon
Ads FreeProfile