Jewish Immigration to Escape Persecution in Bavaria - January 27
- 2013 27 Jan
After Spain's monarchs sent Columbus on his voyage they drove Muslim forces out of Spain, and also Jews. Many Jews fled to Portugal and then to Amsterdam, where some sailed with Dutch merchants to South America. When Spain and Portugal attacked there in 1654, twenty-three Jewish refugees, on the French ship Sainte Catherine, escaped to New Amsterdam. Governor Stuyvesant tried to evict them, not letting them worship outside their homes. In 1664, New Amsterdam became New York and the first synagogue was allowed to be built in 1730. Jewish population grew to a remnant of 2,000 during the colonial era with just 7 synagogues from New York to Savannah. Beginning in 1830, Ellis Island saw 250,000 Jews immigrate to escape persecution in Bavaria. In the 1880's, over 2 million Jews fled Russia's pogroms to America, making the U.S. population about 2 percent Jewish. Woodrow Wilson wrote: "Whereas in countries engaged in war there are 9 million Jews, the majority of whom are destitute of food, shelter, and clothing; driven from their homes without warning...causing starvation, disease and untold suffering- Whereas the people of the U.S. have learned with sorrow of this terrible plight, I proclaim JANUARY 27, 1916, a day to make contributions for the aid of the stricken Jewish people to the American Red Cross."