D O C . 2 9 I M M I G R AT I O N F R O M T H E E A S T 2 4 1
holders’ association entertained a motion to require special registration procedures for foreigners and
also called for the deportation of “all undesirable aliens” (“alle lästigen Ausländer”; Berliner Tage-
blatt, 2 December 1919, Morning Edition, p. ).
In an article that was published a week earlier with the same title but subtitled “Die Russen in
Berlin,” a knowledgeable source pointed out that “these 70,000 Russians are, as it happens, for the
most part ethnic German Russians, Volga Russians, Balts, individuals from Lodz, and others who
have been forced to emigrate due to the changed circumstances in Russia and Poland and now flood
the large German cities in great numbers” (“Diese 70 000 Russen sind nämlich im wesentlichen
deutschstämmige Russen, Wolgarussen, Balten und Lodzer und andere, die durch die veränderten
Verhältnisse in Russland und Polen zur Auswanderung gezwungen sind und jetzt in großen Scharen
die deutschen Großstädte überfluten.”Berliner Tageblatt, 23 December 1919, Evening Edition, p.
The Workers’ Welfare Bureau estimated that approximately 20,000 East European Jews had
emigrated to Berlin between the end of the war and mid-April 1920 (see Maurer 1986, p. 66), a large
proportion of whom were deserters (see Jacobsohn 1921, p. 24). How many among this most recent
wave of immigrants had moved on or returned home by 1921 is unknown.
Einstein’s argument that well-financed and organized Bolshevik agents were unlikely to be
found among poor Jews from Eastern Europe is more persuasive than a statement made in the article
with the same title of the previous week. There it is claimed that “Bolshevik agitation would not occur
among these refugees who have fled pogroms in their homeland” (“bolschewistische Agitation dürfte
von diesen, den heimatlichen Pogromen entronnenen Flüchtlingen nicht erfolgen.” Berliner Tage-
blatt, 23 December 1919, Evening Edition, p. ). A majority of these pogroms were in fact instigated
by White Russian forces (see, e.g., Kenez 1992).
Thirty thousand East European Jews performed wartime labor in Germany. Half of this number
were forcibly deported from the East; half arrived as contract labor. By April 1918, however, the Prus-
sian border was closed to further immigration, and the practice of placing advertisements for Polish-
Jewish laborers was forbidden. In summer 1918, a number of Jews from Eastern Europe were
deported (see Maurer 1986, pp. 38–39), and following the conclusion of hostilities most of the
remaining wartime contingent left the country (see Jacobsohn 1921, p. 23). For a contemporary
account of the positive effect of German wartime labor needs on the differentiation of Jewish occu-
pations to include manual labor, see Preuß 1921. The result was a significant redefinition, particularly
among Zionists, of the important role of industrial and agricultural work in the settlement of Palestine.
As originally conceived by members of the Zionist youth organizations, the Jewish Labor
Bureau (Jüdisches Arbeitsamt) was intended to prepare young German Jews for emigration to Pales-
tine, but after its founding in 1919, it drew primarily from the ranks of Jewish wartime labor con-
scripts and former prisoners-of-war from Eastern Europe. Fully subsidized by the Worker’s Welfare
Bureau (see Adler-Rudel 1959, pp. 79–80), the Labor Bureau achieved particular success in placing
workers in the mining industry (see Berliner Tageblatt, 23 December 1919, Evening Edition, p. ).
Faced with a desperate shortage of skilled industrial labor, the Germans began deportations of
Belgian workers to Western German industrial centers in late 1916. Sixty one thousand Belgians were
deported between October 1916 and February 1917, and another 17,000 “volunteered” for work in
Germany. The political repercussions were disastrous. Numerous protests from neutral countries,
including the United States, brought the program to an end by early 1917 (see Herbert 1986, pp. 97–
For the beginnings of a modest rapprochement between French and Germans, see Doc. 27; for
Einstein’s thoughts on international reconciliation, see Einstein 1920i (Doc. 47). Increasing American
involvement in the affairs of Europe was spearheaded by the Rockefeller Foundation’s efforts in 1919
in support of Central European research institutes and universities (see Einstein 1920b [Doc. 36], note
2) and the Quaker aid program that began in early 1920 (see Doc. 40, note 2).
To examine charges of “German barbarism,” Einstein had, in spring 1919, joined an indepen-
dent commission drawn up to examine documentation of German wartime atrocities (see Einstein to
Hendrik A. Lorentz, 26 April 1919, NeHR, Archief H. A. Lorentz), though he withdrew from an
active role before findings were published (see Einstein to Hendrik A. Lorentz, 18 March 1920,
NeHR, Archief H. A. Lorentz).