• Issue: December 1983
  • Designer: Z. Rosenberg
  • Stamp size: 40 x 25.7 mm
  • Plate no.: 73
  • Sheet of 15 stamps Tabs: 5
  • Printers: Government Printers
  • Method of printing: Photogravure

This year (1983) marks the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the mass immigration of Jews from Germany and other central European countries. By 1933 there were already some 2,000 German and Austrian Zionists living in Eretz Israel some of whom worked in their own academic professions while others, who had come as pioneers, played an active part in founding kibbutzim and other settlements. During the period from 1 933 to 1 939, about 75,000 Jews from Central Europe arrived in the country - 55,000 from Germany and 20,000 from Austria and Czechoslovakia.

In 1932 the immigrants from Germany got together and formed the German Immigrants' Association which later became the Central European Immigrants' Association and this played a vital role in helping the newcomers to settle down in their new country. Its main concerns were to give advice in finding jobs, to help in acquiring a knowledge of the Hebrew language and to provide financial aid to those in need. At a later stage, it paid special attention to the needs of the old people for whom it built and managed several retirement homes.

The Jewish Agency set up a special German department, to deal with the German immigration, which was headed by Chaim Weizmann, Arthur Ruppin and Georg Landauer. The Department mobilised funds for the settlement of the new immigrants, many of whom changed their professions and founded agricultural settlements such as Ramot Ha-Shavim, Shavei Ziyyon, Bet Yitzhaq and others. These settlements were organised in a distinctive manner, reflecting the background of their founders, and today we find many of the children and grandchildren of the original settlers carrying on the same tradition.

Among the German immigrants were pioneers, some of whom went to join existing settlements, whilst others founded settlements of their own such as Kibbutz Hazorea, which over the years have successfully absorbed immigrants from many countries.

The leaders of the German Zionist Movement also came to Eretz Israel and men such as Kurt Blumenfeld, Alfred Landsberg, Pinhas Rozen, Georg Landauer, Siegfried Moses, Herbert Foerder and Benno Cohen played leading roles in their new homeland. Pinhas Rozen, Israel's first Minister of Justice laid the foundations of Israel law; the first President of Israel's Supreme Court, Moshe Zmoira was one of those German Jews who came to the country in the twenties. lsrael's courts are served at all levels by lawyers and judges who originally came from Germany, whilst Siegfried Moses, Israel's first State Comptroller, was succeeded by a fellow compatriot, Yitzhaq Nebenzahl.

In the economic field, the German immigrants opened up new enterprises in banking, trade and industry and their special style of management slowly spread throughout the economy. The top management of Bank Leumi always included several bankers of German origin, whilst the small private banks founded by these ex-German bankers played an important part in the development of Israel's economy. These immigrants also established modern industrial enterprises throughout the country and developed new styles of retail trading.

German Jewry also made its mark in the academic field. World-famous doctors trained a whole new generation of physicians even before coming to Israel, whilst outstanding educators founded a new style of school such as the Reali School in Haifa, the Tel Aviv "New Secondary School" and the Ben-Shemen Youth Village.

The contribution of central European Jewry to the country's spiritual and cultural life is no less outstanding. They were among the first members of the Philharmonic Orchestra; the writers amongst them struggled to conquer the Hebrew language, and whilst most of them succeeded in expressing themselves in their new tongue, others continued to write in their native language.

Today, the children and grandchildren of these German immigrants are part of the fabric of the Israel nation and are to be found in all walks of life but they still remain faithful to their traditions which are part of the history of the Jewish people, who, in our lifetime, have recreated a Jewish national homeland.

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50th anniversary of aliya (immigration) of jews from Germany