By the 1930s, Jewish life had prospered in Europe for over 2,000 years. Despite facing expulsion, persecution, and antisemitic rhetoric, Jews survived, sometimes through bribery for security or relocation to “safer” parts of Europe.
While this survival tactic served them for centuries, the Nazis rise to power was swift and calculated. Though historians who study this time period can theorize about where and how the tragic death of six million Jews could have occurred, hindsight is 20/20.
What the Jews of Europe endured was beyond their control. The reality is that there was nowhere to go, and escape was nearly impossible. With surrounding countries and borders closed to Jews, the pre-World War II European Jewish community of approximately nine million had only a tiny number of survivors to carry on Jewish tradition and continuity into the next generation.