If there was no Holocaust and the Jewish population remained intact in Europ

Jul 2013
25
Boston USA
Here's something I was thinking about just for my own amusement.....


Imagine that all the horrors of the 1930s and 1940s in Europe didn't quite happen the same way-there was no Hitler or brownshirts and Germany quietly reformed itself into the pussycat it is today (for all the Germans out there, all I mean is a happy, content, well adjusted state that only goes to war say if some idiot blew up Berlin, Munich, and turned most of Bavaria into a worse version of Chernobyl.) Britain still had a nasty Great Depression but got more bogged down in fighting in the Pacific with a Japan that went mad, just like it did in the real turn of history of that time. France just pretty much sat there and smoked its cigarette, no Vichy regime but a lot of infighting in the Pacific over Vietnam, more jockeying for position in the colonial horse race but with guns. The USSR never grabs Eastern Europe because it is kept at bay by a unified Germany and it is too busy trying to fight the Japanese to care about lost territory in Poland.

Most important of all, the Jews. I got to thinking what would have happened to their population if it had been left unharmed. Poland and the Pale of Settlement would have a very large percent of its 2013 population as Jewish, possibly even putting Christians in the minority. What sort of eruptions would happen in Central Europe with what could be a de facto Jewish state, after centuries of Christians being at the top of the social pyramid, esp. with orthodoxy having the largest numbers? Would there be attempts at repression? Would the Jews be doomed and damned anyway owing to the further industrialization of society, rendering the economic lifeblood of the shtetl obsolete and also most of their skills as employable workers?

(I am not being a racist swine, I am honestly just scratching my chin....It would be interesting to see how the little shtetls would have put up with increasing modernity and becoming the majority...)


What do you think? Talk amongst yourselves!
 
Aug 2013
623
Québec city
...and Germany quietly reformed itself into the pussycat it is today...

...Poland and the Pale of Settlement would have a very large percent of its 2013 population as Jewish, possibly even putting Christians in the minority...

...with what could be a de facto Jewish state...

...Would the Jews be doomed and damned anyway owing to the further industrialization of society, rendering the economic lifeblood of the shtetl obsolete and also most of their skills as employable workers? ...

(I am not being a racist swine, I am honestly just scratching my chin....It would be interesting to see how the little shtetls would have put up with increasing modernity and becoming the majority)
These parts of your post make me highly doubt your benign intent in making this thread...
 

WeisSaul

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
2,836
New Amsterdam
Considering how racist the folks in Eastern Europe were, I wouldn't be surprised if many Jews left anyway.

Meanwhile Jews wouldn't necessarily still be living in Shtetls. They'd likely be living in de-facto segregated communities of cities and Yiddish would probably stick around as a spoken language.
 

Grimald

Ad Honorem
Nov 2011
5,908
Hercynian Forest
...I wouldn't be surprised if many Jews left anyway.
This. I think there was a tendency for westward movement anyway. Many Jews moved to the Central European population centers such as Berlin, Prague and Vienna, and even more moved to America. Of course, the Jewish population left in Central and Eastern Europe would anyway be larger than it is now, but still, it would not be as large as at the beginning of the 20th century.

In Germany, Jews were so assimilated that their numbers would have decreased sharply anyway - not so much by emigration, deportation and murder, but by leaving the Jewish communities. Maybe the community would have been repleted by the influx of Eastern European Jews though.

Israel would probably have been founded anyway. Maybe Yiddish, or even German, would have played a more significant role, instead of English.
 
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Black Dog

Ad Honorem
Mar 2008
9,990
Damned England
It's a reasonable question no matter what the author's intent, and yet he seems to have the wrong slant on the possible outcome of "no holocaust".

It is unlikely that Jews in Poland could ever become a majority, either in numbers or in political influence. Simply because the pre-WW2 Jewish population of Poland was some 1.5 million, and contrary to popular opinion, they weren't all bankers, lawyers etc. Most were just ordinary people. Also, there was a great deal of anti-Semitism in Poland, despite the fact that Jews were highly prominent in fighting for Poland's independence in 1918. This anti-Semitism manifested itself in many, many ways. Much of it was scapegoatism: Jews were accused of backing the Communists/Bolsheviks, and therefore Poland's other mortal enemy, Russia. This claim was almost entirely without foundation.

Also, I believe that sooner or later, the USSR would have taken over Poland one way or another, for the same reason that they took over Yugoslavia (albeit via Tito), Czechoslovakia and Poland itself at the end of WW2: as a buffer against a hostile west. Note: not just Germany! Whilst the Soviets were not ideologically anti-Semites per se, they would undoubtedly have eradicated Jewish culture in much the same way as they did their own ethnic, non-Russian types.

Without the Holocaust, anti-Semitism would, I believe, have remained acceptable and even respectable. That's the terrible irony: it took the murder of some 6 million and a 6 year war to make some people see the error of their prejudices. Anti-Semitism was rife and fairly respectable in Germany even without the Nazis, likewise France and many other countries. Britain certainly had its anti-Semites, although without widespread popular support: British blackshirt Oswald Mosley wanted to revoke the citizenship of British Jews.

However, there was a strong drive even within diverse nations' Jewish populations for a Jewish homeland. This was the basis of Zionism: a return to the ancestral home of the Jewish peoples. But within Jewish thought, many disliked this and saw it as hopeless dreaming, and believed that only integration within the host nation's community could bring equality and liberation. Still others disliked both approaches and merely wanted to live as Jews. The Orthodox tended to see Zionists, variously, as proto fascists, socialists, communists, trouble makers, dreamers....

There were a few false beacons of hope, (like the 1917 Balfour Declaration, a promise by the British Foreign Secretary, Arthur Balfour, to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland, via Baron Rothschild, to found a Jewish homeland in Palestine:

His Majesty's government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.
But being British, they did very little, partially because there was a war on and mostly because of the possible repercussions of essentially handing over land held by Arab and Muslim people.

Ironically, the Nazis had a similar scheme, where they would add to money held by Zionist movements in Germany and would sell the prospective settlers all they needed for colonisation in Palestine. The Nazis made great propaganda out of that: "The British only talked about it: Germany is actually doing it!". But the British scuppered this plan for precisely the same reason as they did nothing about their own plan.

So, in my view, no Holocaust, no Israel. It took collective guilt, horror and the upheaval of war, as well as war weariness, to even permit Jewish settlers to get to Palestine and carve out a home for themselves, initially in those areas not even occupied. Europe was full of displaced people, not just Jewish ones: why worry about displacing a few more Muslim ones from Palestine......

American had- and has- no shortage of anti-Semites, and without the horrors of the Holocaust, it is unlikely that enlightenment would have taken hold so readily, hence American backing of the state of Israel would not have happened so easily, if at all. America was very mean about taking Jewish immigrants even during the persecutions by the Nazis pre-WW2: it is unlikely that they would have relaxed either (a) their policy of isolation or (b) immigration controls. Put simply, if they hadn't relaxed immigration controls to save Jewish victims of pre-war Nazism, they would have been very unlikely otherwise.

However, the state Israel was and is useful to America. It is significant to me that politics as much as compassion was a driving force in Israel being recognised on the same day by two conflicting and opposed political systems: America and the USSR. Both envisaged using her as a tool, but the Cold War obliged all fledgling or struggling states to befriend one or the other: never both.

Had the Holocaust never happened, I don't believe much would have changed. And let us not forget: the prejudices which made possible the Holocaust are often similar prejudices which make possible other persecutions and prejudices: possibly the greatest legacy of the post Holocaust world was that it forced people to see the consequences, evil and stupidity of unreasoning hate and discrimination. Would racism (of all sorts) be so acceptable if the terrible deeds of the Holocaust were not so well known? I believe racism, like anti-Semitism, would still be rife.
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,365
Italy, Lago Maggiore
It's a reasonable question no matter what the author's intent, and yet he seems to have the wrong slant on the possible outcome of "no holocaust".

It is unlikely that Jews in Poland could ever become a majority, either in numbers or in political influence. Simply because the pre-WW2 Jewish population of Poland was some 1.5 million, and contrary to popular opinion, they weren't all bankers, lawyers etc. Most were just ordinary people. Also, there was a great deal of anti-Semitism in Poland, despite the fact that Jews were highly prominent in fighting for Poland's independence in 1918. This anti-Semitism manifested itself in many, many ways. Much of it was scapegoatism: Jews were accused of backing the Communists/Bolsheviks, and therefore Poland's other mortal enemy, Russia. This claim was almost entirely without foundation.

Also, I believe that sooner or later, the USSR would have taken over Poland one way or another, for the same reason that they took over Yugoslavia (albeit via Tito), Czechoslovakia and Poland itself at the end of WW2: as a buffer against a hostile west. Note: not just Germany! Whilst the Soviets were not ideologically anti-Semites per se, they would undoubtedly have eradicated Jewish culture in much the same way as they did their own ethnic, non-Russian types.

Without the Holocaust, anti-Semitism would, I believe, have remained acceptable and even respectable. That's the terrible irony: it took the murder of some 6 million and a 6 year war to make some people see the error of their prejudices. Anti-Semitism was rife and fairly respectable in Germany even without the Nazis, likewise France and many other countries. Britain certainly had its anti-Semites, although without widespread popular support: British blackshirt Oswald Mosley wanted to revoke the citizenship of British Jews.

However, there was a strong drive even within diverse nations' Jewish populations for a Jewish homeland. This was the basis of Zionism: a return to the ancestral home of the Jewish peoples. But within Jewish thought, many disliked this and saw it as hopeless dreaming, and believed that only integration within the host nation's community could bring equality and liberation. Still others disliked both approaches and merely wanted to live as Jews. The Orthodox tended to see Zionists, variously, as proto fascists, socialists, communists, trouble makers, dreamers....

There were a few false beacons of hope, (like the 1917 Balfour Declaration, a promise by the British Foreign Secretary, Arthur Balfour, to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland, via Baron Rothschild, to found a Jewish homeland in Palestine:



But being British, they did very little, partially because there was a war on and mostly because of the possible repercussions of essentially handing over land held by Arab and Muslim people.

Ironically, the Nazis had a similar scheme, where they would add to money held by Zionist movements in Germany and would sell the prospective settlers all they needed for colonisation in Palestine. The Nazis made great propaganda out of that: "The British only talked about it: Germany is actually doing it!". But the British scuppered this plan for precisely the same reason as they did nothing about their own plan.

So, in my view, no Holocaust, no Israel. It took collective guilt, horror and the upheaval of war, as well as war weariness, to even permit Jewish settlers to get to Palestine and carve out a home for themselves, initially in those areas not even occupied. Europe was full of displaced people, not just Jewish ones: why worry about displacing a few more Muslim ones from Palestine......

American had- and has- no shortage of anti-Semites, and without the horrors of the Holocaust, it is unlikely that enlightenment would have taken hold so readily, hence American backing of the state of Israel would not have happened so easily, if at all. America was very mean about taking Jewish immigrants even during the persecutions by the Nazis pre-WW2: it is unlikely that they would have relaxed either (a) their policy of isolation or (b) immigration controls. Put simply, if they hadn't relaxed immigration controls to save Jewish victims of pre-war Nazism, they would have been very unlikely otherwise.

However, the state Israel was and is useful to America. It is significant to me that politics as much as compassion was a driving force in Israel being recognised on the same day by two conflicting and opposed political systems: America and the USSR. Both envisaged using her as a tool, but the Cold War obliged all fledgling or struggling states to befriend one or the other: never both.

Had the Holocaust never happened, I don't believe much would have changed. And let us not forget: the prejudices which made possible the Holocaust are often similar prejudices which make possible other persecutions and prejudices: possibly the greatest legacy of the post Holocaust world was that it forced people to see the consequences, evil and stupidity of unreasoning hate and discrimination. Would racism (of all sorts) be so acceptable if the terrible deeds of the Holocaust were not so well known? I believe racism, like anti-Semitism, would still be rife.
In fact, to imagine that the Holocaust didn't happen means, first of all, to imagine that the general mind set of the "well thinking" Christian and Nationalist society of continental Europe in 30's / 40's was different.

Not that east to imagine. If not Germans, I think that Soviet would have made their masked holocaust in the form of a mass deportation [to think well, Soviet Russia did it, on little scale, giving to a community of Jews an impossible land somewhere in Eastern Siberia ... we could think to Stalins saying to the Jews in Eastern Europe: "Siberia is your Promised Land"].
 

Tulun

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
3,895
Western Eurasia
In fact, to imagine that the Holocaust didn't happen means, first of all, to imagine that the general mind set of the "well thinking" Christian and Nationalist society of continental Europe in 30's / 40's was different.

Not that east to imagine. If not Germans, I think that Soviet would have made their masked holocaust in the form of a mass deportation [to think well, Soviet Russia did it, on little scale, giving to a community of Jews an impossible land somewhere in Eastern Siberia ... we could think to Stalins saying to the Jews in Eastern Europe: "Siberia is your Promised Land"].
The mass deportation of Soviet Jews never happened to the Jewish Autonomous Region due to Stalin's death, i doubt this would change (Stalin would live longer without the Holocaust?). Btw it is not an "impossible land" at all, actually larger and much richer in natural resources (freshwater, fertile soil, minerals) than the Mandate of Palestine was.

Without the Holocaust there wouldn't be Israel and of course today Europe would have a larger Jewish population. most Jews would be on their way to assimilate to the host countries. Of course anti-semitism also would be more mainstream, wouldn't become "holy cow", but the general trend of urbanisation, decline of religion in European societies would foster the assimilation of Jews.
 

WeisSaul

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
2,836
New Amsterdam
This. I think there was a tendency for westward movement anyway. Many Jews moved to the Central European population centers such as Berlin, Prague and Vienna, and even more moved to America. Of course, the Jewish population left in Central and Eastern Europe would anyway be larger than it is now, but still, it would not be as large as at the beginning of the 20th century.

In Germany, Jews were so assimilated that their numbers would have decreased sharply anyway - not so much by emigration, deportation and murder, but by leaving the Jewish communities. Maybe the community would have been repleted by the influx of Eastern European Jews though.

Israel would probably have been founded anyway. Maybe Yiddish, or even German, would have played a more significant role, instead of English.
Jews assimilated more rapidly in Germany due to more liberal tendencies in the country and the fact that Yiddish and German were mutually intelligible which fostered cultural assimilation. Still with the influx of Eastern Jews into the country it would likely lead to somewhat of a social backlash against Jews. Also, I can't comment about other countries but in the US there was a bit of tension between Western Ashkenazim and Sephardim and Eastern Ashkenazim because the Western ones were more liberal and richer and tended to look down upon their eastern cousins though they did provide some help in terms of money and talk.

Meanwhile taking into account how strict immigration laws to the US were at the time I would think few Jews would make it to the US. Odds are the Dominions, Israel, and the Southern Cone would be the places taking in Ashkenazim.

So long as there is a massive influx of Sephardim and Mizrahim (and I don't see why the Arabs wouldn't be expelling them in this context) Yiddish would play second-fiddle to Hebrew as the Israeli language. I could actually imagine more Sephardim coming in without the Holocaust in the Balkans. The large Jewish population of Salonika for example was already on the way out of the country due to a surge in Greek antisemitism.