Dutch anti-communism stopped Jewish emigration to Suriname


This video, in Dutch, is about the synagogue in Paramaribo, Suriname.

By Jo Ellen Green Kaiser:

Ever since Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policeman’s Union, Jews have had renewed interest in the “what if?”: what if Jewish refugees from WWII had been welcomed in some land outside the Middle East? What would Israel be like today if it were not the only Jewish state? Alexander Heldring, former Ambassador of the Netherlands, tells us here about the Jewish quest to settle Surinam. …

However, the colonization plan failed. …

The Zionists, who had their own agenda, also fueled these fears. After all, as long as Palestine was under British mandate and the British obstructed mass immigration of Jews from Europe, Surinam might well serve as an acceptable alternative for a possible sanctuary for Jewish displaced persons. This was a threat to the Zionists’ ambitions and so the Zionists concentrated their lobbying against the colonization project of the Freeland League within Surinam itself. They sent the formidable Mrs. Ida Archibald Silverman, who had already won her spurs in contributing to the failure of the colonization project in Australia, to Paramaribo. The Zionists observed that initially not only the Jewish community, but also other people (including Muslims), the Surinamese government and some political parties showed great sympathy for the idea of a Jewish immigration.

Mrs. Silverman, during a three-day visit to Paramaribo in March 1948, managed to create a divide within the Jewish community of supporters and opponents of the colonization project. …

If the Freeland League had succeeded in concluding a binding agreement with the Surinamese and Dutch governments on the Jewish colonization, and if some U.S. agencies (such as trade unions) had made sufficient funds available for the implementation of the plan, would the League have been able to attain its desired number of 30,000 Jewish immigrants for a colonization in Suriname?

The answer is yes, if one focuses on the period right after the war. There is ample evidence hereof in the archives I had access to, for example the letters to the Freeland League from inmates of the displaced persons’ camps in the American and British occupation zones in Germany and Austria[x]. However, any likelihood of Eastern European Jews in particular coming to Surinam was precisely one of the severest objections which the Dutch government harbored against the League’s Surinam plan. The government didn’t want a large numbers of Jews from Eastern Europe in Suriname, ‘because they are infiltrators who will turn Suriname into a communist state[xi]‘.

See also here. And here.

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