4 Period of Mass Migration

Urbanisation, migration, and mobility

The urbanisation of Russian Jews continued at a faster pace after 1881. The 1897 Russian census found that 49 per cent of the 5 million Jews in the pale of settlement lived in towns, 33 per cent in townlets (shtetls), and 18 per cent in villages; the Jews constituted nearly 40 per cent of the entire urban population in the pale and represented large proportions of the total populations in such cities as Minsk (52 per cent), Kovno (36 per cent), Brest-Litovsk (65 per cent), Dvinsk (44 per cent), and Pinsk (74 per cent). Of the total occupied population in the pale, 73 per cent of those in commerce and 31 per cent of those in crafts and industry were Jews. Since there was little heavy industry within the pale, the majority in crafts and industry were artisans, either self-employed or working in small factories and workshops; out of a total 300,000 Jewish industrial workers, only 50,000 worked in medium and large-scale factories. The vast majority of the Russian Jewish population were very poor artisans, small traders or charity recipients; about half of the 5,600,000 Russian Jews in 1914 were impoverished petite bourgeoisie while about a quarter were working class. 1

Pogroms, further restrictions on residence and occupations, proletarianisation and pauperisation all contributed to the emigration of about 2 million Russian Jews between 1881 and 1914. 2 The majority migrated to the United States, others started new communities in Canada, South America, and South Africa, and over 100,000 migrated to England where they soon outnumbered the native Anglo-Jewish community. The eastern European immigrants remained a minority in relation to the native-born Jews in Germany and France, but they added substantially to the Jewish populations in the capital cities. In

-101-

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Judaism: A Sociology
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Judaism in 'Pre-Modern' Societies 5
  • 2 - The Eighteenth Century 37
  • 3 - From the French Revolution to the Mass Migration 63
  • 4 - Period of Mass Migration 101
  • 5 - From World War I to the Present Day: Continental Europe 132
  • 6 - From World War I to the Present Day: United States and Britain 144
  • 7 - Judaism and Secularisation: Further Comparisons 172
  • Notes and References 189
  • Appendices 216
  • Appendix 2 219
  • Index 222
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