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Ethiopian Jews suffered under the Italian occupation but by 1943 they were able to reach out to the emperor to suggest hosting Jews fleeing Europe.
August 1943, the height of the Holocaust, Ethiopian Jewish leaders approached the Emperor of Ethiopia with a daring proposal. They asked Haile Selassie to help Jews in Europe flee to Ethiopia and assist Jewish refugees by hosting them in Ethiopian Jewish villages.
Three months after the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and two months after all four of the Auschwitz crematoria were functioning, the Palestine Post, ancestor of today’s Jerusalem Post, published an article detailing Jewish immigration to Ethiopia. “Possibilities of Jewish immigration into Abyssinia were discussed by the Ethiopian Minister in London with Mr. Harry Goodman and Dr. Springer of Agudath Israel,” the August 8, 1943 article says. “A leading member of the Falasha (black Jewish) community expressed the desire to assist European Jewry and to welcome them in Falasha towns.” Falasha was the term used to describe Jews in Ethiopia at the time.
Discussions were ongoing in Addis Ababa where the emperor, who had returned to Ethiopia in May 1941 after it was liberated from Italian occupation with British help, was showing support for the plan. 1,500 Greek refugees, including Greek Jews, had arrived in Ethiopia in 1943, the article says. Emperor Selassie had stayed at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem in 1936 and was familiar with the Jewish minority in his country. Selassie also worked closely with Orde Wingate, the British officer who was a passionate Zionist and who led Gideon Force which helped defeat the Italians in Ethiopia. Ethiopian leaders and the Ethiopian Jewish community were therefore familiar with the local Jewish community and the plight of Jews worldwide at the time.
ETHIOPIAN JEWS TRIED TO SAVE EUROPEAN JEWS FROM HOLOCAUST
Ethiopian Jews suffered under the Italian occupation but by 1943 they were able to reach out to the emperor to suggest hosting Jews fleeing Europe. By that time it was too late for many of the Jews of Europe ensnared in the Nazi noose. The full story of the 1943 effort to convince Ethiopia to re-settle Jews fleeing Europe has not been researched and details about it remain unknown. For instance Harry Goodman, who is mentioned in the article, was a well known member of the Orthodox Agudath Israel World Organization. He published articles in the Jewish Weekly and broadcast messages to Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe.
There is an M.R Springer mentioned in some records connected to the Czech Jewish community in the UK at the time. Italian dictator Benito Mussolini even briefly considered resettling Jews in Ethiopia in the 1930s during the Italian occupation. At the time there were estimated to be more than 50,000 Jews in Ethiopia, many of them living in villages near Gondar.
Source; - The Jerusalem Post ጉዳያችን GUDAYACHN www.gudayachn.com