Emeritus Academy Lecture Series: Carole Fink

Emeritus Academy Lecture Series

Carol Fink
The unexpected arrivals: Soviet Jewish immigration to West Germany, 1973 to 1989

Sparking an almost unknown chapter in contemporary Jewish, German, and international human rights history, more than five hundred Soviet Jews unexpectedly arrived in West Berlin in 1974.  These migrants, after undergoing the arduous process of leaving the USSR, had not only asserted their freedom to choose their destination but had also selected a startling place to settle – Germany, the “land of the murderers” long vilified by Moscow.  Surprised and ill-prepared, the West Berlin and West German governments –wavering between welcome and expulsion and facing domestic and diplomatic repercussions  - devised stopgap measures that ultimately led to a small but significant increase in the Federal Republic’s tiny Jewish community before 1990.