Hava Eshkoli Wagman

“The Alaska Plan: Jewish Initiatives to Rescue Refugees from Nazi Germany”


The article examines the prevalent notion that blames the Jewish American leadership and in particular the Zionist leadership for the failure of the American plan to resettle Jewish refugees in Alaska at the beginning of the Second World War. New documents that have now come to light reveal that Jewish initiatives played a far greater part in the emergence of the Alaska plan than was henceforth known and that its failure was mainly due to internal American and Alaskan considerations. Finally, even had the project been realized, it could have had no more than a token effect on rescue efforts due to governmental restrictions. Moreover, any settlement project in undeveloped territory would have required years of development before dense population settlement could be attempted.