Expulsions and exoduses of Jews

In Jewish history, Jews have experienced numerous mass expulsions and they have also fled from areas after experiencing ostracism and threats of various kinds by various local authorities seeking refuge in other countries.

The Land of Israel has been regarded by Jews as their homeland.[1] After its establishment in 1948, the State of Israel adopted the 1950 Law of Return which restored Israel as the Jewish homeland and made it the place of refuge for Jewish refugees both at that time and into the future. This law was intended to encourage Jews to return to their homeland in Israel.

Expulsions of Jews by country

RegionDate of expulsionExpulsion lifted (de facto)Expulsion lifted (de jure)
 France139418th century27 September 1791
 Portugal149719th centuryN/A
 Sicily31 December 14923 February 1740
 Spain31 March 149219th century16 December 1968[3]


The following is a list of Jewish expulsions and events that prompted major streams of Jewish refugees.

733 BCE
Samaria (Israel/Judah). King Tiglath-Pileser III deports Jews.[4]
722 BCE
King Sargon II captures and deports Jews.[4] The Assyrians led by Shalmaneser conquered the (Northern) Kingdom of Israel and deports the population to Khorasan. Ten of the twelve Tribes of Israel are considered lost.
597 BCE
The Babylonian captivity. In 537 BCE the Persians, who conquered Babylon two years earlier, allow Jews to return and rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple.[5]
475 BCE
Persia. Haman plots to expel and kill all Jews.[6]
139 BCE
Expulsion from the city of Rome under the accusation of aggressive proselytizing among the Romans.[7]
19 CE
Expulsion from the city of Rome by Emperor Tiberius together with practitioners of the Egyptian religion.[8][9]
41-53 CE
Claudius' expulsion of Jews from Rome.
70 CE
The defeat of the Great Jewish Revolt. Masses of Jews across the Roman Empire enslaved, while many others flee.[10]
Large Jewish communities of Cyprus, Cyrene and Alexandria obliterated after the Jewish defeat in Kitos War against Rome. This event caused a major demographic shift in the Levant and North Africa. According to Eusebius of Caesarea the outbreak of violence left Libya depopulated to such an extent that a few years later new colonies had to be established there by the emperor Hadrian just to maintain the viability of continued settlement.
The Romans suppressed the Bar Kokhba's revolt. Emperor Hadrian expelled hundreds of thousands Jews from Judea, wiped the name off maps, replaced it with Syria Palaestina, and forbade Jews to set foot in Jerusalem.[11]
Jews expelled from Alexandria under the leadership of Saint Cyril of Alexandria.[12]
Jews expelled from Minorca or asked to convert.[13]
Visigothic king Sisebut mandated that every Jew who would refuse for over a year to have himself or his children and servants baptized would be banished from the country and deprived of his possessions.[14]
The entire Jewish population of Galilee massacred or expelled, following the Jewish rebellion against Byzantium.
7th century
Muhammad expelled Jewish tribes Banu Qaynuqa and Banu Nadir from Medina, The Banu Qurayza tribe was slaughtered and the Jewish settlement of Khaybar was ransacked.
Jews expelled from Mainz.
1095 – mid-13th century
The waves of Crusades destroyed hundreds of Jewish communities in Europe and in the Middle East, including Jerusalem.[11]
Mid-12th century
The invasion of Almohades brought to end the Golden age of Jewish culture in Spain. Among other refugees was Maimonides, who fled to Morocco, then Egypt, then Eretz Israel.
Jews expelled from Upper Bavaria.[15][16]
12th–14th centuries
France. The practice of expelling the Jews accompanied by confiscation of their property, followed by temporary readmissions for ransom, was used to enrich the crown: expulsions from Paris by Philip Augustus in 1182, from France by Louis IX in 1254, by Philip IV in 1306, by Charles IV in 1322, by Charles V in 1359, by Charles VI in 1394.
13th century
The influential philosopher and logician Ramon Llull (1232–1315) called for expulsion of all Jews who would refuse conversion to Christianity. Some scholars regard Llull's as the first comprehensive articulation, in the Christian West, of an expulsionist policy regarding Jews.
Naples issues first expulsion of Jews in Southern Italy.[17]
King Edward I of England issues the Edict of Expulsion for all Jews from England. The policy was reversed after 365 years in 1655 by Oliver Cromwell.
Destruction of most of the Jewish communities in the Kingdom of Naples.[17]
Jews expelled from Hungary by Louis I of Hungary.[18]
Jews expelled from Bern, Switzerland. Although between 1408 and 1427 Jews were again residing in the city, the only Jews to appear in Bern subsequently were transients, chiefly physicians and cattle dealers.[19]
Jews expelled from the Duchy of Austria at the behest of Albert II of Germany.[20]
Jews again expelled from Upper Bavaria.[15]
Jews expelled from Passau.[15]
Jews of Ravenna expelled, synagogues destroyed.[17]
Ferdinand II and Isabella I issued the Alhambra decree, General Edict on the Expulsion of the Jews from Spain (approx. 200,000), from Sicily (1493, approx. 37,000), from Portugal (1496) from Calabria Italy 1554.
Charles VIII of France occupies Kingdom of Naples, bringing new persecution against Jews, many of whom were refugees from Spain.[17]
Jews expelled from Portugal. Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, issues a decree expelling all Jews from Styria and Wiener Neustadt.
Jews expelled from Nuremberg.[15]
Jews expelled from Naples.[17]
Jews expelled from Regensburg.[15]
All remaining Jews expelled from the duchy of Bavaria. Jewish settlement in Bavaria ceased until toward the end of the 17th century, when a small community was founded in Sulzbach by refugees from Vienna.[15]
Pope Pius V expels Jews from the papal states, except for Ancona and Rome.[17]
Pope Clement VIII expels Jews living in all the papal states, except Rome, Avignon and Ancona. Jews are invited to settle in Leghorn, the main port of Tuscany, where they are granted full religious liberty and civil rights, by the Medici family, who want to develop the region into a center of commerce.[15]
Nine hundred Jews expelled from Milan.[17]
Fettmilch Uprising: Jews are expelled from Frankfurt, Holy Roman Empire, following the plundering of the Judengasse.
The fall of the Dutch colony of Recife in Brazil to the Portuguese prompted the Jewish arrival in New Amsterdam, the first group of Jews to flee to North America.
Jews expelled from Vienna by Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor and subsequently forbidden to settle in the Austrian Hereditary Lands. The former Jewish ghetto on the Unterer Werd was renamed Leopoldstadt in honour of the emperor and the expropriated houses and land given to Catholic citizens.[21]
Jews expelled from Haiti and all of the other French colonies, due to the Code Noir decree issued by Louis XIV.[22]
War of the Spanish Succession. After the war, Jews of Austrian origin were expelled from Bavaria, but some were able to acquire the right to reside in Munich.[15]
The reforms of Frederick II, Joseph II and Maria Theresa sent masses of impoverished German and Austrian Jews east. See also: Schutzjude.
The tzarina of Russia Catherine the Great institutes the Pale of Settlement, restricting Jews to the western parts of the empire by means of deportation. By the late 19th century, over four million Jews would live in the Pale.
1862 Tennessee, Mississippi, Kentucky
Jews expelled by Ulysses S. Grant by General Order No. 11.[23]
Pogroms in the Russian Empire: around 2.5 million Jews emigrated from eastern Europe, mostly to the United States.[24]
The Nazi German persecution started with the Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses in 1933, reached a first climax during Kristallnacht in 1938 and culminated in the Holocaust of European Jewry. The British Mandate of Palestine prohibited Jewish emigration to Mandatory Palestine. The 1938 Evian Conference, the 1943 Bermuda Conference and other attempts failed to resolve the problem of Jewish refugees, a fact widely used in Nazi propaganda (see also MS St. Louis). A small number of German and Austrian Jewish refugees from Nazism emigrated to Britain, where attitudes were not necessarily positive.[25] Many of the refugees fought for Britain in the Second World War. After WW-II, eastern European Holocaust survivors migrated to the allied-controlled part of Europe, as the Jewish society to which most of them belonged did not exist anymore. Often they were lone survivors consumed by the often futile search for other family and friends, and often unwelcome in the towns from which they came. They were known as displaced persons (also known as Sh'erit ha-Pletah) and placed in displaced persons camps, most of which were by 1951 closed. The last camp Föhrenwald was closed in 1957.
The Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries, in which the combined population of Jewish communities of the Middle East and North Africa (excluding Israel) was reduced from about 900,000 in 1948 to under 8,000 today, and approximately 600,000 of whom became citizens of Israel. The history of the exodus is politicized, given its proposed relevance to a final settlement Israeli–Palestinian peace negotiations.[26][27][28][29][30][31] When presenting the history, those who view the Jewish exodus as equivalent to the 1948 Palestinian exodus, such as the Israeli government and NGOs such as JJAC and JIMENA, emphasize "push factors", such as cases of anti-Jewish violence and forced expulsions,[26] and refer to those affected as "refugees".[26] Those who argue that the exodus does not equate to the Palestinian exodus emphasize "pull factors", such as the actions of local Jewish Agency for Israel officials aiming to fulfil the One Million Plan,[28] highlight good relations between the Jewish communities and their country's governments,[30] emphasize the impact of other push factors such as the decolonization in the Maghreb and the Suez War and Lavon Affair in Egypt,[30] and argue that many or all of those who left were not refugees.[26][28]
Then UNHCR announced in February 1957 and in July 1967, that these Jews who had fled from Arab countries "may be considered prima facie within the mandate of this office," so according them in international law, as bona fide refugees.
Egypt passed the Companies' Law. This law required that no less than 75% of employees of companies in Egypt must be Egyptian citizens. This law strongly affected Jews, as only about 20% of all Jews in Egypt were Egyptian citizens. The rest, although in many cases born in Egypt and living there for generations, did not hold Egyptian citizenship.[32]
State of Israel established. Antisemitism in Egypt strongly intensified. On May 15, 1948, emergency law was declared, and a royal decree forbade Egyptian citizens to leave the country without a special permit. This was applied to Jews. Hundreds of Jews were arrested and many had their property confiscated. In June through August 1948, bombs were planted in Jewish neighborhoods and Jewish businesses looted. About 250 Jews were killed or wounded by the bombs. Roughly 14,000 Jews left Egypt between 1948–50.[32]
Jordan occupies and then annexes the West Bank – largely allotted by the 1947 UN Partition of Palestine to an Arab state, proposal rejected by the Arab leadership – and conducts large scale discrimination and persecution of all non-Muslim residents – Jewish, Christian (of many denominations), Druze, Circassian, etc. – and forces Arabisation of all public activity, including schools and public administration.[33]
Gamal Abdel Nasser seizes power in Egypt. Nasser immediately arrested many Jews who were tried on various charges, mainly for Zionist and communist activities. Jews were forced to donate large sums of money to the military. Strict supervision of Jewish enterprises was introduced; some were confiscated and others forcibly sold to the government.[32]
Suez Crisis. Roughly 3,000 Egyptian Jews were interned without charge in four detention camps. The government ordered thousands of Jews to leave the country within a few days, and they were not allowed to sell their property, nor to take any capital with them. The deportees were made to sign statements agreeing not to return to Egypt and transferring their property to the administration of the government. The International Red Cross helped about 8,000 stateless Jews to leave the country, taking most of them to Italy and Greece. Most of the Jews of Port Said (about 100) were smuggled to Israel by Israel agents. The system of deportation continued into 1957. Other Jews left voluntarily, after their livelihoods had been taken from them, until only 8,561 were registered in the 1957 census. The Jewish exodus continued until there were about 3,000 Jews left as of in 1967.[32]
Six-Day War. Hundreds of Egyptian Jews arrested, suffering beatings, torture, and abuse. Some were released following intervention by foreign states, especially by Spain, and were permitted to leave the country.[32] Libyan Jews, who numbered approximately 7,000, were subjected to pogroms in which 18 were killed, prompting a mass exodus that left fewer than 100 Jews in Libya.[34]
Less than 1,000 Jews still lived in Egypt in 1970. They were given permission to leave but without their possessions. As of 1971, only 400 Jews remained in Egypt. As of 2013, only a few dozen Jews remain in Egypt.[32]
Due to the 1968 Polish political crisis thousands of Jews were forced by the communist authorities to leave Poland. See also rootless cosmopolitan, Doctors' plot, Jackson-Vanik amendment, refusenik, Zionology, Pamyat.
Jews flee Algeria as result of OAS violence. The community feared that the proclamation of independence would precipitate a Muslim outburst. By the end of July 1962, 70,000 Jews had left for France and another 5,000 for Israel. It is estimated that some 80% of Algerian Jews settled in France.[35]
Situation of Jews in Algeria rapidly deteriorates. By 1969, fewer than 1,000 Jews remain. By the 1990s, the numbers had dwindled to approximately 70.[35]
State-sponsored persecution in the Soviet Union prompted hundreds of thousands of Soviet Jews, known as Refuseniks because they had been denied official permission to leave, to flee; most went to Israel or to the United States as refugees.[36]
Orthodox Jews who fled from Canada after accusations of child sexual abuse expelled from Guatemala by the residents who accused them of not integrating within the culture and damaging the tourism based economy[37]

See also


  1. "The Jewish Claim to Palestine" (PDF). Word From Jerusalem. 2008.
  2. "Nuremberg". www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org.
  3. "1492 Ban on Jews Is Voided by Spain", The New York Times, Dec. 17, 1968
  4. Umberto Cassuto, Elia Samuele Artom (1981). The Books of Kings and Chronicles modern view.
  5. Coogan, Michael (2009). A brief introduction to the old testament. Oxford.
  6. "Esther – Chapter 3 – Esther". Chabad.org. Retrieved 2013-06-06.
  7. Goodman, Martin (2006). Judaism in the Roman World: Collected Essays. Hotei Publishing. p. 207.
  8. Williams, Margaret H. (2013). Jews in a Graeco-Roman Environment. Mohr Siebeck. p. 63.
  9. Suetonius, The Life of Tiberius, Chapter 36. 1913. University of Chicago. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
  10. Gideon (2015-11-28). "The Jewish Revolts Against the Roman Empire – On Jewish Matters". On Jewish Matters. Retrieved 2018-03-06.
  11. Katz, Joseph. "A History of the Jews, a list of expulsions for 2000 years". EretzYisroel.Org. Retrieved 2018-03-06.
  12. "Cyril of Alexandria". Britannica.com. 2018-06-14. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  13. Bradbury, Scott (1996). "severus of minorca:letter of the conversion of the jews". oxford university press: 154.
  14. "The Jews in Spain Under the Visigoths". Jewish-American History Foundation.
  15. "Bavaria, Germany". Jewish Virtual Library. 2018-02-27. Retrieved 2018-03-06.
  16. "Bavaria, Germany". www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org.
  17. "Timeline of Jewish History in Italy". Jewish Virtual Library. 2018-02-27. Retrieved 2018-03-06.
  18. Patai, Raphael (1996). The Jews of Hungary: History, Culture, Psychology. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-2561-0.
  19. "Berne". Jewish Virtual Library. 2018-02-27. Retrieved 2018-03-06.
  20. Albert II of Germany#Expulsion of the Jews
  21. "1670: The Holy Roman Emperor Banishes the Jews From Austria". Haaretz.com. 2015-05-01. Retrieved 2019-06-15.
  22. "Caribbeans, Spanish--Portuguese Nation of the: La Nacion". Retrieved 17 April 2014.
  23. John Y Simon (1979). The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant, Volume 7: December 9, 1862 – March 31, 1863. SIU Press. p. 56. ISBN 9780809308804.
  24. "Jewish Emigration in the 19th Century".
  25. "Warm British welcome for Jews fleeing Nazis a 'myth'". Phys.org / University of Manchester. February 27, 2013. Retrieved August 4, 2016.
  26. Changing tack, Foreign Ministry to bring 'Jewish refugees' to fore "'To define them as refugees is exaggerated,' said Alon Liel, a former director-general of the Foreign Ministry"
  27. "Changing the refugee paradigm - Jerusalem Report - Jerusalem Post". www.jpost.com.
  28. Israel scrambles Palestinian 'right of return' with Jewish refugee talk "Palestinian and Israeli critics have two main arguments: that these Jews were not refugees but eager participants in a new Zionist state, and that Israel cannot and should not attempt to settle its account with the Palestinians by deducting the lost assets of its own citizens, thereby preventing individuals on both sides from seeking compensation."
  29. Philip Mendes The causes of the post-1948 Jewish Exodus from Arab Countries Archived 2013-01-13 at Archive.today
  30. Yehouda Shenhav The Arab Jews: A Postcolonial Reading of Nationalism, Religion, and Ethnicity
  31. Avi Shlaim No peaceful solution
  32. "Egypt Virtual Jewish History Tour". www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org.
  33. Mark A. Tessler. (1994). A History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Indiana University Press. p. 329. Jordan's illegal occupation and Annexation of the West Bank
  34. "Jews of Libya". Jewish Virtual Library. 2018-02-27. Retrieved 2018-03-06.
  35. "Algeria Virtual Jewish History Tour". www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org.
  36. Mark Azbel' and Grace Pierce Forbes. Refusenik, trapped in the Soviet Union. Houghton Mifflin, 1981. ISBN 0-395-30226-9
  37. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/centralamericaandthecaribbean/guatemala/11065563/Jewish-sect-expelled-from-Guatemalan-village-after-clashes-with-Mayan-villagers.html
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