HIAS is an American charitable organization originally founded in response to the late 19th- and early 20th-century exodus of Jewish emigrants from Imperial Russia. The organization assists Jews and other groups of people whose lives and freedom are believed to be at risk to relocate. Since its inception HIAS has helped resettle nearly 4.5 million people. HIAS offices throughout the world provides an array of legal and support services.
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During WW1, HIAS sent one of its operatives to Europe to establish communications. He succeeded in securing permission from the German and Austro-Hungarian High Command for residents of the military zones to write short messages to their families to be distributed by HIAS in New York. HIAS also accepted and delivered messages sent by the zone’s non-Jewish population. By war’s end, HIAS had transmitted a total of 300,000 communications on behalf of separated families.
During the Russian Revolution of 1917, HIAS created another surge of emigration from the former Russian Empire. HIAS continued to help Jewish immigrants find safe haven despite growing anti-immigration sentiments in the U.S.
Between the years 1909 and 1919, HIAS registered 482,742 immigrants arriving in the U.S. HIAS Ellis Island Bureau interceded with 28,884 held for special inquiry, of whom 22,780 were admitted based on second hearings, with only 6,104 deported. During this period HIAS facilitated the naturalization of 64,298 Jewish immigrants.
Over a thousand Rabbis Signed a Letter In Support of Welcoming Refugees. The following letter, signed by more than 1000 American Rabbis, was delivered by HIAS to all members of Congress on December 2, 2015.
For Jewish activists pushing the government to shift gears, that feeble number and the accompanying bottleneck in resettlement of Syrian refugees are troubling reminders of their community’s own experience during World War II. “Waiting two years for resettlement isn’t really rescue,” said Melanie Nezer, vice president for policy and advocacy at HIAS, the leading communal group dealing with the admission of refugees.
Last updated: Thu Nov 14 2019 21:50:38
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