This book analyses the role of social networks in the process of migration. Based on stories of Polish Jews who migrated between Poland and Palestine in the 1920s, the author presents all stages of the journey and shows how networks of friends and families spread in different countries contributed to the migration experience. Presenting these stories through correspondence, she shows how migrants were not only motivated by traditional push and pull factors, or ideology, but also by dependence on other members of their social network. This book shows the process of migration from the perspective of their international social ties.
Chapter 5: The Next Stage in the Journey: Returning to Poland versus Looking for a New Destination
In January 1928, the Polish-Jewish educator Janusz Korczak wrote from Warsaw to his friend Estera Budko in Palestine:
Many naive dreams and youthful illusions mean many painful disappointments are connected with Palestine. When the exaltation, acclamation and unrest, which seek new sensations, are over, only sober and calculated facts are left. Away from the land [Palestine] we adjusted to the soil of pine trees, snow and the Golus [Diaspora] – physically and morally. The experiment to tie two ends of a thread broken 2,000 years ago is a difficult task: it will succeed because this is the demand of history, but with how much effort and suffering.744
Although Korczak recognized Palestine as the ancient home of the Jews, he nevertheless perceived Poland as a contemporary home of Polish Jewry. Looking at the long tradition of Jewish existence outside of Palestine, he doubted whether the shifts in the spatial centres of Jewish history and terms such as ‘home’ and ‘diaspora’ would allow the Jews to return to Palestine. Having witnessed the struggles of many of his former pupils who had left for Palestine in the 1920s, Korczak was sceptical about the Zionist idea of a national return from the Diaspora to Eretz Israel. He worried especially about the role of individuals in the historical project. While he predicted that the common goal would be achieved, he thought that many individual lives would be crushed and youthful hopes dashed in the struggle.
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