Professor Dollinger on Jewish History in New Season of 'Downton Abbey'

Tuesday, September 01, 2015
TIMES OF ISRAEL -- The inter-war period was not, in general, an easy time for Jewish immigrants seeking to immigrate to the U.S. In 1921, Congress passed an emergency national origins quota law that limited annual migration at three percent of the number of immigrants from each country already present in the country. The new immigration limits were based on the 1910 census, says Marc Dollinger, the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Chair in Jewish Studies and Social Responsibility at San Francisco State University. By 1924, Congress had passed even more stringent laws, reducing the quota to 2 percent and moving the baseline back in time to population figures recorded in the 1890 census. “Effectively, these two laws all but barred immigration from southern and eastern Europe — hence, most all Jews,” Dollinger says. “England, on the other hand, kept a high quota number due to the large number of English-descended folks in the U.S. in 1890.”