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Branching Out: German-Jewish Immigration to the United States, 1820–1914

Avraham Barkai
Branching Out: German-Jewish Immigration to the United States, 1820–1914
ISBN: 978-0-8419-1152-9
ISBN: 978-0-8419-1426-1
1994/269 pages/LC: 9310833
Distributed for Holmes & Meier Publishers

"Avraham Barkai's important study traces the trajectory of this mass immigration to America and assesses its impact upon the individual immigrant, the American Jewish community, and the Jewish community in Germany."—Central European History

"Barkai's expertise as a historian of German Jewry is unmistakable.... Characterizing 19th-century American Jewry as a branch of German Jewry, he amply demonstrates the continuities in sociocultural and occupational development that persisted generations after migration."—Choice

"Barkai's meticulous collection and interpretation of statistical evidence, worked into the study in an elegant and unobtrusive way, enables him to challenge a number of accepted notions regarding the immigrants' social and economic condition."—American Jewish History


Choice Outstanding Academic Book!

Branching Out vividly tells the story of the migration of many thousands of German Jews—mostly poor, enterprising young people—to the US during the nineteenth century.

Avraham Barkai draws on rare letters, diaries, memoirs, newspapers, journals, and other firsthand accounts as he chronicles the immigrants’ experiences in towns and cities across the country, in the goldfields of California, on Indian reservations, on the battlefields of the Civil War, weaving their experiences into an account of the formative role they played in establishing the institutional framework of the American Jewish community. He also shows the significant impact on them as their influential networks were dramatically challenged at the turn of the century by the mass migration of Jews from Eastern Europe.


Avraham Barkai’s most recent publications include From Boycott to Annihilation: The Economic Struggle of German Jews, 1933–1943 and Nazi Economics: Ideology, Theory, and Policy.


  • Introduction: The Old World and the New.
  • The First Wave: A Substitute for Emancipation, 1920–1860.
  • Exploring the Territory.
  • Putting Down Roots.
  • The Social Structure of an Emerging Community.
  • Loyalties and Assertion: The Civil War Years.
  • The Second Wave, 1865–1914.
  • Americanization Delayed.
  • German and Other Jews.
  • Conclusion.