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The Pletzl of Paris: Jewish Immigrant Workers in the Belle Epoque

Nancy L. Green
The Pletzl of Paris: Jewish Immigrant Workers in the Belle Epoque
ISBN: 978-0-8419-0995-3
1986/270 pages/LC: 84027937
Distributed for Holmes & Meier Publishers

"Green places her limited, well-written and well-researched investigation into the larger context of comparative migration studies. She demonstrates how the Pletzl’s labor-intensive, highly competitive garment industry affected ... a visible, articulate, well-organized pre-WWI minority group."—Choice

"Green's study is both well written and well argued and is an excellent contribution to Jewish labour history."—Labour History


In a challenging new interpretation of Jewish immigrant history, Nancy L. Green traces the westward movement of East European Jews to France during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and explores their experiences as immigrant workers.

By 1914 some 40,000 East European Jews had settled in France, many of them in Paris's Marais district, known in Yiddish as the Pletzl, or little square. Green focuses on the socioeconomic parameters of the immigrants' condition as she examines the development of the early Jewish labor movement, analyzes its relationship to the Confédération Général du Travail, and discusses its class and ethnic boundaries.


Nancy L. Green is director of studies at EHESS, Centre de Recherches Historiques in Paris. She is most recently author of (with Marie Poinsot) Histoire de l’immigration et question coloniale en France.


  • Emigration and Immigration: Push from the East, Pull from the West.
  • Arrival and Reception: The Pull of French Jewry?
  • Lebn vi Got in Frankraykh?: Settling In.
  • Occupational Structure.
  • At Work, on Strike.
  • Immigrant Unionization Process.
  • Class and Community: The Jewish Immigrant Labor Movement.
  • Conclusion.