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Early Empires
(300-700)

    The migration of Jewish populations has occurred for thousands of years. Persecution caused Jews to be displaced from the Holy Land in Israel throughout the Middle East, Europe and Northern Africa. Through the eras of the Roman Empire, the Islamic Empire and the Dark Ages, Jews migrated and were faced with varying treatment. The Early Dark Ages, for example, were a time of poor living conditions for Jews, as Europe was engulfed in violence and destitution. However, in the territories ruled by the Islamic Empire from c. 700-1200, Jews were largely accepted into the society and lived prosperously throughout the Mediterranean, Middle East and North Africa.

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Antisemitism Timeline

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) defines antisemitism as "a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”[i] An objective of this timeline is to demonstrate that antisemitism did not begin and end with Nazi Germany—antisemitism existed in Europe and other parts of the globe for generations prior to the Nazis and unfortunately still exists to this day.

    During this period, Jewish art and culture prospered. Jews in Europe also experienced acceptance under the newly emerging Feudal System. Kingdoms in Italy, France and Germany welcomed Jews to live within their borders. Under this system, Jews became the primary money lenders, as Christianity outlawed the lending of money during this time. Jews became important to the financial growth of Europe during this period.  This prosperity would come to a bitter end in 1095 CE with the beginning of the Crusades. Jews became specifically targeted during this time, as the Church wished to secure Jerusalem for themselves. This caused another mass migration of Jews from the West towards Eastern Europe.  

Early Feudalism (700-1200)

Early Modern Europe
(1500-1900)

After the Protestant Reformation in 1521, Jews became welcomed into many of the countries that were originally ruled by Catholic doctrine. Protestant rulers saw them as being economically useful, allowing them to integrate into their societies. By the 1700s in Western Europe, revolutions began occurring which granted Jews rights and freedoms they had not been given before. Over the next two centuries, Jewish integration continued in Central and Western Europe, as many Jews began migrating towards the rapidly expanding major cities.  During the 19th century, migration of Europe's Jewish populations to North America would begin to take shape, seeing Jewish communities emerge and develop on the other side of the Atlantic.

Early Jewish Settlement in Ontario
(1500-1900)

Towards the end of the 19th century, Jewish immigration to Ontario and North America occurred in great numbers from Eastern European countries. These immigrants were largely fleeing from continued persecution and destitution brought by lack of economic opportunity. These large number of immigrants helped to establish a foothold of Jewish culture in Ontario and elsewhere in Canada.  The majority of these immigrants were Yiddish-speakers who settled in Toronto and Montreal, though some opted instead to settle in rural towns throughout Ontario. As the 19th century came to an end in Canada, the Jewish population would see a massive increase in the early years of the 20th century due to increasing immigration. By 1927, Canada's total Jewish population numbered 125,000, with 50,000 of those living in Ontario.

Europe in the Early 20th Century
(1900-1930)

From the end of the 19th century and into the early 20th century, a series of "Pogroms" against Jews in Russia were perpetrated. These Pogroms took place intermittently until the early 1920s, fuelling a mass emigration of Jews to Europe and North America.  Antisemitic sentiment began to grow during this time in Central and Western Europe. In the years after the end of the First World War, Adolf Hitler would begin to grow to prominence in Germany, weaponizing hateful rhetoric against the Jewish population of Germany and Europe. Hitler latched onto centuries-old antisemitic belief in Europe, advocating for a complete removal of Jews from Europe as a means of protecting the "higher races."

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Europe in the Early 20th Century
(1900-1930)

From the end of the 19th century and into the early 20th century, a series of "Pogroms" against Jews in Russia were perpetrated. These Pogroms took place intermittently until the early 1920s, fuelling a mass emigration of Jews to Europe and North America.  Antisemitic sentiment began to grow during this time in Central and Western Europe. In the years after the end of the First World War, Adolf Hitler would begin to grow to prominence in Germany, weaponizing hateful rhetoric against the Jewish population of Germany and Europe. Hitler latched onto centuries-old antisemitic belief in Europe, advocating for a complete removal of Jews from Europe as a means of protecting the "higher races."

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