It is often claimed that Europe must accept refugees because the Middle East and Africa has accepted European refugees during World War 2.

But are there any precise statistics to show how many refugees were accepted by sovereign countries in those regions? Obviously it has to exclude territories that were European colonies at the time since those didn't really have a say in external matters.

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    @JonathanReez: no idea why you added this particular citation. It's interesting but it doesn't in the slightest support the "Europe must accept refugees because" claim you're making. – Denis de Bernardy Aug 5 '17 at 9:03
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    Important differences are: a) many ME and African countries were not independent to chose how many refugees to accept b) the technologies of the day and the scale of the war made massive movement of civilians very difficult c) those who would have had more "incentives" to move away (Jews, Roma, etc.) were not allowed to do so... It is an "apples to oranges" comparation. – SJuan76 Aug 5 '17 at 10:29
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    @SJuan76 I agree, which is why I think the shaming of Europeans through WWII history is completely idiotic – JonathanReez Aug 5 '17 at 10:35
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    It's not often claimed. It is claimed - incorrectly - by very few people. – Jos Jun 21 '20 at 6:38
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    Are you asking about only independent countries? Only Turkey, Persia and Saudi Arabia were independent. Even Persia was occupied by the USSR and Britain for part of that time. All other middle Eastern countries were under the thumb of France, Britain or Italy to a greater or lesser extent during that time. – Ne Mo Jun 21 '20 at 9:03

This is anecdotal, and I have no idea how widespread it was, but there were several German and Austrian Jewish academics who fled to Turkey in the 1930's (Or at any rate, found themselves in Turkey then.) Among them Richard von Mieses, Hilde Geiringer (mathematicians), Hans Güterbock (Hittitologist), Elizabeth Ettinghausen (Islamic & Byzantine art).

Turkey, at the time, was eager to import Western culture and many of the particular refugees I name took jobs in Turkish universities, where they must have enjoyed an approximation to civilized life, a life so absent then in their native countries.

Although this topic is of only peripheral interest to me I did spend a few minutes poking around. Wikipedia, of course, has its say, with references. The upbeat how-turkey-saved-jewish-lives fills in detail that probably covers the instances I mentioned to above. The review of a book Turkey, the Jews and the Holocaust by Corry Guttstadt points to an existing body of scholarship on the issue of Turkey and the Holocaust. The matter is far more complex and contentious than indicated in the previous web site.

  • Turkey is a bit different since there aren't any Turkish refugees in this conflict. But a good data point! – JonathanReez Aug 5 '17 at 14:00
  • Wikipedia says there were about 1000 German-speaking emigrants in Turkey: de.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/… . Other well-known emigrants were Ernst Reuter (politician) and Bruno Taut (architect) – Jan Jun 21 '20 at 0:24
  • And there actually have been some Turkish refugees in recent years. According to m.bpb.de/gesellschaft/migration/flucht/zahlen-zu-asyl/265710/… , Turkey was among the five most common countries of origin among newly-arrived refugees in Germany in 2018, 2019, and (the first four months of) 2020. It was sixth place in 2017. – Jan Jun 22 '20 at 14:54

According to Wikipedia, around 37000 thousand Polish civilians passed through Iran as part of Anders' army. Not sure if Iran in 1942 fits your definition of "sovereign country", but then at that time there were very few sovereign countries in the Middle East and Africa in the first place.

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