Minnesota Immigrant Oral Histories


Morris Hillman and Ernie Kaplan, members of the Judeas, a football team sponsored by the Emanuel Cohen Center, Minneapolis, ca. 1928. MNHS Photo Collection.

The first Jews to settle in Minnesota were immigrants from Germany and other central European countries who began to arrive in the late 19th century; these settlers founded the first Jewish temple in Minnesota in 1878. In the following decades Jewish immigration increased from Russia, Poland, Romania, and the elsewhere in Eastern Europe. Most Jews settled in the Twin Cities, with a smaller number in Duluth and on the Iron Range. The Jewish population in Minnesota peaked in 1937 at around 44,000, though additional Jewish refugees arrived in Minnesota after World War II and in the 1970s and 80s.

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