Based on extensive research in family and state archives in Ireland, England and the United States, Professor Keogh studies the influx which followed the Russian pogroms and the establishment of enlarged Jewish communities in Dublin, Belfast and Cork.
The author contrasts the context and general rise of anti-Semitism on the island and the background to the Limerick pogrom of 1904, with the world of Dublin Jews as personified by James Joyce's Leopold Bloom, and the contribution of the community to the professional, academic, social and political life of the country.
Professor Keogh focuses most attention on the relationship between the Jewish community and the Irish State under Liam Cosgrave in the 1920's, and Eamon de Valera between 1932 and 1948. In particular, he lays emphasis on the role of the Chief Rabbi Isaac Herzog and his work on building up the community. He examines the thinking of senior officials towards the admission of Jewish refugees in the late 1930's and charts de Valera's response to the Holocaust, arguing that the Taoiseach made every effort to respond to international pleas for help despite the offer of condolences on the death of Hitler.
This book offers a critical reassessment of a difficult period in Irish international relations. It will be of interest to those concerned with Jewish history, the study of tolerance, the international reaction to the Holocaust, and to the history of inter-war refugee policy.