Hakhshara (Hebrew: „preparation, qualifying“) was the term for a systematic preparation of Jews for future settlement in Palestine, mostly in the 1920s and 1930s. The ideological base of this programme was Zionism. It was brought forward and propagated by the Jewish youth organisations. Mostly the Hakhshara-courses were situated on agrarian properties. Groups of prospering immigrants would mutually learn the ropes for building a Palestine community. The youngsters were taught mostly gardening, agricultural, technical and domestic skills, as well as the modern Hebrew language. As the Hakhshara progressed, the building of a Jewish identity was seen as an important task. Part hereof was the celebrating of Jewish holidays, learning Jewish history, and understanding Jewish literature. Life and work in farm collectives were to prepare for the new existence in Palestine. Later in Israel, the Hakhshara-collectives continued as kibbutzim. Increasing discrimination of Jews made for a growing Hakhshara-movement in the initial phase of the Nazi regime in Germany. Besides preparing for immigration to Palestine, in particular for the young Jewish men and women, the Hakhsharas were some of the latest possibilities to gain a professional education. 1934 about 3,500 people in the Hakhshara educational centres were coached by Martin Gerson, on behalf of the Reich Representation of German Jews. All in all, at least 32 of these preparation camps existed in the former boundaries of the German Reich. Beginning in 1941, the Hakhshara facilities of the German Reich were transformed into forced labour camps for young Jews, or simply dissolved.
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