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Russian Children’s Art

Russian Children’s ArtJan 18, 2017 Exactly half a century after its exile from the Soviet Union in 1938 with the liquidation of Agro-Joint, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) once again set foot on Soviet soil in 1989, amid the prevailing atmosphere of glasnost. Though a devoted few had risked everything to sustain a thread of Jewish life, the final collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 revealed a Jewish cultural wasteland imprinted by 70 years of repression. JDC went to work immediately, revitalizing Jewish communal infrastructures and strengthening Jewish identity with a range of Jewish cultural activities....

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Rescue through Emigration in the Nazi Era

Rescue through Emigration in the Nazi EraJan 9, 2017   Seventy-eight years have passed since my great-grandparents, my grandparents, and their children left Nazi Germany to find refuge in South America. Now I am working on documenting my family’s lives and struggles to show the generations to come how their ancestors overcame adversity with an unquestioned faith in G-d, with hard work and determination, and with the aid of Jewish organizations, such as JDC and HIAS. The records held at the JDC Archives are key to reconstructing a piece of my family history. The Dorfzauns’ emigration is a story...

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Genealogical Resources in the Records of JDC’s Warsaw Office, 1939-1941

Genealogical Resources in the Records of JDC’s Warsaw Office, 1939-1941Jan 6, 2017   Genealogists, family historians, and Holocaust scholars mine various collections and many archives to search for information about Jews trapped in German-occupied Poland (the General Government). One collection in particular is at their fingertips, made available online by the JDC Archives. The records of JDC’s Warsaw Office in 1939-1941, with documents in Polish, Yiddish, German, Hebrew and English, offer a wealth of sources about Polish Jews during that time through the lens of JDC’s activities. They contain information of genealogical interest, and provide insight into the deteriorating...

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Lighting the Way

Lighting the WayOct 10, 2016 “While it was difficult to part with an item I so treasure, gifting it to the JDC Archives ensures it a rightful place in the story of our people and the Joint.” – Sheila Spiro Cigarette lighters, also called Zippos, were popular and abundant in the 1940’s. In fact, the company itself solely manufactured for the US military during World War II, with official lighters boasting unit crests and division insignia. As smoking was a cultural norm, lighters were used daily out of necessity, allotting ample time to display their faces and thus identify...

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The SS Serpa Pinto Lists: A Resource for Genealogy Research

The SS Serpa Pinto Lists: A Resource for Genealogy ResearchSep 29, 2016     The SS Serpa Pinto, a ship named after a Portuguese explorer and sailing under the Portuguese flag, became the leading bearer of refugees across the Atlantic during World War II.  JDC financed or shared in the financing of these trips by purchasing tickets and providing guarantees, which enabled thousands of refugees to reach safety. JDC passenger lists for the vessel’s journeys between 1941 and 1944 are available to peruse in their entirety in the Lists from the Nazi Period and its Aftermath, and to search...

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JDC Archives Website as a Scholarly Resource in the Digital Age

JDC Archives Website as a Scholarly Resource in the Digital AgeSep 29, 2016 Rachel Deblinger, digital humanist, discusses connection between JDC Archives, technology, and history. As Director of the Digital Scholarship Commons at the Library of the University of California, Santa Cruz, Dr. Rachel Deblinger assists the campus community with the uses and methods of digital humanities. Her academic background as a historian of Jewish and Holocaust history adds a unique layer to her expertise as a digital humanist. Deblinger is no stranger to the JDC Archives. Her dissertation about American Jewish philanthropy and the shaping of Holocaust survivor...

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Cultivating Artists on Cyprus: The Rutenberg Seminar

Cultivating Artists on Cyprus: The Rutenberg SeminarJun 23, 2016   “Cyprus is one stop on the road of suffering on the way to the land of Israel. It means thorny barbed wire fences, forced idleness, and degeneration. Even in this existence there was life. Friends from the camp in Cyprus tell about this life in this book.” –Students of the Rutenberg Seminar, album (Cyprus, c. 1948). In August 1946, the British government initiated a policy of deporting Jews who tried to enter Palestine illegally, in violation of the immigration quotas for Jews set by the White Paper of 1939....

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The JDC Archives Names Indexing Project: A Personal Retrospective

The JDC Archives Names Indexing Project: A Personal RetrospectiveMay 26, 2016 Archives volunteer Claus Hirsch shares personal and professional insights. Type in the name and your family history unfolds. A genealogist’s dream. The JDC Archives has been spearheading an effort to digitize historical records of Jewish genealogical interest. Names of JDC aid recipients’ from voluminous lists throughout the world form the core of the project. A cadre of four volunteers, including myself, began the indexing work in January 2010. Six years later, joined by other volunteers, we remain committed to expanding the database. The JDC Archives Names Index, made...

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