Our Stories

Russia and the Former Soviet Union

Three young men in a wheat field at the Khaklay (Heb., “farmer”) settlement.

Khaklay, Dzhankoy district, Crimea, USSR, c.1927.

During World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution, JDC sent emergency aid for destitute Jews caught in the maelstrom of war and devastation. JDC began a partnership with the American Relief Administration in the early 1920s; in the mid-1920s it established Agro-Joint, which developed agricultural settlements in Ukraine and Crimea until it was closed down by the authorities in 1938.  Subsequently, JDC, while unable to send staff to the region, made every effort to ship packages to needy Jews. JDC re-entered the former Soviet Union in 1989 and initiated a vast network of Hesed Centers and Jewish renewal activities.

Exhibit

Beyond Relief: JDC in Interwar Ukraine and Crimea

By 1920, war, revolution, and famine had left the newly emerged Soviet Union in chaos. JDC brought aid to impoverished Jews in the region, especially desperate after years of bloody pogroms and ongoing exclusion from any government services.

Exhibit

Everything Possible:
JDC and the Children of the DP Camps

Featuring historic photographs from the JDC Archives, focuses on JDC’s significant efforts on behalf of children in the displaced persons camps established by the Allied Armed Forces after World War II. JDC was permitted to enter the camps to supplement minimal provisions with critical nutritional, medical, educational, and religious services for survivors.