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The JDC Archives Historic Film Collection stands as a unique first-hand account of the diverse Jewish communities, many of them now vanished or significantly diminished, throughout the 90 countries where JDC has worked over the past century. The films document world-changing events and the pressing needs of the millions of people in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East and collectively encompass the period of World War II and its aftermath and the eventful decades that followed.
The geographic diversity of the films reflects JDCs global reach, while the range of subjects indicates the organizations broad social service mandate. Used to inform Americans, particularly Jews, about the hardships incurred by displaced and otherwise threatened individuals and communities abroad, the films also document JDCs efforts in aiding these populations through rescue, relief, and communal rebuilding.
The JDC Archives has begun to digitize these films and will continue this effort as funding allows. A list of films digitized to date appears below; a sampling of clips from these digitized films can be viewed on our Sample Film Clips page or click on links below.
The Henry and Marilyn Taub JDC Archives Film Project was established in 2017 through a generous gift from Steven and Benay Taub, Ira and Shelley Taub and Judy Taub Gold in honor of their parents, Henry and Marilyn Taub, in order to preserve and digitize the films in JDC’s collection. Henry Taub served as president of the JDC Board of Directors from 1981-1984 and as Chairman from 1985-1986.
[Films have sound, in English, unless otherwise noted.]
A silent film with subtitles showing feeding programs, vocational training, orphanages and agricultural colonies in the former Soviet Union during the 1920s and 1930s. Includes footage from 1919-20 concerning the post-WWI beginnings of JDC work in Poland, Russia, the Ukraine and Crimea.
Silent footage related to JDCs Agro-Joint program establishing agricultural colonies, vocational training and related social services in the Soviet Union.
The film illustrates JDC-supported CENTOS programs in pre-WWII Poland. It includes footage of child care programs such as schools and summer camps in Brzesc, Nowy-Sacz, Zatrzebie (near Warsaw), Ciechocinek, Lwow, Otwock, and Czyzykow-Gaje. Yiddish narration with English subtitles.
The film illustrates JDC-supported TOZ programs in pre-WWII Poland. The film includes scenes of a visiting child care services worker in the home of an impoverished Jewish family, a TOZ infant school and other child care programs. Yiddish narration with English subtitles. View clip.
A film produced by JDC that tells the unfolding account of Jewish refugees traveling on the S.S. St. Louis from Nazi Germany to Cuba, where they were refused entry. It includes further travel to other countries, as JDC negotiated alternative havens. View clip.
A promotional film addressing JDCs response to the Nazi advance in Europe, showing aid to refugees around the globe. View clip.
A film report, introduced by JDC Chairman Edward Warburg, about the harsh conditions facing Europes 1.5 million surviving Jews and the much-needed services provided by JDC and its partners. Footage from Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, France, and the DP camps of Germany, Austria and Italy. Produced by JDC, this fundraiser seeks support JDC’s its efforts to help survivors carve out a new life. View clip.
JDC film showing the activities of the Jewish Boy Scouts of France (Eclaireurs Israelites de France), one of the many French organizations that JDC supported. Describes the groups prewar nature; its response to the war, with underground rescue activities; and its postwar vocational training activities.
Footage of survivors at the Bergen Belsen DP camp. Shots include a vocational training program, JDC offices, a classroom, Jewish relief clients, medical exams, a dormitory, a child care center, memorials, a theatrical production, children playing, a memorial procession and gathering, meetings, newspaper printing, a soccer game, individual people at work, a meeting of the Congress of Liberated Jews in the British Zone, a supply warehouse, and emigration scenes.
The Rothschild Hospital in Vienna was turned into an emergency transient center for tens of thousands of Jewish refugees (mostly from Poland and Romania) escaping continued anti-Semitism in the immediate post-World War II years. Silent footage of men, women and children inside the largely rundown Rothschild Center: waiting in lines; and receiving JDC-provided food supplies and medical attention; and young people engaged in quiet activities.
Silent footage of JDC’s extensive efforts to create a memorable Passover for Jews in postwar Vienna. Scenes include the arrival and distribution of holiday supplies for members of the Viennese Jewish community, seders for Holocaust survivors at the Rothschild DP Transit Center, a Viennese Jewish community gathering, and a single-family home. View clip.
Overview of JDC activities on immigration, aid and assistance to displaced Jews in the late 1940s in parts of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Includes rare footage of Holocaust survivors from the Bergen Belsen DP camp departing Germany, Yemenite Jews living in Aden; and detainees leaving the Cyprus detention camps, all travelling to the newly formed State of Israel. View clip 1; view clip 2; view clip 3.
This film depicts a collaborative project between the Norwegian Government and JDC, focusing on refugees in Foehrenwald DP camp previously unable to emigrate due to TB or other disabilities. Introduced by Sir Cedric Hardwicke on behalf of JDC and UJA, the film starts with WW II and immediate postwar footage from JDCs A Day of Deliverance. In addition to DP camp scenes, the film shows the Norwegian Commission reviewing applicants with JDC personnel and camp residents resettled in Norway.
Silent footage, mostly in poor condition, but still informative. Shots include street scenes, medical and feeding services, migration and transit sites for Jews from Iraq.
A JDC/UJA production. The problems of new immigrants in France, primarily from North Africa. This film follows Algerian and other North African Jewish immigrants arriving by ship in Marseilles and resettling in Paris, where they receive meals, temporary housing and other social services provided by JDC s local partner organization, Secours Israelite. View clip.
The film follows Jewish families in the course of their journey from the hard conditions of their lives in Morocco to a still developing, but modern community in Israel. Includes scenes in a mountainside village, a Jewish quarter, and a JDC transit camp in Grand Arenas, Marseilles.