Getting Healthy, Growing Strong
Most Jewish survivors came to DP camps in a weakened state. They were still not out of harm’s way. Terrible living conditions, inadequate food and clothing, and exposure to disease in the early days of camp life put them at greater risk. JDC established an extensive program to improve health among displaced persons. In addition to medical teams, its services included medicine, vitamins, equipment, and clinics.
Starting to Heal
JDC’s regional supervising medical teams were expats, mostly from the U.S. In addition to doctors and nurses, they included a medical director, public health nurse, and nutritionist. Within the camps, some of the doctors and nurses were camp residents themselves. JDC also supported special programs and centers focusing on children’s health.
Building Healthy Bodies
Improving the health of survivors was one of the first challenges facing displaced persons and those helping them. Preventive health services helped to ensure that children could thrive in this difficult environment.
JDC-sponsored summer camps and athletics programs built muscles, improved coordination, and taught teamwork. They also brought more stability to the children’s lives.
An Expanding Presence
In the early days of DP camps, JDC had no representatives on site. JDC’s growing presence in the administration of camp life and the development of programs eventually called for hundreds of trained staff, medical and social service professionals, and volunteers. This enabled JDC to also develop more activity-based social programs such as summer camps.