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Project Category: JDC and the Children of the DP Camps

Moving On

Moving On Learn about emigration of displaced persons in the JDC Archives exhibit “Everything Possible: JDC and the Children of the DP Camps.” The Underground Network The “Bricha” (Flight) organization smuggled thousands of Jews from one occupied zone to another, country to country, and finally, to Palestine. JDC provided funding and supplies and used its diplomatic contacts to open borders for Jewish refugees escaping from Eastern Europe and the DP camps to Mediterranean seaports and ships to Palestine. President Truman’s Directive President Truman’s Directive of 1946 enabled 17,000 Jewish displaced persons to enter the U.S. at that time. Impasse:...

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Heritage Restored

Heritage Restored Learn about renewal of Jewish life among displaced persons in the JDC Archives exhibit “Everything Possible: JDC and the Children of the DP Camps.” A jewish education “Their synagogues, schools, even cemeteries, have been destroyed, and it is up to us to restore their spiritual, economic and cultural life.” Dr. Joseph Schwartz, JDC European Director, June 1945. Kosher Food JDC provided kosher food for Orthodox displaced persons with special dietary requirements. JDC also provided special foods and other needed supplies to help camp residents celebrate holidays and observe Jewish traditions. Jewish Holidays Holidays held special meaning for...

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Time To Learn

Time to Learn “Never have I seen boys and girls with such spirit, such will to learn.” (Dr. Joseph Schwartz, JDC Annual Report, 1946). Many child survivors had no schooling for years, and could not read or write. Camp residents saw education as the best way to provide for their children’s future. JDC did everything it could to foster this goal. By 1947, there were 13,000 Jewish children attending JDC-supported kindergartens, elementary, and secondary schools. the first flood – a place to go The first camp schools in Germany and Austria were established by the Central Committee (representatives elected...

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Growing Up in Transient World

Growing Up in Transient World Some displaced persons passed through camps quickly, others spent months, but a large proportion lived there for years. For the latter, the camps served as a transitional home that helped prepare them for life in the outside world. Making Do Privacy and space were rarest amenities in the camps. Yet camp residents made room for newcomers. Cold Comfort Postwar fuel shortages and a record drop in temperature in the winter of 1947 made life in the camps even harder. At this time, the supply of electricity was also unreliable. JDC provided primus stoves to...

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Getting Healthy, Growing Strong

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...

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