The JDC Archives offers two comprehensive topic guides on significant events in contemporary Jewish history. These guides utilize a diverse range of primary sources—original letters, staff reports, meeting minutes, historic images, and suggested films—to vividly transmit the Holocaust and refugee experience to students through the eyewitness accounts of those who encountered first-hand two pivotal moments in Jewish and world history.
The first guide, “The Story of the S.S. St. Louis, 1939,” highlights the fateful journey of this famous ship which left Bremen, Germany for Cuba with over 900 German Jewish refugees. The ship was not allowed to disembark in Havana, Cuba, and the St. Louis was set to return to Germany. JDC entered into negotiations to locate safe havens for these refugees, threatened with a return to Nazi Germany.
The second guide, “Refuge in Shanghai, 1938-1953,” covers JDC’s emergency relief effort for approximately 18,000 Jewish refugees who survived World War II in Shanghai.
As you plan programs for Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), please consider integrating material from these topic guides, as compelling primary sources and effective illustrations of crucial milestones in Jewish history and social responsibility, into your program and classroom activities.
We welcome feedback from educators on their experiences using these topic guides.