Our Collections / Historic Film Collection

List of Digitized Films

Films have sound, in English, unless otherwise noted.

Founding a New Life, 1920-1938

A silent film with subtitles showing feeding programs, vocational training, orphanages and agricultural colonies in the former Soviet Union during the 1920s and 1930s. Also includes footage concerning the post-WWI beginnings of JDC work in Poland, Russia, the Ukraine and Crimea.

Agro-Joint, 1938

Silent footage related to JDCs Agro-Joint program establishing agricultural colonies, vocational training and related social services in the Soviet Union.

Training For Life, 1938

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.

Fighting For Health, 1938

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.

Bound For Nowhere: The St. Louis Episode, 1939

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.

Humanity Calls, 1939-1940

Jewish refugees from Germany and other Nazi-controlled countries desperately seek aid on the eve of the Holocaust. Includes footage of Jews in Cuba, Shanghai, Eretz Yisrael, and the United States; and of anti-Semitic propaganda in America.

A Tale of Two Worlds, 1941

A promotional film addressing JDCs response to the Nazi advance in Europe, showing aid to refugees around the globe. View clip.

South American Children’s Colony, 1944

Silent footage from the JDC-supported El Hogar Infantil, a children’s home in San Miguel, Buenos Aires, accommodating 33 children. The home was run by the Asociación Filantrópica Israelita, an aid group helping German-speaking Jewish refugees build new lives in Argentina. Footage includes children aged 3 to 9 exercising, playing games, climbing trees, eating, napping outdoors, doing homework, and being read to. View clip.

Report on the Living, 1946-47

A film report, introduced by JDC Chairman Edward Warburg, about the harsh conditions facing Europe’s 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.

A Time to Build, 1946

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 group’s prewar nature; its response to the war, with underground rescue activities; and its postwar vocational training activities.

Belsen footage, Reels 1-4, 1946

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.

Operation S.O.S. (Supplies for Overseas Survivors), 1946

This film includes footage of the desperate winter conditions facing those survivors in Europe dependent on overseas supplies. Reenactment scenes show JDC’s campaign among Jewish national and women’s organizations across the United States to collect canned food, warm clothing, shoes, medicine, and other supplies for refugees.

Rothschild Hospital, Vienna, 1946-48

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.

Passover 1947 Vienna

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.

The Future Can Be Theirs, 1948

Europe UJA head Henry Morgenthau, Jr. and JDC executives Edward Warburg, Herbert Lehman, Harold Lindner, and Moses Leavitt comment on conditions in postwar Europe and JDC’s essential role in the relief, reconstruction, and resettlement of its surviving 1.5 million Jews. The film includes scenes of Jewish survivors immediately after the war, JDC staff bringing supplies to Europe, refugees fleeing Poland and Romania, displaced persons camps in Germany and Austria, hospitals in Italy, children’s homes, vocational training programs and producers’ cooperatives, and immigrants headed for Palestine and other destinations.

A Day of Deliverance, 1949

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; view clip 4.

Poland Postwar, 1949

At the end of the World War II, a surviving remnant of Polish Jews returned to Poland. Within months of the country’s liberation, Jewish institutions renewed operations with help from JDC. In 1949, shortly before JDC was forced by the Polish Communist authorities to terminate these activities, this silent film documented various programs, including children’s homes; glove, shoe and textile cooperatives, a TB sanatorium, JDC’s Warsaw headquarters, and the opening of the David Guzik Hospital in Walbraych. View clip.

Visit of Paul Baerwald & Family to the Baerwald School, Versailles, 1950

The Paul Baerwald School of Social Work was established by JDC to teach modern American Social Work methods to social workers from Europe and North Africa. Located in a converted chateau in Versailles France, the school was named after Paul Baerwald, American humanitarian, a founder, former treasurer and chairman of JDC. Footage from Baerwald’s visit in 1950 includes Director Henry Selver, school exteriors and interiors, students and faculty, Paul and Edith Baerwald, their daughter Pauline Falk, and JDC officials Laura Margolis and Joseph Schwartz. View clip

Paul Baerwald School, Versailles, 1951

The Paul Baerwald School of Social Work was established by JDC to teach modern American Social Work methods to social workers from Europe and North Africa. Footage from Paul Baerwald School incudes professional women attend classes and a dining hall. The film also shows activities of faculty and staff of the school. Paul Baerwald School film includes Director Henry Selver and faculty from New York Fred Zeigellaub.

Adventure in Freedom: No Place on Earth, 1950-54

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 JDC’s “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.

Iran Street Scenes, 1950-51

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.

The Long Hard Days, 1962

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.

Ten Days, 500 Years, 1965

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.