UNRRA: Jewish Refugees

Figure 1.--Here Jewish boys who survived the War are being cared for in an UNRRA supported facility located at Maria di Bagni in 1945. One can only imagine what they experienced during the War. The press caption read,"UNRRA at work: The work of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration in war torn Europe is carried on with funds and materialsupplied by the Allies. Charged with the responsibility of nursing Europe's despomdent people to atabilkity they have not known through six years of war, medical attention , and other aidsincluding returning displaced persons to their homes. Here, in this small town in Italy, a column of Jewish boys march to their meals. The mess geat they carry is not unlike the kits supplied service personnel." The photograph ws dated December 3, 1945. The fact that they are msrching suggests that the Haganah or related organization had organized the camp. The caption does not mention that many Jews could not return home.

Jewish refugees presented an especially difficult problem. [Greenfeld] UNRAA attempted to provide emergency relief as needed and to ger refugees back to their countries of origin. This was not easy in the case of thge Jewish refugees. In most cases they were unwilling or unable to go home. The NAZI killing process was so sucessful, that the communities that they had come from no longer existed. Some Jews trying to return home were attacked, especially in Eastern Europoe. An especially egrigious pogrom occurred in Poland. And many Jews were afraid to return home because of the way many of their countrymen had cooperated with the NAZIs. So the primary UNRAA policy of getting the refugees home could not be pursued in the case of most Jewish refugees. And the children were a special mproblem because in most cases their parents and even extended famikly were all dead. UNRRA provided support for displaced persons camps, but Jewish oirganization from an early point organized the Jews in these camps. Special provision had to be made for Jedwish refugees because unlike mnost other refugees, they did not have homes to return to. Quite a numner of DP camps were established, most in the American occupation zone of defeated Germany. At the time Israel did not yet exist. And the British to placate the Arabs were not allowing Jewish migration into Palestine. Jewish organizations attempted to get somec refugees ito Palestine surepticously.


Greenfeld, Howard. After the Holocaust (Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins Publishers, 2001).

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Created: 8:25 AM 12/28/2011
Last updated: 8:25 AM 12/28/2011