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The Holocaust

The Holocaust Resource Center

Displaced Persons Camps

The Displaced Persons Camps (DP camps) which were set up in Austria, Italy, and the Western occupation zones of Germany, held more than 200,000 Jews. During the first few months, until the liberating armies formulated a clear policy toward them, the survivors lived in extremely harsh conditions in these DP camps. They were even occasionally housed with German prisoners and Nazi collaborators. In the autumn of 1945, in the American occupation zone and later in the British zone, a policy took shape that substantially improved the lives of the Jewish DPs. They were housed in separate camps where they were given some authority to manage their own affairs. Here they created an intensive political and cultural life. Many of them married and started families.

In 1946 and 1947, the number of DPs in the camps rose substantially, as additional Jewish refugees continued to arrive from Eastern Europe, many through the Beriha' movement (The Beriha was a Zionist organization, which tried to aid survivors in leaving Europe for the Jewish Homeland). The increase of the DPs population affected the international public opinion, a fact that exerted increasing pressure on the British and American governments in order to find a solution to their situation. This kind of activity was especially evident in Zionist political groups, where attempts at clandestine emigration to Palestine increased. The opening of Israel's borders after it's independence, as well as the adoption of more lenient regulations in western countries regarding the immigration of survivors, led to the closure of most of the DP camps by 1950. Föhrenwald, the last functioning DP camp remained in existence until 1957.

Total Sources (by media type):

Artifact Collection 9
Diaries and Letters 1
Lexicon Entries 6
Photographs 48
Research 5
Testimonies 7
Works of Art 1
Total Sources 77