Waiting for Hope

Waiting for Hope

After the defeat of Germany in World War II, hundreds of thousands of Jewish survivors of the Holocaust were transported to camps maintained by the Allies for displaced persons (DPs). In Waiting for Hope: Jewish Displaced Persons in Post-World War II Germany, historians Angelika Königseder and Juliane Wetzel offer a social and cultural history of the DP camps. Starting with the discovery of Nazi death camps by Allied forces, Königseder and Wetzel describe the inadequate preparations that had been made for the starving and sick camp survivors. News of having to live in camps again was devastating to these survivors, and many Jewish survivors were forced to live side by side with non-Jewish anti-Semitic DPs. The Allied soldiers were ill equipped to deal with the physical wreckage and mental anguish of their charges, but American rabbis soon arrived to perform invaluable work helping the survivors cope with grief and frustration. Königseder and Wetzel devote attention to autonomous Jewish life in the DP camps. Theater groups and orchestras prospered in and around the camps; Jewish newspapers began to publish; kindergartens and schools were founded; and a tuberculosis hospital and clinic for DPs was established in Bergen-Belsen. Underground organizations coalesced to handle illegal immigration to Israel and the training of soldiers to fight in Palestine. In many places there was even a last flowering of shtetl life before the DPs began to scatter to Israel, Germany, and other countries. Drawing on original documents and the work of other historians, Waiting for Hope sheds light on a largely unknown period in postwar Jewish history and shows that the suffering of the survivors did not end with the war.

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Author
Publisher Northwestern University Press
Release Date
ISBN 9780810114777
Pages 299 pages
Rating 4/5 (71 users)

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