By May 1945 six million European Jews had been murdered by the Nazis and their allies. Much of Europe lay in ruins. Allied soldiers confronting the concentration camps for the first time found -amidst the scattered mounds of corpses and ash-“survivors” suffering from disease and starvation, many of whom would perish in the forthcoming days and months. Homeless and unable -or unwilling- to be repatriated to their countries of origin, many were housed in Displaced Persons camps throughout the Allied zones of occupation. These DP camps, often former military or even concentration camps, were themselves overcrowded, and just as often the Jews had to share space with their very persecutors. Many Jews attempted to emigrate to Palestine despite stringent quotas on immigration imposed by the British government attempting to mollify the Arabs. As a consequence, many emigrated “illegally” with the assistance of the Jewish Brigade and Haganah, through the underground Bricha Movement. A 1947 a United Nations resolution to partition Palestine between Jews and Arabs was to be rejected by the Arabs. Britain would end its mandate and withdraw from Palestine in May 1948. Israel established its provisional government in the same month, giving Jews their own homeland and unrestricted immigration. President Truman himself loosened restrictions on quotas of displaced persons, and approximately 28,000 Jews were able to immigrate to the US. The Nuremberg trials were a consequence of Allied efforts to take legal action against Germany as a criminal state. The first tribunal consisted of eight judges, drawn from each of the Allied countries. Twenty-one former Nazi leaders stood trial. The Tribunal enshrined for the first time in jurisprudence and international law the concept of “genocide”, as well as a typology of war crimes to be utilized by the United Nations. In the ensuing years many courts- both international and domestic-would conduct trials of accused war criminals.
This collection features passports, visas and other documents of diplomats and others who saved Jews, including Friedrich Born, Frank Foley, Feng Shan Ho, Vlademar Langlet, Carl Lutz, Monsignor Angelo Rota, Andrey Szeptycki, Angel Sanz-Briz, Chiune Sugihara, Raoul Wallenberg,Carl Ivan Danielsson and Jan Zwartendijk. Also noteworthy is an assemblage of ephemera—photos, covers, letters, etc.- from the Bergen-Belsen (D.P. Hohne) Displaced Persons Camp (1946-1948); and covers from organizations such as the AJDC , IRO and UNRRA, established to provide aid and assistance to Jewish refugees.
--Michael D. Bulmash, K1966
Browse the Bulmash Family Holocaust Collection.