In the aftermath of Germany’s surrender on May 7, 1945, approximately 250,000 “liberated” Jewish survivors of concentration camps, slave labor camps, and death marches were designated “displaced persons”. Many were children and adolescents orphaned or unaccompanied by an adult. The survivors would refer to themselves as the “sh’erit ha-pletah (Book of Ezra 9:14) or “surviving remnant”. Unable or unwilling to be repatriated to their former countries, with limited possibilities for emigration, they would be confined to DP camps- former concentration camps, military barracks, or community housing- all under military administration in the A¬¬¬llied zones of Germany, Italy, and Austria. Many were debilitated from malnutrition, disease, and horrific abuse, and in urgent need of medical care. Despite the heroic provision of care by military physicians and nurses and even by physicians among the survivors themselves, many would still perish. The survivors would as well receive support from military clergy and from a number of welfare and humanitarian organizations such as United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) ; and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (“Joint”). UNRRA notably established a Central Tracing Bureau to help survivors potentially reconnect with other family members who survived the Holocaust. Philosophical differences notwithstanding, and strong disagreements on some outcomes for the DP children, UNRRA worked with DP adults, Zionist Youth Organizations, the Jewish Agency for Palestine, and others: all invested in helping accommodate the special needs of DP children who suffered longstanding severe emotional trauma, unfathomable loss and consequent developmental impairment.
Over time survivors flourished with the rebirth of Jewish life in these DP camps. Newspapers were published; programs were created for both adults and orphaned children to acquire the language and technical skills needed to prepare for future vocations, including training in agriculture requisite for work in Zionist farming communities. Social and cultural events were abundant. Yeshivas were established in three camps; and religious holidays once again became occasions for celebration. Competitive sporting events like soccer matches between different DP centers were important as the survivors regained their health. And as relationships blossomed, as survivors were able to trust their feelings again against a backdrop of enormous loss- even in these crowded quarters- marriages and childbirth would be widely prevalent.
Of course, DP camps were meant to be only temporary quarters for the Jewish refugees. DP camps for the refugees had an ineradicable connection to an horrific recent past, and for Jews to also have to endure the presence of Nazi collaborationists in their midst, as well as their often strained relations with a military administration that could little fathom what the survivors had endured was simply too much to bear. And most refugees felt there was little left for them in Europe. Their towns, homes, and families were gone. Antisemitic pogroms loomed large, such as the one in the Polish village of Kielce in which 42 Jews were murdered-after the Holocaust- and refugees no longer felt safe, the Allied victory over the Fascists notwithstanding. Most were hopeful they could emigrate to Palestine, or to the United States, Canada, or Australia. Indeed, the Harrison Report itself, sharply critical of conditions in the DP camps for Jews, recommended resettlement of the refugees in both the US and Palestine, which prompted President Truman to give preference to DP residents in US immigration quotas. As well Truman tried to facilitate resettlement of the survivors in Palestine.
Palestine, however, continued to be under British mandate and immigration quotas were strictly enforced. Britain’s unwillingness to make concessions for homeless Jews became an important impetus behind the so called “ Bricha” (flight) movement, with the Jewish Brigade facilitating the exodus of refugees from Europe onto hapless boats bound for Palestine, moving the Jewish refugees-now stateless- past British blockades with the assistance of the Haganah and the Irgun -the Jewish underground in Palestine. While many of these so-called “illegal aliens” were able to elude the British and successfully land in Palestine, too often their boats were boarded, the refugees taken to detention camps on the island of Cyprus, or other internment camps, with many of the physical reminders of the concentration camps the refugees thought they had left behind in Europe. It would be the British attack on the Exodus 1947 which would garner sufficient worldwide publicity in support of the plight of the refugees. Britain would end its mandate and withdraw from Palestine in May, 1948. The United Nations’ vote for statehood for Israel in 1948 finally permitted the survivors of the Holocaust, the DP camps, and the internment camps to rejoice and at long last make their way home.
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.
--Michael D. Bulmash, K1966
Browse the Bulmash Family Holocaust Collection.
Group Photograph of Youth in Displaced Persons Camp-Possibly Villa Panti- in Soriano Nel Cimino, Italy
Black and white photograph of large group of youth sitting and standing at exterior of building.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash:
Group photograph taken on the eve of “aliya”- the journey to the Promised Land- leaving for Israel 9/5/1948. On May 14, 1948, the British Mandate over Palestine expired, and the new State of Israel was born.
Page from publication reviewing book by Lewis A. Coser
Tan paper with Jewish Community of Palestine return address in left corner, Hebrew in the right. Both printed. Letter typewritten in Hebrew. Signature in lower left.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: Szold was a Jewish Zionist from Baltimore, Maryland who founded the Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America. She immigrated to Palestine in 1933 where she helped run the Youth Aliyah, the organization founded by Recha Freier responsible for rescuing 30,000 Jewish children from Nazi Europe. She died in 1945 in the very hospital she helped build in Jerusalem.
a: 125 page list printed in Great Britain by Speedee Press Services, London, Autumn 1936; b: Supplemantary List,16 page, London, August 1937
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash:
Within months of his appointment as chancellor in 1933, Hitler’s government issued the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service. Political opponents of the Nazi Party, and anyone in government positions with at least one Jewish grandparent were summarily dismissed from their jobs. University professors in Germany’s best universities, judges and police officers lost their positions. The so-called “Arian paragraph” would apply to lawyers, physicians, musicians and other civil servants. At every level of civil society and public life, Jews were persecuted through the gradual, methodical, yet inexorable rollout of laws and regulations restricting their civil and political liberties. As this noose of incremental persecution tightened, academicians began to emigrate. Stepping into the breach was the British Academic Assistance Council (AAC), giving needed support and assistance to the growing number of scholars and academicians whose plight only increased with the 1935 Nuremberg Laws; the 1938 Anschluss; and the devastation of the Kristallnacht pogrom shortly thereafter.
Faced with the loss of their careers and livelihoods, fearful of losing their lives, and concerned for the welfare of their families, Jewish scholars became increasingly resigned to their fate in Germany, and the exodus of Jewish scholars increased. The AAC would eventually evolve into the Society for the Protection of Science and Learning (SPSL), but its mission would continue: to help refugee scholars-based on their specific curriculum vitae- find employment in the UK, the USA, and other countries. Several of the more than 1500 academic refugees from Germany and Austria would win Nobel Prizes. Several refugees had already earned them. Many of these emigres would make important contributions to the scholarship and the culture of their adopted countries and have an enormous influence in their respective fields. For example, the current New School for Social Research in New York, had been the home in the 1930’s to the University in Exile -a haven for over 180 scholar-refugees and their families. Though a number of these refugees would find positions in other universities, many would remain as permanent faculty after the University in Exile had been incorporated into the Graduate Faculty of Political and Social Science in 1934.
The remarkable role played by the AAC academics in rescuing Jewish emigre academicians imperiled by the Nazis and helping them find new homes and institutions where they could continue their careers, would stand in stark contrast to the lack of support- and frank betrayal -on the part of their academic colleagues in the Reich who were either afraid of reprisals or given to “Gleischsaltung”;i.e., “working toward the Fuhrer” in establishing totalitarian control over Germany. A notorious example of this duplicity was that of Martin Heidegger, a world-renowned philosopher, author of Sein und Zeit (Being and Time), and rector of the University of Freiberg, given to sporting a Hitler-style mustache and proudly wearing his Nazi pin. Heidegger signed every letter dismissing Jewish faculty members, including that of his own mentor Edmund Husserl - the renowned phenomenologist who had been Heidegger’s most important advocate: born a Jew but later in life baptized into the Lutheran faith. Some of Heidegger’s most eminent students were forced to leave Germany and find positions elsewhere, including Herbert Marcuse and Hanna Arendt. Heidegger would remain unrepentant for the rest of his life.
Front: Many men on deck of the Atratto. Back: Associated Press release attached.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: Associated Press release attached to wire photo verso: "From London. 200 ton steamer arrested off Palestine with 400 refugees aboard after a month at sea. With 401 Men, women and children huddled on the upper deck with cattle and poultry, the Greek-manned Panama steamer Atratto was arrested inside territorial waters off Jaffa, Palestine, on July 17, by the Minesweeper H.M.S. Sutton. She was escorted into Haiffa where the captain and cr[ew] are awaiting trial for attempting to smuggle refugees into Palestine. Though crow[d]ed in misery on the open deck 25 pounds was the cost of the passage into Palestine, the fee not including bedding or food. Associated Press photo shows: the crowded decks of the S.S. Atratto, showing that even the lifeboat (Ventre) was displaced with the great crowd on the steamers' decks. These 'berths' cost 25 pounds a head."
Black and white photograph of Anne Frank with accompanying text in German and English.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: Press photograph of Anne Frank from the 1960’s with numerous subsequent date stamps verso. Her written statement in Dutch comes from her diary, and is translated below
Front: Image of a woman pulling a cart down Dragoner Street in Berlin flying Allied flags. Verso: Typewritten information about the image and International News Photo stamp.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: International News Photos wire photo with following information verso:"This is Dragoner Street former Jewish Quarter of Berlin.'The Nazis cleared all the Jews out of this sector and confiscated their businesses. The street is now decorated with the flags of the Allied nations. 9-25-1945"
Black and white photograph of a man in glasses addressing a crowd of men in suits, with guards in uniform behind them.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: Arthur Seyss-Inquart (1892-1946) , here photographed at Nuremberg trial, was Reich Governor of Austria, Deputy Governor to Hans Frank in the General Government of occupied Poland, and Reich Commissioner for the German-occupied Netherlands. In the latter capacity, Seyss-Inquart shared responsibility for the deportation of Dutch Jews and the shooting of hostages. At Nuremberg he was found guilty of crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, and subsequently sentenced to death.
Post-War Denazification Initiative: Notarized Exculpatory Statement for a German High School Teacher Given to U.S. Military Authorities by Austrian Botanist
"Beglaubigte Abschrift" tamped in purple at top of page, round emblem stamped at bottom page in purple, white page, black print, underlined title, "Elise Hoffman" printed in upper left corner, accompanying translation.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: Statement given by an Austrian botanist and professor Elise Hofmann regarding German high school teacher Alfons Schneckenburger, with English translation. Mentioned in the statement are Bishops Johannes Sproll and Theophil Wurm, prominent opponent of the Nazi regime. Ms. Hofmann states at the end of the letter that she herself was not a member of the Nazi party or any of its affiliated organizations.
Post-WWII American Occupation Broadside Dissolving and Declaring Illegal Nazi Party and Related Organizations
Large broadside with black, vertical line down middle, left half of page in English, “MILITARY GOVERNMENT – GERMANY SUPREME COMMANDER’S AREA OF CONTROL LAW NO. 5 DISSOLUTION OF NAZI PARTY” printed in bold, black print at top of left side, translated in German on right side.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash:Broadside is printed in both English and German, distributed by the Office of Military Government, United States, in the “Supreme Commander’s Area of Control,” proclaiming the “Dissolution of the Nazi Party…” and other organizations and institutions that are listed. There are 52 organizations that are listed herein, including the Reich Chancellery, the Gestapo, the SA and SS, Hitler Youth, Organization Todt, etc. The stated purpose of this edict, referred to as “Law. No. 5,” is to “end the regime of lawlessness, terror, and inhumanity established by the Nazi Party.” The announcement goes on to order the confiscation of the “funds, property, equipment…. and records,” of these organizations, and states that anyone “violating any provisions of this law” will be subjected to trial by a Military Government Court and if convicted, punishment may include death.
Anklageschrift gegen 24 deutsche Haupt-Kriegsverbrecher: Rudolf Aschenauer Signed and Stamped Copy of Nuremberg Trials Indictments
Small book with “Anklageschrift gegen 24 deutsche Haupt-Kriegsverbrecher” in black print in center below “Rudolf Aschenauer” stamped in blue ink, 112 pages.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash:Rudolf Aschenauer signed and stamped copy of Nuremberg International Military Tribunal summary of Indictments brought against the major war criminals at Nuremberg, 1945. Aschenauer became known as a defense lawyer in war crime trials and Nazi trials after the end of the World War II.
Blue booklet with square, black illustration in center of cover, 63 pages.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: This booklet is the first edition of Tolkaczew’s illustrated reporting on Auschwitz and its liberation, and one of the earliest illustrated books about the Holocaust. Zinowij Tołkaczew (1903-1977) was a Soviet-Jewish graphic artist and painter who participated as a Red army volunteer in the liberation of the concentration camps Majdanek and Auschwitz. His writing and drawings drew from his experiences with former prisoners in these camps.
Black and white photograph of man in a suit (Robert H. Jackson) sitting at a desk, white border. Back marked “ACME PHOTO.”
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: In 1945, President Harry S. Truman appointed Supreme Court Justice Jackson United States Chief of Counsel for the prosecution of Nazi war criminals at the international Military Tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany. The “Acme Photo” dates 5/3/1945 states (verso) that Jackson “already has assembled a staff from the War, Navy, and other departments, which have started work on war crimes cases. The appointment will be in addition to his duties on the Supreme Court.”
Konzentrationslager Dokument F321 by Eugene Aroneanu Report for International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg
Book titled “KONZENTRATIONS-LAGER” in red print, 153 pages.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: 135 page publication presents evidentiary material used at the Nuremberg Military Tribunal, detailing crimes committed against humanity, and was given to each participant in the tribunal to become acquainted with the evidence to be presented. Report includes photographs, witness lists, and sections on deportation, detention, concentration camps and camp life, punishments and tortures, sanitary conditions, illnesses, medical experimentation on human prisoners, sterilization and castration, vivisection, execution and gassing, and incineration.
Black and white photograph of men in a mishmosh of prisoner's clothes and heavy jackets standing behind barbed wire. Most look directly at the camera. The man in the middle is holding onto the wire.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash:Iconic photograph-a Time-Life Pictures reprint- taken by Margaret Bourke-White for Life Magazine of recently liberated male prisoners of Buchenwald Concentration Camp. Bourke-White was one of four female photojournalists to cover World War II. Clearly posed for the camera, the men, some leaning against the barbed wire fence, look directly at the camera with an expression that seems to be saying say “Look closely-how could you let this happen.”
Black and white photograph depicting a crowded bunk of male prisoners on the right, and some standing on the left.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash:
Men on wooden pallets-their beds-in the barracks of Buchenwald Concentration Camp post liberation. A photograph -a Time-Life Pictures reprint- taken by Margaret Bourke-White for Life Magazine of recently liberated male prisoners. Bourke-White had been one of four female photojournalists to cover the War and its aftermath. Elie Wiesel, author and winner of the Nobel Prize, is seventh from left in the middle row.
Small booklet titled, "Ausweis - Certification." Includes typewritten biographic information about Jakob Machat, as well as his fingerprint and signature.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: Provisional identification card for a civilian internee of Buchenwald, Jakob Machat. Card stamped by the Allied forces on the camp liberation day.
[Related items: 2012.1.2, 2012.1.505, 2014.1.446ab, 2016.1.44]
Typewritten letter on white paper to Surgeon Dr. K.H. Bauer regarding the latter's earlier pleas to retain hospital beds following the war at the University of Heidelberg. Doctors at the University of Heidelberg performed T-4 euthanasia practices during the Holocaust.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: Copy of angry letter to surgeon Dr. K.H. Bauer of University of Heidelberg where T-4 euthanasia practices had occurred, calling out his hypocrisy. Bauer would later become a leading oncologist.
Tan paper with red, double-lined border, black print, titled "Manner und Frauen von Theresienstadt!"
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: Rabbi Baeck, author of The Essence of Judaism, was an important spokesperson for the Jewish community after the Nazi rise to power in his role as president of the Jewish umbrella organization Reichsvertretung. When the latter was summarily disbanded by the Nazis and replaced with the Reichsvereinigung, Rabbi Baeck remained president. On January 27th, 1943, Rabbi Baeck was deported to Theresienstadt. Here he held a prominent place as honorary head of the Judenrat, which afforded him privileges unattainable by other inmates; yet he continued to serve the ghetto community, and refused to abandon it, opportunities to emigrate to the U.S. notwithstanding. While Rabbi Baeck survived Theresienstadt, three sisters perished. When it was finally liberated, Rabbi Baeck continued to attend to the sick and dying.
On May 5th, 1945, the SS had withdrawn from Theresienstadt. The Commandant, Karl Rahm, was last seen on the morning of May 6th, after which he fled.
In this newsletter published in both German and Czech, from May 6th, 1945, Rabbi Baeck, Dr. Alfred Meissner, Dr. Heinrich Klang, and Dr. Eduard Meijer- all members of the Council of Elders- announce to the “Men and Women of Theresienstadt” that Theresienstadt is now under the protective custody of the International Red Cross, that the war is not yet over and that the remaining inhabitants of the Ghetto are safe as long as the remain in Theresienstadt. Anyone who leaves the camp can be exposed to all the risks of the war. Theresienstadt has taken over the care of “the martyrs” in the small fortress ( Kleine Festung ). The survivors are exhorted to maintain calm and order and help with the work.
This announcement appears in H.G. Adler’s Theresienstadt 1941-1945. A copy appears as well in the Central European University in Hungary.
Postcard with black and white image of a garden, bottom left corner marked “Bad Pyrmont,” bottom right corner marked “Palmengarten.” Back stamped by U.S. Army postal Service with date “May 8 1945.”
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: Army Sergeant Charles Witham, 334th Infantry Regiment Stationed in Germany, sends and Army-censored postcard- US Army Postal Service 84- from Bad Pyrmont to his wife in Kansas on V-E Day, May 8, 1945. This postcard is one of a number he sent, obviously in celebration of the end of the war in the European theatre. Interestingly, the postcard carries no message: the date says it all.
Front: Tan paper, folded horizontally. Top half has printed picture of three Russian armymen standing on top of a tank. One holds a red flag with the hammer and sickle on it. Airplanes in the background. Back: Black-lined paper with a handwritten note in Russian. Some damage at the bottom.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: By this date of 5/10/45, the German army had surrendered just 3 days before.
White papers with typewritten message.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: A testimoy from a German political leader through interrogation by the Allies. 12. Here, he describes his actions as a Nazi member of the NSDAP. As a cell leader he claims he conveyed NSDAP ideas to other party members. He claims that he led a clean and honest life, never committing crimes against Jews nor was he present at riots against them. "Crimes happen," he states, "because someone is born a criminal." He asks his interrogators to question other people about his character who have known him since 1933. He tries to assure his interrogators that he never committed acts against his morals and customs, and thus is not aware of any guilt.
Typed letter in Hebrew, typewritten date, '13.6.45' at top left.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: Dr. Landauer was an ardent Zionist, playing an active role in the Zionist movement in Germany and Palestine. He was one of the founders of the Youth Aliyah in 1935. After World War II he was head of the Jewish Agency office in Munich.
Front: Photo of Petain seated, in uniform; paragraph of text reads,'NY9-June 30) Petain's Friend Named in Plot -- A former officer and friend of former Marshal Henri Philippe Petain (above) was named as the "soul of the plot" to overthrow the French Republic in a report today by the government-operated news agency, Agence Francaise de Presse. This photo of Petain was made during his trial in July, 1945. (See Wire Story) (APWirephoto) gww20940fls)1947. Back: Hand stamp date 'JUN 30 1947'.
Front: Swiss Cross emblem on green paper. Interior: Photograph, biographical and travel information for Attias Rafael of Yugoslavia.