Wednesday, March 5, 2014



July 14, 1955

Because of the successful rehabilitation and absorption into the Norwegian economy of refugees with medical histories of tuberculosis, the Norwegian Parliament has approved new legislation to admit 78 chronically ill DPs from Germany, of whom 41 are Jewish refugees, sponsored by the Joint Distribution Committee.

At the same time JCD has made a gift to the Norwegian Government’s rehabilitation center in appreciation of its successful experiment in transforming the chronically ill into useful self-supporting citizens.

The news was made known last week at a press conference in Oslo by the Norwegian Refugee Council, Dr. Erling Steen. Chairman of the Counsel and President of the Norwegian Red Cross presided.  Other speakers included Dr. Gudmund Harlem, Director of the rehabilitation center, Dr. Galtung Hansen, head of the TB divisions of the Ministry of Health, and Charles Jordan, Assistant Director-General of JDC.

Foehrenwald was one of the largest DP camps. It was established in June 1945 in the American occupied zone in Germany, southwest of Munich. The buildings of the camp had previously been used to house IG Farben employees and some had held forced laborers. By the end of 1946 there were appx 250,000 Jewish DPs. Foehrenwald was the last remaining DP camp in Europe. It was closed in 1957. Courtesy Yad Vashem.

“No country has done more for its size in reclaiming and rehabilitating the most desperate of the remaining DPs than has Norway” Jordan said. “You have provided scientific and technical facilities that have proved remarkably successful and you have added to that a sympathetic understanding and warmhearted hospitality. Such a combination is necessary if these veterans of persecution and disease are to be saved for humanity and for normal living.

Charles Jordan, Courtesy JDC
“The story of what you are doing has been widely publicized, and has served as an inspiration to men of good will in every country. I feel confident that the results obtained here have helped to inspire the amendments to US immigration laws, which are now before Congress and which will allow the admission into the United States of a certain number of refugees with tuberculosis histories.”

How completely possible it is to rehabilitate tuberculosis, was stressed in a report made by Hansen. The first group of sick refugees allowed into Norway in 1951 numbered 105, of whom 90 percent were adults with pulmonary TB and 10 percent children with relatively light symptoms.

“It must be pointed out from the start,” Mr. Hansen said, “that these refugees did not come here just to get treatment. What was most important for most of them was to find a place where they could settle after treatment to become useful citizens, get a job and be able to support themselves.

“In checking on these 105 today, three years later, we find that five of the most severely ill have died, seven have left the country, five of them after successful treatment, and 12 are still under treatment.

Of the remaining 81 cases, 76 are now leading normal lives, 11 are school children, eight are housewives and the other 57 are usefully employed, supporting themselves and their families. Only five refugees who are living outside hospitals are unable fully to support themselves, three of them being over 60 years old and the other two being able to contribute to their own support by part-time work.”

Mr. Steen announced that the newest groups elected and approved would start coming to Norway in August. In addition, he made it known that the Norwegian Government had made provisions for the admission of further refugees during 1955 and 1956.

The transportation of Jewish refugees from Germany to Norway will be provided by the United HIAS Service, whose staff works hand in hand with JDC in the selection of candidates for the Norway transport.

Courtesy: JDC