Friday, February 12, 2016


JULY 1953



Cable from JDC press in Oslo

Norway today welcomed as permanent settlers a group of 53 “hard core” cases from the displaced camps ( DPs) of Germany and Austria.

The refugees, all of them concentration camp survivors and members of their families, consisted of tuberculosis and post TB cases. They arrived here this morning after a two-day trip from Munich under a special emigration scheme sponsored by the Norwegian Government and the Joint Distribution Committee, a major American agency aiding distressed Jews abroad.

Under this project Norway agreed to accept a group of Jewish ”hard core” DP’s - victims of Nazism whose scars are taking longest to heal - as regular immigrant.

JDC in turn met all costs in connection with the transfer of the hard core group, including transportation costs and a lump sum payment per immigrant to the Norwegian government, which will be responsible for their care and maintenance. Also helping to defray the expenses of the movement was a grant from the Ford Foundation, administered through the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. 

Most of the Jewish refugees who arrived today are healthy men and women, no longer in need of hospital care for whom job and housing opportunities will be provided. However, nine of the DPs aboard the transport are active TB cases who will be moved to Norwegian sanatorium for treatment. 

Because of their medical histories, the refugees had been rejected as prospective immigrants by a number of countries to which they applied for entry. With several thousand other DPs still living in the camps, this group constitutes the “hard core” of the remaining Jewish DP problem.

The action of the Norwegian Government in offering permanent haven to the Jewish refugees was hailed by Samuel Haber, JDC Director for Germany, as “a humanitarian gesture of the first order.” Haber recalled that last year Norway accepted 21 post-TB patients plus their families – 42 persons in all – as immigrants. He said he was pleased to note that this experiment had proved so successful that Norway had agreed to accept additional Jewish refugees from DP camps and hospitals. “By its action” Haber said, ”Norway is making a definite contribution to the solution of the Jewish DP problem. At the same time it is setting a humanitarian example which we earnestly hope other countries will follow.”

Samuel Harber

The group consists of 30 family heads plus 23 dependent. Among them are 21 post-TB cases – former patients who are healthy persons today - and nine active TB’s. The group also includes eight children. 

The new arrivals constituted the largest transport of Jewish “hard core” refugees ever to leave the DP zone for permanent settlement. A JDC escort team of physicians and nurses, headed by Dr. Akiba Kohane, Deputy Director of the JDC for Germany, accompanied the transport.

Most of the refugees were resident of Camp Foehrenwald, the last remaining Jewish DP camp in Germany. Others camp from DP centers in Austria. The special JDC transport which brought them here is part of a broad program undertaken by JDC to bring an end to the post-war Jewish DP problem in Europe. Eight years after V-E Day 3,250 Jewish men, women and children still languish in the DP camps of Germany Austria and Italy.

All of the refugees who arrived today were examined and interviewed by a Norwegian Government mission, which spent more than a month in the DP camps this spring interviewing applicants for the JDC transport. The 53 new Norwegians range from children born in the DP installations who have never had a home, to middle-aged persons with memories of happier days before the Nazis confined them in ghettos, herded them into slave labor camps or imprisoned them in concentration camps. Again and again the notation appears in their case histories: “All his or her family wiped out by the Nazis”.


July 1953