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Film of Emigration Buses Leaving Paris

JDC Buses Leave Paris
US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Courtesy of American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee

Roughly eight million people in Europe remained uprooted and displaced at the end of the World War II, including former forced laborers, political prisoners, Holocaust survivors, and political refugees from territories under Soviet control. Many different private charitable organizations helped provide humanitarian relief and resettlement assistance to many of these Displaced Persons (DPs).

Organizations like the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (usually abbreviated as JDC, or "the Joint") provided crucial support to many Jewish DPs seeking to emigrate from postwar Europe.1 The JDC helped Jewish DPs emigrate legally while also funding the postwar Zionist Brihah movement, which illegally resettled Jews in Palestine in spite of British immigration restrictions.2

In this film, Jewish DPs in Paris board JDC transport buses marked "France to Australia" and "France to So. America." As the luggage is loaded, people say their goodbyes to one another through the windows. Amid the often challenging conditions of life in DP camps, people forged close bonds with their fellow survivors and formed new families and friendships. DP camps had been created to house people temporarily, but they often came to represent a sense of home and community that could be difficult to leave.3

Roughly midway through this clip, the camera captures the presence of a vehicle apparently belonging to a news outlet, Metro Journal. The media coverage of DP departures suggests that such events drew public interest. This footage may have been shown as part of a newsreel preceding a feature film in a movie theater, but it is unclear what narrative purpose it might have served.

For more on the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, see Yehuda Bauer, American Jewry and the Holocaust: The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, 1939–1945 (Jerusalem and Detroit: Institute for Contemporary Jewry, the Hebrew University and Wayne State University Press, 1981).

For more on the Brihah movement, see William Leibner, Brichah or Brihah: Hebrew for Escape or Flight, edited by Phyllis Oster (New York: JewishGen, an affiliate of the Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, 2007); and Tad Szulc, Secret Alliance: The Extraordinary Story of the Rescue of the Jews since World War II (New York: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 1991).


For more on personal attachments formed among DPs, see this song from Deggendorf DP camp and the Booklet for Major Alexander Rosenbaum from Kibbutz Buchenwald.

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Archival Information for This Item

Source (Credit)
US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Courtesy of American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee
Accession Number 4477
RG Number 60.7111
Date Created
1946 to 1948
Duration 00:01:25
Sound No
Paris, France
Moving Image Type Newsreel
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