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"Sponsors Needed: New DPs Will Enter 'U'"

Michigan Daily DPs Enter U
The Michigan Daily

When Congress passed the Displaced Persons (DP) Act in the summer of 1948, many DPs prepared to leave Europe for the United States. Thousands of young adults among them hoped to take advantage of educational opportunities there. In order to be eligible to immigrate under the provisions of the DP Act, however, they first needed to find American sponsors who would facilitate their resettlement in the US.1

On some American college and university campuses, students and faculty members set up organizations that assisted DPs who wanted to enroll in their schools. For instance, students at the University of Michigan founded the Committee for Displaced Students in order to help place DPs at the university. As noted in this student newspaper article from April 1949, a crucial aspect of the committee's work was to secure campus sponsors for DP students. Various student organizations fulfilled that role, but student groups like Theta Xi, the Lutheran Students Association, and the Panhellenic Organization did not just assist DP students financially. They also provided housing and a social support network, and they organized events to welcome DPs into the campus community.

The University of Michigan was far from the only school in the US where American student groups actively supported DP students. Groups similar to the University of Michigan's Committee for Displaced Students formed at other colleges and universities around the country. This included schools like Mississippi State University, Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, Barnard College in New York, Bennington College in Vermont, and Centenary College in Louisiana.2

Thanks to student-run groups, hundreds of college-aged DPs were able to pursue degrees at American institutions after immigrating to the United States. For many of them, this presented a crucial step in their journey of becoming Americans.3

For more on the DP Act, see Haim Genizi, America's Fair Share: The Admission and Resettlement of Displaced Persons, 1945–1952 (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1993). 

Instrumental in the development of a nationwide network of student-run groups that sought to bring DPs to their campuses was businessman William H. Sudduth. Sudduth had formerly worked for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitations Administration (UNRRA) in Europe, where he directed a program for displaced students at Heidelberg University in Germany. When UNRRA ceased operations in 1947, the students Sudduth had helped with enrolling at Heidelberg were stranded there without any support. Sudduth decided to help them come to the US by reaching out to various American colleges that might be willing to host them. For more details, see the the article "Displaced Students to be Supported by Campus Group," in The Michigan Daily, October 16, 1948. 

In this oral history interview, Adi Eisenberg, who came to the US as a DP in 1951, discusses his experiences as a college student in the United States.

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Archival Information for This Item

Source (Credit)
The Michigan Daily
External Website The Michigan Daily
Date Created
April 1, 1949
Page(s) 6
Language(s)
English
Location
Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
Document Type Newspaper Article
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