Rebuilding The Jewish Community In DP Camp Foehrenwald - MSU - Research Paper

2852 words - 12 pages

Rebuilding the Jewish Community in DP Camp Foehrenwald
After the Holocaust had officially ended in 1945, a total of 6 million Jews were killed and
only 250,000 German Jews made it out alive. Survivors were forced to rebuild their lives which
were brutally taken away from them during the Holocaust. Thousands of survivors could not
return home (due to anti-Semitic violence), or immigrate (due to pre-war visa restrictions). The
allied powers who defeated Nazi Germany took it upon themselves to share the responsibility of
the Jewish refugees. The allied powers built over 400 Displaced Persons (DP) camps throughout
war torn Germany in order to give the surviving Jews a temporary home. These temporary
“homes” would help rejuvenate the Jewish survivors while simultaneously restoring their Jewish
identity. DP camp Foehrenwald was the most popular DP camp amongst all of the camps built.
Foehrenwald offered social, economic, and political elements that restored the Jewish
community within the gates of the camp.
Background Information
Although the genocidal state of Germany had collapsed in the year of 1945, anti-
Semitism was still very prevalent. Surviving Jews discovered they could not return to their
homelands; they were quickly pushed away and not welcomed. Neighbors who were not targeted
by the Nazi regime took over the houses and jobs of those who were and denied them the right to
give their pre-war life back (Kramen, 1). Holocaust survivors had no where to call home and
quickly became refugees within their own country. While this Jewish refugee crisis was
occurring, the Allied powers who defeated Nazi Germany decided it was their duty to share the
responsibility of war torn Germany. Right after liberation in 1945, the four allied powers
(France, America, Soviet Union, and Britain) divided Germany into four separate occupation
zones (one for each country). Britain had the North West part of Germany, the Soviet Union had
the North East part of Germany, France had the South West part of Germany, and America had
the South East part of Germany. Immediately following the separation of land, each zone quickly
started building DP camps for the Jewish refugees. Over 400 DP camps were found throughout
Allied-split Germany (YIVO institute).
DP camp Foehrenwald was found in the American occupant zone. It was the most
popular DP camp amongst all of the other DP camps offered to the Jewish refugees. Within the
grounds of the American zone, Foehrenwald was located in Munich Bavaria where “pastoral
scenes and unscathed villages could give the impression that the war had never come to
Bavaria,” (McPherson, 24). The location of the camp removed the Holocaust survivors from the
traumatic life they had just lived through for 6 years. Instead of looking out towards war-torn
villages, or even worse concentration camps, the members of Foehrenwald were able to escape
reality and heal in a community that did not remind them of the w...

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