Page Twelve

Holocaust Aftermath: Setting Captives Free – Jewish Displaced Persons and the Revival of Zionism

Jewish survivors faced severe difficulties after liberation, because most had lost their families, their homes, and all their possessions. Before World War II, political Zionism – the desire for a Jewish state in Palestine – was a minority view among the Jews of Europe. After the Holocaust, the majority of Jewish survivors cast their lot with the Zionists. In Displaced Persons camps, an organization called She’erit ha-Peletah (Surviving Remnant) urged Jews to petition Trygve Lie, Secretary General of the United Nations, for passage to Palestine. Printed form letters and pre-addressed envelopes were distributed to facilitate that aim. In the ensuing B’richa [“escape” in Hebrew], a quarter million Jews emigrated to the Holy Land, the largest organized illegal migration in modern times. In a special session, the United Nations voted on November 29, 1947, to partition Palestine into two states, one Jewish and the other Arab. In April 1948, Britain began withdrawing its forces from Palestine, and on May 14 the state of Israel was established, with a proclamation that Jewish immigration would be unrestricted.

Pictured Above: A May 2, 1947, form letter from Regina Wejnberg, a Jewish former concentration camp inmate at Wetzlar Assembly center 538, United States occupation zone of Germany, to United Nations Secretary General Trygve Lie.

Allied Control Council 75-pfennig occupation stamp, correct surface postage to the U.S.

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