Graduate Theses & Dissertations

In the Wilderness at Föhrenwald
In 1945, few refugee cases were as complicated as those of the Jewish survivors of the Holocaust who found themselves stranded in defeated Germany but could neither return home due to antisemitic violence nor immigrate to most countries due to extant prewar visa restrictions. Between 1945 and 1947, some 150,000 Jews fleeing ongoing antisemitic violence joined them in American-occupied Bavaria, including thousands who had survived in the Soviet Union—a phenomenon Tony Judt has described as “surviving the peace.” This thesis focuses on Föhrenwald, a United Nations refugee camp outside of Munich. It interweaves oral histories with archival materials from the United Nations and the American Joint Distribution Committee to apply Atina Grossmann’s work on “close encounters” between Jews, Germans, and Americans to a single refugee camp. What emerges is a portrait of the vibrant, if transient, political, social, and educational life Jews built “in the wilderness” of Germany between 1945 and 1947. Author Keywords: Displaced Persons, Föhrenwald, Holocaust survivors, Occupied Germany (1945–49), United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration

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