Self-help by Polish-Jewish refugees in Vilnius

Photo collection by the Jewish Joint Distribution Committee

Refugees who escaped to Lithuania with their luggage, 1940 ©Jewish Joint Distribution Committee Archives, NY_06674_da1, ID 17590

Signs on a door in Vilnius inform refugees about offers of the Refugee Relief Committee and requests of other refugees, 1940 © Jewish Joint Distribution Committee Archives_NY_00231_da1

Refugee reading a newspaper in the reading room of the TOZ, 1940 © Jewish Joint Distribution Committee Archives, NY_00313_da1

Refugee Polish journalists have dinner in their dormitory, 1940 © Jewish Joint Distribution Committee Archives, NY_00310_da1

Refugee Polish journalists have dinner in their dormitory, 1940 © Jewish Joint Distribution Committee Archives, NY_00310_da1

The German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact from August 23, 1939 led to Soviet dominance over the Baltic region. Lithuania was one of the countries that accepted Jewish refugees from Poland and other countries after the beginning of the Second World War. Especially Vilnius became a city of refuge in which a network of self-help quickly developed. The Jewish Joint Distribution Committee supported refugees with the help of local organizations. The photos kept in the Joint Archive account to how diverse this support network was: While people pinned requests and offers for plumbing services and food stamps on a door converted to a bulletin board, refugees could use the community rooms of the TOZ and Refugee Relief Committee to read and for social gatherings.

Jewish Joint Distribution Committee Archives

Photo 1, Luggage: NY_06674_da1, ID 17590

Photo 2, Bulletin board: NY_00231_da1

Photo 3, Newspaper: NY_00313_da1

Photo 4, Community room: NY_00303_da1, ID 11339

Photo 5, Club room: NY_00310_da1

Search