An unknown author describes the barriers that stand in the way of those who want to emigrate.
Emigration, emigration – more and more often you hear the word among many camp Jews, and it fills them with hope and dreams […] But what do the sweet dreams look like in reality? Letters tell about it, written by those who arrived, by the disappointed, and often, the desperate … unemployment, special laws for immigrants and foreigners, long-lasting forced accommodation with relatives […]. But all these are peanuts in comparison to the great epidemic that accompanies the ‘Wandering Jew’ to the new Diaspora countries. Antisemitism is the name of this epidemic, which knows no borders or fences, which penetrates into all corners of the globe and makes life and the normal existence for Jews in Diaspora countries difficult.
After the end of World War II, Berlin became a place of refuge for millions of refugees and displaced persons (DPs). Several groups of people who had lost their homes through war, enslavement and persecution fell under the DP status.
In addition to former forced laborers, foreign contract workers and prisoners of war, Jewish displaced persons also found themselves in Berlin. They had been liberated from Nazi concentration camps or on death marches or were returning from exile. They called themselves she‘erit hapletah, (Hebrew for “the surviving remnant”, in Yiddish sheyres hapleyte). For most of them, Germany, as the land of the perpetrators, was the last place they wanted to stay.
Three larger transit camps for Jewish DPs were established in the destroyed city. Being housed in a camp again had a retraumatizing effect on many. But within a few months, the camps developed into self-governing small towns within the urban area of Berlin. The camps remained only until 1948, but some residents stayed in the city for the rest of their lives.
In August 1946, the first issue of the Yiddish language camp newspaper Undzer Lebn appeared, which was to be the central organ of camp life. Often written humorously, the authors devoted themselves to topics of social, political, and cultural interest. The newspaper was published at irregular intervals and had a circulation of up to 3,000. In addition, numerous Yiddish-language publications appeared in the DP camps. Separate Yiddish libraries were established.