Orphaned Refugees in a Children's Home in Kiev


This orphanage in Kiev, Ukraine, took in children, mostly from small towns, who had survived the pogroms (anti-Jewish riots) of May 1920. In the years immediately following the Russian Revolution and continuing until the end of the Russian Civil War, disputed territories of the former Russian Empire suffered repeated invasions from Ukrainian, Bolshevik, and Polish forces. During this period of political upheaval, there were many pogroms, and disease and starvation were also rampant. In Ukraine, hundreds of thousands of children were left without parents or homes. In the wake of such violence, the first efforts to provide aid were handled by regional organizations such as the Jewish Committee to Aid War Victims (EKOPO), through funding from the Joint Distribution Committee of American Funds for the Relief of Jewish War Sufferers (later the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, both names abbreviated as the JDC). The JDC, a humanitarian organization, was created in the United States at the start of World War I to provide relief from privation and suffering for Jews abroad. The JDC supported homes for orphans, both institutional and private, in Ukraine, Russia, and other war-torn countries. The photograph is from the archives of the JDC, which contain documents, photographs, film, video, oral histories, and artifacts recording the work of the organization from World War I to the present.

Last updated: March 4, 2016