Ruined Home, Suceava, Romania


This photograph shows a man posing in front of a home in Suceava (present-day northeastern Romania, until 1918 in southern Bukovina, part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire) that was destroyed during World War I. After the war, the population of Suceava was about one-third Jewish. The Jewish community supported a number of communal philanthropic associations and was the seat of several regional organizations. During this period, outside support was provided by 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). This photograph is from an album documenting the JDC’s work in Bukovina, including a loan for the rebuilding of this home. Encouraging reconstruction, rather than merely providing relief, was a focus of the JDC’s activity in Romania in this period. The JDC was formed in 1914 to send aid, including food, clothing, medicine, funds, and emergency supplies, to the stricken Jews of Europe during the war. The war left in its wake many additional catastrophes—pogroms, epidemics, famine, revolution, and economic ruin—and after the war the JDC continued to play a major role in rebuilding the devastated Jewish communities of Eastern Europe and in sustaining the Jews in Palestine. 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