Orphanage Kindergarten in Brest-Litovsk, Poland


This photograph shows kindergarten teachers and pupils in a yard of the orphanage on Pushkinskaya Street in Brest-Litovsk, Poland (Yiddish, Brisk; present-day Brest, Belarus). After World War I and the Russo-Polish War that followed (1919‒20), there were tens of thousands of Jewish orphans in Poland. 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 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 JDC supported homes, both public and private, for orphaned children such as those shown here. 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