People Await the Opening of a Soup Kitchen in Aleksandrovsk, Ukraine


This photograph shows hungry people, mostly women and children, waiting with their containers for the soup kitchen to open in Aleksandrovsk (present-day Zaporozhye), Ukraine, in 1921. Famine struck the Soviet Union in 1921, one of the consequences of seven years of war. Under the auspices of the American Relief Administration (ARA) established by the United States government, 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), provided food on a nonsectarian basis to millions of starving people in Ukraine, Russia, and Crimea over the course of a year. The JDC was created at the start of World War I by American Jewish groups uniting to provide coordinated relief from privation and suffering for Jews abroad. Since 1914, the JDC has operated as a global humanitarian organization, providing food, clothing, medicine, child care, job training, and refugee assistance in over 90 countries. The JDC Archives contain photographs, documents, film, video, oral histories and artifacts documenting the organization’s work.

Last updated: March 17, 2016