Favus Patients and Their Caregivers in a Treatment Center Isolation Ward in Vilna, Lithuania


In the aftermath of World War I, poverty caused by wartime destruction and dislocation bred disease in Europe. The children in this photograph, taken in Vilna, Poland (present-day Vilnius, Lithuania) in 1921, have their heads wrapped; they are being treated for favus, a fungal skin disease that affects the scalp. The physician (standing, rear right) treating the children has been identified as Mahmud Kajabi. The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), a humanitarian organization created at the start of World War I by American Jewish groups to provide wartime relief to Jewish communities, continued its work after the war, including support for the establishment of Jewish hospitals, child care institutions, food distribution stations, and other institutions throughout Poland, including this treatment center in Vilna. 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 17, 2016