Hungry People Greet an American Relief Worker in Dachowa, Poland


This photograph, taken by an American aid worker on an inspection tour of Poland in 1921, shows adults and children in Dachowa awaiting relief. In 1918‒19, Jews in Poland lived through a reign of terror. While the country was at war with its neighbors to the east and the south, there were anti-Jewish pogroms and other attacks. The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), a humanitarian organization formed at the beginning of World War I, conducted relief activities for the endangered Jewish population. After the war, the JDC provided food to Jews in Polish towns and villages; dispatched delegations of doctors, public health experts, and social workers; set up soup kitchens; rebuilt hospitals; and opened orphanages. Among the first medical team of JDC representatives was Max Colton, a physician, who took this photograph and others to document the work of the field unit and the communities where it worked. 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