Jewish Refugees in Rowne, Poland


This photograph of 1921 shows three starving Jewish refugees in Rowne, Poland (present-day Rovno or Rivne, Ukraine), staring at the camera. In addition to the widespread displacement, famine, disease, and economic hardship that existed in the aftermath of World War I, the Jewish populations of Eastern Europe underwent new suffering as a result of the Russian Revolution and subsequent civil war. Rowne, a commercial hub with a large Jewish population, was among the towns visited by the first team of field representatives sent to Poland by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC). Such teams included social workers, physicians, and teachers. The JDC was founded by American Jews in New York City in 1914 to provide wartime relief to Jewish communities. Since 1914, the JDC has operated as a global humanitarian organization, providing food, clothing, medicine, child care, job training, and refugee assistance in more than 90 countries. The photograph is from the archives of the JDC, which contain photographs, documents, film, video, oral histories, and artifacts documenting the work of the organization from World War I to the present.

Last updated: March 17, 2016