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.

The American Public Bathhouse in Krakow, Poland

This photograph depicts a mikvah (bathhouse) in Krakow, rebuilt in 1921‒22. The old Jewish ritual bath building, facing Szeroka Broad Street, left in ruins by war, was utilized in the reconstruction. The sign in Polish reads: “American Public Bath House.” World War I tore a calamitous path through the Jewish communities of Eastern Europe, leaving in its wake widespread famine, disease, and economic hardship. In the immediate postwar years beleaguered Jewish communities faced continued challenges that threatened their existence. New socio-economic realities stripped European Jews of their former livelihoods, leaving them without the means to help themselves. Their communal infrastructure also lay in ruins. To address these conditions, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), a humanitarian organization created at the start of World War I, helped the Polish Jewish community to rebuild communal institutions and to develop new health and welfare programs. This 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.

A Health Team during an Anti-Typhus Campaign, Poland

During World War I and in the wars and upheavals that followed, the destruction of homes and public bathing facilities in Poland and the displacement of large populations led to widespread epidemics of typhus and other diseases. The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), a humanitarian organization created to aid Jews affected by the war and its aftermath, supported medical and sanitary work by existing regional organizations. In April 1920 the JDC sent American Doctor Harry Plotz, the discoverer of a typhus vaccine, to investigate the crisis conditions in Poland (including in regions currently part of Ukraine) and to develop a more comprehensive, systematic approach to preventing the spread of disease. Plotz brought a team of doctors, nurses and health inspectors and a mobile delousing machine, which heated clothing and blankets to very high temperatures. This photograph shows a team of medical professionals involved in the anti-typhus campaign. 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.

Milk Distribution at a Children’s Health Clinic in Piotrków Trybunalski, Poland

The mothers shown in this photograph are receiving milk from the staff of a children’s health clinic at a town in Poland. The conflicts and pogroms that took place during and after World War I brought disease, famine, and dislocation to hundreds of thousands of Jews in Central and Eastern Europe, especially in Poland. In response, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), a humanitarian organization created at the start of World War I by American Jewish groups, established soup kitchens, reconstructed and equipped hospitals, supported orphanages, and sent food in convoys of trucks to hundreds of towns and villages in Poland. The child care program, involving about 400,000 children who required extra help, was considered of the greatest importance. The JDC established milk stations where babies and children could receive a glass of milk for less than one cent. In Warsaw, at the height of the emergency period, as many as 35,000 children were supplied with milk each day through these stations. 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.

Students and Faculty Outside the Jewish Community School in Warsaw, Poland

This photograph shows a group of students and faculty standing outside the Jewish Community School of the Workmen’s Home in Warsaw, Poland, in 1921. World War I and its disruptive aftermath threatened the survival of the many religious, educational, and cultural institutions that prior to the war had made Poland one of the most important centers of Jewish scholarship, learning, and culture. In the interwar period, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), a humanitarian organization created at the start of World War I, played a vital role in restoring and helping to support Jewish schools and institutions, working in partnership with the wide spectrum of Jewish groups and ideologies: Hasidic groups, Zionists, Bundists, Yiddishists, and representatives of mainstream Orthodoxy. 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.

Carpentry Class at a Jewish School in Krakow, Poland

This photograph depicts a carpentry class at a Jewish school in Krakow, Poland, circa 1921‒22. World War I tore a calamitous path through the Jewish communities of Eastern Europe, leaving in its wake widespread famine, disease, and economic hardship. In the immediate postwar years beleaguered Jewish communities faced continued challenges that threatened their existence. New socio-economic realities stripped European Jews of their former livelihoods, leaving them without the means to help themselves. Their communal infrastructure also lay in ruins. To address these conditions, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), a humanitarian organization created at the start of World War I, helped the Polish Jewish community to rebuild communal institutions and to develop new health and welfare programs. In the interwar years, the JDC worked with the Organization for Rehabilitation through Training (ORT) to develop vocational training programs for Jewish craftsmen and vocational training programs in Jewish schools. 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.

School Band of the Natanson Professional School in Warsaw, Poland

This photograph shows the school band of the Natanson Professional School of the Jewish Community in Warsaw, Poland, in 1921. Students pose with their instruments at the entrance to the school. World War I tore a calamitous path through the Jewish communities of Eastern Europe, leaving in its wake widespread famine, disease, and economic hardship. In the immediate postwar years beleaguered Jewish communities faced continued challenges that threatened their existence. New socio-economic realities stripped European Jews of their former livelihoods, leaving them without the means to help themselves. Their communal infrastructure also lay in ruins. To address these conditions, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), a humanitarian organization created at the start of World War I, helped the Polish Jewish community to rebuild communal institutions. In the interwar years, the JDC played a vital role in restoring and helping to support Jewish schools and institutions, working in partnership with the wide spectrum of Jewish groups and ideologies: Hasidic groups, Zionists, Bundists, Yiddishists, and representatives of mainstream Orthodoxy. 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.

Students Learn Carpentry in a Woodworking Shop in Jaroslaw, Poland

This photograph shows students and teachers in a carpentry course in Jaroslaw in 1922, one of many post-World War I vocational training programs in Poland set up in response to economic hardship. The classes were run by the Organization for Rehablitation through Training (ORT) and sponsored by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC). The JDC was established by American Jewish groups at the start of World War I to help destitute Jews in Europe and Palestine. Since 1914, the JDC has provided food, clothing, medicine, child care, job training, and refugee assistance in over 90 countries. 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.

Zhvandūn, Number 20, Saturday, August 4, 1973

Zhvandūn, generally known as “Zhwandun,” was one of the most popular magazines published in Afghanistan in the second half of the 20th century. It began as a progressive magazine published both in Persian and Pushto, beginning in May 1949. The magazine presented articles on Afghan and global history, archaeological discoveries and artifacts, poetry and language, biographies of Afghan and foreign figures, arts and culture, philosophy and religion, and other topics relating to culture and everyday life, including music, dance, plays, health, and households. While Zhvandūn presented articles on literary, historical, educational, and entertainment topics throughout the time it was published, the changing social and political dynamics of Afghanistan influenced the character of the editorial content. In the 1960s, the magazine reflected the royalism of the Kingdom of Afghanistan. In contrast, the leftist regimes of the 1980s promoted revolutionary content, such as discussions of Marxist ideology, anticapitalist chants, and articles on agricultural reforms. While Zhvandūn marketed itself as a magazine for khanawadah (families), its main audience was the post-World War II generation of urban Afghans of various backgrounds: students, academics, writers, poets, researchers, and general readers. Zhvandūn was published every 15 days until 1952, when it became a weekly publication. On May 6, 1954, the management of Zhvandūn was given to the Riyasat-i Mustaqil-i Matbu’at (Autonomous Directorate of Publications). The Vizarat-i Ittilaʻat va Kultur (Ministry of Information and Culture) took over the magazine in 1970, and managed it until 1982, when control was transferred to Itihadyah-yi Navisandagan Jumhur-i Dimukratik-i Afghanistan (Union of the Writers of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan). The renamed Union of Afghan Writers issued separate editions of Zhvandūn (one in Pushto and another in Persian) under the mujahideen government in the 1990s, until the magazine ceased publishing in 1996. 

Zhvandūn, Number 21, Saturday, August 11, 1973

Zhvandūn, generally known as “Zhwandun,” was one of the most popular magazines published in Afghanistan in the second half of the 20th century. It began as a progressive magazine published both in Persian and Pushto, beginning in May 1949. The magazine presented articles on Afghan and global history, archaeological discoveries and artifacts, poetry and language, biographies of Afghan and foreign figures, arts and culture, philosophy and religion, and other topics relating to culture and everyday life, including music, dance, plays, health, and households. While Zhvandūn presented articles on literary, historical, educational, and entertainment topics throughout the time it was published, the changing social and political dynamics of Afghanistan influenced the character of the editorial content. In the 1960s, the magazine reflected the royalism of the Kingdom of Afghanistan. In contrast, the leftist regimes of the 1980s promoted revolutionary content, such as discussions of Marxist ideology, anticapitalist chants, and articles on agricultural reforms. While Zhvandūn marketed itself as a magazine for khanawadah (families), its main audience was the post-World War II generation of urban Afghans of various backgrounds: students, academics, writers, poets, researchers, and general readers. Zhvandūn was published every 15 days until 1952, when it became a weekly publication. On May 6, 1954, the management of Zhvandūn was given to the Riyasat-i Mustaqil-i Matbu’at (Autonomous Directorate of Publications). The Vizarat-i Ittilaʻat va Kultur (Ministry of Information and Culture) took over the magazine in 1970, and managed it until 1982, when control was transferred to Itihadyah-yi Navisandagan Jumhur-i Dimukratik-i Afghanistan (Union of the Writers of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan). The renamed Union of Afghan Writers issued separate editions of Zhvandūn (one in Pushto and another in Persian) under the mujahideen government in the 1990s, until the magazine ceased publishing in 1996.