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From Destruction to Rebirth: Jewish Displaced Persons After the Shoah

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 15 | 6:30pm

David Ben-Gurion in DP camp Bergen-Belsen, October 1945. YIVO Archives.
Avinoam Patt (University of Hartford)

By 1947, 250,000 survivors lived in Displaced Persons Camps in post-war Germany. Known as the She’erit Hapletah, or “Surviving Remnant,” this group created a remarkably dynamic society that included a flourishing DP press, theater life, Zionist youth movements, athletic clubs, historical commissions, yeshivot, and a fiercely independent political system. Avinoam Patt and others marked the 70th anniversary of the end of the Shoah with a special look at life in the DP camps following the war.

A screening of 'Lang ist der Veg' (Long is the Road)—filmed in 1948 by and about Jewish displaced persons, and shot on location at the Landsberg DP camp—followed Prof. Patt's talk. 'Lang is der Veg' is the first feature film to represent the Holocaust from a Jewish perspective.


Avinoam J. Patt is the Philip D. Feltman Professor of Modern Jewish History at the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford, where he is also director of the Museum of Jewish Civilization. Previously, he worked as the Miles Lerman Applied Research Scholar for Jewish Life and Culture at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM). He received his Ph.D. in Modern European History and Hebrew and Judaic Studies from New York University. He is the author of Finding Home and Homeland: Jewish Youth and Zionism in the Aftermath of the Holocaust (Wayne State University Press) and co-editor (with Michael Berkowitz) of a collected volume on Jewish Displaced Persons, titled We are Here: New Approaches to the Study of Jewish Displaced Persons in Postwar Germany (Wayne State University Press). He is a contributor to several projects at the USHMM, and is co-author of the source volume, entitled Jewish Responses to Persecution, 1938-1940 (USHMM/Alta Mira Press). He has also published numerous articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia articles on various topics related to Jewish life and culture before, during, and after the Holocaust. He is co-editor of the recently published anthology of recent American Jewish fiction entitled The New Diaspora: The Changing Landscape of American Jewish Fiction (with Mark Shechner and Victoria Aarons; Wayne State University Press in January 2015).