Jewish Charity Groups: Œuvre de Secours aux Enfants

Figure 1.-- This photo was taken during the mid-1930s during a summer camp in Bukovina, a historical region in Central Europe, currently divided between Ukraine and Romania. The camp was organized by a Jewish humanitarian organization, the Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants (OSE) founded during 1912 in Saint Petersburg. All of these children we probably killed as part of the Holocaust by the Romanian Army when they reentered Bukovina with the Germans (June 1941). Click on the image to see the rest of the children and for information about Bukovina.

Jewish doctors founded the Obshchetsvo Zdravookhraneniya Yevreyiev ( Organisation for the health protection of Jews--OZE) in Saint Petersburg, Russia just before World War I (1912). The goal was to help needy members of the Jewish population. OZE opened branches were established in other countries. World War I and the Russian Revolution transformed Russia. The Bolsheviks did not approve of private groups orgabized outside the Communust Party, even charitable groups. As a result of the interference by Bolshevik officials, the OZE relocated in Berlin where it received support from Germany's well-established Jewish community (1923). Albert Einstein lent his name to the organization and became the honorary president. When Hitler and the NAZIs seized power, OZE adminisrators fled to France. It was renamed the Œuvre de Secours aux Enfants (Society for Rescuing Children/Organization to Save the Children), retaining a similar acronym-OSE. The OSE during World War II, saved and aided many hundreds of mainly Jewish refugee children befdore the fall of Frnce. Ecen after the German vicyory (June 1940), OSE managed to hide many children from the German and Vichy police. OSE ran Children's Homes, often called 'Chateaux' but were mostly large country mansions. Jewish children of various ages, including infants, were cared for in the homes, after parents had to go into hiding or were deported to the death camps. OSE continued to be active after liberation (June-August 1944) in assisting Holocaust survivors.


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Created: 4:23 AM 2/15/2010
Last updated: 10:11 PM 12/26/2013