University of Minnesota
Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies


Gallery of Photographs

Maxine Rude's Displaced Persons

"Displaced Persons were merely survivors stateless And homeless; their families had been slaughtered in extermination camps, lost in concentration camps, or, if lucky, were survivors and were now in other displaced All their possessions had been confiscated In wild juxtaposition, they were still in a the lowest level of persons camps or destroyed Germany that had humanity.

maxine rudeAt the end the war they were rounded up and temporarily put into camps where teams of rescue and social workers gathered and recorded as much family background aspossible. Then began the difficult search for loved ones who might be alive.Rehabilitation and repatriation and the still followed.

Inside the camps, there was domestic activity of all kinds. The peoples cultures often came out in what they made and what they did.

In Jewish camps, discussions were often cerebral philosophical. They focused on education, music, and arts. There was good organization with much planning for the future. Going to Palestine was foremost in their thoughts. The people lived each day preparing for the realization of going to their homeland, Palestine. How enlightening to hear their determination. They knew of the magnitude of the political obstacles. Yet their goal was solid. Nothing would deter them."

-Maxine Rude

Photo: Lft: Maxine Rude and Genya Markon, Curator of Photography, United States Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC. March 11, 1997. Rude was brought to the Museum to help identify her photos from the post-war period. Courtesy of USHMM..

UNRRA Children's Center
UNRRA Children's Center, Biberach, Germany (French Zone),  1946.
UNRRA Czechoslovakian nurse with oprhans
UNRRA Czechoslovakian nurse with orphans, 1945.
Jewish Orphan
A Jewish Orphan, Cared for by a German Nun, UNRRA Children's Center, Kloster-Indersdorf, near Augsburg, Germany,  1946 .

Children issued shoes
Children issued shoes at UNRRA Displaced Persons Center, Wetheim, Germany,  1945.

Displaced Person's Camp art fair
Young Polish Jewish artist at Displaced Persons' Camp art fair,  1946.

Displaced Persons' Camp Art class, Berchtesgarden, Germany, 1946

Children's exercise class at UNRRA Center, Wertheim, Germany,  1946.

Displaced Person Music instructor and students, Polish Camp, Wertheim, Germany, 1946

Maxine Rude and Norman Weaver in Rude's photo lab, Hoechst, Germany, 1945-46.
Family room in camps
Typical family room in an UNRRA Displaced Persons' Camp,  West Germany, 1945.
Berlin in ruins
Ruins in Berlin, Germany after Allied bombing, 1945.
Bombed church.
Bombed church end of Kurfurstendam Weg, Berlin – famous landmark,  1945.
Allied bombing ruins in Berlin.
Fate of Berlin – Allied bombing ruins, 1945.
Displaced person baking bread.
Young Displaced Person baking bread for his camp, Germany, 1946
Displaced persons baking bread.
Displaced Persons baking daily bread supply for their camp, Germany, 1946.
Memorial Day parade at Polish D.P. Camp.
Memorial Day parade at a Polish D.P. Camp, U.S. Zone, Germany, 1946.
Polish D.P. Camp.
UNRRA Polish D.P. Camp, Germany.  Residents spent much time beautifying their temporary residence, 1946.
Message over UNRRA warehouse
"Where the German soldier stands no one else may enter"…This became a UNRRA warehouse, 1945.
Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt at Zeilsheim DP Camp, Germany after the death of her husband, 1945.
Polish priest with orphan.
Polish Priest with Orphan child at UNRRA Displaced Persons Camp, Germany, 1946.
D.P. artist at an UNRRA camp.
Displaced Person artist at an UNRRA Camp in Germany.  Such talent emerged in all camps,  1946.
D.P. paints a mural.
UNRRA school & recreation room in the French Zone, Lindau, Germany.  A Displaced Person paints a mural, 1946.
Camp firefighters.
Displaced Persons organize UNRRA camp firefighters, wearing former German helmets painted black.  Germany, 1946.
Wooden arch.
Wooden arch at entry of Polish Repatriation Center, Germany, 1946.
Nurse-social workerUNRRA nurse–social worker with orphans eating at a table, Polish D.P. Camp, Wertheim, Germany, 1945. D.P. orphans.
D. P. orphans at Kloster-Indersdorf, Germany UNRRA hostel, 1945.
Orphans getting shoes.
Orphans receive a new pair of shoes from the UNRRA Warehouse, UNRRA Children's Center, Aglasterhausen, Germany, 1945.
Codliver oil time.
Codliver oil time, UNRRA Children's Center, Aglaterhausen, Germany, 1945.
Nurse with children
Nurse with children – their toilet routine.  UNRRA Children's Center, Aglasterhausen, Germany, 1945.
Orphaned children at Koster-Indersdorf.
Orphaned children at Kloster-Indersdorf, Germany with Czechoslovakian UNRRA nurse, Greta Fischerova, 1945.
Dr. Hong Tuan examines an orphan child.
Chinese Dr. Hong Tuan of UNRRA Team 206 examines an orphan child, UNRRA Health Center,Freiburg, Germany (French Zone), 1945.

Jewish boy awaits the trip to Palestine.
A Jewish boy—at the Zeilsheim Children's Center, Germany—awaits the trip to Palestine, 1946.
Undistributed, hidden medical supplies.
Medical supplies purchased for UNRRA were discovered in a Czechoslovakian warehouse not distributed though needed, 1946.
Altar boys before a painting of The Black Virgin.
Altar Boys before a painting of The Black Virgin – a copy done by a Displaced Person at the Insul Camp, Berchtesgaden, Germany, 1945.
Polish repatriation train.
Polish repatriation train at Lauf, Germany; UNRRA staff employees at departure.  1946.
Staff member bids farewell.
UNRRA staff member bids farewell with flowers to Displaced Persons being repatriated to Poland; trains were decorated for the event.  Lauf, Germany, 1946.

Front entrance to crematorium.Front Entrance to Crematorium of Concentration Camp at Dachau, Near Munich, Germany, 1946

M.R.: Note chimney for smoke from furnace where bodies were burned.
Dachau, opened in April, 1933, was a camp for political prisoners and was never classified as an extermination camp. However, there is some debate about whether a gas chamber on the premises was ever used. Some American camp liberators insist it was, while others do not. Every camp disposed of dead bodies by cremation, which was the German law at that time.

Orphan in hospital bed.Orphan in UNRRA Hospital Bed, Brno, Czechoslovakia, 1946

M.R.: The face of fear, loneliness, and isolation was seen on thousands of children whose parents were torn out of their lives disappearing into concentration camps or slave labor. As time has passed and clear knowledge has become available, it is even more horrifying to realize that this could happen.

Boy and infantBoy & Infant - WW II Lost Children - UNRRA-1945 Children's Center, Kloster Indersdorf, Germany, 1945

M.R.: Within the gloomy confine of an old monastery, without parents or home, a young boy cares for an infant he had never known before. The pathway to their security was not yet real, only temporary. Where are they today? Fifty years have passed since I saw them...

Greta Fischerova with orphan childrenGreta Fischerova with Orphan Children at Table, Kloster Indersdorf, near Augsburg, Germany, 1945

M.R.: These hungry children anxiously eat a meal. The Czechoslovakian nurse was with them daily. She gave them love; the children seemed happy and content. Nights were something else. When lights went out for sleeping, there was quiet at first. Then an eerie wail would come from one of the children. Soon others chimed in and the room became a chamber of horrific harmony. I was told that it was reminiscent of the Tales of Treblinka, a Nazi death camp.

Preparing a meal.Workers Preparing to Serve a Meal at a Displaced Persons Children's Home, Germany (U.S. Zone), 1945

M.R.: The usual fare served at this Children's Camp in West Germany was soup and whole grain bread. As more children arrived, food was sought from any source. These women are unsung heroines. Every touch and kindness afforded each bewildered child by these women was a tiny step towards life.

Eleanor Roosevelt visiting ZeilsheimEleanor Roosevelt Visits Zeilsheim Jewish Displaced Persons Camp, near Wiesbaden, West Germany, 1945

M.R.: This was to have been an unannounced visit but the ''grapevine'' in the camps overshadowed other intelligence efforts. Mrs. Roosevelt was warmly greeted by these people who had but one thought in mind - Palestine

Eleanor RooseveltEleanor Roosevelt Visits Zeilsheim Jewish Displaced Persons Camp, near Wiesbaden, Germany, 1945

M.R.: Eleanor Roosevelt, dressed in black in mourning for her husband, President Franklin Roosevelt, visits the Zeilsheim Camp. A tour of the entire camp was planned. I went ahead of the group to the library. Inside I found women scrubbing and cleaning. They were throwing torn and dogeared books and material out a window into rain and mud. When Mrs. Roosevelt entered, she saw immaculate but almost empty shelves and remarked, "Is this all they have to read?" I wanted to interrupt and take her to the window where she could see evidence of voracious readers. Admired and respected wherever she went, it was well known that she was Chair of the committee to draft a universal Declaration of Human Rights.

LaGuardiaUNPRA Director General Fiorello LaGuardia at Funk Kaserne Emigration and Repatriation Center and Repatriation Center, near Munich, Germany, 1946

M.R.: Hedwig Rademacher (seated) speaks with LaGuardia about her imminent return to Bojanov, Poland, on a repatriation train. Able to speak several languages, LaGuardia could speak with displaced persons of many nationalities, including Rademacher, who had been forced labor during the War.

Kaiser clothing collection.Kaiser Clothing Collection From U.S , UNRRA Warehouse, Hanau, Germany, 1945

M.R.: Clothing specifically for the displaced persons poured in from many countries. Distribution became a major problem when it was discovered that much of the clothing was in unusable condition due to the length of time taken to process it for shipment. Rot, mold, button disintegration, and overall deterioration was prevalent.

UNRRA supply warehouseUNRRA Supply Warehouse, Hanau, West Germany, 1945

M.R.: Shown in front of an UNRRA warehouse is a fleet of trucks sent by the U.S. National Catholic Welfare Committee to be used for distribution of supplies. The warehouse contains both food and clothing.

Toy factory.Toy Factory Started by Displaced Persons in the French Zone of Germany, 1946

M.R.: One of fifteen small businesses in Bindau. The French were the first to give displaced persons the right to work within the German economy eventually to make their own.

Henryk MichinelkHenryk Michinelk Painting a Mural at UNRRA Children's Center, Aglasterhausen, Germany, 1946

M.R.: It was always such a revelation seeing the art done by those in the camps. So much was dark and heavy, often reflecting the justice that had vanished from their lives. After completing this mural, this young man would make the trip to Zeilsheim, a transit camp. There he would join other Jewish displaced persons who were preparing to leave for Palestine

Vegetable gardenVegetable Garden - Displaced Persons Camp for People of Balkan Background, Germany, 1945

M.R.: Repatriation was a slow and difficult process. Much effort was expended by UNRRA personnel to give displaced persons a feeling of being cared for. UNRRA focused relentlessly on repatriating them to the land from whence they came - if it was possible. Here several families of Balkan background come together to grow a vegetable garden.

Children playing

Children playing – Typical Displaced Persons Camp, West Germany, 1945

M.R.: It was a redeeming experience to see children who had never met, play so warmly together in these camps. Often one heard different languages spoken. Understanding foreign words however, was peripheral to the delight of their play.

UNRRA transient campUNRRA Transient Camp, Deutches Museum, Munich,Germany, 1945

M.R.: A Jewish mother and child stop for food and shelter at the Deutches Museum Camp. This scene was used for background in the film, The Search. It told the story of the upheavel of a Jewish family from Prague. Only the mother and her nine year old son survived Auschwitz and wandered through the UNRRA world in Germany in search of one another.

White russian womanWhite Russian Woman - One of First Ten Displaced Persons Allowed to Enter Heidelberg University, 1946

M.R.: This White Russian woman was among several hundred women released from a camp when the Nazis capitulated. American soldiers found them naked in a field. Despite that grotesque situation, much later she was allowed to enter Heidelberg University under the sponsorship of UNRRA.

Women in repatriation train.Women in Polish Repatriation Train, 1945

M.R.: Polish women, forced into Germany as slave labor, prepare to leave for their homeland. Some were leaving reluctantly. Their needs were being met by UNRRA and relief agencies in Germany. Their future in Poland was unknown. The displaced persons' camps had given them a kind of solace by allowing them to remain in strange limbo for a time. The camps afforded a relief from the fatigue of the mind. However, these women were ultimately forced to go back to their homeland.

Dachau death camp memorialDachau Death Camp Memorial, Near Munich, Germany, 1946

M.R.: Remants of crematorium chimney and memorial with an original furnace door embedded. Many German farmers living nearby claimed to have no knowledge of what had gone on there. It is inconceivable that they were unaware of what was taking place in the extermination camp as they had claimed during postwar interrogation.

Memorial day paradeMemorial Day parade at Polish Camp with men mocking torture tactics and wearing the Buchenwald Concentration Camp uniforms, U.S. zone, Germany, 1946.

Residents of an UNRRA D.P. camp.Residents at UNRRA Displaced Persons' Camp in what was then West Germany engaging in neighbourly conversation while awaiting repatriation to their homeland, 1946.

Monument to Polish victims.Monument to murdered Poles at Dachau. The doors are the original ones taken from the furnace of the crematorium at the concentration camp,  1946

Monument at Dachau.Monument at Dachau Concentration Camp. Iron doors were from crematorium ovens. German farmers worked farms nearby yet claimed no knowledge of what took place there, 1946.

UNRRA Administrative DirectorUNRRA administrative officer greets some of the first ten Jewish students permitted entrance to Heidelberg University after the Nazi's capitulated at the end of WWII, 1946.

German child at Wiesbad hospital.German child at Wiesbaden hospital—his parents, in anger, asked me why our American planes had done this to an innocent child…?  We saw countless amputees of this sort, 1945.

Malnourished boy.UNRRA doctor and nurse examine boy with signs of malnutrition.  UNRRA hospital, Wiesbaden, Germany, 1945

Herbert H. LehmanDirector General Herbert H. Lehman, first Director of the United Nations Relief & Rehabilitation Administration, Washington D.C.  No date.

Sir Frederick MorganDirector General of UNRRA Operations Europe, Lt. General Sir Frederick Morgan. He signed the WWII Peace negotiations at Reims, France for Britain. No date.

Soviet propaganda posterSoviet Propaganda poster in a Czechoslovakian Hospital: "Destroy Fascism's Nest Forever." 1946. Note snake in form of a Swastika being cut apart.

Fiorella LaGuardiaUNRRA Director General Fiorello LaGuardia, former mayor of New York City, talks with children of Displaced Persons at Funk Kaserne, UNRRA's Emigration and Repatriation Center in Munich.  Boy with flowers is Olav Hetako, a two year old stateless child.  August, 1946.

Polish patrotism"Polish government officials quickly took over re-orientation of Displaced Persons in the camps in Germany (before repatriation), organizing adults & children into "patriotic" groups—with strong regimentation and political subservience. Notice uniforms provided to various ages. I was not allowed admittance so took this photograph from a balcony.  1946."

Distribution of donated clothingDistribution of donated clothing to orphaned or displaced children, UNRRA Children's Center, Aglasterhausen, Germany, 1945.

Polish Parish Catholic ChurchPolish Parish Catholic Church, Korbach, West Germany. Polish D. P. Camp. UNRRA officer & child wearing camp-made copy of Polish uniform, 1946.