The search is on for Shoah survivors trained by ORT

21.11.05

21 November 2005 Research underway into ORTs work in the DP camps World ORT is appealing to Holocaust survivors who benefited from ORT training courses in Europes post-war Displaced Persons (DP) camps to come forward. ORT trained thousands of people in new skills that would help them start new lives in Israel and around the world in the years immediately after World War Two. Now, thanks to funding by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, light is being shed on ORTs reconstructive role. Internationally renowned historian Professor David Cesarani is supervising the research, which is being conducted by Sarah Kavanaugh, a research assistant at the History Department of the University of Londons prestigious Royal Holloway College. This is an exciting project because were starting to uncover our past in a professional way, said World ORTs Head of Jewish Education, Judah Harstein. In addition to the archival material, were looking for people with stories to tell about the help they received from ORT while in the DP camps. Theres a huge amount of material in the archives and theres a lot in other places, too; but its mainly about the courses themselves, Dr Kavanaugh added. Theres not enough on the people who took the courses and what the courses meant to them. Their testimony will enrich our research. A post-war ORT poster urging people to train for work. (From the Archives of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, New York) The immediate help that was offered to survivors in the period 1945 to 1950 is a really interesting area. Its part of the same story of the beginning of the State of Israel because many of the people in the DP camps were taking vocational courses so that they could migrate to Israel, Dr Kavanaugh said. Anyone who would like to share their experiences of ORT training in the DP camps should phone Sarah Kavanaugh at World ORT on +44 (0)20 7446 8510, or email her at [email protected] World ORT is the largest Jewish educational and vocational training non-government organisation in the world with some 270,000 students Jewish and non-Jewish in 58 countries.