Rebuilding Jewish Communities after the Holocaust: The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s Relief Programme in Postwar Greece

Published: Jun 19, 2019
Postwar relief AJDC UNRRA American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee Post-Holocaust Greece
Nikos Tzafleris

In the postwar chaos of the Greek Civil War, the Greek state was practically absent in the effort to rebuild the country’s Jewish communities and provide for their particular, post-Holocaust needs. The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee came to fill this gap. The JDC organised and handled the assistance from American Jews to their coreligionists in Greece, both at the level of distributing humanitarian aid and of reconstituting community life. The JDC played a significant role in reshaping the communal life of postwar Greek Jewry along American lines. This article is mostly focused on the immediate postwar years, when JDC officials sought to establish a network to help Greek Jews cover their most immediate and elementary needs.

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Author Biography
Nikos Tzafleris, University of Thessaly
Nikos Tzafleris received his PhD in contemporary history from the University of Thessaly (2008). His research focuses on economic history and social welfare, the Axis occupation of Europe, concentration camps, the Holocaust, racism and discrimination in the 20th century. He has conducted extensive research for and contributed 14 entries to the recently published third volume of the award-winning Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933–1945. His current project, which is funded by the Research Centre for the Humanities (RCH), takes these issues further by delving into the postwar rehabilitation of the devastated Jewish communities (“The JOINT in postwar Greece”). He has held two postdoctoral fellowships, one at the Centre for Advanced Holocaust Studies–USHMM (2009–2010) and the other at the International Institute of Holocaust Research–Yad Vashem (2011–2012). He has taught courses on the Holocaust, racism and discrimination at the University of Thessaly (2015–2018) and economic and social history at the Hellenic Open University (2017–2018). He works as a researcher for several projects of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) in Greece.
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