Haaretz, Jan 8, 2017


The AFSC’s Refugee Division was established after Kristallnacht in 1938 showed that many Jews in Germany were in danger and needed more than just humanitarian relief. This was the division that rescued and assisted more than 22,000 Jews and Christians before, during and after World War II, earning it the 1947 Nobel Peace Prize, together with the (British) Friends Service Council.

According to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the AFSC’s work was unique. “Many relief organizations specialized in certain types of refugees – Jewish groups helped Jews, Catholic groups helped Catholics – but the AFSC’s Refugee Division assisted those who were not already being helped,” it explains on its website. “In practice, the AFSC primarily worked with ‘non-Aryan Christians’ (those considered ‘racially Jewish’ by the Nuremberg Laws but who did not consider themselves Jewish by religion) and those in mixed marriages between Jews and non-Jews.

[...] In southern France, to where thousands of Jewish refugees fled after the German invasion in 1940, the AFSC established soup kitchens in French internment camps, helped hide Jewish children and, when possible, helped them escape to safety, as well as helping refugees in other parts of Europe, according to the USHMM. They also helped negotiate the release of hundreds of people held in internment camps in North Africa.