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Yad Vashem This Month in Holocaust History
September 1941, A group of Jews in the Gross Breesen Training Farm, Germany

September 1941

A group of Jews in the Gross Breesen Training Farm, Germany

This photograph was taken in September 1941 on the Gross Breesen Training Farm. Appearing in the photograph are: Kurt Unger, Blum Pick, Helmuth Meyer, Frank, Dodo Cohen, Guenter Marcus, Herbert Muenzer, Wolff, Brumsack, Werner.

Training camps for Jewish youth were established by the Jewish community in Nazi Germany, stemming from an anti-bourgeoisie ideology that sought to return to physical labor with one’s hands. Approximately 2,000 graduates finished their training each year in the professional training centers of the “Halutz” Youth Movement, primarily in agriculture, crafts and housekeeping. One of the goals of the training camps’ operation was to provide a response to Nazi propaganda, which claimed that the Jews were parasitic and lazy, unproductive and incapable of creative and constructive work. The training camps hoped that in doing so they would be able to restore the trust of the German people in the Jews and restore their rights that had been denied them. Up until Kristallnacht some of Germany’s Jews thought a change in the occupational structure of the Jewish community would lead to an improvement in relations with their surroundings.

In April 1936 the Jews were permitted to lease the Gross Breesen farm east of Berlin, in order to provide agricultural training to Jewish youth in preparation for their emigration from Germany, primarily to other European as well as South American countries. Within a few weeks the training camp was bustling with 120 youth. Life in the camp was like that of the other training camps of the “Halutz” movement: exhausting agricultural work and strenuous workshops, a modest standard of living, cultural activities in their spare time, as well as social education.

Some of the graduates of the training camps emigrated after finishing their training, thereby escaping the fate of European Jewry during the Holocaust.

Yad Vashem Photo Archives FA264/8