After the war hundreds of thousands of Jews congregated in Displaced Persons’ (DP) camps in the areas controlled by the Allies. These Jews, known as Sh’erit Hapleita (the surviving remnant), sought to emigrate from Europe, most hoping to immigrate to Eretz Israel. Their goal of leaving Europe did not materialize due to the limited options of immigration to other countries as well as the limitations put in place by the British government in 1939 on immigration to Palestine known as “the White Paper.”
Foehrenwald was one of the largest DP camps. It was established in June 1945 in the American occupied zone in Germany, southwest of Munich. The buildings of the camp had previously been used to house IG Farben employees and some had held forced laborers. Foehrenwald originally served as a camp for non-Jewish displaced persons as well, but beginning in October 1945 only housed Jewish DPs. Within three months the number of Jews living in the camp rose from 3,000 to 5,300.
Foehrenwald had a rich cultural, educational and social life. A school was opened for children as well as a vocational school run by ORT. A yeshiva with 150 students also operated in the camp. Theater and music groups functioned in the camp, and a weekly publication was put out entitled Bamidbar (In the Desert), which served as a forum for literary expression for the residents of the camp.
By the end of 1946, there were approximately 250,000 Jewish DPs. The need for DP camps dwindled with the establishment of the State of Israel; about two-thirds of the DPs immigrated to Israel, while the rest mostly moved to the United States.
Foehrenwald was the last remaining DP camp in Europe; it was closed in 1957.
Yad Vashem Photo Archives 2922/6