“Our Hopes Are Not Lost Yet”

The Jewish Displaced Persons in Italy: Relief, Rehabilitation and Self-understanding (1943-1948)

This essay deals with the fate of Jewish Displaced Persons in Italy from the liberation of the Camp of Ferramonti di Tarsia, by the Allied Army in 1943, until the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. It focuses on the creation of a complex network of agencies, organizations and individuals involved in assisting the Jewish DPs in Italy, in the framework of the post-war refugee crisis. The article discusses the approaches and ambitions of the rescuers (military authorities, UN agencies and representatives from the Yishuv) and the desires of the Jewish DPs themselves, who played an active role both in the administration of the refugee camps as well as in the political discourse regarding their resettlement in British Palestine. Through an analysis of hitherto unexplored archival sources, it will illustrate the development of new sense of belonging and of a renewed identity among the Jewish DPs.

issue 12 / December 2017 by Chiara Renzo