Question of Return

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For those who survived the ravages of the Second World War, the question was "Where do we go from here?" Was it possible for the survivors to go back to their hometown (assuming they wanted to) and start anew, amidst the devastation? Some did go back and often met with continuing nationalistic sentiment.

The choice of countries that one could immigrate to was usually between the United States and Palestine (Israel.) There was a great deal of sentiment that drove the Jewish refugees to Palestine. Before the war, many had become ardent Zionists, and they believed that the only place for them was Palestine, or Eretz Israel, the land of their ancestors. Some chose to immigrate elsewhere, and their choices often depended on opportunity, or perhaps in which country they had family that they could go to. Those who would eventually immigrate to Palestine each had their own story. They brought with them their own baggage (literally and figuratively) and needed time to adjust to a post-war life in a country where they hoped they could live free of persecution but filled with promise....a land of 'milk and honey..."

photo: These Jewish children are on their way to Palestine after having been released from the Buchenwald Concentration Camp. The girl on the left is from Poland, the boy in the center from Latvia, and the girl on the right is from Hungary. June 5, 1945. T4c. J. E. Myers. (Army) 

--photo courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, MD




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