Philanthropic agencies, relatives, friends, and strangers sent a stream of relief aid to Jews trapped in Nazi camps and ghettos. Remittances of cash and shipments of medicine, clothing, and particularly food parcels played a critical role during World War II in maintaining morale and prolonging Jewish lives in all corners of the Nazi empire. Recent historiography has marginalized these relief efforts, instead focusing on a handful of activists who hid or led Jews to safety under perilous conditions, or the small pool of rescuers who made last-minute efforts to negotiate the release of camp prisoners. We have co-edited a new collection, More than Parcels: Wartime Aid for Jews in Nazi-Era Camps and Ghettos, which is slated for publication with Wayne State University Press in June of 2022. Our volume assesses and maps the broad array of parcel relief schemes organized by and for Jews during the Holocaust. It focuses particularly on the aid efforts underwritten not only by the Red Cross and major Jewish advocacy groups, but by thousands of individuals on both sides of the Atlantic. No historical study has as yet brought together the many fragmentary histories of humanitarian aid to Jewish prisoners under Nazi rule or considered its impact systematically. This story—in which the theme of food aid is central—adds a new dimension to the question of what was known about the Holocaust as it unfolded.
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