The American Friends Service Committee and the Holocaust in France
The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) was a Quaker organization created during the First World War to provide both material and spiritual aid to war victims in France. After the war, the AFSC remained in Europe, providing aid in defeated Germany and to victims of the Spanish Civil War. As Spanish refugees fled to France, the AFSC went with them and were well placed to provide additional humanitarian aid when the Nazis invaded Western Europe in the spring of 1940. Due to U.S. neutrality, the AFSC was able to continue its work in France after the country’s defeat and occupation by Nazi forces. During World War II, the organization would focus on programs for feeding and caring for children, emigration advice and help, and material aid to individuals in French internment camps, including Jews. In order to provide this aid, Americans traveled to France, but many also worked within the United States to raise money and awareness of conditions abroad. This talk will focus on the AFSC’s work to help Jews in France during the Holocaust, including its fundraising and publicity campaigns in the United States.
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