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COLLECTION Identifier: bMS 16004

Unitarian Service Committee. Case Files, 1938-1951.


This collection consists of materials relating to the Unitarian Service Committee's efforts to aid individuals who had been displaced from their homelands during World War II to enter the United States as a result of the Displaced Persons Act. Materials include applications for assistance and correspondence, the bulk of which is dated from 1946 to 1949, and consists chiefly of copies of responses made to individuals by Friedl Reifer, who was the director of the USC casework department at that time.


  • Creation: 1938-1951.


28 boxes

In May of 1948 the U.S. Congress passed the Displaced Persons Act. This act authorized individuals who were displaced from their homelands as a result of World War II to enter the United States. The Unitarian Service Committee reviewed applications for those applying for assistance and endeavored to help many individuals find homes and employment in the United States. The correspondence and applications in this collection includes biographical information, information about the occupations of individuals, and accounts of the ways they were living as displaced people. They are from countries such as Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Spain, etc. The bulk of the correspondence is dated from 1946 to 1949, and much of it consists of copies of the responses made to individuals by Friedl Reifer, who was the director of the USC casework department at that time.

Biographical / Historical

The Unitarian Service Committee was formed as a standing committee of the American Unitarian Association in May 1940. Its purpose was to investigate opportunities in America and abroad for humanitarian service. During and after World War II, The Unitarian Service Committee aided hundreds of displaced persons in occupied countries, allowing many of them to find passage to the United States. The present-day Unitarian Universalist Service Committee continues to endeavor to advance human rights and social justice throughout the world.

General note

NOTE: For each entry in the following list, the bMS number indicates the collection number, the number after the slash is the box number, and the number in parentheses is the folder number. Portions of this collection have been digitized for a collaborative project with the U.S. Holocaust Museum and the Centre de Documentation Juive Contemporaine (CDJC), France. Those items have a "See digital image" link.

Unitarian Service Committee. Case Files, 1938-1951: A Finding Aid.
Andover-Harvard Theological Library
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Harvard Divinity School Library, Harvard University Repository

Special Collections at Harvard Divinity School Library preserves and makes accessible primary source materials documenting the history of religion and theology, with particular historical emphasis on American liberal religious traditions. Though the historical strengths of the collections have been in the field of Christianity, other religious traditions are increasingly reflected, in step with Harvard Divinity School's evolving focus on global religious studies. Known as Andover-Harvard Theological Library since 1911, it was renamed the Harvard Divinity School Library in 2021.

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