Located approximately thirty miles from Frankfurt, Bensheim displaced persons (DP) camp was part of the Frankfurt district of the American zone of occupation in Germany.
Before its conversion into a Jewish DP camp in August 1946, Bensheim had been used as a refugee camp for non-Jewish Polish DPs.
The camp supported a thriving religious educational system that included a cheder (traditional religious school for young children) and a yeshiva (religious academy), which were operated by the Klausenberger chasidim. Bensheim also maintained a Talmud Torah (religious elementary school), a synagogue, a 30-bed hospital, a sports club, a theater group, and, beginning in April 1947, a kindergarten.
In October 1946, the Jewish population totaled 1,196.
Bensheim DP camp closed on April 6, 1949.
Critical Thinking Questions
- What challenges did survivors face in the DP camps?
- What challenges did the Allies face in establishing and supervising DP camps?
- What responsibilities do (or should) other nations have regarding refugees from war and genocide?