Beyond a severely limited immigration quota kept to a bare minimum, fewer than a thousand Jewish refugees from Europe were admitted into the U.S. during World War II. In August 1944, they were brought on a single U.S. Liberty ship, then interned behind barbed wire on an old U.S. Army camp upstate New York until after the war had ended. That small lucky group included my father Ivo, his sister Mira, and their parents Otto and Ruza.
The Marshall Plan has become synonymous for massive help, for bringing about a herculaneum task and having a country rise again from the ashes. Originally designed to help Europe get back on track after the devastations of World War II, it has a much broader meaning today. In discussions about how to rebuild Ukraine at some point in the future, there’s again talk of the need for a Marshall Plan. However, it’s worthwhile to take a step back and look at what the original Marshall Plan was all about.
75 years ago, the world sighed in relief. After six gruesome years and over 70 million lost lives, World War II was finally over. May 8, 1945, marked both the end of a ruthless regime and the war in Europe. The Allied Forces had brought the German Wehrmacht to its knees, and at 11:01 p.m., the war in Europe was officially over. In the U.S. and the UK, the day is celebrated as “Victory in Europe Day,” and for decades, May 8 (and in some cases May 9) has been a holiday in various European countries – but not in Germany. However, for its 75th anniversary, the Day of Liberation has been declared a one-time holiday in Berlin.