After World War II ended, Jews who survived the Holocaust were often homeless. Many had no remaining family, or were uncertain if their family members had survived. Many of these homeless Jewish refugees spent at least some time in Displaced Persons (DP) camps set up by Allied authorities and the United Nations.
The third largest Jewish DP camp was Camp Foehrenwald, southwest of Munich. Henry Cohen, an American working for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA), served as the director of Foehrenwald from January to July 1946. Cohen endeavored to make sure that the camp’s residents had access to Jewish religious, educational, and cultural resources, and that Jewish youth and political movements were supported.
Sports were an important offering for residents of Foehrenwald. The revival of athletic activities in the DP camps was not only a symbol of return to normal life, but had the additional function of rehabilitating children and teenagers who had physical and psychological problems resulting from years of starvation, persecution, forced labor, hiding, and other hardships. Athletics were also important to Zionist groups who used physical training to instill confidence and pride in young Jews, in anticipation of a struggle for a Jewish state in Palestine.
The photos below are from a photo album given to Henry Cohen upon his departure from Foehrenwald in July 1946.