Quaker relief work in France
- Event Date
- approximately 1945
- Accessed at US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of American Friends Service Committee
Title card, cut off: “no means clear: problems of immense complexity remain. The wounds go deeper than we often know.” Cars drive around Place Vendome. The Pantheon. “Paris! Spared as few other capitals in Europe. A feast of beauty to the eye, but a cloak that hides the sufferings of France.” Civilians on the streets. Bridges over the Seine.
A map of France, highlighting Le Havre, Caen, Montauban, Toulouse, Perpignan, Marseilles, Paris. An incoming train. A sign for Montauban. A bridge over the Tarn River. “Quaker Relief in Montauban is typical of services in many French cities. Undernourished children get extra food at canteens or take food packages home.” A man ladles food into a pot. A line of people line up for food from the Quaker Relief. A sign for Rue de Jeu de Paume. Street scene in Montauban. “After careful checking, needy families are given used garments from Britain and America. Shoes, almost unprocurable, can be repaired in the Secours Quaker workshop.”
Relief workers. “French, American and British Quakers work together in the committee known as Secours Quaker. Twenty Americans are engaged in this service including three who represent the Congregational Christian Committee.” CU of relief workers and French civilians. A man repairs shoes. “There’s a large Spanish colony in Montauban and a school has been set up for the children.” Sign for an Ecole Espagnole. Children enter the school. A teacher points to a map of Spain, highlighting Madrid. CU on the faces of various children. “Artificial limb factory where limbless people, many casualties of the Spanish war, can obtain limbs at small cost or free, and retrain for jobs.” A man wraps gauze around another man’s arm stump. He measures a prosthetic limb, then attaches it to the man’s shoulder. People with prosthetic limbs operating machinery and doing work.
An incoming train. A sign for Toulouse. Streetcars and civilians. “To the Toulouse office come needy folk from many walks of life. They may need clothes, food, transport, advice or simply encouragement.” Sign for Secours Quaker, Toulouse delegation. Quaker volunteers register people. Nuns speak with a Quaker volunteer. “The search everywhere is for food! But the counters are empty, the stalls hold but a few vegetables.” Empty food stands. “The maize crop, usually 5 feet high is stunted. After four years of drought, crops are small and vegetables hard to find.” A man walks through the stunted corn crops. They are barely knee high. “You cannot live and work on fruit alone. Crowds press around a vegetable stall. Prices are high, the black market is universal.” A woman stands before her food for sale. A large crowd forms around various vendors. CU on the faces of various civilians in the crowd. “A hospital in Toulouse, supported by the city, which serves as old people’s home and the local poor house.” “These people have few visitors, the food is inadequate. Secours Quaker gives a package of food to every patient at regular intervals and this contact with the outside world has been important to the patients. Occasional meals of hot soup are also served.” A volunteer stirs a pot of soup. A man eats a bowl of soup. A volunteer ladled soup into bowls. Women stir and eat their soup.
The earlier map of France, now highlighting Rivesalte, a commune near Perpignan. “Secours Quaker headquarters in Perpignan. Waiting for admission. If the doors are opened incautiously pandemonium may result for their plight is often grim.” A crowd of refugees gathers outside of the Secours Quaker headquarters. The doors are opened and people run and push to get through. “A Polish doctor on the staff keeps an accurate check on the progress of children who are fed. Daily lunches and ‘goûters’ are served.” A doctor marks off cards and hands them to children. CU on various children’s faces as they eat and drink.
Record last modified: 2018-08-08 16:28:46
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