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Wooden Lazy Susan decorated with an inlaid windmill scene created by a Latvian in a displaced persons camp

Object | Accession Number: 2018.276.1

Handmade, Latvian, wooden turntable with an inlaid windmill scene created in Kleinkötz Displaced Persons (DP) Camp at Günzburg in the American Zone of Germany between 1945 and 1951. Latvia had a long tradition of woodworking, and many skilled artisans lived in DP camps following the end of World War II (1939-1945), where they made some additional income from the sale of pieces and trained others. Kleinkötz had a population between 1,000 and 2,500 refugees, and a large percentage of those were from the Baltic nations, including Latvia. Following the end of the war, Allied forces established more than 1,000 displaced persons’ camps in Europe. These were initially maintained by the United Nation Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA), and by the International Refugee Organization (IRO) after July 1947. The camps were intended to serve as temporary centers for processing refugees displaced by the war, especially those that had survived concentration and labor camps. As the sheer quantity of displaced individuals became evident, the camps provided longer-term accommodation, employment, education, and recreation. Due to the political and social complexities of post-war resettlement, many of the refugees living in the camps could not or did not want to be repatriated to their countries of origin, and spent years in the displaced persons’ camps. These people often cultivated ways to maintain their culture, develop new skills, and reestablish a sense of community. Refugee communities often congregated along national lines within camps, and developed strong ties with others who shared their cultural background and history. Many refugees found creative outlets through existing handicraft skills, musical and theatrical performance, writing for newspapers, reading or writing novels and memoirs, and developing new talents through training programs.

creation:  1945-1951
creation: Günzburg (Germany)
Decorative Arts
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Aviva Weintraub, In memory of Beatrice Weintraub
Record last modified: 2021-02-10 09:19:01
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