Minutes of a Joint Meeting of the National Catholic Resettlement Council and the National Catholic Rural Life Conference in Boston, Massachusetts, October 24, 1951

DP Boy Disembarking at Ellis Island

A young DP looks around as he disembarks at Ellis Island, Bruce M. Mohler papers

 

The minutes of this meeting are the most recently-dated documents in this collection, and show how Catholic organizations adjusted to some of the unexpected challenges of the resettlement process as the effort evolved and matured. Many diocesan representatives, as well as members of ethnic organizations, were present at the meeting. One of the main purposes of the meeting was to coordinate the last phases of the resettlement effort and to bring it to a successful close. It helps to make one aware of the massive scope of the Displaced Persons (DPs) problem and the resettlement effort to think that only in 1951was it finally nearing completion. The National Catholic Resettlement Council had, apparently, given the US government a blanket assurance that it would find homes and jobs for 30,000 DP families, which enabled these DPs to begin the process of immigration to the United States. One condition of the government’s allowing so many DPs to immigrate was that various charitable organizations had pledged to help them settle in new permanent homes. Unfortunately, the Resettlement Council, as of the time of the meeting, still had to locate placements for around half of this last wave of DPs. One solution to this urgent problem, it is proposed at the meeting, is to place DPs with non-Catholic families in rural areas. The bishops at the meeting are plainly feeling pressed by the influx of DPs, since they are willing to run the risk, as they acknowledge, that the DPs will lose their Catholic faith in these isolated, non-Catholic surroundings. Both individual dioceses and ethnic organizations have stepped up to the challenge and offered to take on hundreds of additional families, and the general tone of the minutes are optimistic, if anxious.

 

 

Minutes of a Joint Meeting of the National Catholic Resettlement Council and the National Catholic Rural Life Conference in Boston, Massachusetts, October 24, 1951

Minutes of Joint Meeting of NCRC and NCRLC

Questions:

  • When do the minutes predict that every Displaced Person from Europe involved in the current resettlement effort will have arrived in the United States? Do the minutes leave open the possibility of further migration from Europe in the future?

  • These minutes include a statement on immigration from the bishops of Australia. What, according to the statement, is one of the biggest problems affecting the postwar world, and what solutions or alternatives does the statement propose to solve it?  
  • What does this document say in regard to the idea that Displaced Persons are being “indentured” to their host families? How does the document suggest that the immigrants’ obligations to their sponsors should be worked out?

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