This article aims to explore the practises relief workers employed in their efforts to rehabilitate refugees in postwar Europe. It argues that the objectives and methods UNRRA’s officers adopted to manage the phenomenon of mass displacement drew on a longer tradition of humanitarianism. Furthermore, these methods took shape as a result of the different ways staff in the field interpreted the organization’s mandate. The article looks at the aspirations of UNRRA to transform international relief into a modern profession, and analyses the obstacles that stood in the way of this endeavour. Particular attention is given to forms of assistance and entertainment organized in the camps. Aspects such as these provide strong evidence of the emergence of a construct that tended to represent relief workers as ‘rescuers’ and displaced persons as ‘recipients’. One striking feature of this emerging construct was that refugees came to be labelled as apathetic and unable to assume a role in society. The essay attempts to shed light on the complex nature of the rehabilitation activities carried out in European DP camps in the hope of tracing the historical pathway taken by transnational humanitarian action.[...]

“Help the People to Help Themselves”. UNRRA Relief Workers and European Displaced Persons

SALVATICI, SILVIA
2012

Abstract

This article aims to explore the practises relief workers employed in their efforts to rehabilitate refugees in postwar Europe. It argues that the objectives and methods UNRRA’s officers adopted to manage the phenomenon of mass displacement drew on a longer tradition of humanitarianism. Furthermore, these methods took shape as a result of the different ways staff in the field interpreted the organization’s mandate. The article looks at the aspirations of UNRRA to transform international relief into a modern profession, and analyses the obstacles that stood in the way of this endeavour. Particular attention is given to forms of assistance and entertainment organized in the camps. Aspects such as these provide strong evidence of the emergence of a construct that tended to represent relief workers as ‘rescuers’ and displaced persons as ‘recipients’. One striking feature of this emerging construct was that refugees came to be labelled as apathetic and unable to assume a role in society. The essay attempts to shed light on the complex nature of the rehabilitation activities carried out in European DP camps in the hope of tracing the historical pathway taken by transnational humanitarian action.[...]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11575/9056
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