© Bricha Heritage Association
©United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
From an existential state of helplessness and a struggle just for physical survival, this journey has provided a sense of power.
One of the ships used to cross from Europe to Palestine
Major Camps for Jewish Displaced Persons, 1945-1946
where they were kept alive during the war. The Bricha established homes and schools for these orphans and transported them on the routes from Europe illegally to Israel to heal. From an existential state of helplessness and a struggle just for physical survival, this journey has provided a sense of power. Power to fight for a purpose, a meaning for life, power to build and to create. The Bricha Movement becomes an Organization Emissaries from Israel came to work together with survivors and activists who were given command of the Bricha. The Bricha became an organization suited for such a huge undertaking. There was a chief commander who coordinated the activities in the various European countries. They arranged the transport, the illegal crossing of borders, the false papers laboratories, shelters, schools for the children, bringing those who wanted to the Mediterranean shores, where the illegal ships were waiting.
Austria was one of the main transit countries for the Bricha, and from 1945 to 1948, nearly 280,000 Jewish survivors passed through Austria and Germany from the Soviet Union, Poland, Romania, Hungary and Czechoslovakia, on their way to refugee camps from where they hoped to enter Italy and France. The map clearly shows that the border between Austria and Italy south of Salzburg was under the control of the US, British and French military. The Bricha Movement had to move survivors not only through borders between countries, but also through borders between Allied army control areas. The British, of course, did everything they could to stop the survivors and send them back. They closed all the crossing roads from Austria to Italy in their territories. Therefore, the crossing points for the refugees were transferred to Saalfelden and Lagernwald.