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Quaker Service: The Friends Relief Service in Post-War Europe

This lecture will explore the work of the Friends Relief Service with Displaced Persons in Germany after 1945.

On the 21 April 1945, Friends Relief Service (FRS) 'Team 100' became one of six relief teams to enter the newly liberated camp of Bergen Belsen. This lecture will explore the work of the FRS (the relief assistance branch of the Religious Society of Friends "Quakers") with Displaced Persons in Germany after 1945. Though the FRS was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1947, knowledge of their work is surprisingly limited, even among Quaker followers. This discussion of Quaker relief efforts prior to the Second World War will highlight the precedents drawn on by the FRS; the ability to draw on this expertise provided FRS workers with an understanding of the emotional and physical demands of relief work (lacking in other organisations) and instilled progressive ‘humanitarian’ working practices.

The talk will be accompanied by part of the 'Quaker Service' exhibition which was created to support the inauguration of a Quaker service memorial and will open next year in the grounds of the National Memorial Arboretum. The exhibition presents the work of the Friends Ambulance Unit and Friends Relief Service which offered forms of humanitarian service to individuals who were not prepared to bear arms during the Second World War, while respecting those fighting in the armed forces.

Dr Jenny Carson is Director of the MA in Humanitarianism and Conflict Response at the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute at the University of Manchester. Her research focuses on the humanitarian assistance provided to refugees and displaced persons since 1945, with special reference to the work of the Religious Society of Friends.


Dr Jenny Carson | talks


Date and Time:

16 November 2012 at 6:30 pm


1 hour 30 minutes



The Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide
29 Russell Square
020 7636 7247

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Admission is free, but places must be reserved in advance at http://quakerservice.eventbrite.co.uk/

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