U is for United States Committee for the Care of European Children

April 24, 2015

For the A to Z blogging challenge I’ve decided to blog about the 1940′s. And in the spirit of the 1940′s, at the end of the month, I’ll be giving away an ebook copy of one of my favorite books, Summer at Tiffany, to one of my newsletter subscribers (sign-up on the sidebar if you are so inclined.) It’s a light-hearted memoir of two college girls let loose in New York City for a summer. What a hoot.



The United States Committee for the Care of European Children (USCOM) was an early effort in the war (before the United States was directly involved) to evacuate children from Europe. The efforts, headed up by Eleanor Roosevelt, began in 1940 with British children during the Battle of Britain. Only 800 children were rescued before US politics kicked in and efforts were suspended. After much more politicking and the United States entering the fighting, in 1943 and 1944 several hundred Jewish children from Western Europe managed to make it past the red tape and on to New York.

Excerpts from the book Over Here!: New York City During World War II  (I highly recommend this book, by the way.)

Times Square was “just as it is in the films,” said one boy.

One seven-year-old particularly liked New York because he saw so many airplanes and none were dropping bombs”

And an interesting observation from British-born actress Angela Lansbury, who, though not part of this refugee group as she came over with her mother and brother, had this to say about what she thought as a fourteen-year-old:

“We were very worried about U-boats on the way over. It was hairy. Our ship was actually sunk on its way back to England….New York was incredible. The taxis had glass roofs. You could sail down the streets and look up at the skyscrapers. I always remember that Coca-Cola tasted so wonderful.”

See also O is for Oswego Emergency Refugee Shelter for more info about the few refugees allowed into the USA during WWII

6 responses to U is for United States Committee for the Care of European Children

  1. I’ll have to check out that book! I may be able to use some of the information for the eventual second draft of my most recently completed book, since many of the Part III chapters are set in Manhattan during WWII. It’s a miracle some children were able to get to safety in spite of the reams of red tape.

  2. Just popped in to say Hi! Love your theme.
    I hope you’re enjoying the A to Z challenge as much as I am!

    Shirley Corder from
    Out of Africa – Topics from A to Z

  3. This reminds me of the movie Back Home, which is about the experience of a British girl being sent to America during the war. When the war us over, she goes back to England, and has a very hard time readjusting.