ORT’s work in the Netherlands
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ORT fundraising campaigns in the 1920s and 30s included Dutch Jewry, but ORT’s work in the Netherlands only took firm root after the Second World War, when it formed part of ORT’s extensive training programme for Displaced Persons.
Beginning in 1946, ORT worked mostly with children – refugees and Dutch survivors, many of them orphans. It ran training courses in Amsterdam, Enschede, Apeldoorn, Hilversum, Bussum and Rotterdam. In 1947, near Apeldoorn, the Dutch government built ‘Ilaniah’ – a special village for child refugees. ORT organised courses in woodwork, bookbinding and clothes cutting and sewing. Children with learning difficulties were taught box-making and other cardboard crafts. The work continued into the seventies, but by 1972, ORT’s operations had been closed or absorbed within other institutions.
From the mid-eighties until the early nineties, ORT worked again, briefly, within Dutch institutions. World ORT helped establish a high-tech robotics laboratory for teacher training at the Technology Institute of Eindhoven and some of ORT’s course materials were translated for use within Dutch schools. In addition to training Dutch teachers, the Eindhoven centre offered courses to Jewish teachers from Eastern Europe.
Although no longer an operational centre, the ORT Nederland committee has continued to fundraise in support of global ORT programmes.