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Title: The Friends Relief Service : faith into action : humanitarian assistance to displaced persons camps in Germany,1945-1948
Author: Carson, Jennifer
Awarding Body: The University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2009
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Abstract:
A thesis submitted to the University of Manchester for the degree of PhD in History in the Faculty of Humanities, School of Arts, Histories and Cultures, 2009. This dissertation explores the humanitarian assistance provided by the Friends Relief Service (FRS), the relief assistance branch of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), to Displaced Persons camps in Germany from 1945-1948. The award of the Nobel Peace Prize, in 1947, for their 'work with Displaced Persons validated the FRS achievements; however, knowledge of their work is surprisingly limited, even among Quaker followers. Literature on the FRS has largely been written by those who served among its ranks and despite the wealth of archival documentation and oral testimony, little in-depth study of the organisation has previously been undertaken. By focusing on a particular context and a particular group of workers, including the impact that their encounter with Displaced Persons had on their own emotional well being and physical health, a contribution can be made to historicising humanitarianism - the conditions under which humanitarian intervention takes place and the assumptions that relief workers make. FRS workers focused on the empowerment of those needing relief, and they perceived their role as a duty rather than a profession. 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. In assessing the work of the FRS, it is essential to examine not just how the FRS workers viewed themselves, but how they were perceived by those at home, i.e., the Friends House administration, Council of British Societies for Relief Abroad and the British Government, and by those in the field, i.e., the Displaced Persons, other voluntary relief bodies, the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, British army and military government in Germany. These relationships cannot be viewed in isolation because each had a direct impact on the way the FRS functioned. Through assessment of FRS efforts in Germany (examination of the work of relief teams, including the relationships they formed with official relief authorities in the field, their own administration at home, and those they went to assist) this dissertation intends to demonstrate that the Quakers' distinctive contribution in Germany can be put forward as an historical case study of successful participatory humanitarian initiative.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.498855  DOI: Not available
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