Yitzhak Teutsch, director of the American Joint Distribution Committee’s archives in Jerusalem, is trying to document more than 2,000 babies born to Jewish refugees interned in Cypriot camps between 1946 and 1949.
The infants’ parents had been on their way to Israel after World War II when the British seized their ships and sent them to Cyprus. Until now, around 65 years later, no comprehensive list of the children’s names and other details has been found.
“My theory is that someone decided, for some reason, to throw that list away,” says Teutsch. “Perhaps they thought it wasn’t important, or maybe nobody knew the camps would be in operation for so long and consequently the relevant documentation wasn’t saved.”
The Joint’s Jerusalem archives hold records of its activities to help Jews worldwide since its establishment at the beginning of the last century. But only a handful of portfolios relate to the Jews in Cyprus.