Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants (OSE)

Œuvre de Secours aux Enfants, commonly abbreviated as OSE, is a French Jewish humanitarian organization that saved hundreds of Jewish refugee children in Vichy France during World War II. Once the war ended, OSE faced the daunting task of accompanying to adulthood the children who had been orphaned and of taking in others who had just been freed from concentration camps. Later on OSE continued to operate in its initial fields of action: health, education and social work. The major issues and goals addressed by OSE today include safeguarding maternal health and that of infants and children; fighting epidemics; providing school health services; promoting hygiene, sanitation and health education; and supporting medical and biological research.


The original OZE (Obshchetsvo Zdravookhraneniya Yevreyiev, Organisation for the health protection of Jews), was created in 1912 in Saint Petersburg by doctors, to help needy members of the Jewish population and to protect, feed and support Jewish children who were victims of poverty and persecution. Branches were established in other countries as well. In 1923 the organization relocated to Berlin, under the presidency of Albert Einstein. In 1933, fleeing Nazism, it relocated again, this time to France where it became the Œuvre de Secours aux Enfants /OSE (Society for Rescuing Children), retaining a similar acronym.  

In the postwar years, the OSE-Union operated 91 medical facilities and provided assistance to more than 85,000 children and adults in 10 European, 9 Latin American, and 4 North African countries, and in Israel.

The collection held at the CAHJP relates chiefly to the organization's activity after World War II, and contains a large collection of photographs documenting their efforts devoted to the promotion of health, hygiene, and childcare among Jews.