Children in DP camps

In 1944 around 2500 preschool age children were located in Germany DP camps. Their education and supervision was in the hands of (more than) 100 departed lithuanian kindergarteners. Day-care centers in Germany DPs were first lithuanian educational institutions in the exile. They were established in the lithuanian camps with the initiative by the residents themselves, with the help of the Lithuanian Refugees Community. One of the first kindergarten lithuanians established in fall 1944 in the ravaged Dresden. In one year the number of preschool education institutions grew to 71, in 1947-1948 it reached 77, later declined because of migration and children transition to elementary schools. In 1945 the biggest lithuanian DP camp in Hanau kindergarten was attended by 150 lithuanian refugee children. Usually kindergarteners were children up to 6 years old, but in some places there were two groups: the first one was attended by older children, which were prepared for elementary school, and the second – by the rest. In the camps without qualified pedagogues, the job was done by elementary school teachers or more educated camp women. The educators not only took care of children, but also educated all locale lithuanian community: arranged parents' meetings, gave lectures. Even though the housing conditions were poor and basic learning resources were lacking, it didn't prevent from working even with M. Montessori system of education. One of the examples of such persistency – a lithuanian kindergarten, established in Ravensburg, in 1946 by Lithuanian M. Montessori company founders M. Varnienė, her helping hand D. Petrutytė and a painter A. Varnas. Lithuanian DPs pedagogues did not lose their spirit under the necessity of working in extreme conditions– they continued Lithuanian education traditions, formed national values of the littlest ones. Kindergartens in exile was not only for supervision purposes, they prepared children for elementary school.

Kindergarteners in Munich-Freimann camp in 1947
Lithuanian Cultural Institute in Germany (LKI)
Kindergarten in Hanau, 1945
Lithuanian Cultural Institute in Germany (LKI)
Nursery in Hanau camp, 1947
Lithuanian Cultural Institute in Germany (LKI)
Augsburg-Hochfeld kindergarten in 1948, In Lietuvių švietimas Vokietijoje (Lithuanian Education in Germany), Chicago, 1969
National Library of Lithuania A(LKA)50/969
Eichstätt-Rebdorf kindergarteners in 1945, In Lietuvių švietimas Vokietijoje (Lithuanian Education in Germany), Chicago, 1969
National Library of Lithuania A(LKA)50/969