Women of Valor

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Tours D.P. Camps

Molly Picon, 1898 - 1992

"Everywhere we went, we shared something pure and joyful after all the pain. Once, at a concert for grownups, a woman brought a small, undernourished child and it started to cry. Yonkel went over to her and asked her why she had brought such a young child to the concert. She answered, 'My baby is three years old and she has never heard the sound of laughter. I don't want her to grow up without hearing people laugh!' "

When the war ended Picon and Kalich brought their morale-building efforts to European displaced person camps. As frequent performers in prewar Europe, they felt personally connected to what was left of European Jewry and recognized the deep need of survivors for yiddishkeit, joy and little personal pleasures. "Everyone laughed at the idea, saying that all the [displaced persons] needed was food and medicine. But I felt that if I were a woman deprived for seven years of a lipstick or a nice piece of glitter, those would be the things I longed for-and so we packed them. All were new, no leftovers, and we wrapped them in gay, colorful paper." Traveling at considerable peril to their own lives, Picon and Kalich were the first entertainers to tour D.P. camps after the war.

Notes: 
  1. "Everywhere we went..." Picon, Molly & Bergantini Grillo, Jean, Molly! (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1980) 115.
  2. "Everyone laughed..." Picon, Molly & Bergantini Grillo, Jean, Molly! (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1980) 103.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Women of Valor - Molly Picon - Tours D.P. Camps." (Viewed on April 16, 2014) <http://jwa.org/womenofvalor/picon/tours-dp-camps>.