The outbreak of the Second World War did not stop the work of ORT and other relief organizations and their social and educational programmes relating to Jews in Europe. Despite the atrocities of the war, the work continued. It was aimed firstly at Jewish refugees, who sought asylum in countries not yet taken over by the war. Secondly, it was conducted in the ghettos of Eastern Europe-closed parts of towns and cities, mainly in Eastern Europe, in which Germans concentrated the Jewish population, before either killing them in the vicinity of the ghetto or deporting them to death, concentration of forced-labour camps.


On 9 May 1945, the unconditional surrender of Germany signified the end of the Second World War in Europe. The Jewish community in Europe was all but destroyed. One of the greatest challenges for the international community was the fate of 9 million forced labourers and 80,000 concentration camp inmates who at the end of the war were abandoned in Germany. The Allied forces had started preparing for this problem during the war and in November 1944 it was decided on creation of assembly centres for displaced persons, the so called DP camps, which for many thousands of Holocaust survivors were to be the first step to building a new life.


The end of the Second World War presented ORT and other relief organizations with an immense set of challenges. Those few who survived- whether waiting for immigration in the DP camps or returning to the former countries, had to be provided with immediate help. As many as 80,000 Jews passed through ORT traning projects immediately after the war- ranging from young Jews who had been deprived of any education during the war and older artisans who needed skills to build their lives in the new countries.