An important stage in the Brichah operation, the city of Milan and the camps surrounding it became the centre for DPs in Northern Italy. ORT ran a number of important undertakings in the area. Large schools were opened in camps in Milan, Adriatico, Lecco-Brivio and Arona. Of special importance was an ORT school for builders in Milan, operating between 1946 and 1950, the first Jewish school of its kind in Europe.
The camp in Milan, one of only a few camps located in large cities, housed about 1,000 Jewish DPs. The most famous ORT establishment in the area, the school for building, trained thirty pupils every fifteen weeks. The curriculum was the shortened version of the syllabus followed in the Italian Trade Schools. The majority of students of the ORT Scuola Muraria worked as fully paid craftsmen in the building trade and attended lectures in alternate weeks. They also undertook building work in camps surrounding Milan. One of their undertakings was the construction of the ORT kitchen which was established to deal with the difficult food situation in the camps.
In July 1947 ORT reported that ‘in establishing this school, the present great demand everywhere for craftsmen in the building industry was taken into account, and especially the fact, that with the enlargement of the Aliyah the demand for skilled workers in this field is bound to grow. Milan was chosen for the setting up of this school for the reason that Italian masons, tillers, cement and concrete workers have world-wide renown (…) The pupils are former book –keepers, shop-assistants and Yeshiva graduates; despite the very difficult conditions of their lives, they all keep good discipline in their work.’ After the closure of the school instructors from Milan moved to the ORT school for building construction in Jaffa in Israel.