Personal memories of a UNRRA camp officer

MILLS, Edwin (compiler, photographer)

[Album of Photographs of a UNRRA Camp, its Employees and Refugees, in 1945-c.1947]

Publication: "Dept of Works, Woomera West South Australia", [late 1940s?].

MILLS, Edwin (compiler, photographer), [Album of Photographs of a UNRRA Camp, its Employees and Refugees, in 1945-c.1947]

Extensive photographic documentation of the life of a UNRRA camp officer in the aftermath of WW2 in Germany – with other ephemera and documents.

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Our Notes & References

A UNRRA British mission director records his work and leisure in postwar Germany with almost 300 photographs.

The album was created by Edwin Mills, a director at the ​​United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) during his stay in the British Zone of Germany from early April 1945 till at least late 1949. The UNRRA aimed at helping Displaced Persons and distributing economic and social aid to the countries formerly occupied by the nazis.

Thoroughly captioned, the photographs document Mills’ arrival in his UNRRA base in Aachen, his team members (from nurses, secretaries and cooks to high-ranked directors), their professional activities, including:

the implementation of the Operation “Grand National”: the transportation of the Jewish people to Palestine

activities of the DP rehabilitation centre for people with disabilities: water sports and competitions for people with amputated legs

– DPs from Russia, Ukraine and Poland and their activities, such as the celebration of the Polish National Day, the Russian May parade, and a concert of Russian (and Ukrainian?) national dances

– the return of Polish DPs to their homeland

– the pastimes of the UNRRA employees, including Christmas, July 4 and farewell (costume) parties

– a curious report on the “Russian mission make a visit” with captions: “an attempt to turn over a car”, “writing in the dirt”, burning propaganda documents, and “running away”

– the visual results of destruction in different German cities, and Mills’ and other UNRRA members’ travels to neighbouring countries.

The album also contains a handful of valuable documents, such as the “Basis of issue for Displaced Persons“, detailing the amount of products in “hard rations” and “bulk rations” with calculations of amounts and calories of different foods and additional instructions for individual cases; a list of people employed by UNRRA for household purposes with their names, posts and starting dates, the driving licence in the British zone, the equivalent military status card, the programme of the meeting on the 1st anniversary of Camp YMCA (23 March 1947) with Lithuanian, Estonian and Latvian folk songs, and invitations to other celebrations.

Among those captured in the photographs are: Mr, Mrs, Miss Stacpoole, Mr and Mrs Foster, Lady Robertson, Eric Badcock, Margaret Boverat, Karen Rasmussen, Zoe Sepucchre, father Monaghan, Frankie Davies-Smith, Snyder Price-Gubert, Bessie Wheatman, Freddie Lafree, Muriel Smithson, Freda Ricter, F. M. Montgomery, Carla van Son, Edna Dearm, Susie Berjeau, Mr and Mrs Lipkowski (camp leader), Mr and Mrs Sikora, Mr Huberty, Eva Dehn, Duncan Johnston, General G. I. Thomas (commander 1st corps), Gen Fanshawe, Col Dawson, sir R. Cilento, Willie Donker, Norman Moore, Peggy Russel, Col Fletcher, Mr Zeminskas, Mr and Mrs Soodla, Mr and Mrs Woodruff, Ed Francel, Tommy Jamieson, June Soole, as well as many people mentioned without their last names.

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Physical Description

Oblong folio (34 x 23.5 cm). 30 ll. with 280 photographs from 14 x 9 to 7 x 7 cm (including at least 20 commercial ones; the others amateur), 7 strip rolls (8 x 4 cm) containing two small photographs each, 8 postcards (mostly German, French and Dutch sights), various documents glued on protective paper, incl. UNRRA equivalent military status card and food rationing instructions; with loose paraphernalia inserted in the envelope glued to upper endpaper: photograph of Lemgo spires (25 x 17.5 cm), hand coloured print (possibly a drawing) of Lubeck Marktbrunnen, various documents (driving permits in the British Zone, party invitations, list of employees on paper with a UK royal blind embossing).


Red cloth-backed spine tied with a red lace over yellow-red marbled boards.


Lower spine end split, edges scuffed, very light staining on boards; traces of two documents glued on protective paper.

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