Society for the Protection of the Health of the Jewish Population (OSE): Jewish Humanitarian Mission for over 100 Years

  • Olga Potap Boston University, Boston (MA), USA
  • Marc Cohen Œuvre de Secours aux Enfants, Paris, France
  • Grigori Nekritch Œuvre de Secours aux Enfants, Paris, France


The essay's primary purpose is to bring to the attention of readers interested in the history of the Jewish people that the dramatic 20th century is not only the victims of the Holocaust–and not only the heroism of the military on the battlefields. It is active resistance to barbarism–the rescue of defenseless people through daily civilian activities, nevertheless associated with a constant risk to life. This paper examines non-political and non-religious secular Jewish welfare society within Jewish political and national movements. This essay considers five historical periods of the activity of OSE. These periods are: 1912–1922; 1922–1933; 1933–1945; 1945–1950; 1950–present time. This chronological classification is somewhat imperfect; however, each period reflects the dynamic of functional changes in the initial tasks of the society to review the goals of the organization to satisfy the urgent needs of the European Jewish community in a debatable circumstance of the 20th–21st centuries.

Author Biographies

Olga Potap, Boston University, Boston (MA), USA

Olga Potap is a professional librarian working at the School of Theology Library at Boston University. She holds a Master’s degree in Library & Information Science from the Simmons Graduate School of Library and Information Science and a Master’s degree in Liberal Arts from Boston University.  While pursuing her Master's degree at Boston University, she did course work in Judaic Studies with Professor Elie Wiesel. She is also a member of the European Association for Jewish Studies (EAJS) and the Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL). Her research focuses on the role of civil societies and benevolent organizations in the communal solidarity and orientation of European Jewish communities at different points of their development.

Marc Cohen, Œuvre de Secours aux Enfants, Paris, France

Marc Cohen, MD. Specialization–internal and geriatric medicine. Medical director of OSE Œuvre de Secours aux Enfants, Paris, France. Dr. Cohen is the founder and consultant of medico-social programs for the Jewish community in France. Scientific interests: social medicine.

Grigori Nekritch, Œuvre de Secours aux Enfants, Paris, France

Grigori Nekritch, MD, PhD. Specialization–geriatric medicine. Dr. Nekritch works at OSE Œuvre de Secours aux Enfants, Paris, France). Scientific interests: social medicine, history of medicine.


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How to Cite
Potap, O., Cohen, M., & Nekritch, G. (2021). Society for the Protection of the Health of the Jewish Population (OSE): Jewish Humanitarian Mission for over 100 Years. Changing Societies & Personalities, 5(2), 175–200. doi:10.15826/csp.2021.5.2.128