The Arrival of Delayed Pilgrims

Thursday, February 24, 1949

This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.

A documentary radio drama chronicling the debates over the DP Act of 1948. Reenactments of interviews with refugees living in DP camps in Germany and speeches made by Congressmen in June 1948. Critiques range from moral, political and economic positions, the restrictions imposed by the DP act; fine points of the legislation including quotas; dates necessary for qualification as a DP and work requirements made of DPs are included in this historical account. - such as the promise of secure employment before arriving in America and/or the necessity for some kind of agricultural expertise.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 2298
Municipal archives id: LT992

Produced by:

Ted Hudis


Ron Cockron, Roger De Koven, John Garth, Ben Grauer, Leon Janny, E.A. Kromshmidt, Joan Lazer, John McGovern, Santos Ortega, Frank Pratt, Rina Ravern, Arnold Robertson and Allen Williams


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About Citizens Committee on Displaced Persons

This radio program uses dramatization to sway public opinion in favor of "displaced pilgrims," European Jews seeking American citizenship after the Second World War.

Although the United States and its allies won WWII, anti-Semitism after the Holocaust ran high enough to result in restrictive immigration policy.  Many Americans believed these new policies were targeted towards European Jews, who were seen as "weak" or so battle-worn that they were unable to care for themselves or hold jobs.  This show (circa late 1940s) aimed to update the term "displaced person" to the more dramatic and humanizing "displaced pilgrim."  One of the first national programs to use a blend of fiction and nonfiction to sway public opinion, this Citizens Committee on Displaced Persons (CCDP) program provides a snapshot of America after the war, as well as the expanding role of radio.

The CCDP was formed in 1946, initiated by the American Council of Voluntary Agencies and the National Committee on Immigration Policy. Its objective was to seek temporary legislation suspending immigration quotas, allowing displaced persons to enter the United States. The CCDP aroused public concern through local committee groups, films, publications, etc., and also lobbied directly for passage of the desired bills. Though unsuccessful in obtaining passage of the Stratton Bill (HR2910) and Wiley Bill (S2242), the CCDP played a role in the passage of the DP Act of 1948 and in the Act's amendment in 1950. Having attained its goals, the Committee disbanded after the amendment of the DP Act.

- Citizens Committee on Displaced Persons Historical Sketch


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