Scattergood Hostel: A Quaker Response to the Holocaust

In the summer of 1938, a group of young Quakers in Iowa wrote a letter to the American Friends Service Committee, volunteering to host refugees from Nazi Germany at their summer camp. By the time Clarence Pickett, the AFSC’s executive secretary, responded to the letter, the situation had gotten even worse, and he asked the Iowan Friends if they could take refugees year round. That led to the launch of Scattergood Hostel, the largest grassroots relief effort in the United States in response to the Holocaust.

“It was a perfect wedding of an existing desire to help and then the need for help,” reflects Michael Luick-Thrams, a Quaker historian who has written about Scattergood. “It happened to be the Quakers, it happened to be in Iowa, and it needs to be told and preserved.”

Recently, Michael followed the example of the Scattergood Friends when refugees from war-torn Ukraine began to arrive in his German community. At Friends Journal, you can learn how he and his neighbors came together to establish a new Scattergood Center in the town of Bad Langensalza: “I just said to people, ‘Hey, can you come and help?’ And people did and then they’d call their friends. It doesn’t usually work like that here and so I think they’re sort of inspired.”

2 thoughts on “Scattergood Hostel: A Quaker Response to the Holocaust

  1. this is an amazing story. i am originally from iowa – although was not a quaker. until today i have never heard this beautiful story. and now the german connection with ukrainians. thank you so much!

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