Many people in Europe have special memories of the summer of 1946. The war
had been over for a year. But great need still prevailed. There was barely any food to be bought, many people were going hungry and many parents did not know how they were to raise their children. And in this plight, packages came from America: the so-
called CARE* packages.
Contents of a CARE package
Thomas Naethe, Arbeitskreis Eifeler Museen
This action was run by church and other aid organisations. Every American could send a package to Europe for 15 dollars. A package contained the most essential food for three to four weeks. Often, however, they contained surprises as well: children’s shoes, hair slides, fashionable trifles that had not been seen in Germany for years. The packages were sent under the name of the donor, so the recipients knew they were a personal gesture. The first ship carrying CARE packages docked in Bremen in 1946. Aid packages came from other countries as well: Switzerland, Great Britain, the Vatican, Brazil, Spain and many other church and private organisations made donations.
It is estimated that Germany received packages worth 1.2 million marks from abroad after 1945. In 1981, the Germans then founded “CARE-
Deutschland" to pass on the help they received to people in want all over the world.
*CARE originally stood for "Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe" and later for "Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere".