Film: ORT

[Society for Trades and Agricultural Labor (ORT), Marseille], 1939

Digitized from 16mm original footage; running time: 5:31
International Center of Photography, Courtesy United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

In 1939, Vishniac was commissioned to make a promotional film at a Society for Trades and Agricultural Labor (ORT) vocational training facility near Marseille. The film was never completed, and only outtakes have survived; it was recently discovered and is being shown here for the first time. The silent film footage documents male workers as they engage in fieldwork, learn horticulture, carpentry, glazing, woodworking, construction, and ironworking, and take classes in engineering, architecture, and mechanics. ORT schools throughout Europe worked to train and certify Jewish refugees in whichever skills were most desired by host countries. When French military mobilization reduced the available agricultural manpower, ORT refugees provided labor, and also eased the immersion of these foreign workers into French society.