History of Medicine - The forgotten ringworm campaign of OZE-TOZ in Poland

Shifra Shvarts*, Pnina Romem, Yitzhak Romem, Mordechai Shani

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In 1921, the JOINT- JDC (the American Jewish Welfare Organization) together with the Jewish health organizations of Eastern Europe (OZE, TOZ) initiated a campaign to eradicate ringworm of the scalp, which was one of the major medical causes that prevented Jews from immigrating to the West. This campaign continued until 1938. During the years 1921-1938, 27,760 children were irradiated (x-rayed) as part of the treatment. This study, based on archival sources in Israel and abroad, presents the story of this unique campaign to eradicate ringworm in the Eastern European Jewish communities, the ideology behind this initiative, the health and medical factors that played a role and its outcomes. This research was conducted at The Gertner Institute for Epidemiology and Health Policy Research and The School of Public Health at Tel Aviv University.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-270
Number of pages6
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2009


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