OSE : A PROFESSIONAL JEWISH ASSOCIATION
One hundred years young, OSE is characterized by an increasingly dynamic development in its fields of action: health, education and social work.
The diversity of projects and their relevance to the needs of the most vulnerable groups show that this ongoing development is part of a demanding process that combines innovation with a strong sense of loyalty to the association’s history.
An important association in the medical, social and educational sectors in France, OSE holds dear its values of solidarity, humanism, professionalism and memory.
Jean-François Guthmann, President
Patricia Sitruk, Director general
OSE has been enriched by the history of every child it has saved
The Society for the Health of the Jewish Population (today Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants-OSE) was created in 1912 in Saint Petersburg (Russia). Its initial mission: to protect, feed and support Jewish children who were victims of poverty and persecution.
During the dark years of World War II in France, OSE turned into a Resistance organization. Its leaders, trainers and educators became rescuers, caretakers and heroes, hiding children under their responsibility behind false identities.
Once the War had ended, OSE faced the daunting task of accompanying to adulthood the children who had been orphaned and to take in others who had just been freed from concentration camps.
Years later, with the end of the War in North Africa, came waves of migrants, children and families, who needed help integrating into France.
In 1951, OSE was recognized as a “Non-Profit Organization for the Public Good”. Today, it is open to people of all backgrounds and has diversified its missions to accommodate different needs and sectors of society.
Based on its strong and unique experience in rescuing generations of uprooted children, OSE has developed more than ever before its commitment to children and to health issues.
The Organization also invests its efforts in the areas of handicap and dependency, as well as support to Holocaust survivors.
Social medicine remains at the heart of OSE activities
The Elio Habib Health Centers
– Medical and paramedical services: a large selection of general and specialized medicine and, in particular, a geriatric department
– A dental and orthodontic clinic
– Social services helping patients apply to various administrations to claim their benefits, with particular attention to Holocaust survivors
– A unit of preventative medicine, directed towards schools, active in the framework of medical prevention classes as well as public information sessions
– A family planning clinic, enabling young women to be advised and accompanied by a specialized counselor
– Pediatric medical and paramedical consultations – speech and language therapists, child psychiatrists and pediatricians
A clinical psychology center for children
It offers individual, group or family consultations, psychological rehabilitation, psychoanalytic therapy.
OSE has developed a unique expertise concerning Children in various sectors of activity
- Children’s Homes: The creation of homes to take in children under care of the Child Protection Services has been inherited from the children’s rescue mission during World War II. At the heart of OSE’s mission to help children at risk, six children’s homes in and around Paris accommodate more than 200 youngsters referred by court orders issued by juvenile judges.
- Foster Care Families: Recreating a secure and harmonious family environment for children in physical or psychological danger and experiencing learning and behavioral difficulties, OSE has placed 90 children in about 60 foster families that it employs.
- Education: While allowing children to remain within their family environment, OSE’s educational initiatives aim to help and support families experiencing educational, social and affective difficulties in bringing up their children. OSE administers 6 such centers in Paris and its suburbs.
- Prevention, Mediation, Protection: This service is intended to evaluate and advise on serious cases at the request of juvenile judges under the auspices of Child Protection Services, in particular within the framework of investigations and clinical anthropological psychology.
- Holiday Camps: These allow 100 children and adolescents to have annual vacations in the mountains, countryside or by the sea.
OSE began caring for senior citizens in the 90’s, as « OSE Children » were advancing in old age.
The Edith Kremsdorf and Joseph Weill Day Centers are located in the heart of Paris and cater for people suffering from serious conditions associated with ageing, such as Alzheimer’s.
- With ageing, such as Alzheimer’s. They propose activities as well as therapeutic stays under the care of psychologists, nurses, caregivers, art-therapists, among others. Each center welcomes up to 25 patients per day. Both centers propose therapy stays of several weeks, during which the patient is fully cared for, allowing the patient’s family to take a break. The Joseph Weill Day Center is engaged in an experimental program focused on caring for “young” Alzheimer patients aged 55 and over. The Center has also created a Caregivers’ Club, in support of family caregivers as well as more generally in support of families of Alzheimer patients. This project was awarded a Prize for Social Innovation in 2014.
- The Café des Psaumes
On Rue des Rosiers, it is the first non-profit run café in Paris Jewish community. Ageing people are often isolated in urban communities, with mobility issues and increasing dependence on others. The Café is both an important meeting place enhancing social relationships and a gateway towards more specific services in terms of medical, psychological and social support. The Café is also a vivid cultural and intellectual center in the heart of the historic Parisian Jewish neighborhood. In Partnership with local Jewish communities, OSE launched a “moving Café”, thus making the spirit of Café des Psaumes accessible to all.
Since the beginning of the 21st Century, OSE has resolutely focused its efforts to include handicap and its requirements in its missions, given a growing need for appropriate care centers.
- Jules and Marcelle Levy Center: This center enables 65 handicapped adults to carry out a professional activity – food packaging, computers or book binding – in a specially adapted environment.
- Robert Job Center: This center welcomes 25 handicapped people, whose disability affects their learning and working abilities. It proposes theater, sculpture and sport workshops as well as cultural outings.
- Raphael Center: This center welcomes 38 children and adolescents with multiple disabilities, 20 as in-patients and 18 as out-patients. A team of educators organizes activities for the youngsters including handicrafts and sporting activities and a medical team monitors any medical needs and works to help them develop greater physical autonomy.
- Alain Raoul Mossé Home: This is a daycare center for young adults with multiple disabilities over the age of 20 and aims to help them build life projects. Its educational and medical team can accommodate 14 young adults. A specially designed therapeutic apartment houses 7 resident adults with multiple disabilities and also helps them develop their life project.
All about OSE history is summed up in this document, published in 2012 when celebrating its 100th birthday (PDF) : CLICK HERE
For a concise history of OSE throughout the 20th Century, you can also visit the Yivo Website (the Institute for Jewish Research) : http://www.yivoencyclopedia.org/article.aspx/OZE
Short focus on the Memory of the Shoah :
In accordance with its founding and historical mission, OSE develops and supports various activities for the Shoah survivors and their families:
- A convivial Meeting Hall proposes reunions, cultural and recreational activities, workshops such as Yiddish, theatre, music as well as outings.
- A group therapy activity, animated by psychologists, proposes talk therapy support sessions as well as written expression classes.
- Individual therapy, at home if need be, is also available to Shoah survivors and their families. Holocaust survivors can also benefit from social support, medical follow-up as well as “age well” workshops for seniors.
- A special “Historical Archives” department helps survivors research and find information about their experience during the Shoah, or that of a parent or relative. The department also publishes documents on the History of OSE during the Shoah as well as the stories of its leaders and staff members who took an active part in saving thousands of Jewish children during this period; and immediately after the War when they welcomed and took in the survivors.
Faithful to its more than one hundred year-old tradition, OSE is developing its international activities:
- Establishing partnerships with the reemerging Jewish communities in Central Europe as well as with Western European communities and those around the Mediterranean and in Israel. These partnerships are based on exchanges of best professional practices in each of the domains in which it is active.
- OSE answers the requests of its partners, Jewish associations and sometimes local administrations, in order to allow them to take advantage of its experience and know-how.
- OSE has close relations with European and international Jewish organizations.
- Since 2010, OSE organizes international seminars bringing together French and international participants working in the medical and social fields, enabling exchanges on common issues and practices.
> A few statistics about OSE :
> They speak about OSE :