Anita Van Til


 Willard Wichers and Dutch Immigration Under the Refugee Relief Act

Following the Second World War, the United States Congress enacted the Refugee Relief Act (1953-1956) in order to facilitate emigration out of countries that were devastated by the war. As one of these countries, the Netherlands benefited greatly from the Refugee Relief Act because of the law's loosening of restrictions on immigration quotas. Under the Refugee Relief Act, voluntary organizations, usually faith-based, assisted immigrants from the Netherlands. As part of one of these voluntary organizations, the Netherlands Pioneer and Historical Society located in Holland, Michigan, became a clearinghouse for Dutch immigrants. As head of the Netherlands Pioneer and Historical Society, Willard Wichers oversaw the difficult task of finding sponsor groups and families for the thousands of Dutch immigrants who desired to come to the United States. My summer research focuses on Wichers involvement with other organizations involved in the immigrants' cause, his personal involvement with the immigrants themselves, and his tireless promotion of Dutch immigration in the United States.

Faculty Mentor: David Snyder


Anita presented at the Great Lakes History Conference October 20-21, 2006 in Grand Rapids, MI.

Page last modified May 13, 2011