Photos of Refugees: Then and Now

“The war (in Ukraine) has caused a
fastest large-scale displacements
children since World War II.

Catherine Russell, UNICEF Executive Director

In 1946, inside Germany, a displaced little girl is wrapped in blankets and seated on a mound of other refugee belongings. © UNICEF Archives.

In 2022, young Valeria arrives in Romania with limited possessions in search of shelter from the conflict that began in her home country, Ukraine, less than a week before.  © UNICEF/UN0599229/moldova

In 2022, young Valeria arrives in Romania with limited possessions in search of shelter from the conflict that began in her home country, Ukraine, less than a week before. © UNICEF/UN0599229/moldova

During this journey, keeping warm in harsh winter conditions is essential to the survival of children.

In 1946, refugee children wore clothes donated by citizens of host countries to keep warm and protected in harsh conditions. In 2022, thanks to the generosity of our donors, UNICEF is helping children in the same way by delivering warm clothes, blankets and other emergency supplies to Ukraine.

In response to ongoing and urgent needs, our teams on the ground are delivering lifesaving supplies to children and families. Make a tax-deductible donation and help deliver vital supplies to children in Ukraine.

Receipt of essential supplies

The conflict is having devastating consequences for children’s access to basic services in Ukraine, just as it did 75 years ago.

Many children live underground or flee to rural areas to find safety and shelter from bombardment, not knowing when they will be able to return home.

Across Ukraine, large numbers of local volunteers are coming together in solidarity, responding to the conflict by converting public buildings into assistance centres, creating safe spaces for children and new mothers at train stations and distributing essential supplies.

1946 refugee children in Poland, fed by volunteers.

In Poland, 1946, a nun serves bowls of soup to a group of children who receive their only meal of the day in this UNRRA-provided kitchen in the Slask Dabrowski neighborhood. UNRRA (later UNICEF) boxes are at his feet. © UNICEF/UNI43101/Kubicki .

In Poland 2022, volunteers provide supplies to children and families.

In Poland, 2022, volunteers supply children and families arriving at the border crossing after fleeing violence in Ukraine. © UNICEF/UN0607344/English

UNICEF continues to work with local partners to provide water, sanitation and school supplies for children of all ages.

We know that keeping children safe, healthy and experiencing moments of normality in such extreme circumstances is essential for them to recover from trauma.

Children learning in Yugoslavia, 1946,

In Yugoslavia, 1946, three boys affected by World War II receive help and support to continue their learning at a school in northwestern Croatia. © UNICEF/UNI43103/Unknown

In Ukraine, 2022, children draw and make postcards in the Kharkiv metro.

In Ukraine, 2022, children draw and make postcards in the Kharkiv metro. UNICEF has equipped the Kharkiv metro station with learning materials for art, games and reading. It’s one of the few entertainments they currently have during the continuous bombardment of their war-torn city. © UNICEF/UN0615949/Yakimenko

Finding Relief at Blue Dot Centers

In times of conflict and displacement, women and children are at increased risk of gender-based violence, abuse, psychological distress and family separation.

Many displaced children supported by UNICEF are often shocked, confused and exhausted when they finally reach refuge.


In Poland, 1946, a refugee family seeks safety.

In Poland, 1946, a refugee family returning from Rudki, south of the Ukrainian city of Lvov, rests on a pile of their belongings on their journey west to the farmhouse that awaits them in the southeastern region. western Lower Silesia. © UNICEF Archives

In 2022, a family escapes violence in Ukraine.

In Ukraine, 2022, Mikhail holds his daughter, sitting next to his other children in a tent in a reception area on the border with Moldova after escaping violence in their village. © UNICEF/UN0607407/Modola

To support the hundreds of thousands of families and children fleeing Ukraine today, UNICEF has a unique and effective solution.

Working with local authorities in host countries, UNICEF and partners have set up safe places at border posts for children and families.

Blue Point centers provide respite, allowing families to reunite or rest in a safe space before traveling to their next destination.

Refugee children play in Egypt, 1946

In Egypt, 1946, refugee children, including two boys in a reclaimed wooden cart, play in the UNRRA (later UNICEF) refugee camp at Tolumbat. Ante holding the teddy bear, comes from Yugoslavia. © UNICEF/UNI43123/Mihanoff

A child in a Romanian Blue Dot centre, 2022

In Romania in 2022, 11-year-old Ukrainian Anastasia poses for a photo with her new toy as she is at the UNICEF-supported Blue Dot centre, where she and her family are receiving emergency aid after escaped the escalation of violence. © UNICEF/UN0627036/Nicodim

At Blue Dots, services include safe spaces where mothers, babies and children can learn, play and receive medical and psychosocial first aid.

Families also receive legal services, protection of unaccompanied children, reunification services, access to housing and transportation assistance for travel.

UNICEF helps children and families in crisis

1946 supplies delivered to those in need.

In Czechoslovakia, 1946, workers unload a cargo of 60,000 hatching eggs from a Veterans’ Airline plane in the capital, Prague. The eggs were donated to UNRRA (later UNICEF) as food aid. © UNICEF/UNI41888/Unknown

2022, supplies are delivered to those in need in Ukraine.

In Lviv, Ukraine, 2022, boxes of medical, educational and recreational supplies are delivered to a children’s hospital. This is the first shipment of supplies from UNICEF to Ukrainian hospitals, with more to follow in the coming days, with the aim of reaching 22 hospitals in five regions. © UNICEF/UN0606248/Filippov

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