July 30, 1946
COD LIVER OIL FOR THE CHILDREN OF EUROPE
On (July 30, 1946) the generous financial response to a plea to assist the poor children of Europe in the wake of WWII from the people of Canada and Newfoundland, that realized approximately $150,000 in relief supplies was acknowledged.
In a Vatican State document entitled “Pleading for the Care of the World’s Destitute Children” one of the first documents bringing to the attention of the world the desperate state of the children of Europe in the wake of the war it was written:
“Without home, without clothing, they shiver in the winter cold and die. And there are no fathers or mothers to warm and clothe them. Ailing, or even in the last stages of consumption, they are without the necessary medicines and medical care. We see them, too, passing before Our sorrowful gaze, wandering through the noisy city street, reduced to unemployment and moral corruption, or drifting as vagrants uncertainly about the cities, the towns, the countryside, while no one — alas-provides safe refuge for them against want, vice and crime.”
COD LIVER OIL FROM NEWFOUNDLAND
In addition to financial support, Newfoundlanders were also thanked for the six tons of cod liver oil that “they have been able to ship abroad this year (1946), for the children of Europe.”
Cod Liver Oil is pressed from the fresh liver of the cod and purified. It is one of the best-known natural sources of vitamin D, and a rich source of vitamin A. Because cod liver oil is more easily absorbed than other oils, it was formerly widely used as a nutrient and tonic.
Even before the end of WWII the realization that something would have to be done for the health of the children in war torn Europe was under discussion. In Newfoundland a process was put in place to begin to secure a considerable quantity of cod-liver oil so it could be distributed at the end of the war in those regions where the health conditions of poor children demanded it. In Newfoundland, local businessman P.J. Lewis was charged with finding the cod liver oil and looking at how it could be transported to the children in Europe.
Recommended Archival Collection: At The Rooms Provincial Archives see GN 38.3 this file consists of Despatches from Secretary, to the Governor, 10-’44 includes discussion about the possible production of dehydrated cod in Newfoundland; 74-’44 Newfoundland fish for the British Food Mission and 210-’44 Fish for relief purposes after the war.
Recommended Reading: Cod- The Ecological History of the North Atlantic Fisheries by George Rose, Breakwater Books, St. John’s, 2008.
Recommended Cookbook: Salt Cod Cuisine: The International Table by Edward A. Jones, Boulder Publications, Portugal Cove, NL . June 2013 The cultural and culinary tradition of salt cod is celebrated in this very special cookbook—and while it is focused on Newfoundland and Labrador, the recipes take us to the many countries that feature salt cod cuisine.
Listen to this variant of Cod-Liver Oil by Ryan’s Fancy with lyrics so you can sing along http://www.wtv-zone.com/phyrst/audio/nfld/25/oil2.htm
Recommended Museum: At the Rooms Provincial Museum visit the Elinor Gill Ratcliff Gallery and explore the ‘Rural Health and Medicine Exhibit.’ Find the bottle of cod liver oil!!