The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, in response to hundreds of pleas from Jewish relief organizations and communal leaders in Eastern and Central Europe, and acting on a survey of conditions there by its European representatives urging that funds be made immediately available to continue basic relief activities during 1933, will intensify its appeal to the American Jewish public for funds to combat the acute distress and suffering of the Jewish population there, it was announced following a meeting of the Board of Directors of the overseas welfare agency.
In reaching its decision, the Board considered the fact that more than half of the Jewish population in Poland is in need of aid and a similar proportion of the population in the neighboring countries is also impoverished. The needs of these millions and the decrease in funds available to local relief organizations due to increasing destitution among the Jews, have overwhelmed these agencies which are threatened with collapse unless outside assistance is forthcoming.
Special disabilities suffered by the Jews, racial hostility as evidenced by recent outbreaks, discrimination and economic boycott have aggravated the situation of the Jews and made their condition far worse than that of the general population which has been severely affected by the world economic situation, the Board found.
Felix M. Warburg, honorary chairman of the Joint Distribution Committee and its guiding figure since its inception in 1914 to conduct American Jewish war relief activities, expressed whole-hearted approval of the Board’s action in voting to strengthen the appeal, in a letter to Rabbi Jonah B. Wise, Chairman of the National Fund Raising Committee.
“I heartily approve the decision to appeal to the body of American Jewry to support measures for the alleviation of the shocking distress of our brethren overseas,” he wrote. “Millions of Jews are in appalling need and our assistance is vitally necessary if they are to survive. The Jews of America, despite the trying situation here, must give heed to the call of these suffering people and participate in the life-saving work.”
In announcing the decision to broaden the appeal for support of the Committee’s relief program, Rabbi Wise pointed out that the Board of Directors had considered the situation in this country at length before determining its action, and had voted to make the appeal at this time only because the gravity of conditions overseas made delay dangerous.