The HIAS council, comprised of over 600 delegates from approximately 350 groups, at its fifth annual convention yesterday, laid plans for a campaign to enlist more Jewish organizations under the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society banner.
A unanimously passed resolution calls for members of the council to visit all Jewish organizations and acquaint them with HIAS activities.
The resolution also asks all organizations to levy a pro capita tax of ten cents quarterly to be turned over to the HIAS. Another resolution demanded a less restrictive immigration policy, especially for political and religious refugees.
Sol Polakoff, chairman, in a review of HIAS activities during the past nine months, traced its history and that of the HICEM, its European affiliate, in gathering information as to possibilities for Jewish immigration. The organization, it was explained, also procures travel documents for refugees and represents them before governmental and consular officials.
Polakoff announced that 5,048 Jewish aliens arrived in the United States from January to July of this year, of whom fifty per cent were German-Jewish refugees. HIAS headquarters received 4,405 requests to trace relatives in this country during the same period.
The report stated that the HIAS department of shelter provided 282,762 meals and 38,731 nights of shelter to Jewish homeless and unemployed. The employment bureau placed 278 persons in jobs. Immigrants and deportees were served 11,611 kosher meals.
Polakoff disclosed that all cases of detained immigrants and matters requiring the attention of governmental departments in Washington are referred to the Washington HIAS bureau. In this manner 1,075 miscellaneous cases, such as appeals from exclusions, petitions for visas and applications for passports were disposed of.
Other items of the report were: $672,885.06 from 40,168 individuals were transmitted for relief of their kin abroad; special religious services were conducted on all Jewish holidays; at Ellis Island all detained Jewish immigrants received service from HIAS representatives.
Abraham Herman, HIAS president, and John L. Bernstein, chairman of the HIAS committee on work in foreign countries, both of whom returned some time ago from a trip through most European countries and Palestine, spoke.
Other speakers were Jacob Massel, HIAS vice-president, and Isaac L. Asofsky, general manager.