Loan bureaus, which only a few years ago were mere auxiliaries to ordinary social welfare work, are now the last bulwark against ruin for large masses of the Jewish population of Germany, according to a report made public yesterday by the Joint Distribution Committee.
Instead of the borrowers being limited to those who can no longer be “integrated into the economic structure” or those ruined by the inflation of 1931, the applicants for loans from these bureaus since the beginning of the present regime of the Reich are a complete cross-section of every element of the Jewish population.
They range from former civil service employes and peddlers to recently prosperous merchants and landowners, and include former innkeepers and leaders in the professions.
U. S. HELP IMPORTANT
The working capital of the loan kassas, which are one phase of the rehabilitation program of the Central Committee of German Jews for Relief and Reconstruction, is 1,125,000 marks. According to that organization, these kassas have been enabled to function through the help given this year and in 1933 by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and the American Joint Reconstruction Foundation.
In a report just received by the Joint Distribution Committee on the operation of these kassas, it is shown that merchants and traders preponderate among the applicants for loans. Conditions for them, the report says, have been so bad, that many have been compelled to use up their stock in efforts to keep themselves going and to cover some of their running expenses.
LOANS LIMITED IN SIZE
However, the report states, the kassas are unable to help them to the extent required, because the limited capital of these institutions does not permit them to grant loans beyond 1,000 marks. Applications for loans beyond these sums have to be denied even if adequate security is offered.
This limitation, it was pointed out yesterday by Joseph C. Hyman, secretary of the Joint Distribution Committee, cannot be changed unless larger sums are made available, through contributions to the United Jewish Appeal, to the Joint Distribution Committee which cooperates with the Central Committee of German Jews for Relief and Reconstruction in its programs of relief, vocational training and retraining, education and emigration aid, and also with the Refugee High Commission and various European committees in their programs of refugee aid.
LIFE OF JEWS UPSET
The report on the work of the kassas, which deals with their evolution since the beginning of the present situation in the Reich, reveals the havoc that has been wrought in Jewish life in Germany since the beginning of 1933.
Prior to that time, according to the report, the kassas were conducted by the Jewish communities, primarily as an aid to the welfare work to help indigent persons who did not come within the purview of other social service institutions. Much leniency was exercised by them toward the borrowers, mostly these who had lost their money through the war or the subsequent inflation.
Others were individuals who could no longer be integrated into the economic structure. They were people who tried to keep themselves going by means of loans which were never enough for them to get a fresh start in life and whose means of repayment were very slight.
Therefore, the security they offered for their loans was not required to be 100 per cent adequate, and the period of repayment was extended to two years.