2 Veteran J.D.C. Officials in Poland Unheard from Since Sept. 5
Menu JTA Search

2 Veteran J.D.C. Officials in Poland Unheard from Since Sept. 5

Download PDF for this date

Concern was expressed here today over the fate of two veteran Polish executives of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, Isaac Giterman and I. Neustadt, who have not been heard from since the early days of the war.

The latest message from the two men, both of whom are well known to many in New York, was an appeal telephoned through the Jewish Telegraphic Agency facilities in Warsaw shortly after the outbreak of the war. They asked for immediate dispatch of funds to meet war emergency funds.

Since then the Warsaw office of the J.D.C. has lost contact with the outside world. Persons who left the Polish capital on Sept. 5 reported that Giterman was still on duty at that time, conducting the J.D.C. relief work.

The two men are believed to be still in territory occupied either by the Nazis or the Reds. In either case they share the fate of the hundreds of thousands of other Jews in the occupied territories, with whom contact has for the time being been completely lost.

Giterman has been director of the J.D.C. work in Poland for the last 20 years, while Neustadt has been connected with the organization for more than 15 years. Several days before outbreak of war, Giterman was called to Paris to participate in an important conference convoked by the J.D.C. here on the refugee problem. Realizing the imminence of war, Giterman hurriedly flew back to Poland, arriving in Warsaw a day before the outbreak of hostilities.

This is the second time that Giterman has been caught in occupied territory while performing his duties for the J.D.C. The first time was in 1920, when the Soviet army marched into Poland and reached the outskirts of Warsaw before being driven back by the Poles. Giterman, who at the time was engaged in aiding refugees in the Volhynian section of Poland, was jailed and kept under arrest by the Red forces of occupation until they were defeated by the reinforced Polish army.

Giterman was at the head of the Gemiloth Chesed Kassa (free loan societies) work which the J.D.C. established in Poland in 1926 and was very active in building up hundreds of the free loan banks which strengthened the economic position of Polish Jewry. He was also in recent years active in planning many phases of constructive work in the program of the J.D.C. What will be the fate of the kassas, which were maintained by the J.D.C. in cooperation with the local population, cannot as yet be forecast.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund