CHICAGO (Dec. 3)
The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee concluded its two-day 25th annual meeting today with election of Edward M.M. Warburg as co-chairman of the J.D.C and chairman of the relief organization’s administration committee, both newly-created offices, and the naming of a number of prominent leaders of labor and orthodox religious groups to various posts. More than 600 Jewish community leaders from all sections of the United States and Canada attended the conference, held at the Standard Club here.
Among labor leaders appointed are David Dubinsky, president of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, named to the executive committee; Adolph Held, president of the Amalgamated Bank and the Forward Association, publishers of the Jewish Daily Forward, and Joseph Baskin, general secretary of the Workmen’s Circle.
Others named to the J.D.C. board include the noted screen and stage stars, Paul Muni and Eddie Cantor, and Henry Monsky, president of B’nai B’rith.
Paul Baerwald of New York was again elected to head the J.D.C. as chairman; James N. Rosenberg of New York was named chairman of the Executive Committee, James H. Becker of Chicago became chairman of the National Council, a post formerly held by Mr. Rosenberg, and Albert H. Lieberman of Philadelphia was named vice-chairman of the National Council.
Speakers heard during the meeting, which opened last night with a banquet, included Mrs. Herbert H. Lehman, who read an address by Governor Lehman, who was prevented by State duties from attending; James G. McDonald, chairman of the President’s Advisory Committee on Political Refugees; Mr. Baerwald; Rabbi Wise; Mr. Warburg, Clarence E. Pickett, executive secretary of the American Friends Service Committee (Quakers); Joseph C. Hyman, J.D.C executive vice-chairman; Mrs. David M. Levy, chairman of the United Jewish Appeal’s women’s division; Harold F. Linder of New York and Mrs. Myron F. Falk, honorary chairman of the J.D.C. junior division.
Mr. McDonald, addressing today’s session, declared that government assistance on an international scale for refugees from persecution and war was nearer today than at any time since the refugee problem arose.
The intergovernmental conferences of the past two years, he said, had served to “educate” the democratic governments of the world.
“Government,” he asserted, “are beginning to display a degree of interest which they did not do in the early years. The governments have brought into the picture new, powerful, dynamic personalities, and have increasingly come to see that the refugee problem reaches beyond the limits of private charity and must be treated accordingly.”
Commenting on the effects upon the Jewish position of recent European developments, Mr. McDonald said: “The German-Russian alliance, followed in these later days by the Russian encroachment on the Baltic provinces, and culminating in the attack on Finland, must end for our period, at least with all thinking men and women, that false propaganda about the intimate interrelation of Judaism and Communism. Surely now and henceforth, no man or woman of intelligence, even if he lacks good will, can any longer believe that the Jews and Communists have anything in common.”
American organizations engaged in war relief work overseas have taken “the splendid and consistent position” that “no man will be denied sustenance and aid because of race, creed or origin,” Governor Lehman declared in the address read last night by Mrs. Lehman at the dinner meeting, at which Max J. Epstein of Chicago presided.
Discussing war relief problems, the Governor pointed out that “it is not a Jewish problem nor a Christian problem.”
“It is a problem, ” he said, ” for humanity and for civilization. In the common task, the Joint Distribution Committee has proved tremendously effective. Its record of non-sectarian aid, the millions of dollars which it has disbursed in collaboration with such agencies as the American Relief Administration, The Red Cross, the Y.M.C.A., The Quakers, The Near East Relief Commission, and other non-sectarian bodies have won for it the respect and good will of Christians the world over.
“We are greatly encouraged in all of our discussions, by the splendid and consistent position taken by the American Red Cross, the American Friends Service Committee, the Commission on Polish Relief to believe that truly democratic and humanitarian principles will be observed in the conduct of their work and that no man will be denied sustenance and aid because of race, creed, or origin.”
Despite the fact that the situation is appallingly complicated the Governor warned against a defeatist attitude. “The question is often raised as to the wisdom of our attempting to grant aid in the face of problems so huge and so overwhelming. Some of us can recall the time when, during the famine of 1921, a group of American Welfare Agencies including the Joint Distribution Committee, fed many millions of children and adults daily. And yet, clearly, not all who needed help could receive it. But it was the help of those agencies which alone stood between the suffering millions and starvation. Certainly our help is more sorely needed today than ever before. We cannot permit ourselves to become discouraged no matter how dark the outlook or how great the difficulties. We do not dare to fail at this time.”