NEW YORK (Jul. 19)
The Jewish Colonization Association and HIAS-ICA Emigration Association intend to carry on their work to the greatest extent possible, despite the closing of most emigration channels and the dispersal of ICA leaders, Max Gottschalk, president of the HIAS-ICA and member of the ICA board, declared in an interview with the J.T.A. today.
Gottschalk, a commandant (major) in the Belgian army and president of the Belgian Social Security Board, arrived here on the Greek steamer Nea Hellas on July 12 from Lisbon. His army unit had retreated to Bordeaux, France, after King Leopold’s surrender, and when France surrendered he left for Lisbon. He will remain here permanently.
“The ICA will go on with its work,” Gottschalk said at his hotel today, “although its leaders are scattered. The president, Leonard G. Montefiore, is in London. The general director, Louis Oungre, is in Marseille with his brother Edouard and cannot cross the border. Mirkin is in Lisbon awaiting instructions and planning to go to Argentina.
“Of the ICA’s three activities–colonization, emigration, through the HIAS-ICA, and loan kassas, through the Joint Agricultural Foundation–colonization remains the chief sphere of operation and will be continued, although it cannot be extended for the duration of the war because Britain does not permit new credits. The ICA colonies, mainly in Brazil and Argentina, remain active.
“The HIAS-ICA still has much work to do because there are many refugees in southern France who have visas for the United States and South American countries. There will be some difficulty because of German examination of emigrants in occupied France, but many will be able to leave. They will have to be aided by existing organizations.
“The loan kassa system has lost the main part of its activity because the kassas can no longer function in the German-occupied and Soviet-dominated countries, where perhaps as many as 550 of the Foundation’s 600 kassas existed. It may be possible to establish new loan kassas in South America.”
Gottschalk ridiculed a published report that $300,000,000 in funds of Jewish organizations had been seized by the Nazis in France. The ICA, he said, maintained only enough funds in France to meet current operating expenses, while the Alliance Israelite had little money within the country.
It has not yet been decided where the ICA will establish new headquarters. Gottschalk said he personally favored Buenos Aires, as a center of ICA activities, while the HIAS-ICA could conduct its emigration work from New York and Lisbon.
Gottschalk, in addition to being president of the Belgian Social Security Board, was Belgian delegate to the International Labor Office and a member of the Institute Sociologique Solvey.