VICHY (Jan. 14)
New impetus was given to Jewish relief work in France with the arrival today of Dr. Joseph J. Schwartz, European vice-chairman of the Joint Distribution Committee, who intends to spend two months in unoccupied France in order to strengthen the network of relief organizations created after the June events.
The four principal fields of relief work sponsored by the J.D.C. in France are: (1) assistance to those interned in camps, (2) child care, (3) emigration, through the HIAS-ICA Emigration Association, and (4) general relief for the Jewish population through the intermediary of local relief committees.
Dr. Schwartz’s arrival coincides with a series of important relief meetings. The first will be a conference in Nimes of Jewish and non-Jewish bodies interested in relief. Creation of a purely Jewish body for relief in internment camps is contemplated. Hitherto the camp work has been conducted mainly by the Quakers with large financial assistance from the J.D.C.
The Committee for Refugee Assistance is meeting in Marseille today. The nation-wide Jewish Relief Coordinating Committee is meeting in Marseille tomorrow under the chairmanship of Chief Rabbi Issaye Schwartz to deal with general problems of relief work. The Federation of East European Jewish Societies is meeting in Lyon on Jan. 20. The French ORT will hold a conference on Marseille on Jan. 17.
Dr. Joseph Schwartz meanwhile is planning an extensive inspection tour of the free zone, including Nice, Toulouse, Limoges, Vichy and Lyon. He will also visit the Gurs internment camp, where more than 12,000 refugees, most of them from Germany, are held.
In conjunction with the Quakers and the OSE, Dr. Schwartz is planning to obtain removal of the children now in the camps and the aged refugees, and also to study procedure for obtaining the release of other internees. Realization of this program would considerably alleviate the plight of the refugees and simplify relief activities.
Dr. Schwartz intends to devote his present trip to France to establishment of a definitive working relief system with a double financial basis–the J.D.C.’s contribution, which necessarily represents the major part of the budget, and local contributions. The J.D.C.’s contribution runs to several million frances monthly to enable systematic relief work in France, exclusive of emigration activities, for which the J.D.C. contributes to the HIAS-ICA.