J.D.C. Will Continue Overseas Relief Work on a Wartime Basis, Warburg States

Continuation of all the overseas relief activities of the Joint Distribution Committee as well as the organization of aid to a half million Polish Jews in Russia and the augmentation of J.D.C. work in Central and South America was announced here today by Edward M. M. Warburg, chairman of the J.D.C.

Pointing out that all relief work must now be placed on a wartime basis, Mr. Warburg stated: “The officers of the Joint Distribution Committee have been in continuous session since the declaration of war. We have been in telegraphic and telephonic communication with most of our offices abroad, including Shanghai, effecting the necessary arrangements for continuance of vitally needed relief work and refugee assistance.

“Over a year ago, anticipating the possibility of an emergency situation, such as we now face, which would cut communications between our office and the overseas committees, the J.D.C. made plans to insure that the work of relief would not be abruptly and seriously curtailed. At a recent Executive Committee meeting, an appropriation of $1,500,000 was confirmed to be utilized for this purpose. Local Jewish committees overseas have been notified that they may borrow from local sources, with the assurance that we will reimburse these loans when feasible without aiding the enemy. This procedure follows the pattern set during the first World War when the Joint Distribution Committee operated in the face of identical conditions.

“The Joint Distribution Committee has experienced and competent local committees operating in many sections of the war zone. We expect that the leaders of these local organizations will carry on the necessary work of assistance with the devotion and self-sacrifice which they have exhibited heretofore. Our 27 years of experience will now come into play. It is expected that, when the first shock of the present situation wears off, conditions will stabilize themselves sufficiently to enable the local committees to function effectively. Meanwhile, in other areas, such as unoccupied France, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, North Africa and elsewhere, the programs of the Joint Distribution Committee are continuing as heretofore.

“In Central and South America where the J.D.C. has been working in 18 countries, our program will need to be very considerably augmented.

“It need hardly be emphasized that now, as in the past, all J.D.C. work will be carried on subject to the policies and regulations of our Government. In no way will any funds be allowed to benefit the enemy either directly or indirectly. In addition, there are large new responsibilities in areas of Jewish need which the J.D.C. has now been called upon to meet, particularly in Russia. The terrible plight of a half million Polish Jews in Russian Siberia calls for immediate American help. We have worked out plans for the inception of such a program, for which we are ready to make an initial grant of $100,000.”

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