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Unrra Expected to Coordinate Work of Jewish Relief Agencies in Liberated Europe

One of the first jobs of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration will be to coordinate the work of Jewish and other voluntary relief organizations through a welfare branch directly under Director-General Herbert H. Lehman, it was learned here today.

Agencies such as the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the Jewish Labor Committee, the World Jewish Congress, the Federation of Polish Jews, Hadassah and others are expected to offer their cooperation. Under the UNRRA agreement, signed by 44 United Nations and their associates, private charity can only work in liberated areas under UNRRA direction. The subcommittee report on this subject said:

“The resources, personnel and skill of voluntary agencies, too, will be needed. Within such limits as may be imposed by necessity, it should, therefore, be the policy of UNRRA to enlist the cooperation of any… voluntary relief agencies and seek their participation in relief and rehabilitation measures which they have the competence, personnel and other resources to administer and which can be effectively integrated with the UNRRA program as a whole. So far as far as feasible these agencies should be permitted to operate in the areas of their choice.”

The last provision should enable Jewish organizations to work in areas where Jewish populations have been most affected by the ravages of war and the Nazis — particularly Poland and reoccupied Russia. In each country, however, the government or national authority has the right to accept, supervise or bar this help.

These proposals have not yet been approved by the powerful Committee on Relief and Rehabilitation Policies. After an opportunity for revision there, they will be submitted to the UNRRA council, on which all 44 member nations are represented.

UNRRA, itself, will be able to give special help to Jews under a policy laid down in a report by Anders Frihagen, Norwegian Minister of Reconstruction. The report said:

“In any area where relief and rehabilitation operations are being conducted through the employment, in whole or part of the administrations resources, relief in all its aspects shall be distributed or dispensed fairly on the basis of the relative needs of the population in the area, and without discrimination against any person for whatever reason.”

Then, to provide for special cases like those of persecuted Jews, the report added: “In determining the relative needs of the population, there may be taken into account the diverse needs caused by discriminatory treatment by the enemy during its occupation of the area.” The report will probably be approved by the committee on general policy and by the full council of UNRRA.

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