Zurich (Dec. 5)
At least $17,000,000 will be required by the Joint Distribution Committee during 1944 to carry out its normal, routine activities in Europe, Asia and North Africa, it was stated today by Paul Baerwald addressing 4,000 delegates from 135 cities attending the 29th annual meeting of the JDC. Mr. Baerwald stressed that "if the war were to end tomorrow, or at any other time within the year, we would require twice or three times that sum – or even more."
Mr. Baerwald was elected chairman of the JDC last night, succeeding Capt. Edward M. M. Warburg, who is on active service with the United States Army. For the past two years Mr. Baerwald has been functioning as honorary chairman of the organization. Mrs. Felix Warburg was named honorary chairman and James N. Rosenberg was elected to the newly-created post of chairman of the Board.
Joseph C. Hyman, executive vice-president of the JDC, speaking at today’s meeting discussed arrangements which the JDC has just concluded with the Soviet Union to send food, clothing and other relief supplies in the amount of $500,000 into the U.S.S.R. within the next few months for distribution by the Russian Red Cross to civilians on a non-sectarian basis in areas of predominantly Jewish population. He said that this marked the formal resumption of relief relationships between JDC and the Soviet Union. The new program will supplement the JDC’s present shipments of packages containing food, clothing and medicines to large numbers of evacuees from Eastern Europe who are now in Soviet Asia, Mr. Hyman explained, pointing out that the package plan is expected to reach a rate of 5,000 parcels a month by the end of this year.
ROLE OF PRIVATE RELIEF AGENCIES STRESSED BY LEHMAN
High praise for the Joint Distribution Committee’s work came from the Director General of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, Herbert H. Lehman, in a letter to Mr. Hyman. Mr. Lehman, who for a quarter of a century was actively associated with the JDC, declared that agency, "dealing as it does, not merely with current needs, but preparing to meet large obligations in the post-war world, deserves the support and the interest of all men and groups." In his message, Mr. Lehman declared that "in the Vast task which faces the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, not alone will the human and material resources of governments be required, but that of public and private organizations also will be needed.
Harry Greenstein, who is Welfare Branch Chief of the UNRRA’s Division of Program and Requirements, pointed out that "the JDC occupies a unique position in the field of foreign voluntary relief. Upon it rests the burden for Jewish life to go on… As countries are liberated, tremendous burdens will be placed upon it. The JDC has had a long and honorable record of usefulness to the Jewish people. It has a far greater opportunity for service in the years ahead."
He declared that it is important "to bear in mind that the UNRRA’s resources will be limited and it will have to confine its responsibility to the occupied and liberate countries. The JDC is engaged in work in many countries that are not at all in the war — neutral countries such as Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Portugal and all Latin America."
JDC TASKS IN WAR AND POST-WAR PERIOD OUTLINED BY SPEAKERS
The post-war tasks facing the JDC were outlined by Mr. Baerwald. "Within the structure of normal community life," he declared, "the institutions of Jewish culture and religion will need to be reestablished, and Jewish institutions of welfare and service restored." Pointing out that many Jewish exiles will want to go back to their
Referring to the problem of children now scattered in hiding places over Europe, many of them in the homes of Christian neighbors, Mr. Baerwald declared that "for a generation to come, these children will need patient, sympathetic and individual care, beyond the assistance of governmental agencies." Men and women, he said, will require guidance in the selection of vocations and in economic training. Hundreds of thousands will require loans and credits of the kind which the JDC has for many years in the past provided in Eastern Europe, particularly in Poland, he added.
The JDC’s operations in Europe, Asia and Africa were described by Dr. Joseph Schwartz, the organization’s European director. In Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Asiatic Russia and Sweden, he said, the JDC was providing food, clothing, shelter, medical and child care to thousands of refugees who had escaped from occupied areas. In French Morocco and Algeria, the JDC had brought the refugee situation under control, but in Tunisia, he said, the JDC’s "job will take years" to rebuild the community life of the native Jewish population.
He disclosed that the JDC was aiding religious and cultural institutions in Palestine, Iran, Turkey, as well as in North Africa. A special activity of the JDC since the Hitler era, he said, has been emigration aid. Dr. Schwartz pointed out that since Pearl Harbor, the JDC has enabled 12,000 persons to emigrate to the Western Hemisphere and Palestine. In recent months, he added, the JDC has been aiding large groups of Jews who had escaped to Turkey and to Aden, to go to Palestine.
Miss Laura Margolis, who is the only woman in the JDC’s overseas service, told the meeting that "the JDC and the organization it set up in enemy-occupied Shanghai has meant the difference between life and death to thousands of refugees there." Miss Margolis was sent to Shanghai by the JDC in May, 1941 to supervise its relief activities in behalf of the 21,000 Jewish refugees. Even after Pearl Harbor, she pointed out, the JDC kitchen was feeding 5,000 persons each day and its five camps were housing many more. Alexander Kahn, a vice-chairman of the JDC, paid tribute to the millions of Jews who have met death at the hands of the Nazis. He eulogized nine former associates of the JDC who have died in Europe.
OLD OFFICERS RE-ELECTED; SEVERAL NEW ONES CHOSEN
Six JDC Vice-chairman were reelected: George Backer, Mr. Kahn and Jonah B. Wise, of New York; William Rosenwald, of Greenwich, Conn.; William J. Shroder, of Cincinnati, and M. C. Sloss of San Francisco. Four new Vice-chairman were elected. They are James H. Becker of Chicago, retiring Chairman of the JDC’s National Council; I. Edwin Goldwasser, Alfred E. Jaretzki, Jr., and Isaac H. Levy of New York. Other officers who will continue in their posts during the coming year are: I. Edwin Goldwasser and Alexander A. Landesco, Treasurers; Mrs. H. B. L. Goldstein, Comptroller; Hoseph C. Hyman, Executive Vice-Chairman; Evelyn M. Morrissey, Assistant Treasurer; Moses A. Leavitt, Secretary; Dr. Bernhard Kahn, Honorary Chairman, Dr. Schwartz, Chairman of the European Executive Council; and Isidore Coons, Director of Fund-Raising. All are from New York.
To the Executive Committee three members were added: Sidney Lansburgh of Baltimore, and Leo Jung and Alfred E. Jaretzki, Jr. of New York. Thirty members of the Executive Committee were reelected. Nine members were added to the Board of Directors. The five New Yorkers among them are: Alexander E. Arnstein, Saul J. Lance, Carl Leff, Jacob Levinson, and Harry Zeitz. Albert H. Lieberman of Philadelphia was elevated from the Vice-Chairmanship of the National Council to the Chairmanship.
Today’s meeting was held simultaneously at the Commodore and Murray Hill Hotels. Mr. Shroder presided at the Commodore, and Mr. Goldwasser at the Murray Hill.