J.D.C. Will Need $46,570,000 for Relief in 1945; Baerwald Re-elected Chairman
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J.D.C. Will Need $46,570,000 for Relief in 1945; Baerwald Re-elected Chairman

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The Joint Distribution Committee will need a minimum of $46,570,000 to finance Jewish relief and rehabilitation work in Europe in 1945, it was announced here today at the 30th annual meeting of the JDC, at the Hotel Commodore, attended by 2,000 Jewish community leaders from all parts of the country.

The announcement was made by Joseph C. Hyman, executive vice-chairman, addressing the gathering. "The JDC allocated $20,400,000 in 1944," Mr. Hyman said. "It is a conservative estimate that if a million and a half Jews survive in non-Russian Europe, at least a million will need help in one form or another. Many will need more than emergency assistance – they are without property, means of self-support and source of income. To finance these unfortunates will require funds unparalleled in the history of private philanthropy."

Enthusiastic applause from the audience greeted the reading of a message from President Roosevelt, commending the JDC, for its thirty years of humanitarian accomplishment. The message read in part: "Through three decades your committee has been the constant and unfailing source of help and hope to the victims of persecution and disaster. Your great humanitarian activities have been especially marked throughout these tragic and trying war years. Through you our American citizens of the Jewish faith have been able to extend tangible proof of their sympathy for their suffering brethren."

One of the featured speakers was Captain Guy de Rothschild, who is on the staff of General Pierre Koenig, military governor of Paris. Capt. Rothschild paid tribute to the JDC for supplying the funds which made it possible to maintain thousands of French Jews and keep them hidden from the Nazis. "Tens of thousands of Jews owe their lives to the possibilities of immigration and to the financing of rescue in every possible form that were paid for by the JDC, " he said. Leon Meiss, chairman of the Jewish Consistory of France, also brought greetings from French Jewry.


Paul Baerwald, chairman of the JDC, emphasized the constructive relationship existing between the JDC and governmental and intergovernmental relief agencies. He pointed to JDC cooperation with the War Refugee Board, UNRRA, the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees, the United States State and Treasury Departments, the International Red Cross and the various governments-in-exile as "a factor in accelerating our relief and rescue activities."

"The JDC can say that not only has it cooperated with government, but it has constantly served as government’s consultant on refugee affairs," he declared. Emphasizing that much of the rescue program would have been impossible without War Refugee Board cooperation, Mr. Baerwald said, "the JDC has been in constant conference with the War Refugee Board. We have pooled our information. We have made our overseas contacts available to the Board representatives and the Board has used our staff in the field without reservation. An example of this joint attack upon our common problems is the Balkan rescue operation which brought some 10,000 Jews from Rumania and Hungary to safety in the Holy Land, and which was a joint War Refugee Board, JDC, and Jewish Agency project."


Reviewing the JDC’s program in occupied, neutral, allied and liberated territory in 1944, Mr. Hyman stated: "Of the $20,400,000 appropriated by the Joint Distribution Committee in 1944, over 70 percent went for sheer rescue programs. In cooperation with the War Refugee Board we expended $9,984,000. Many things were tried. Children were rescued from occupied France and brought or carried across the snowy passes of the Alps and the Pyrenees into Switzerland and into Spain. Hundreds of adults, too, were helped to cross from border to border, and brought to freedom.

"To many of the concentration camps and labor battalions of occupied Europe, JDC was able to send tens of thousands of parcels of food, medicines and clothing through the invaluable channels of the International Red Cross," Mr. Hyman continued. "Even in Poland we were able to effect contact with various underground groups to provide funds for some salvation, some rescue, some relief. In Hungary, we have exerted every conceivable human effort to help, via Switzerland, via other neutral countries, via various international bodies, via Catholic and Protestant authorities. JDC supported tens of thousands of refugees in Switzerland, in Spain, in Portugal, in Sweden, in Russian, in Latin America, and even in far-off Shanghai."


Alexander Kahn, JDC vice-chairman, traced the development of the Joint Distribution Committee as the major American agency for aid to distressed Jews overseas. "After a generation of unprecedented service to Jews in all parts of the globe the JDC has demonstrated that it justly deserved the confidence and support that have been so generously given to it during these tragic years, not only by world Jewry, but by the Governments of the World," he declared.

Pointing out that the JDC aid reached every corner of the world "from Shanghai to Palestine," Mr. Kahn emphasized that the organization has no axe to grind. "It does not ask the weary, wandering sufferer what his politics and what his beliefs are," he said. "If only he needs help, it is given to him in the form most useful and acceptable to him." He concluded by stating that "there can be no substitute for the Joint Distribution Committee. It is one of the greatest hopes of our people abroad. We must protect it against apathy on the one side and against irresponsible ambitions on the other." Other principal speakers included Isaac H. Levy, who presided, and Rabbi Jonah B. Wise, vice-chairman of the JDC.


In the annual election of officers which was held at the business meeting at noon on Sunday, Mr. Baerwald, was re-elected chairman of the JDC, Mrs. Felix M. Warburg was again named honorary chairman. James N. Rosenberg was re-elected to the chairmanship of the JDC Board of Directors, a position he has held since the post was created last year. Albert H. Lieberman, will again head the National Council, with Frank L. Sulzberger serving as vice-chairman.

Nine of JDC’s vice-chairmen were re-elected. They are: Mr. Kahn, Jonah B. Wise, I. Edwin Goldwasser, Alfred E. Jaretzki, Jr. and Isaac H. Levy, of New York; William Rosenwald of Greenwich, Conn.; William J. Shroder of Cincinnati, Ohio; M. C. Sloss of San Francisco; and James H. Becker of Chicago. The only new incumbent is Commander Harold F. Linder of New York City who has just been placed on inactive duty by the U.S. Navy.

Other officers who will continue in their posts during the coming year are: Mr. Hyman, executive vice-chairman; I. Edwin Goldwasser, treasurer; Evelyn M. Morrissey assistant treasurer; Isidore Coons, director of fund-raising; Moses A. Leavitt; secretary; and Louis H. Sobel, assistant secretary. Named as treasurer was Irving H. Sherman who will serve with Mr. Goldwasser. Donald B. Hurwitz was also named assistant secretary. Dr. Joseph J. Schwartz will continue as chairman of the European Executive Council, and Dr. Bernhard Kahn as honorary chairman. Alexander A. Landesco was named comptroller. Mr. Linder and Alexander A. Landesco were also elected to the executive committee.

A resolution of tribute to the War Refugee Board and its leader, John W. Pehle, for the role it played in the joint WRB-JDC-Jewish Agency rescue project, was passed unanimously by JDC’s Board of Directors and National Council.

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