New York (Dec. 26)
The Joint Distribution Committee provided more relief, worked in more countries and helped more sufferers in 1945 than any year in its 31-year history, Edward M. M. Warburg, chairman, announced today in commenting on J.D.C. activities during 1945.
“Our appropriations this year of $23,675,475 were probably the greatest of any private relief agency,” Mr. Warburg disclosed. “Over 100 professionally trained welfare and secretarial workers are now operating in 50 countries, helping administer to the urgent needs of the 1,500,000 Jews who survived out of a pre-war population of over 7,000,000. Yet today, despits the size of its program, the J.D.C. is tragically forced to weigh one man’s hunger against another’s, to determine who shall get a second hot meal daily, or who shall be given a pair of shoes, or a warm coat.”
In a full report by Moses A. Leavitt, J.D.C. secretary, it was emphasized that 75 percent of European Jewry live in countries where the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration does not operate. In 1945, nearly half the Jews in continental Europe outside the Soviet Union were directly dependent on the Joint Distribution Committee for major aid, and the vast majority of the other 750,000 looked to the J.D.C. for help other than direct relief, the report said.
Transportation for more than 8,000 Jews entering Palestine was paid for by the J.D.C. during 1945. This emigration was carried out in cooperation with the Jewish Agency for Palestine.
Emphasizing the need for help from governmental and intergovernmental agencies in saving the remnants of European Jewry, Mr. Warburg praised the work of the War Refugee Board and the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees. The latter took over part of the relief burden in Spain, Portugal and Belgium, and also granted aid to eligible refugees in France. He also urged that other countries follow the example of Switzerland and Sweden in the care and maintenance of refugees.
Because most of the funds of the J.D.C. were used to keep alive hundreds of thousands of Jews in dire need of their daily bread, he stated, only small beginnings could be made in rehabilitative and reconstructive activities. This was particularly so since the large-scale help from other sources failed to materialize. Restricted by its constitution, UNRRA was prevented from entering countries where most of the Jews are located. Even where it does operate, “at best only 10 percent of the needs of the destitute population can be met.” The primary burden of caring for the Jews thus fell on the Joint Distribution Committee, he pointed out.