New York (Jul. 5)
The far-flung activities of the Joint Distribution Committee were praised today by President Truman in a letter appearing in the 1945 annual report of the organization, entitled “So They May Live Again.”
The President’s letter reads as follows:
“Your work to succor the stricken and relieve the victims of the war and persecution throughout the world deserves the commendation of all Americans. The needs of 1,500,000 surviving Jews in Europe, men, women and children, are truly staggering and a challenge to the generosity of all men of good will. May God speed and prosper the good work which you are doing.”
With funds contributed in the U.S. to the United Jewish Appeal, the Joint Distribution Committee during 1945 expended more than $28,300,000 in assistance activities for surviving Jews in nearly fifty countries, the annual report discloses. In a special supplement covering activities for the first six months of 1946, it was revealed that the J.D.C. has already appropriated $25,000,000 for relief, rehabilitation and emigration purposes so far this year.
“Yet, the sense that someone cared was a thousand times more meaningful than the actual value of the supplies or the services that the J.D.C. was able to provide,” Edward M.M. Warburg, J.D.C. chairman, writes in the report.
“The great living tradition of the J.D.C. — for more than thirty-one years the symbol of understanding between the privileged and the non-privileged Jews of the world–imposes a challenging burden upon these of us who must carry this work forward in the present hours,” Mr. Warburg’s message continues.
EUROPE’S JEWS CANNOT WAIT MUCH LONGER, SAYS HYMAN
Dr. Joseph C. Hyman, executive vice-chairman of the J.D.C., states in an article that 1946 is the year of decision, that “the Jews of Europe cannot wait much longer,” and that “more than relief, more than favorable governmental and intergovernmental decisions are needed for the rehabilitation of the first victims of Nazi brutality. The J.D.C. must put tools in the hands of the men to whom it gives bread and shoes, must provide a skill for the youth whose education has been for the most part the bitter school of the concentration camp,” Dr. Hyman urges.
“In a great united effort with organizations closely associated with the J.D.C. in relief and rehabilitation work, organizations such as the United Jewish Refugee & War Relief Agencies of Canada, the South African Jewish War Appeal, the United Jewish Overseas Relief Fund of Sydney and Melbourne, Australia,” Dr. Hyman noted, “we will strive to keep the survivors alive and rebuild a decent and secure future.”
Only 1,500,000 Jews (excluding those in the Soviet Union) survived the years of war in Europe out of a population of 6,500,000, Paul Baorwald, 1945 chairman, states in the report. “These Jews, prostrate at the beginning of 1945, are beginning to rise again,” he stated. “Now, we must help them to a new security and a new dignity so that they may live again. This is the crucial challenge still facing us. This is our responsibility and our opportunity during the coming year.”
In a detailed report on the Committee’s activities during 1945, Moses A. Leavitt, secretary, states that the J.D.C. has been and remains the main source of aid for Europe’s Jewish sufferers. He points out that UNRRA did not operate in countries where over 75 per cent of the Jews in Europe (outside of the Soviet Union) survived.
The expansion of J.D.C. activities in 1945 necessitated a greatly enlarged overseas staff, Mr. Leavitt notes, and by the end of 1945 the J.D.C. had sent overseas 110 staff members to carry out the Committee’s programs. A newly-created purchasing department of the J.D.C. was organized to send huge amounts of vital supplies quickly to Europe’s Jewish victims. Nearly $7,000,000 was allocated during 1945 for the purchase of food, clothing, shoes, medicines, tools and raw materials for immediate shipment overseas, Mr. Leavitt discloses, Additionally, the J.D.C. arranged and paid for the transportation of more than 8,000 Jewish men, women and children to Palestine during the year.
Among the most important areas of J.D.C. activity in Europe were the displaced persons centers in Germany and Austria, where the survivors of Nazi death camps such as Dachau, Buchenwald and Belsen were found by the victorious Allied armies, and Poland, “the Jewish mass grave of Europe,” where of a population of 3,300,000 only 80,000 Jews remained alive, the report discloses, J.D.C. appropriations during 1945 to Rumania, whose 335,000 Jews comprise the largest Jewish community in Europe, and Hungary, where thousands of Jewish survivors look to the J.D.C. for basic relief, amounted to $4,000,000 each, the largest single items in the 1945 J.D.C. budget for appropriations to the various countries.
Dr. Joseph J. Schwartz, chairman of the European executive council of the J.D.C., writes “an open letter to all Jews who are not in Europe.” Europe’s Jews have “lost faith in people and in governments, but they still believe in the J.D.C.,” he asserts. “No matter what the difficulty, they are sure that the ‘Joint’ will solve it. They look to the ‘Joint’ for all types of aid, and when that help is not forthcoming, their last hope is gone.
“Only the Jews who fortunately are not in Europe can give them the strength and the material aid to help on the long road back,” he concludes. “The Jews of Europe constantly say the J.D.C. will help us, and by the J.D.C. they mean you.”