New York (Jun. 23)
The Joint Distribution Committee and the United Palestine Appeal, the two major Jewish overseas relief agencies, have formally approved the plan of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds to establish an Institute on Overseas Studies for the purpose of providing American Jewish communities with data essential for their guidance in determining long-range financial and functional responsibilities, it was revealed today by H.L. Lurie, executive director of the Council.
“Although the need for basic research and scientific planning had been recognized for some time, it is only now that a comprehensive program of studies can be organized,” Mr. Lurie said. “It was not possible during and immediately after the war to obtain basic data for most of the European countries in view of the instability and disorganization which existed abroad. In this connection it is important to recall that representatives of American Jewish voluntary agencies were not able to gain access to the displaced persons camps in Germany until late in 1945. Even today, two years after the end of the war, there are important gaps in the information concerning some areas of Jewish population.
“There continues to be a very large measure of uncertainty concerning basic political and economic conditions in countries where Jews live. There is, nevertheless, a greater degree of stability today and the possibility at least of attempting some forecast and planning for the next few years. It will, of course, be important at all times to recognize that all planning must be done on the basis of certain assumptions which may seem reasonable today and yet may turn out to be completely erroneous in view of unforeseen developments in the future.
“The launching of the Institute has been preceded by careful planning, and is built on a sound realistic approach. As it takes up its work we have every reason to expect that it will make an outstanding contribution not only to the American Jewish community and to the welfare of Jews overseas, but to the meeting of human problems generally of which the Jewish needs form a very important part.”