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Extensive Medical Program Needed to Return Europe’s Jews to Health, Dr. Golub Reports

An extensive and long-range program of medical, dental and psychotherapeutic care will be required to return Europe’s Jews to normal health, it was reported today by Dr. Jacob J. Golub, chairman of the Health Committee of the J.D.C., following a six-week survey which he conducted in eight European countries this summer.

Dr. Golub estimated that the fight for health among Europe’s Jewish survivors would require expansion of the already widespread health activities of the J.D.C. at a cost of at least $20,000,000 over the next two years. The J.D.C. now supports 217 medical institutions in Europe.

The three major health problems which must be faced immediately, Dr. Golub said, are: 1. The high incidence of tuberculosis among Jews throughout Europe and in the DP camps of Germany, Austria and Italy, and particularly the recurrence of the infection after partial or complete cure; 2. The incidence of chronic disease, disabling disease and physical impairments, which is higher among displaced Jews than among the general populations; 3. The “critical” dental condition which prevails uniformly among Jews on the continent.

As a first step in meeting these health problems, Dr. Golub recommended the immediate establishment of five medical teams to conduct thorough physical and X-ray examinations of Jewish displaced persons living in the DP camps of central Europe. The entire operation, he told the committee, should be of such intensity and speed as to make possible completion of the project within three months after its initiation.

Turning to dental care, Dr. Golub cited the fact that 85 percent of the Jewish population of Poland requires treatment. A study of Jewish children of school age revealed, he said, that 94 percent were suffering from cavities of various degrees, the result of years of wartime neglect and lack of personnel and equipment.

“Two health ‘miracles’ have taken place among the Jews of Europe,” he reported. “No epidemics have as yet broken out among the Jewish men, women and children on the continent, most of whom are living under virtually primitive conditions; and no unusually large number of psychoneurotic behavior problems have become apparent among a people who have endured the most intense suffering and tragedy in history. The question nevertheless arises,” he warned, “as to how long most of these people can continue to live as they are compelled to, before breaking down physically and mentally.”

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