NEW YORK (Dec. 9)
Europe’s 1,300,000 Jews have reached the point where their essential recovery can be completed within three years barring unforeseen circumstances, Edward M.M. Warburg, chairman of the Joint Distribution Committee, declared at a press conference here today, following his return from Europe, where he delivered the keynote address at the first International Conference on Jewish Relief and Rehabilitation.
Warburg warned, however, that while the end of the emergency period in Europe is in sight, “a new emergency has arisen in North Africa and other Moslem countries.” Here, he said, “hundreds of thousands of Jewish men, women and children are living under conditions as miserable and wretched as any on the fact of the earth.” In the “mellah” (ghetto) of Casablanca, he pointed out, one out of every four Jewish children die before the age of one year, and tuberculosis, typhoid and rickets rage on an epidemic scale. Some 20,000 homeless Jewish children, hundreds of them blind with trachoma, roam the streets, he stated.
The deteriorating situation in North Africa and the Arab lands of the Middle East, is one of the chief problems which the J.D.C. must face in the next twelve months, Warburg said. A second major responsibility, he added, will be the emptying of the DP camps through a speeded-up emigration program. He disclosed that the J.D.C. visualizes expenditures amounting to $18,000,000 for emigration activities alone next year, adding that “by next October we hope that everyone who wants to leave the camps for Israel will have found a home there” and that several thousand Jews eligible for admission to the U.S. under the DP Act will have been resettled in this country.
The third major aspect of J.D.C. operations next year will cover increased efforts aimed at economic reconstruction, Warburg reported. Included under this heading will be intensive, short-term training courses for at least 75,000 Jews in Eastern Europe, now “economically displaced” because of the nationalization of industry and commerce there. Another phase of J.D.C. work on the continent next year is planned to help local Jewish communities become strong enough to meet their own needs.