Jews of Europe Made Greatest Progress Towards Recovery in 1948, JDC Annual Report Says

Europe’s Jews “achieved their greatest progress towards recovery since V-E Day in 1948,” the 1948 annual report of the Joint Distribution Committee, released here today, revealed. The J.D.C. expended $70,600,700 last year in its program of relief, resettlement and reconstruction in behalf of nearly 700,000 Jews in 20 overseas countries, the annual survey added. Since its establish-in 1914, the Committee has spent $367,570,000 for overseas aid, the report said.

Increased opportunity for emigration was the outstanding development affecting Europe’s Jews during 1948, the report stated. The founding of Israel was the chief factor in providing this opportunity and “acted as a beacon of hope to tens of thousands,” Edward M.M. Warburg, J.D.C. chairman, declared in the report.

The suffering of the past and the discomfort of the present merged into a dream of the future” on the day Israel was proclaimed, Warburg asserted. “All told, in 1948 the odyssey of terror which began with the rise of Hitler ended for 105,000 Jews whom J.D.C. helped to reach Israel,” Another 20,000 Jewish men, women and children were helped by the agency to leave Europe for new homes in the United States, Canada Latin America and Australia.

Moses A. Leavitt, J.D.C. executive vice-chairman, pointed out that another accomplishment of 1948 was the restoration full or partial self-support of 110,000 persons, most of them heads of families. J.D.C. economic reconstruction programs were carried out through a network of 257 producers’ and loan cooperatives; 280 agricultural centers and 176 vocational training workshops, Leavitt said, adding that most J.D.C. vocational centers in Europe are conducted by ORT.

500,000 PERSONS RECEIVED J.D.C. RELIEF AID IN 1948

Welfare programs conducted by the Committee during the year included assistance to 140,000 Jewish children in Europe, of whom 32,000 live in J.D.C.-supported homes; educational aid in behalf of 85,000 students; and medical care to some 103,000 persons monthly in 500 J.D.C.-supported medical institutions. Relief supplies–food, clothing, medicines and other materials–shipped by J.D.C. during the year totalled 61,000,000 pounds, a reduction of 24,000,000 pounds from 1947. A total of 500,000 persons received J.D.C. relief assistance last year, the report said.

“Given favorable conditions, it is altogether possible that the year 1949 will witness the almost complete liquidation of the DP camps,” Dr. Schwartz said. “By the beginning of 1950 almost all of the Jewish DP’s who want to go to Israel will have departed. The DP areas should then hold only some 30,000 Jewish displaced persons–the aged, the handicapped and those waiting for visas to the U.S. and other lands.”

Pointing out that the J.D.C. has budgeted for the resettlement of 120,000 Jews during 1949, Dr. Schwartz noted that “if the present rate of immigration continues, the number to reach new homes within the year may rise 200,000. Most of them will settle in Israel,” he added. The historic opportunities on the immigration front must not permit us to lose sight of the fact that hundreds of thousands of Jews will continue to live in Europe–either by force of circumstance or by choice,” Dr. Schwartz said. “J.D.C. must help a minimum of 100,000 Jews achieve their future through productive work that will enable them to become self-supporting and must continue its support of relief and welfare projects.”

Another pressing responsibility facing J.D.C. in 1949, Dr. Schwartz warned, is the need for providing help for Jews in the Moslem lands, including North Africa. Lange number in these areas live, “in abject poverty and misery,” he noted.

NEXT STORY