Ort Announces Plan to Aid Refugees from Iron Curtain Lands

A plan to assist Jewish refugees from behind the Iron Curtain by making available the facilities maintained by the ORT was announced in a resolution adopted last night at the annual meeting of the board of directors of the American ORT Federation. Condemning the campaign against Jews behind the Iron Curtain as indicating “the ushering in of an era of anti-Semitism” by these governments, the meeting voted “to alert ORT organizations and Institutions in Germany, Austria, and Italy to be ready to receive all who come for succor.”

Dr. Aron Syngalowski, chairman of the executive committee of the World ORT Union, who traveled to the United States from Geneva to negotiate a pact with the JDC, expressed gratification with the new financial pact. He predicted that the new funds now granted by the JDC to the Israeli ORT vocational system will “substantially strengthen the vocational training program for the integration of recent immigrants and help Israel’s economic development by meeting its current shortage of skilled workers.”

Announcing the refugee assistance plan, Dr. William Haber, president of the American ORT Federation, stated that a number of refugees were already being helped by the ORT in Vienna and Berlin. According to Dr. Haber, the ORT centers which he expected to be affected by the influx of victims of Communist anti-Semitism include four in Western Germany, two in Austria and eight in Italy and Trieste. He announced that ORT is cooperating with the President’s Escapee Program in this welfare activity.

Dr. Syngalowski, who has toured the major Jewish communities of Germany, France and Italy in recent months, said that “the outbreak of Communist anti-Semitism has terrified European Jewry whose wounds are still unhealed.” He reported that during 1952, the ORT afforded training to some 20,000 students in 19 countries, including Western Europe, Israel, Iran and North Africa. Nearly 4,000 students completed their course of study, receiving ORT diplomas, which in most countries are recognized by the government as certificates of trade proficiency.

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