Claims Conference Votes $1,300,000 for Jewish Cultural Work in 1956
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Claims Conference Votes $1,300,000 for Jewish Cultural Work in 1956

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The three-day meeting of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany concluded here last night with the voting of $1,300,000 for world-wide programs of Jewish cultural and educational reconstruction during 1956. These funds are part of the $10,000,000 allocations program for the relief and rehabilitation of Jewish victims of Nazi persecution and for communal reconstruction approved by the Conference board of directors.

More than $560,000 was allocated for use in Europe, an increase over the preceding year which reflected the stronger emphasis the Conference is placing on the development of Jewish education in Europe. Almost 60 percent of all the cultural allocations were ear-marked for Jewish education, in particular for the construction of acquisition of suitable school buildings and the expansion, equipment and repair of existing buildings especially in Europe. An allocation of $165,000 was granted to Yeshivoth formerly functioning in central and eastern Europe which were transplanted during the past 15 years to western Europe, the United States and Canada. More than 1,000 Nazi victims are currently enrolled at these Yeshivoth.

The sum of $135,000 was granted for a program of scholarships and fellowships in the field of Jewish studies, including Jewish teacher training, graduate study and independent research. The purpose of these grants is to aid in expanding the corps of Jewish teachers and to assist refugee scholars in resuming interrupted projects or in embarking on new projects in Jewish studies. Scholarship and fellowship beneficiaries are required to be victims of Nazi persecution who are able to establish scholastic or research abilities.


About 28 percent of the cultural allocations were earmarked for research and publication projects in Europe, the United States and South America employing the services of refugee writers, scholars, rabbis, researchers and editors. The remaining 12 percent of the allocations will be devoted in principal measure to the restoration or the establishment of Jewish libraries, archives and museums and the collection preservation and publication of materials relating to the European Jewish catastrophe.

The funds earmarked for cultural allocations this year represent less than one-fifth of the amounts applied for. Some 260 Jewish organizations all over the world requested cultural allocations this year in excess of $7,000,000 although but $1,300,000 was expected for allocation. The limited funds available placed the Conference in the position of being unable to grant favorable consideration to every application of merit unless it was of the most urgent priority.

The cultural allocations were based upon recommendations submitted by special committees and commissions composed of outstanding Jewish scholars, educators and intellectual personalities in Europe and the United States. These bodies carried on their tasks in cooperation with Jewish communal organizations in Europe and with established organizations in the fields of specialization.


Moses Leavitt, executive vice president of the Joint Distribution Committee and treasurer of the Claims Conference, reported on the disbursement of general allocations made in 1955. Mr. Leavitt said that 87 percent of the total sum of $10,000,000 had been paid out by the end of last year and that 85 percent of the monies were spent in Continental Europe for the aid of Jewish victims of Nazi persecution.

The Conference provided $1,500,000 in 1955 for capital projects mostly in Europe designed to strengthen Jewish communities and institutions which suffered most from Nazism. Capital projects completed to date include the equipment of a four-story youth center in Paris, the first of its kind in that city, the establishment of youth and community centers in France, Italy and Norway, the acquisition of a children’s home in Brussels, the expansion of homes for the aged in Switzerland and Argentina and the repair and equipment of old age homes in Austria, France, Germany, Holland, Italy. Luxemburg and Switzerland.

Saul Kagan, executive secretary of the Claims Conference, outlined the Conference’s future objectives and programs in a statement to the board of directors. He said that to make a lasting contribution to the strengthening and development of the Jewish communities which suffered most from Nazi ruthlessness, the Conference is focussing its attentions on capital investments which will help rebuild communal institutions and their resources and put them in a position eventually to look after their own needs. He saw no dimunition in the needs for relief and rehabilitation in Europe in the near future.

Dr. Judah Shapiro, director of the cultural and educational department of the Conference, reported on the cultural allocations and their impact on the revival of Jewish education. The Conference reported that $6,892,000 of its total 1956 grant for relief and rehabilitation purposes was ear-marked for programs in Europe conducted by the Joint Distribution Committee and by Jewish communal and central welfare agencies there. The bulk of these grants are for use in former Nazi-occupied countries where the needs for individual and communal rehabilitation are most urgent.

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