$457,000 Allocated by Claims Conference for Jewish Centers in Europe

The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany has allocated the sum of $457,000 this year to aid in the acquisition or in the expansion of facilities of 17 Jewish community and youth centers in 11 countries, Jacob Blaustein, senior vice-president of the organization announced today. The overwhelming share of the funds flowed to lands on the European continent which had fallen under the Nazi occupation, and raised the total allocations granted by the Conference in the past four years for the benefit of 40 community and youth centers, to $977,000.

This program ranks high among those the Conference is sponsoring for the rehabilitation of the European Jewish communities in the free world which had suffered persecution at the hands of the Third Reich. “The Conference believes,” Mr. Blaustein stated, “that the creation of community and youth centers offers one of the most realistic instrumentalities available for strengthening the fabric of Jewish communal life in Europe.”

The bulk of the allocations for community and youth centers was granted this year for use in Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, Holland, Italy and Yugoslavia. Local funds are supplementing the allocations to the greatest degree possible and local communities have agreed to shoulder responsibility for meeting the full operating budgets.

The greatest share of all the allocations, some $331,000, is for the use of centers in France where two-thirds of the Jews in the freelands on the European continent make their homes. In the past four years, some $380,000 has gone for the construction or acquisition of centers in Paris, whose 160,000 Jewish inhabitants form the greatest Jewish community on the European continent. The Paris Youth Center opened its doors two years ago, and is exercising a strong attraction upon the younger generation, most notably upon Jews who never before had given their affiliation to a Jewish organization In addition, $324,000 was contributed in the same period toward the cost of twelve smaller centers in France.

In Belgium, center undertakings in Antwerp, Brussels and Liege became beneficiaries of allocations aggregating $48,000 in 1957 and $100,000 over the past two years. The centers in Brussels and Liege will be completed in the course of 1957, expectations indicate. In the case of Antwerp, a preliminary study on the scope of a center which would serve the community to best advantage is approaching completion.

Other allocations granted for use in Europe this year include $19,000 for the construction of a center in Milan and for the purchase of equipment urgently needed at the youth center in Rome; $15,800 to renovate and equip a community center in Amsterdam; $5,820 to aid in expanding youth center facilities in Copenhagen; $2,900 toward a youth center in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia; and $2,800 to equip small centers in provincial communities in Greece.

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