PARIS (Oct. 10)
Charles H. Jordan, director general of the European office of the Joint Distribution Committee, expressed confidence at a press conference today that JDC work would be resumed in Poland shortly to aid the 10,000 Jewish repatriates from the Soviet Union. He said that there were still technicalities to be straightened but that he was confident all problems would be settled in a very short time.
No decision had been reached on either the extent or the exact form of the projected resumption, Mr. Jordan stated. He added that JDC representatives were in Poland investigating the areas of greatest immediate need. For the time being, he said no permanent JDC office on a full-scale basis was being planned in Poland and the JDC did not plan to set up any capital investment program.
He said many of the returnees could be helped to find jobs after getting the short-term training courses and that many were artisans who could be helped to hold independent jobs, while still others could join existing cooperatives “whose rank have been depleted because so many members of the cooperatives have left them.
He reported also that the JDC would avoid channeling its new program through any central organization, explaining that “as far as possible, what is planned now is the setting up of local committees in each community where assistance is needed.” These committees he said, would consist of representatives of each element of the local community’s cultural and religious repatriates unaffiliated with any single element forming a majority.
He reported that the best available information was that there were about 40,000 Jews in Poland today, including the 10,000 repatriates from Russia and that thousands more of the latter were expected. He said repatriates received 300 zlotys each on arrival and were permitted to stay in reception centers up to 30 days during which they were assigned to cities, most of them in upper and lower Silesia.
LARGE NUMBER OF CHILDREN AMONG JEWISH REPATRIATES IN POLAND
When a repatriate arrives in the city of assignment, Mr. Jordan reported, he receives an establishment grant of 2,000 zlotys per family head and 500 for each dependent. There is no public relief program in Poland, he added, although the Polish regime provides some form of assistance to the aged and invalids. The accommodations provided to the repatriates are generally inadequate, he said, reporting that most have no beds and that provisions for beds and other necessary furnishings would probably have to have priority in any JDC program.
Only about half of the repatriates have any work, he said, most of them being totally lacking in skills, making the short-term training courses urgent. He also noted that there was a large percentage of children among the repatriates, listing one city in lower Silesia where there were 700 Jewish families with more than 1,000 children of school and pre-school age. He said there was a great need for nurseries because Government nurseries admit only children both of whose parents are working.
Disclosing that there was an active Yiddish life in Poland, the JDC official said that many Jewish schools had asked for Hebrew texts so that they could resume the teaching of Hebrew. For the first time in years, he reported, Jewish schools were closed this month on Rosh Hashanah and Folkstimme, the Warsaw Jewish newspaper, was not published on that day.
Asked whether the presence of JDC help might in any way hinder present emigration of Polish Jews to Israel, he emphasized that the official Polish Government policy is for free emigration to Israel for Polish Jews and that the JDC program was aimed mainly at helping repatriates not qualified under present government policy to leave for Israel.