J. D. C. Spent $27,892,100 During 1958; Aided 195,000 Jews in 25 Lands
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J. D. C. Spent $27,892,100 During 1958; Aided 195,000 Jews in 25 Lands

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The Joint Distribution Committee provided aid for 195,000 Jews in 25 countries during 1958, it was reported here today by Moses A. Leavitt, JDC executive vice chairman, on the eve of the 44th annual JDC national conference which takes place here tomorrow. More than 500 Jewish leaders from communities throughout the United States will attend the meeting.

Mr. Leavitt also reported that the JDC spent $27,892,100 on its 1958 relief activities. He indicated that at the annual meeting tomorrow a budget for 1959 will be submitted that will surpass substantially the current year’s outlay for relief, refugees and rehabilitation assistance.

More than 100,000 of those assisted by the JDC in 1958 were in Moslem countries, principally North Africa and Iran, Mr. Leavitt reported. But there were also some 55,000 in Europe who needed aid, and more than 35,000 in Israel. Also more than 5,000 in such other areas as Australia. In Israel, the Malben program alone aided between 16,000 and 17,000 persons.


“Perhaps the most notable single development of 1958 was the assistance which JDC had undertaken to provide to Jews in Poland, “Mr. Leavitt said. ‘Originally established only on behalf of Jews recently repatriated from Russia, the actual situation in Poland required the expansion of the program so as to provide some assistance to the so-called ‘settled’ population. As a result, since December 1957, when JDC resumed its activities in Poland, JDC aid has reached some 22,000 individuals.

“The increase in the number of beneficiaries in Poland–and to a lesser extent in Australia–thus offset the decrease in the number of beneficiaries among new refugees, particularly in Austria and in Italy, so that at the end of 1958 JDC’s caseload was as large as it had been at the beginning of the year, “the JDC vice chairman emphasized.

The total Jewish population in Poland, Mr. Leavitt reported, is estimated at 40,000 to 45,000. Some 15,000 to 16,000 Jews have already reached Poland under the Polish-Russian repatriation agreement which was recently extended to the end of March 1959. It is expected that before that date an additional 3,000 to 4,000 Jews will arrive in Poland from Russia. At the same time, Jewish emigration from Poland, which reached the level of 35,000 in 1957, slowed down considerably in 1958; between April 1 and August 15, 1,289 persons, including 479 repatriates, left the country. In September, however, the number began to rise; there were 350 in that month and some 450 or 500 were expected to leave during October.

JDC carries on its programs in Poland through the Central Jewish Committee of Public Welfare, which includes representatives of the religious congregations, of the government-sponsored cultural association, as well as representatives of the repatriated Jews. In addition, JDC provides direct support for the Union of Religious Congregations, Mr. Leavitt stated.


“There were during the year small migration movements of the Jewish population,” Mr. Leavitt continued. “As a result, the number of Hungarian refugees in Austria was reduced to manageable proportions, and all of the Hungarian escapees in Yugoslavia were resettled. But despite some notable advances during the year, the outlook at year’s end was that in 1959 even greater numbers of men, women and children would require JDC’s aid than in the year that was ending, “he stressed.

“During 1958, despite the fact that nearly all of the DP’s had already been resettled or integrated, despite the continued improvement of economic conditions in most of Europe, there were some 53,800 men, women and children in Europe who required JDC’s aid, “Mr. Leavitt continued. He reported that since 1954 JDC has annually received large funds from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany for assistance to victims of the Nazi regime.

The main beneficiaries of these funds were the Jewish communities of Europe, the JDC leader stated. However, he drew attention to the fact that since the life span of the Claims Conference is limited to about 12 years, it is increasingly necessary to prepare the communities for the period, beginning in 1963 or 1964, when funds will no longer be forthcoming from the Claims Conference. Thanks to the grants of the Claims Conference, it has been possible since 1954 to embark on a series of so-called “investment projects.” These consist chiefly of the improvement, repair or expansion of homes for the aged, children’s homes, and medical institutions, as well as the establishment or remodeling of community and youth centers, schools and religious institutions.

For the five years beginning in 1954 the Claims Conference and JDC spent or allocated more than $4,000,000 for 190 such “capital investment” projects in 14 European countries, Mr. Leavitt reported. In addition, $3,390,500 were contributed by local sources, bringing the total funds for these projects up to $7,392,400.

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