J.D.C. Finds Marked Improvement in Situation of Jews in Poland

Gratification that none of Poland’s 40,000 Jews is hungry or shelterless was expressed today by Charles H. Jordan, European director of the Joint Distribution Committee on his return from a 10-day tour of Poland.

“Conditions today are in marked contrast with what we found when we resumed welfare operations in Poland exactly two years ago,” he said. “We came into the country primarily to meet the needs of the thousands of Jews repatriated from Russia. We found, however that large groups of the settled Jewish population–the aged, the invalided, the unemployable and their families–were not eligible for public relief under existing welfare programs or were receiving a stipend insufficient to meet their needs.”

He said the program the JDC organized “has served 20,000 men, women and children during the past year, providing them with emergency relief, housing assistance, cash grants, feeding programs, medical assistance, vocational training through ORT, religious education and supplies, care of the aged and support of a summer camp program for children.”

Mr. Jordan reported that in company with Max Braude, director general of ORT’s world-wide program, and Samuel Haber, assistant director general of JDC in Europe, he was received by Stanislaw Zawadzki, the Polish Minister of Labor and Welfare. He said the Polish official “expressed his satisfaction with the results achieved by JDC and ORT during the past few years.” Meetings also were held with leaders of Jewish cultural, social and welfare groups in Poland and with the Vaad Hakehilot which represents organized Jewish religious life in Poland.

KOSHER CANTEENS FUNCTION; 20 TALMUD TORAHS EXIST; SYNAGOGUES REPAIRED

“The Vaad Hakehilot also operates 16 canteens throughout Poland in which hot kosher meals are served six days a week,” the JDC official said. “These canteens supplement the cash relief we provide to 7,535 families and our school feeding programs through which 2,500 children are served daily. Thus every needy Jew in the country is ensured of a daily supply of food.”

He reported that, in addition, regular monthly allocations to the Vaad Hakehilot have made possible the functioning of 20 Talmud Torahs and have enabled the Vaad to repair synagogues and to buy needed religious items. The JDC also has provided periodicals and films to the Vaad for use in religious schools. Another important element in the JDC finance and religious programs in Poland is the restoration of Jewish cemeteries destroyed or defiled by the war and vandalism, Mr. Jordan stated.

He said that during the past two years, ORT conducted vocational courses for 4,600 trainees with JDC providing stipends to cover the living costs of the trainees. JDC also made loans to 125 artisans and to 800 members of ten cooperative workshops to enable them to become self-supporting, he reported.

“Most of these Jews were repatriates from Russia, and during the past three years 19,000 of them entered Poland, of whom about 6,000 left for Israel and other countries,” he said. The remaining 13,000 were not entitled to any welfare benefits after receiving an initial grant from the Polish Government. Providing them with training and work opportunities was, therefore, a major element in JDC and ORT efforts, Mr. Jordan stated.

NEXT STORY