PARIS (Apr. 29)
After hearing reports showing that the influx of some 125, 000 Algerian Jews into France has created problems of “unprecedented magnitude, ” the general Assembly of the Fonds Social Juif Unifie, major French-Jewish welfare organization, adopted a budget today, calling for $2, 225, 000 for refugee relief for the current year plus the organization’s regular budget of $1, 400, 000.
The organization also took the extraordinary step of electing to its executive committee six representatives of Algerian Jewry in this country. This was the first time the refugees themselves had been given representation on the FSJU.
The gravity of the situation, caused by the mass immigration of the refugees, was emphasized by officials and refugee representatives, among them the president of FSJU, Baron Guy de Rothschild; the director-general, Julien Samuel; professional social workers on the FSJU staff; and spokesmen for the Algerian-Jewish community.
Emphasis was laid by all on the fact that there were two aspects of urgent need. One involves relief. A staff worker reported that, in spite of all FSJU efforts in the past, there will be a hard core of at least 5, 000 Jewish-Algerian families who will have to be considered “as permanently, socially handicapped, needing constant assistance.” The second problem was called “purely Jewish.” It involves support for synagogues and other religious institutions where the rites and customs to be followed will be of the type to which the refugees were accustomed when they were in Algeria.
One of the refugee representatives asked for special intervention with Algerian authorities in an effort to get some compensation for property abandoned in Algeria by the refugees. In addition to losing their property, this speaker said, “many Jews are now being sued by Algerian banks for mortgages and other debts incurred in connection with abandoned properties. Other speakers emphasized the need for more Orthodox rabbis and increased support for Jewish religious institutions and schools.
Leaders of the FSJU voiced high praise for assistance received from many Jewish organizations around the world, singling out the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee for its “generous” aid. Francois Missofe, French Minister for Refugees, addressed the conference and lauded the French Jewish community’s efforts to aid the refugees. Noting that the French Government had, in the past year, given FSJU a subsidy, he expressed the hope that the size of the subsidy might be raised this year.