Many Jewish Businesses Destroyed in Florence Flood, J.D.C. Reports

A grant of $25,000 to the Jewish community of Florence was today made available by the Joint Distribution Committee and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, it was announced by Charles H. Jordan, JDC executive vice-chairman. The grant will match a similar sum contributed by Italian Jewish communities to provide immediate assistance to residents of the JDC-supported old age home as well as other needy Jews in the city, which was inundated by recent floods.

“Vast sums have already been allocated for the relief of the people of Florence by the Italian Government,” Mr. Jordan declared. “However, our grant is designed to demonstrate the continuing concern of the JDC, the Claims Conference, and American Jewry for the Jewish community of Florence, which was a long-time beneficiary of our aid after World War II.”

A representative of JDC headquarters in Geneva, who surveyed the flood damage in Florence, reported this week that the forty residents of the Old Age Home have been forced to take shelter on the second floor of the building. The Home and other community buildings are in the heart of the disaster area. About 15 inches of water and mud still remain in the gymnasium of the Jewish school. The ground floor is now being used to store food and clothing. More than two-thirds of the 15,000 books in the Jewish community library were under water.

“It is still too early to evaluate what help the Jewish community will eventually require,” Mr. Jordan noted. “Renovation of the community buildings will certainly be needed; while the foundation of the synagogue does not appear to require extensive repairs, it is still too early to be sure. However many of the city’s 1,400 Jewish residents have seen everything they own destroyed–in their homes as well as their businesses. A small number of families who lost everything in the floods will require immediate welfare grants. A larger number will need long-term loans to help them get back on their feet.”

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