NEW YORK (Sep. 17)
Hundreds of admirers of Charles H. Jordan, the late executive vice-chairman of the Joint Distribution Committee, attended a tribute today to his memory here in Carnegie Hall. Mr. Jordan died mysteriously last month during a vacation visit to Prague.
Israeli Ambassador Avraham Harman was one of a number of welfare, government and United Nations officials who addressed the meeting. He said that: “Wherever there were people to be helped. Charles Jordan was there. To ameliorate and change the conditions of human suffering — this was the central theme of Jordan’s life.”
“For us in Israel, the death of Charles Jordan came as a shocking personal loss. Hundreds of thousands of our citizens have been touched by his helping hand, which is now stilled; tens of thousands of our aged citizens, whose children were slaughtered on the road to freedom, saw in him a substitute son who, through the JDC, observed in relation to them the Biblical command, ‘Honor thy father and thy mother.’ There was great mourning in the land when he was felled.” Mr. Jordan left his hotel room in Prague to buy a newspaper on August 20 and was not seen again until his body was found in the Vlatava River in Prague, Czech officials arranged a hasty autopsy with no outside officials present and reported there were no indications of foul play, a procedure which evoked sharp criticism from JDC and other Jewish leaders.
Louis Broido, JDC chairman, who presided at the memorial meeting, announced that similar assemblies had been held or scheduled in Antwerp, Athens, Bombay, Bucharest, Geneva, Jerusalem, London, Madrid, Milan, Teheran and Vienna. He added that, at many of the meetings, and among the Carnegie Hall audience, there were a large number of displaced persons, refugees and other needy Jews, who had been helped by the JDC and who felt a sense of deep personal loss.
Rabbi Joseph H. Lookstein of New York delivered the opening prayer and Cantor David Putterman of New York chanted the El Mole Rachamim, a prayer for the dead.
ROLE VIEWED AS ONE OF SEEKING UNIVERSALIST APPROACH TO REFUGEE PROBLEMS
Ambassador James W. Wine, special assistant for refugees and migration affairs to Secretary of State Dean Rusk, told the meeting that there were few persons who could “approach the stature, respect and admiration that Charles Jordan enjoyed among his peers, who constitute the international community daily laboring to assist refugees. While others persisted in thinking of the refugee as a European phenomenon to be solved on a traditionally sectarian basis, he constantly campaigned to make people aware of the rapid proliferation of refugee situations throughout the world and the necessity for a new universalist approach to relief.”
Ambassador Fransisco Urrutia, western hemisphere representative of the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, read a cable from the Commissioner, Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, in which the commissioner singled out as one of Mr. Jordan’s major achievements his role in the creation of the International Council of Voluntary Agencies in 1962. He said in the cable that it was largely due to Mr. Jordan’s stature “and the universal recognition of his selflessness that 100 organizations, representing a staggering diversity of religious faiths, humanitarian interest and outlook all over the world, have been brought together within a single framework.”
Max M. Fisher, general chairman of the United Jewish Appeal, said Mr. Jordan had served the JDC “out of a great love for his own people” and that “he served passionately, completely and free from the heart, and it is in the heart — hundreds of thousands of hearts — that he is, and will be remembered.”
Dr. Joseph J. Schwartz, vice-president of the Israel Bond Organization, called Mr. Jordan a professional “who knew and understood that his work was linked to Jewish destiny and that it was his duty and responsibility to fill the role of a servant of the Jewish people.”
Frank L. Goffio, executive director of CARE, Inc., who was Mr. Jordan’s predecessor as chairman of the American Council of Voluntary Agencies for Foreign Service, stressed Mr. Jordan’s concern for “refugees of every faith.” He declared that, as chairman of the American Council, Mr. Jordan was “the spokesman and leader of 44 organizations representing every major religious faith, as well as many different non-sectarian, cultural and service organizations engaged in international relief activities on behalf of all groups of the needy.”