Hias Celebrates 90th Anniversary

United Hias Service celebrated its 90th anniversary yesterday, marking a period in which it rescued and resettled some four million Jews, and pledged to continue its work of helping people immigrate and resettle. “The history of the Jewish people is the history of migration,” Carl Glick the organization’s president, told the anniversary celebration at the Hotel Roosevelt. “We know the future will bring thousands of refugees from countries known and yet unknown. As long as Jews have the need to move, Hias will be there to help them migrate to freedom.”

Among those attending were some 100 Soviet Jews who emigrated to the United States in 1973. They watched as Mayor Abraham Beame received the agency’s 1974 Liberty Award because his “vision of New York City offers hope to the weary and freedom to the persecuted. Generations of refugees and migrants, inspired by his example, will seek self-fulfillment…proud of their heritage and unafraid for their future.” Beame, the son of Polish Jewish immigrants, was himself brought to the United States as a child in 1906. The Mayor noted that New York “is still open to each successive generation… which seeks a full and active participation in American life.”

In 1973, Hias resettled 3788 people including 1768 Soviet Jews and gave related migration assistance to 48,000 others. This year Hias anticipates resettling 5000 Jewish refugees, the largest number since 1970, and aiding a total of some 50,000 people. This program requires a budget of $3,368,000, an increase of $260,000 over 1973.

LARGEST NUMBER CAME FROM EASTERN EUROPE

Gaynor I. Jacobson, executive vice-president of Hias, noted, “Ironically, as in our beginning, the largest number of assisted migrants this year (1973) came from Eastern Europe.” The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society was founded to help Jews fleeing from Czarist Russia. In 1954, Hias merged with the United Service for New Americans and the migration department of the Joint Distribution Committee to form United Hias Service, Inc.

Jacobson said that “because of the determination of the Soviet Jews, protests from the outside world, and diplomatic pressures, the USSR has allowed more Jews to leave.” He added that 90 percent of the Soviet Jews have gone to Israel. He said that in addition to “continued large scale movements from the Soviet Union” Hias also expects Jews in Arab lands to leave when they are allowed and the agency is also “prepared for the possibility of an upsurge of activity in Latin America.”

The organization adopted a resolution urging the Soviet Union as a signer of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to allow Jews to freely emigrate. In another resolution it voiced concern for the 4000 Jews in Syria and 500 in Iraq and urged “all possible diplomatic, political and human resources must be mobilized in the coming months by voluntary and intergovernmental organizations to secure for this group, the right to emigrate.”

In other resolutions, Hias reaffirmed its solidarity with Israel “and pledged to share the vast responsibilities of helping to redeem broken lives”; commended the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Prince Sadruddin aga Khan, and the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration; and urged the U.S. Senate to ratify the treaty outlawing genocide. Hias gave its Zvi Hirsch Masliansky Award to U.S. District Court Judge Murray I. Gurfein, a past president.

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