B’nai B’rith Launches Campaign for Aid to Guatemala Earthquake Victims

B’nai B’rith is marshalling funds, supplies and medical volunteers for victims of the Guatemala earthquakes. Ricardo Holzer of Panama City, chairman of the B’nai B’rith International Council, said that Guatemala’s small Jewish community has reported no deaths “but widespread loss of material possessions.”

Max Trachtenberg, president of the B’nai B’rith lodge in Guatemala City, advised B’nai B’rith headquarters here that the quakes had severely damaged Jewish communal institutions, some of them beyond repair. Trachtenberg appealed for large canvas tents and other supplies. Twenty tents, contributed by a Philadelphia sporting goods store, have been air-shipped, Holzer said.

Holzer, enroute to Guatemala City, will present government relief officials with a $1000 contribution from B’nai B’rith “as the start of a campaign for relief funds among our members.”

A campaign for Spanish-speaking physicians to volunteer their services in Guatemala has been organized by Perry Shertz of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., chairman of B’nai B’rith’s Disaster Relief Committee, and Irving I. Gerson of Metairie, La., who has headed B’nai B’rith hurricane relief drives in the past. Gerson has also organized a team of ham radio operators to maintain contacts with Guatemala.

(Meanwhile, the Central Jewish Committee in Mexico City is organizing a campaign to collect food and clothing for the earthquake victims. The Guatemalan Embassy in Mexico City has already expressed thanks to the local Jewish community.)

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