JDC Reopens Office in Hungary Closed Since Start of World War Ii

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee announced here that it has reopened a permanent office in Hungary.

The office began operating Thursday, when the JDC received permission from Prime Minister Bruno Straub, who is president of the Council of Ministers.

The office will allow the agency, the overseas relief arm of the American Jewish community, to manage first-hand the variety of programs it has been operating in Hungary since 1980.

Prior to World War II, the JDC maintained an office here, but it was forced to close in 1939.

In New York, JDC President Sylvia Hassenfeld released a statement expressing the organization’s pride in the growth and development of its programs in Hungary.

“When JDC returned to Hungary in 1980, we concentrated on providing much-needed assistance to Holocaust survivors. Working in tandem with the community, we were quickly able to branch out into formal and informal educational activities for Jewish youth,” she said.

“Re-establishing our permanent office in Budapest will enhance our ability to meet the needs of the increasingly vibrant Jewish community,” Hassenfeld added.

JDC projects in Hungary include the Anne Frank Gymnasium, a Jewish high school that has grown from 22 to 129 students, and a network of Talmud Torahs providing after-school Jewish education for students attending secular schools.

The World Jewish Congress also has received permission to open an office here. It plans to do so in July.

Hungary’s Jewish population is estimated to number 80,000, and is concentrated in Budapest.

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