J.D.C. Spent $9,285,000 in 17 Months, Report of Relief Operations Overseas Shows
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J.D.C. Spent $9,285,000 in 17 Months, Report of Relief Operations Overseas Shows

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Nearly 1,000,000 Jews on five continents received aid at an expenditure of $9,285,000 during 1941 and the first five months of 1942, it is disclosed in a report for that period issued by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, chief American agency for aid to distressed Jews overseas. The report describes the background of contemporaneous Jewish distress the world over in its country-by-country section. It details the amounts spent by the J.D.C. in dozens of countries for programs of war relief and emergency relief, emigration, feeding, clothing, sheltering, child care, medical aid, vocational training, reconstructive assistance and other forms of help to Jews overseas.

In the first six months after America entered the war, the Joint Distribution Committee spent $3,415,000 in cash, or at the rate of $131,000 a week, the report reveals. Stating that “the record of J.D.C. activity during those six months constitutes the most convincing proof of its ability to continue life-giving programs of help to needy Jews overseas,” the report continues: “In those six months, through extraordinary effort, it made possible the evacuation of 5,000 men, women and children from Europe; it launched a program of sending medical supplies and concentrated food products to help many of the 2,000,000 Polish refugees, of whom 600,000 are Jewish, in Asiatic Russia; it brought many kinds of help to 60,000 refugees in unoccupied France; it continued to give large-scale assistance to refugees in Switzerland, in Sweden, in Portugal, in Spain, in North Africa and it augmented and intensified its work of integrating 123,000 refugees in Latin America into their new homelands.”


The report also explains the arrangements made whereby Jewish communities in enemy and occupied countries are continuing relief and welfare activities on the strength of a J.D.C. promise, given before Pearl Harbor, authorizing them to borrow funds and commodities which the Joint Distribution Committee would later reimburse when possible to do so without aiding the enemy. Analyzing J.D.C. programs during 1941, the report indicates that 950,000 persons in 52 countries on 5 continents were given direct assistance. The major categories of aid were as follows: 400,000 were given cash relief, 500,000 were fed and lodged, 34,000 were emigrated and resettled, 27,000 in internment camps were helped, 151,000 children were cared for, 201,000 were given medical aid, 56,000 were given vocational training and 196,000 were given educational and cultural help.

Edward M.M. Warburg, J.D.C. Chairman, who is now a private in the U.S. Army, declares in a foreword to the report that, underlying the “facts and figures which contributors to the Joint Distribution Committee are entitled to have….is a pattern of courage; of vision, of devotion and intelligence which has characterized the J.D.C. for 28 years. The Joint Distribution Committee is not given to boasting of its accomplishments. Nevertheless, even the most indifferent reader cannot fail to sense…. its remarkable achievements in the fade of war and cataclysmic upheavals. It will be clear…. that the work was in keeping with the standards of the best J.D.C. tradition, which is, in fact, the best Jewish tradition of that social justice which must prevail in the future world.”

Lauding the “devoted and heroic leaders of local Jewish communities and committees in every area” for their part in sustaining the lifeline of Joint Distribution Committee aid, Mr. Warburg points out that they are the people “whom the J.D.C. is today keeping alive so that they may play their part in the building of tomorrow’s world.”

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