J.D.C. Telis Story of American Jewish Relief Work Between Two World Wars
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J.D.C. Telis Story of American Jewish Relief Work Between Two World Wars

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The story of thirty years of American Jewish relief work in all parts of the world through the Joint Distribution Committee is told in a special publication issued here today by the J.D.C., giving facts and figures on the aid it has brought to millions of Jews between the two world wars.

Revealing that the J.D.C. has spent more than $150,000,000 during the thirty years of its existence, Paul Baerwald, chairman of the organization, points out that the story of the thirty years of J.D.C. activities contains “the barest record of an effort that must still go on – to save, to relieve, to heal, to restore.”

In addition to giving information on the sums collected and spent each year by the J.D.C. ever since the organization began functioning in 1914, the publication enumerates the countries where it operated and gives data as to the relief funds spent in each country. It also explains how the J.D.C. functions as “the world’s outstanding relief and welfare agency of and for Jews throughout the world.”

Its Emergency Administration Committee, the J.D.C. reports, meets formally at least once a week as the functioning arm of the executive committee, dealing with appropriations, cable appeals and decisions, cooperation with government agencies, and relations with other Jewish and non-Jewish bodies. Sustaining the Emergency Administration Committee is an executive committee of 36 who plan the wide program, consider and establish policy, review the decisions of the administrative committee and schedule the work ahead. This executive committee, which meets at least once a month, is the central authority of the Joint Distribution Committee.

The executive committee reports to the board of directors made up of 210 leaders in American Jewish life. The basic corporate body of the J.D.C. is the National Council whose 5,200 members are selected from the Jewish communities throughout the United States, with one-third of the membership up for election every year. “In this way there is a constant rotation of old and new forces to sustain the J.D.C.’s vitality and to register the evolving character of Jewish communal life,” the report points out.


The needs of the Joint Distribution Committee in the immediate future are outlined in the report by Joseph C. Hyman, executive vice-chairman of the organization, in a 8-point program. The J.D.C., Mr. Hyman says, must continue to beer the responsibility for:

1. Extending emergency relief to the several thousand Jews still under enemy control where J.D.C. relief, the only major source of aid, stands between life and death;

2. Continuation of relief for refugees who found temporary havens in neutral countries;

3. Continuation of aid in transporting refugees from temporary neutral havens to Palestine and other countries;

4. Aiding Jewish nationals in enemy and ex-enemy countries who were never displaced or who returned to their homes immediately after liberation, e.g., Roumania, Bulgaria.

5. Emergency aid to Jews in liberated countries pending the organization of assistance by UNRRA which operates only by invitation of the respective national governments and approval of the military.

6. Cooperation with UNRRA by lending J.D.C. personnel with experience and knowledge of Jews and by offering forms of supplementary relief to meet special needs of Jews who were everywhere singled out for harsh treatment and suffered more than most people.

7. Immediate assistance in the reviving of Jewish communal, religious and welfare institutions, medical, child care training and economic aid, which were completely destroyed by Axis occupants and which are indispensable to the effective restoration of Jewish communal life, a task which UNRRA can under no circumstances essume.

8. Cooperation with governmental and inter-governmental agencies, to plan for assistance in the long-run economic reconstruction of Jewish life and aid in the resettlement of those who cannot return to their former homes.

“This is the burden for American Jews who have created and sustained the J.D.C. as an all-embracing global agency for rescue, relief and reconstruction,” Mr. Hyman points out.

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