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J.D.C. Parley in Paris Addressed by U.N. Commissioner on Refugees

October 29, 1952
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The five-day annual conference of Joint Distribution Committee Field directors which is being held here, was today addressed by Dr. G.J. ###, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and Pierre ###, deputy director of the Provisional Intergovernmental Committee for the Movement of Migrants from Europe. They pointed out that one of the most crucial problems facing the western world is the fate of displaced persons who have been living in DP camps ever since the end of the war.

Moses W. Beckelman, overseas director-general of the J.D.C., told the parley that lack of visas was the greatest ### block to a solution of the refugee problem. He noted that the J.D.C. was particularly concerned with the problem of the “hard core” cases among Europe’s remaining Jewish DP’s. He pointed out that nearly 10,000 Jews remaining in Germany could not emigrate under normal resettlement programs because of physical disabilities contracted in Nazi concentration camps.

Mr. Beckelman pointed to the widening gap between the current resettlement programs and the growing member of Jews seeking to leave Europe. He reported that during the first two months of 1952, the J.D.C. helped 4,500 Jews leave Europe for the United States, Canada, Australia and other countries, but received applications for migration assistance from 5,000 other Jews during the same period. The list of European Jews registered with the J.D.C. for migration assistance has grown to 13,000, he said, urging international and intergovernmental action to lower immigration barriers. He said the J.D.C. sponsors 75 percent of all Jews who emigrate from Europe.


A “full scale attack” on hunger, sickness and poverty among the 500,000 Jews living in North Africa and Iran was proposed at the parley. The launching of such a program, it was said, would enable the J.D.C. to “change the course of history” by attacking basic causes of squalor and disease afflicting most Jews in Moslem lands. At the same time, it was pointed out that the large Jewish population there would help to make up in a few years the centuries of human progress which they have missed.

The J.D.C. conference beard reports from representatives of the organization in Iran, Morocco and Tunisia. All three officials pointed to “the heartening progress” in the fight against ignorance and disease launched by the J.D.C. in their areas. Currently J.D.C. and goes to 75,000 persons in Morocco, 25,000 in Tunisia and 15,000 in Iran.

Printing to the “vast needs, still (?)” because of the limited nature of the agency’s program, the three J.D.C. field directors urged expansion of operations in North Africa and Iran as a “top-priority item.” They pointed out that the “great strides forward” made by Jews in the Moslem world since J.D.C. began its work there are a “guarantee of progress for the future.”

The three J.D.C. field supervisors emphasized the “rich potentialities” of the Jews of North Africa and Iran Iran for being useful, healthy citizens of their native counties or of Israel, where many hope one day to settle. They concluded their reports with praise for the cooperation extended to them by local government authorities–by the French protectorate power in Tunisia and Morocco as well as by government ### in Iran.

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