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American Jewish Committee to Set Up Human Relations Institute

October 15, 1956
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The American Jewish Committee will establish an Institute of Human Relations which will be housed in a new eight-story building to be erected at Third Avenue and 56th Street, New York, at a cost of $1,500,000, Irvin M. Engel, president, announced today.

Mr. Engel told the closing session of the committee’s executive board that the purpose of the institute would be to “translate into realistic, concrete terms the facts and findings of the newly emerging science of human relations.” He said it would function in five areas of human relations study and operations including research, social action and mass communications. It would also have a center for world affairs and a Jewish community service center.

Ground-breaking for the building will take place in connection with the launching of the committee’s 50th anniversary year in 1957, the celebration of which is under the chairmanship of Jacob Blaustein of Baltimore.

Formation of a non-partisan, voluntary National Citizens Council to develop an educational and vocational guidance program for the technical training of Arab refugee youth in the Middle East was urged at the executive board session. Mr. Engel warned that unless constructive rehabilitation measures were undertaken, “the 900,000 Arab refugees will continue to be a source of constant turmoil in the Middle East and a chronic threat to peace in that troubled area.”

Judge Simon Rifkind, Special advisor on Jewish affairs in Germany to Gen Eisenhower after the end of the war, warned the executive board that the contemplated admission of former Nazi S. S. men into the new German Army “provides dangerous impetus to neo Nazi activities in Western Europe.” He said that by accepting S. S. volunteers. West Germany will “taint the Spirit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.”

The annual award of the American Liberties Medallion was made to Senator Herbert H. Lehman at the Saturday evening session. Judge Joseph M. Proskauer, honorary president, made the presentation. In his response, Sen. Lehman declared that “our concern for civil rights should be as precious to us as our concern for our families our jobs, our daily bread.” He recommended a five point legislative program for the protection and advancement of civil rights.

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