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Jewish Agency Asks I.R.O. to Set Up Special Jewish Department, Advisory Council

May 9, 1947
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The Jewish Agency today submitted a memorandum to the Preparatory Commission for the International Refugee Organization calling for the establishment of a special department for displaced Jews within the I.R.O. and the setting up of an I.R.O. advisory body consisting of representatives of voluntary relief organizations now in the field, for consultation on high administrative levels.

The memorandum pointed out that the establishment of special facilities for Jewish DP’s had precedent in the appointment of advisors on Jewish problems to the Anglo-American military authorities in Germany and to UNRRA, as well as the appointment of Dr. Philip Auerbach as head of the Bavarian provincial government’s Office for Persecutees. The memorandum cited the Agency’s experience in the fields of relief, vocational training, health work, administration and selection of immigrants, as well as the fact that the DP’s have stated on several occasions that the Agency is their sole spokesman.

The Agency also called the Commission’s attention to the problem of the 14,000 displaced Jews interned on Cyprus. It stated that the disturbances which have taken place there in the last few months indicate that relations between the DP’s confined in camps and the British military authorities are unsatisfactory.

Last night I.R.O. circles were confidently predicting that the organization would come into legal existence within 48 hours. They expected a number of nations to answer an urgent appeal from the Commission to join the body. At least one more nation is required before the I.R.O. can be officially organized.

The delegation of the 14 countries represented on the Commission have accepted without question the statistics on the number of Jewish refugees and DP’s still in need of aid. The report listed over 230,000–168,000 in Germany, 33,000 in Austria, 21,000 in Italy and 10,000 in China.

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