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Lerman Warns JDC Parley 1,300,000 in Europe Need Aid; Leavitt Named to Succeed Hyman

January 13, 1947
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Even if as many as 200,000 Jews are enabled to emigrate from Europe this year, there will still be about 1,300,000 in need of assistance, former Gov. Herbert H. Lehman said today, addressing the 32nd annual meeting of the Joint Distribution Committee, at which more than 3,500 delegates from the United States and Canada were present.

The former UNRRA director-general urged the provision of increased emigration opportunities, particularly to Palestine, for those who wish to leave Europe, but stressed that "there will remain approximately 1,300,000 Jews who must have help to rebuild their lives." He declared that what is urgently required at the present time is "a program of assistance in which the major emphasis is not on relief–but on reconstruction."

Declaring that the battle to aid the surviving Jews has passed from the defensive to the offensive stage, Mr. Lehman said that the aim now is to "enable whole Jewish populations on the continent to become productive again and able to take care of themselves. He urged an increase in the number and scope of J.D.C.-supported producers’ and credit cooperatives in Europe, loan societies, vocational training centers and greater shipments of tools and equipment to enable the survivors to begin useful, productive careers.

"Moreover," he added, "any worthwhile program of reconstruction on which we shall embark in this year of 1947 must be broad enough to include the concept of large-scale emigration as a way to reconstruction–emigration to Palestine, to this country, or to any desirable haven to which Jews themselves wish to go." The former UNRRA chief emphasized that Jews who wish to leave for Palestine must be helped to schieve their aim. "Right and justice are theirs," he stated," and the world owes them the opportunity to achieve their highest desire."


Edward M.M. Warburg, who was re-elected chairman, reviewed the accomplishments of the J.D.C. in 1946 and stated that the year marked the greatest activity in its thirty-two year history. "Shipments of life-saving, life-sustaining supplies–food, clothing, medicines, tools and books–poured in a steady stream from the United States, South Affica, Canada, from every country in which urgently-needed materials could be found and purchased," he reported.

These shipments totalled over 600,000,000 pounds, of which more than 53,000,000 pounds was in foodstuffs, Mr. Warburg disclosed. More than 135 hospitals and other medical institutions were established or maintained by the Committee; 250 J.D.C.-supported homes for orphaned children were in operation; and over 30,000 men, women and children were helped to leave for new lands, he said.


Moses A. Leavitt, J.D.C. secretary since 1940, was elected executive vice-chairman at a morning session of the board of directors and national council, succeeding Dr. Joseph C. Hyman as the administrative head of the organization, (See Hyman story on page 5.) Widely known as an expert and authority in overseas relief, reconstruction and emigration work, Mr. Leavitt first joined the J.D.C. staff in 1929 as assistant to the secretary. In 1933 he was appointed secretary of the Palestine Economic Corporation and later its vice-president. During the war years he served with the J.D.C. as an active adviser to the War Refugee Board. Since the end of the war he has been one of the leading figures in the enlargement and operation of the J.D.C. overseas program.

Dr. Hyman was elected vice-chairman and member of the board of directors. Louis H. Sobel, assistant secretary, was elected secretary, and Judge Maurices Berockes of Cleveland, Ohio, was elected chairman of the national council, succeeding Albert H. Lieberman of Philadelphia. Paul Baerwald, James N. Rosenberg and Mrs. Folix M. Warburg were re-elected honorary chairman. Vice-chairman re-elected include James H. Becker, I. Edwin Goldwasser, Alexander Kahn, Mr. Lehman, Isaac H. Levy, Narold F. Linder, William Rosenwald, William J. Shroder, M.C.Sloss and Rabbi Jonah B. Wise.

Other re-elections included: George Alpert, Willaim P. Engle, Moritz M. Gottlieb, and Benjamin Loeb, vice-chairman of the national council; Bernhard Kahn, honorary chairman, and Dr. Jeseph J. Schwartz, chairman of the Eruopean executive council; I. Edwin Goldwasser and Paul Baorwald, treasurers; Evelyn M. Morrissey, assistant treasurer; Alexander A. Landesco, comptroller.

Proposed amendments to the J.D.C. by-laws increasing the participation of the American Jewish community at large in the policy making deliberations of the organization were ratified. The new by-laws increase the authorized number of directors from 210 to 350 and provide for annual nominations by each of the seven J.D.C. regions.

Other speakers at the general afternoon session were three leaders of overseas Jewish communities who arrived in this country recently. They were Leon Ketter, general secretary of the Central Committee of Liberated Jews in the United States zone of Germany; Dr. Frederic Goerog, president of the Hungarian Jewish Relief Committee; and Leon Bernstein, general secretary of the Jewish Refugee Organization in Italy.

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