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UJA Mission Hears of Upheavals Affecting Jewish Lives in Many Areas

October 7, 1966
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The 12th annual United Jewish Appeal mission heard reports here today on the continuing disruption by the political and economic upheavals of recent years of the lives of Jews in Europe and North Africa, particularly affecting Jewish children, the aged, the mentally ill and refugees.

The 200 top United States and Canadian Jewish leaders comprising the mission met here during their visits to European centers. The goal of the mission is a fact-finding study of the migration, welfare and absorption needs of some 800,000 Jews aided by the UJA’s annual multi-million dollar campaign. The quota for 1967 will be set after the mission’s return to the United States.

The mission is headed by Max M. Fisher, of Detroit, UJA general chairman; Louis Broido, of New York, chairman of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee; Rabbi Herbert A. Friedman, of New York, UJA executive vice-chairman; and Charles H. Jordan, executive vice-chairman and director general of the JDC, which is acting as host to the mission during its four day stay in Geneva.

Mission members met with top executives of the four migration and welfare agencies supported by UJA funds — the JDC, the Jewish Agency for Israel, the United Hias Service, and the World ORT Union. They also heard reports from groups which visited several countries enroute to Geneva. Leonard R. Strelitz, of Norfolk, Va., a UJA national campaign cabinet member, headed a sub-mission to Morocco; Sidney Lipshy, of Dallas, and Joseph Meyerhoff, of Baltimore, UJA honorary chairmen led the sub-mission to Poland; and Mr. Ginsberg headed the group which visited West Germany.


Mr. Broido told the mission that JDC felt keenly its shortage of funds. He said that, though the UJA had raised $5,000,000 more in 1966 than in 1965, it had not been possible for the JDC and the other UJA beneficiary agencies to make up the loss of $18,000,000 in annual income from West German reparations funds which ended in 1965.

In summarizing the JDC briefing sessions, Mr. Jordan said that, despite “our best efforts,” the overseas agencies had not been able to meet “even the minimal needs of the groups who, because they are most vulnerable, are in the greatest need of our services.”

He reported that, when the JDC considered how to meet the problem of a loss of 25 percent of its income, with the ending of Bonn reparations, “we tried to make cuts without hurting people,” starting with the elimination of all capital investment projects. As a result, he said, the most drastic cuts had to be made in France, where the greatly-enlarged Jewish community “has a greater need than ever before” for homes for the aged, children’s homes, community and youth centers and schools, particularly ORT trade schools, because of the influx of 150,000 newcomers from North Africa in recent years.

In Poland, and in Yugoslavia, the cuts affected elderly Jews and, in Poland, as well as in France and Sweden, the support for camping programs “so vital to keeping young people Jewish,” had to be trimmed. In Belgium and Holland, the JDC had to reduce its contributions to psychiatric care programs. In France, the JDC was forced to cut aid programs for North African newcomers by $450,000.

Mr. Jordan called the “most painful cuts” those made in the Moslem countries, Morocco and Iran, where children living in the most acute poverty were affected. He said the JDC “could no longer provide clothing for them and, even worse, we had to reduce the quality of the food they receive in their school canteens, where they have their main meal, in effect their only meal of the day.”


Mr. Lipshy and Mr. Meyerhoff cited the great number of elderly persons among the remaining 20,000 Jews in Poland and their dependence on the JDC. They said that a fairly large number of teenage Jewish youth, born from marriages among postwar returnees to

Mr. Ginsberg said the problem in Germany was not one of finances but of reestablishing the Jewish community to serve as a “significant symbol” of the rebirth of democracy in West Germany. He reported that there was an intensive effort among Germany’s resident 30,000 Jews to create a Jewish life, culture and education. He said Germany’s Jews did not need material aid because the Bonn Government had been very generous. He said the German Jews want only the hand of friendship from the Jews of the rest of the world, to be accepted and recognized by world Jewry.

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