Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

United Hias Service to Sellits Historic Building; Moves to New Quarters

June 2, 1965
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The United Hias Service announced today that it considers selling its histories building on Lafayette street here and will move to a modern building in the neighborhood early next month.

Murray I. Gurfein, United Hias president, emphasized in a statement that “the move into our new offices will result in considerable saving of funds and will help us to meet the financial crisis confronting our agency due to the loss of $425,000 in Claims Conference funds, almost 20 percent of our budget.” He said that a number of offers were being considered for the building on Lafayette street and that it was expected that a sale would be consummated soon.

For New Yorkers, the brownstone, Byzantine United Hias Headquarters building, south of Cooper Square, is a familiar sight, rich in tradition. From 1854 to 1911, it was the Astor Library, the nation’s leading reference library, a gift from John Jacob Astor who died in 1848. In 1920, the library building was sold to Hias who used it both as an immigrant shelter and central office. In the years before 1958, United Hias and its predecessor agencies sheltered in the building thousands of Jewish migrants. The newcomers waited in the shelter days, sometimes weeks, until satisfactory arrangements were worked out with relatives or resettlement communities.

James R. Rice, United Hias executive director, pointed out that the agency now applies the effective and humanitarian concept of “pre-planning” or arranging in advance of the immigrant’s arrival, his reception by relatives or the community where he has the best potential for adjustment. Presently, United Hias makes resettlement arrangements while the prospective immigrant is still overseas awaiting necessary processing by United States immigration authorities.

Recommended from JTA