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War Refugee Board Using All U.S. Facilities to Save Refugees, Pehle Tells JDC Parley

April 3, 1944
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The War Refugee Board is using all the power and prestige of the United States Government to save the victims of Nazi persecution who can still be rescued, John W. Pehle, the Board’s executive director, today told 600 Jewish leaders attending the Mid-West Conference of the joint Distribution Committee at the Hotel Stevens here. He said the diplomatic, fiscal and military agencies of the Government as well as the facilities of the Office of War. Information, War Shipping Administration, and other agencies have been marshaled for the job.

“The present military situation in the Balkans presents the greatest challenge to the Board in changing the attitude of the enemy,” Mr.Pehle declared. “President Roosevelt’s recent warning to Germany and her satellites of the consequences of further persecutions in their territories, and the subsequent British endorsement of that warning have provided heavy ammunition on the psychological warfare front. Cooperating with the Far Refugee Board, the Office of War Information and the British Broadcasting Company have carried and will continue to carry that message in every language to every land.”

Mr. Pehle emphasized that the Board was using all methods in its rescue work–formal and informal, direct and indirect, conventional and unconventional. All of these methods, he said, have as their goal the rescue of human beings, particularly Jews, from the barbarism of the enemy.

Stressing the importance of collaboration between the war Refugee Board and private agencies operating in the refugee field, Mr. Pehle asserted that the War Refugee Board offers new opportunities for private philanthropies to operate. Such collaboration, he said, is “the best method of obtaining quick results in a desperate period.”


Paying tribute to the work of the J.D.C., he said: “It has done a magnificent job. Its experience, its personnel, its know-how, and its funds have been of invaluable assistance to the work of the War Refugee Board in rescuing the helpless, homeless and stateless refugees of Europe,” He added that the war Refugee Board had received excellent suggestions from the chairman of the J.D.C.U European committee “who knows the problems first hand.”

Joseph C. Hyman, executive vice-president of the J.D.C., told the meeting that Protestant and Catholic leaders, including the Pope, are extending aid to oppressed Jews in occupied countries. “We owe much,” Mr. Hyman said, “to Christian organizations and Protestant and Catholic welfare agencies, for genuine sympathy and helpfulness.” Mr. Hyman said that as a result of the creation of the War Refugee Board, the J.D.C. “will be able to apply a substantial portion of every dollar to the problem of rescuing and feeding the Jews of Europe.”

At a pre-conference dinner, last night, Paul Baerwald, chairman of the J.D.C. revealed that in the first three months of this year the organization allocated $8,000,000 of its tentative 1944 budget of $17,000,000 for rescue activities. Speakers at the conference included Rabbi Jonah B. Wise and Judge Ulysses Schwartz of Chicago, who presided.

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