American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee

Introduction

According to Louise London (2000), the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC; also known as ‘The Joint’) was the most active US organization in terms of assistance provided to European Jews during the 1930s.

Founded during the First World War, the JDC was the first American Jewish organization to provide funding for international relief efforts: it “played a major role in sustaining Jews in Palestine and rebuilding the devastated communities of Eastern Europe” (http://www.jdc.org/about/): it distributed “millions of dollars in aid” (Gottlieb 1998: 35).

The JDC continued to play a significant role after the First World War, supporting Jews in Palestine and helping to rebuild the ravaged communities of Eastern Europe.


During the 1930s the JDC helped with relief efforts in Europe as legislative restrictions at local and national levels quickly began to take their toll; they assisted with emigration to various countries, including the USA.

After the war, the JDC was a key player in rehabilitation and resettlement activities in Europe and elsewhere, offering much needed social and medical care to concentration camp survivors and the few surviving Jewish communities.

Kitchener camp, Werner Weissenberg, Letter, From a surviving cousin liberated from Theresienstadt, Helped by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, Berlin, 3 June 1946
Kitchener camp, Werner Weissenberg, Letter, From a surviving cousin liberated from Theresienstadt, Helped by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, Berlin, 3 June 1946

When the Council for German Jewry established Kitchener camp, the JDC contributed financial assistance to the tune of around twenty percent of “upkeep costs” (London 2000: 116; see also correspondence from the archives, below). Both the JDC and the CBF were members of the permanent non-governmental Consultative Council of the High Commissioner for Refugees (Gottlieb 1998: 62) – which both organizations also funded. There was also a contribution made by a Quaker organisation, which assisted some men in getting a place in Kitchener camp.

From October 1933 until his resignation in 1935, James McDonald was the League of Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from Germany. He was sponsored for the post by the JDC, and also worked closely with Norman Bentwich (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Bentwich) who was his deputy director, and another key figure in the Kitchener narrative (see Ungerson 2014).

McDonald made frequent visits to Berlin, which generally included meetings with members of the Reichsvertretung; he advised as early as 1933 that “the outlook for the majority of Jews in Germany was hopeless” (Gottlieb 1998: 62).

McDonald stated unequivocaly that aid for emigration was an urgent requirement – an opinion backed by Rabbi Baeck and Simon Marks, founder of the CBF in 1933, who personally donated over £1m to its funds (see Grenville 2002b: 119).


‘The Joint’ and emigration from Germany

Much of the emigration from Germany during the early to mid 1930s had taken place through the efforts and finances of individual families. It had been triggered by both anti-Jewish legislation – at local and national levels – and by increasing violence against Jewish property and people – including imprisonment – and sometimes killings – in concentration camps. During this period, until July 1938, around 150,000 German Jews managed to leave the country (London 2000: 125).

However, aid organizations recognised that as anti-Jewish laws were leaving the Jewish population increasingly impoverished – through the removal of businesses, homes, the means to work, fines, and punitive taxation – the remaining would-be emigrants were likely to require much higher levels of assistance.

Kitchener camp, Council for German Jewry, Report, Mr Layton, Mr Gentilli, Mr Baron, Refugee selection, Vienna, 1939
Kitchener camp, Council for German Jewry, Report, Mr Layton, Mr Gentilli, Mr Baron, Refugee selection, Vienna, 1939
Reproduced here with the kind permission of the JDC, which retains copyright of these materials

As London (2000) notes, the policies subsequently defined by these aid agencies were to play a large part in ‘who’ was rescued – that is – they decided what the criteria would be for a place on a rescue scheme. The larger numbers now assumed to be in need were so great that those who were to be helped could only be assisted towards establishing themselves elsewhere. Helping those who would not ultimately be able to help themselves was not seen as being viable under these circumstances. Thus, the criteria quickly included being of working age, in good health, and so on.

Kitchener camp, Council for German Jewry, Letter, Mr Gottschalk, Norman Bentwich, Dr Baeck, Reichsvertretung, Camps needed for 30,000 men and women, Ages 17 to 45, Proposal for camps in England, France, Holland, Belgium, Cost £1m, Camps to be training centres, Sir Robert Whaley Cohen, 13 December 1938, page 1
Kitchener camp, Council for German Jewry, Letter, Mr Gottschalk, Norman Bentwich, Dr Baeck, Reichsvertretung, Camps needed for 30,000 men and women, Ages 17 to 45, Proposal for camps in England, France, Holland, Belgium, Cost £1m, Camps to be training centres, Sir Robert Whaley Cohen, 13 December 1938, page 1
Reproduced here with the kind permission of the JDC, which retains copyright of these materials
Richborough refugee transit camp, Council for German Jewry, Letter, Mr Gottschalk, Norman Bentwich, State contributions, Voluntary organisations, Belgian government, British government, 13 December 1938, page 2
Kitchener camp, Council for German Jewry, Letter, Mr Gottschalk, Norman Bentwich, State contributions, Voluntary organisations, Belgian government, British government, 13 December 1938, page 2
Reproduced here with the kind permission of the JDC, which retains copyright of these materials

There were many personal and organisational links among the various aid agencies and those who ran them. Otto Schiff, for example, another key member of the CBF, realised early on the risks that German Jews faced. He listened regularly to German radio broadcasts and recognised the “ominous tidings” for what they were (London 2000: 7). A stockbroker in the City of London, and part of a rabbinical and philanthropic family with origins in Frankfurt, Schiff had come to Britain in 1896. He and his brother Ernst had aided thousands of refugees in getting from Belgium to Britain during the First World War.

During the 1930s Schiff was in close contact with Rabbi Dr Leo Baeck (President of the Reichsvertretung der Deutschen Juden), and between them they made the decision to assist Jews wishing to leave Germany.

Dr Bernhard Kahn, who started work with the JDC in 1921, was also in constant contact with Baeck. He was Director of European operations for the JDC, and had strong links with the various German Jewish aid agencies.

Kitchener camp, Council for German Jewry, Letter, Woburn House, Mr Troper, Dr Baeck, Mr Woolf, 13 December 1938
Kitchener camp, Council for German Jewry, Letter, Woburn House, Mr Troper, Dr Baeck, Mr Woolf, 13 December 1938
Reproduced here with the kind permission of the JDC, which retains copyright of these materials

According to Gottlieb (1998: 35), formal contact between  the CBF and the JDC began in July 1933: extended family and business connections among the board members made this an obvious link in many ways.

During the early to mid 1930s in particular, however, the JDC was struggling to raise funds to help European Jews. The economic situation in the USA was terrible, and getting individuals and institutions to focus on contributions for people living on a different continent was problematic. James Rosenberg, a member of the executive committee, stated that because of the Depression in the USA, and the concomitant anti-semitism, they “felt it unwise to publicise the large sums it sent to Europe for aid to Jewish communities” (Gottlieb 1998: 34).

Richborough transit camp, American Joint Distribution Committee, Letter, Norman Bentwich, Morris Troper, Woburn House, Council for German Jewry, Camps in United States and France, JDC contribution problems, Government assistance required, 1939 Budget delay, 28 December 1938
Kitchener camp, American Joint Distribution Committee, Letter, Norman Bentwich, Morris Troper, Woburn House, Council for German Jewry, Camps in United States and France, JDC contribution problems, Government assistance required, 1939 Budget delay, 28 December 1938
Reproduced here with the kind permission of the JDC, which retains copyright of these materials

Meanwhile, back in Britain, the CBF continued to be concerned about the increasingly precarious position for German Jews, and believed they should expedite plans for emigration and ask US Jews for support. McDonald encouraged Marks, Lord Bearstead (another senior member of the CBF), and Sir Herbert Samuel to visit the USA, meet Jewish leaders, and attempt to gain further JDC support for the plans outlined by the CBF.

"They addressed large gatherings of community leaders and other interested groups, and they received national press coverage and made five nationwide radio broadcasts. Sir Herbert Samuel also met with President Franklin D Roosevelt, who assured him that American Consuls in Germany were sympathetic towards Jewish visa applicants, which, sadly, was not their experience. US Secretary of Labor, Frances Perkins, requested that no attempt be made to dump unprepared or undesirable immigrants on the United States and this was agreed" (Gottlieb 1998: 66-67).

The resulting relationship became known as the Council for German Jewry. The individual groups remained independent of each other, consisting of the CBF, and the JDC, as well as Zionist and other organizations (Gottlieb 1998: 68). They intended to assist around 20,000 to 35,000 people each year to emigrate – mainly, it was assumed, to Palestine.

They aimed to raise £3 million ($15 million) to this end.


The Joint in Austria

Austrian Jews experienced the onset of Nazi policy quite differently to German Jews: the Anschluß came suddenly and with it the full force of the legislation that had taken place over a number of years in Germany. According to Pamela Shatzkes (2002), people dependent on relief for the basic necessities doubled to over 60,000 when the Anschluß took effect: “by the summer of 1938, over 60 per cent of Austrian Jewry was partially or entirely dependent on organisational support” (p. 53).

The Jewish community in Vienna was largely supported by the Council for German Jewry (of which the JDC and the CBF were a part). They ran soup kitchens, training schemes, and emigration offices, among other relief efforts.

Council for German Jewry

Minutes, 29th March 1938

"Mr Otto Schiff reported that ... the situation [in Vienna] was desperate, that practically all the leaders of the Jewish community were either in prison or under house arrest, and that 22,000 persons (mostly Monarchists) ... were in prison in Vienna. All the Jewish institutions were closed down, except the soup kitchens."
"Mr Norman Bentwitch gave an account of his visit to Vienna and said that the position was exceedingly bad. The policy of the Nazi government was definitely to force Jews to leave the country and the confiscation of their property and businesses was a means to this end ... Ten thousand people were at present being fed at the soup kitchens and it was estimated that 12,000 a day would require assistance during the course of the next two or three weeks. At the moment the Kultusgemeinde estimated that they were spending £10,000 in retraining and 200 young people had already been sent to training camps in Germany. They wanted to retrain between 2,000 and 3,000 young people."
"It was felt that by ... selling a portion of the dollars which were provided by the British section of the Council for German Jewry and the American Joint Distribution Committee ... the Kultusgemeinde would be able to obtain the sum of RM 1,500,000 for $200,000, which it was proposed should be placed at the disposal of the Kultusgemeinde for the months of September and October. Towards the sum of $200,000 the American Joint Distribution Committee desired the British section of the Council for German Jewry to provide one-half, and the AJDC the remaining half; but the Officers felt that, in view of the demands on the resources of the British section, the maximum that they could recommend would be for the Council to provide one-third, or £13,500 for this purpose."

Letters and documents: The American ‘Joint’

[Editor: The letters and documents on this page are reproduced with the kind permission of the JDC. All these items remain under copyright with the JDC]

December 1938

Kitchener camp, The Joint, Council for German Jewry, Establishment of Refugee camps, Report, Major Ernest Joseph, Lord Winterton, Pearsons and Dorman and Long, Industrial training camp at Richborough for 40,000, Ktchener camp could accommodate 2,500 to 3,000, Lord Greenwood, 48 huts to hold 48 people each, Two dining rooms each holding 1,500, Kitchens, £100k per year to maintain, Jewish Lads' Brigade, 28 December 1938, page 1
Kitchener camp, The Joint, Council for German Jewry, Establishment of Refugee camps, Report, Major Ernest Joseph, Lord Winterton, Pearsons and Dorman and Long, Industrial training camp at Richborough for 40,000, Ktchener camp could accommodate 2,500 to 3,000, Lord Greenwood, 48 huts to hold 48 people each, Two dining rooms each holding 1,500, Kitchens, £100k per year to maintain, Jewish Lads’ Brigade, 28 December 1938, page 1
Reproduced here with the kind permission of the JDC, which retains copyright of these materials
Richborough transit camp, The Joint, Council for German Jewry, Establishment of Refugee camps, Report, With defiltration 6,000 people per year saved for ultimate resettlement, Camp as training centre, Administration to be done by refugees, Government assistance query, War Office furniture query, 28 December 1938, page 2
Kitchener camp, The Joint, Council for German Jewry, Establishment of Refugee camps, Report, With defiltration 6,000 people per year saved for ultimate resettlement, Camp as training centre, Administration to be done by refugees, Government assistance query, War Office furniture query, 28 December 1938, page 2
Reproduced here with the kind permission of the JDC, which retains copyright of these materials
Richborough transit camp, The Joint, Letter, European Executive, Mr Hyman, Morris Troper, Bernhard Kahn, David Schweitzer, Nathan Katz, Joseph Rosen, Mr Bentwich, Council for German Jewry, Funding from JDC, 28 December 1938
Kitchener camp, The Joint, Letter, European Executive, Mr Hyman, Morris Troper, Bernhard Kahn, David Schweitzer, Nathan Katz, Joseph Rosen, Mr Bentwich, Council for German Jewry, Funding from JDC, 28 December 1938
Reproduced here with the kind permission of the JDC, which retains copyright of these materials

January 1939

Kitchener camp, The JDC, Council for German Jewry, Letter, Movement for the Care of Children from Germany, Transmigrants, USA, Permission obtained from Home Office for camp for 5,000, Costs, 8 January 1939, page 1
Kitchener camp, The JDC, Council for German Jewry, Letter, Movement for the Care of Children from Germany, Transmigrants, USA, Permission obtained from Home Office for camp for 5,000, Costs, 8 January 1939, page 1
Kitchener camp, The JDC, Council for German Jewry, Letter, Contribution sought from JDC, M Stephany, 8 January 1939, page 2
Kitchener camp, The JDC, Council for German Jewry, Letter, Contribution sought from JDC, M Stephany, 8 January 1939, page 2
Kitchener camp, JDC, Paul Baerwald, Morris Troper, Letter, European Executive Council, HICEM funding, Query over whether British will help in South America, 10 January 1939, page 1.jpg
Kitchener camp, JDC, Paul Baerwald, Morris Troper, Letter, European Executive Council, HICEM funding, Query over whether British will help in South America, 10 January 1939, page 1.jpg
Kitchener camp, JDC, Paul Baerwald, Morris Troper, European Executive Council, Letter, Large amount of money, Mr Hyman, Mr Bressler, 10 January 1939, page 2
Kitchener camp, JDC, Paul Baerwald, Morris Troper, European Executive Council, Letter, Large amount of money, Mr Hyman, Mr Bressler, 10 January 1939, page 2
Kitchener camp, JDC, Council for German Jewry, Mr Baerwald, Transit camp for young adults from Germany and Austria, Prospect for emigration overseas, Must leave Germany immediately, Reichsvertretung, Quakers, Government will not help, Jewish organisations must take initiative, Half-derelict war workers camp for 4-5,000, Training place, Huts as workshops, Hope to share cost with JDC, Refugees arriving at a rate of 100 a day, 3,000 children arrived in last 6 weeks, All kinds of training enterprises, Norman Bentwich, 11 January 1939
Kitchener camp, JDC, Council for German Jewry, Mr Baerwald, Transit camp for young adults from Germany and Austria, Prospect for emigration overseas, Must leave Germany immediately, Reichsvertretung, Quakers, Government will not help, Jewish organisations must take initiative, Half-derelict war workers camp for 4-5,000, Training place, Huts as workshops, Hope to share cost with JDC, Refugees arriving at a rate of 100 a day, 3,000 children arrived in last 6 weeks, All kinds of training enterprises, Norman Bentwich, 11 January 1939
Kitchener camp, JDC, Letter, Morris Troper, Paul Baerwald, Professor Bentwich, Need for governmental assistance, 12 January 1939
Kitchener camp, JDC, Letter, Morris Troper, Paul Baerwald, Professor Bentwich, Need for governmental assistance, 12 January 1939
Kitchener camp, The JDC, Cable, Troper, Bentwich, Financing progress query, 12 January 1939
Kitchener camp, The JDC, Cable, Troper, Bentwich, Financing progress query, 12 January 1939
Richborough camp, JDC, Cable, Paris, New York, Home Office consent to immigration, "As many refugees as camps can hold", 3,500 immediately; then another 1500, Richborough leased on one-year option, renewal nominal, £10K equipment and contributions in kind, Per capita cost maintenance 10 sh per week, £100,000 annual, To be met by General Council collections including Baldwin Fund. Soliciting JDC for aid, Council requests Reichsvertretung send 100 artisans various trades to help prepare camp from end January
Kitchener camp, JDC, Cable, Paris, New York, Home Office consent to immigration, “As many refugees as camps can hold”, 3,500 immediately; then another 1500, Richborough leased on one-year option, renewal nominal, £10K equipment and contributions in kind, Per capita cost maintenance 10 sh per week, £100,000 annual, To be met by General Council collections including Baldwin Fund. Soliciting JDC for aid, Council requests Reichsvertretung send 100 artisans various trades to help prepare camp from end January
Kitchener camp, Joint Distribution Committee, Letter, Kahn, Schweitzer, Katz, Rosen, New York, Paris, Professor Bentwich, Finances of Council for German Jewry, Raised £600,000 in 1939 of which £180,000 is uncommitted, Expecting half Baldwin Fund of £250,000 will be added, Refugee children from Germany and Austria also to be covered by this sum - over 2,000 so far, as well as other refugee camps in England, and work in Germany, Austria and refugee countries, plus some settlement schemes, 17 January 1939
Kitchener camp, Joint Distribution Committee, Letter, Kahn, Schweitzer, Katz, Rosen, New York, Paris, Professor Bentwich, Finances of Council for German Jewry, Raised £600,000 in 1939 of which £180,000 is uncommitted, Expecting half Baldwin Fund of £250,000 will be added, Refugee children from Germany and Austria also to be covered by this sum – over 2,000 so far, as well as other refugee camps in England, and work in Germany, Austria and refugee countries, plus some settlement schemes, 17 January 1939, page 1
Richborough camp, Joint Distribution Committee, Letter, Council meeting tomorrow afternoon, Professor Bentwich also mentions UK government pressing for further settlement in Rhodesia, Morris Troper, 7 January 1939, page 2
Kitchener camp, Joint Distribution Committee, Letter, Council meeting tomorrow afternoon, Professor Bentwich also mentions UK government pressing for further settlement in Rhodesia, Morris Troper, 7 January 1939, page 2
Richborough camp, JDC, Cable, Baerwald, Funding not yet discussed, Unlikely children will be funded, When transit camps are established perhaps more willingness to participate but not now, 18 January 1939
Kitchener camp, JDC, Cable, Baerwald, Funding not yet discussed, Unlikely children will be funded, When transit camps are established perhaps more willingness to participate but not now, 18 January 1939
Richborough camp, JDC, Cable, Troper, Baerwald, Funding Discussion not possible before Executive meeting, "All realize importance [of] camps", What amount needed, 24 January 1939
Kitchener camp, JDC, Cable, Troper, Baerwald, Funding Discussion not possible before Executive meeting, “All realize importance [of] camps”, What amount needed, 24 January 1939
Richborough camp, The Joint, Cable, Western Union telegram, Willing to provide 20% not exceeding $100,000 for 1939, Harold, Pickett proposals, 26 January 1939
Kitchener camp, The Joint, Cable, Western Union telegram, Willing to provide 20% not exceeding $100,000 for 1939, Harold, Pickett proposals, 26 January 1939
Richborough transit camp, The Joint, Cable, Western Union telegram, Baerwald, New York, Unable to secure definite indication of extent of JDC participation, Camp will undoubtably care for many future US immigrants, inclined to recommend help, 26 January 1939
Kitchener camp, The Joint, Cable, Western Union telegram, Baerwald, New York, Unable to secure definite indication of extent of JDC participation, Camp will undoubtably care for many future US immigrants, inclined to recommend help, 26 January 1939
Richborough transit camp, The Joint, Letter, European Executive Council, Troper, Schweitzer, Kahn, Rosen, Katz, Baerwald, Temporary refugee camp, Initial discussion of camp for 5,000, now for 3,500, JDC to contribute up to 20% for 1939 not to exceed $100,000, A "respectable amount", Quaker proposal for Isle of Man, Mr Linder, At Council for German Jewry meeting on 12th December Dr Baeck asked for 30,000 to be rescued to camps, Richborough is seen as a first step towards this, so it must be a complete success, A majority of those rescued to KC will be prospective emigrants to USA, Anxiety about social and psychological adjustments "which will need constant attention", Only men to be admitted "for some time", 27 January 1939
Kitchener camp, The Joint, Letter, European Executive Council, Troper, Schweitzer, Kahn, Rosen, Katz, Baerwald, Temporary refugee camp, Initial discussion of camp for 5,000, now for 3,500, JDC to contribute up to 20% for 1939 not to exceed $100,000, A “respectable amount”, Quaker proposal for Isle of Man, Mr Linder, At Council for German Jewry meeting on 12th December Dr Baeck asked for 30,000 to be rescued to camps, Richborough is seen as a first step towards this, so it must be a complete success, A majority of those rescued to KC will be prospective emigrants to USA, Anxiety about social and psychological adjustments “which will need constant attention”, Only men to be admitted “for some time”, 27 January 1939
Richborough transit camp, The Joint, Cable, Baerwald, New York, Paris, Morris Troper, Bentwich, Unlikely to bring more than 3,500 this year, Unofficial hint that JDC might participate, without mentioning a specific amount, If JDC funds provided, Council for German Jewry would have to increase contributions to refugee countries, In London next Sunday for meeting, Bearsted, 30 January 1939
Kitchener camp, The Joint, Cable, Baerwald, New York, Paris, Morris Troper, Bentwich, Unlikely to bring more than 3,500 this year, Unofficial hint that JDC might participate, without mentioning a specific amount, If JDC funds provided, Council for German Jewry would have to increase contributions to refugee countries, In London next Sunday for meeting, Bearsted, 30 January 1939
Richborough transit camp, Joint Distribution Committee, Cable, Troper, Paris, New York, General agreement up to $100,000 for camp activity on understanding CGJ is responsible, "Expect formal ratification Thursday", Anxious that CGJ will increase participation in other refugee requirements, 31 January 1939
Kitchener camp, Joint Distribution Committee, Cable, Troper, Paris, New York, General agreement up to $100,000 for camp activity on understanding CGJ is responsible, “Expect formal ratification Thursday”, Anxious that CGJ will increase participation in other refugee requirements, 31 January 1939

February 1939

Richborough transit camp, JDC, Memorandum, "Many types of camps or centers in almost every European country of refuge", Some are transit camps, All provide education and vocational training, Concentration camp victims can be released if they emigrate immediately, Camps provide temporary asylum, Camps provide opportunity to learn languages and acquire training in agriculture or crafts, In all camps Jewish organisations provide maintenance costs and guarantees, In some countries refugees must not come into contact with natives, Lord Samuel of CGJ using WWI experiences of POWs to estimate costs, New temporary refugee camps for 30,000 transmigrants across England, France, Belgium, Holland, In Germany there is a well-organized program of vocational training for emigration in crafts and agriculture, 23,000 trained to date, February 1939, page 1
Kitchener camp, JDC, Memorandum, “Many types of camps or centers in almost every European country of refuge”, Some are transit camps, All provide education and vocational training, Concentration camp victims can be released if they emigrate immediately, Camps provide temporary asylum, Camps provide opportunity to learn languages and acquire training in agriculture or crafts, In all camps Jewish organisations provide maintenance costs and guarantees, In some countries refugees must not come into contact with natives, Lord Samuel of CGJ using WWI experiences of POWs to estimate costs, New temporary refugee camps for 30,000 transmigrants across England, France, Belgium, Holland, In Germany there is a well-organized program of vocational training for emigration in crafts and agriculture, 23,000 trained to date, February 1939, page 1
Richborough transit camp, JDC, Memorandum, In Austria 10,000 attend 800 courses in trade, industry, agriculture, Cost for 1939 estimated at $1m, Another $1m for training outside Germany, Camps for 1,245 in Jugoslavia, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Richborough to hold 5,000 transmigrants, 48 huts, 2 dining rooms for 1500 each, and kitchens, Will be filled twice a year thus providing accommodation for 10,000, Transit camps under supervision of Quakers also suggested "because England has promised to allow as many refugees to enter the country as camps will hold", Training scheme established for agricultural students, Communities of 200 per unit, First unit established at Tythrop House, Oxfordshire, ages 15-20, Nearly all had some training in Germany, When training complete, students will re-emigrate, February 1939, page 2
Kitchener camp, JDC, Memorandum, In Austria 10,000 attend 800 courses in trade, industry, agriculture, Cost for 1939 estimated at $1m, Another $1m for training outside Germany, Camps for 1,245 in Jugoslavia, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Richborough to hold 5,000 transmigrants, 48 huts, 2 dining rooms for 1500 each, and kitchens, Will be filled twice a year thus providing accommodation for 10,000, Transit camps under supervision of Quakers also suggested “because England has promised to allow as many refugees to enter the country as camps will hold”, Training scheme established for agricultural students, Communities of 200 per unit, First unit established at Tythrop House, Oxfordshire, ages 15-20, Nearly all had some training in Germany, When training complete, students will re-emigrate, February 1939, page 2
Kitchener camp, JDC, Memorandum, Similar youth training scheme at Whittingehame House, France has 3 centers for training and adjustment, each lodging 200 persons, New camp being considered for those without papers, Around 10,000 illegal entrants in prisons in France, Costs in France, Two refugee camps in Belgium, one at Merxplas housing 650 and at Marneffe housing 750, Costs in Belgium, Famous training center in Holland, Wieringen, near Amsterdam, housing 200 men and women aged 16 to 20, Training in agriculture, gardening, cattle and poultry raising, mechanics and crafts, language and general education, Switzerland has about 11,000 German and Austrian refugees, February 1939, page 3
Kitchener camp, JDC, Memorandum, Similar youth training scheme at Whittingehame House, France has 3 centers for training and adjustment, each lodging 200 persons, New camp being considered for those without papers, Around 10,000 illegal entrants in prisons in France, Costs in France, Two refugee camps in Belgium, one at Merxplas housing 650 and at Marneffe housing 750, Costs in Belgium, Famous training center in Holland, Wieringen, near Amsterdam, housing 200 men and women aged 16 to 20, Training in agriculture, gardening, cattle and poultry raising, mechanics and crafts, language and general education, Switzerland has about 11,000 German and Austrian refugees, February 1939, page 3
Richborough transit camp, The Joint, Cable, Troper, Paris, New York, "Formal concurrence today accordance our 376 up to hundred thousand", 2 February 1939
Kitchener camp, The Joint, Cable, Troper, Paris, New York, “Formal concurrence today accordance our 376 up to hundred thousand”, 2 February 1939

 


The outbreak of war

December 1939

Kitchener camp, The JDC, Council for German Jewry, Report, Transmigrant refugees, Governments in Belgium and Netherlands, Lord Greenwood's intervention, Pearson and Dorman and Long making no profit out of the refugees, 3,500 young men with the prospect of emigration, As they leave, their places will be taken by others, Jewish Lad's Brigade offer to assist, Mr May is Secretary of JLB, Ernest Joseph architect, Materials needed and furniture, equipment, tools, clothing, games, International Paint and Compositions Company Ltd donating paint, Also Messrs Gestetner Ltd, 1 December 1939
Kitchener camp, The JDC, Council for German Jewry, Report, Transmigrant refugees, Governments in Belgium and Netherlands, Lord Greenwood’s intervention, Pearson and Dorman and Long making no profit out of the refugees, 3,500 young men with the prospect of emigration, As they leave, their places will be taken by others, Jewish Lad’s Brigade offer to assist, Mr May is Secretary of JLB, Ernest Joseph architect, Materials needed and furniture, equipment, tools, clothing, games, International Paint and Compositions Company Ltd donating paint, Also Messrs Gestetner Ltd, 1 December 1939

 


January 1940

The Joint, Kitchener Refugee Camp, Enclosure, Julian Layton, Kitchener Camp Committee, London Office, 2 St Paul's Bakehouse Court, Godliman St EC4, Central Council for Jewish Refugees, formerly Council for German Jewry, £100K per year, Some KC men had tickets for passage overseas on German ships - now annulled, Cost of passage must be met elsewhere, 8 January 1940
The Joint, Kitchener Refugee Camp, Enclosure, Julian Layton, Kitchener Camp Committee, London Office, 2 St Paul’s Bakehouse Court, Godliman St EC4, Central Council for Jewish Refugees, formerly Council for German Jewry, £100K per year, Some KC men had tickets for passage overseas on German ships – now annulled, Cost of passage must be met elsewhere, 8 January 1940
Reproduced here with the kind permission of the JDC, which retains copyright of these materials

 

 


The work of the JDC continued in the postwar era, in aiding the new communities of Israel, Jews in North Africa and Muslim majority states, and with relief work in the former USSR. When the USSR collapsed, the JDC was able to step into Eastern Europe more broadly, helping to sustain now-elderly survivors of the Shoah who had so often been left destitute.

“Active today in more than 70 countries, JDC and its partners work to alleviate hunger and hardship, rescue Jews in danger, create lasting connections to Jewish life, and help Israel overcome the social challenges of its most vulnerable citizens, both Jewish and non-Jewish. JDCs reach extends beyond the global Jewish community by providing non-sectarian disaster relief and long-term development assistance worldwide” (Source: History of the JDC, Archives online; see also: http://archives.jdc.org/history-of-jdc/our-story-an-interactive/).