FAQ

Using the JDC Archives

What kind of records can I find at JDC Archives?

JDC Archives is a repository for the records of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, an American organization that has operated in over 90 countries, bringing aid to individuals and communities in need. These records, dating back to 1914, document the programs and activities of JDC. Government records and official documentation, such as birth certificates, are not part of our collections.

Are your records available online?

Finding aids, text records, photographs, and our Names Index database are available online. We have digitized 2.4 million pages of documents from our text collections and continue to digitize more material as it is cataloged. Digitized material is accessible via our searchable online database. Over 63,000 photographs have been digitized from our photograph collections.

I'd like to see your records. Can I visit the Archives?

We welcome researchers. If you are interested in visiting, please click here for an application form.

Where are you located, and what are your hours of operation?

Our records are housed in two repositories: one in midtown Manhattan and the other in the Giv’at Sha’ul section of Jerusalem. In Manhattan, we are open Monday-Friday, 9:00-4:30; in Jerusalem, Sunday-Thursday 9:00-3:00.

Are the same records available at both locations?

New York houses JDC HQ communications with governments, national and international agencies, and JDC field offices. Jerusalem houses the records of JDC field offices throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia, along with the records of JDC operations in Israel. New York records open to researchers range from 1914, when JDC was established, to 1975; Jerusalem records, from 1939 to 1975.

Microfilm copies of New York records from 1914-1974 and of the JDC European headquarters (Geneva) from 1945-1954 and the Cyprus, Istanbul, and Stockholm Collections can be viewed both in Manhattan and in Jerusalem.

Will I be using the original records?

The original records are housed off-site. Whenever possible, researchers work from microfilm or digitized material. For records that have not been microfilmed, the originals are made available to researchers.

Are there any restrictions on the records open to researchers?

Please click here to view our Access & Restrictions Policy and our Conditions of Use. Records from the last 35 years are not yet open to researchers.

How can I check whether you have information on the topic I am working on?

Please click here for an information request form to describe what you are looking for.

I'm from overseas and can't visit the Archives. Can you send me material?

We are not equipped to provide broad, in-depth research services. If you are requesting specific documents from one of our files, first check to see whether they are available in our digital collections. If not, please click here for an information request form. We will do our best to find the material.

Is there a fee for using the Archives?

We do not charge for use of the Archives. Fees for photocopying or scanning and for labor apply, as do fees for the reproduction and use of photos. Please click here for our fee schedule.

The JDC Photo Collection

What kind of photos can I find at JDC Archives?

JDC photos depict the operations and activities of JDC in some 90 countries -- from Aden to Yugoslavia -- in diverse regions, including North Africa, Latin America, Western and Eastern Europe, Asia, the Former Soviet Union, and Israel, from 1914 to the present.

How did you acquire these photos?

Photos were taken by JDC representatives during field visits, by photographers commissioned by JDC, and by board members visiting JDC sites, with the goal of bringing the needs of individuals and communities assisted by JDC to the attention of a wider public.

How large is your collection?

We have some 100,000 images, of which more than 63,000 have been scanned into a searchable database, as part of an ongoing digitization project.

Can I view these photos?

Yes. On our website we have selections from our collection. You can also click here to access the “Photo Collection” and conduct your own search of the photo database. See also curated online exhibits and a group of photo galleries.

How do I order photos from JDC Archives? How do I get permission to use a JDC photo?

Please click here to access our “Photo Order Form & Usage Agreement,” with accompanying instructions.

How much do you charge for a photo?

Please click here for our fee schedule.

Do you sell prints of your photos?

This question is currently under discussion. If you are interested in receiving a print, please contact us.

Family History and Genealogical Research

Can I find information on my family in your Archives?

References to individuals who received JDC aid, were involved in JDC programs or operations, or employed by JDC may exist in our collections.

Is this information available online?

Selected lists of individuals may be accessed through our online database of names; you may also access the Text Collection to search on a name. Genealogists and family historians are welcome to visit the Archives and conduct research by using a finding aid for the period in question and examining the most relevant files.

What is the JDC Archives Indexing Project?

The goal of the ongoing JDC Archives Indexing Project is to index significant lists of individuals who received JDC assistance and to make them available to researchers in digital format. To search for an individual on these lists, please click here. You will also be able to access the original document.

What kinds of lists have been indexed so far?

These are examples of lists that have already been indexed:

  • Senders and recipients of money (remittances) to Poland, Palestine, Russia, and Romania from 1915-1921
  • Refugees in Zbaszyn, Poland, 1938-39
  • Polish refugees assisted by JDC in Vilna, Lithuania, in 1940
  • Recipients of parcels shipped to Polish and Ukrainian Jews in Central Asia, 1944-45
  • Registration cards of Displaced Persons who received aid from JDC's Emigration Service in Munich and Vienna after World War II
  • Rabbinical students in Shanghai in 1947
  • Refugees from Hungary, 1956-57

For a complete listing of Lists in the Names Database, click here.

Do you have case files or personal records of individuals who received JDC assistance?

For the most part, JDC case files and individual records from 1919 through the post-World War II period have been donated to other repositories in the United States. The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington has received copies of additional JDC case files and records that are housed in overseas repositories. For a list of repositories with JDC case files and individual records, click here.

What else can I find in your collections that may be of interest?

Our collections include rich background material on geographical areas and localities across the globe, landsmannschaften, internment camps, DP centers, emigration activities, and more. As they are made web accessible we will publish our finding aids online. Please click here for available finding aids.

Where else can I find information on JDC’s work in the DP camps?

DP records are also housed in the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, These include:

  • Displaced Persons Camps and Centers in Austria (RG 294.4)
  • Displaced Persons Camps and Centers in Germany (RG 294.2)
  • Displaced Persons Camps and Centers in Italy (RG 294.3)
  • Papers of Leo Schwarz, JDC Director for the U.S. Occupation Zone in Germany, 1946-1947

JDC Today

Where does JDC work today?

Today JDC is impacting millions of lives in Israel and more than 70 other countries. The world's leading Jewish humanitarian assistance organization, JDC works to alleviate hunger and hardship, rescues Jews and others in danger or crisis, and is helping to renew and rebuild emergent Jewish communities. It also provides emergency relief and long-term development support for victims of natural and man-made disasters worldwide.

Where can I find further information on JDC’s current activities?

To learn more about JDC's current activities and global programs, visit jdc.org.

How can I help JDC?

You can help support JDC's life-sustaining activities by making a contribution online, by phone at 212.687.6200, or by mail (check payable to JDC) at the following address:
Attn: JDC
P O Box 4124
New York, NY 10163