JDC Mourns Rose Klepfisz, Founding Director of the JDC Archives

March 23, 2016

The JDC Archives is sad to announce the passing last month of Rose Klepfisz, JDC’s first Director of Archives and Central Files.  Born in 1914, Rose Klepfisz lived to the age of 101.

Rose Klepfisz, a Holocaust survivor from Warsaw whose husband was a hero of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, emigrated to the U.S. in 1949. In New York, she first worked on the Guide to Jewish History under Nazi Impact, a project of the Joint Documentary Projects of Yad Vashem and the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.

“Rose’s legacy—the (JDC) archives—constitute a major contribution to Jewish scholarship for which we and future generations will be eternally grateful.”

Ralph Goldman

October 3, 1984

In 1962, Klepfisz was recruited by JDC to begin organizing its archives. This was a Herculean effort. In her own words, Rose Klepfisz took “the jungle of disorganized dusty papers lying on shelves and in boxes since 1914 in two huge rooms in the warehouse” and turned it into the JDC Archives, one of the leading repositories in the world for the study of modern Jewish history.

One outstanding achievement of her tenure—which spanned 23 years until her retirement in 1985—is the detailed cataloguing of JDC’s earliest archival collections, which cover JDC’s founding and its critical relief efforts during the two world wars and in the interwar period. She oversaw reference and outreach activities and trained many Archives staff, who continued to catalogue and describe historic material under her careful oversight.

Rose Klepfisz was dedicated to JDC and to the preservation of Jewish history. She stands as a towering figure in JDC’s history.

May her memory be for a blessing.