German refugee reading newspaper, Shanghai, China, circa 1940.


Hearing the personal stories of those JDC helped in the past adds invaluable historical context to the Joint’s efforts.

This is my father’s story. Helmut Steinberg, also known as Benjamin Steinberg, survived the war as a refugee in Shanghai, together with his parents Otto and Hedwig, and his older sister Hilde. In June 1990 he gave a final speech, before falling ill with cancer. Delivering a speech to the Bais Yaakov School for Girls in Baltimore, with an audience of over 700 students, faculty and family members in attendance, my father, Rabbi Benjamin Steinberg, asked, “Where would I be if not for the food delivered to me, my sister, my parents, and thousands of other refugees in Shanghai, China? During those dark days we had nothing left and could not work; if not for the JDC, thousands of us would have slowly starved to death.” Unfortunately my father became ill at age 58 with pancreatic cancer and passed away several months later. This last speech details his experiences. Clearly his thanks and gratitude to JDC were boundless.

This story has been shared with permission from Miriam Steinberg Weiss.

Click here to Tell Us Your JDC Story.