Our Stories

JDC in the 1910s

JDC’s first cargo of preserved kosher beef is loaded aboard the SS Ashburn.

New York harbor, June 1919

JDC’s first cargo of preserved kosher beef is loaded aboard the SS Ashburn.

New York harbor, June 1919

In response to the onset of World War I and the devastation it wreaked on thousands of Jewish communities in war-torn regions, the newly-formed American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee initiated massive relief projects in Palestine to sustain fragile communities and across Eastern Europe to support communities devastated by the war.

In Depth

War and Emergency Relief — Establishment of JDC

Exhibit

A Joint Effort:
JDC’s Beginnings, 1914–1921

World War I was catastrophic for Jews in Eastern Europe, already at risk from relentless poverty and prejudice, and for Jews in the Yishuv in Palestine, cut off from all support. To provide substantive help, American Jewish relief groups united to create a Joint Distribution Committee.

Exhibit

Everything Possible: JDC and the Children of the DP Camps

Featuring historic photographs from the JDC Archives, focuses on JDC’s significant efforts on behalf of children in the displaced persons camps established by the Allied Armed Forces after World War II. JDC was permitted to enter the camps to supplement minimal provisions with critical nutritional, medical, educational, and religious services for survivors.