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Project Category: 1914-1921

Moving Forward: A Constructive Approach

Moving Forward: A Constructive Approach JDC set a formal deadline (July 1921) for ending “palliative relief.” Much earlier, an August 1919 report summarized new objectives:”(1) to help develop and renew Jewish morale and the spirit of self-help…;(2) to help build up cultural, benevolent and technical institutions;” and “(3)…”to help integrate the various divergent groups, organizations and institutions to a common purpose.” During those two years, groundbreaking initiatives were tried whenever possible. AR 19-21, File 4. A Fully Realized Future After the war, JDC staff and lay leaders began discussing the right next steps. Looking for ways to spark Jewish...

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Informed Function [An Outstretched Arm]

Informed Function - An Outstretched Arm While JDC field reports revealed a growing number of pressing needs abroad, contributions in America were shrinking. Every dollar needed to be spent as judiciously as possible. A successful outcome required functionally-run departments that were broadly coordinated yet flexible enough to address locally specific needs. These were launched in the fall of 1920. Getting Around Getting food, packages, remittances, and correspondence to individuals was critical. A new Shipping Department based in Poland purchased warehouses, cars and trucks to serve close to 4,000 communities. JDC field workers could now reach the most isolated towns....

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The Battle for Health

The Battle for Health During wartime, JDC sent medicine and emergency medical aid to countries under siege. Years of damage through privation, violent assault, perpetual flight, and unsanitary conditions created a whole new set of problems. Hundreds of thousands were left with untended injuries and compromised health. Recurring epidemics battered the weakened population. As conditions on the ground allowed, JDC began a wide range of new services aimed at fighting disease and improving health. The Medical Department was the first functional initiative. Healing Palestine’s War Wounds Health conditions in Palestine had grown dangerous. Poor drainage and a lack of...

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Solid Ground in a Shifting World

Solid Ground in a Shifting World The war’s end did not bring safety or stability to the survivors. Soviet Russia and Poland now warred over vast disputed territories, while civil war, banditry, and pogroms brought further bloodshed to Belorussia (now Belarus), Ukraine, and other nearby regions where Jews still lived. In this difficult time, JDC increased its efforts, working cooperatively with governments and public service organizations, establishing a network of services, and reaching in some fashion to “every corner of Europe and to Palestine.” A Working Relationship After the war, JDC embarked on a ground-breaking partnership. The government-initiated American...

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Wrestling with Chaos

Wrestling with Chaos Chaotic wartime conditions made relief work slow and unpredictable. Through trial and error, JDC administrators learned whom they could trust, and how best to ship goods to their intended beneficiaries. A series of durable relationships were gradually established with government officials, diplomatic envoys, and regional groups. In the midst of these large endeavors, JDC helped individuals divided by war to maintain contact. Providing for Palestine A majority of Palestine’s 82,000 Jews required some relief during the war. Besides blockading European shipments, the Turkish military commandeered all transport. The U.S. Consul first supervised JDC aid. Later, JDC...

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