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JDC New York Office Records, 1921 – 1932

Archives of The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, Inc.

Descriptive Summary
ID Code: NY AR192132
Creator: American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee
Title: Records of the New York Office of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, 1921 - 1932
Inclusive Dates: July 1, 1921 - December 31, 1932
Extent: 56 linear feet
Link: The New York 1921-1932 Collection
Location: American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, New York Archives
Alternative Form of Materials
The records in this collection have been digitized and are searchable online through the textual collections portal of the JDC Archives database. Microfilm copies of the material are also available on eighty reels numbered 25 to 70 and folders 413 through 568, respectively.
Scope and Content Note
This collection comprises 757 numbered folders, covering the period of July 1, 1921 to December 31, 1932, including the papers of Dr. J. J. Golub on medico-sanitary activities in Poland, numbered G1-G68.

The collection consists primarily of correspondence, cables, and memoranda; minutes and transcripts of JDC meetings and conferences; narrative, statistical, and financial reports; eye-witness accounts and diary entries; and news dispatches, press clippings, and publicity materials that pertain to JDC’s support for overseas communities and individuals in need and to its massive reconstruction program in Central and Eastern Europe and Palestine following the postwar emergency relief period.

Records in this collection offer a detailed picture of prevailing conditions and communal institutions based on local reports and surveys conducted by JDC staff in Poland, Romania, the Soviet Union, Lithuania, and other countries. Much space is also devoted to the establishment of the American Jewish Joint Agricultural Corporation (Agro-Joint) and its activities in Ukraine and Crimea, 1924-1938 and beyond; to JDC’s role in founding and supporting financial and medical institutions in Palestine; and to the organization of a network of loan funds and credit cooperatives that was essential for rebuilding lives and revitalizing communities.

The collection also highlights JDC policy, decision-making, and leadership; fund-raising and national campaign drives; and JDC cooperation with U.S. government offices and agencies and other humanitarian organizations.

Copyright Conditions
Copyright held by The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, Inc. Other intellectual property rights may apply. The publication of JDC records in any format requires the written permission of the JDC Archives. Users must apply in writing for permission to reproduce or publish manuscript materials found in this collection. Please see our Access and Restrictions Policy for further details. For information contact:
Preferred Citation
Repository, Title of Collection, Folder number, Title of item, Date of item.

Example: JDC Archives, Records of the New York Office of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, 1921 - 1932, Folder #61, Reports, Publicity Department, 1921 - 1923, 1925.

These materials have been shaped into four main categories of arrangement:
This subcollection comprises records regarding the composition, structure, operations, leadership, and personnel of JDC. These files include correspondence with staff members and lay leaders; records of administrative bodies such as the Landsmannschaften, Medical, and Refugee Committees; overseas cables; reports on program activities; meeting minutes; fundraising resources; and accounts of the distribution of funds and supplies overseas.
This subcollection is divided into two record groups:
This record group contains materials on JDC governance, committee and subcommittee development; interviews and eye-witness accounts of JDC representatives around the world, and fundraising commitments to raise necessary funds to provide resources for global vulnerable Jewish populations.
This record group describes JDC initiatives and projects overseas; the activities of the European Executive Council (EUREXCO), an administrative body connected with JDC relief activities in Europe; the transmission and use of funds to acquire relief supplies; and correspondence with overseas offices.
This subcollection focuses on JDC's relationships and initiatives with governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the course of its global rescue, relief, and rehabilitation efforts. Records relate to JDC’s partnerships with: the United States Government and its associated departments and agencies; consular and diplomatic officials; foreign governments and their embassies and consuls; and with private Jewish and non-sectarian humanitarian organizations worldwide.
This subcollection is divided into three record groups:
Correspondence, articles, memos, and reports on JDC’s relations with U.S. government departments and federal agencies.
Correspondence, articles, memos, and reports on JDC’s relations with foreign governments and their associated offices. The records include correspondence with the Austrian, Hungarian, Polish, and Romanian governments.
Correspondence, articles, memos, and reports on JDC’s relations with other NGOs, Jewish and non-sectarian relief agencies, businesses, and philanthropic organizations. Organizations appearing in these files include the American Red Cross, the American Relief Administration (ARA), the American Jewish Congress, Hadassah, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, the International Relief Organization, ORT, and OSE.
After July 1, 1921, JDC shifted the focus of its activities from emergency relief to rehabilitation and reconstruction. A new operational system was developed, and five functional departments were organized to target different areas of need: childcare, cultural and religious institutions and programs, medico-sanitary improvements, economic reconstruction, and refugee work. This sub-collection describes the activities in each of these areas. It also documents the efforts of JDC’s Landsmannschaften Bureau, which served as an intermediary to solicit aid for needy communities.
The care and transportation of orphans, “financial adoptions,” reunion of orphans with relatives, education and placement in appropriate schools, and vocational training.
Funding for primary and secondary religious and secular schools, and for rabbinical seminaries, yeshivot, and teacher’s colleges; aid to rabbis, Jewish libraries and university students; and cooperation with the American Jewish Relief Committee, the Central Relief Committee, and the People’s Relief Committee, JDC’s three constituent organizations, on appropriations for cultural purposes.
Surveys of medico-sanitary conditions in Poland, followed by regional conferences, conducted by JDC’s Medical Unit, later known as the Medical Commission; medical and public health activities and programs in Central and Eastern Europe and Palestine, including the establishment of nurses’ training schools, the anti-favus campaign, and the allocation of supplies.
Economic activities of the Reconstruction Department, including agricultural aid, loans for the repair and rebuilding of homes, the organization of credit cooperatives and loan “kassas,” vocational training, and the distribution of tools and machinery. Records of the American Joint Reconstruction Foundation, established by JDC and the ICA (Jewish Colonization Association) in 1924 to expand reconstruction activities in Eastern and Central Europe (except for the USSR), are also included here.
Relief and rehabilitation aid provided by JDC’s Refugee Dept until 1923 for refugees in temporary abodes -- those choosing to remain in their new locations, those waiting to be repatriated, and those seeking to emigrate -- and subsequent cooperation with the ICA in refugee work.
Records -- correspondence, lists, remittances, and letters -- from 1921 to 1924. The Bureau encouraged the various immigrant fraternal associations to forward funds to their native towns, via JDC, in support of functional activities or for the purchase of food packages or matzot.
This subcollection comprises materials on major topics of JDC’s worldwide programs and activities in countries and regions. Areas include: the expansion of JDC’s postwar relief efforts in Eastern Europe; assistance to refugees and displaced persons; the development of health and welfare societies in Poland and the Soviet Union; funding for public health programs in Lithuania and Romania, and the promotion of economic, agricultural, and welfare development in Palestine, as well as reports on the political, economic, and social conditions in all of the regions in which JDC operated.

Of particular interest may be the files on Agro-Joint, the American Jewish Joint Agricultural Corporation. With the consent of the Soviet government, Agro-Joint trained and resettled 70,000 Jews as farmers in Ukraine and the Crimea, while also providing medical care, homes for the aged, orphan care, vocational training, loan funds, and workshops and cooperatives in the cities.

This subcollection is organized in record groups alphabetically by country/region. Note that borders shifted in the war era, and that the names of localities reflect both recognized political and indigenous regions.

Processing Information
Arrangement and description of the 1921 - 1932 Collection was originally produced by Emil Lang in 1974. Shelley Helfand and Tamar Zeffren updated the collection-level description in 2012, but did not modify its arrangement.