Finding Aid
Descriptive Summary
Title: Records of the New York Office of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee
Creator: American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee
Inclusive Dates: 1965 – 1974
Location: American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, New York Archives
Link: The New York 1965-1974 Collection
Languages: The majority of this collection is in English.
Administrative History

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is the world’s leading humanitarian assistance organization. Formed in 1914 in response to the onset of World War I and the devastation it wreaked on thousands of Jewish communities across war-torn Europe, JDC has served over the past century as the overseas arm of the American Jewish philanthropic community, providing rescue, relief, and rehabilitation services to global Jewish communities and individuals in need worldwide.

In the present day, JDC continues its efforts to alleviate hunger and material hardship, rebuild and sustain Jewish cultural and social service infrastructures and communal institutions worldwide, aid at-risk Jewish communities and individuals, and provide critical relief and long-term nonsectarian development assistance services for victims of man-made and natural disasters in more than 90 countries across the globe.

The JDC Archives holds, describes, preserves, and makes accessible the organization’s institutional records. These records include: approximately 3 miles of textual records; a photo collection of approximately 100,000 photo images; over 1,300 films; and a collection of over 1,000 sound recordings, which document JDC’s history and its global activities.

Scope and Content of Records

This collection documents JDC’s global relief, renewal, and rescue initiatives in Europe, Israel, North Africa, and across the globe during the years 1965-1974. These records describe, among other humanitarian efforts: JDC’s partnership with the Israeli government to develop strategic interventions in social service programs for a broad spectrum of populations continues to expand, enabling Israel to meet the needs of its diverse communities; its comprehensive assistance, which included food, shelter, medical care, social services, and educational and vocational activities, to thousands of Soviet Jewish émigrés in transit awaiting visas in Vienna and Rome; its extensive assistance to European communities to welcome Jewish refugees from North Africa and Poland and to develop social services to assist in their absorption; and its ongoing responses to non-sectarian emergencies.

Another milestone reflected in these primary sources is the transition in JDC’s mode of operation, with the formal establishment of the JDC-Israel office in 1976. The organization moved its offices from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and focused its efforts on the development of innovative model programs that would stimulate social change and responsive community action throughout the health, education, and welfare sectors in partnership with the Israeli government. It catalyzed innovative projects by encouraging and guiding Israeli government and private agencies to join forces in order to stimulate awareness of unmet needs, evaluate those needs, and develop programs, skills, and services to effectively address them.

This programmatic emphasis on research, evaluation, and institutional planning resulted in the establishment of the Brookdale Institute of Gerontology and Adult Human Development in 1975, which has evolved into today’s Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute. In 1969, JDC partnered with the Israeli government to fund ESHEL, the Association for the Planning and Development of Services for the Aged, a network of coordinated local, regional, and national services for underserved elderly population in Israel. In this time period, JDC’s programming was being redirected from the operation of specialized institutional services to subsidization of a broad spectrum of community-based programs.

This collection also reflects JDC’s ongoing financial and organizational support to the French Jewish community as it struggled to absorb thousands of Jewish refugees fleeing poverty and political instability in North Africa, in Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia. Likewise, JDC continued supporting the European Council of Jewish Community Services as an umbrella for serving the increasingly self-sufficient communities of Western Europe.


The New York 1965-1974 records are arranged into the following four subcollections:

Subject Matter
Countries and Regions

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.

The collection has also been microfilmed on 92 reels.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to researchers with the exception of files that are restricted due to the nature of their contents. Restricted files can include legal files, personnel files, case files, and personal medical diagnoses, etc. Please see our Access and Restrictions Policy for further details.

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 further information, contact:[email protected]

Preferred Citation

Repository, Title of Collection, Folder number, Title of item, Date of item, item [ITEM ID number].

Example: JDC Archives, New York Office Collection 1965-1974, Folder 675, “Letter from Herbert Katzki to Mr. Henry Zucker,” January 3, 1974,, item 989771.

Processing Information

The Countries and Regions subcollection was processed by Marilyn Henry. The Administration, Organizations, and Subject Matter subcollections were processed by Tamar Zeffren in 2013.

This finding aid was produced by Tamar Zeffren in 2015.

The cataloguing of this collection was made possible through grants from Donald M. and Sylvia Robinson, Marshall M. Weinberg, and an anonymous donor.

The digitization of this collection was made possible through funding from the Polonsky Foundation.

Archives of The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, Inc.

Email: [email protected]