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Yehuda Bauer: My Brother's Keeper

A History of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee 1929-1939

[Holocaust preparations in Europe and resistance without solution of the situation]

The Jewish Publication Society of America, Philadelphia 1974

Transcription with subtitles by Michael Palomino (2007)



Chapter 4. Refugees: 1933-1938
[4.2. Foundation of new Jewish organizations in Europe]

[April 1933: Foundation of Central British Fund for German Jewry (CBF)]

All these and other efforts were unified in April 1933, when a committee was formed at the Rothschilds' residence in the New Court in London, which soon became the Central British Fund for German Jewry (CBF). There was parity in the new body between Zionists and non-Zionists, and the first chairman of its Allocations Committee was Sir Osmond d'Avigdor Goldsmid, president of ICA [Jewish Colonization Association]. Separate collections of Zionist funds ceased, but in fact a large proportion of the funds collected went to Palestine.

(End note 3: Norman Bentwich: They Found Refuge (London  1965), pp. 14 ff.)

JDC was not very happy about the new body, its composition or its policies. JDC thought that CBF was too much under Weizmann's influence - and indeed, despite the parity principle, Weizmann and Nahum Sokolow (then president of the World Zionist Organization) were the main forces behind CBF.

[1933: Fund raising of CBF - sections where the money goes: Palestine, Britain, France]

By February 1934 CBF had collected 203,823 pounds, which was proportionately more than JDC and the United Palestine Appeal (UPA) had managed to raise in the United States in the same period.

(End note 4: Charles J. Liebman reported to Warburg on August 30, 1933 (WAC, Box 303 (c), that the British had so far raised an average of $3 per British Jew, compared to $.50 for French Jews and $.24 for U.S. Jews).

Of this sum, 132,519 pounds were allocated; 32 % went to support Palestine programs, 23 % was used for the 2,500 refugees who came to Britain in 1933, and 25 % went to support vocational training of refugees outside of Germany, most of which was directed toward Palestine. The allocation for French refugee committees, who were bearing the brunt of the German refugee problem in 1933, amounted to 10,479 pounds (or about $ 50,000). JDC had no choice but to assume the main burden of the effort in the refugee countries generally and in France in particular; in 1933 it spent $ 125,000 in France.

French Jewry itself set up a number of bodies to deal with the (p.140)

situation. An older aid committee, the Comité d'Aide et d'Accueil [Aid and Reception Committee], was absorbed into a national committee

(End note 5: Comité National de Secours aux Réfugiés Allemands [National Aid Committee for German Refugees])

under Senator Henry Berenger, with Baron de Rothschild as the active chairman. The committee's budget for 1933 amounted to $ 477,000, of which JDC covered 20 %.

(End note 6: L (JDC Library) 13 -report for 1933 and the first months of 1934)

Another committee, called Agriculture et Artisanat [agriuculture and handicrafts], engaged in vocational training, mainly but not exclusively for Palestine. HICEM (an emigration association), Hechalutz, and OSE were also active in France from the start, OSE specializing in aiding children.

The very fact that thousands of refugees returned to Germany during 1933 shows quite clearly that all these efforts to help were of little avail. JDC, together with other interested agencies, was desperately looking to governments and the League of Nations to find solutions that a private agency could not possibly undertake.