Kontakt / contact     Hauptseite / page
            principale / pagina principal / home     zurück / retour / indietro / atrás / back
zurück / retour / indietro / atrás / backprevious   nextnext

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

[4.4. Chaos in Europe with Jewish committees without funds - Joint finances a big part of the High Commission]

[Oct 1933: French and Belgian committees without funds - borders will be closed - chaos - the naive European governments don't feel obliged]

The situation of the refugees in Western Europe on the eve of the establishment of the High Commission was extremely precarious. On October 11, 1933, Kahn cabled to New York that the French National Committee was without funds and that therefore the French government would immediately close the border. At the same time, the Belgian committee was in the process of being liquidated, and five to six hundred refugees would have to leave Belgium; they would probably try to enter France. A similar situation was developing in Holland.

These and other countries were now closed to refugees. What was worse, Kahn said, the Geneva decision to set up a High Commission meant, in fact, that the private agencies were expected to foot the bill and that the governments would not spend a penny on the refugees.

Baerwald answered in a rather hurt tone that Kahn's cable seemed "surprising to me"; why did handing over the refugees' problems to the government in France mean the closing of the borders? As to Geneva, although the new commission would not be part of the League of Nations machinery, the very fact that it had been proposed by a number of governments made it "seem to us that governments cannot refuse (to) provide part of funds."

(End note 9: 14-47, 10/12/33 [12 October 1933], 10/13/33 [13 October 1933])

It seems that Baerwald, the liberal Jew and humanitarian, could not bring himself to believe that the governments would actually wash their hands of the Jewish refugee problem. More than that, the self-interest that motivated governments was something that he and his friends categorically refused to see.

[Joint has to finance a big part of the High Commission(!) and has to finance McDonald (!)]

JDC involvement in the McDonald Commission was considerable. JDC not only had to pay for a significant part of the High Commission's expenses

(End note 10: The High Commission's budget in 1934/5 was $ 138,000, of which JDC covered $ 41,250 (CBF [Central British Fund for German Jewry] contributed $ 21,250; ICA [Jewish Colonization Association] $ 40,000; the rest was paid by UPA [United Palestine Appeal] and some smaller contributors).

and support McDonald personally, but also had to enter the lists with other groups to get their proportionate contributions to keep the commission going. McDonald's secretary was Nathan Katz, secretary of JDC's Paris office. McDonald (p.143)

asked for and obtained the advice of Kahn or Warburg for most of the projects and negotiations in which he was engaged.