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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 5. Prelude of the Holocaust
[A. Destruction of the Jewish existence in Poland 1929-1939]

[5.11. JDC work in Galicia]

One of these struggles was the fight against centralization waged by regional interests, especially in Galicia, which was very poor but had a very proud tradition of culture and independence. Galicia was traditionally under strong Zionist influence, and a group of leaders emerged among whom Alfred Silberschein occupied a place of special importance. Silberschein, a Zionist leader, favored decentralization, and he gained the support of most of the influential circles in Jewish economic life in Galicia. In early 1937, 25 % of the total Jewish population in Poland lived in Galicia . Yet the Galician Jews were underrepresented in all the economic activities undertaken by JDC. This charge in itself would have remained ineffective had not an organization been founded called the American Committee for Aid of Jews in Galicia, which threatened to solicit funds in competition with JDC.

Early in 1937 JDC asked its Warsaw office for an explanation and proposals, and in April and May 1937 these came. They revealed a difference of opinion between the head of the Warsaw office, Isaac Giterman, and his two chief lieutenants, David Guzik and Leib Neustadt. Neustadt and Guzik were for maximum centralization and were prepared to fight Silberschein's demand that JDC set up special regional organizations for its free loan institutions there.

Giterman, on the other hand, acknowledged the fact that Galicia had separate institutions in many areas; a separate CEKABE committee was thereupon established by JDC for Galicia, though only in early 1939. More important, it emerged that a number of local enterprises (probably more than Galicia's proper share) were established there by CEKABE: a chain factory in Stanislawow, a carpenter cooperative in Stryi, two locksmiths' (p.203)

shops in Czortkow, an export furniture shop in Lwów, and so on.

(End note 63: 14-39)