World Jewish Congress: Central files

Language of Description
Alt. Identifiers
  • 71003
1 Jan 1919 - 31 Jan 1976
Level of Description
EHRI Partner


Biographical History

The World Jewish Congress (WJC) was founded in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1936 as an international federation of Jewish communities and organizations. According to its mission statement, the World Jewish Congress' main purpose is to act as "the diplomatic arm of the Jewish people." Membership in the WJC is open to all representative Jewish groups or communities, irrespective of the social, political or economic ideology of the community's host country. The World Jewish Congress is supported by those communities and individual members who as concerned Jewish citizens want their voices to be heard on matters of concern to the Jewish people. The World Jewish Congress has special credentials and recognition at the United Nations and within many of it institutions, commissions and sub-bodies. Its headquarters are in New York City, USA, and the organization maintains international offices in Brussels, Belgium; Jerusalem, Israel; Paris, France; Moscow, Russia; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Geneva, Switzerland.


WJC collection (103 reels)

Donated November 2006

Donor: American Jewish Archives

Scope and Content

Central Files consists of 103 boxes (41.2 linear feet) containing history of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), especially prior to 1940. The series includes correspondence and miscellaneous other materials of WJC leaders, together with minutes and records of conferences and committee meetings. The series name, “Central Files”, was adopted from an existing WJC series consisting of executive files and records from conferences and committees. Central Files includes material unrelated to any one specific department. For more material on specific departments see Series B through G.
Spanning the years 1919 to 1976, Central Files is divided into four sub-series. The bulk of the materials in the first two sub-series focus on the 1930s, and most of the last two sub-series are dated after 1940. The four sub-series are:
* Organizational History and Activities
* Executive Correspondence and Project Files
* Plenary Assemblies, Pre-1936 Conferences and Special Conferences
* Committees

Sub-series 1. Organizational History and Activities, 1919-1970, consists of 8 boxes (A1-A8). It includes correspondence, minutes, publications, and reports related to the organizational and political activities of the WJC and its forerunner, the Committee of Jewish Delegations. Reports on the history and activities of the WJC from before its inception through the 1960s are also included in this sub-series. Significant subjects covered include anti-Semitism, relief for refugees, and relations with the League of Nations. More material dealing with WJC activities in Europe during the 1930s can be found in Sub-series 2 under the Stephen S. Wise/Lillie Shultz and Nahum Goldmann papers, and under Pre-WJC Conferences and the First Plenary Assembly (1936) in Sub-series 3.

Sub-series 2. Executive Correspondence and Project Files, 1920; 1931-1975, consists of 32 boxes (A9-A39). It includes records and reports from the files of WJC presidents (Stephen S. Wise, Nahum Goldmann); chairmen of the Executive Committee (Nahum Goldmann, Israel Goldstein); followed by the administrative/executive directors of the New York office (Abraham S. Hyman, Monty Jacobs, Yehuda Ebstein, Greta Beigel). The sub-series contains general correspondence arranged chronologically, individual and departmental correspondence, country files, subject files, speeches, and publications.

Sub-series 3. Plenary Assemblies, Pre-1936 Conferences, and Special Conferences, 1932-1975, consists of 30 boxes (A39-A70). It contains minutes, proceedings, reports, and other materials dealing three pre-WJC conferences together with extensive files for the first six WJC Plenary Assemblies (1936-1975). Also included are materials pertaining to the War Emergency Conference (1944) and the Inter-American Jewish Conference (1941).

Sub-series 4. Committees, 1940-1976, consists of 33 boxes (A71-A103). This sub-series contains materials pertaining to committee meetings (Office, Administrative, Executive). The Executive Committee files include material from the South American, European, and Israeli Branches of the Executive.

System of Arrangement

Within the files for each committee/branch, materials are arranged chronologically.

Conditions Governing Access


Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements


This description is derived directly from structured data provided to EHRI by a partner institution. This collection holding institution considers this description as an accurate reflection of the archival holdings to which it refers at the moment of data transfer.