Records of the New York Office of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee 1933 - 1944
Extent and Medium
112 linear feet
Scope and Content
This collection comprises 1,141 numbered files of JDC New York Headquarters records that chronicle the period between Hitler’s rise to power and the end of the Second World War. For the sake of narrative coherence, some records from the postwar period and beyond are also included in this collection.
For the most part, these records describe the valiant efforts to support individuals and communities struggling for survival in Europe and in refugee havens across the globe and Nazis. JDC funded local welfare committees and communal organizations and worked with government agencies and other international organizations to set up programs and conduct operations in over 70 countries.
In 1933, JDC moved its European headquarters from Berlin to Paris. When Nazi troops approached Paris in June 1940, the office was evacuated, and Lisbon ultimately became the site of JDC headquarters for the duration of the war.
The 1933-1944 collection includes correspondence, cables, memoranda, and bulletins; minutes of JDC meetings and conferences and transcripts of proceedings; narrative, statistical, and financial reports; eye-witness accounts and diary entries; passenger lists, ship manifests, and inventories; and speeches, press clippings, news dispatches, and publicity materials.
Highlights of this collection include:the struggle of Jews in Germany and the mounting emigration following enactment of the Nuremberg Laws, Kristallnacht, and the annexation of Austria and the Sudetenland;the expulsion of Polish Jews from Germany and the plight of the homeless in “no-man’s-land” along the Czech frontier and in Zbaszyn on the Polish border; the role of loan kassas in economic life;the saga of the St. Louis and other sailings from Portuguese, North African, and Japanese ports;relief efforts for Jewish refugees in Shanghai;emigration from Vilna via the Trans-Siberian railroad to Vladivostok and then Japan;the situation in French internment camps and the deportations of Jews from occupied and unoccupied France;the work of Varian Fry and the Emergency Rescue Committee;the shipment of food packages to Theresienstadt and other concentration camps;the Teheran parcel service for refugees in Asiatic Russia.
System of Arrangement
Records in this collection are arranged in four subcollections: Administration, Organizations, Subject Matter, and Countries and Regions.
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is searchable by appointment through the textual collections portal of the JDC Archives. Researchers interested in visiting the JDC Archives to examine the collection in its entirety may complete an online research application.
Selected records from the collection are available online at the JDC Archives database.
Existence and Location of Originals
American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, New York Archives
Existence and Location of Copies
This collection has been digitized. Microfilm copies of the entire collection are also available on 226 reels labeled according to folder range.
JL according to the description collection on the JDC website http://archives.jdc.org/explore-the-archives/finding-aids/new-york-office/1933-1944/
Rules and Conventions
EHRI Guidelines for Description v.1.0
Records of the New York office of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, 1933-1944.
Extent and Medium
1141 files (ca. 33,6 l.m.).
Scope and Content
Files nr. 117 and 118 (ca. 1944-1947) contain minutes of the meetings of the Executive Committee of the JDC Advisory and Consultative Group and minutes of its Sub-committee on Reconstruction. This organ was established in early 1944, to deal with the needs of the devastated Jewish communities of Europe. Jewish leaders from twelve nations – including Belgium – were asked to organise national groups; collectively they formed the JDC group. The file “Belgium: Administration, General 1933-1940” (nr. 450) contains correspondence and various reports on the assistance to and status of Jewish refugees in Belgium for the years 1939-1940. Reports and correspondence on the persecution of the Jews in occupied Belgium, the Comité de Défense des Juifs, the situation of Jewish children, witness reports on the Shoah in Belgium, ... can be found in file nr. 451 (“Belgium, Administration, General, 1940-1944”). This fonds contains a couple of other files in which Belgium is referenced. File nr. 618 (“France: Subject Matter, Refugees, 1940”) contains, for example, a “report on Jewish Refugees from Belgium in France” (august 1940). In nr. 130 we find the individual file of L.M. Jarblum, JDC representative in Belgium between 1945 and 1946. The nrs. 378-386 contain documents (general correspondence, letters of commendation, passenger lists, reports etc.) on the voyage of the SS St. Louis. The ship docked in Antwerp, and the Belgian government would later accept entry of more than two hundred passengers. We point out that other general files and series might concern the Jews in Belgium, relations with the Belgian Jewish community and the Belgian government, …
A comprehensive finding aid is available online at http://archives.jdc.org/explore-the-archives/finding-aids/new-york-office/1933-1944/ .
The EHRI project, in cooperation with the National Archives of Belgium, selected Holocaust-relevant archival descriptions from the finding aid G. DESMET & P. FALEK-ALHADEFF, P.-A. TALLIER (dir.), Bronnen voor de geschiedenis van de Joden en het Jodendom in België (19de-20ste eeuw) - Sources pour l'histoire des populations juives et du judaïsme en Belgique (19e-20e siècles), Brussel, Algemeen Rijksarchief, 2015. Please note that this guide focuses on Belgium-related archival materials in the respective descriptions.
This archival description was created in the framework of the cooperation between EHRI and the Yerusha project.