Guide to the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee Russian Relief Collection
1913-1946

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Collection Overview

Creator: American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee
Title: American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee Russian relief collection
Inclusive Dates:1913-1946
Bulk Dates:1915-1928
Size: 1.0 Linear feet
Number of Boxes:2 manuscript boxes
Abstract:The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) was founded in 1914 to provide aid to Jews in Palestine and Eastern Europe. During the interwar years they supplied basic services to Jewish war survivors and helped with the reconstruction of Jewish communal infrastructure in Eastern Europe. The collection documents the relief efforts of the JDC in Eastern Europe between 1914-1936.
Languages:Materials are in English, Yiddish, Russian, and Polish.
Call No: 1987.013

About This Guide

Finding aid encoded January, 2009

Finding aid encoded in English.

Organizational Overview

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) was founded in 1914 to provide aid to Jews in Palestine and Eastern Europe. During the interwar years supplied basic services to Jewish war survivors and helped with the reconstruction of Jewish communal infrastructure in Eastern Europe. They cooperated with other organizations such as the American Relief Administration on several programs, including the establishment of soup kitchens and orphanages. This period constituted the inception of the JDC's global mission of "Rescue, Relief, and Renewal". Dr. Boris Bogen (1869-1929) served as the JDC's general director of Eastern European relief operations. He traveled extensively thoughout the region to implement relief programs.

Scope and Contents

The collection documents the relief efforts of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee in Eastern Europe, primarily between 1915-1928. The materials provide insight on the rescue intiatives and personalities of executive members of the JDC.

A large portion of the collection consists of JDC adminstrative material. Among the records are minutes from Executive Committee meetings (19191-1928), press releases and budget reports from 1923-1924. The collection contains numerous correspondence between members of the JDC pertaining to relief work in Eastern Europe. Notable correspondents include Felix Warburg, Louis Marshall, Dr. Boris Bogen, Albert Lucas, Lewis L. Strauss and Colonel William N. Haskell. Also included are the confidential printed letters of Julius Goldman, European Director of the JDC, as well as correspondence between the JDC and cooperating organizations such as the American Relief Association and the Federation of Ukrainian Jews. Administrative material of the JDC also contains reports written about the relief situation in Eastern Europe by Max Pine and Harry M. Fischer (1920) and memos by Dr. Bogen based on his visits to Warsaw and Lvov in 1921 and 1923.

Other JDC documents of interest include the "Guiding Principles of the Joint Distribution Committee" complete with the official seal signed in Brussels in 1924, a draft of an agreement of terms between the JDC and the Soviet government (1922), a statement by Soviet officials regarding foreign relief organizations operating in Eastern Europe, and a map of Agro-Joint activity (a JDC and Soviet collaborative organization) to resettle Jews on farms in southern Russia (1925). The collection also contains questionnaires conducted by the Warsaw division of the JDC in a number of Polish districts. The questionnaires cover the child population (1920) and community institutions (1921) in these areas.

Material concerning Dr. Boris Bogen and his work with the JDC is well-represented in the collection. The collection contains an autobiographical text by Dr. Bogen concerning his early life and relief activities with the JDC. Several speeches in English about his work with the Jews of Eastern Europe are also included, as well as articles written by Dr. Bogen in Yiddish about the situation there.

The collection consists of a large amount of material pertaining to other relief organizations with whom the JDC work in tandem. The American Committee on Russian Famine Relief material includes minutes of executive and distribution committee meetings (1914-1915), monthly bulletins (1915-1916) and appeals for continued financial aid for the cause. The records of the American Relief Administration and its affiliate European Relief Council contain appeals for donations, a list of official guidelines for those member organizations comprising the European Relief Council, a draft of an agreement with the Soviets on relief work guidelines, and a report on the situation in Eastern Europe by Walter Wildman.

Other organizational material in the collection includes a financial report for the American Society for Jewish Farm Settlement in Russia (1936), reports and appeals for aid from the American Friends Service Committee-Friends Emergency and War Victims' Relief Committee (1918-1923), and a report and letter to the Advisory Committee of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) signed by Louis Marshall, Max Kohler, and Julian Mack (1917, 1922). Also included is a bound report in Yiddish by the Organization for Rehabilitation and Training (ORT) from 1926-1930.

Finally, the collection includes materials relating to American efforts to help establish a Jewish autonomous region in Birobidjan, in southern Russia. The collection contains articles, bulletins, invitations to lectures, meetings and concerts generated by Ambijan (the American Committee for the Settlement of Jews in Biro Bidjan) and other organizations that promoted the project. A 1936 yearbook of ICOR (Organization for Jewish Colonization in Russia), a North American Jewish Communist group, is also included.

Index Terms

This collection has been indexed under the following terms:

Persons:
Bogen, Boris David, 1869-1929
Marshall, Louis, 1856-1929
Warburg, Felix M., 1871-1937
Organizations:
Ambijan Committee
American Friends Service Committee
American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee
American Relief Administration
Subjects:
International relief -- Europe
Jews -- Charities
Jews -- Europe, Eastern -- Economic conditions
Jews -- Soviet Union
Reconstruction (1914-1939) -- Europe
World War, 1939-1945 -- Jews -- Relief
Places:
Soviet Union -- Ethnic relations
Document Types:
Articles
Correspondence
Financial records
Lists
Maps
Minutes
Press releases
Reports
Resolutions
Speeches

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is available to researchers deemed to be qualified by the Archivist.

Conditions Governing Use

Restrictions may apply concerning the use, photoduplication, or publication of materials in this collection. Please contact the Curator of Special Collections for information regarding Yeshiva University's reproduction policies and fees.