American Joint Distribution Committee
(JDC, “The Joint”)
   The American Jewish relief agency was founded in 1914 and was active in overseas relief and rehabilitation programs. Prior to America’s entry into World War II, its offices in Nazi-occupied Europe often became the center of underground activities. The Joint was also active in providing food and money to Polish Jewry and was involved in the evacuation of several thousand Jews from Lithuania, who found sanctuary in East Asia. Perhaps, its most notable achievement was in the Warsaw ghetto, where the organization dispensed funds for children centers, hospitals, and organized social, cultural, and educational centers for the Jewish inhabitants. The JDC also supplied funds for armed resistance in both the Warsaw and Bialystok ghettos. Following the United States’ entry into the war in December 1941, the JDC found its ability to help the beleaguered Jews of Europe stymied by Allied policy, which forbade the transfer of funds to Europe. Nevertheless, where possible, the Joint remained active in the various efforts to ransom Jews from being sent to the death camps. Perhaps more than any Jewish organization, the JDC was responsible for the survival of thousands of Jewish lives. In Hungary, the JDC supplied funds to Raoul Wallenberg and Carl Lutz, the Swiss vice-consul in Budapest, for the purpose of establishing shelters for Jewish children (which later were placed under international protection). Through one of its agents, Sally Mayer (1882–1950), efforts were made to raise funds for the aborted Europa Plan, in Slovakia, and Mayer’s work in Hungary in an effort to ransom the Jews from deportation (Blood for Goods), although the Joint did not support him in this effort. Following the war, the JDC was active in the displaced persons camps. Working together with other Jewish organizations, the Joint became the primary Jewish agency that supported survivors in the displaced persons camps in Germany, Poland, Italy, Hungary, Romania, and elsewhere.
   See also Weissmandel, Michael Dov.

Historical dictionary of the Holocaust. . 2014.

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