Felix M. Warburg Says They Were the Worst Sufferers in War.
Felix M. Warburg, Chairman of the Joint Distribution Committee of American Funds for Jewish War Sufferers, who returned several days ago from a trip to Europe for that organization, made public yesterday some of his findings.
‘The successive blows of contending armies have all but broken the back of European Jewry,’ he said, ‘and have reduced to tragically unbelievable poverty, starvation and disease about 6,000,000 souls, or half the Jewish population of the earth.
‘The Jewish people throughout Eastern Europe, by sheer accident of geography, have suffered more from the war than any other element of the population. The potential vitality and the capacity for self-help that remains to those people after the last five years is amazing to me.’
The people are deeply moved by the help given them by America, Mr. Warburg said, but it would be fatal to lessen the emergency aid now while millions are in tragic need. The $30,000,000 spent by this committee, he said, has fed and clothed more than a million children and it has renewed the hope of five million parents and elders.
‘For more than four years,’ he said, ‘The war on the Eastern front was fought largely in the congested centers of Jewish population. A straight north and south line from Riga, on the Baltic, to Salonica, on the Aegean Sea, will touch every important battle area of the Eastern war zone and every center of Jewish population. After the cataclysm of the last few years it is too much to expect this Jewry to become self-sustaining in a short twelve-month.’
Mr. Warburg is concerned over the program soon to be started for the discontinuance of emergency relief. This plan, he said, calls for the formation of a $10,000,000 reconstruction corporation.
‘This organization,’ he said, ‘would afford facilities for constructive aid to Jews abroad in the way of loans and credit at nominal interest rates. The value of this sort of assistance as a substitute for pure charity is apparent.’
Other relief projects recommended by Mr. Warburg include the establishment of an express company to forward money and packages from Jews in this country to relatives and friends abroad; the distribution of $120,000 worth of fuel in sections of Poland where destitution is greatest; the purchase of $300,000 worth of cloth in the bolt whereby unemployed workmen of Poland may get raw material, and a plan to reunite those Jewish families that have relatives in the United States and those who have become separated abroad.”
Source: The New York Times
September 29, 1919, p. 7