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Speakers at the dais at the Third Conference of Liberated Jews in the US Zone of Germany.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 42494

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    Speakers at the dais at the Third Conference of Liberated Jews in the US Zone of Germany.
    Speakers at the dais at the Third Conference of Liberated Jews in the US Zone of Germany.

Among those pictured is Philipp Auerbach (front row, right) and Joseph J. Schwartz (front row, left).


    Speakers at the dais at the Third Conference of Liberated Jews in the US Zone of Germany.

    Among those pictured is Philipp Auerbach (front row, right) and Joseph J. Schwartz (front row, left).
    1948 March 30 - 1948 April 02
    Bad Reichenhall, [Bavaria; Munich] Germany
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Abraham Atsmon
    Event History
    The Central Committee of the Liberated Jews in the U.S. Zone of Germany was the official representative body of displaced Jews in the American zone of Germany from 1945 to 1950. The Central Committee was founded on July 1, 1945 at the first meeting of representatives of Jewish DP camps held in Feldafing. It came into being through the joint effort of Dr. Zalman Grinberg, the head of the St. Ottilien hospital DP camp and former director of the Kovno ghetto hospital, and Rabbi Abraham Klausner, an American reform rabbi serving as a chaplain in the U.S. Army. The newly created body established its headquarters in Munich (located first at the Deutsches Museum and later at 3 Sieberstrasse) and set up seven sub-committees to formulate policy and coordinate activity in the areas of education, culture, religious affairs, clothing, nutrition, emigration and information. The Feldafing meeting was quickly followed by a conference in St. Ottilien on July 24. Its purpose was to expand the representative base of the Central Committee and to draw public attention to the plight of Jewish survivors in DP camps, so as to put pressure on Britain to open Palestine to DP immigration. The 94 delegates from German and Austrian camps issued a resolution demanding the abrogation of the British White Paper, which prevented them from leaving the camps and starting their lives afresh in their own homeland. In addition, they called for the recognition of the Jewish DPs as a distinct group meriting their own camps, in which they would govern themselves. The Central Committee failed in its bid to incorporate the Jewish DPs of Austria and the British zone of Germany into their organizational structure. However, it continued to represent the largest group of Jewish DPs and eventually won recognition by the American Army of Occupation (September 7, 1946) as "the legal and democratic representation of the liberated Jews in the American zone." In the five years of its existence, the Central Committee convened three formal congresses: Munich, January 27-29, 1946; Bad Reichenhall, February 25-28, 1947; and Bad Reichenhall, March 30-April 2, 1948. Dr. Zalman Grinberg served as the Chairman of the Central Committee from its inception until his immigration to Palestine in 1946. He was succeeded by his deputy, David Treger (another Kovno ghetto survivor), who was elected Chairman at both the second and third congresses. The Central Committee was involved in every aspect of Jewish DP life, either independently or in conjunction with one or more of the Jewish welfare agencies operating in the area. Through its constituent departments the Central Committee played a central role in education, culture, religious affairs, historical documentation, employment and training, supply and distribution, politics and public relations, family tracing and immigration, legal affairs and restitution.

    [Sources: Bauer, Yehuda. "The Organization of Holocaust Survivors," Yad Vashem Studies, vol. 8 (1970); Hyman, Abraham S. The Undefeated, Jerusalem, 1993; Mankowitz, Zev. "The Formation of She'erit Hapleita,"Yad Vashem Studies, vol. 20 (1990); Schwarz, Leo.The Redeemers, New York, 1953]

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Abraham Atsmon
    Source Record ID: Collections: 1999.A.151

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Joseph J. Schwartz (1899-1975), American rabbi and communal leader, who from 1940 to 1949 served as chief of European operations for the American Joint Distribution Committee. Born in the Ukraine, Schwarz immigrated to the US as a child in 1907. He studied for the rabbinate at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary in New York and served as a congregational rabbi in New York from 1922 to 1925. Two years later he completed a Ph.D. at Yale in oriental studies and taught at universities in Egypt and the US for several years. In 1933 Schwartz became a social worker for the Brooklyn Jewish Federation, and in 1939, joined the staff of the JDC as an adjunct secretary. Soon after coming to the JDC, Schwartz was sent to Paris to be deputy director for European operations under Morris Troper. Just prior to the fall of Paris in June 1940 Troper and Schwartz transferred JDC headquarters to Lisbon. Troper returned to the US shortly afterwards and left Schwartz in charge of the European aid and rescue operations. Schwarz proceeded to reserve every available passenger berth on outgoing ships to insure that Jewish refugees arriving in Lisbon with visas for the U.S. or Latin America could travel to their destinations. He also sent relief parcels to Jews in French internment camps and channeled funds to Jewish relief and rescue organizations in France, as well as to the armed Jewish underground. Working in close cooperation with Saly Mayer, JDC representative in Switzerland, Schwarz provided funding which Mayer transmitted to Jewish communities throughout occupied Europe. Schwartz was also responsible for supplying funds for relief and resistance to Jews in the ghettos in Poland, for the shipment of relief parcels to Jewish refugees in the Soviet interior, for financing Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg in Budapest, for underwriting illegal Jewish immigration to Palestine, and for providing money for Jewish institutions in Palestine. After the liberation Schwartz moved JDC headquarters back to Paris and began to send JDC teams to the newly established displaced persons camps in Germany, Austria and Italy. He negotiated agreements with the new governments of Eastern Europe to send JDC workers to their countries and channeled large sums to sustain the survivors and reestablish businesses and community institutions. Schwartz also played a key role in facilitating the Bricha, the illegal movement of Jewish refugees from eastern to western and southern Europe in the period between 1945 and 1948. After the closure of most of the DP camps Schwartz returned to the U.S., where in 1950 he became chairman of the United Jewish Appeal. From 1955 until his retirement in 1970 he served as executive vice president of the State of Israel Bonds organization.

    {Source: "Encyclopedia of the Holocaust," New York, MacMillan, 1990, pp. 1335-6/]
    Record last modified:
    2003-11-10 00:00:00
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