Press Releases

40 Year Old Unsolved Murder Haunts Global Charity, State Dept And Foreign Regime

JDC Appeals to State Department to Investigate ‘Father of Refugees’ 1967 Murder


Michael Geller / JDC Telephone: (212) 885-0838

Jamie Epstein / JDC Telephone: (212) 885-0849

For Immediate Release

Forty years after the Israeli-Arab Six Day war, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) still mourns one casualty. This year, it hopes for resolution—again.

On August 16, 1967 just days after the war ended, Charles H. Jordan, the JDC’s then-Executive Vice Chairman also known as the “father of refugees,” mysteriously disappeared from his hotel in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Four days later, his body was found floating in the Vltava river.

As the 40th anniversary of his unsolved murder draws near, the 93-year old organization devoted to overseas rescue, relief and renewal again appeals to the State Department to investigate—and hopefully resolve—his tragic death. This is not the first appeal.

“After 40 years, we believe the time is right for the American government to ask our Czech allies to renew their investigation, to assign true professionals, to drop any artificial limitations on their authority, and to help us uncover the truth—while the last witnesses are still alive,” wrote Steve Schwager, Executive Vice President of the JDC in the letter.

Since 1914, the JDC has helped millions of people overseas, often in dangerous and war-torn countries. During the 20th century, the JDC also tragically lost courageous individuals whose commitment to world Jewry led them to martyrdom.

“Jordan’s murder was deeply painful for Jordan’s family, and for the JDC. He initiated and led countless efforts and assisted thousands of people in need,” said Schwager

Jordan was born in Philadelphia 1908 to immigrant parents, educated in the United States as a social worker, served in the U.S. Army then the JDC in multiple capacities. He was a leader within the then-burgeoning network of non-profit organizations dedicated to humanitarian aid overseas, and was instrumental in assisting refugees around the world. Jordan also conducted missions for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, was the chairman of the governing board of the International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA) and just prior to his death, was involved in dealing related to Palestinian refugees.

“On the anniversary of Jordan’s death, we honor him by pursuing our mission and by seeking justice for his untimely—and unresolved—murder,” said Schwager.

About JDC

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is the world’s leading Jewish humanitarian assistance organization. JDC works in more than 70 countries and in Israel to alleviate hunger and hardship, rescue Jews in danger, create lasting connections to Jewish life, and provide immediate relief and long-term development support for victims of natural and man-made disasters.

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