From that 1914 cablegram to high-tech innovations today, explore this interactive decade-by-decade timeline of our impact across the globe. To learn more, visit JDC Archives.



JDC founded to assist Jews in need

With the onset of World War I, some 60,000 Jews in Ottoman-ruled Palestine were near starvation, cut off from traditional sources of support in the European Jewish community. Henry Morgenthau Sr., U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, cabled prominent American Jewish leader Jacob Schiff in New York, appealing for $50,000 (equal to $1 million today) in aid to be dispatched immediately. American Jewish donors promptly wired the sum, and JDC was born.

Photograph: Underwood and Underwood

Photo Caption: Meeting, Joint Distribution Committee (representing the American Jewish Relief Committee, the Central Relief Committee and the People’s Relief Committee), Felix M. Warburg’s office. New York, NY, 1918.



American Jewish Joint Agricultural Corporation (Agro-Joint) formed in Soviet Union

Agro-Joint (the American Jewish Joint Agricultural Corporation) trained and resettled some 70,000 Jews as farmers in Ukraine and Crimea. Agro-Joint also funded medical care, homes for the aged, orphan care, vocational training, loan funds, workshops, and cooperatives in the cities.

Photo Caption:Trained in farming techniques like wheat threshing, men and women alike became capable farmers. Crimea, c. 1930.



Hitler came to power, and JDC worked to help German Jews

Between 1933 and 1942, JDC allocations to Germany totaled over $4.5 million, funding medical and child care, welfare activities, vocational and agricultural training, and free loan cooperatives for German Jews. We also helped tens of thousands to emigrate.

Photo Caption: German Jewish refugees departing from Bremerhaven, Germany 1938. From 1933 to 1939, some 110,000 emigrants from Germany received assistance from JDC-supported organizations.

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