Jewish American Heritage Month: President Truman Celebrates JDC
In honor of Jewish American Heritage Month, we're sharing a letter President Harry S. Truman sent to JDC Chairman Edward Warburg in 1945, expressing his praise for JDC's post-war relief effort.
By Ilana Stern | May 22, 2020
Over the decades, JDC’s critical overseas operations have been acknowledged and praised by a bi-partisan array of US government officials. It’s a list headed by past American Presidents and Vice Presidents, and includes Cabinet Secretaries, heads of other national agencies, Senate and House members, and various state Governors and local officials.
The letter that President Harry S. Truman sent to JDC Chairman Edward M. M. Warburg on April 15, 1946 is but one example. But coming as it did soon after JDC had embarked on a post-Holocaust relief and rehabilitation program unprecedented in scale, a “seal of approval” of this nature from the nation’s Chief Executive was especially appreciated.
Truman’s letter affirmed both the value of JDC’s efforts and the vast extent of the need, making the best case anyone could for the outpouring of support from the American Jewish community that was making JDC’s lifesaving work possible.
Here is the letter in its entirety:
Dear Mr. Warburg:
I have been greatly impressed by the effective efforts of The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee to relieve the distress of the Jews in Europe who have suffered so cruelly at the hands of the Nazis.
Your work to succor the stricken and relieve the victims of the war and persecution throughout the world, deserves the commendation of all Americans. The needs of 1,500,000 surviving Jews in Europe, men, women and children, are truly staggering and a challenge to the generosity of all men of good will.
May God speed and prosper the good work which you are doing.
Very sincerely yours,
Harry S. Truman
The letter was printed at the very beginning of the JDC Annual Report for 1945. That report provided JDC’s supporters with a detailed account of the work they had helped to accomplish from the first moments of Liberation early that year—work that accelerated rapidly following the Allied Forces’ final victory over the Nazis on May 8th.
This year, the JDC Archives is an official partner of Jewish American Heritage Month. Visit JewishAmericanHeritage.org to learn more about Jewish American Heritage Month or explore a treasure trove of documentary sources and audio-visual materials that bring JDC’s lifesaving work to life, including our full collection of Annual Reports, at archives.jdc.org.