Since its inception at the outbreak of World War I, the Joint Distribution Committee - the American Jewish organization for the relief and rehabilitation of Jews overseas –has been the most important source of rescue and aid to World Jewry.
So interwoven are the Joint's activities in the Jewish communities of the world, and so long is its arm of relief that almost every Jew over the last seventy years, whether aware of it or not, has enjoyed support from the organization.
In order to emphasize the main areas in which the JDC has worked since the day it began, and to stress the continuous pattern of its activities – under constantly changing circumstances, fluctuating resources and the ever-expanding dimensions of its work – we have chosen to divide the exhibition according to the JDC's spheres of activity rather than chronologically. Six of the nine sections of the exhibition- Food, Medical Aid, Children, Rehabilitation and Welfare, Vocational Training and Emigration – present the work of the JDC during the different times and in the different places that it operated. To these were added three historical sections that are especially significant in the history of the JDC and it intricate network of activities – the section on the establishment and development of the organization itself; the section on the JDC during World War II, and the section on its work in the State of Israel.
This exhibition would not have been possible without the help of the JDC offices in the Unites States and Israel whose archives in New York and Jerusalem provided most of the material .For this we gratefully thank Mr. Nathan Friedman in New York and Mr. Yitzhak Amitai in Jerusalem who both assisted with the preparation.
We also wish to thank Professor Yehuda Bauer, the author of two definitive books on the JDC – covering the years 1929-1939 and the period of World War II – for his most helpful advice.
Finally, we would like to express our gratitude for the assistance provided by the many institutions in Israel supported by the JDC.