Jewish Labor Committee Records, Part II
Language of Materials
The Jewish Labor Committee, an umbrella group of Jewish trade unions and fraternal organizations, was founded in 1934 for the purpose of organizing opposition to Fascism, providing assistance to its victims, and fighting all forms of bigotry. After the Second World War the Committee continued its program of relief to Holocaust victims, providing shipments of food, clothing, and medical supplies. It also provided immigration assistance, and offered help with employment and housing for refugees who came to the United States. The JLC's Holocaust-related records, Part II (1948-1956), include minutes, convention proceedings, reports, press releases, correspondence, survivors' biographical files and a wide range of printed material. Documented in detail are the JLC's efforts to sustain and resettle survivors, contacts with socialist and trade-union leaders in post-war Europe, proposals for liberalizing American immigration policy, lobbying for reparations, and anti-discrimination work.
The Jewish Labor Committee, an umbrella group of Jewish trade unions and fraternal organizations, was founded in 1934 for the purpose of organizing opposition to Fascism, providing assistance to its victims, and fighting all forms of bigotry. It maintained close contact with European resistance movements and was able to effect the rescue of several thousand labor and socialist activists and their families.
After the Second World War the Committee continued its program of relief to Holocaust victims, providing massive shipments of food, clothing, and medical supplies. It cooperated with other Jewish agencies in reuniting families, provided immigration assistance, offered help with employment and housing for refugees who came to the United States, and had several representatives working in the Displaced Persons camps in Germany.
The Committee organized a post-war "Child Adoption Program" through which American trade unions, branches of fraternal organizations such as the Workmen's Circle and others made monthly financial contributions toward the support of thousands of destitute children in Europe and elsewhere. The Jewish Labor Committee was the main source of financial support for a number of children's homes in France, Italy, Belgium, Poland and Palestine/Israel. An eighteen-minute film about the children's homes in France, commissioned by the JLC, was an effective fund-raising tool (this film is available for viewing at the Library). The Committee also made substantial contributions to the reconstruction of Jewish culture after 1945 by financing Yiddish libraries, schools and publications in North and South America, Europe and Palestine/Israel.
The JLC sent emissaries to assess the situation in the ruined Jewish communities and refugee camps of Europe beginning in 1945. Their reports, and those of survivors who toured the U.S. under JLC auspices, brought the harsh realities of the aftermath of the Holocaust to American audiences. Officers of the JLC were active in the lobbying effort that secured reparations for victims of the Holocaust from the governments of Germany and Austria in the early 1950s.
All series are arranged alphabetically by topic or personal name, except for Series I, Sub-series A, B, D and H (Minutes, Convention and National Conference Records, Meetings-Events, and Scrapbooks), and Series IV, F (Financial Ledgers), which are arranged chronologically.
This portion of the Jewish Labor Committee (U.S.) collection is organized into four series, with subseries, as follows:
I. Administrative and Organizational Records
A. Constitution and MinutesB. Convention and National Conference RecordsC. Correspondence
3. Other Organizations
D. Meetings, Conferences and Other EventsE. General FilesF. Women's Division Records, 1947-1956G. Workmen's Circle Division Records, 1946-1956H. Scrapbooks, 1949-1956
II. American Cities
III. Foreign Countries
IV. Immigration, Resettlement and Refugee Aid
A. Immigration and AidB. German-Austrian Reparations FilesC. Child Adoption ProgramD. Child Adoption Case FilesE. Displaced Persons Card FilesF. JLC Financial Ledgers, 1934-1949
Scope and Content Note
The Jewish Labor Committee (U.S.) Records as a whole have been divided into three parts, each of which has been processed separately: Part I: Holocaust-Era Files, 1934-1947 (microfilmed); Part II: Holocaust-Era Files, 1948-1956, mostly documenting rescue and relief work and overseas political contacts (microfilmed); and Part III: Administrative Files, 1957-1990s, and Anti-Discrimination Department Files, 1943-1960s (not microfilmed), documenting organizational activities in general from the late 1950s to the 1990s, and domestic anti-discrimination activities from the mid-1940s through the 1990s.
This finding aid describes the Jewish Labor Committee (U.S.) Records, Part II only. The JLC's Holocaust-related records for 1948-1956 include minutes, convention proceedings, reports, press releases, correspondence, survivors' biographical files, financial records and a wide range of printed material. Documented in detail are the JLC's efforts to sustain and resettle victims of the Holocaust, continuing contacts with socialist and trade-union leaders in post-War Europe, campaigns against Communism in the U.S. and on behalf of the rights of Soviet Jewry, and proposals for liberalizing U.S. immigration policy. Also included is a small amount of general material documenting the JLC's anti-discrimination work.
Part II is divided into four series, with a number of sub-series. A considerable amount of correspondence and many reports, flyers, clippings and other documents are in Yiddish.
Series I: Administrative and Organizational Records, is comprised of a constitution, minutes, convention records, incoming and outgoing correspondence of JLC officers and staff (including Lasar Epstein, Samuel Estrin, Joseph Godson, Adolph Held, Walter Kirschenbaum, Emanuel Muravchik and Jacob Pat), general subject files, division records and clippings scrapbooks. (NOTE: The JLC's Women's Division was founded in 1947 and the Workmen's Circle Division in 1946; the few early files for those groups have been included in this series to avoid dividing the record of their activity between Parts I and II.)
Series II: American Cities, is comprised of incoming and outgoing correspondence, as well as clippings and notices, documenting JLC activity and contacts in U.S. cities and towns. The files are arranged alphabetically by state, and by town or city within each state.
Series III: Foreign Countries, is comprised of incoming and outgoing correspondence (much of it in Yiddish) with survivors, refugees, political sympathizers and others in many countries. Canadian files document activity of JLC branches in that country. The files for France, Poland, Italy, Sweden and Israel contain a good deal of correspondence relating to JLC aid efforts directed at East European survivors in those countries. The files for Germany are largely devoted to correspondence with two JLC representatives in the Displaced Persons camps, Nathan Gierowitz and Bella Meiksin.
Series IV: Immigration, Resettlement and Refugee Aid, is comprised of files relating to location of surviving relatives, procurement of visas, aid to child survivors in Europe and Israel, and efforts to secure reparations for survivors from the German and Austrian governments. Sub-series D and E are made up of biographical files of child survivors (mostly in France and Italy) and card-files of biographical information on survivors in DP camps. Sub-series F consists of JLC financial ledgers, with entries for expenditures on both foreign and domestic aid to refugees, among other expenses and receipts. (NOTE: Sub-series F was transferred after filming for Part I was completed, it therefore contains records from 1934-1949 records.)
Conditions Governing Access
Materials are open without restrictions.
Conditions Governing Use
Copyright (or related rights to publicity and privacy) for materials in this collection, created by the Jewish Labor Committee was not transferred to New York University. Permission to use materials must be secured from the copyright holder.
Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date; Collection name; Collection number; box number; folder number;
Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012, New York University Libraries.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The first shipment of records was donated by the Jewish Labor Committee in 1984. The accession numbers associated with these donations are 1984.002 and 1984.006. A number of addition donations to the collection have been made by the JLC and its individual members over the years.
Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
Due to the fragile nature of the original materials, researchers must use the microfilmed version; microfilm call number is R-7015.
During the processing work that occurred after 1985 through 2012, some materials from the Jewish Labor Committee Records were separated to other Tamiment Library collections. Photographs and other graphic material were separated to the partially processed Jewish Labor Committee (U.S.) Photographs (PHOTOS 048). Posters, artwork, artifacts, and other ephemera were separated to the unprocessed Jewish Labor Committee Ephemera (EPHEMERA 003) collection.
Also during this period, certain materials were separated to external institutions. A portion of materials from the JLC Records at the Tamiment Library were donated to the Center for Jewish History's American Jewish Historical Society in 1997. Throughout the 1990s, Tamiment donated approximately 300 audio tapes, mostly recordings of the JLC's radio broadcasts or of various JLC events, to the Center for Jewish History's YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. In 2009, Tamiment also donated to YIVO approximately 4 linear feet of Yiddish transcripts of the JLC's radio program, as well as family photographs of Martin Lapan, former Executive Director of the JLC. Eight volumes of Holocaust survivor lists, which were duplicated in the JLC records at Tamiment, were donated to the Museum of Jewish Heritage in 1990.