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The JDC, or “Joint” as it is universally known, was founded on November 27, 1914, to serve as the overall distribution agency for funds collected by different American Jewish groups for overseas relief. By 1917, it was conducting its own centralized fundraising campaign. From 1939 on, it received the bulk of its funds from the United Jewish Appeal.

Since 1914, the JDC has spent more than $1.2 billion for the relief of Jews everywhere in the world. In 1979, the Committee aided more than 435,000 Jews in more than 25 countries, mainly in North Africa, the Middle East, Israel, and Europe. The first half century of its existence may be divided into six periods: World War I, when the Jewish refugees’ status required urgent help in many parts of Europe; the postwar emergency period of 1918-1920, when food and clothing had to be distributed in huge quantities; the reconstruction period from 1921-1932, when JDC aided Jewish communities throughout the world to help themselves; the Nazi period, 1933-1945, when Jews had to be saved from death, moved to new countries, and fed and clothed until they were self-sufficient; and the emergency period after World War II, when the JDC bore its greatest burdens. Tens of thousands of Jewish displaced persons (DP’s) had to be helped to rebuild their lives. DP camps in Europe needed food, clothing, teachers, social workers, medical personnel

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