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Founded at Geneva in August 1936, the World Jewish Congress (WJC) assumed responsibility for consultations on behalf of persecuted Jews in various countries and in the councils of the League of Nations. It was active in the planning of the Evian Conference on Refugees in 1938. Following the failure of that conference, it continued to work to save Jews from the clutches of the Nazis and their allies. At the end of World War II, the WJC worked with and on behalf of the survivors of Nazi terror, the Jewish displaced persons all over Europe and Africa. During the Nuremberg war crimes trials the WJC served in a consultative capacity, supplying factual dossiers from its files. The WJC has also consistently helped Israel.

Representatives of the WJC attended the founding conference of the United Nations at San Francisco in 1945. They worked for the inclusion of rights planks in the UN charter and for the most democratic structure possible for the UN. The WJC serves as a consulting organization for the UN and its specialized agencies, concerning itself with such matters as human rights, genocide, and cultural affairs.

The WJC was active in the negotiations which resulted in the agreements by Germany and Austria to pay collective restitution to Jews for damages done by the Nazis. It is a member of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.

WJC offices in various countries represent Jews individually and Jewish communities collectively in negotiations with governments with regard 10 various political and related problems.

Sixty-six countries have affiliates of the WJC. There were regional councils in the Americas and Europe. Full Congress meetings were held at Montreux, Switzerland, in 1948 and in Geneva in 1953.

In recent years the WJC was active in uncovering the war crimes of Kurt Waldheim, who, while becoming president of Austria, also was proclaimed a persona non grata in the U.S. It also became involved in claims against Swiss banks which kept accounts deposited by former Nazis, consisting of funds stolen from Jewish victims of the Holocaust.

The official aims of the World Jewish Congress are coordination of the efforts of its affiliated organizations in respect to the political, economic, social, and cultural problems of the Jewish people; securing and defending the rights, status, and interests of Jews and Jewish communities throughout the world; assisting their creative development; and representing and acting on their behalf before governmental, inter-governmental, and international authorities.

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