World Jewish Congress: Central files (microfilm)

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

World Jewish Congress Central files on microfilm, 1919-1976, comprising Sub-series 1: Organisational History and Activities, 1919-1970, includes correspondence, minutes and publications and reports related to the organisational and political activities of the WJC and its forerunner, the Committee of Jewish Delegations. Reports on the history and activities of the WJC from before its inception through to the 1960s are also included in this sub-series. Significant subjects covered include anti-Semitism, relief for refugees, and relations with the League of Nations. More material dealing with WJC activities in Europe during the 1930s can be found in Sub-series 2 under the Stephen S. Wise/Lillie Shultz and Nahum Goldmann papers, and under Pre-WJC Conferences and the First Plenary Assembly (1936) in Sub-series 3.

Sub-series 2. Executive Correspondence and Project Files, 1920, 1931-1975, includes records and reports from the files of WJC presidents (Stephen S. Wise, Nahum Goldmann); chairmen of the Executive Committee (Nahum Goldmann, Israel Goldstein); followed by the administrative/executive directors of the New York office (Abraham S. Hyman, Monty Jacobs, Yehuda Ebstein, Greta Beigel). The sub-series contains general correspondence arranged chronologically, individual and departmental correspondence, country files, subject files, speeches, and publications.

Sub-series 3: Plenary Assemblies, pre-1936 conferences, and special conferences, 1932-1975, contains minutes, proceedings, reports, and other materials dealing with three pre-WJC conferences together with extensive files for the first six WJC Plenary Assemblies (1936-1975). Also included are materials pertaining to the War Emergency Conference (1944) and the Inter-American Jewish Conference (1941).

Sub-series 4: Committees, 1940-1976, consists of 33 boxes in its original format. This sub-series contains materials pertaining to committee meetings (Office, Administrative, Executive). The Executive Committee files include material from the South American, European, and Israeli Branches of the Executive. Within the files for each committee/branch, materials are arranged chronologically.

Administrative / Biographical History

The World Jewish Congress (WJC), is an international federation of Jewish communities and organizations. Its headquarters are in New York City, USA; its research institute is located in Jerusalem. It maintains international offices in Paris, France, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Geneva, Switzerland and most recently, Miami, Florida.

The WJC includes Jewish organizations from across North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia, Israel and the Pacific. It attempts to build consensus between different Jewish groups of varying political and religious orientations; it works to act as a diplomatic envoy for the worldwide Jewish community. It is a Zionist organization, strongly supporting the State of Israel.

In 1951, Nahum Goldmann, then president of the WJC, cofounded the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany -the Claims Conference, as a body to engage the German government in negotiations for material compensation for Jewish victims of Nazi persecution. The World Jewish Congress designate two members to the Board of Directors of the Conference.

In 1992 the WJC established the World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO) as an organization for the restitution of Jewish property in the rest of Europe (outside Germany). It has been active in the claims against Swiss banks.

In 2000 the World Jewish Congress shaped the policy debate about looted art by criticizing museums for waiting for artworks to be claimed by Holocaust victims instead of publicly announcing that they have suspect items.

The WJC is involved in inter-faith dialogue with Christian and Muslim groups. One of its major new programmes is concerned with the plight of Jewish refugees from Arab lands.

Arrangement

By sub-series

Conditions Governing Access

Open

Acquisition Information

American Jewish Archives

Other Finding Aids

Wiener Library reading room

Alternative Form Available

American Jewish Archives

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Microfilm

Archivist's Note

Entry compiled by Howard Falksohn.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies can be made for personal use. Permission must be sought for publication.

Location of Originals

World Jewish Congress