Papers of the Institute of Jewish Affairs

Scope and Content

The records of the Institute of Jewish Affairs have been divided into five main sections, as MSS 237-41, maintaining the subject arrangement that the Institute used for its documentation collections. The records of the London office and British section of the World Jewish Congress are distributed in several places in this arrangement. The archive contains:

MS 237: information from the press and other sources

MS 238: minute books, together with correspondence files of the London office of the World Jewish Congress, largely for 1933-53, but principally 1942-53

MS 239: correspondence files of the London office of the World Jewish Congress, 1951-74, but with some files from 1934 onwards, the sequence continuing into the files of the Institute of Jewish Affairs

MS 240: information from press and public information sources relating to the World Jewish Congress; material relating to Russia, including Israeli embassy translations and transcriptions from the Russian press and media, 1968-80; and press cuttings on Jewish affairs, anti-Semitism, propaganda and refugees,1942-8

MS 241: more recent collections of information from the press and other sources, correspondence files of the London office of the World Jewish Congress, for 1941-55, and notes for literary works

MS 237: This section contains information gathered from press and other public information sources, arranged by the IJA on a subject basis. It is now grouped in nine sequences. Further related material is in MS 241.

SEQUENCE 1: World Jewish Congress, 1932-84, including its world executive and governing council, plenary assemblies, the North American Branch, the South American Branch, the European Executive, European Branch and national executives and sections (African, Australian, Belgian, British, Czechoslovak, Danish, French, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Romanian, Spanish and Portuguese, Swedish, Swiss, Yugoslav): newscuttings, reports, typescripts and correspondence, press releases, notes and accounts of meetings (543 files

SEQUENCE 2: Legal issues, 1939-91, including the Russian constitution and legal system, surveillance and monitoring; human rights; international conventions on genocide and racial discrimination; war crimes and crimes against humanity; European Convention on Human Rights; religious freedom; shechita; education; children's rights; women's rights; apartheid; Jewish claims against Germany; reparations; compensation for expellees; extradition; torture; terrorism; Geneva Convention; and papers relating to Unesco, CENTO, the Council of Europe, the Organisation of American States, the Organisation of African Unity, NATO, the European Economic Community, European Parliament, Red Cross, Red Crescent, UNHCR (274 files)

SEQUENCE 3: Social, economic and political subjects, with a focus on race and ethnicity, 1949-91, including international trade, trade unions and economic activities; Jewish identity and assimilation; community studies and race relations; adoption; abortion; social welfare; ecology; demography; anti-fascism and anti-racism; Russia, Poland and communist policy towards the Jews; Israel and Zionism; Russian relations with the Middle East and Africa; the Palestine Liberation Organisation; Jewish prisoners of conscience; Russian Jewish prisoners; Jewish emigration from Russia; Jewish and other dissidents in Russia and republics of the Soviet Union; inter-faith relations (564 files)

SEQUENCE 4: Anti-Semitism, 1967-86 (13 files)

SEQUENCE 5: Immigration, emigration and refugees, 1946-87 (32 files)

SEQUENCE 6: The Holocaust and war crimes, 1946-88, including Jewish and non-Jewish rescue work; resistance; war crimes files by country and by individual, including papers gathered with a view to initiating the prosecution of individuals; de-nazification and rehabilitation (119 files)

SEQUENCE 7: Jewish culture, literature, language, religion and education, 1934-91, including papers on Jewish education, arranged by country; documentation centres, museums, libraries and educational organisations (99 files)

SEQUENCE 8: Jewish communities across the world and national and international Jewish organisations, 1932-91, including country files for Aden, Afghanistan, Algeria, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahrein, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Burma, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Cyprus, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Dutch Guiana (Surinam), the Dutch West Indies, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Finland, France, French Polynesia, Germany, Gibraltar, Great Britain, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Hong Kong, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Morocco, Namibia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, United States of America, Uruguay, Venezuela, West Indies, Yemen and Zimbabwe; and files for organisations including the Agudah Yisroel Party, World Union for Progressive Judaism, B'nai B'rith, European Council of Jewish Community Services, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, World Sephardi Federation, World Union of Jewish Students, and World Organisation of Jews from Arab Countries (WOJAC); the Board of Deputies of British Jews and British Jewish religious groups; national Jewish organisations for France, Argentina, Australia, Switzerland, USA and South Africa; the Jewish Agency for Israel; Zionist organisations, including the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland, Poale Zion and the Women's International Zionist Organisation (WIZO); and anti-Zionism; files on religious groupings, including Orthodox Judaism, Hasidism, Liberal Judaism, Reform (Progressive) Judaism, and Conservative Judaism (279 files)

SEQUENCE 9: the politics of Israel, Palestine and the Middle East, 1953-89, with files on the history of Zionism; the formation of the state of Israel; ethnic groups in Israel; Arab attitudes to the Jews, Israel and Zionism; the Palestine Liberation Organisation; propaganda; hi-jacking and terrorism; relations between Israel and African nations (country files);Arab-Israeli wars C Six Day War, Yom Kippur War; Arab oil policies; Arab-Israeli peace negotiations; armaments in the Middle East; internal politics of Arab countries (country files); information files (by country) for Europe, North and South America, and Africa (423 files)

MS 238: Archives of the British section of the World Jewish Congress

Minute books of the executive committee, 1949-73 (5 vols.); minute books of the national council, 1949-74 (3 vols.); minute books of the cultural committee, 1954-65 (2 vols.); minutes of the European executive, 1974-9 (1 vol.); minutes of committees of the British section, 1966-73 (1 file); minutes of the executive of the World Jewish Congress, 1975-80 (1 file)

Correspondence and working files of the London office of the World Jewish Congress, 1933-53, but principally 1942-53, including the papers of A.L.Easterman and N.Barou, Political Secretaries, about the destruction of the Jews on the Continent (48 files)

MS 239: Correspondence files of the London office of the World Jewish Congress and the Institute of Jewish Affairs. The series principally continues the sequence in MS 237, with most papers falling in the period 1951-74, but with some files from 1934 onwards.

MS 239/T1: Correspondence files of the London office, with other information, 1936, 1944-91, but mainly 1950s and 1960s, including those for Dr S.Roth, Executive Secretary of the European Division of the World Jewish Congress, 1951-6, and for K.Baum, director, Information Department, Dr F.L.Brassloff, Legal Department, Dr A.Z.Steinberg, and D.J.Trenner, Secretary, Cultural Committee, with the Israeli Executive, the French section, the New York office, the American Jewish Congress, and other organisations including the Anglo-Jewish Association, the Council of Europe, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the United Restitution Organisation (86 files)

MS 239/T2: Country and place sequence of files, mainly 1948-75, but with some from 1940 onwards, including Aden, North Africa, Albania, Algeria, Australia, Austria, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar and Malta, Greece, Hungary, India, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Mauritius, the Middle East, Morocco, the Netherlands, Norway, Palestine, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, South Africa, South and Central America, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, USA and Yugoslavia (99 files)

MS 239/T3: Subject files, mainly 1953-71, but with some for 1944-5 and 1949-50, including anti-Semitic organisations, Arab boycott of Israel, Hannah Arendt, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany, emergency planning, heirless property, human rights, Jews in Arab countries, war crimes andwar criminals (53 files)

MS 239/T4: scrapbooks (5 vols.), 1944-68

MS 240: Information from press and public information sources including publications of the World Jewish Congress and its national sections, 1956-79 (9 files); material relating to Russia, including Israeli embassy translations and transcriptions from the Russian press and media, 1968-80 (34 boxes); and press cuttings (principally European press) on France, Germany, Hungary, Palestine, Poland, Switzerland, on Jewish affairs, anti-Semitism, propaganda and refugees, 1942-8 (15 boxes)

MS 241: Information gathered from press and other public information sources and arranged by the Institute of Jewish Affairs on a subject basis, with some administrative material for the London office of the World Jewish Congress and some personal papers. This section has been divided into nine sequences. Although some of the material is analogous to that in MS 237 (while largely later chronologically), the division of the sequences has been made on a different basis.

SEQUENCE 1: The Middle East, Israel, Palestine and the Arab world, 1967-75, with files on the Six Day War of 1967, propaganda, and Jews in Arab countries (84 files)

SEQUENCE 2: Country sequence, 1962-70 and 1989, including files for Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Czechoslovakia, Egypt, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Poland, Portugal, Rhodesia, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Scandinavia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, United States of America, Uruguay, Yugoslavia (74 files)

SEQUENCE 3: Subject files, 1950-91, including papers on anti-Nazi organisations, anti-Semitism, war crimes, the Demjanjuk trial, the Gulf crisis of 1990-1, Nazism and Neo-Nazism (country files), the New Left, the Occupied Territories, poverty, refugees (46 files)

Papers of the London office of the World Jewish Congress, 1944-6, on European Jewry (MS 241/3/46: 3 boxes)

SEQUENCE 4: Correspondence and papers from the London office of the World Jewish Congress, together with notes and interviews for literary works, for Dr Stephen Barber, 1944-50 (4/2); Dr Noah Barou, 1941-55 (4/3); Dr Michael Checinksi, c.1970-7 (4/4); Dr Nahum Goldmann, 1910-73 (4/5); Lady Reading, c.1930-70 (4/8 9); Dr S.J.Roth, 1944-85 (4/10); Hilel Storch, 1945-83 (4/11); Dr Stephen S.Wise, 1919-72 (4/13)

SEQUENCE 5: Papers relating to anti-Semitism, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Jewish communities, the Middle East, Israel, the Occupied Territories, the Palestine Liberation Organisation and Palestine National Council, Russia, Turkey, and the United Nations, 1958-91 (47 files)

Reports and papers relating to the Institute of Jewish Affairs, 1941-2, 1969 and 1978 (MS 241/5/16 18: 3 files)

Papers of the London office of the World Jewish Congress, 1939-74 (MS 241/5/20, 49: 2 files)

SEQUENCE 6: Film and sound records of sessions of the World Jewish Congress

SEQUENCE 7: Biographical materials, 1945-96 (151 files); papers relating to meetings and assemblies of the World Jewish Congress, the European Jewish Congress, 1974-94 (22 files); subject files, from 1935 onwards, but principally 1965-96, on human rights, civil rights, minority rights, compensation and reparations, international organisations, criminal law, racism and Nazism, the Carmelite convent at Auschwitz, right-wing organisations, the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe, relations between Judaism and other religions, international politics, elections in the United States of America, German re-unification, anti-Semitism (country files), migration and refugees, the Holocaust and World War II, Jewish communities (country files), Israel, Palestine Liberation Organisation, the Occupied Territories, the Middle East peace process, Arab states (country files) (541 files)

SEQUENCE 8: Anti-Semitism, 1970-92, for countries A-S and for individual countries, including Australia, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Great Britain, United States of America, Uruguay, Yugoslavia (285 files)

SEQUENCE 9: Papers relating to Arab propaganda, 1969, forty years on since the end of the Second World War, 1985-6, terrorism, 1976-85, Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (Helsinki Commission), 1955-91, commemoration of Kristallnacht and German historians debate, 1986-90, Nahum Goldmann, 1971-86 (91 files)

SEQUENCE 10: Papers relating to the Helsinki Final Act, 1975-85, and Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (Helsinki Commission) meetings, 1985-91, neo-nazi and extremist organisations, 1978-90, the Israel-PLO Accord of 1994, 1993-4, Jewish involvement in student and left wing organisations, 1959-71, conference on the future of British Jewry, 1973-80, PLO, 1980-6, South Africa, 1976-91, terrorism, 1978-86 (112 files)

Administrative / Biographical History

The Institute of Jewish Affairs was established in New York under the auspices of the American Jewish Congress and the World Jewish Congress on 1 February 1941, based on proposals made by Dr Jacob Robinson to the American Jewish Congress in 1939 and 1940. Its aims were to conduct a thorough investigation of Jewish life over the preceding 25 years, to establish the facts of the position of the Jews during World War II, to determine their causes and to suggest how Jewish rights might be claimed in a post-war settlement. In pursuing this last, it was to focus on the rehabilitation of the Jewish population in Europe where it was possible and they were willing to remain in their homes. Where that was impossible and on the question of emigration, it was to take as its premise that `the National Home in Palestine is the primary solution of the problem of Jewish migration'. Its research initially focused on political science and law, economics, migration and colonisation, and post-war reconstruction, encompassing a watching brief on events affecting the Jews in all countries. As well as its programme of research, the Institute was established to collect documentation and to index holdings of other institutions, particularly on aliens, anti-Jewish measures, recent aspects of anti-Semitism, autonomy, colonisation, exchanges of population, migrations, minorities, nationalism, nationality and citizenship, plebiscites, race hatred, refugees, relief, self-determination, small states, the territorial questions of World War I, war and peace aims, and war and post-war changes. The Institute moved to London in 1965, maintaining its programme of research and publications into contemporary issues affecting Jewish communities across the world. Among its regular publications are ANTI-SEMITISM WORLD REPORT, EAST EUROPEAN JEWISH AFFAIRS, and PATTERNS OF PREJUDICE, along with series of research reports, and analysis and intelligence reports. The Institute was renamed the Institute for Jewish Policy Research in 1997.

As an international documentation centre of the first importance, the collections of the Institute of Jewish Affairs subsumed the archives of part of its parent organisation, the London office and British section of the World Jewish Congress. The origin of the World Jewish Congress can be found in the co-operative efforts by Jewish communities around the world in religious, legal, political and relief matters. In 1919 the Comite des Delegations Juives was established, led by Leo Motzkin, and after three preparatory conferences, the first World Jewish Congress convened in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1936. 280 delegates represented the Jews of 32 countries under the leadership of Stephen Wise and Nahum Goldmann. With the outbreak of war in 1939, the seat of the World Jewish Congress moved from Paris to Geneva. The World Jewish Congress was involved in relief activities during World War II and subsequently with the plight of refugees and the problems of post-war reconstruction. Since 1945, it has continued to take an active interest in Jews across the world and human rights, co-ordinating policies and activities of Jewish communities.

Access Information

Open for consultation


Compiled by Gwennyth Anderson

Other Finding Aids


Related Material

There are further papers for the London office in the papers of A.Z.Steinberg, MS 262; other parts of the World Jewish Congress archive can be found in the Central Zionist Archives in Jerusalem (GUIDE TO THE ARCHIVAL RECORD GROUPS AND COLLECTIONS (Jerusalem, 1998) p. 24) and in the American Jewish Archives in Cincinnati.

Geographical Names