Far Eastern Jewish Central Information Bureau: Correspondence (microfilm)

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Correspondence between the Far Eastern Jewish Central Information Bureau (DALJEWCIB) and individuals and other Jewish organisations detailing the experiences of German and Austrian Jewish èmigrès in the Far East, 1938-1939. The personal accounts contain descriptions of the outward-bound voyage and of the climate and conditions in the host country, along with details on obtaining work and accommodation. Note that many of the letters are copies or extracts from originals. Some newsletters and newspapers are also included.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Central Information Bureau for Jewish War Sufferers in the Far East was founded in 1917 by Sam Mason, a special delegate sent by the Hebrew Immigrant Society (better known as HIAS) in New York. Its function was to deal with the problem of refugees attempting to reach America (and other countries) from the Far East. The main office was established in Harbin, China, but branches were also set up in Yokohama, Japan, and Vladivostok on the eastern seaboard of the Soviet Union. Though the Bureau continued to deal with the problems of victims of the 1914-1918 First World War until the late 1920's, it changed its official name to The Far Eastern Central Information Bureau in 1923 and took its cable address 'DALJEWCIB' which became the organisation's name in everyday use. At this time Meir Birman became involved in the Bureau's work and was to manage it until its dissolution some 25 years later. Connected with HIAS since 1918, the Bureau worked in very close co-operation with the umbrella Jewish refugee organization HICEM (the amalgamation of HIAS, JCA and the Emigre organisation of Berlin). From 1938, the numbers of German, Austrian and other central European Jews, including Polish and Czechoslovakians, requesting asylum grew drastically. With the Japanese occupation of northern China in the early 1930s, the situation of the Jews in Harbin deteriorated, until, in September 1939, the Bureau moved its head office to Shanghai. At that time Shanghai remained one of the few places, which refugees could enter without a visa. Throughout 1939 and 1940, Jews continued to flood into Shanghai, until with the outbreak of the Pacific War some 18,000 Jewish refugees reached Shanghai, of which about 8,000 originated from Germany and about 4,000 from Austria. At the end of the Pacific War in August 1945 the Bureau formed part of the world-wide chain of organisations trying to trace other Jewish refugees in order to place the Shanghai refugees in secure countries. This work continued for a number of years after the war ended.

Arrangement

514/I: correspondence arranged according to place of emigration.

514/II: correspondence arranged according to profession. Note that the material is in reverse chronological order within each group.

Conditions Governing Access

Open

Acquisition Information

Jewish Central Information Office

Other Finding Aids

Description exists to this archive on the Wiener Library's online catalogue www.wienerlibrary.co.uk

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Microfilm

Archivist's Note

Nash, Peter, 'Shanghai HIAS Lists', in Stammbaum, Issue 21, (Winter 2002). Entry compiled by Howard Falksohn.

Conditions Governing Use

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

Location of Originals

Wiener Collection, Tel Aviv University, Israel