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|Title||1937-1949: Records of the Istanbul office of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee|
|Reference Code||IST 37-49|
|Full Reference||Collection: 1937-1949: Records of the Istanbul office of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee - IST 37-49|
|Scope and Content||The Istanbul Collection testifies to JDC’s efforts to oversee the planning of rescue and relief operations from its office in Turkey, a neutral country strategically located at the crossroads of war-torn Europe and the nascent Jewish state in Palestine. These records highlight the Istanbul office’s partnership with other relief organizations--such as the Jewish Agency, the U.S. War Refugee Board, and the International Red Cross--in rescue operations and in large-scale enterprises to identify and locate survivors during and after World War II.|
|Scope and Content||The digitized records include: correspondence with Jewish communities throughout Turkey, Romania, and Palestine; extensive documentation regarding shipments of food packages and other supplies to concentration camps such as Theresienstadt and Bergen-Belsen (including a postcard sent by Rabbi Leo Baeck, the renowned German scholar, from Theresienstadt acknowledging receipt of a JDC care package); cables and news releases; lists of survivors, including thousands of files from the Central Location Index; wartime testimonies; and correspondence regarding Joel Brand’s and Rudolf Kasztner’s negotiations in 1944 with Nazi officials in an attempt to save Hungarian Jews from deportation to Auschwitz.|
|Scope and Content||This collection also contains documentation on JDC's extensive support for refugees passing through Turkey en route to Palestine and to passengers on the SS Drottingholm, a rescue ship used for repatriation of civilians and prisoners of war; and eyewitness accounts, including an account of the sinking of the SS Mefkure, a rescue ship traveling from Romania to Palestine, by torpedoes in the Black Sea on August 5, 1944.|
|Scope and Content||In addition to serving as the coordinating body for international efforts, the Istanbul office carried out the JDC commitment to aid the financially burdened local Turkish community. Further, the JDC provided 100% care and maintenance for those passing through the country en route to Palestine, and JDC’s Istanbul staff assisted those passengers on the SS Drottningholm not recognized as Turkish nationals by the government, some for as much as a year after their rescue.|
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