WJC 85th Anniversary - World Jewish Congress
A Message from WJC President Ronald S. Lauder

Ambassador Ronald S. Lauder


Menachem Z. Rosensaft

The Jewish Right to Equality

Judge Julian W. Mack

The World Jewish Congress during World War II

Gregory J. Wallance

The Re-enfranchisement of the Jew

Rabbi Stephen S.Wise

Nuremberg and Beyond: Jacob Robinson, a Champion for Justice

Jonathan A. Bush

The State of World Jewry, 1948

Nahum Goldmann

Gerhart M. Riegner: Pioneer for Jewish–Catholic Relations in the Contemporary World

Monsignor Pier Francesco Fumagalli

The World Jewish Congress and the State of Israel: A Personal Reminiscence

Natan Lerner

The World Jewish Congress, the League of Nations, and the United Nations

Zohar Segev

From Pariah to Partner: The Jews of Postwar Germany and the World Jewish Congress

Michael Brenner

Diplomatic Interventions: The World Jewish Congress and North African Jewry

Isabella Nespoli, Menachem Z. Rosensaft

Bourguiba’s Jewish Friend

S. J. Goldsmith

Soviet Jewry: Debates and Controversies

Suzanne D. Rutland

Advancing the Best in Jewish Culture

Philip M. Klutznick

The Struggle for Historical Integrity at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Laurence Weinbaum

New Directions and Priorities, 1985

Edgar M. Bronfman

Fighting Delegitimization: The United Nation’s “Zionism Is Racism” Resolution, a Case Study

Evelyn Sommer

Navigating the Communist Years: A Jewish Perspective

Maram Stern

The Kurt Waldheim Affair

Eli M. Rosenbaum

In Search of Justice: The World Jewish Congress and the Swiss Banks

Gregg J. Rickman

Confronting Terror: The Buenos Aires Bombings

Adela Cojab-Moadeb

The World Jewish Congress Today

Robert R. Singer

My Vision of the Jewish Future

Ambassador Ronald S. Lauder


Robert R. Singer

WJC 1936 - 2021

The World Jewish Congress, the League of Nations, and the United Nations

The Establishment of the World Jewish Congress

The inaugural convention of the World Jewish Congress, which was at- tended by 280 delegates from thirty-two countries, took place in Geneva in August 1936. Although the organization itself was new, its ideological roots lay in the transformations experienced by the Jewish communities in the United States and Europe in the wake of World War I and in the Balfour Declaration. The purpose of the WJC was twofold: to continue in the tradition of the American Jewish Congress (founded in 1918) and the Committee of Jewish Delegations (founded in 1919) by operating as a voluntary organization, representing Jewish communities and organizations worldwide vis-à-vis governmental authorities and international bodies, and to foster the development of social and cultural life in Jewish communities around the world.

For the founders of the WJC—most notably Rabbi Stephen S. Wise and Dr. Nahum Goldmann— the new organization was a direct extension of the Committee of Jewish Delegations, which had been established to represent Jewish interests at the Paris Peace Conference that followed the end of World War I. They considered the Committee to have been a turning point in modern Jewish history in that it had advocated not only for individual Jewish rights, such as civil and political equality and freedom of worship, but also for collective rights that called for recognition of the right of Jews to internal autonomy within their countries of residence with regard to their culture and national existence.

The concept of the Jews as a people whose national life should be conducted throughout the world and not in a separate territory is expounded extensively in the works of Simon Dubnow, a writer and historian as well as a founding member of the autonomist movement. Like Dubnow, the founders of the WJC regarded Jewish existence in the Diaspora as a legitimate part of Jewish existence. Unlike Dubnow, however, they did not seek to establish Jewish autonomy, but were actively engaged in integrating Jews within their countries of residence while underscoring their cultural characteristics and the need for an organizational structure that would ensure the rights of Jews in particular and of all minorities.

The League of Nations: First Steps

The worldview of the WJC leadership found expression in a memorandum submitted by the directorate of the WJC to the institutions of the League of Nations in 1936. The memorandum reviewed the traditional Jewish support for peace and international cooperation and underscored the organization’s contribution to the struggle for these ideals. It was intended to secure the League of Nations’ support for the rights of minorities in general and of the Jews in Europe in particular, and to position the Congress as the exclusive representative of the Jewish people in the Diaspora. For this reason, the members of the Executive Committee of the WJC, who authored the document, stressed that the organization represented the Jews of the Diaspora and was fighting for minority rights, but likewise supported the Jewish community in Palestine and was working to stabilize the mandated government there. Thus, they clarified their worldview: advocating a complex Jewish reality that combined a Jewish national existence in the Diaspora with the founding of a national home in Palestine.

The WJC was the ultimate manifestation of the dual reality they presented, and through its very existence and modus operandi could address the complex nationalism encompassing both the Jewish Diaspora and the Land of Israel. Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, the de facto president of the WJC, developed the argument that the organization was fulfilling an essential purpose. According to Wise, the establishment of a democratic Jewish organization prepared to take robust action on behalf of world Jewry was a vital matter because of the situation of European Jewry. He maintained that the founding of the WJC constituted a historic turning point, the full significance of which lay in the establishment of a democratic Jewish organization precisely at a time of deep crisis. Wise went on to describe the voting process whereby each Jewish home in the United States would receive a voter card for the price of ten cents. The election was to be supervised by a national election committee that would determine the number of delegates each community would elect to the Congress’s institutions. Toward the end of the letter, Wise underscored in large print that the appropriate response to the attack on millions of Jews around the world by anti-democratic forces was the mass participation in this democratic process by American Jews, which would signify their commitment both to the struggle for democracy and the Jews of the world.

The memorandum submitted in 1936 was actually the tip of the iceberg of intensive activity of the WJC leadership in general, and Nahum Goldmann in particular, at the League of Nations. The WJC leadership emphasized the League’s obligation to protect the rights of minorities in general and those of European Jews in particular. They maintained that since the issue of minority rights was high on the League’s agenda, it was obligated to promote the rights of Jews not only among its members, but also in non-member countries. This position enabled Congress leaders to demand that the League protect the rights of Germany’s Jews, even though Germany had left the League.

Despite the League of Nation’s significant inherent structural problems, which came to the fore in the latter half of the 1930s, WJC leaders went out of their way to operate in this arena. The grave state of Europe’s Jews left them no choice in the matter; they sought every available channel through which to ameliorate their situation. They thus made energetic efforts at the League’s September 1938 assembly in Geneva. They held meetings with the British deputy foreign minister, senior members of the Romanian regime, and League of Nations functionaries responsible for addressing the refugee issue, among others.

The WJC and the United Nations

As World War II came to an end, the cooperation and interaction between the WJC and the United Nations was considered a WJC priority. As Natan Lerner, then the director of the WJC’s Israel Branch, explained in 1978:

As soon as the war was over and the UN came into existence, Congress [i.e., the WJC- Z.S.], as the Jewish people’s political organ in the international arena, did its best to help establish an international order based on law, justice, tolerance and freedom. Next to its support for the existence and security of the State of Israel [and] the rights and status of Jewish communities in distress, the struggle for human rights became its direct concern.

The WJC sent a delegation to the San Francisco Conference, held from April to June 1945, at which the UN Charter was drawn up. The WJC delegation was headed by Rabbi Maurice L. Perlzweig and the legal scholar Jacob Robinson, founder and director of the WJC’s Institute of Jewish Affairs (IJA). One of the WJC’s priorities at the San Francisco Conference was to place Jewish rights in, and claims to, Palestine at the forefront of the international agenda. Together with the American Jewish Conference and the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the WJC submitted a memorandum to the Conference stating, among other things that:

the reconstitution of Palestine as a Jewish Commonwealth is of prime importance for the future of the Jewish people as a whole, and an affirmative solution of this question is the condition sine qua non for Jewish rehabilitation, especially after the horrors and tribulations of the last decade.

However, as Lerner noted, the adoption of “an effective system of human rights” was of equal concern in San Francisco. Indeed, at the November 1944 WJC War Emergency Conference in Atlantic City, New Jersey, assembled delegates passed a resolution that called for:

[t]he promulgation of an international Bill of rights securing full protection of life and liberty for the inhabitants of all countries without distinction of origin, nationality, race, faith or language, and the enforcement of such a Bill of rights by an adequate international machinery.

Accordingly, at the San Francisco Conference, the WJC, again together with the American Jewish Conference and the Board of Deputies of British Jews, also submitted a proposal to strengthen the wording of the UN Charter with respect to human rights and freedoms. Specifically, according to Jacob Robinson, the proposal “demanded that the words ‘promote respect for human rights’ be replaced by ‘protect (or safeguard)’ those rights and freedoms; and that Chapter I be enlarged by the explicit inclusion of international protection of these rights and freedoms.”

In 1947, the WJC became the first Jewish organization to receive consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council, thereby gaining judicial, public, and international authorization of its singular status as the representative body for world Jewry. According to Natan Lerner:

As soon as the drafting committee of the Human Rights Commission was established in 1947, the WJC urged it to take measures providing for the recognition of the right of petition for individuals and nongovernmental organizations, and for the establishment of appropriate machinery to implement the substantive principles.

As early as 1948, Dr. Gerhart M. Riegner, then the WJC’s de facto secretary-general (he would formally assume the title in 1965), actively participated in the conference of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with consultative status, serving on the permanent committee of the conference for many years. In 1951, Riegner was elected deputy secretary-general of the conference committee in Geneva. In 1953, he was unanimously elected president of the conference and assumed the position that same year; he subsequently served as the conference’s treasurer. In Geneva, Riegner was also an observer at the UN Commission on Human Rights beginning in 1946. “This advisory capacity,” he wrote, “gave us the right to attend meetings, to submit written briefs, and to address the Commission orally. On the Commission there were generally two WJC representatives, at times even three of us.” Among other accomplishments, the WJC significantly influenced the drafting of a number of articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. For example, Riegner recalled in his auto- biography, the original draft of Article 29 of the Declaration:

envisioned that the exercise of human rights could be limited by law. We made the case that this was exactly what Hitler had done We then suggested that every national law that restricted human rights should not be considered valid from the perspective of international law unless it conformed to the principles and objectives of the United Nations. We had complete success.

The WJC leaders wished to keep their independent status at the United Nations even after the State of Israel had been granted membership in 1949. One key example of the WJC’s independent activity in the international arena is its insistence on retaining official status at, and being extremely involved with, the United Nations. Various committees of the WJC submitted papers, distributed memoranda, and presented data to the United Nations, addressing not only matters of specific concern to the Jewish people or to Jewish communities, but also broader issues. Nehemiah Robinson, who succeeded his brother Jacob as the director of the IJA, noted in 1955:

The World Jewish Congress was the first Jewish non-governmental organization to be granted consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. It also has the distinction of being the only Jewish and one of the very few non-governmental organizations at large which has intervened with the competent organs of the United Nations and the delegations thereto in practically all matters relating to the drafting of new international law rules, protection of minorities, prevention of discrimination, protection of human rights, and protection of Jewish communities, and similar subjects, regardless of whether these topics were discussed in the Economic and Social Council, its subsidiary bodies (Commission on Human Rights, Sub-commission on Freedom of Information), in the General Assembly, in Conferences of Plenipotentiaries, Ad Hoc Committees, the International Law Commission, the Committee on International Criminal Jurisdiction, etc. As a result, the activities of the World Jewish Congress connected with the United Nations reflect, in a measure, the activities of the United Nations itself.

Perlzweig, who had been one of the founders of the WJC together with Wise and Goldmann, was the WJC’s principal representative at the United Nations in the late 1940s and early 1950s and drafted many of the documents submitted by the WJC to the UN Commission on Human Rights. In a 1953 report on WJC activities at the United Nations, he wrote, “To support the United Nations and its principles and purposes as embodied in the Charter has been, since the San Francisco conference, one of the principal tasks of the World Jewish Congress.” Perlzweig went on to provide the rationale and context for the WJC’s in-depth involvement in UN activities:

It is one of the primary purposes of the World Jewish Congress to seek to safeguard the rights and freedoms of Jews and Jewish communities wherever they may happen to be. But these rights and freedoms are not conceived of as existing or being able to survive in isolation. They are fundamentally an expression of general human rights and of the reign of law in international and domestic relations; and in this view we are sustained alike by Jewish tradition and the unique experience of the Jewish people. Accordingly, the World Jewish Congress has devoted an important part of its resources and energies to the struggle for human rights in the broadest sense, and to the development of international law through the United Nations.

The WJC’s desire to gain recognition of Jewish displaced persons’ extraordinary condition and its attempt to influence policy toward them is also apparent in its endeavor to become involved in shaping the policy of the UN Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA). This organization was founded in 1943 and became a part of the United Nations after 1945. It operated as an international agency until 1947, initiating, administering, and implementing welfare programs in Europe. The WJC involved itself in UNRRA’s activity from its inception by submitting memoranda to the body’s various branches and seeking to place Jews, especially Congress representatives, on its staff in Europe. In September 1944, Wise and Goldmann submitted a signed memorandum to UNRRA. In it they applauded the body’s policy of conducting welfare activity directed at Europe’s entire population, irrespective of origin, religion, or race, without differentiating between those in need of assistance who were nationals of enemy states and citizens of countries liberated from Nazi occupation. They added, however, that “those discriminated against by the Nazi oppressors must be given the same opportunities of recovery as the others. Thus, the Jews should be given equitable priorities in the distribution of food, medical aid and shelter, as well as in the return, repatriation, and resettlement of displaced persons.”

These attempts to influence the activities of the administration and UNRRA were accompanied by a supreme fundraising effort among WJC member nations to provide the money required to finance welfare and rehabilitation of European Jews. The WJC raised ten million dollars during 1944. At the same time, it criticized other Jewish organizations, particularly the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, for raising considerable sums of money but continuing to conduct only philanthropic activity rather than engaging in broad, politically significant rehabilitation efforts. An opinion piece in the December 1944 Congress Weekly addressed the issue:

On this need for a centralized Jewish authority is based the decision adopted by the War Emergency Conference of the World Jewish Congress to raise a fund of $100,000,000 for rehabilitation and reconstruction. Unlike other organizations which attempt to separate Jewish relief work from political activities, the World Jewish Congress, primarily a political organization, realized from its inception that the two are inseparable parts of a single task.

In preparation for the reconstruction of the communities, the WJC established a training facility on the outskirts of Paris to teach personnel, primarily women, how to operate within European bureaucratic systems. In March 1946, thirty young women were selected to commence the study program. They received training in a variety of areas, including education, community organization and action, Jewish festivals, selected issues pertaining to Jewish tradition, Zionism, and the Palestine problem. While all of this was going on, the WJC was also investing considerable effort in cultural rehabilitation within the communities. Hundreds of thousands of books were dispatched to Europe: basic textbooks on Jewish issues, Yiddish and Hebrew literature, prayer books, and Bibles. Particular emphasis was placed on the dispatch of more than sixty Torah Scrolls, most of them donated by communities in New York and Chicago, with the express intention of reviving the religious life of European Jewry.

In subsequent years, the WJC continued to regard itself as being responsible for the overall cultural life in the communities. Its institutions sought to encourage Jewish youth in Europe to choose a career in Jewish education, and it actively promoted the establishment of teacher-training institutes. In the papers of the Congress’s European bodies, there is documentation of programs for the preparation of textbooks on Jewish history between 1848 and 1938; for the founding of scientific journals addressing Jewish culture; and for adult education activities using the modern technology of the day, such as radio, gramophone, and movable displays.

Both Wise and Goldmann rejected the view that Zionism should be the sole constituting force of Jewish life following the Holocaust. Addressing the second WJC plenary assembly in Montreux, Switzerland, on June 27, 1948, Goldmann stressed that the WJC, rather than the government of Israel, should be the official voice of Diaspora Jewry. He expressed the hope that Israel would be admitted to the United Nations

so that when in the future Jewish problems requiring United Nations action arise, there will be at least one official representative of the State of Israel at the Council table, ready to speak out and take care of them. But again, we should not regard the State of Israel, eo ipso, as the formal representative and spokesman of Jewish communities in the Diaspora, which it cannot be—in its own interests as in those of the communities themselves The future of the Jewish people in the Diaspora, and the future of the State of Israel alike, require close relations of trust, of mutual help, of interest, of cooperation, in many cases; but at the same time they will be distinct and different entities: the State representing its citizens and speaking for them, the World Jewish Congress representing the Jewish people and speaking for them—so far as authorized to do so.

In this vein, within the United Nations, the WJC emphasized not only the role played by the organization in presenting the perspective of the Jewish Diaspora to international bodies and agencies, but also its status as the only organization dedicated to protecting the rights of Jews around the world. This outlook was clearly expressed in a report submitted in 1948 by Dr. Robert Marcus, chairman of the WJC’s political committee, to the UN Commission on Genocide. Marcus maintained that the organization’s proposals to the commission should be given serious consideration, as the WJC represented all of world Jewry. He added that the experience of the world’s Jews as a minority group that had resisted the attempts to annihilate it during the Holocaust and was now struggling for its rights lent added weight to the WJC outlook on the issues of genocide and minority rights. On the strength of his Jewish experience, Marcus proposed that several measures be taken, including the passage of international legislation designating the infringement of minority rights as a crime; the creation of an international system of intervention in the case of infringement of minority rights; and the formation of a reparations mechanism to facilitate the rehabilitation of victims.

While WJC leaders attributed great importance to the international recognition they received through the United Nations, their involvement in its activity stemmed from their overall support of the organization. WJC papers indicate that the organization’s leaders called upon its members and on the general American Jewish public to actively support the United Nations. They maintained that as an intellectual collective upholding a progressive worldview, the Jews were obliged to support the UN, and emphasized that international peace and cooperation as manifested by the UN were particularly vital to Jews, given the suffering and catastrophe they had experienced during World War II. Nevertheless, Jewish support for the United Nations did not stem from narrow self-interest but emanated from a sense of mission that recognized the importance of the organization to the entire world. Jews should commit themselves both to supporting the founding of the UN and to reinforcing it, so as to ensure that the ideals underlying its establishment would not remain only within the realm of utopia.

The WJC leadership in New York also endorsed the Bretton Woods Agreement, concluded during the course of an international economic summit held in July 1944 in the town of Bretton Woods in New Hampshire, which comprised a series of trade agreements determining the exchange rates of currencies among the developed countries. The forty-four countries attending the conference established the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. WJC representatives participated in public activity in the United States to promote the agreements. The organization’s American members were called upon to lobby their representatives in Congress to support the agreement, and its institutions distributed information pertaining to the agreements to their members and conveyed their support of the agreements and the financial arrangements concluded in their wake. The activities of the WJC in and for the United Nations can be properly understood only in connection with the relevant steps taken by the respective organs of the UN and the bodies connected with it. We must understand these activities not in isolation, but within the frame- work of the action taken in the respective field by the organs of the UN and the result achieved.

The issues of human rights and fundamental freedoms were ones to which the WJC had devoted the largest part of its work at the United Nations. From the very beginning the WJC considered it critical that the new world organization, established in the immediate aftermath of the Holocaust and World War II, deal with the rights of the individual to a greater extent than had been the case at the League of Nations. This consideration stemmed from the experience of the Nazi and Fascist regimes, which had demonstrated the degree to which the most elementary human rights could be violated and the depth of inhumanity that resulted from that violation. Mindful of the failure of constitutional guarantees for the protection of the individual against abuse, particularly since 1933, the WJC has regarded the international protection of human rights as the only solution to the problem, and the establishment of international machinery for the protection of the rights so proclaimed as the only effective safeguard against their violation.

The main agency of the United Nations dealing with human rights was the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR). It was a functional commission within the overall framework of the UN from 1946 until it was replaced by the UN Human Rights Council in 2006. It was a subsidiary body of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and was also assisted in its work by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR). It was the UN’s principal mechanism for, and international forum concerned with, the promotion and protection of human rights. Practically no single session of the Commission on Human Rights passed without the WJC having submitted memoranda on the task before it and its representative appearing before the Commission to present the views of the WJC on the points under discussion.

An expression of the specific interest of the WJC and the United Nations in non-discrimination and the protection of minorities was the establishment of the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities. The function of the Sub-Commission consists mainly of undertaking studies and submitting recommendations to the Human Rights Commission. The Sub-Commission was viewed by the WJC as the “conscience of the United Nations” in the field of discrimination. The WJC therefore supported the work of this Sub-Commission, and when the ECOSOC decided in 1951 to discontinue its activities for a certain period of time, the WJC made strenuous efforts to have this decision reversed by the General Assembly, in official statements and intervention with UN member states and their representatives. In written submissions as well as in oral statements (before the fourth session of the Sub-Commission), the WJC contended that the Sub-Commission had made an important and distinguished contribution to the problems with which it dealt, and deeply deplored the decision of the Economic and Social Council to discontinue its work.

The General Assembly accepted the WJC point of view and disagreed with the ECOSOC. It decided on February 4, 1952 that since prevention of discrimination and protection of minorities is one of the most important tasks undertaken by the United Nations, it must be enabled to continue its work to fulfill its mission.

John P. Humphrey, director of the UN Human Rights Division, said in his address at the opening of the third WJC plenary assembly in Geneva on August 4, 1953:

One of the most interesting and significant developments in international organizations since the Second World War has been the increasing participation of non-governmental organizations like the WJC in the work of the United Nations and of its specialized agencies. Among the non-governmental organizations having consultative status with the Economic and Social Council, none have contributed more than the WJC. I am informed that the WJC alone has had some 44 written statements circulated to various United Nations bodies and this impressive figure does not include the many oral interventions of your representatives. Even more important, however, in my opinion, are the more subtle influences that you are able to bring to bear on governments and delegations, a diplomatic function, which none could be more delicate or require. Not only have you taken full advantage of the procedures provided by the United Nations for consultations but you also played a brilliant role in the working out and development of these procedures.

Professor Humphrey’s address pointed out the tremendous role and contributions of the WJC to the United Nations.


As an Israeli scholar engaged in the study of American Jewry, I take particular interest in the WJC’s role in shaping the Jewish Diaspora in Europe and rehabilitating the Jewish communities there following World War II. Most studies undertaken during the initial decades after the founding of the State of Israel addressed the various contexts of this dramatic event. The discussion among American Jewry became a part of this trend, and their political and economic contribution to the establishment of the state was used as a kind of counterbalance to the criticism leveled at the limited success of their contribution to the rescue of Jews during the Holocaust.

As the defining impact of the founding of the State of Israel gradually receded into the past, historical discourse began to address broader issues relating to the essence of Jewish existence following World War II as well as to the establishment of Israel. In this paper I have tried to examine the attempt by WJC leaders to operate within the United Nations as a representative Jewish organization. Rather than conducting this effort from an anti-Zionist worldview, they emphasized that the recovery effort would function alongside their public, economic, and political support for the young state.

The efforts of the WJC at rehabilitating the Jewish communities of Europe and its activities within the United Nations reinforce the conclusion that the founding of the State of Israel was but part of the process of shaping the postwar Jewish world, and that the WJC’s role in this process is of critical importance. It behooves us as scholars to broaden the scope of the study and discussion of this issue within academia, and to contribute to the evolution of the discourse on this topic within the State of Israel, in the United States, and throughout the Jewish world.

1. See Natan Feinberg, “The Committee of Jewish Delegations 1919 – 1936” [in Hebrew], Gesher 63–64 (1970): pp. 15–16. See also Nahum Goldmann, “Fifty Years of Struggle for Jewish Rights,” Gesher 63–64 (1970): pp. 7–12; A. Bein, “The Role of A. L. Motzkin in the Struggle for Jewish National Rights in the Diaspora and in the Founding of the Committee of Jewish Delegations,” Gesher 63–64 (1970): pp. 30–38.

2. On Simon Dubnow (also spelled Shimon, Shimen, and Semyon; and Dubnov), see, e.g., Sophie Dubnov-Erlich, The Life and Work of S. M. Dubnov: Diaspora Nationalism and Jewish History, trans. Judith Vowles (Bloomington, IN, 1991), pp. 1–33.

3. Memorandum of the Executive Committee of the WJC, submitted to the League of Nations on December 16, 1936, American Jewish Archives (AJA), 361 A1/2.

4. Memorandum of the Directorate of the World Jewish Congress to the League of Nations, AJA, 361 A1/2.

5. Open letter from Wise to the Jews of America, March 1938 (no precise date given), AJA, 361 A9/4. For an address in a similar vein, see the public declaration by Louis Lipsky, May 9, 1938, AJA, 361 A9/4. See also the letter from Wise to Rabbi Joseph Rantz of Louisville, KY, December 1, 1941, AJA, 361 C68/13.

6. Wise, open letter; see note 5. Wise was chairman of the WJC’s Executive Committee until 1943, when he was elected president.

7. Memorandum of the Executive Committee of the World Jewish Congress to the League of Nations committee dealing with the organization’s charter, December 16, 1936, AJA, 361 A1/2. To impress upon the League’s institutions the seriousness of the plight of the Jews in Germany and in Eastern Europe, WJC leaders made a point of passing on to them information on the deteriorating economic condition of Europe’s Jews. See the memorandum of the WJC’s Economic Committee submitted to the League of Nations, March 14, 1937, AJA, 361A9/3.

8. Report on the Activities of the Executive Committee of the WJC September–October 1938, October 15, 1938, AJA 361 A1/1.

9. Natan Lerner, The World Jewish Congress and Human Rights (Geneva, 1978), p. 5.

10. Unity in Dispersion: A History of the World Jewish Congress, 2d. ed. (New York: World JewishCongress, 1948), p. 313.

11. Ibid., p. 338.

12. Lerner, World Jewish Congress and Human Rights, p. 7, note 17.

13. Report on Activities of the World Jewish Congress, January–May 1945, World Jewish Congress(British Section), June 1945, p. 4.

14. Jacob Robinson, Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in the Charter of the UnitedNations (New York, 1946), p. 32.

15. Lerner, World Jewish Congress and Human Rights, p. 7, note 17.

16. Gerhart M. Riegner, Never Despair: Sixty Years in the Service of the Jewish People and the Cause of Human Rights (Chicago, 2006), pp. 366–368.

17. Ibid., p. 179.

18. Ibid., pp. 181–182.

19. Nehemiah Robinson, The United Nations and the World Jewish Congress (New York, 1955), hereafter Robinson, UN, p. 3.

20. UN Economic and Social Council, “The World Jewish Congress and the United Nations, 1953,” box #134, folder #13, ms-361, World Jewish Congress Records, AJA, Cincinnati, OH.

21. On attempts to involve Jews and Congress activists in UNRRA activity, see Tartakower’s report on his activity in London, AJA, 361 A1/4.Tartakower visited London as chairman of the WJC’s Welfare and Relief Committee. Among his other efforts, he tried to convince the heads of UNRRA to hire Jews for their European activities.

22. WJC memorandum submitted to UNRRA, September 1944 (no precise date given), AJA, 361 C98/6.

23. “Political Aspects of Relief . . . Editorial,” Congress Weekly, December 29, 1944, p. 5.

24. Report on the WJC’s Cultural and Educational Division, March 20, 1946, AJA, 361 E10/14.

25. Ibid.

26. See a memorandum of the WJC’s Paris office pertaining to future cultural activity, September 24, 1948, AJA, 361 E10/14. On the primacy and importance of the cultural aspect of processes of national crystallization, see John Hutchinson, “Cultural Nationalism and Moral Regeneration,” in Nationalism, ed. John Hutchinson and Anthony D. Smith (Oxford, 1994), pp. 122–131.

27. See in this volume, “The State of World Jewry, 1948,” Nahum Goldmann’s keynote address at the second WJC plenary assembly in Montreux, Switzerland, June 27, 1948. See also Congress Weekly, August 20, 1948, p. 9.

28. Memorandum submitted by Dr. Robert Marcus, Chairman of the WJC Political Committee, to the UN Commission on Genocide, March 6, 1948, AJA, 361 B104/3.

29. On support for the United Nations, see memorandum to the WJC conference at Atlantic City, November 17, 1944, AJA, 361 A68/3. On the participation of WJC representatives in related activity in Washington and their support for the Bretton Woods agreements, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund, see the article written by Nehemiah Robinson in Congress Weekly, April 20, 1945, AJA, 361 B95/3. See also the memorandum by Robinson, undated, AJA, 361 B95/1 and the telegram from US Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau Jr. inviting the WJC to send a representative to the consultations in Washington regarding the Bretton Woods agreements, February 17, 1945, AJA, 361 B95/3. On the request to lobby members of Congress to support the Bretton Woods agreement, see the action guide of the WJC’s Women’s League, February 5, 1945, AJA, 361 C68/5. On the agreements and their significance, see John Maynard Keynes, Activities 1941– 1946: Shaping the Post War World: Bretton Woods and Reparations (London, 1980).

30. See, generally, N. Robinson, UN.

31. N. Robinson, UN, pp. 116–126.

32. Professor John P. Humphrey, address at the opening of the WJC Third plenary assembly at Geneva, Switzerland, August 4, 1953, WJC Brussels office.

33. For more information regarding the WJC activities at the United Nations prior to 1955, see generally, N. Robinson, UN. See also the letter and memorandum signed by Nehemiah Robinson and Robert Marcus sent to the General Assembly of the United Nations, World Jewry, May/June 1967, and Nehemiah Robinson, Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons: Its History and Interpretation (Institute of Jewish Affairs, World Jewish Congress, 1955), reprinted by the Division of International Protection of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.