In order to achieve this goal, the JDC played a hands-on role in the daily operations of the French Jewish organizations it subsidized and actively sought to change practices that it judged out-of-date or inefficient. This placed the JDC in a paradoxical role- advocating autonomy, but exercising authority. In , a new country director for France, Laura Margolis, was named and the JDC policy for France shifted its objectives to create institutions that it hoped would ensure the long-term survival of the French Jewish community. For example, the JDC established two professional schools in and to train nurses and social workers for European Jewish communal institutions, using both American faculty and methods.
Its social work school, the Paul Baerwald School of Social Work, brought in experts from the New York School of Social Work to teach a one-year training program based on the American social work curriculum. Operating in Versailles from to , this school influenced both the practices in French Jewish welfare organizations and wider European social work circles by helping to import the casework method to Europe Hobson Faure, Jewish community centers, modeled on a structure that was popular in the postwar period among American Jews, were also introduced to France by the JDC in the early s.
We can thus see that the JDC enabled a cultural transfer, allowing for the importation of American welfare methods and structures. Two sources from the postwar period help us better understand the atmosphere that reigned in the JDC offices immediately after the war, allowing us to better discern the individual perceptions and difficulties faced by American and European aid workers in this key institution.
Taken in isolation, hasty conclusions should not be drawn from these two personal accounts. They are subjective in nature and represent a fleeting moment in an encounter that lasted over a decade. Nevertheless, they provide clues to the deeper issues affecting American Jewish philanthropic efforts in France.
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The second source is a comic sketch, written by one of the local European staff members of the JDC, an individual who worked under Razovsky Davidson. The fireplaces were ripped open and the heating apparatus broken. We were beginning to set up an office but could not get typewriters, clips, erasers, etc.
Also, we would give dictation in the morning and suddenly would remember at the end of the day we had not seen it finished. I asked about a cable one afternoon and with much crying and excitement, the typist admitted she had not done it. When we pressed them to work hard and fast we found them fainting on our hands and then we learned that they did not ever get enough to eat.
The relief expert was sitting in a staff meeting one day and fainted away. He was in the hospital unconscious for two days and we found it was all due to malnutrition.
The French are great bread eaters. One girl worked for us who had been in hiding for four years, during that time her husband had been deported and her baby was born. She had crossed the Pyranees [sic] with her baby in her arms to get away from the Germans. She had to hide for several years, never had enough to eat in hiding. Now she had found a place to board the baby but most of her salary at JDC was spent on board for the baby, and even if she had some money she would have to go to black markets to buy anything […].
Yet they are also those of a trained social worker. Avoiding emotion, she simply states the facts and explains why work was not getting done, and how this was corrected. Both groups, in fact, were in need of help. Indeed, it describes the busy offices of the organization through the perspective of Liselotte and serves as a particularly rich example of how European JDC staff perceived their American employers.
The author then mocks the American director of the JDC, portraying him as a time-obsessed taskmaster. And these drafts, these drafts! Now look, dear. The daughter of a Swiss Protestant minister, Eidenbenz initially volunteered to help the Republican cause in the Spanish Civil War — a cause that became desperate with the fall of Barcelona in In January and February of , a half-million Republican refugees fled on foot to France. Women were being mistreated, many raped by guards.
There were just horrific conditions for women. Eidenbenz initially helped these refugees through the organization Swiss Aid. It would become the Maternity, with each room named after a Spanish city including Madrid, Barcelona and Bilbao. The first pregnant woman arrived in January There would be many more under the care of Eidenbenz and her staff of Expectant mothers arrived four weeks before their delivery date; they could stay up to four weeks after giving birth, after which Eidenbenz would look to place them in a job to keep them out of the camps.
The hospital would see 20 births each month in and Elisabeth faced the head of the police, fought for deported women. The Germans ultimately ordered the Maternity closed in On Easter , 60 former refugees who had lived as children at the Maternity of Elne returned to the town for a celebration of their rescuer, Eidenbenz.
More importantly, Rose advanced remarkably provocative ideas. Susan B. Rose is not appreciated, nor cannot be by this age—she is too much in advance of the extreme ultraists even, to be understood by them. It may have been as a Jew that Rose learned to respect the power of law. Greater natural powers than even these possessed may have been destroyed in woman for want of proper culture, a just appreciation, reward for merit as an incentive to exertion, and freedom of action, without which, mind becomes cramped and stifled, for it can not expand under bolts and bars.
Ernestine was almost certainly not her original name, which would have been Yiddish, though her Polish name could have been Ernestyna. The Jewish mode of textual interrogation seems to have taught this brilliant child an extraordinary independence of mind. When she was fifteen and a half, her father arranged a marriage for her.
Rather than submit to matrimony, she traveled alone to Germany—an almost suicidally heroic undertaking for a sixteen-year-old girl at the time. Settling first in Berlin, Rose somehow managed to meet and move among intellectuals,and then, moving to London, became a personal disciple of Robert Owen, the founder of British communitarian socialism.
After making the passage to New York, she joined the highest circles of freethinkers there. The following year, the society agreed to invite women to all the festivities. She later became one of the main organizers of the annual celebration.
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She just added the oppression of women to her bill of particulars against religion. Less than six months later, the twenty-six-year-old with curly hair and a Yiddish accent was going door to door with a petition urging passage of a bill newly introduced in the New York state legislature by a judge who was another freethinker. It proposed that married women be allowed to hold property in their own names. It seems that Rose sent in the first petition supporting the measure.
It bore five signatures. In , they met Stanton, who by then was also lobbying for the bill. One reason Stanton and friends called the Seneca Falls convention was that they felt encouraged by their legislative victory. Once it attracted attention in the press, though, she quickly recognized its import. Why did Rose, a socialist, make the defense of property rights her first big cause? One anecdote from her youth is telling—so telling it may be, as journalists say, too good to check. The contract stipulated that the young man got to keep the money even if Rose did not marry him.
At this point, the story takes a fairy-tale turn. The driver wanted to wait for morning to resume their journey, but that was when the hearing was scheduled to begin, so Rose insisted he fetch someone to fix the problem.
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She spent the rest to get herself to Berlin. In Berlin, the enterprising teenager invented an air freshener—yes, really!
It consisted of perfumed papers that, when burned, masked the foul smells that hung about unventilated Berlin apartments. In New York, Ernestine mixed and sold cologne out of the same shop where William made and repaired silver wares. As it happens, William Rose was a gentle soul who adored his wife and would never have encroached on her earnings; indeed, his trade helped subsidize the cost of her being on the lecture circuit. Under the British and American common law of marriage at the time, known as coverture, wives ceded their legal identities to their husbands, thereby forfeiting all claim to wealth or property they may have owned before the wedding and everything they earned or acquired after.
A husband could designate his children as his heirs, leaving his wife a pauper upon his death.