The situation in Europe worsened week by week. Through its links with underground and resistance units in Eastern Europe, the JLC received compelling evidence of Nazi atrocities and publicized it relentlessly in the U. S. labor press, in government circles, and wherever there was a faint hope of stimulating American sympathy.

By the fall of 1942 the full extent of the slaughter in Poland was widely known. Polish secret courier Jan Karski brought out a lengthy report from the Jewish Underground and added his own eyewitness description of conditions in the ghettos and in the death camp of Belzec. The report reached the JLC in early December, in time for a meeting of Jewish leaders, including JLC president Adolph Held, with Roosevelt. The President listened sympathetically but held out no hope for aid to the beleaguered Jews of Europe, other than the eventual military victory of the allies. At a JLC meeting on December 18th David Dubinsky reported in tones of despair that 2,000,000 Polish Jews had already been killed, and that extermination of the Jewish people was Hitler's ultimate goal. (Waltzer, pp. 8-9.)

From Arthur (Shmuel) Zygielbojm, the Bund's representative to the Polish Government in Exile in London, the JLC received anguished accounts of the Nazi assault on the Warsaw Ghetto and the final annihilation of Ghetto resistance in April 1943. These reports and the grim news of Zygielbojm's suicide in protest against the world's indifference were translated and circulated by the JLC. The JLC's annual report for 1942-1943 began on a note of lamentation:

Regarding our accomplishments in the direction of halting the Jewish tragedy, we should like to express the feeling of dissatisfaction shared by all of us. No one feels that we have really fulfilled our duty .... We have cried out, focused public attention, spoken at meetings, written memoranda, participated in delegations, and -- stood before a high wall.

In deep sorrow, the Committee took up the next task. Through a network of courageous Underground couriers money was smuggled into Nazi-occupied territory to sustain the scattered remnants of East European Jewry in hiding.


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