First Shipment of Kosher Meat Sent to Danzig, Poland


In 1919, when hundreds of thousands of Jews were trapped between the warring forces of Poland and Russia, American Jews shipped desperately needed food to these refugees. In this photo, barrels of kosher salted beef are loaded aboard the SS Ashburn in New York harbor to be sent to Danzig (present-day Gdansk, Poland). The Joint Distribution Committee of American Funds for the Relief of Jewish War Sufferers (later the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, both names abbreviated as JDC) was formed in 1914 to send aid, including food, clothing, medicine, funds, and emergency supplies, to the stricken Jews of Europe during the war. The war left in its wake many additional catastrophes—pogroms, epidemics, famine, revolution, and economic ruin—and after the war the JDC continued to play a major role in rebuilding the devastated Jewish communities of Eastern Europe and in sustaining the Jews in Palestine. The image, distributed by the photographic agency Underwood and Underwood, is from the archives of the JDC, which contain documents, photographs, film, video, oral histories, and artifacts recording the work of the organization from World War I to the present. Since its founding, the JDC has provided aid and social care in more than 90 countries.

Last updated: March 4, 2016