Henry Morgenthau Pleads for Aid to Jews in Palestine

October 6, 1914

Responding to a plea from Henry Morgenthau the United States Ambassador to Turkey, American Jewish leaders led by Louis Marshall and Jacob Schiff quickly raise $50,000 in aid for the Jewish community in the Land of Israel. The money would arrive in Jaffa on October 6 in the form of gold and was delivered on the USS North Carolina.

Morgenthau, who was Jewish, had visited the Jews in Palestine earlier in the year, was especially concerned that the outbreak of World War I would cut off the Jews living in the Land of Israel from European aid and support. On August 31, 1914, Morgenthau sent a telegram (shown below) to Jacob Schiff, one of the leading Jewish philanthropists in the United States, as a follow up to an earlier message sent to the State Department requesting aid for the struggling Jewish community in Palestine. Schiff enrolled the help of Louis Marshall, the leader of the American Jewish Committee and the two raised the money within two days. The money was delivered in gold by Maurice Wertheim, Morgenthau’s nephew and was in turn delivered to Arthur Ruppin the head of the Zionist Organization office in Palestine. One month later, two American Jewish relief organizations would merge to form the Joint Distribution Committee of American Funds for the Relief of Jewish War Sufferers (today known as the JDC).

For more including telegrams and correspondence between the individuals mentioned above visit the AJC archives.