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Central British Fund


CENTRAL BRITISH FUND (cbf), now known as World Jewish Relief, the principal British refugee relief agency, established in May 1933 as the Central British Fund for German Jewry, for emergency relief to persecuted persons following the Nazi rise to power. The cbf formed the Jewish Refugees Committee (jrc) as its case-working body and financed its activities. The purpose of this Committee was to assist Jewish refugees from Central Europe in the United Kingdom. The cbf also aided settlement in Palestine, and facilitated various emigration schemes. The cbf assumed a blanket guarantee vis-à-vis the British government that the refugees from Nazi oppression would not become a burden on public funds. When the number of refugees from Germany and Austria reached 60,000 at the outbreak of World War ii, the British government agreed to subsidize the work of the jrc. In 1944 the cbf formed the Jewish Committee for Relief Abroad which sent teams of volunteers to work first in Italy and Greece, then in former concentration camps in Germany and Austria. At the same time the cbf changed its name to Central British Fund for Jewish Relief and Rehabilitation. In the immediate postwar period it extended help to the stricken Jewish communities in Europe, and in the summer of 1945 brought 750 orphaned children from concentration camps to the United Kingdom. After the Suez crisis and the Hungarian uprising (1956), the cbf assisted the Jewish refugees from Hungary and Egypt admitted to the United Kingdom. From 1958 onward, the cbf established close cooperation with the *American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee in North Africa, Iran, Poland, and in particular France, where it contributed to relief and the housing of Jewish refugees from North Africa. The cbf was instrumental in the creation of the *United Restitution Organization (uro) in 1948, and the Jewish Trust Corporation for Germany in 1950; it was also one of the founding members of the *Conference on Jewish Material Claims. In recent years it has changed its name to World Jewish Relief, and continues to provide assistance to beleaguered Jews in the Diaspora, especially in the former Soviet Union and Argentina. Amy Gottlieb's Men of Vision: Anglo-Jewry's Aid to the Victims of the Nazi Regime, 1933–1945 (1998) is a history of the cbf during the Nazi period.


N. Bentwich, They Found Refuge (1956); cbf for Jewish Relief and Rehabilitation, Annual Report (1933/34– ). add. bibliography: J. Stiebel, "The Central British Fund for World Jewish Relief," in: jhset, 27 (1978–80), 51–60.

[Charles I. Kapralik /

William D. Rubinstein (2nd ed.)]

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