Jordan, Charles Harold

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JORDAN, CHARLES HAROLD (1908–1967), U.S. social worker. Jordan was born in Philadelphia and educated in Germany. He joined the *American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (jdc) in 1941 as a social worker in Cuba. After service in the U.S. Navy during World War ii, Jordan became jdc director in Shanghai, responsible for the care and emigration of Jewish refugees. After serving as head of the jdc Emigration Department in Paris from 1948, Jordan became jdc assistant director general, and in 1955 director general in Europe. In these capacities Jordan was a key figure in the mass migration of Jews to Israel from Europe and the consequent closing of the displaced person camps in Europe. He sponsored the development of *Malben in Israel for immigrant social care, and the work of the jdc in North Africa. In 1965 he became executive vice chairman of the jdc. As chairman of the Governing Board of the International Council of Voluntary Agencies from 1962, Jordan gained recognition as an international expert in his field. In 1967 he became chairman of the American Council of Voluntary Agencies for Foreign Service, and interested himself especially in world refugee problems. On August 16, 1967, he was mysteriously murdered in Prague.

[Yehuda Bauer]

New light has since been thrown on Jordan's death. His body was found floating in the Vltava River in Prague, and the Czechoslovak government issued a terse statement that he had committed suicide.

According to Josef Frolik, who for 17 years worked for Czechoslovak intelligence and later defected to the United States, Jordan was suspected by the Arabs of being an Israeli spy and was kidnapped after leaving his hotel to buy cigarettes. He was brought to the Egyptian embassy for interrogation, during which he was killed by three Palestinians. Early the next morning his body was carried out to a car by four men and thrown into the river. The Czech authorities were aware of the facts but decided not to inform the American embassy of the fate of Jordan. Three days after the body was found the First Secretary at the Egyptian embassy at Prague left the country at the government's request, and the three Palestinians left a week later.


New York Times (Feb. 3, 1974).