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December 13, 1985 - Image 15

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-12-13

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS Friday, December 13, 1985

Nine months later, he joined the staff of
the AJDC, the American Jewish Com-
munity's effort to rescue and rehabilitate
Europe's Jews. As the AJDC's deputy
director, Feder was sent to help clear Jews
from the Displaced Persons (DP) camp at
"There was a tremendous movement of
Jews from Eastern Europe after the Kelsy
pogrom," he recalls. "Our catchment
group in Germany went from 30,000 to
150,000. The people were all in transit.
They didn't want to remain in Germany,
but had to stay because immigration to
the United States had not yet opened up.
The Truman Directive was not yet in force.
And going to Palestine involved going
underground, running the blockade and
risking interment in Cyprus.
"Then suddenly everything changed,"
Feder remembers. A social worker from
UNRRA came through a DP camp where
Feder was working and complained that
the inmates were lackluster. He recom-
mended occupational therapy or recreation
to keep them busy. "The colonel who was
in charge," Feder recalls, "tapped his whip
against his leg and said, 'There are women
and there are men. Lettum do something!'
And you know — that's what happened."
The Jews got married. They had child-
ren. "Someone brought 5,000 wedding
rings to Heidelberg in a jeep. Life started
again. Kids were born. I recall that I
calculated that of all the women between
ages 20 and 30 in our camps who were mar-
ried, over 60 percent were pregnant or had
babies. This period was a real revelation
for me. Out of the garbage can, beautiful
flowers. People were suddenly coming
alive again."
By 1952, all the DP camps had closed ex-
cept the one at Bernwald. By 1955, Bern-
wald, too, was closed. Those few hardcore
cases who remained in Bernwald, said
Feder, • were adequately cared for by the
West German government. DPs had be-
gun to immigrate to the United States.
More Jews immigrated to Palestine.
Joseph Schwartz of Baltimore, then the
JDC's director, transformed the organiza-
tion from what Feder termed a "non-
Zionist" organization to an actively
Zionist organization.
"Joe Schwartz involved JDC in putting
its money into ships — like the Exodus —
to take people to Palestine. We were run-
ning our programs in Germany very inex-
pensively — with cigarettes — so substan-
tial funds could be diverted to purchase
ships," Feder recalled.
Joe Schwartz's administrative virtuos-
ity also irrevocably influenced Ted Feder's
personal life. He made it possible for him
to meet his future wife, Dr. Marika Feder,
now a psychiatrist specializing in geriatrics.
"Marika was part of a special group of
about 150 Hungarian JeWish students who
had come to Vienna to study medicine,"
Feder explained. "It turned out that their

Continued on next page

Ted Feder, who made up his mind to help Jews after
World War II, achieved his ambition and became the
director-general of the American Jewish Joint
Distribution Committee, as well as one of the most
influential figures in post-war rehabilitation efforts.


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