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Wiener Library

Far Eastern Jewish Central Information Bureau: Correspondence (microfilm)


Reference code(s): GB 1556 WL 514

Held at: Wiener Library

Title: Far Eastern Jewish Central Information Bureau: Correspondence (microfilm)

Date(s): 1938-1939

Level of description: collection

Extent: c900 frames

Name of creator(s): Far Eastern Jewish Central Information Bureau


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Central Information Bureau for Jewish War Sufferers in the Far East was founded in 1917 by Sam Mason, a special delegate sent by the Hebrew Immigrant Society (better known as HIAS) in New York. Its function was to deal with the problem of refugees attempting to reach America (and other countries) from the Far East. The main office was established in Harbin, China, but branches were also set up in Yokohama, Japan, and Vladivostok on the eastern seaboard of the Soviet Union. Though the Bureau continued to deal with the problems of victims of the 1914-1918 First World War until the late 1920's, it changed its official name to The Far Eastern Central Information Bureau in 1923 and took its cable address 'DALJEWCIB' which became the organisation's name in everyday use. At this time Meir Birman became involved in the Bureau's work and was to manage it until its dissolution some 25 years later. Connected with HIAS since 1918, the Bureau worked in very close co-operation with the umbrella Jewish refugee organization HICEM (the amalgamation of HIAS, JCA and the Emigre organisation of Berlin). From 1938, the numbers of German, Austrian and other central European Jews, including Polish and Czechoslovakians, requesting asylum grew drastically. With the Japanese occupation of northern China in the early 1930s, the situation of the Jews in Harbin deteriorated, until, in September 1939, the Bureau moved its head office to Shanghai. At that time Shanghai remained one of the few places, which refugees could enter without a visa. Throughout 1939 and 1940, Jews continued to flood into Shanghai, until with the outbreak of the Pacific War some 18,000 Jewish refugees reached Shanghai, of which about 8,000 originated from Germany and about 4,000 from Austria. At the end of the Pacific War in August 1945 the Bureau formed part of the world-wide chain of organisations trying to trace other Jewish refugees in order to place the Shanghai refugees in secure countries. This work continued for a number of years after the war ended.


Scope and content/abstract:

Correspondence between the Far Eastern Jewish Central Information Bureau (DALJEWCIB) and individuals and other Jewish organisations detailing the experiences of German and Austrian Jewish émigrés in the Far East, 1938-1939. The personal accounts contain descriptions of the outward-bound voyage and of the climate and conditions in the host country, along with details on obtaining work and accommodation. Note that many of the letters are copies or extracts from originals. Some newsletters and newspapers are also included.


Language/scripts of material: German

System of arrangement:

514/I: correspondence arranged according to place of emigration.
514/II: correspondence arranged according to profession. Note that the material is in reverse chronological order within each group.

Conditions governing access:


Conditions governing reproduction:

Copies can be made for personal use. Permission must be sought for publication.

Physical characteristics:


Finding aids:

Description exists to this archive on the Wiener Library's online catalogue


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Jewish Central Information Office


Existence and location of originals:

Wiener Collection, Tel Aviv University, Israel

Existence and location of copies:

Related material:

Publication note:



Archivist's note: Nash, Peter, 'Shanghai HIAS Lists', in Stammbaum, Issue 21, (Winter 2002). Entry compiled by Howard Falksohn.

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: Oct 2007

Emigration | Migration
German history | European history | National history
Jews | Religious groups
Refugees | Migrants
Third Reich | Nazism | Totalitarianism | Political doctrines

Personal names

Corporate names
Far Eastern Jewish Central Information Bureau x DALJEWCIB | Far Eastern Jewish Central Information Bureau
Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society

Harbin | China | East Asia
Shanghai | Shanghai Shi | China | East Asia