1914 The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is founded to aid Jews in Palestine and Europe suffering from the hardships of World War I. In response to the famine, sickness and anti-Semitism following the Russian Revolution and the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, JDC provides the Eastern European Jewish community with food, clothing and medicine.
1920s After the October Revolution, JDC provides post-war relief to Jews in Russia and Ukraine, by opening canteens, medical centers and educational institutions. Agro-Joint sets up collective farms for Jews in the USSR. At the same time, JDC plays an active role in the revival of Jewish communities in Eastern Europe and does all it can to support the economic development of the Jewish people in Palestine.
1930s In 1937, JDC is banned in the USSR. Hitler comes to power in Germany, and JDC focusses on supporting the country's Jewish community, impoverished following the passing of the Nuremberg Laws, and the emigration of Jews from Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia. JDC also provides everything needed by Jewish refugees to resettle in Israel, the USA and Latin America.
1940s The USA joins World War II in 1941 and JDC cannot work openly in Europe. Nevertheless, JDC supports underground organizations saving Jews, and helps thousands of refugees, providing them with food and shelter, travel tickets and visas. Following the fall of the Third Reich, JDC provides support to tens of thousands of Jews who have survived the Holocaust but are still living in the dreadful conditions of displaced persons camps.
1950s The creation of the state of Israel leads to one of the biggest organized mass migrations in history. By 1951, roughly 440,000 Jews move to Israel with the active support of JDC and the Jewish Agency for Israel. Tens of thousands of these come from North Africa and the Middle East as part of rescue operations organized by JDC. At the same time, JDC supports the Jewish communities remaining there.
1960s A flood of migrants, many in need of continuous social support, overwhelms the young state of Israel. JDC helps to develop the country's social infrastructure, building houses, old people's homes, hospitals and residential care centers for people with disabilities. As government services develop, JDC focuses on identifying social needs and helping the most vulnerable population groups.
1970s Aware of the central role of the state of Israel in the life of the Jewish community, JDC develops numerous innovation programs in education, health and social services with the aim of improving the quality of life for Israelis. The emigration of Jews from the USSR begins, and JDC provides social and medical assistance to thousands of émigrés awaiting entry visas in Europe.
1980s In the early 1980s, JDC is permitted to work openly in Eastern Europe, and helps with community building and social assistance. JDC does everything possible to assist refuseniks in the Soviet Union, who were not only unable to leave the country, but also lost their livelihoods there. In 1989, JDC returns to the USSR after fifty years to help revive Jewish communities there.
1990s The collapse of the USSR has disastrous consequences for people. JDC sets up a system of Chesed institutions —charity centers for elderly Jews. Mindful of its main role, community building, JDC opens Jewish community centers, libraries and children's and youth camps. In Israel, JDC focuses on aid programs for the new wave of immigrants: more than 700,000 people from the former Soviet Union move there by the end of 1990.
2000s In 2001, a court appoints JDC responsible for the distribution of compensation received from Swiss banks for victims of Nazism living in the former USSR. The Chesed system continues to develop, and the efforts to revive Jewish communities begin to bear fruit. JDC organizes support for Jews in Argentina suffering in the economic crisis of 2001 and provides urgent assistance to victims of the terrible tsunami in 2004.