International Rescue Committee (IRC)

1933: Birth of the IRC [IRC at 75]

As the International Rescue Committee observes our 75th anniversary this year, IRC president George Rupp plans to blog about one moment from IRC's rich history each month. Read on to find out how Albert Einstein played a part in our founding:

In January 1933, Adolf Hitler, the head of the Nazi party, became chancellor of Germany. Within two months, the Nazis had gained virtually total control of the country and had begun what would be a 12-year nightmare eventually engulfing the entire world.  For starters, Germany's labor unions and opposing political parties were banned.  Civil liberties were suspended.  And the purging of Jews from the German government and universities was launched. 
 
Although much of the world greeted the Nazi takeover with indifference or apathy, some people were alert to what was happening and the threat it represented. In July 1933, a committee of 51 prominent Americans was established in New York at the request of German-born physicist Albert Einstein in his role as head of the International Relief Association.  The Americans included intellectuals, artists, and members of the clergy.  Among them were the philosopher John Dewey, the writer John Dos Passos, and the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr.  
 
The committee established offices at 11 West 42nd St., opposite Bryant Park and not far from our current headquarters location.  Its mission, as The New York Times reported on July 24, 1933, was to "assist Germans suffering from the policies of the Hitler regime."  And so came into being the organization that would grow into today's International Rescue Committee.  Although the IRC today is vastly larger and more complex than it was at the beginning, we are still motivated by the same concern that led to our founding: a commitment to fellow human beings who are suffering as the result of persecution, war, or civil conflict.
3 comments

Comments

I commend you on remaining

I commend you on remaining neutral politically and concentrating solely on the work that needs to be done. I am happy to support you!

You, IRC are doing a

You, IRC are doing a wonderful job by creating the awareness of all that is happening especially in africa. It is real. Though as an african, it is painful & shameful for us to have this but I think it is a clarion call for improvement, hardwork, peaceful & a commited spirit towards the general forward progress of humanity. God bless you IRC.

Helping people in distress is

Helping people in distress is earnest effort and self sacrifice to act on that moment which is a lifetime immense value and a legacy left by Albert Einstein to the IRC TODAY

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