SEPTEMBER 27, 1944
NEW YORK, Tuesday—At the luncheon yesterday of the Women's Division of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies, a very wise plea was made, urging that thought be given to the needs for the future. I could not help thinking that all of our planning should be done on this basis. If we are able to give a little more this year than last year, or a little more than we think we will be able to give next year, we should put it aside, or the charity to which we donate it should put it aside in a fund to use in the future, when the needs may be greater.
Our foresight, however, should not be limited to our charities. It seems to me that we should be preparing now for all the contingencies that we can possibly foresee. Preparation in our communities for the return of our men should begin now, because the men are already coming back. They need, at present, all the services which we so glibly talk about their having in the distant future.
Every one of us should find out in our community, through the Selective Service Board, whether the machinery has been set up and a community leader chosen who will run an information and advisory service for returning soldiers. This should be available to the displaced workers as well. Some workers have uprooted themselves and gone to work in different parts of the country. During the period of plant reconversion, or when their particular work comes to an end, they may want to return to their homes, or to see about a different kind of work. They may then need an information service quite as much as the returning soldier may need it.
My letters yesterday were interesting. One of them, describing Paris the day after its liberation, told how the Americans were mobbed by joyous Parisians wanting to give their liberators all they had.
Workers for UNRRA are already in foreign countries, and the following excerpt from a letter written by one of them gives a faint idea of one type of work which they are going to be called upon to do.
"The full moon was a great help in the removal of several hundred mothers and small children to a cooler place in the pre-dawn hours today," it reads. "The self-control of these people, who have been through so many tragic separations, is wonderful. Those already loaded into the lorries sang their rather mournful folk-songs from the mountains, while waiting for the rest to be loaded. There seems to be a common and spontaneous impulse to sing. The beauty of the moonlight on the desert will now always bring back to me the swaying lorries lumbering over the hill."