APRIL 24, 1946
HYDE PARK, Tuesday—In the last few days, two things have been brought to my attention. One is an effort to solicit contributions to aid the 30,000 orphaned and homeless children of Belgium. Chaplain Edouard Froidurf of the Belgian Army and Louis Sheid, both of whom spent some time in the Dachau concentration camp, are administering this program.
The citizens of the United States are being asked to contribute to many things at the present time, but orphans in the war-torn countries especially appeal to our hearts. Also, we are a nation made up of people whose backgrounds tie them closely to many countries in Europe. It is possible to raise the funds which are asked of us through the people who have a special interest because their parents or grandparents are in the country whose children are suffering.
These 30,000 orphans will have to grow up under the care of the Belgian Government, and we are asked to contribute $1,000,000 toward their support. I hope there will be found enough people in this country to undertake this particular burden.
There are several other countries in Europe which I think are going to need our help for a long period. France has many people in the United States who will have a continuing interest in the needs of her children and in her own restoration as a cultural center for the world.
Yugoslavia, whose fight against Fascism was of great importance at a crucial time for the Allies, perhaps is amongst those nations facing the greatest need at present for both food and medical care for her children and adult population.
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I told you recently about a visit I had had from the Polish Minister of Labor and Social Welfare, Jan Stanczyk. He has since sent me a little more information on the condition of the children in that country, and I am quoting it here:
"There are in Poland 1,100,000 orphans and semi-orphans, and 2,400,000 children and youths up to 18 years of age whose parents are in such poverty as to be unable to provide for them. These children and youths must be partially fed and totally clothed by a public welfare organization.
"Furthermore, there are about 2,100,000 adults who have lost their health either in concentration camps, while doing forced labor, or as a result of difficult conditions during the war and occupation. Among them are tens of thousands of invalids, wounded in fighting the Germans in our country and abroad.
"Our population is reduced to poverty, and our country is destroyed to an incredible extent. Consequently, we are unable to assure, solely by our own means, care and assistance for the masses of people finding themselves in extremely difficult circumstances.
"We are thus compelled to appeal to governments of Allied nations and to the conscience of humanity for aid."