MARCH 25, 1958
NEW YORK—Although some of us may not feel the effects of the recession at the present time, there is one organization which is very conscious of the fact that for many people life is not going on as before. This is the American Council for Emigres in the Professions, which placed many people who came here in the old days to escape Hitler and since then to escape communism and which recently did a great deal to help those Hungarians in the professional groups who came over in our special program immediately after the revolution occurred.
The council is now flooded with Hungarians who have been dismissed from their employment because they were so recently hired. Among them are highly trained engineers, chemists, and research workers in the social sciences and the humanities. Last year places could be found for nearly all of them, but they haven't worked long enough to qualify for unemployment payments. They have no friends or family to turn to for help. They had thought their jobs were permanent, and dismissals have come as a terrific shock.
One feels that since we have a national shortage of trained engineers and other professional personnel, some contact should be made with other parts of the country where these people could find jobs. They should not get to the point where they are hungry and frustrated—sometimes to the point of wanting to go back to Hungary where possible death may await them. We had better give them a little thought now. What is going is a temporary recession, of course, but to these people it seems like a permanent disaster.
I attended a lunch the other day given by an organization known as the Chapters Division of Cancer Care. This group raises large sums of money for the care of patients who are in an advanced stage of illness. Money for research comes from other sources, but these people are concerned with making life more comfortable and a little more bearable for the people who are not going to get well. They are devoted workers and I was happy to see how enthusiastic they are.
I also had an opportunity last week to see a small clinic run by the Society for the Rehabilitation of the Facially Disfigured. It is at present in cramped quarters, but nevertheless this little clinic is effecting some remarkable cures. It devotes itself exclusively to plastic surgery of the face and neck. People who have injuries or are born with defects which affect this area of the body cannot hide their disfiguration, and it often has a very bad psychological effect on them.
Since plastic surgery can help to remove the disability or at least to improve it, this is something all of us should be interested in. I found my visit to this small clinic at 210 East 64th Street a most rewarding experience, and I hope it will soon find larger quarters and be able to do an even more valuable service than it is doing at present.