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National Refugee Service Records

Identifier: RG 248

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains the records of the National Refugee Service, a refugee aid organization based in New York City that beginning in June 1939 assisted refugees fleeing Nazi persecution, and remained in existence until August 1946. Some materials in the collection pertain to the NRS’s predecessor organization, the National Coordinating Committee for Aid to Refugees and Emigrants Coming from Germany, in 1934 to 1939, and to its successor organization, the United Service for New Americans, in 1946 to 1952. The NRS program encompassed a migration service that assisted with affidavits, visas and other legal aspects of the immigration process, temporary relief and casework services; job placement, retraining, and small business loans, and social and cultural adjustment to American life. The NRS also worked together with hundreds of cooperating committees and aid organizations across the United States to assist refugees in the process of resettlement in communities outside of New York, and, beginning in 1944, offered location services to help inquirers find surviving relatives and friends in Europe. The records comprise correspondence, memoranda, minutes, reports, budgets, account books, statistical studies, procedure manuals, newsletters, brochures, and clippings.

Specifically, the records include minutes and correspondence of the board of directors, correspondence and reports of the executive director and of the various operating departments and divisions within the NRS, correspondence with, and field reports and other materials concerning the local communities and organizations in the NRS's nationwide resettlement network, and correspondence and reports related to lay advisory committees and to special committees assisting refugees of various professional groups. These include the National Committee for Refugee Musicians, the National Committee for Resettlement of Foreign Physicians, the National Committee on Refugee Jewish Ministers (Rabbis Committee), the Committee for Displaced Foreign Social Workers, the Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced Foreign Medical Scientists, the Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced Foreign Scholars, and the American Committee for Refugee Scholars, Writers, and Artists. Other refugee-assistance organizations represented include the American Committee for Christian German Refugees, the American Friends Service Committee, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the Jewish Family Welfare Society, the Jewish Social Service Association, the National Council of Jewish Women, Selfhelp of Émigrés from Central Europe, and the Westchester County Coordinating Committee for Emigrés. Files of the Migration department contain material relating to individual cases discussed with government officials, cases of refugees interned in camps in the United States, those at risk for deportation, and special circumstances such as the refugees held at Fort Ontario, Oswego, New York. Among the records are also statistical reports and special studies produced by the NRS’s Information and Statistics department on the refugee aid activities of the agency and its affiliates, as well as on United States immigration and the refugee population during the period. NRS executives and representatives among the correspondents include Stella E. Baruch, Joseph E. Beck, Mark Brunswick, Joseph Chamberlain, Moses Fainberg, Ephraim R. Gomberg, Arthur D. Greenleigh, William Haber, Charles H. Jordan, Dorothy C. Kahn, Lotte Marcuse, Augusta Mayerson, Ann S. Petluck, Cecilia Razovsky, Dorothy F. Tate, and Hanna Ziegler.


  • 1934-1952
  • Majority of material found within 1939-1946


Language of Materials

The collection is predominantly in English, with scattered items in German, French, and Yiddish.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open to the public. Permission to publish part or parts of the collection must be obtained in writing from the YIVO Archives.

Use Restrictions

There may be some restrictions on the use of the collection. For more information, contact:

YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011


Historical Note

The National Refugee Service (NRS) was a refugee aid organization founded in New York City on 15 May 1939 to assist refugees from Europe fleeing Nazi persecution. It represented a reorganization of a predecessor organization, the National Coordinating Committee for Aid to Refugees and Emigrants Coming from Germany, which had been in operation since June 1934. The NRS remained in existence until August 1946, when it merged with the Service to Foreign Born of the National Council of Jewish Women to form the United Service for New Americans.

Predecessors to the NRS: The Joint Clearing Bureau of the JDC; and the National Coordinating Committee (NCC)

The first effort to provide for coordination of organizations assisting refugees coming from Germany was the Joint Clearing Bureau set up by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), which began functioning on 10 September 1933. The work of the Clearing Bureau was limited to referring requests for information or help to appropriate organizations, such as the National Council of Jewish Women, the Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society, and the various emergency committees that had formed to aid physicians, scholars, and musicians. In 1934 the JDC led efforts to establish a separate agency that could coordinate refugee aid work in a more comprehensive way. The idea for such an organization took concrete shape in March 1934 when leaders of 18 American organizations concerned with helping refugees from Germany held a meeting with James G. McDonald, the League of Nation's High Commissioner for Refugees Coming from Germany.

The formal establishment of the National Coordinating Committee for Aid to Refugees and Emigrants Coming from Germany, often known by the briefer name National Coordinating Committee (NCC), took place at a meeting on 7 June 1934. Joseph P. Chamberlain was chair of the new organization; Paul Felix Warburg, treasurer; and Cecilia Razovsky, executive director and secretary. Financed through Jewish fundraising organizations, the NCC coordinated the refugee aid work of approximately 20 refugee and social welfare organizations, including both Jewish and non-Jewish groups. It also acted as an information center for refugee issues, conveyed the views of the member agencies on immigration to the government in Washington, D.C., and to a small extent administered direct relief to refugees upon arrival.

Over time the NCC also laid the groundwork to enable refugees arriving in New York to resettle in communities elsewhere in the United States. In December 1934 it communicated with communities throughout the country and suggested the formation of local committees to assist refugees. By August 1936 such committees had been established in ten cities (New York, Chicago, St. Louis, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Rochester, Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Louisville). The local committees would seek out employment opportunities for refugees and help them establish their new lives. The local committee in the New York area, known as the Greater New York Coordinating Committee, worked in tandem with the NCC in providing assistance and referral services to refugees upon arrival.

With an increasing number of refugees arriving, the NCC established a Resettlement division within its organization in October 1936, chaired by William Rosenwald. Jacob Billikopf assumed the position of director of the division, and traveled around the country encouraging the creation of additional refugee service committees. By May 1937 the NCC had agreements in place with 25 cooperating communities under which each community agreed to accept a certain number of refugees during the year, considered to be its ‘quota.’ The average quota at first was 40 refugees. Earlier on communities were able to set certain selection criteria; later, after September 1938, the quotas became nonselective. Committees were also set up on a state- or region-wide basis. Ultimately the NCC developed a network of nearly 500 participating committees.

In 1938 the NCC established the National Coordinating Committee Fund to seek broader national support for the program and to provide financing for the NCC as well as some of the cooperating agencies. The organizations besides the NCC that received subventions through the fund included the Greater New York Coordinating Committee, which coordinated the work of refugee aid organizations in New York and also worked directly with refugees through its various departments (Employment; Self-Support; Social and Cultural Adjustment of Newcomers; and Retraining and Resettlement of Foreign Physicians); the Jewish Social Service Association (German Department); the Jewish Family Welfare Society of Brooklyn; the National Council of Jewish Women (New York and Brooklyn Sections); the Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced Foreign Scholars; and Trade Winds, Inc., Exchange Shop.

In May 1939 Harry Greenstein of the Associated Jewish Charities, Baltimore, was brought in to conduct an assessment of the NCC’s operations. After a three-month study he submitted a report on 10 May 1939, the central conclusion of which was that due to the increased flow of refugees arriving, the NCC had outgrown its original design. An organization such as the NCC “whose primary purpose was coordination rather than functional operation and direct control” could not efficiently cope with the growing administrative problems, and was not adequate to administer a program that for the year 1939 would have projected expenditures of $2.5 million. He called for a thorough reorganization, and the formation of a new organization that would have a full range of operational departments in order to centralize the administration of services and relief to refugees upon arrival. He also recommended that the new organization have a board of directors that was “truly national in character,” so that the refugee situation could be addressed in a comprehensive way as a national responsibility.

The National Refugee Service

Incorporated on 15 May and beginning operations in June 1939, the NRS took over the work of the NCC, the NCC Fund, and the Greater New York Coordinating Committee. The NRS effectively consolidated and expanded refugee services along the lines proposed by Greenstein in his report. Although the NRS was formally nonsectarian, it had a more specifically Jewish identity than the NCC. Its board of directors was almost entirely Jewish, and its work focused on Jewish refugees. It gave direct services to non-Jewish refugees only in the context of its work with certain special categories of refugees, mainly children and specific professional groups.

The NRS became the beneficiary of the centralized fundraising efforts of the newly founded United Jewish Appeal (UJA), the principal partners of which were the JDC and the United Palestine Appeal. In its first six months the NRS received $2.6 million from the UJA (in comparison, $3 million had been raised for refugee needs in the United States in the previous five years combined). Over the seven years of its existence the NRS spent a total of over $15 million, most of it raised by the UJA.

Under the NRS the administration of relief to refugees in New York City was centralized and some duplication eliminated. The NRS took over most of the case work services that had previously been provided by the Jewish Social Service Association’s German department, the Jewish Family Welfare Society of Brooklyn, and the New York and Brooklyn sections of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW). Whereas previously the NCJW and the Greater New York Coordinating Committee had each offered employment services, these were now consolidated in the Employment department of the NRS. The NCJW continued to be responsible for case work with single women. Its immigrant aid department, the Service for Foreign Born (which had been in existence since 1904 and had departments for port and dock work; international case work; immigrant social adjustment; and Americanization and naturalization) remained independent, and reached an agreement with the NRS about the division of responsibilities. The Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) also continued to provide its traditional services, mainly overseas immigration assistance (in cooperation with the JDC) and short-term relief. The NRS maintained a Central Index of refugees, where other agencies could clear cases, in order to eliminate duplication and confusion in services to refugees.

With offices at 165 W. 46th Street (where the NCC had previously been located), the NRS had 428 employees as of July 1939; and, in July 1940, when staff size was at its peak, 516 employees. Volunteers working under the supervision of the professional staff also made significant contributions, some of them working full time hours. The agency initially had the following major departments (roughly corresponding to an organizational structure proposed by Greenstein): Migration; Resettlement; Employment; Special committees and projects; Relief and Case Work (later: Relief and Service); Information and Research (later: Information and Statistics); Comptroller; Central Office Management.

There was also a Central Reception, or what later was called the Central Intake Department, responsible for interviewing new clients and referring them for services. The Employment department included a Retraining division by the end of 1939. Also, in October 1939 a Capital Loan Committee was formed, which had the responsibility of advising and assisting refugees in establishing businesses in New York City, as well as making loans to refugees throughout the United States for reasons related to economic adjustment, and cooperating with local committees. (This NRS loan fund was a successor to a similar loan fund under the NCC, to which the William Rosenwald Family Fund was a substantial contributor.)

The umbrella designation 'special committees and projects,’ included the following bodies (as reflected in an organizational chart of 1941): Children’s division; Capital Loan; Social and Cultural Adjustment; National Committee for the Resettlement of Foreign Physicians and Dentists (Physicians Committee); National Committee on Refugee Jewish Ministers (Rabbis Committee); National Committee for Refugee Musicians (Musicians Committee); Housing; and Agriculture. (To clarify a few of those headings, not discussed elsewhere: the Children's division rendered service on all problems related to the admission and care of refugee children; the Housing division maintained listings of rooms and apartments, and advised other departments as well as outside agencies on housing problems and procedures; the Agriculture division advised refugees interested in agriculture, arranged training courses, and cooperated with the Jewish Agricultural Society.)

The new organization offered a broad and comprehensive program for refugees, including assistance during the process of immigration and meeting the requirements of immigration laws; legal work on behalf of immigrants at risk for deportation; relief, or temporary financial assistance; medical aid case work; vocational guidance and job placement services; retraining; loans for the establishment of small businesses; special assistance for those with specific professional backgrounds, including rabbis, musicians, and physicians; and social and cultural adjustment to American life.

Building on the resettlement program that had been established under the NCC, the NRS quickly expanded the network of cooperating communities across the country by an additional 200 communities, for a total of approximately 700. Moreover, it maintained a staff of field representatives that communicated with and traveled to local communities in order to troubleshoot in a variety of matters related to the communities’ work with refugees, including migration, family assistance, employment, retraining, and loans.

The NRS also produced reports and statistical studies that documented its own work and the work of cooperating agencies; and disseminated factual information about United States immigration during the period, and the changing character and situation of the refugee population in the United States. Through its newsletters, community bulletins, and special reports the NRS kept cooperating groups informed not only about the agency itself but also about the international situation, new legislation, changing government regulations, and any other circumstances that had an impact on the lives of refugees and the work of those helping them.

Beginning in late 1941, the NRS also had a Community Relations department, which took the lead in soliciting the participation of lay leaders in the NRS’s work by forming a number of advisory committees; oversaw relationships with local communities across the country; and worked with the Information division on promotional mailings and the maintenance of a Speakers Bureau.

In meeting the diversity of needs among refugees the NRS not only encompassed special committees, as in the case of the Physicians Committee, Musicians Committee, and Rabbis Committee, to assist professionals in those groups but also gave subventions to a number of other organizations fulfilling particular needs. Of the organizations receiving subventions, the following worked in close cooperation with the NRS (and even appear in its organizational charts), while retaining an independent corporate identity: German Jewish Children’s Aid, the Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced Foreign Scholars, the Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced Foreign Medical Scientists, the Committee for Displaced Foreign Social Workers, and the New York and Brooklyn sections of the National Council of Jewish Women. (German Jewish Children’s Aid became affiliated with the NRS in 1941 under the name European Jewish Children’s Aid, and the NRS assumed its administrative expenses.)

Additional outside organizations to which the NRS granted subventions at various times included: the Committee for the Study of Recent Immigration from Europe; the Committee for Refugee Education, the National Committee on Post-War Immigration Policy, the Common Council for American Unity, the Central Location Index (established in 1944 by six member agencies, including the NRS, to centralize the work of locating friends and relatives in Europe in response to inquiries), the Westchester County Coordinating Committee for Émigrés, the Jewish Vacation Association (a clearing bureau for summer camps for young people), and the Selfhelp of Émigrés from Central Europe (a volunteer organization that advised and assisted refugees in various ways, including job placement).

As far as a broad picture of the agency's work, it can be noted that expenditures for relief on average accounted for nearly half of the total budget. Of the slightly more than $15 million spent by the NRS overall, 7.1 million went for temporary assistance to refugees, for food, clothing, medical services, and other necessities. During the first year the monthly caseload of families receiving financial assistance increased from 2,000 to 3,200. Later, the volume of cases subsided, with the monthly caseload dropping to just 300 families in 1944, by which time more than 38,000 individuals had received financial assistance from the NRS, or its predecessor, the NCC. Over the course of its existence, the NRS assisted some 26,000 refugees in finding employment. It granted approximately 5,200 loans amounting to $880,000. Migration services were provided in more than 250,000 cases; social adjustment services, in approximately 100,000. Approximately 13,000 refugees were assisted in resettling in localities across the United States, amounting to a little more than 10% of the Jewish immigrants who entered the United States during that time. (Statistics from Lowenstein, p. 366-367; and White, p. 76.)

Because of its dual functions, as both a service organization in New York and a hub for national refugee aid activity, the NRS gained broad experience and expertise in refugee work, and acquired a distinctive identity. It advocated in the area of immigration, and worked together with government on behalf of refugees. In view of the national origins quota system that was in effect (dating from 1924), it strove to meet the requirements of the law while mitigating harsh effects of administrative regulations and fully exploiting the allowances. It provided help in recruiting people to supply the necessary affidavits of support for refugees seeking admission to the United States. (Through such affidavits an individual, usually a relative or friend, accepts financial responsibility for the immigrant, to satisfy the clause in immigration law requiring that applicants for admission verify that they will have adequate means of support and are not at risk of becoming a 'public charge.') The agency itself assumed a protective role toward refugees, operating on the philosophy that no refugee should have to turn to public support within the first five years of residency.

The changing circumstances of the NRS's refugee work, 1941 to 1946

The NRS moved from it headquarters on 46th Street into its own building at 139 Centre Street on 22 December 1941.

Following the entry of the United States into the war in December 1941, nationals of Japan, Germany, and Italy were declared to be enemy aliens and certain restrictions were imposed on their freedom to travel, to live in certain areas considered necessary for defense, or to have certain possessions, including cameras, short-wave radios and firearms. Enemy aliens were required to register and to carry Certificates of Identification with them at all times. Some were detained. The NRS kept its constituents informed about the new regulations, and helped refugees to comply. It also communicated with the federal government about the interpretation of the regulations and obtained exemptions for several groups, such as traveling salespeople.

Beginning in spring and summer of 1942, over 4,000 German and Austrian nationals were detained as enemy aliens in Latin America and brought to the United States to be interned in camps for the duration of the war. About 80 of them were Jewish. Many of them had been detained in Panama and British Honduras. They were held in camps at Seagoville, Texas; Algiers, New Orleans, Louisiana; and elsewhere. The NRS negotiated with the State Department and the Department of Justice on their behalf and ultimately obtained the release of nearly all of them under a status as 'internees at large' on 'parole' to the NRS; it subsequently assisted these refugees in settling in various American communities, obtaining permanent visa status, or making plans for residence elsewhere.

Another key instance in which the NRS played a prominent role as an advocate for refugees was with respect to the nearly 1,000 refugees brought over from allied-occupied Italy in August 1944 and housed at an emergency shelter at Fort Ontario, Oswego, N.Y., with the understanding that they would be returned to their countries of origin after the war. The NRS was one of the agencies that provided supplemental services to the refugees and advocated on their behalf. NRS director Joseph E. Beck, in consultation with presidential special counsel Samuel I. Rosenman, helped to draft the executive order of President Harry S. Truman, known as the Truman Directive, issued 22 December 1945, which granted regular admission to the Oswego refugees, ordered immigration officials to give preference to Displaced Persons, and established the use of a 'corporate affidavit,' by which an organization or community could guarantee support for a group of refugees in lieu of securing affidavits for each individual applicant, as had been the custom.

The war had brought a drop in Jewish immigration. During the period of the National Socialist regime in Germany, Jewish immigration to the United States was at a peak in 1938-1939, when 43,450 Jewish immigrants arrived (between 1 July 1938 and 30 June 1939). After that it decreased somewhat; 23,737 Jewish immigrants arrived in the year ending June 1941. During the war years it continued to decrease each year, with 10,608 Jewish immigrants arriving in 1942; 4,705 in 1943; and 2,400 in 1944. There was a corresponding decrease in the case work load of the NRS. Whereas the monthly case load of individuals receiving financial assistance was 6,650 in 1941, it had dropped to about 1,300 by December 1943. By the end of 1945 the Family Service department had only 48 cases requiring financial assistance (White, p. 66). The NRS staff had been scaled back accordingly: compared to over 500 employees in mid 1940, the agency had only 220 employees in September 1943; 172 in September 1944; and 145 in September 1945 (according to explanatory data for the 1946 budget; Folder 1373).

In October 1945 the NRS moved out of its building on Centre Street, which had been condemned by the City. In 1946 the agency was located at 105 Nassau Street.

The end of the NRS, and the founding of successor agencies

The NRS had aspired to be a national organization, and to establish a national financial responsibility for refugee services, whether in New York or elsewhere. In practice, its service function was centered in New York, while it operated on a national level mainly in a coordinating and advisory capacity. In the meantime, communities that had originally been recruited by the NRS to participate also, in the course of time, developed their own interest in refugee problems and evolved into full partners. In 1942, when the pressure of case loads had subsided somewhat, a Technical Advisory Committee was formed, in order to make policy recommendations in the Family Service department, an umbrella for most of the direct services to refugees. Composed of executives of family service agencies, the Committee also considered the question of the relationship of the NRS, as a national organization, to the local agencies. The thrust of its recommendations in this area was to have the NRS divest itself of its local role by integrating its refugee welfare services into existing New York agencies serving the non-immigrant clientele.

On 1 August 1946 the NRS merged with the Service to Foreign Born of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) to form the new national organization United Service for New Americans (USNA). Edwin Rosenberg became the first USNA president, and Mrs. Irving M. Engel, of the NCJW, the first chair of the board of directors. In July 1949, the New York Association for New Americans (NYANA) was formed, to provide refugee services at the local level. It took over all the local activities of the USNA, including relief. The USNA remained in existence until August 1954. Over the eight-year period of its existence, it spent a total of approximately $35.7 million, of which approximately $19.1 million was spent on temporary relief to refugees at the local level, up until the time of the formation of the NYANA.

Later, in December 1953, in a new move toward consolidation in the work with refugees and Displaced Persons, the USNA signed an agreement to merge with the Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) and the migration services of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. The merger was finalized on 30 August 1954, when it was approved by the HIAS board of directors, and the new United HIAS Service was called into existence.


Greenstein, Harry. "National Coordinating Committee recast" (2 p.). Notes and News (Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds), 5 June 1939.

Lowenstein, Sharon. "The National Refugee Service (NRS)" (p. 364-372). In: Jewish American Volunteer Organizations. Ed. Michael N. Dobkowski. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, c1986.

Romanofsky, Peter (revised and updated by Michael Dobkowski). "United Service for New Americans (USNA)" (p. 481-483). In: Jewish American Volunteer Organizations. Ed. Michael N. Dobkowski. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, c1986.

White, Lyman Cromwell. 300,000 New Americans: The Epic of a Modern Immigrant-Aid Service. New York: Harper & Brothers, c1957.


69 Reels (1399 files)


This collection contains the records of the National Refugee Service (NRS), a refugee aid organization founded in New York City in 1939 to assist refugees fleeing Nazi persecution. A successor agency to the National Coordinating Committee for Aid to Refugees and Emigrants Coming from Germany, which had operated as an umbrella organization of refugee aid agencies since 1934, the NRS remained in existence until 1946, when it was merged into the new organization United Service for New Americans. The NRS program encompassed a migration service that assisted with affidavits, visas and other legal aspects of the immigration process; temporary relief and casework services; job placement, retraining, and small business loans; help in resettling to localities throughout the country; and social and cultural adjustment to American life. The records include minutes, correspondence, memoranda, and reports related to the board of directors; the executive director; lay advisory committees; the various departments within the NRS; special committees assisting professional groups, including physicians, musicians, rabbis, social workers, and scholars; and cooperating refugee-assistance committees and organizations across the United States.


The arrangement is based on the existing order of the files as they appear on the microfilm of the collection, with a division into series and subseries that aims to highlight as clearly as possible major groupings of files, including files of similar provenance that are separated from one another.

Series I. Data on officers and members of the Board of Directors, 1939-1949

Series II. NRS executive files from the office of William Haber (first NRS executive director), 1937-1941

Series III. Social and Cultural Adjustment division, 1938-1944

Series IV. Community Relations department (1 of 3); NRS executive and general materials; and committees for vocational groups (physicians, musicians, medical scientists), 1937-1946

  1. Subseries 1: Community Relations department (Lay advisory committees; New York City Public Relations program), 1940-1944
  2. Subseries 2: NRS executive and/or Community Relations department files, 1939-1946
  3. Subseries 3: Community Relations department (Lay advisory committees; New York City Public Relations program), 1942-1944, with one NRS executive file dated 1939
  4. Subseries 4: National Committee for Resettlement of Foreign Physicians, 1939
  5. Subseries 5: National Committee for Refugee Musicians, including files of general NRS memoranda, 1937-1941
  6. Subseries 6: NRS staff memoranda and general material, 1940-1945
  7. Subseries 7: Community Relations department (Lay advisory committees), 1942
  8. Subseries 8: Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced Foreign Medical Scientists, 1939
  9. Subseries 9: Community Relations department (Lay advisory committees; speakers) and NRS general material, 1937-1943

Series V. Migration department, 1938-1952

Series VI. Information and Statistics department (1 of 2), 1934-1950

Series VII. Community Relations department (2 of 3; Lay advisory committees), 1942-1944

Series VIII. Employment division and committees for vocational groups (scholars; medical scientists; physicians; musicians; social workers), 1934-1951

  1. Subseries 1: Employment division, 1935, 1938-1942, 1944
  2. Subseries 2: American Committee for Refugee Scholars, Writers, and Artists, 1944-1946
  3. Subseries 3: Committee in Aid of Displaced Foreign Medical Scientists, 1939-1942, 1945
  4. Subseries 4: National Committee for Resettlement of Foreign Physicians. National correspondence (alphabetical by state), 1934-1941
  5. Subseries 5: National Committee for Refugee Musicians, 1938-1941
  6. Subseries 6: Committee for Displaced Foreign Social Workers, 1937-1951

Series IX. Various departments (Family Service/Resettlement; Information and Statistics; Community Relations; Migration), 1938-1945, 1947-1948

Series X. Community Relations department (3 of 3), 1941-1948

  1. Subseries 1: Community Relations Committee, 1941-1942
  2. Subseries 2: Information division, including Speakers Bureau, 1941-1945
  3. Subseries 3: Field Service division, 1941-1947
  4. Subseries 4: National correspondence, field reports (alphabetical by state), 1939-1948

Series XI. Information and Statistics department (2 of 2), with inclusion of files of the NRS executive, the Community Relations department, and the National Council of Jewish Women, 1938-1949

  1. Subseries 1: Information and Statisitics department, 1938-1949
  2. Subseries 2: NRS executive correspondence with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, 1939-1946
  3. Subseries 3: National Council of Jewish Women, Council of Service for Foreign Born, 1938-1941, 1944-1945
  4. Subseries 4: Community Relations department (United Jewish Appeal), 1942-1945
  5. Subseries 5: Information and Statistics department, 1938-1948

Series XII. Budget Committee; Accounting; Payroll and Personnel, including files of German Jewish Children's Aid, 1939-1948

  1. Subseries 1: Budget Committee, or budget-related material, 1939-1948
  2. Subseries 2: Accounting, 1939-1948
  3. Subseries 3: Payroll and Personnel, including files of German Jewish Children's Aid, 1939-1948

Series XIII. Publications, brochures, clippings, 1939-1946

Other Finding Aid

The earlier microfilm inventory list of this collection, prepared in 1998, complete with an index, is available in hard copy in the reading room of the Center for Jewish History.

Acquisition Information

The YIVO Institute received these records from the United HIAS Service in 1965.


This collection exists on microfilm only. It is available on 69 microfilm reels, MKM 13.1 to MKM 13.69. Frame numbers appear at the extreme lower edge of the film.

Related Material

Collections at the partner institutions of the Center for Jewish History containing materials related to the National Refugee Service include:

Processing information

The microfilm of this collection does not show original folder titles; the files are simply numbered sequentially, according to the order in which they are found in the arrangement of the initial processing archivist. There is no extant documentation of that original arrangement, which appears to have been incomplete at the time of microfilming, since no overall arrangement into series is evident, and in many instances, files of the same provenance are separated from one another. Subsequently, an inventory list was produced based on the microfilm. The microfilm inventory provided a folder listing, with use of repeated headings for files that belong together, and brief scope notes to signal where a few major groupings of files begin (specifically, files from the office of William Haber; Migration department; and national correspondence of the NRS). The present finding aid is based on the microfilm inventory and on a selective viewing of the microfilm. It aims to highlight the organizational provenance of the files, and provide cross references as needed, while working within the constraints of the existing order.

Guide to the Records of the National Refugee Service, 1934-1952 (bulk 1939-1946) RG 248
Processed by Zosa Szajkowski and microfilmed, in 1971; microfilm inventory prepared by Yermiyahu Ahron Taub, in 1998; finding aid compiled and encoded by Violet Lutz, in 2013
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Microfilm inventory, 1998, prepared with the assistance of a grant from the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, New York. Finding aid written as part of the Leon Levy Archival Processing Initiative, made possible by the Leon Levy Foundation.

Repository Details

Part of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States