The Founding and Activity of the Hehalutz-Histadrut Rescue Center in Geneva, 1939-1942
Preparations for establishing the Rescue Center began in September 1939 but were slowed down by difficulties in reconciling the different orientations of the Yishuv and other Zionist organizations. The efforts made by Nathan Schwalb of the World Hehalutz Center to found the liaison office in Geneva are noted. The tendency of the Yishuv leadership, until 1942, was to reduce its operating expenses there. This account describes various forms of rescue activities, such as maintaining contact with the Zionist organizations under Nazi rule, collecting information on the fate of the Jewish communities, sending parcels, organizing illegal border crossings, and transferring funds to subsidize the halutz (pioneer) organizations in occupied countries. The conclusions find that due to the dedicated work of the representatives of the Zionist Labor Movement in Geneva the Center served as a focus of contacts, relief, and rescue for European Jews, despite the tardy reaction and insufficient responsiveness of the Yishuv’s institutions.