Paul Baerwald Papers, 1857-1961 bulk 1907-1950
Paul Baerwald was born in 1871 in Frankfurt, Germany. His father, Hermann Baerwald, was Director of the Philanthropin, a Jewish
high school in Frankfurt, for 31 years. Baerwald left Germany at nineteen to join the investment firm Speyer & Brothers
in London, and in 1895 he was sent to work in New York City. Baerwald became a partner at Lazard Freres in 1907. He met Edith
Jacobi in New York, and they were married in 1909. The couple would have four children, Pauline, Jane, Florence, and Herman.
In 1914, Paul Baerwald helped found the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), an international relief organization
that provides help to Jews suffering as a result of poverty, persecution, natural disaster, or war. He retired from Lazard
Freres in 1930 to devote his full attention to philanthropic work, and would serve with the JDC for 45 years, first as treasurer,
and then as chairman in 1932 and honorary chairman from 1945 until his death. In 1949, JDC opened a school in Versailles,
France, to train social workers. The school was transferred to Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1958 and was named the Paul
Baerwald School of Social Work in his honor. In addition to his extensive work with JDC, Baerwald served on President Franklin
Roosevelt's Advisory Committee on Political Refugees during World War II. He was a close friend of New York governor and senator
Herbert H. Lehman, and they collaborated on JDC projects as well as other public and philanthropic works. Baerwald was also
a trustee and founder of the New York Foundation; trustee of the Palestine Economic Corporation; treasurer of the Wollman
Foundation; and trustee and treasurer of the Soloman and Better Loeb Convalescent Home. Paul Baerwald died in New York on
July 2, 1961.
Scope and Contents
This collection documents the life of Paul Baerwald, a banker and philanthropist who served as chairman of the American Jewish
Joint Distribution Committee from 1932-1961. It also includes materials by and about Baerwald's father, Hermann Baerwald,
a German educator and historian. This collection documents the work of Paul Baerwald, particularly in his capacity as chairman
of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee from 1932 to 1961. Materials include correspondence, photographs, speeches,
reports, and clippings.