Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee

Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee (JAFRC) was a nonprofit organization to provide humanitarian aid to refugees of the Spanish Civil War.[1][2]

Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee (JAFRC)
Spanish War Children (restored).png
Children preparing for evacuation, some giving Spanish Republican salute (raised fist)
FounderEdward K. Barsky
Founded atNew York City
Merger ofNorth American Committee to Aid Spanish Democracy, American Medical Bureau
HeadquartersNew York City
  • 192 Lexington Avenue, New York NY 10016
Coordinates40°44′42″N 73°58′51″W / 40.745054°N 73.980882°W / 40.745054; -73.980882Coordinates: 40°44′42″N 73°58′51″W / 40.745054°N 73.980882°W / 40.745054; -73.980882
ServicesHumanitarian aid for Spanish Civil War refugees
Official language
National Honorary Chairman
Walter Rautensrauch
National Chairman
Edward K. Barsky
Helen R. Bryan
Lyman R. Bradley


Ambulance of American Medical Bureau in Spain (1937)

In 1941, the Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee was formed by Lincoln Battalion veterans of the Spanish Civil War to provide aid to Spanish Loyalists refugees from Francoist Spain.[2] JAFRC superseded previous groups, including the North American Committee to Aid Spanish Democracy and American Medical Bureau (the latter of which Barsky had founded in 1936).[1] Specifically, JAFRC was "dedicated to the rescue and relief of thousands of anti-fascist fighters trapped in Vichy, France, and North Africa" so they might "return to the active fight against the Axis."

JAFRC established a fundraising organization called "Spanish Refugee Appeal" of the Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee."[1][3] Dorothy Parker took charge of the committee's fundraising and the anti-fascists soon attracted the support of Leonard Bernstein, Albert Einstein, Lillian Hellman, Langston Hughes, and Orson Welles.[4]

In 1942, it was licensed to do so in Vichy France by President Franklin D. Roosevelt's wartime administration and the anti-fascists were then granted tax-exempt status.[5]:70

In 1946, the JAFRC began to face near-constant attack from federal government organizations. In 1948, the (then) Bureau of Internal Revenue (now Internal Revenue Service) rescinded JAFRC's tax-exempt status. Thereafter, the United States Congress's Subversive Activities Control Board (SACB) tried to force JAFRC to register as a Communist front organization.[1]

In April 1951, Allan Rosenberg argued for the complainant Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee in Anti-Fascist Committee v. McGrath before the U.S. Supreme Court.[6]

In 1955, the JAFRC board voted to disband.[1]

Attacks by governmentEdit

See Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee v. McGrath.



According to letterhead dated March 17, 1944,[7] leaders included:

National Sponsors[7] included:

  • Dr. Comfort A. Adams
  • Rabbi Michael Aper
  • Dr. Hery Lambert Bibby
  • James L. Brewer
  • Dr. Walter B. Cannon
  • Prof. Richard T. Cox
  • Martha Dodd
  • Julien Duvivier
  • Dr. Frederick May Eliot
  • Dr. Henry Pratt Fairchild
  • Lion Feuchtwanger
  • Prof. Irving Fisher
  • Prof. Mitchell Franklin
  • Rev. Stephen H. Fritchman
  • Prof. Marion Hathaway
  • Kenneth Leslie
  • Princess Helga zu Loewenstein
  • Dr. Robert Morss Lovett
  • Prof. Kirtley F. Mather
  • Philip Merivale
  • Rt. Rev. Edward L. Parsons
  • Prof. Renato Poggioli
  • Dr. Francis M. Pottenger
  • Paul Robeson
  • Prof. Harlow Shapley
  • Dalton Trumbo
  • Dame May Whitty
  • Dr. Max Yergan


Spanish Refugee Appeal supportersEdit

Dorothy Parker raised money for JAFRC

Appeal Officers:[3][10]

National Sponsors[4][3][10] included:

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e "Guide to the Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee Records ALBA.057". New York University. 20 July 2017. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  2. ^ a b Deery, Phillip (December 2009). ""A blot upon liberty": McCarthyism, Dr. Barsky and the Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee" (PDF). American Communist History. 8 (2): 167–196. doi:10.1080/14743890903335948. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  3. ^ a b c "Circular letter from Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee to W. E. B. Du Bois". University of Massachusetts. 21 February 1952. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Guide to the Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee Records ALBA.057". Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Archives. New York University. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  5. ^ Goldstein, Robert Justin (March 2008). "The Grapes of McGrath: The Supreme Court and the Attorney General's List of Subversive Organizations in Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee v. McGrath (1951)" (PDF). Journal of Supreme Court History. 33 (1): 68–88. doi:10.1111/j.1540-5818.2008.00179.x. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  6. ^ "Anti-Fascist Committee v. McGrath". Washington: Find Law. 30 April 1951. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  7. ^ a b "Letter to J.W. Pehle of War Refugee Board" (PDF). Franklin Delano Roosevelt Library. 17 March 1944. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  8. ^ "Circular letter from Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee, February 24, 1950". University of Massachusetts. 24 February 1950. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  9. ^ Straus, MD, Mark (13 February 1952). "Letter from Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee to Mayor of the City of New York". Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  10. ^ a b "Letter from Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee to W. E. B. Du Bois". University of Massachusetts. 6 April 1949. Retrieved 27 September 2018.

External sourcesEdit