Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Mark P. Bradley


Laura Margolis Jarblum, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, JDC, Jewish relief


Laura Margolis Jarblum has been largely overlooked by history, but her story is an important one. She worked for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee throughout four decades, serving around the world in places including Europe, Israel, Cuba, and China. Her dedication to the welfare of her fellow Jews led her into chaotic and sometimes dangerous situations, even resulting in time spent in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp. She is given credit for saving thousands of lives, both during and after the period of World War II. This paper uses letters, reports, oral histories, and other sources to reconstruct her life. It also speculates on how the late-twentieth-century American fascination with the Holocaust has influenced the way in which this extraordinary woman has been remembered.