Advocating for the Jewish people and Israel. Championing a strong transatlantic partnership and democratic values for all.
American Jewish Committee (AJC) was founded in New York in 1906, and it opened the AJC Central Europe office in 2017. Our work is built on four pillars: supporting Jewish communities throughout the region and countering antisemitism; advocating for Israel’s rights in the international arena; promoting democracy, human rights and combating xenophobia and extremism; strengthening the transatlantic community. With more than 30 offices worldwide, plus partnerships with 37 international Jewish community organizations, AJC is an organization with global reach and influence.
AJC Central Europe
The Shapiro Silverberg AJC Central Europe Office was opened in early 2017 in Warsaw, Poland, to advance AJC’s mission in the region. Our office serves seven Central European countries: the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Slovakia. We cooperate with local Jewish communities, promote democratic values and transatlantic relations, enhance ties between Central European countries and Israel, and combat antisemitism and extremism.
By supporting democratic transformations in Europe, AJC was always close to Central European countries.
– Former Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Linas Linkevičius, 2018
With its decision to open an office in Warsaw, American Jewish Committee has demonstrated a deep understanding of the important role Central European countries have played historically, geographically, and politically. The seven countries covered by the Shapiro Silverberg AJC Central Europe Office constitute one-fourth of the current membership of the European Union. All of them are also members of NATO and enjoy robust relations with the U.S. and Israel. Amid political uncertainty on the continent, AJC wanted to send clear messages of support to institutions like the EU and NATO. No less importantly, since the fall of communism, these countries have seen a renaissance of Jewish life and a re-examination of their rich and storied Jewish pasts. The region presents strategic opportunities for the Jewish people, Israel, and the transatlantic relationship.
AJC’s Decades-long Involvement
AJC’s engagement with the region is not new. AJC was founded in 1906 in response to a series of pogroms in Russia and elsewhere in Eastern Europe. Representatives of Eastern and Central European nations first established working relations with AJC as early as before the end of the Great War, before they gained – or regained – formal independence in 1918.
AJC CEO David Harris himself has a long history in the region and his work was central to the emigration of over one million Jews from the Soviet Union. In the 1970s and again in the 1980s, he was detained by Soviet authorities and, on the first occasion, was expelled from the country. In 1987, Harris served as the national coordinator for Freedom Sunday for Soviet Jewry — the 1987 demonstration in Washington that drew over 250,000 participants, the largest Jewish gathering in American history. Harris testified before the United States Congress on several occasions regarding Russian and Soviet affairs. In 1998 David Harris testified in favour of NATO expansion in Central Eastern Europe.
I am convinced that to leave Europe divided at its old cold war boundaries, to ignore the lands to the East, to have NATO members turn their collective backs on Central Europe would be to ignore the lessons of history, the dangers to European and Western security that lurk there.
AJC CEO David Harris, 1997
Who We Are
American Jewish Committee (AJC) is the leading global Jewish advocacy organization, maintaining close working relationships with elected officials, religious leaders, and other decision-makers. Through that engagement and our global presence across six continents, AJC is able to impact policy and opinion on some of the most important issues facing the Jewish people: fighting antisemitism and all forms of hate, strengthening Israel’s place in the world, and defending democratic values.
Staunchly nonpartisan, AJC aims to advance concrete measures, both in the United States and worldwide, that uphold our mission and further our priorities. AJC’s work is strengthened by a community of more than three million engaged advocates who stand with the Jewish people and Israel.
Under both American tax law and Polish electoral law, AJC does not support or oppose candidates for election. Donations do not affect our advocacy strategy.
The work of AJC Central Europe is supported and advised by a dedicated group of donors, the AJC Central Europe Institute Board (CEI). These individuals have strong connections to Central Europe and, in many cases, they or their families originated from this region.
Learn more about how you can support our work.