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The League was permitted to render assistance to these “enemy aliens” and lighten their load of troubles. Fortunately, most of the Italians posed no serious threat to the United States and many of them were released after Italy surrendered in September 1943.

After war ended in 1945, the League set up the “Godparents Committee for Italian War Orphans.” This worthy group of concerned citizens set up a $250,000 fund, out of which they sent large provisions of food, clothing, money and medicine to help care for the orphaned children of postwar Italy. In 1946, a Port and Dock Committee was set up to assist Italian immigrants get through customs and immigrant inspection more easily. The League also helped to reunite people who had lost track of their relatives during the war.

In the 1960’s, the League’s immigrant aid work became less imperative and new charitable causes on behalf of Italian Americans were pursued. These included raising money to fight dangerous conditions such as blindness and thalassemia (also known as “Mediterranean Anemia”), which causes growth retardation. Money was also raised to support hospitals, nursing homes and to provide scholarships for worthy Italian Americans seeking advanced degrees.

Since its founding nearly a century ago, the Italian Welfare League has contributed richly to the Italian American communities of Greater New York – it has alleviated the troubles of countless immigrants, refugees, wartime “enemy aliens,” and war orphans; persons afflicted with delicate health, illness or disease; individuals and families struggling with poverty or personal problems, and young people seeking a


higher education. With such a past, the Italian Welfare League can look to the future with pride and confidence.

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