The Center of National Aid

On August 4, 1914, the day after the war was declared, Albert Kahn traversed Paris and rapidly mobilized energy in order to implement a charity meant for civilian populations.


On August 6th, The Comité de Secours national had already been established, with its presidency filled by the Alsatian academic Paul Appell.

Around him were gathered a wide variety of personalities, in terms of their origin, faith and opinions. Sometimes former enemies, they were all mobilized within the same patriotic fraternity, this sacred Union desired by the President of the Republic, Raymond Poincaré.

Large banks and manufacturers largely responded to the call; to their extent, civil servants, workers, railway workers also contributed with monthly withholdings from their salaries. The funds thus collected were then distributed between multiple charitable organizations.

Throughout the war, the committee’s operations reflected the spirit that had presided over it since its creation: in the interests of harmony and impartiality, inquiries into needy charities were entrusted to several radically opposed members.


Once the momentum had been created and the group established, Kahn stepped aside from the day-to-day management of this charitable organization.