Mexico City (Dec. 23)
“Mexico, whether we wish it or not, will be the land of refuge for Jews,” said Mr. Joseph Schlossberg, secretary of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America and member of the Jewish Emergency Relief Committee, addressing a group of Jews in Mexico City. He described the general pitiful conditions of the Jews in Europe and those en route to the United States who have been suddenly barred. He said there was no question but that Mexico was the logical place for them to go to.
“Mexico is large, and it is favorable to immigration. There is enough here for all,” said Mr. Schlossberg. “And it is the duty of the Jews in Mexico to help the Jews still in terrible circumstances.”
It is almost certain that Mr. Schlossberg’s prophecy will be realized. For Jewish refugees from all over the world have definitely turned Mexicoward, as is demonstrated by the rapid increase in the number of immigrants. From fifty, to a hundred, to two hundred and now to four hundred and more, a month, so that in little less than three months one-third of the present Jewish colony has been formed.
The immigrants come from Russia, Poland, Lithuania, Roumania, from various ports where they have been held up; now they come even from Palestine and from South and Central America, and one arrival from Harbin, Manchuria, says that the Jews in the far east are also fixing their eyes upon Mexico. The current has changed from a riff-raff semi-adventurer class to a steady, sober, fairly well educated element.
According to the director of the B’nai B’rith agency, the steady sudden increase is beginning to create a very serious problem. “With better conditions prevailing, I believe that the country could absorb four hundred immigrants, men, women and children, per month, provided that most of these had means with which to get started. However, should the number be larger, extraordinary measures would have to be taken to give them employment,” he declared. The number has grown larger, better conditions have not as yet begun, and many of the immigrants have not the means with which to get started, having exhausted them in their long stay in European or Asiatic harbors.
It is believed that by the months of February thousands of newcomers will have been added to the list. The problem of the Jewish immigrants in Mexico, at present, is simply one of unemployment. Mexico is practically undeveloped, industrially. The big trades are unionized, but due to the scarcity of labor do not now admit foreign members. The commercial branches are becoming overcrowded, in the form used by the immigrants.
Their object, as well as that of the agents, has been to keep them in their proper trades and not let them get into a peddler and small merchant rut.
The remedy, according to Mr. Weinberger, the B’nai B’rith man. “Would seem to be the one we have adopted on a small scale, that is, helping them into business and small industries. Also, it would be a good thing to help those with agricultural experience to get started in their own branch of work, but this would require more money.” The system followed by the B’nai B’rith has been, up to now, that of a small loan for the purpose of starting shops or small factories, but the financial resources are very limited, and the local Jews have contributed practically nothing toward this work. It is true that there are few news in Mexico, in the European Jewish colony, in a position to help appreciably, and those of the Sephardic colony limit themselves to helping their own sect of immigrants, who are all amply cared for.
The annual convention of the Alphz Epsibom Ti. one of the largest national Jewish college fraternities in the country, will be beld Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 27th and 28th. at the Hotel Waldori-Astoria.
Sentiment in the Alphz Epsilom Ti points to the adoption of a more vigorous participation in Jewish affairs than has hitherto been the policy of the fraternity. Rabbi Joseph Silverman and Hon. Jonah J. Goldstein will be the guests of honor at the convention banquets Saturday evening.