Extermination threatens large masses of Jews in Russia unless they adapt themselves to farming as speedily as possible, declared Dr. Joseph A. Rosen, head of the Agrojoint, the agency of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee in Russia, in a cablegram to Felix M. Warburg, chairman of the Joint Distribution Committee, made public yesterday from National Headquarters of the United Jewish Campaign.
Dr. Rosen’s cable was sent after he had completed an inspection and selection of additional land in the Odessa, Cherson, Crimea and Krivoy-Rog districts totaling 230,000 acres on which 15,000 more Jews will be settled this Spring.
“The Spring movement to the land has already begun.” Dr. Rosen cabled, “but the fifteen thousand for whom we will be able to make provision this season is pitifully small compared to the vast number who are clamoring in vain for an opportunity to escape from the cities and begin a new life.
“The economic pressure which is driving the Jews out of the cities is creating a desperate situation. Stores are disappearing and Jewish artisans are unable to earn even as little as the 50 roubles a month which is the minimum on which a family can keep above the starvation line. Small traders earn about twenty roubles a month at the highest, but most of them average from 10 to 15 roubles. In a town like Vianitza, for example, which has a Jewish population of 5,000, not over 500 make a living. From 40 to 60 per cent of all of the Jewish artisans are entirely without work. This applies to all the towns in the Odessa. Kiev, Podolia, Wolhynia, Gomel, and other provinces.
“The saddest part of it all.” Dr. Rosen stated, “is that this is not a temporary crisis such as faces the Jews in other countries, but it is a permanent situation. For the Jews of Russia it is a case of extermination or soil-adaptation. The adaptation possibilities are very real. Every dollar that is spent here in aiding the Jews to adapt themselves to farming life brings permanent improvement of conditions yet although some 60,000 have registered at our offices in the hope that they would get the opportunity to go on the land this Spring, we are able with our limited means to take care only of 15,000. The rest we are compelled to leave behind to drown in at ocean of misery. The agony of these drowning people willing to do any kind of work and who must look on helplesly while a real opportunity for salvation slips away from them because the ### money that is needed is lacking is heathbreaking. In heaven’s name see to it that their fortunate American brethren do not fail them.”