A description from personal observation, of the present situation in regard to Jewish land settlement in Russia, was given yesterday by James Rosenberg, vice-president of the Joint Distribution Committee, on his return from his trip to Russia. On his arrival on the steamer “Deutschland,” Mr. Rosenberg, who spent two months in a tour of the Jewish colonies in Russia, stated to a representative of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency:
“Ten thousand Jewish families have been settled on the land in Russia up to June 1, 1926. These figures are founded on statistics which I have gathered personally during my trip in Russia. Among the settlers are 2,000 Chalutzim.
“The land settlement in Russia is so successful that even Orthodox Jews who never knew anything about farming are eager to settle on the land, as evidenced by their applications made to the offices of the Agrojoint. While I was in Russia a delegation of rabbis called on me and asked that the J. D. C. should extend them its help in founding Orthodox colonies. And such colonies will soon be established.”
Mr. Rosenberg declared that religious persecutions in Russia have ceased, and that the Jewish colonists are not molested in this respect.
“The colonists are contented,” Mr. Rosenberg stated. “When I asked some of them whether they would like to return to the cities they told me that they would on no account do so as they are perfectly happy on the land.”
“Asked whether the establishment of Jewish colonies does not evoke anti-Semitic feelings among the non-Jewish peasants, Mr. Rosenberg said, “on the contrary, the Russian peasants are pleased to have the Jews as neighbors. They profit greatly from the presence of the Jews as this makes it possible for them to use the Jewish tractors and other farming implements. The Jews dig wells, which the peasants can also use. In general, the relations between the Jewish colonists and the peasants are very friendly.”
The Jewish colonists, Mr. Rosenberg informed the interviewer, have in nearly all places organized themselves into credit cooperatives, which have their own loan treasuries, which render assistance to the colonists. “These credit Kassas have today 60,000 members. The Joint Distribution Committee and the Ica assist these Kassas with loans, and last year the Soviet Government gave them $2,000,000 as credits,” Mr. Rosenberg stated.