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Dr. Paul Nathan on Jewish Colonization Work in Russia

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(Jewish Telegraphic Agency Mail Service)

Dr. Paul Nathan, the representative of the Hilfsverein der deutschen Juden at the Jewish Colonization Conference here, stated to the representative of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency here that the Jewish Colonization movement in Russia is one which deserved the greatest attention and all possible sympathy. The transference of a considerable number of Jews to agriculture, Dr. Nathan said, would create for them not only a sound economic basis but also a healthy mental attitude. “Under present conditions the Jews ought to make every effort to transfer their activities to productive work. It is not to be expected that all Russian Jews would become farm workers. Side by side with the land settlement work, they should also pay attention to the development of handicraft among the Jews and should make efforts to bring the Jewish workers into big industry.

“If the Soviet Government,” Dr. Nathan went on, “continues to be as friendly to the Jews as it has been so far, the Jews will have every opportunity of becoming productive. It is especially important that more and more Jews should leave the old Pale of Settlement and disperse themselves over the whole length and breadth of the country. This would not only improve the economic position of the Jews, but it would also protect the Jews from those terrible catastrophes which overwhelmed them during the War and the Civil War because they are living concentrated in compact masses. These catastrophies,” he said, “would not have been so immense if all the Jews were not herded together in one area. Wars and disturbances are likely also in the future and efforts should be made that the Jews who are generally the first to fall victims to disturbances and catastrophes should suffer from them as little as possible. This can be only if they are not all concentrated in one sport,” he declared.

With regard to the question of whether Jewish colonization in Russia could be said to be in competition to the Zionist movement, Dr. Nathan said that there could be no question of competition. From the national point of view he believes that Palestine will not become a Jewish home. “Britain will never give up Palestine to the Jews and even if she did the Jews would not be able to retain it, because they would always be a minority there,” he concluded.

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