A program for development on a large scale of a plan of relief whereby the Ort would become the intermediary for the transmission by American Jews of individual constructive assistance to their relatives in Eastern Europe, was outlined by Dr. David Lvovitch, member of the Central Executive of the Ort Reconstruction Fund, in an interview with the representative of the “Jewish Daily Bulletin.”
Dr. Lvovitch is now in the United States to develop this program and to discuss many questions regarding it with the American Ort, the Federation of Polish Jews in American and other national organizations.
“On my recent trip to Russia,” said Dr. Lvovitch, “I was met with appeals from many Jews whose relatives abroad are providing their only means of existence. These people are not willing to remain dependent upon their relatives indefinitely. ‘Let them help us to establish ourselves once for all,’ they say. ‘Let them aid us in procuring machinery and tools instead of sending us regularly sums of money.’
“To the agriculturists especially,” said Dr. Lvovitch, “such help is of importance. Many of them need implements, livestock or aid in building houses. The Ort is ready to furnish machines to them on installments, and when they learn of this they gladly undertake to pay as much of the money required as they can. The rest they hope to obtain from their relatives.
“The relatives overseas have already become tremendously interested in this constructive method of relief. One Berlin Jew promised to furnish, for every machine delivered by the Ort to his relatives in Russia, another machine to an artisan who has no relatives abroad to whom he might apply for help.
“When those abroad see the possibility of helping their own relatives with tools, materials, implements and livestock, and bringing them to a state of economic independence, they will become aware of the tremendous importance of constructive help.
“The total Jewish population in Russia is 2,750,000. Of this number 350,000 are members of trade unions and are employed. One hundred and sixty thousand Jews are agriculturists, 200,000 are artisans. Altogether there are one and a half million Jews who constitute a part of the productive population. About one million, however, are still without any occupation. This million is in a desperate situation, but not a hopeless one, and it is possible to turn them into productive workers, by providing them with the proper training and implements.
“The situation of the artisans in Russia,” Dr. Lvovitch stated, “has been greatly improved by a change in government policy. The taxes now are not as heavy as formerly. Further improvement will be facilitated by the work of the Ort, in aiding the youth to become artisans, by providing the present artisans with proper training, and supplying them later with the implements needed to carry on their work.”
Most important constructive work in Russia is being accomplished through the Jewish colonization plan, which has settled 10,750 families on the land in the last two and a half years, mainly supported by the J. D. C., Dr. Lvovitch said.
He declared that the Ort work is confined mainly to the Odessa region and White Russia. The J. D. C., according to an agreement with the Ort organization, gives the latter a sum covering one-third of its budget. The balance, it is expected, will be covered by the campaign which is now going on in Europe, Africa and other countries and by the Ort membership campaign now being conducted in the United States.