James H. Becker of Chicago, member of the banking firm of A. G. Becker and Company, returns to-day on the liner Paris from an eight months’ tour abroad. Mr. Becker, who was very active in the launching of the Joint Distribution Committee activities abroad left the United States last January accompanying Felix M. Warburg, chairman of the J. D. C., on his round-the-world-tour on the Resolute.
With Mr. Walburg he made the journey through the Jewish agricultural colonies in the Ukraine and Crimea last spring, on which Mr. Warburg reported at the welcoming dinner tendered him by his fellow-officers of the J. D. C. and the United Jewish Campaign and a national group of philanthropic leaders at the Hotel Astor in June. On this trip Mr. Becker made a film depicting the life and background of the Jewish pioneer settlements in which tens of thousands are being helped to build a new permanent livelihood for themselves by the direction and support of the Agro-Joint, with the aid of funds contributed by the Jews of America through the United Jewish Campaign. This film, which was brought back to America by Mr. Warburg and shown for the first time at the dinner gathering in his honor, is the first screen record of the picturesque human drama of the great “back-to-the-soil” movement in Russia which America has yet seen.
Mr. Becker is especially known for the record of his intrepid first venture into the war-barricaded Eastern countries, on a mission of succour to the Jewish men, women and children helpless in the travail of destruction and starvation in 1919-20. On service abroad as a commissioner of the American Relief Administration, Mr. Becker set out alone from Paris on a hazarous venture into Poland and the Ukraine, as the acting European director of the J. D. C. He went also as the JDC’s first commissioner into Roumania, where he spent six months in laying the foundation of a relief program which became the basis of all later reconstructive effort in that country.
Mr. Becker, who is a member of the Executive Committee of the J. D. C., is expected to bring back with him important first-hand data based on his own observations of the development of the J. D. C. reconstruction program in the countries he visited.