Leaders at Chicago Conference Reaffirm Faith, Pledge Support for Joint Distribution Committee
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Leaders at Chicago Conference Reaffirm Faith, Pledge Support for Joint Distribution Committee

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Chicago Conference Hears of Marvelous Progress of Jewish Colonization Work in Russia; Needs of Polish Jewry Urgent, Program Outlined; Marshall, Warburg, Rosenberg and Brown Review Work Done, Urge Cash Payments for Carrying on Work; Dr. Rosen Indicates Cause for Extending Colonization Plan in 1929; $400,000 Presented at Conference (Jewish Daily Bulletin)

Leaders of American Jewry, prominent in the humanitarian work of alleviating the conditions of Jewry abroad, reaffirmed their faith in the leadership of the Joint Distribution Committee and pledged themselves to redouble their efforts to raise in cash the amounts subscribed toward the United Jewish Campaign to enable the Committee to carry out its program of constructive work and relief, in a resolution adopted unanimously at the close of the Chicago United Jewish Campaign Conference late Sunday evening. Judge Horace Stern of Philadelphia was chairman of the conference.

In addition to this expression of confidence and support for the J. D. C. leadership, the conference resulted in the receipt of $400,000 in cash toward the needs of the Joint Distribution Committee. The Committee will require the amount of $7,500,000 in the forthcoming fourteen months, it was declared.

The generals, captains and officers of the American Jewish “Army of Mercy,” working through the United Jewish Campaign, were assembled in session Saturday night and all day Sunday at the Standard Club here. About four hundred delegates from all parts of the United States listened to detailed reports of the work accomplished in various European lands. Particular satisfaction was expressed by the delegates and the heads of the Joint Distribution Committee at the marked progress in the carrying out of the plans of Jewish colonization in Russia as outlined at the Philadelphia Conference in 1925.

How rapidly the Jewish colonization work is progressing in Soviet Russia and what degree of success it has attained was demonstrated to the delegates in a series of motion pictures taken from the life of the Jewish settlers in the Crimea and the Ukraine and in the report of Dr. Joseph A. Rosen, head of the Agro-joint, the agency of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee in Russia.

Louis Marshall. Felix M. Warburg, Julias Rosenwald, James N. Rosenberg, Herbert Lehman, David A. Brown and Dr. Rosen were repeatedly cheered by the delegates after the series of reports containing full details of the work accomplished and of the financial transactions involved were presented.

A proposal to introduce a new method of work for the Joint Distribution Committee and to take measures with a view toward drawing “younger blood” into the leadership of the Joint Distribution Committee was presented to the conference by James N. Rosenberg, vice-chairman of the Joint Distribution Committee. Mr. Rosenberg asked that a committee be appointed, charged with the task of preparing a survey of Jewish conditions in Europe and formulating recommendations for a future continuation of the J. D. C. work. A resolution brought in by A. Leo Weil of Pittsburgh, chairman of the Resolutions Committee, was unanimously adopted concerning this suggestion.

The conference decided “that this problem be referred to the Executive Committee of the Joint Distribution Committee with full power of action.

The resolution which reaffirmed the faith of American Jewry in the leadership of the Joint Distribution Committee and which contained the solemn pledge of securing cash payments on the pledges toward the United Jewish Campaign read as follows:

“At the national conference of the United Jewish Campaign and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee held in the city of Chicago on October 22nd and 23rd 1927 there were presented and circulated detailed reports of the treasurer and the financial report of our auditors and accountants, certified public accountants of the State of New York, accumulating the reports and transactions heretofore submitted, together with the various reports and schedules of other officers and representatives of the Committee at the four national conferences from the inception of the Committee October, 1924 to December 31. 1926, showing in great detail the receipts and disbursements of the Joint Distribution Committee.

“Now, therefore be it resolved that the said reports and accounts be received, accepted and approved and be it further resolved that the members of this conference extend to the officers of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and its Executive Committee the heartfelt thanks of the representatives here assembled from all parts of the United States, for the careful, conscientious and efficient stewardship and the administration of the collection and expenditure of the funds entrusted to their care, all of which service in the interest of our fellow suffering Jews of the world was rendered unselfishly and at a great personal sacrifice.

“And be it further resolved that whereas the said reports show the necessity, in order to continue the work now under way and to perform the obligations that have been incurred to our brethren overseas, that the collections of the subscriptions heretofore made be promptly made, the amount required being, within December 31. 1928, a minimum of $7,500,000, and in the next four months a minimum of $3,000,000 that the members of this conference pledge themselves in their respective committees to use their utmost endeavors to collect these amounts and thus prevent the magnificent constructive work that has been undertaken from the failing of fruition on account of lack of support.”

Interest centered around the report of Dr. Rosen on the progress of the Jewish colonization work in Russia. Doctor Rosen, in his report, declared that in the 180 colonies in Russia 35,000 Jewish families have settled. Of this number 27.000 were aided in their back-to-the-land movement by the funds of the Joint Distribution Committee. All this work has been accomplished with the aid of the appropriation made by the Joint Distribution Committee in the past two and a half years in the amount of $3,700,000.

Eighty per cent, of this fund was given to the settlers in the form of loans which will have to be repaid. The administration cost of the work in Russia amounted to about five per cent of this sum.

An indication of the course which may be followed in the near future with regard to the Jewish Colonization in Russia was given by Dr. Rosen when be declared that there still are opportunities for setting Jews on the land there. By next year the plan, as addicted at the Philadelphia conference, will have been completed. At that time American Jews will have to decide whether this work is to be continued or to be stopped on its large scale and permit the continuation only on a small scale on the basis of the revolving fund. Dr. Rosen added, however, that be has reason to believe that it will be possible to arrange for setting an additional twenty or thirty thousand families on the land.

He did not come to the conference to ask for money, he said, but he is of the opinion that a great opportunity is still awaiting Russian Jews in this direction. He stated that it may be possible to conduct this work in the future on the basis of a loan. Such a loan, with sufficient guarantee could be arranged with the Comzet, the Russian Governmental Committee for Settling Jews on the land. The Comzet would be prepared to take fifty per cent, of the bonds issued.

“I hope to be able to do so,” he declared. “The work accomplished in Russia has removed any form of opposition to this plan which had existed,” he added.

Two and a half years of experience with the Jewish settlers have given him the conviction that the former city dwellers are settling down in the colonies in earnest and there is no reason to fear that in changing conditions any considerable number should return to the towns.


The delegates listened with great attention to a powerful address by Louis Marshall, who was accorded a long ovation when he arose to address the assembly following the report of Dr. Rosen. Before giving a comprehensive review of Jewish conditions in Europe during the past thirteen years of the Joint Distribution Committee’s activity, Mr. Marshall paid tribute to Felix M. Warburg. Col Herbert H. Lehman, Paul Baerwald and David A. Brown for their untiring devotion and zeal in the work of the J. D. C.

In determining the purpose of the conference, Mr. Marshall declared it was called to remind the leaders of the United Jewish Campaign that they have a duty to perform. This duty was that the pledges made toward the campaign on the basis of which the appropriations were made, should be converted into cash, which alone can bring succor to those who are in need in Europe. Those who have failed to meet their obligations to redeem their pledges may be sued, he declared. Mr. Marshall indirectly denounced the charges of Max D. Steuer and urged the delegates to read with attention the reports submitted to the conference.

Mr. Marshall also referred to the opposition voiced against the Russian colonization plan several years ago. “You remember what was said and you saw right here on the screen what progress was made. You looked at those pictures and you saw that those promises were upheld. Were those breakings of the raven verified? No. I have never, within the period of two years, seen a more complete discomature of those who prophesied evil than in this one instance.

“There are true prophets and false prophets and we have had them in Israel from the very beginning. The false prophets are no longer heard of, while the prophets who are seeking to

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