Hoover Hails Russian Colonization As Outstanding Human Engineering Piece
Menu JTA Search

Hoover Hails Russian Colonization As Outstanding Human Engineering Piece

Download PDF for this date

Hailing the movement of the Russian Jews to the land as “one of the outstanding pieces of human engineering in the world to day,” Herbert Hoover, in a letter addressed to James N. Rosenberg, chairman of the American Jewish Jiont Agricultural Corporation, paid tribute to “the practical idealism of the Jewish people.”

Commending to his fellow-countrymen “the remarkable enterprise of Jewish regeneration on the land,” Mr. Hoover takes the occasion to express his admiration for Julius Rosenwald who, some months ago, contributed $5,000,000 to promote Jewish agriculture in Russia. The message from Mr. Hoover is in reply to a letter from Mr. Rosenberg describing the effort now under way to complete the fund of $10,000,000 for the continuance and extension of the Jewish farm settlement work in Russia.

“For the past five years I have followed its (the Jewish farm settlement work in Russia) progress with keen of the outstanding pieces of human engineering in the world today. The settlement of over 100,000 Jews on a million acres of land is a tribute to the practical idealism of the Jewish people.

“There is no industry more important than agriculture. It has been cause for special gratification to me that the Jews of Eastern Europe should have turned to it in large numbers as soon as the opportunity presented itself to them to become productive and self-supporting tillers of the soil, because the director of the colonization work in Russia, Dr. Joseph A. Rosen, was during the famine period in that country a most valuable member of the staff of the American Relief Administration. I have watched with sympathy and admiration the fruition of his labors in building up these Jewish agricultural communities.

During the unhappy times of war and post-war stress, the Joint Distribution Committee, which represented the Jewish citizens of America, co-operated earnestly, effectively and generously in the various aspects of European relief work with which I was associated. I am indeed happy to commend to the attention of our fellowcountrymen the remarkable enterprise of Jewish repeneration on the land.

“When Mr. Rsoenwald made his large contribution some months ago, I wrote him expressing my admiration both of the undertaking and of the generosity. I should be quite willing, if Mr. Rosenwald has no objection, and if it would serve your purpose, that you should make use of the letter I then wrote him or of this message.”

Mr. Hoover’s message was written in reply to the following letter from Mr. Rosenberg: “Though I hesitate at this time to intrude on you, the need of your help for a cause which deeply concerns many of us prompts and, I hope, justifies this letter.

‘As you have kept constantly in touch with the Jewish farm settlement work in Russia, I hardly need to draw your attentian to the fact that in the past five years over one hundred thousand Jews have settled on over a million acres of land in Russia. and have become self-supporting tillers of the soil. It is needless for me to go into details, for this work was initiated and, indeed, made possible six years ago through your friendly offices and invaluable aid and cooperation when the Russian famine feeding was being conducted under your direction.

“Since that time we have proceeded steadfastly with this reconstructive effort, but our funds have become exhausted. In these circumstances Mr. Julius Rosenwald, as you know, has pledged five million dollars towards the continuance of the work, provided others equal his five million dollars with a like sum. Somewhat over two millions of this remaining five millions of dollars have now been pledged but there still remain almost three million dollars to be provided. Time presses, for unless this large sum is fully raised at an early date, the favorable opportunities for settlement on the fertile lands desired may be lost.

“In these circumstances I turn to you. Every appeal that we have made in the past to you has met with such helpful and generous respouse that I take the liberty of hoping you will make an answer to this letter expressing your views about this work and that you will consent that your answer be made public. Such a statement from you will, at this juncture, be of inestimable aid to us.”

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund