Moscow (Oct. 17)
(Jewish Telegraphic Agency)
Charges of mismanagement and brutality toward the Jewish settlers in Bureya, who went there under the auspices and with the encouragement of the Ozet, a society for the settlement of the Jews on the land in Russia, were made by the settlers at a meeting held in Chabarovsk on September 15, states a report in the Russian newspaper “Tichonkeyanskaya Zvezda.”
Fifty-five percent of the settlers who preceded to Bureya and who were mainly the hardest workers were compelled to return, due to this condition. The new arrivals round in Bureya nothing prepared and were compelled to live in train cars, due to the lack of houses. The promises made to the prospective settlers that they would be able to earn five roubles a day on the rice plantations were proven false. They earned seventy-five and in some cases fifty Kopeks daily. The tracts of land given to them could not be worked because of the lack of livestock. The horses which were there died of the Sibirskaya Yazvo (Siberian pest) due to neglect, the settlers complained at the meeting. The charges of brutality were directed especially against the administrator in charge, Baskin, who refused to listen to the settlers’ complaints and even resorted to physical violence in ejecting complainants from his office.
These charges were taken up today by the Moscow Communist Yiddish daily, “Emes.” The newspaper, which sponsored the transmigration movement to Bureya, denies these allegations and as evidence cites a report of the same meeting received by the Moscow headquarters of the Comzet, governmental department for Jewish land settlement. This report shows that the meeting was convoked by the Ozet and there were present at the meeting the Ozet representatives, Robinson and Rashkes, who asked the settlers to voice their complaints. The report further shows, states the “Emes,” that some of the settlers made the charges as quoted in the Tichonkoye paper but others defended the Ozet and directed their accusation only against the administrator, Baskin.
The “Emes” emphasizes that the transmigrants have not complained against Biro-Bidjan as such but against the Ozet management. The newspaper further quotes the remarks made at the meeting by Mr. Robinson who, after hearing the settlers’ complaints, condemned what he termed the exaggerations and admitted that the apparatus of the Ozet for handling the colonization work was badly prepared. Some of the administrators were unfit; the flood and the appearance of the Siberian pest, as well as the annoyance of the mosquitoes were unexpected. He also admitted that the settlers’ earnings were much smaller than the Ozet anticipated.