Agreement with Soviet on New Colonization to Be Ready Soon
Joseph C. Hyman, Secretary of the Joint Distribution Committee, who returned on the “Berengaria” today, after several months in Berlin and Moscow in connection with the organization of the new $10,000,000 American Society for Jewish Farm Settlements in Russia, stated that very satisfactory progress had been achieved thus far in the discussions which Dr. Joseph Rosen and Mr. Hyman had had with the Russian authorities. Within a short time, he anticipated, the American Society would be in a position to issue a definite statement relative to the agreement under which the Jewish agricultural work is to be continued.
“I am submitting to Mr. James N. Rosenberg, Chairman of the American Society, a report on my trip to the Jewish farm colonies in the Crimea which I visited in November, a period of the year when one can get a truer perspective of the activities than perhaps at any other time,” said Mr. Hyman.
“You cannot begin to appreciate the magnitude of the accomplishment of Dr. Rosen and the Agro-Joint until you get the cumulative effect of visiting colony after colony. There are 214 settlements directly under the care of the Agro-Joint, and their acreage stretches out over 230,617 hectares, with 9,849 individual parcels of land.”
Asked about the condition of the Jews in the cities and small towns of Russia. Mr. Hyman stated that their position is pitiful, and this year and next spring may be fraught with much suffering. The Jewish local relief societies in some sections, due to the poor harvest of this year, have been compelled to open relief kitchens, and are clamoring for funds. Those societies which were able up to now to raise close to 80% of the funds needed for local and emergency help, find themselves now with sharply reduced incomes from their members, who themselves feel the pinch of present economic conditions. So also the Free Loan Organizations, the Medical Hospital and Clinic Institutions, which last year alone furnished treatments in over 1,250,000 visits, the Homos for the Aged and Dependent-at a time when their work of mercy and healing is most needed-will, in many cases, have to close their doors, unless help can be secured from American Jewry.
The Jewish Producers’ Co-operatives are doing excellent work, but are handicapped by lack of machines and principally inadequate supplies of yarn and raw material for their members.
“Everywhere I was asked to convey their pleadings to David A. Brown, National Chairman of the United Jewish Campaign. “Surely he will make the people of America understand, and help us.
“Everywhere I went the leaders of Russian Jewry begged me to express their message of prayerful gratitude to America-and to plead for a little more patient, sympathetic help to them for the millions of city Jews who cannot hope for refuge in the farm colonies-at least until they can begin to readjust their lives to the new economic conditions of Russia.”
Asked concerning the recent reports of attacks on the Jewish colonies in the Ukraine and White Russia, Mr. Hyman said neither he nor the office of the Agro-Joint in Moscow received such reports up until the time of his leaving Russia on November 28.