With Canada and South Africa this year added to the long list of “closed” countries, the “surplus” Jews of Europe have practically no region to go to but the unsettled, and sometimes even wild parts of South America, according to Dr. Myron Kreinin and Aaron Benjamin, Jewish emigration authorities, who arrived in New York this week to consult with other authorities on means of carrying on the work of finding places of refuge for the Jews of Eastern Europe.
Dr. Kreinin is president of the Emigdirect; Mr. Benjamin is vice-president, and commissioner to Europe, of the HIAS (Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society of America). Both these organizations have joined with the ICA (the Jewish colonization agency) to form the HICEM, which will carry on the emigration work that all three organizations had undertaken before.
“Last year we sent 15,000 Jews to South America,” said Dr. Kreinin. “They must emigrate from Russia, Poland, Lithuania, and other Eastern countries where their numbers are superfluous. In Poland, there is an annual emigration of 20,000 Polish Jews because there is not room enough in the country for their own people. So what is to become of the Jews there?
“While the necessity for emigration is greater than ever before, the means is smaller, and the field is smaller than even before. One by one, the nations close their doors to newcomersâ€”not only to Jews but to all peoples.
SOUTH AMERICA BEST PLACE
“South America remains the best place at present. Even there, we are seeking new places. Brazil, Argentine and Uruguay are comparatively old Jewish settlements. There have been sporadic emigrations of Jews to such newer ports as Chile and Venezuela.
“Our work is not only to help them find fare to get to these places, but to help them get settled after they are on the spot. Until now, an expense of $10 a head over the fare sometimes sufficed, for people had some means of their own. But now conditions are as never before.
“Of course we save on the transportation cost, by securing reduced rates for our people. Last year we saved $107,000 in transport fares to emigrants.
“But our care must be not only to get these people to the new country. We must not let them become scattered. They must be settled in groups, so that their Jewish life is maintained, so that they are not lonely and discouraged in the new land, and so that gradually, in these new places, Jewish communities such as we have in America may grow up. In Argentine, for instance, there is already a community of 200,000 Jews.”
In 1929, the emigration experts said, their societies had helped 25,000 Jews emigrate out of Poland. Of these, 5,600 went to Palestine, 15,000 went to South America. Jobs had to be found for the people, some setting up shops, needed credit. All had to be helped to learn the speech of their new homeland.