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Why Jews Don’t Work on Soviet Railways

The Soviet Press, Jewish and non-Jewish, is commenting on the fact that although there are opportunities now for thousands of Jews to obtain employment on the Soviet railways as drivers, firemen, conductors, platelayers and in all other branches of railway work, hardly any Jews are working on the railways. The doors of the railway schools and of the special railway courses are all open to the Jewish youth, but very few Jews are taking advantage of the opportunities.

A great deal of attention is being given in this connection to a letter written to the Jewish Colonisation Society, Ozet, by a young Jew who has completed the railway course in Poltava, explaining why Jews are reluctant to work on the railways. He completed his training as a fireman in November of last year, he writes, and although there is a great shortage of firemen on the railways, he has not yet been able to obtain a position. As often as he has applied to the railway administration in Poltava for work, he has been told to come another time, and finally was told to leave his address, and that he would be notified when there was an opening, and he is still waiting for the notification. He has long since been working at another occupation, having been forced to the realisation that he cannot expect anything from the railways.

This is not the only case of the, kind, the newspapers comment, and it shows how bureaucracy has captured the railway administration. There is also a great deal of antisemitism behind it, they add, for though there have been frequent “cleanings” of the railway administrations it has not yet been possible to clear out the antisemitism with which the Russian railway workers were impregnated in the old Czarist days. Only recently there have been several public trials against workers in the railway depots, who have been guilty of offences against Jewish railway pupils. It is antisemitism and the low rate of pay on the railways, the papers conclude, that make the Jewish workers and the Jewish youth reluctant to work on the railways.

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