Dr. Joseph Rosen, head of the agricultural work of the Agro-Joint in Soviet Russia, arrived on the Bremen for a stay of several months. In an interview with a representative of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Dr. Rosen discussed conditions of the Jews in the colonies and in the cities.
The Jewish colonists in Crimea are better off this year than the Jews in the cities, because they have more bread and other food than is now obtainable in the urban districts of Soviet Russia, Dr. Rosen said.
“The situation in the Crimean colonies is greatly improved by the irrigated vegetable gardens which cover about three thousand acres of land,” he stated. “As a result of the better food situation in the colonies, one thousand Jewish families, more than has been planned, have settled in Crimea this year. They came from the cities on their own initiative, and were also called by their relatives in the colonies. And so instead of fifteen hundred Jewish families which the Agro-Joint has planned to settle this year in Crimea, there are twenty-five hundred families being settled,” Dr. Rosen pointed out.
“The food situation in the Jewish colonies in Ukraine was not as good as in Crimea because the harvest in Ukraine was not good last year. But prospects of this year’s harvest are good in Ukraine, just as in Crimea. And it is therefore to be expected a considerable betterment in the food situation, not only in the colonies and the farms, but in the cities as well.”
Asked about the general situation of the Jews in Soviet Russia, Dr. Rosen declared:
“Well, they are just as good or as bad off as the entire population of Soviet Russia. There is no such thing as unemployment in Russia. There are six jobs for one man. But there is a general lack of commodities and a shortage of products.”
Questioned as to the so-called Valuta affair in Soviet Russia, Dr. Rosen declared that it is ridiculous to make of it a Jewish issue. “The Valuta arrests have been stopped practically. They never carried an anti-Jewish nature. The Central Soviet authorities strictly prohibit now the local provincial officials to force individuals to ask their relatives abroad for money. Any such case, if brought to the attention of Moscow authorities, will definitely bring punishment for the officials involved, Dr. Rosen stated.
David Schweitzer, assistant European director of the Joint Distribution Committee activity, arrived together with Dr. Rosen.