LORD MARLEY’S exaggerations about the advantages of Biro-Bidjan, Siberia, as a haven of refuge for German Jewish refugees are extremely unfortunate. In his glowing accounts of his visit to the projected Jewish autonomous state he failed to give the facts which even the Soviet newspapers have published. Most of the Jews who went to Biro-Bidjan to settle there have returned, disillusioned. The cost of settling refugees in Biro-Bidjan, as estimated by Lord Marley, is so high that the combined relief organizations of world Jewry could hardly accomplish much, even if the plan were practicable and desirable. But it is neither.
By indulging in exaggerations about the Biro-Bidjan project, Lord Marley has also weakened his plea in behalf of the truly constructive work of the ORT. It would be a pity if this important organization would be affected because of Lord Marley’s misguided zeal regarding the “Potemkin villages” he saw in Biro-Bidjan.