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Japanese Influence at Harbin Hurts Economic Status of Jews

The economic condition of the Jews in Harbin, as described in a communication received by Rabbi Dr. A. Kaminka, secretary general of the Vienna Israelitische Allianz, has grown worse owing to increasing Japanese influence in that area.

At present the Jewish community at Harbin has about 10,000 members. There were about 13,000 a few years ago, but after a great flood in 1933 many impoverished Jews left for other places. A number of the Harbin Jews own houses. Many play a leading role in the economic life of the city, whereas others are members of professional occupations.

Several Jews occupy leading posts among the Russian officials of the Chinese Eastern Railway, object of dissent between Russia and Japan.

Jews are also employed in the hospitals and schools, which are distributed along the 1,250 miles of the railway.

A number of the Jews formerly situated at Harbin now have moved to Shanghai, Tientsin, Mukden and Darien.

The Jewish community at Harbin possesses two big synagogues, several smaller praying rooms, a soup kitchen, a bank, a home for aged people, a hospital, a Talmud Torah, a Jewish Women’s Club, a branch office of the emigration organization “Hicem” and two Russian-Jewish weekly papers, one of which follows the general Zionist policies, whereas the other is revisionistic.

One of the three European city councillors is a Jew, also the vice president of the Chamber of Commerce and one of the presiding officers of the Commercial Club.

ECONOMIC POSITION GETS WORSE

Lately the economic conditions of the Jews has worsened. This has nothing to do with anti-Semitism, but has been caused by the increasing influence of the Japanese.

The Russian White – Guardists try to foment feelings against the Jews, but their success is negligible.

A number of Jewish doctors from Germany, who were sent to Harbin by the refugecs committee, have been able to find a new livelihood there.

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