From a membership of 500 in the first part of 1933, the Hechalutz Organization of Germany, whose members are interested in emigration to Palestine, has increased so rapidly that today it numbers 14,000 on its membership rolls, according to reports presented at the recent conference of the Hechalutz Organization of Germany, the proceedings of which have just arrived in the United States.
The meeting of the Hechalutz is the first that has been held in Germany since the inauguration of the Hitler regime. A phenomenal increase of interest in prospective emigration to Palestine is reflected in the large number of boys and girls who are undergoing rigorous training to fit themselves for settlement in the Jewish National Home.
The 14,000 members who belong to the German Hechalutz are divided into 140 branches scattered throughout Germany. Each of the members, before admission, is subjected to a thorough examination as to his or her physical and psychic adaptability for training and for eventual emigration to Palestine. Upon acceptance, each member is required to undergo a half year of preliminary instruction in the Hebrew language and in the problems of the Zionist movement.
According to the report presented to the Hechalutz conference in Germany, 2,200 of its members went to Palestine from May, 1933, to October, 1934. Of this number, 1,020 emigrated during 1934. Two-thirds of the group were boys, the rest girls. Seventy-five per cent had agricultural training of an average minimum of one year, and twenty-five per cent had thorough training in handicrafts.
At the present moment there are 3,500 boys and girls who are undergoing training under the auspices of the German Hechalutz. Half of this number are in training camps in Germany, and the balance are in camps scattered through thirteen other countries, all of them under the direct supervision of the German Hechalutz.
Two thousand of the 3,500 are preparing themselves for agricultural and related work in Palestine. Six hundred are perfecting their training in handicrafts. Seven hundred of the girls are being given thorough courses in housekeeping training, and are also learning gardening and general agriculture.
ALREADY KNOW TRADES
Many of those who are doing agricultural work to fit themselves for colonization in Palestine already know other trades.
The report to the Hechalutz conference shows that seventy-five per cent of their members who have already emigrated to Palestine have integrated themselves into the communal colonies in Palestine. The balance are still awaiting placement or are engaged in other work.
The emigration of these young men and women is facilitated through funds provided by the Joint Distribution Committee and the American Palestine Campaign, which are associated in the United Jewish Appeal’s $3,000,000 nationwide drive for the relief and rehabilitation of German Jews and for the settlement of Jews in Palestine.