Proclamation of Biro-Bidjan as a Jewish autonomous region is counted among the major achievements of the revolution, judging by press reviews of the seventeen years of Soviet rule.
The “Komsomalskaya Pravda,” central organ of the All-Soviet Young Communist League, gives a complete description of the progress of Bureya, since the beginning of Jewish settlement there.
“It was during the nineteenth century that the first Cossack settlements were started in Bureya,” this paper says, “but even after the Trans-Siberian Railway had been built, the region remained practically uninhabited and as if cut off from the world. Climate, soil, swamps, everything is still the same, but the barrier has been taken down, and Bureya is no longer isolated. Agronomists praise the fertility of its soil. Geologists speak of its wealth of minerals, coal, iron, gold and marble.
FIRST SHACKS SIX YEARS OLD
“What has happened? The Soviet government has apportioned Bureya as a Jewish Autonomous Region, and it is that which has brought the awakening. It was six years ago that the first Jewish settlers built their first shacks in Bureya, right in the midst of the forest, a fact which gave its name to the first Jewish settlement in Bureya, “Waldheim.” They built their homes, they ploughed and sowed, and reaped, and when the floods came and swept away in a few hours the results of months of toil, they set their teeth and started work all over again. They felled trees, drained swamps, sowed, and reaped their harvest, built the first roads, got to grips with nature and won.
“Now Bureya,” the article continues, ” has sixty-nine collective farms, the area under cultivation has been doubled in five years, there are 200 #ractors, scores of motor cars, ever so many agricultural machines, three machine tractor stations. The backwoods railway station, Tichonkoj, with 400 inhabitants, has become a town with a population of 8,000, with nine industrial works employing 2,500 workers, twenty artisan cooperatives, schools, a hospital, a cinema, a Yiddish State Theatre, an electrical station, etc.
PLANS FOR 50,000
“Plans have been drawn up for the town of Biro-Bidjan, providing for 50,000 inhabitants; and a big metallurgical works will be started there as well as a number of other important enterprises.”
Mr. Dimanstein, chairman of the Central Council of Ozet, the first Commissar for Jewish affairs, writing in the Yiddish Communist organ “Emes,” says:
“The Jewish masses of the Soviet Union come to the seventeenth anniversary of the Revolution with a great ###### achievements ### their credit. The ###amation of Bureya as a Jewish Autonomous Region is the crowning stage so far. The Soviet government has not only solved the national problem in principle, but it has also put concrete meaning into the rights which have been given to the nationalities.
“So far as the Jewish working class masses are concerned, it found expression in the decision adopted by the Soviet government on October 1, 1934, to settle 4,000 Jewish families in Bureya during the course of 1935 ### the pro### out for the building of the Jewish Autonomous Region. The Jewish masses are given every opportunity to build their Autonomous Jewish Region, which in the not far distant future will be converted into a Jewish Republic. It is up to the Jewish masses to realize this project. The first thing they have to do is to provide building workers, administrators and settlers. Those are the tasks that face us now.”