PARIS (Jun. 23)
Considering the Jewish problem in the Soviet Union solved, the Soviet Government has begun liquidation of the Comzet, Government commission for settlement of Jews on land, which in its fourteen years existence directed the greatest Jewish colonization work in history, according to reports reaching here.
Information from Moscow said that a liquidation committee has been established to wind up the affairs of the Comzet, and also eventually to liquidate all foreign Jewish relief organizations operating in Russia under a plan whereby they will be permitted to transfer part of their investments abroad in foreign currency under existing agreements with the Soviet Government, while their work will be continued by local Soviet organizations without any suffering during the transitory period.
The American Jewish Joint Agricultural Corporation (known as Agrojoint), the Jewish colonization Association and the World ORT Union Expressed no surprise at the development. They believe their work in Russia is finished and the job of converting more than 200,000 Jews into land workers able to take care of their future themselves is a closed chapter in history.
Dr. Joseph Rosen, of New York, director of the Agrojoint, is now in Moscow negotiating the liquidation of the Agrojoint. The ORT expects to operate in Russia until the end of the year, when its agreement with the Soviet Government expires.
The Comzet was founded in August, 1924, to direct settlement of Jews in the Crimea and the Ukraine. Later the colonization of the autonomous Jewish region of Biro-Bidjan also came under its jurisdiction, but Biro-Bidjan is now closed to foreign Jews. The task of the Comzet was to rebuild the economic structure of Russia’s estimated 3,000,000 Jews, who, before the Revolution, had perforce been largely a people of middle-men, shopkeepers and professionals.
In the gigantic colonization efforts, the Agrojoint alone, which is affiliated with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, invested $10,000,000 in colonies, workshops, apparatus and equipment. About $5,500,000 of this will have been repaid by the end of the year, representing funds invested since 1928 under an agreement whereby the Soviet Government guaranteed repayment in dollars. The $4,500,000 invested in the four preceding years has been recovered in rubles and reinvested in the Jewish colonies. There are now 242 Agrojoint colonies in the Crimea and the Ukraine.
The Jewish colonization activities in Russia cover 3,000,000 acres of land.