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Soviet Suspends Establishment of New Collectives in Biro-bidjan

No new settlements are to be established in the Jewish autonomous region of Biro-Bijan until the existing collective farms are running satisfactorily, N.S.Bigler, member of the Supreme Council of the Soviet Union and acting chairman of the Government Executive of Biro-Bijan, announced at a conference of Jewish writers held here to discuss the current economic and cultural problems of the region. He also announced that special Government recruiting agents are at present visiting different parts of Russia to recruit emigrants for Biro-Bijan.

The most important problem facing the Jewish region at the present time, Mr. Bigler said, was the strengthening of the collective agricultural settlements. “Agriculture is and will remain in future the basis of Biro-Bijan’s national economy,” he declared.

Accusing the “enemies of the people” of being responsible for the failure of many settlements in the Jewish national region, Mr. Bigler said that the executive committee of the region decided not to proceed with the establishment of new settlements until the existing collective farms had been strengthened.

“The Soviet Government,” Mr. Bigler continued, “has adopted a special resolution regarding immigration into the Jewish autonomous region. But neither the Commissariat for Agriculture nor the other organizations has carried out this decision. The Government has now decided to request the Commission of Soviet Control to find out those responsible for ignoring their decision and to punish them.”

The Commissariat for Agriculture which is charged with the duty of organizing the emigration of agriculturists, Mr. Bigler stated, has now sent recruiting agents to the Ukraine, White Russia, the Western district and other regions to recruit emigrants for the collective farms of the Jewish Autonomous Region.

After enumerating the achievements of Biro-Bijan in the cultural sphere, Mr. Bigler appealed to Jewish cultural workers to take a more active part in the upbuilding of Biro-Bijan. “We are short of men,” he stated. “We have not enough intellectual workers. We appeal to the Jewish intelligentsia to join forces with us and help us in the building of Biro-Bijan.”

B. Olevski, the Jewish poet from Biro-Bijan, stressed the lack of cultural forces in the Jewish region. In the Medical School of Biro-Bijan, he pointed out, the studies are carried on in Russian, because there are no specialists who know Yiddish. In the Railway Technical School, Jewish literature and language are not taught because there are no teachers. The same difficulty was experienced by the Agricultural School in Stalinsk, the Biro-Bijan City Library and the local newspapers.

The other speakers included David Bergelson and Peretz Markisch, the Jewish writers, and Goldblatt, manager of the Biro-Bijan Jewish State Theatre, who demanded that the Jewish writers and artists take an active part in the building up of the Jewish autonomous region.

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