1,000 Jews to Start Autonomous Colony in Dominican Republic
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1,000 Jews to Start Autonomous Colony in Dominican Republic

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A Jewish delegation from Czechoslovakia, sponsored by the Praha Government, arrived here today to sign an agreement drafted by the Dominican Legation in Paris providing for admission of 1,000 Jews to the Dominican Republic to establish an autonomous colony. Under the terms of the agreement, the Jews, all of whom come from Morevska-Ostrava (Maerisch-Ostrau), will be settled collectively on any land they choose under official guarantee that they can set up their own administration and police within the existing Dominican laws, provided that they pay $100 each for visas and $200 landing money for each adult.

The 1,000 comprise 450 Czech Jews, 300 Czech Jews from territories ceded under the Munich pact and 250 Polish Jews who are stateless because their passports were not renewed by Warsaw. They include specialists in 15 different industries and also physicians, landworkers, artisans and others suitable for establishment of a collective agro-industrial settlement on undeveloped territory. The colonists are permitted by the Czech Government to take along 20,000,000 kronen of their capital in foreign currency, provided 30 per cent of the amount is deducted for the Czech treasury. They are also permitted to transfer machinery, tools and other movable goods.

Prior to their emigration, the Czech Government is ascertaining with the Dominican Government, through the Czech Embassy in Washington, whether the administration of the West Indian Republic confirms the agreement drafted by the legation in Paris. The Czech Government is also interested that the group be increased to 1,200 by the addition of 200 needy Austrian and German refugees stranded in Czechoslovakia. Regarding this point, the delegation started negotiations today with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee here, while awaiting a confirmation cable from the Czech Embassy in Washington regarding the project.

The Jewish delegation is headed by two leaders of the Jewish community at Moravska-Ostrava, Ferdinand Hodja and Bruno Kolka, who themselves are going to the Dominican Republic. The agreement, drafted by Hernan Henriquez, Dominican Minister to France, provides:

(1) The 1,000 or 1,200 colonists will settle permanently with the right to purchase lend for settlement without charges, to engage in any agricultural and industrial occupation necessary within the settlement, to erect buildings, to establish sanitation and security, whereby the settlement can enjoy autonomy within existing laws.

(2) The Government will supply instructors and specialists without charge for establishment of plantations and other agricultural grounds, on land which can be chosen freely anywhere in the country.

(3) The Government will prepare for the immigrants, prior to their arrival, proper shelter, free of charge, for the first period of their stay and also will permit the immigrants duty-free entry of their entire property, including tools and machinery, and for tools and machinery necessary to be imported within the first half year.

Other points provide exemption from taxes for at least two years; guarantee of full liberty of religion and unhindered practice thereof; right to Dominican citizenship after one year; admission later of relatives of settlers into the country as individuals on the same terms as members of the colony.

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