Jewish Refugees from Poland Adjust Themselves to Farm Work in Russia
Menu JTA Search

Jewish Refugees from Poland Adjust Themselves to Farm Work in Russia

Download PDF for this date

Jewish refugees from Poland now stranded in Russia have adjusted themselves to farm work and are of great help to Russian agriculture replacing able-bodied Russian field workers who are at the front, it was declared here today.

Soviet authorities are very pleased with the work done by a group of Jewish refugees from Warsaw settled on a collective farm on the Volga near Saratov. The group went over the top in delivering its harvest quota and is now engaged in various other branches of collective farm activities. A Jewish tinsmith, Isaac Wasserstraum, despite lameness, is the best tractor driver on the farm, while Shepsel Teitelbaum, a former Warsaw tailor, drives the farm truck carrying grain from the settlement to the city of Saratov, loading and unloading the cargo himself. Isaac Rosenzweig, a Warsaw artisan, and Jacob Schorr, a worker from Sedlitz, are especially singled out for praise in a Saratov paper which reports on the agricultural achievements of the Jewish refugee group.

The women in the group are similarly lauded for their active participation in the work of the farm. The majority of them are now working on the tobacco plantations while others clean the tractors and attend to housekeeping duties. A number of the women have been awarded premiums by the local Soviet authorities in appreciation of their good work.


American journalists on a tour this week of villages in the Volga district found that many Jews who were evacuated by the Russian authorities from Kiev, Zhitomir and other Ukrainian cities which are now under Nazi occupation, feel very much at home on the collective farms in the Saratov and Kuibyshev districts where they have been settled. The majority of the Jewish evacuees are women whose husbands are at the front. They are all equal members of the collective settlements in which they live and share the work together with all the others.

Asked how the local villagers treat them, Clara Solomonov, a Jewish evacuee whose husband is in command of a Red Army unit at the front and whose two sons are in the Russian air force, replied: “Just like sisters. We have work, food and a roof over our heads, and feel the same as any of the old settlers.”

The Soviet press today carries an article by Shachno Epstein, general secretary of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee, describing how aged Jews are fighting in the ranks of the Russian partisans behind the German lines. He tells the story of a 60-year old Jewish partisan who captured a Nazi armored car and continued to fire from it at the enemy for six days, thus helping the Red Army capture a strategic position. Another aged Jew, Abraham Berzniak, who has three sons in the army, blew up a bridge in the rear of the Rumanian army near Tiraspol, causing the destruction of a German-Rumanian unit together with a Rumanian general. Citing other cases of aged Jews who have distinguished themselves as partisans, the writer states: “These old Jewish fighters together with their sons and grandsons who are fighting on the front lines, are the finest expression of boundless patriotism and devotion to their country. It is no accident that among hundreds of partisans who have recently been decorated by the Government are many Jews. The number of Jewish partisans is constantly growing.”

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund