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Charges Ara Neglects Jewish Institutions in Ukraine

January 9, 1923
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Returning from Kiev, Zhitomir, Berdicheff, Venitza, Kamenetz-Podolsk, Proskurow and Ekaterinoslav, the J.T.A. correspondent is in position to state that the situation of most of the Jewish institutions in these places is grave. Local leaders assert it is “intolerable”. Despite the $5,000,000 the Jewish Joint Distribution Committee has given the ARA, of which $1,250,000 was designated for children’s aid, most Jewish institutions receive neither food, blankets nor sheets from the ARA. In the few institutions which do receive aid, the rations are insufficient and the children sickly and underfed.

The ARA does feed non-Jewish institutions in districts which are thickly populated by Jews. In the districts of Volhynia and Podolia no ARA kitchens are open, although the Government is ready to bear part of the cost of maintenance. In the district of Ekaterinoslav 30,000 Jews require immediate aid. Ekaterinoslav is a dying city. There is no ARA feeding in this district.

The JDC, however, maintains no feeding stations, and its children aid work is done through the agency of the “Yidgescom”. The latter is the executive organ of the Jewish section of the Russian Communist party. It not only engages in relief work but must safeguard the supremacy of the Jewish Communist party over Jewish affairs. Because of its close relation to the Government and because no foreign organization can afford to build up its own apparatus, it must be used by foreign Jewish agencies desiring to aid Russian Jews.

It is also ascertained that the $10-food parcel is worth in certain sections of the Ukraine not more than $5.- The proceeds from the sale of food parcels amounting $2.50 each and aggregating to date almost $2,000,000, are not being applied for the aid of hungry Jewish children. A probable solution might lie in the direct transmission of money from relatives in America to beneficiaries in Russia. It is learned on good authority that the Soviet Government does not object to the transfer of dollars, and that the cost of transmission would be only 2%. The “Yidgescom”, the only public body transferring money from America, charges 9%.

A large American Jewish organization not seeking profit, could easily undertake the transfer of money, which is advisable in the face of the fall of food prices and the depreciated value of food packages.

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