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Jews Shrinking Physically in Ukraine

June 12, 1923
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Pogroms, famine and epidemics of every description have left only a bloody trail of hundreds of thousandds of Jewish victims in the Ukraine and Russia, but have affected survivore to such a degree as to cause a shrinking of their size. The physical frame of the Jew is changing as a result of the horrors he has gone through.

This was the statement made by Dr. Schwartzmann of the Jewish World Relief Conference at the inaugural meeting today of the “OZE”, an organization for the improvement of health conditions among Jews of Russia.

Dr. Schwartzmann has just returned from an exhaustive tour of the Ukraine. Some of the facts disclosed by him were: The size of the average Jewish chest has become reduced. The mortality of the Jews has become twice as great as that of the non-Jews. More than 150,000 Jews have been killed in pogroms. These, Dr. Schwartzman said, were the Red Cross figures. Tens of thousands of Jewish girls and women have been violated.

In one town of the Ukraine, half of the Jewish population of 30,000 within two years perished for want of food. Two hundred and fifty out of every thousand Jews in the city of Cherson died of hunger. In Ekaterinoslav, one hundred and fifty out of each thousand were stricken.

Thousands of victims of hunger dropped on the street, too weakened to cry or even to beg. Thirty-two per cent of the Jewish dead burried in the Odessa cemetary are unidentified.

Nervous diseases have become multiplied to an extent impossible to calculate, and Jews are subject to all forms of hysteria. Numerous small towne and villages have virtually been wiped out as a result of the pogroms. Some of the towns were scenes of pogroms as many as fifteen times. Scarcely a village in the Ukraine escaped without at least one pogrom.

The mortality of the Jews of Odessa increased from 18 per thousand during the period before the war to 56 per thousand in 1920.

Among those present at the meeting were the foremost leaders of the English Jewry. Messages urging the need of relief proposed by the OZE were received from Lord Robert Cecil who wrote that among all the horrore of recent years, none eclipsed the sufferings of the Ukrainian Jews.

“The OZE has my very best wishes in its highly laudable work”, J.Ramsay Maconald, the British labor leader, also wrote in praise of the organization.

Israel Zangwill, in a letter to the OZE declared that the time was coming when the inteernational medical work would become a permanent feature of the League of Nations. Meanwhile, he declared, the Jews must play their part.

Mowatt Mitchell, an assistant director in Russia of the American Relief Adminstration wrote, “There is an appalling, almost unbelievable need for medical and sanitary work throughout Eastern and Southeastern Europe, both inside and outside of Russia.”

A message expressing the desire to cooperate in the work was also received from Nahum Sokolow, who is attending the meeting of the Zionist Actions Committee.

Sir Sidney Wells, Vice-Chancellor of the London University and also its representative in Parliament, declared the work was not only necessary for the suffering Jews themselves, but to prevent epidemics from these regions sweeping the rest of Europe. The famous pathologist, Sir Frederick Mott, in a letter to the OZE declares that “your work should have the sympathy and support of all organizations”. The French Jewish Committee for Starving Russia, headed by its President Baron Alfred Ginsburg. Colonel Meyer and the Grand Rabbi of France also sent expressions of sympathy and support.

Dr. Radcliffe Salaman who was the medical officer of one of the Jewish Battalions in Palestine during the war was alected President. Among the speakers were Dr. M.D. Eder, a well known psychiatrist, Rabbi Gaster, and Bernard Alexander, a member of the South African Parliament.

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