That their unfortunate experience during many years of persecution and pograms placed the prospective Jewish immigrant in a position to appreciate the freedom and opportunity that would be afforded them in this country, is the conclusion reached by Morris Weinpoerg, publisher of the Day, the Yiddish daily, in a report he submitted to Secretary of Labor Davis.
Mr. Weinberg was commissioned by the Secretary of Labor to gather information and submit suggestions in regard to the immigrant situation abroad. He was in Europe for over three months and during that time visited all principal countries west of Russia.
Mr. Weinberg finds that there are from 15,000 to 20,000 foreigners in France who would like to go to America, out of a total of about 60,000 transient immigrants, some of whom have adopted themselves to French life, with the others living in hope to return to their native soil.
In Italy he belives there are from 100,000 to 110,000 native Italians ready to emigrate yearly for some years to come.
In Vienna, Mr. Weinberg found that some 10,000 emigrants have applied to the American Consulate for permission to travel to the United States. He believes, however, there is a larger number ready to leave, but are kept back by lack of funds.
Miners from Czecho Slovakia are ready to go across, Mr. Weinberg found, many of whom would be a “decided blessing”.
The greater part of the report is devoted to Poland, about which Mr. Weinberg speaks as follows:
“I found that more than 50,000 emigrants in Poland had already made application to be allowed to proceed to America. I visited a number of small towns and feel justified in saying that there are at least 50,000 more anxious to come over but who are kept back by the knowledge that they will probably be unable to obtain visas.
“Prospective emigrants in Poland may be divided into two classes. About 50% of those desiring to come to America are Poles of the average grade. These are men generally healthy, and ready and willing to apply themselves o occupation requiring hard work. Their chief usefulness would probably be as miners and farm hands.
“Of the other 50% more than 70% would be composed of Jews coming from various provinces of what was formerly the Russian Empire. Their local traits and immediate surroundings appear strange to the average West European or American visitor. Change their garb and the surrounding atmosphere and you at once have a type of a man that is ready and willing to work and to learn and to adopt himself to all phases of a new life, and to adopt all traits that we characterize as most desirable in an American citizen. I have seen these people coming from Pinsk, Rovno, Dubno, – from varipus provinces, and found that the greater number are fitted to join the building trades while the remainder include every conceivable form of trade and artisanship.
“These are the same type of people who came to this country twenty years ago and more, and that have build and constructed such vital centers as Brownsville, Williamsburg. East New York and those numerous other surrounding districts in New York and similar sections in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, etc.
“Of the remaining 30% the greater portion would probably fit into the garment and similar trades, while a small portion would of course be composed of parents, vivas and children of those already settled in the United States, most of them American citizens and fully equipped to take care of and amply provide for their kin.
“These last mentioned are surely entitled to consideration, if on no other than moral grounds; all the more so as there is no likelihood of their ever becoming a public charge. Many of them have been deprived of home and shelter and every other possession through no fault of their own. Their unfortunate experiences during many years of persecution and pograms only planes them in a position the better to appreciate the freedom and opportunity that would be afforded them in this country.
“What I have said of Poland may well apply to Lithuania and White Russia on a relatively much smaller scale.
“There seems to be no reason at all why the right kind of immigrant should not be given an opportunity of helping us perpetuate those institutions which we cherish most. The wealth and resources of our country are unlimited and we can conveniently absorb a million men a year and be the better for it. Of course these newcomers must be selected but our process of selection should be effected by an impartial body of men – men who will have only the industrial, economic and moral welfare of our great country in mind.
“Yes, and these men, these impartial judges of future Americans, must also be imbued with a genuine sense of human considerations. They must be able to recognize the refugee, the victim of hatred and religious persecutions, the victim of pograms and revolutions, and recognizing him, must be able to make allowance for him.
Immigration problems met and dealt with by such a body of men will protect us against undesirable elements, and by the admission of those that are not only entitled to come in but are essential to our future welfare, will ensure for this great and free country ever greater blessings”.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.