Dr. Fridjhof Nansen, Norwegian explorer and the League of Nations’ High Commissions for Russian Relief testified to the growth of anti-Semitism in Russia in an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, when he asserted that in case of an upheaval in Russia pogroms on a large scale would be inevitable. In the Czar’s time the Government was anti-Semitic and there was official influence behind pogroms; today the Government opposes anti-Semitism but the population, especially the urban population, is becoming increasingly anti-Semitic, Dr. Nansen declared.
Asked whether he thought the Jewish relief work in Russia should be continued, Dr. Nansen said that while it was very desirable for American Jews to continue to render aid to their suffering brethern, it would be unwise for the Jews to confine their relief to Jews only.
His advice is that Jewish organizations should work in districts where the majority of the population is Jewish, but distribute their relief among the non-Jewish sections as well. “Jewish organizations who have worked with me have followed this principle”, Dr. Nansen said. Organizations intending to do relief work in Russia now would have to reach independent agreements with the Government, he said.
Dr. Nansen declared he had nothing but praise for the work of the Jewish relief organizations, especially for the Jewish World Relief Conference and the Joint Distribution Committee.
Leo Kameneff is the next ruler of Russia, in Dr. Nansen’s opinion. “A wise and moderate leader”, at present chairman of the Moscow Soviet and actual head of the Cabinet, he is, Dr. Nansen believes, the logical man to succeed Lenin.
Dr. Nansen emphasized he did not believe the Jews will long remain in the Russian ruling class.
“I do not share the opinion that the Bolshevik Government is a Jewish Government. There are only a few Jews in the Soviet Government and even they will not last”.
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.