“The offer of the Russian Government to grant land in the Ukraine, Crimea, and White Russia must be taken up to the fullest exten for the purpose of settling as many Jewish families as possible,” declared Dr. Joseph Rosen, director of the Joint Distribution. Reconstruction Work in Russia, before sailing again for Russia on the SS. Olympic, several days ago.
“With every family that settles on a farm, the crowded conditions in the towns are alleviated and the opportunity for finding work is increased for those who remain. We cannot imagine here,” stated Dr. Rosen, “what a great curse was brought on the Jews and Soviet Russia by the spread of unemployment. Young, healthy men wander about in search of something to do, cannot find it, and resign themselves to an aimless life and starvation. In a villege with a population of 300 or 400 Jewish families, only ten have a definite means of livlihood. If they are traders, they have nothing to sell, if they are artisans, they have no material or tools with which to work. ‘Why don’t Jews go into factories,’ one would ask. The reason is simple. Industry in Soviet Russia has been reduced and those factories which are functioning employ their old workers amongst whom there seldeom are Jews, because Jews were not previously represented in factory work to a larger extent.
“It must be understood that a people, 90% of whom are traders, is doomed to destruction in present-day Russia. The movement of the Russian Jews to settle on the land is not an idealistic movement as some may imagine, but it is a pressing necessity. In this respect, credit has to be given to the Ort Society which has helped the first 600 Jewish families to settle on the land. The regional offices of the Ort in Kiev and Charkoff did much to better conditions of the old existing colonies. Much benefit is also to be expected from the trade schools for the Jewish youth maintained by this society. To characterize the situation, it will suffice to quote a resolution which was adopted at recent Jewish gatherings in Kiev, Odessa and Moscow. These resolutions stated clearly that if Russian Jewry will not be helped to transform itself from traders and city dwellers into agriculturists and productive artisans and laborers, it is doomed to destruction”, concluded Dr. Rosen.
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.