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Propose to Establish Bank for Jewish Colonization Work in Russia; Funds to Be Raised in Russia

September 11, 1924
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The question of Jewish agricultural colonisation in the Soviet Republics is receiving a great deal of attention in the Yiddish Press, the “Emess” dealing to-day with the financial side of the question.

The great difficulty in the way of Jewish Agricultural colonisation, it writes, is the lack of funds. The Soviet Government is able to provide the land, it can give numerous

facilities to the transmigrant, it can release them from taxation. But it cannot provide money, at least not for some time to come. The transmigrants themselves have no money, and without financial assistance from outside it seems impossible therefore, to get on with the scheme.

Yet it should be possible to raise some of the money in Soviet Russia itself. We propose the following:

1. The establishment of a colonization bank in Moscow.

2. The initiators of the bank should be the O.R.T. (Society for Promoting Agriculture and Handicrafts among the Jews.) and a number of communal workers who will be prepared to give a part of their time to the work.

3. The bank to issue shares of 100 roubles each to be realized through the loan and savings banks and among individual citizens able to invest.

4. When shares have been sold to a sum of 150,000 or 200,000 roubles, the bank should start building colonies on the tracts of land assigned by the Commissariat of Agriculture.

5. Houseshould be built and distributed among the transmigrants on conditions to be drawn up by the bank.

The transmigrant question, proceeds the “Emess”, is definitely not a question for the Jewish Sections of the Communist Party (Yevsekzias). The Jewish workers employed in the factories are very little interested in the whole matter. The question affects principally the artisans working on their own account and the small traders. That is the section of the Jewish population which has been left practically without a means of livelihood. It is the section of the Jewish population from which the Jewish agricultural co-operatives are drawn. We have to bring into the scheme the loan and savings banks and the artisans (associations which exist in almost every town. A fund must be set up to carry on the work of the Jewish agricultural colonization. Loan and savings banks such as those of Charkov, Kiev, Odessa and other places can and will assuredly take up 50 or 60 shares. In other towns, where funds are smaller they will take up a smaller number of shares according to their financial ability. The money is not a gift, it will be repaid. After a certain term to allow the agricultural settlers to establish themselves on the land, it will be possible for the whole of this money to be returned to those who have taken up the shares. The artisans’associations, too, will be able to buy a number of shares on collective lines; also certain individual citizens will buy shares. Within a short time it should be possible to raise in Soviet Russia itself a sum of about 300,000 roubles. It should be possible, in addition, to raise a loan from the Russian State Bank of about 100,000 roubles, and with 400,000 roublesin hand 1,000 houses can be built at a cost of about four to five hundred roubles per house. This will mean the immediate establishment of about seven colonies.

The Colonization Bank will be able to buy on a large scale. It will be able to purchase timber from the State on favorable conditions and will be able to obtain long term credits on its building materials.

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