The famine now approaching Soviet Russia assumes extremely serious proportions and threatens to creat a situation worse than in 1920, according to reports received from reliable sources. It is especially felt by the Jewish middle class; the “Nepmen”, who are chiefly Jewish traders were forced out of business because of the new restrictive measurers imposed by the government on private initiative and trade.
The famine, this time, affects not only the cities but the rural districts as well. According to reports received here, the Soviet of Elizabeth grad has had to entrench the city. Machine-guns and strong military patrols guard the city, in order to prevent an attack
by the hungry masses. No peasant is permitted to enter the city without special permission from the local Soviet.
Throughout the country many merchants have been arrested and brought before the revolutionary tribunals for usury in grain. The tribunals are passing severe sentences on the merchants, often three years penitentiary and more.
Moscow has been thrown into the turmoil of a bread panic. Hundreds are waiting for hours at the stores in order to obtain bread. Kalinin has addressed an appeal to the population in which he promises that the bread crisis will soon be relieved.
The Jewis are suffering more than any other class of the people. The Jewish “intelligentia” teachers, students and professors are on the verge of starvation. Reports from Russia indicate the immediate need of relief and contains an appeal to the American Jews to come to the rescue of their brethern in Russia.
The situation in Russia today is worse than it was in 1920, before the Nep policy was introduced. In many towns, from eighty to ninety percent of the Jewish population are without employment. If relief will not come immediately, another great catastrophy in the life of Russian Jewry is inadverent.
At the time of the introduction of the new economic policy, Russian Jews looked forward to the return of better times and fought against odds with renewed courage. The new, severe policy introduced by the government against private trade has crushed any hope for an economic revival. Although the desire to go on the land is very strong, it is realized that only a small proportion of Russian Jews can be accommodated with land.
The communications received here from Russia state that American Jewish relief work in Russia was stopped prematurely and that the misleading symptoms of an economic revival has been shortlived.
If American Jewry were aware of the terrible sufferings to which Russian Jews are now subjected, if they would know how thousands of Jews are actually exposed to starvation and certain death, unless help is brought immediately, steps for the resumption of relief work would begin at once.
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.