Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Petition U. J. C. to Include “declassed Jews” in Russian Relief Program

September 20, 1926
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A plea to include in the benefits of the United Jewish Campaign those Jews in Russia who for various reasons cannot avail themselves of the land-settlement opportunities in that country, has been received by the United Jewish Campaign, from Capt. Frank Connes, an American military officer, now touring Europe. The problem of the “declassed” Jews in Russia is the most serious phase of the European Jewish tragedy, he asserts.

A petition signed by twenty-two prominent Jews of Kiev, and addressed to David A. Brown, says in substance:

“You are more or less intimately familiar with the terrible disaster that has befallen Russian Jewry. First, the world-war, then the civil-war, then the dreadful pogroms in which thousands of Jewish lives were destroyed, and whole communities, towns and cities wiped out. The Jewish middle-class, which subsisted on merchandising, was totally ruined. Their small possessions their meagre capital which were their means of earning a livelihood for their families, went last, and they have remained helpless with nothing to occupy their hands.

“The new statutes of Russia were the last staggering blow to this class of Jews. Registered in the ‘non-productive’ category, they are stripped of all rights and deprived of every possibility of earning a livelihood for their families. They are literally sinking. The constant chronic poverty without any hope for the morrow has broken their souls and bodies.

“For a large proportion of them the plan to settle on land, as farmers, is the one ray of hope. The government is aiding the declassed to settle on the land. It gives them land, timber, seed, reduced transportation, exempts them from taxation for three years, and–what is most important–they enter the privileged class.

“But–to settle on land, money is required. The Jews have no money, and the loans granted by the government are not sufficient. We appeal therefore that more money should be alloted for this work, so that a larger number of Jews may be saved from total destruction.

“There are four things that can help the Jews of Russia: (1) The first, and most important is agriculture, which ought to be supported to the largest possible extent. (2) Credits for Jewish artisans and small traders who must remain in the cities and towns. (3) Preparing our youth, through vocational training, for a self-sustaining future. (4) Medical relief for the declassed Jews in the cities and towns who are entirely without means.

“The Jews of America, through the Joint Distribution Committee have abundantly evinced their interest in the lot of the Jews of Russia. We hope that these same Jews of America will continue their interest and their aid with the same zeal as in the past; that they will help the sound-bodied with means to earn their daily bread, and the sick with means to become again sound-bodied; and that they will not forget the large number of orphans who must be saved.”

Capt. Frank Connes has been in the American Service since 1917, when he was sent by the United States Government as official interpreter for its representatives in Russia and Roumania. In 1920, Capt. Connes was a member of the Near East Commission to Turkey, the Caucasus and Palestine. In 1921 he was a member of the American Commission to investigate famine conditions in the Volga region, and in 1923 he was attached to the King-Ladd-Frear Commission to investigate political and economic conditions in Russia.


The charge that discrimination against Jews is practiced by the New York Life Insurance Company, is made by the Chicago “Chronicle” of Sept. 11, wherein we read:

“In spite of the fact that about 40% of the policy-holders of the New York Life are Jews and about 60% of its salesmen, or representatives, are Jews, the Company always goes out of its way to show its desire to keep as many Jews away from functions as possible. Every year the New York Life holds a convention and gives an outing at some popular summer resort to the men who have during the year produced the business. But arrangements always manage to have these conventions and outings either on Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashonah or some other important Jewish Holiday when most of the Jews do not care, and will not, be away from their homes. One agent told us that it is especially planned for these sacred days so that it may keep away as many Jews as possible.”

Frederick Brown, who is on his way home from Europe has accepted the general chairmanship of the campaign this Fall for funds to maintain the ninety-one constituent societies of the Federation for the Support of Jewish Philanthropic Societies, according to a cable received by the Executive Committee of the Federation from Mr. Brown on board the Berengeria.

While the exact amount sought has not yet been set, it was said that the budgetary requirements of the affiliated institutions for the year would be in excess of $4,500,000.

An Israel Zangwill memorial program was broadcast Thursday night under the auspices of “The American Hebrew,” through Stations WRNY, New York, and WMAF, South Dart-mouth, Mass. Dr. Isaac Landman, editor of the publication, presided.

Dr. Stephen S. Wise, Dr. Nathan Krass and Dr. Landman spoke.

Recommended from JTA