(Jewish Telegraphic Agency Mail Service)
The annual report of the Jewish Colonization Association submitted to the general meeting by M. Philippson gives a detailed account of the activity of the Association in 1925, of its efforts and of the results it achieved.
The Ica colonies in the Argentine Republic, M. Philippson said, are prosperous and in full bloom. The Argentine settlements cover 590,000 hectares with a Jewish population of 33,135. Out of that number colonists definitely settled on the land, including those who had paid up the total amount they owed the Association, having in that way secured complete independence, made up a total of 3,654 families, grouping 20,382 persons.
The colonies are all making headway, M. Philippson declared, owing to the industry of the settlers and to the untiring efforts or the staff. It is to be hoped that Montefiore, the only colony lagging somewhat behind, would soon be repeopled, he said. Room for farmers’ families, of Polish origin is being found there. The colony is coming to life again and will soon be able to take the place it deserves alongside of the other settlements.
The Ica colonies in the Argentine Republic have a many-sided part to play nowadays. They shelter and provide with a living a very considerable number of Jewish farmers. Centres which came to life little by little receive every year a growing number of Jewish new-comers, helped by the Ica or travelling at their own expense. Generally they come to stay, finding a home there at a time when the gates of other countries are closed against immigrants. The Ica colonies are models of what can be expected from well formed and well conducted Jewish settlements.
Tranquillity has been restored in Brazil, M. Philippson declared, where an immense territory and great natural wealth are accessible for colonization. The Ica Philippson settlement, founded in Brazil twenty-five years ago, is almost emancipated now. Its colonization is being completed by the settling of the sons or sons-in-laws of colonists on vacant plots. These establish themselves at their own cost.
In Quatro-Irmaos, the Ica had to record in the past a number of desertions, a consequence of the political disturbances and of the too great dissemination of colonists. As soon as tranquility was restored, the Ica was anxious that the colony should be reconstructed by the creation of new centres. One of them has already been founded. The Inspectors of the Ica chose for the purpose deserving families in Lithuania and Poland. One of the Argentine managers superintended the arrangements made to receive the first groups and the organization of a new colony which was given the name of Baron de Hirsch. These new settlements will, in time, become Jewish centres of attraction. A special representative was also intrusted with the work of organizing the Jewish communities which are still very weak and scattered. He helped them to create the social and religious institutions intended for the immigrants such as synagogues, asylums, loan-banks and schools.
The colonization work of the Ica, M. Philippson continued, experienced many difficulties in Canada and weathered many storms. 1925 was a good year there. For the first time the dues paid by the colonists were higher than the Ica’s disbursements, which was a proof of the settlers’ success. Under the protection of Canadian laws, the Ica is creating new settlements in Canada.
Poland and Roumania. M. Philippson went on, are countries in which credit aid is wanted most at the present time. American organizations jointly with the Ica founded the Joint Reconstruction Foundation. In Russia proper the Joint Distribution Committee continues its colonization and relief work.
With regard to the actual relief work carried out by the Ica, together with the allied organizations, in Eastern Europe. M. Philippson gave the following data:
On December 31, 1924, there were in Poland 167 loan banks, with 62,202 members. The number of loans granted had grown from 115.293 to 206,018. with total deposits amounting to 1,595,623,50 Zlotys as against 571,185 the year before.
In Bessarabia all sorts of difficulties hindered the smooth running of loan banks. There were only 34 in existence at the end of 1925. with 24,293 members, instead of 23 with 23,594 in 1924 The capital of the banks totalled 8,959,197 lei.
The system of loan banks built up by the joint societies also extended to Austria. Esthonia, Latvia. Lithuania, Old Roumania, Bukovina. Transylvania. Czecho-Slovakia, and even Turkey.
At the end of the fiscal year there were in Russia 120 loan banks created by the Association, with about 60,000 members. The example of the Ica encouraged the creation of 110 other loan banks, all of which were making satisfactory progress, and their financial position was sound: they never failed to redeem the loans they had received. Half of the amount of the 1926 expenditure made by the Ica would be balanced by repayments.
The Ica is also giving the benefit of its long experience as well as material help to rural undertakings in Russia. It strives to reestablish the former Jewish agricultural settlements in Poland as well as in Bessarabia and especially in Russia, where a large number of Jewish families were reestablished and new ones were assisted to settle on the land. The Ica procured the financial help needed as well as the technical advice of its experts. “Despite the many obstacles,” M. Philippson declared, “I believe firmly in the future of Russian colonization. There were over fifty colonies in southern Russia comprising an area of 95,905 hectares, with a population of 36,845 souls.
“The problem of finding a place of refuge for the Jewish emigrants stranded in various European ports and for the Russian refugees at present in Roumania, Turkey and Poland will be definitely solved in the course of this year,” M. Philippson declared.
In conclusion, M. Philippson moved a vote of condolence for the families of the late M. Eugene Tisserand, Knight of the Great Cross of the Legion of Honour, a former Director of Agriculture in France, whose advice proved invaluable to the Ica at the time when the Ica colonies were founded, and the late M. Samuel Hirsch, who was at the head of the Ica settlements in the Argentine from 1893 to 1904.
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.