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Labor Groups Launch Five-year Program to Aid Declassed Jews in Russia

February 5, 1929
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A $1,000,000 national campaign to extend over a period of five-years will be undertaken by the labor groups in the United States, to buy tools and raw materials to aid the 1,000,000 declassed Jews in Soviet Russia.

A call to all labor groups and Landsmanschaften in the United States to participate in the work will be issued under the signatures of the Arbeiter Ring, the United Hebrew Trades, the “Jewish Daily Forward,” the Jewish Socialist Verband, the National Jewish Workers Alliance and the Poale Zion. The money, which will be raised in annual quotas of $200,000, will be administered by both the Ort and the Agro-Joint. The campaign is to be known as the “People’s Tool Campaign for the Relief of Jews in Russia.”

“This action was decided upon at a special relief conference held all day Sunday at Beethoven Hall and attended by 542 delegates, representing 297 labor organizations. The organization of the campaign was placed in the hands of an executive committee of 70 of which B. C. Vladeck, manager of the “Jewish Daily Forward” was named chairman and J. Baskin, treasurer.

Distinguished leaders in American Jewry, active in the work of the Joint Distribution Committee, the Ort and the Agro-Joint, attended the sessions and described in detail the plight of the million Jews in the cities and towns in Soviet Russia, without sustenance and without hope for betterment of their condition unless American Jews place at their disposal the means for becoming a producing element. Eloquent pleas to the labor groups to undertake an extensive program of rehabilitative relief were made by Louis Marshall, president of the American Jewish Committee, Felix M. Warburg, president of the Joint Distribution Committee, James N. Rosenberg, head of the Agro-Joint, Judge Jacob Panken, president of the Ort, Dr. David Lvovitch, European representative of the Ort, Dr. Chaim Zhitlowsky, B. Chanin, B. C. Vladeck, Peter Wiernik, editor of the “Jewish Morning Journal,” Dr. Henry Moskowitz, and B. C. Vladeck, who presided over the conference.

The tragedy of the town Jews in Soviet Russia was described by Mr. Warburg from personal observation during the course of his visit to that country. One million Jews, he said, for the most part artisans and small tradesmen, are faced with the direst economic want as well as civil and social strictures because they have no means of becoming a producing element. Deprived of their civil rights, refused the benefits of social welfare agencies maintained by the government, because they are not workers, they are virtually declassed. The one hope remains in supplying them with tools and materials which will enable them to develop home industries. Small machines are the urgent requirement. By making these people self-respecting and self-supporting, American Jews will be enabling them to take their place in the life of the country.

The Jews of Russia are not looking for charity, he declared. They want to repay and will repay. Those who give should bear this in mind. The work of industrialization, he pointed out, is favored by the Soviet Government, which is making every effort to cooperate. He called upon the labor groups to help relieve the unmitigated dreariness of life in Russia by the sunshine of hope.

Mr. Marshall, in his address, made a spirited plea to the labor groups to take the initiative in placing means of economic independence in the hands of the Russian town Jew. “Raise a fund,’ ‘he urged, “but don’t spend it yourselves. Turn it over to the Joint Distribution (Continued on Page 4)

Committee or Ort, or both, as you wish. Lend yourselves to the great work of human reconstruction. You are Jews who are memorial. We are all of the same stock. The Jews of Russia have the same right to live as you have. You have got to help them. The work of reconstruction should not be left entirely to those who are called capitalists. You are all capitalists in strong arms, opportunity, intelligence. You have humanity. I trust Jews to do the right thing when they know what is needed.”

There is every reason to believe, Mr. Rosenberg said, that every dollar sent by American Jews to Russia will be doubled by help from the Soviet Government. A message endorsing the projected campaign was received from Licurenant Governor of New York Hebrew H. Lehman.

According to an agreement entered into with the Soviet Government, the Ort is enable to bring into Russia machinery and tools duty free, it was stated by the Ort representatives at the conference. The Ort is now in the process of launching a nationwide $1,000,000 appeal to Americans who have relatives in Russia to extend their aid in the form of tools and machines. The resolution adopted by the conference Sunday adds its voice to this appeal and points out further that, according to the agreement with the Soviet Government, twenty-five per cent of the total number of tools and machines imported must be allotted to those who have no relatives in the United States.

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