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J. D. B. News Letter

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The past year has served to emphasize the destruction wrought in the colonies by collectivization. More than a thousand Jewish colonists have left the Kalinindorf region alone in the last twelve months. Hundreds departed from Stalindorf while the number of those who bade farewell to their fields in New Zlatapol is also large.

The last year has seen the successful Jewish colonization experiment placed in jeopardy. It has marked serious discussions on the advisability of converting Kalinindorf, the first autonomous Jewish region, into a non-Jewish region.

In the last year, it was emphasized that more non-Jews remained in this region than Jews.

In Crimea, the theatre of the Agrojoint operations—colonization proceeded at its normal tempo. In the Ukraine, however, the Jewish Communists forced the Jewish collectives to adhere to the “general line” of the Communist collectives. As a result, the able colonists deserted and returned to the town leaving behind only those Jewish colonists who had no place to which to return.

The whole Jewish colonization work established after some ten long and difficult years was on the verge of collapse when the Central authorities took strong emergency measures to stem the tide of desertions. Even with these measures there was some danger this year that there would not be sufficient colonists to harvest the crop in the Ukraine.

The past year has imposed serious difficulties in the way too of the project to establish a Jewish republic in Bira Bidjan. The Jewish Communists in the Soviet Union this year conceived the notion of utilizing the world crisis for transporting unemployed Jews from abroad to Bira Bidjan. They forgot one small detail, however. They forgot that the unemployed Jew in Germany, Lithuania, Argentine and America lives under better conditions even in a state of unemployment in his native land; that it is impossible for him to live even under the best conditions in Bira Bidjan.

What transpired in connection with this migration to Bira Bidjan from abroad would have been forecast. They came, became frightened at the difficulties there, and fled.

when facts begin to seep into the open, there is but one recourse—to tell the whole truth. And the truth which emerged was that the entire Jewish work in Bidjan is on the point of collapse; that the largest proportion of Jewish migrants from the Ukraine and White Russia did not remain in Bira Bidjan; that there is neither food nor shelter; that the Soviet administration of the grain trust does not desire any Jewish settlers; that none of the specialists desire to settle in Bira Bidjan; that by the end of 1933 it may be possible to declare Bira Bidjan an autonomous Jewish district, but under no circumstances will it then be possible to proclaim it an autonomous Jewish republic. With this truth out, naturally the romantic notions entertained about Bira Bidjan faded even among those who firmly believe in the future of Bira Bidjan, including the Comzet, the governmental department for settling Jews on the land and establishing them in industry.

Very early there were to be found among Jewish communist officials of the Comzet those who warned that too great hopes must not be reposed in Bira Bidjan, and that Crimea should not be neglected. And the number of such persons has recently increased.

If the Jewish colonization in Soviet Russia has been on the downward trend in the Jews has been on the upward swing.

The industrial program of the Soviet, now at a standstill, has in the past year brought thousands of unemployed Jewish elements into various industries in all fields of endeavor. Jews have been drawn into the factories and wherever there was a dearth of workers.

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