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Debate Settlement of Bessarabia Victims in South of France

March 21, 1929
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The recent announcement that the Jewish Immigrant Aid Committee was considering the possibility of establishing several hundred Jewish famine victims from Bessarabia as farmers and agricultural workers in the south of France was greeted here with varied opinions.

While the recent report of the position of Jewish immigrants in France who have been placed on the land as agricultural workers was pointed to as a favorable indication of the proposed undertaking, the opposition of the French press, headed by the anti-Semitic “Action Francaise,” when a somewhat similar proposal was put forward some years back, it is feared may come up again.

The possibility of settling Jewish agricultural workers from Bessarabia on the land in France was considered in 1925, M. Andre Spire going on a mission to Bessarabia in this connection. He stated on his return that he had arranged for a first group of a hundred Jewish agricultural workers from Bessarabia to proceed to the southern parts of France for the purpose of settling on the land there. About 36,000 Jewish families, he said, could be settled gradually in France in such small groups. There was no question of any Jewish mass settlement in the country, but it could be arranged for one Jewish family to be settled in every French village.

Immediately, the French press, particularly the anti-Semitic “Action Francaise,” published an attack on M. Spire, protesting against any intention (Continued on Page 4)

The position of Jewish immigrants in France who have been placed on the land as agricultural workers was declared to be very satisfactory in a report issued by the Hicem (Hias-Ica-Emigdirekt). The statement dealt with an inspection tour in Vaucluse, where a large number of Jewish agricultural workers were employed, carried out by a delegation consisting of Dr. M. Krainin of the Hicem, Mr. J. Mirkin of the Ica, and Mr. R. Grinberg of the Central Jewish Immigrant Aid Committee.

This agricultural employment work has been conducted for the past two years by the Central Jewish Immigrant Aid Committee. The Committee had hitherto considered its activities only as a trial, and had refrained from expressing any appreciation of the results or prophesying the future of the undertaking. Now, the report said, the Committee is able to express an opinion on the work accomplished and can forecast its favorable future.

Visiting a large number of farmers who employ Jewish labor, the delegation was able to establish that the working conditions and the life of the Jewish workers are with very few exceptions most satisfactory. They also convinced themselves that the Jewish agricultural labor placed by the Committee enjoys an excellent reputation in the country. The members of the delegation felt that the work must be continued, and promised to ask their respective organizations to interest themselves in the future of the Jewish agriculturists in France.

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