3 MARCH 1939, Page 23


[To the Editor of THE SPECTATOR]

SIR,—In your issue of January 6th, Mr. Vladimir de Korostovetz states in a letter that, " For the last few years the world-renowned Joint Distribution Committee has collected billions of dollars for the settlement of Jewry in their independent Jewish Republic of Birobirdjan (passing the collected moneys to the Soviet Government)."

As one who for years was in direct charge of the work of the Joint Distribution Committee in Russia, permit me, for the benefit of your readers, to state a few simple facts with reference to the activities of cur organisation : t. During -the twenty-five years of its existence, the Joint Distribution Committee has collected among American Jews not billions but less than one hundred million dollars, all of which was expended for relief and reconstruction work for the benefits of the victims of wars and revolutions in more than two-score of countries.

2. Of these hundred million dollars, only a little over twenty million dollars were expended in Russia, and more than half of these twenty millions were used for feeding the population during the famine years in co-operation with the American Relief Administration (under former President Hoover) on a non-sectarian basis. It is quite possible that even some relatives of Mr. Korostovetz who did not succeed in escaping from Russia were benefited, among others, by this humanitarian work.

3. The other ten million dollars were used for the settlement on farms of over a quarter of a million Russian Jews who were deprived of their means of livelihood by the revolution and for training of thousands of Jewish young men and women to enable them to earn a living as labourers in shops and factories.

4. Not a single dollar of the Joint Distribution Committee money was ever used for work in Birobirdjan, the settlement project there is being carried on by the Government at its own expense.

5. Not a single dollar of the Joint Distribution Committee money was " passed to the Soviet Government "—all the funds expended there by us passed through our own accounts and were controlled by no one else but by our own representative there.

6. The Soviet Government is now repaying to the Joint Distribution Committee some of the funds expended by us for land settlement work there, thus enabling us to use these moneys for similar purposes in other places.

I have long ago given up any hope to " convince " and expect fairness from people whose mmds are hopelessly blinded by

prejudice and hatred, but I do want to believe that among your readers this type of people are rather the exception.— Faithfully yours,

JOSEPH A. RosEN, Director

Russian Activities of Joint Distribution Committee.

roo East 42nd Street, New York City.