Farming the Red Land: Jewish Agricultural Colonization and by Jonathan L. Dekel-Chen

By Jonathan L. Dekel-Chen

This is often the 1st heritage of the Jewish agricultural colonies that have been confirmed in Crimea and Southern Ukraine in 1924 and that, fewer than two decades later, led to tragedy. Jonathan Dekel-Chen opens a unprecedented window on Soviet rural lifestyles in the course of those turbulent years, and he records the amazing kin that constructed one of the American-Jewish sponsors of the formidable venture, the Soviet gurus, and the colonists themselves.Drawing on huge and principally untouched records and a wealth of formerly unpublished oral histories, the e-book revises what has been understood approximately those agricultural settlements. Dekel-Chen bargains new conclusions approximately integration and separation between Soviet Jews, the contours of diplomacy, and the stability of political forces in the Jewish global in this risky interval.

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Additional info for Farming the Red Land: Jewish Agricultural Colonization and Local Soviet Power,1924-1941

Example text

Having seen spontaneous colonization at work, Rosen sensed the potential that agricultural resettlement might hold for the relief of Jewish masses in the Pale. In his favor, no one in New York doubted that the Joint’s record in the ARA had been positive. 92 Furthermore, the results achieved in the spontaneous and in the old colonies—particularly the introduction of tractor teams—hinted at what might be possible on a larger scale. Taken together, these made Rosen’s position all but impregnable in New York.

Rather, it had circulated among maskilim (members of the Jewish enlightenment, or Haskalah, in Central and Eastern Europe) during the nineteenth century. The discourse continued during the first two decades of the twentieth century as Jewish political groups questioned whether the anticipated socioeconomic renaissance in the impoverished Pale should spring from farming or other productive professions. 60 Wherever the proposed location, most advocates of social engineering agreed that the transition to some form of physical work would reinstate spiritual and moral health to the Jewish people.

82 The real pressure for organized colonization came from Rosen in Russia, not from JDC officials in New York. 83 As an intermediate step (in parallel to Rosen’s contacts with the Crimean and Ukrainian governments in –), the JDC had tried to draw a former partner from the ARA—the American Friends Service Committee (the operative arm of the Quakers)—into collaborative colonization work, but the two sides could not agree on a site. 84 Rosen’s blueprint for colonization coalesced in these first years and remained mostly unchanged thereafter.

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