IV. L o c a l .. G r o u p s
Previous chapters explained only how the emigration scheme might be carried out without creating any economic disturbance. But so great a movement cannot take place without inevitably rousing many deep and powerful feelings. There are old customs, old memories that attach us to our homes. We have cradles, we have graves, and we alone know how Jewish hearts cling to the graves. Our cradles we shall carry with us -- they bold our future, rosy and smiling. Our beloved graves we must abandon -- and I think this abandonment will cost us more than any other sacrifice. But it must be so.
Economic distress, political pressure, and social obloquy have already driven us from our homes and from our graves. We' Jews are even now constantly shifting from place to place, a strong current actually carrying us westward over the sea to the United States, where our presence is also not desired. And where will our presence be desired, so long as we are a homeless nation?
But we shall give a home to our people. And we shall give it, not by dragging them ruthlessly out of their sustaining soil, but rather by transplanting them Carefully to a better ground. Just as we wish to create new political and economic relations, so we shall preserve as sacred all of the past that is dear to our people's hearts.
Hence a few suggestions must suffice, as this part of my scheme will most probably be condemned as visionary. Yet even this is possible and real, though it now appears to be something vague and aimless. Organization will make of it something rational.
EMIGRATION IN GROUPS
Our people should emigrate in groups of families and friends. But no man will be forced to join the particular group belonging to his former place of residence. Each will be able to journey in his chosen fashion as soon as he has settled his affairs. Seeing that each man will pay his own expenses by rail and boat, he will naturally travel by whatever class suits him best. Possibly there will even be no subdivision for classes on board train and boat, so as to avoid making the poor feel their position too keenly during their long journey. Though we are not exactly organizing a pleasure trip, it is as well to keep them in good humor on the way.
None will travel in penury; on the other hand, all who desire to travel in luxurious ease will be able to foliow their bent. Even under favorable circumstances, the movement may not touch certain classes of Jews for several years to come; the intervening period can therefore be employed in selecting the best modes of organizing the journeys. Those who are, well off can travel in parties if they wish, taking their personal friends and connections with them. Jews, with the exception of the richest, have, after all, very little intercourse with Christians. In some countries their acquaintance with them is confined to a few spongers, borrowers, and dependents; of a better class of Christian they know nothing. The Ghetto continues though its walls are broken down.
The middle classes will therefore make elaborate and careful preparations for departure. A group of travellers will be formed in each locality, large towns being divided into districts with a group in each district, who will communicate by means of representatives elected for the purpose. This division into districts need not be strictly ad- hered to; it is merely intended to alleviate the discomfort and home-sickness of the poor during their journey out- wards. Everybody is free to travel either alone or attached to any local group he prefers. The conditions of travel -- regulated according to classes -- will apply to all alike. Any sufficiently numerous travelling party can charter a special train and special boat from the Company.
The Company's housing agency will provide quarters for the poorest on their arrival. Later on, when more pros- perous emigrants follow, their obvious need for lodgings on first landing will have to be supplied by hotels built by private enterprise. Some of these more prosperous colonists will, indeed, have built their houses before becoming permanent settlers, so that they will merely move from an old home into a new one.
Translated from the German by Sylvie D'Avigdor
This edition published in 1946 by the American Zionist Emergency Council
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