Guide to the Jewish Agricultural Settlement Corporation Collection
1930-1982

AR 25244

Processed by Kevin Schlottmann

Leo Baeck Institute

Center for Jewish History

15 West 16th Street

New York, N.Y. 10011

Phone: (212) 744-6400

Fax: (212) 988-1305

Email: http://www.lbi.org/ask

URL: http://www.lbi.org

© 2011 Leo Baeck Institute. All rights reserved.
Center for Jewish History, Publisher.
Electronic finding aid was encoded in EAD 2002 by Kevin Schlottmann in 2012. Description is in English.
April 26, 2013  Links to digital objects added in Container List.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Jewish Agricultural Settlement Corporation
Title: Jewish Agricultural Settlement Corporation Collection
Dates:1930-1982
Abstract: The collection contains the records of the Jewish Agricultural Settlement Corporation (JASC), the American branch of the Juedische Landarbeit GmbH, an organization that sought to resettle German-Jewish farmers to Brazil during the 1930s. The files mostly concern the legal and financial maintenance of the organization, but there are also some documents about the settlements and the settlers, particularly from 1939 to 1941. The documents after 1946 concern refunds and the legal administration of JASC.
Languages: This collection is in German and English.
Quantity: 2 linear feet + 2 oversize folders
Identification: AR 25244
Repository: Leo Baeck Institute
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Historical Note

The Jewish Agricultural Settlement Corporation (JASC) was the American branch of the Juedische Landarbeit GmbH, an organization that sought to resettle German-Jewish farmers to Brazil, and to a lesser extent to the Dominican Republic, during the 1930s.

The Juedische Landarbeit GmbH (JLA) was founded 1930 by Martin Gerson as a Halutzim organization for teaching German Jews agricultural skills. In cooperation with the Reichsvertretung der Deutschen Juden, in the late 1930s the organization sought to resettle German-Jewish farmers, primarily in Paraná, Brazil.

The financial arrangement involved the German-Jewish farmers donating their blocked German currency to the Juedische Landarbeit GmbH, which in turn purchased the land and organized the settlements. Some of the settlers were to own the land, and others to farm the land as tenants. Each settlement was to be based on small groups of 40 people, ideally around ten families of four members each. As of 1940, nearly 170 people had signed up, and capital of 150,000 Reichsmarks had been collected.

In 1939 the Juedische Landarbeit GmbH found it necessary to form a legal entity in the United States, and the Jewish Agricultural Settlement Corporation (JASC) was founded in New York. Its stated purpose was to regulate the relationship between the land owners and tenants, and complete the responsibility of providing the paid-up capital to the settlers. The initial corporation stockholders and administrators in New York were Frederic Borchardt, Franz Wolf, and Fritz Schwarzschild. Hermann Simon quickly took over for Borchardt.

The settlement plan came closest to success in Paraná, Brazil. In 1938, Heinrich Kaphan and Frankfurt attorney Max Hermann Maier moved to Paraná, Brazil, and began making arrangements for the settlers. However, due to difficulties with the Brazilian government, the proposed settlement was never founded. JASC examined other sites in Ecuador and the Dominican Republic, but was unable to found a settlement before the outbreak of war.

It became clear around 1941 that creating a settlement in the near future was unlikely. JASC began returning invested funds, and at the request of its investors also shifted them to other organizations such as the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and the Jewish Colonization Association (JCA, an Argentine settlement organization). However, due to wartime restriction on accounts, full-scale returns were not initiated until 1946. Until its dissolution in 1980, JASC focused on refunding the invested money to the survivors and relatives of those who had invested with the Juedische Landarbeit GmbH. It is not entirely clear from the collection, but it appears that many of the prospective settlers were unable to escape Germany and perished in the Holocaust. In 1947, JASC asked the JDC to take over its accounts, but was not successful. In 1961, the Leo Baeck Institute took over the trust. LBI paid out the last of the claims, and in 1980 JASC was dissolved.

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Scope and Content Note

This collection contains the records of the Jewish Agricultural Settlement Corporation (JASC), the American branch of the settlement organization Juedische Landarbeit GmbH. The files mostly concern the legal and financial maintenance of the organization, but there are some documents about the settlements and the settlers, particularly in the correspondence from 1939 to 1941. These include memos about the financial and logistical arrangement of the settlements. The files after 1946 concern refunds and the legal administration of JASC. In addition, Fritz Schwarzschild's personal correspondence files, in his capacity as an officer of JASC, are also found in this collection. The JASC legal documents include incorporation documents, board meeting minutes, and papers relating to the 1961 handover of the trust to LBI and the 1979 termination of JASC.

In addition to the prospective settlers and the JASC officers (Frederic Borchardt, Franz Wolf, Fritz Schwarzschild, and Hermann Simon), the following people and organizations are also found frequently in the correspondence: Dr. J. L. Seligsohn (Reichsvertretung), James Rosenberg (JDC), Ludwig Grunebaum, the Joint Distribution Committee, and the Jewish Colonization Association.

Two brochures extolling Paraná, Brazil's potential for settlement are found in this collection, as are two maps from the Sosua Project in the Dominican Republic. The maps are photostat copies, one of the entire Dominican Republic noting the site of the Sosua project near Puerto Plata, and one cadastral (property) survey of the proposed project's land. Also included is a 1939 list of settlers that has about 300 names, noting the birth date, place of residence in Germany, profession, and relation to other family members of each person. The collection also contains the JASC corporate seal.

The financial documents include JASC bank statements from the Bank of Manhattan; a complete financial ledger that includes details of repayments to investors, heirs, and relatives; the stock book and stock ledger; and tax returns and related correspondence.

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Arrangement

This collection is divided into two sections, General Files and Financial Records. Each section is arranged alphabetically by folder title. Within the folders, documents are in the order they were found, mostly in reverse-chronological order.

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Access and Use

Access Restrictions

This collection is open to researchers.

Access Information

Collection is digitized. Follow the links in the Container List to access the digitized materials.

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Access Points

Click on a subject to search that term in the Center's catalog. Return to the Top of Page

Related Material

The memoir of Max Hermann Maier (ME 415) includes discussion of his life in Paraná, Brazil.

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date (if known); Jewish Agricultural Settlement Corporation Collection; AR 25244; box number; folder number; Leo Baeck Institute.

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Processing Information

Documents were rehoused in acid-free folders. Binders and envelopes were removed; those binder tabs and envelopes with additional information were photocopied. Wherever possible, folder titles were transcribed. The documents within each folder were generally not rearranged.

Much of the paper is fragile and crumbling.

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Container List

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Follow the links to access the digitized materials.

 

Section I: General Files, 1930-1980

BoxFolderTitleDate
11Correspondence1939-1941
12Correspondence1942-1947
13Correspondence1948-1950
14Correspondence1951-1957
15Correspondence1958-1961
16Correspondence – Erich Berry1972-1973
BoxFolderTitleDate
21Correspondence – Fritz Schwarzschild1939-1940
22Correspondence – Fritz Schwarzschild1938-1940
23Correspondence – Fritz Schwarzschild1941-1943
24Correspondence – LBI takeover and dissolution1961-1980
25Correspondence – Max Nakler1940
26Correspondence – Siegmund Stern1952
27Correspondence – Special files1960-1966
28Expense vouchers1939-1941
29Legal documents1939-1979
210List of settlers1939
211Parana Plantations brochures1930-1936
BoxFolderTitleDate
44Seal1939
BoxFolderTitleDate
OS 146Sosua project maps1938
  

Removed from Correspondence – Fritz Schwarzschild (Box 2, Folder 1)

 
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Section II: Financial Records, 1939-1982

BoxFolderTitleDate
31Bank statements1939-1945
32Bank statements1946-1951
33Bank statements1952-1958
34Check books1939-1958
35Ledger1939-1979
36Stock certificate books1939-1961
BoxFolderTitleDate
41General financial documents1940-1950
BoxFolderTitleDate
OS 146Tax returns1939-1952
BoxFolderTitleDate
42Tax returns1953-1970
43Tax returns1971-1982
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