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Komzet (Russian: Комитет по земельному устройству еврейских трудящихся, КОМЗЕТ) was the Committee for the Settlement of Toiling Jews on the Land (some English sources use the word "working" instead of "toiling") in the Soviet Union. The primary goal of the Komzet was to help impoverished and persecuted Jewish population of the former Pale of Settlement to adopt agricultural labor. Other goals were getting financial assistance from the Jewish diaspora and providing the Soviet Jews an alternative to Zionism.

Threshing in the fields in a Jewish kolkhoz, c. 1930

The Komzet was a government committee whose function was to contribute and distribute the land for new kolkhozes. A complementary public society, the OZET was established in order to assist in moving settlers to a new location, housebuilding, irrigation, training, providing them with cattle and agricultural tools, education, medical and cultural services. The funds were to be provided by private donations, charities and lotteries.

Established in 1921, Komzet was headed by P. G. Smidovich.

In 1924-1926, the Komzet helped to create several Jewish kolkhozes in various regions, most notably in Crimea, Ukraine and Stavropol region.

In 1927, Birsko-Bidzhansky region in the Russian Far East was identified as a territory suitable for compact living of the Soviet Jews. The region would become the Jewish Autonomous Oblast but it did not attract the expected mass Jewish resettlement.

Komzet was abolished in 1938, as part of the process of dismantling almost all central nationalities institutions.[1]


  • References 1
  • See also 2
  • Further reading 3
  • External links 4


  1. ^ Terry Martin, The Affirmative Action Empire: Nations and Nationalism in the Soviet Union, 1923-1939 (Cornell University Press, 2001: ISBN 0-8014-8677-7), pp. 411-12.

See also

Further reading

  • Robert Weinberg. Stalin's Forgotten Zion. Birobidzhan and the Making of a Soviet Jewish Homeland: An Illustrated History, 1928-1996 (University of California Press, 1998)) ISBN 0-520-20990-7
  • Jonathan L. Dekel-Chen. Farming the Red Land: Jewish Agricultural Colonization and Local Soviet Power, 1924-1941 (Yale University Press, 2005) ISBN 0-300-10331-X

External links

  • OZET lottery posters and tickets featured in
  • Up From the "Ash Heap"? A Lost Chapter of Interwar Jewish History by Jonathan Dekel-Chen (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) from Colombia Journal of Historography
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