Samuil Mazo advised Jewish colonists in Agro-Joint colonies on the introduction and planting of new crops. He was arrested by the NKVD in 1938 and charged with “Zionist propaganda, sabotage and espionage activities.” He was sentenced to death and executed in 1938. He was “rehabilitated” (his name was officially cleared) in 1958.
Samuil Nikolaevich Mazo was born in 1897 in Borisov, Minsk gubernia (today Belarus), and lived in Dnepropetrovsk (today Ukraine). He was a graduate of the Timiryazev Agricultural Academy in Moscow. Mazo served as an Agronomist in Agro-Joint and as Deputy Director of the Agro-Joint Department in Dnepropetrovsk. One of his main tasks was to advise farmers in Agro-Joint colonies on the introduction and planting of new crops. Mazo was arrested on March 15, 1938, by the NKVD (People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs) and charged with “Zionist propaganda, sabotage and espionage activities.” He was sentenced to death on April 11, 1938, with all his personal property to be confiscated, by the NKVD Troika of the Dnepropetrovsk oblast. He was executed on April 29, 1938. Samuil Mazo was “rehabilitated” (his name was officially cleared) on August 15, 1958, by the Military Tribunal of the Kiev Military District.
There are two photographs in the JDC Archives of Samuil Mazo demonstrating a crop of sorghum in the fields of the colony in Poltavzi, Krivoi Rog District, Ukraine, circa 1930.
GADO (The State Archives of the Dnepropetrovsk Oblast).
Dekel-Chen., Jonathan. Farming the Red Land. New Haven, Yale University Press, 2005.
Mitsel, Mikhail. “The Final Chapter: Agro-Joint Workers – Victims of the Great Terror in the USSR, 1937-1940.” Eastern European Jewish Affairs, Vol. 39, No. 1, April 2009.