I thought I knew a lot about Jewish history, I have never heard about Birobidjan (Birobidzhan). That is, until my class last night.
The Russian Revolution gave birth to some weird experiments.
In 1934, as an answer to the "Jewish Problem", the Soviets created of a "Jewish homeland" on the far eastern marches of Siberia in an uninhabited land of forest, swamps and wild animals, near the border of China. Stalin declared the area the Jewish Autonomous Oblast and persuaded tens of thousands of poor Jews from Ukraine and Belarus to move there as farmers. Zionism and its attendant language Hebrew was a bourgeois concept. Viva Birobidjan!
Unfortunately, my people were not such farmers, and the community - where Yiddish was the official language (the language of the proletariat), where streets boasted the names of Yiddish writers - largely disappeared.
A propaganda poster directed at Jews, describes a Jewish Utopia.
Trotsky wrote: "The very same methods of solving the Jewish question which under decaying capitalism have a utopian and reactionary character (Zionism), will, under the regime of a socialist federation, take on a real and salutary meaning. This is what I wanted to point out. How could any Marxist, or even any consistent democrat, object to this?" BBC Link Wikipedia Link
This is so cool. Anyone know any more about Birobidjan? The comment box is a click away.