bulletHuman rights study of Birobidjan



In 1930, there were 3,200 Koreans living in Birobidjan who had built farms, houses in the territory after they'd been sent there by the Japanese.  They were displaced by 2,700 jews, and were then sent to havaroposku.

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Japanese Army alleged interests in Soviet Siberian land

The Japanese Army (with roots of Chosu Clan) alleged that its ancient ancestors proceeded from the Amur Valley, Hulun and East Tartary (Outer Manchuria), Inner Manchuria and Kamchatka was more interested in recovering the motherland of their "fathers" to integrate into their own direct dominion. Inclusive with orders of "Strike North Group" as Army thought group, Japanese scientists and historians used some archaeological works in Manchuria and North Korean area to find some archaeological evidence to support the purpose of converting the ancient Russian Far East to a new Japanese land territory under Japanese Army control. Chosen, Kwantung arranged territory or Karafuto, to exploit its peoples and natural resources to their benefit and later served as a springboard for future actions in the North Asian mainland including watchtowers of Soviets inland.

On the other hand, the "local" Japanese establishment related at Kangde Emperor of Manchukuo why if possibly Imperial forces used some operations to return the Manchu ancestors' lands to Manchukuo as new coastal provinces; at the same time the Kwantung Army was promised to White Russians Fascist leaders for the "liberation" from bad Soviet hands of their "legitimate territories" to establish a new anti-communist and pro-Japanese reformed government. With its capital in Khabarovsk, Vladivostok or possibly Irkutsk. At Manchu Jews the Kwantung Army was promised also the administration of Birobidjan territory with their advice.

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The main square

The main square

Birobidzhan (Russian: ?????????�?; Yiddish: ????????????) is a town and the administrative center of Jewish Autonomous Oblast, Russia, located on the Trans-Siberian railway and close to the Chinese border. The 2002 Census recorded the town as having a population of 77,250 (down from the 83,667 registered in the census of 1989).

Birobidzhan is named for the two largest rivers in the autonomous oblast: the Bira and the Bidzhan, although only the Bira flows through the town, which lies to the east of the Bidzhan valley. Both rivers are tributaries of the Amur River.

Visitors find the town surprisingly green. The chief economic activity is light industry.

A documentary film, L'Chayim, Comrade Stalin! on Stalin's creation of the Jewish Autonomous Oblast and its partial settlement by thousands of Russian and Yiddish-speaking Jews was released in 2003. As well as relating the history of the creation of the proposed Jewish homeland, the film features scenes of life in contemporary Birobidzhan and interviews with Jewish residents.



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He supported the creation in the Soviet Union of Birobidjan - the Jewish Autonomous Region - intended to be Stalin's final solution of the Jewish Question. There was an increasingly strong connection at this time between being Jewish, speaking Yiddish, being specifically working class or generally poor, trade union activism (in the clothing and furniture trades), having Stepney roots, being a Communist and, of course, being pro-Soviet.

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Where Russians cursed in Yiddish (interesting read)
The Jerusalem Post ^ | Oct. 5, 2004 | Sue Fishkoff

Posted on 10/10/2004 5:35:40 AM PDT by gobucks

Visiting Birobidzhan is like slipping with Alice through the looking glass.

The streets are clean, the people are smiling, prosperity is in the air, yet everything is topsy-turvy.

Birobidzhan, population 80,000, is the capital of Russia's Jewish Autonomous Region, proclaimed in 1928 by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin as a national homeland for the Jewish people. It is 8,000 kilometers east of Moscow, the heart of the Russian Far East, eight time zones from the former Pale of Settlement – a city where Yiddish is a living language, yet less than five percent of the population is Jewish. Cultural confusion is everywhere. A 15-meter high electric menora stands guard over the central train station, where a huge sign proclaims "Birobidzhan" in both Russian and Yiddish. The province's only hotel, which still conducts business in Soviet-era bureacratese, is on Sholem Aleichem Street.

A new synagogue and Jewish community center light up the night sky with enormous green and blue neon Stars of David. The local Birobidzhaner Stern publishes a weekly Yiddish section, Yiddish and Jewish culture are taught in the public schools, and government documents are printed in Russian and Yiddish.

At last month's 70th anniversary celebration of the region's official designation as an oblast, public stages were set up throughout the downtown area. Russian folk troupes alternated with Anatevka-style dancing by children in faux hassidic garb, followed by Israeli circle dances performed to the music of Naomi Shemer and Ofra Haza.

Back and forth they swirled – Russian, Yiddish, Israeli – all day long. Yet virtually none of the boys sporting tzitzit (ritual fringes) and peyot (sidecurls), the girls singing Am Yisrael Hai, or the adults noshing on blintzes and herring at the nearby L'Chaim Restaurant were Jewish. And no one thought it strange when the non-Jewish governor donned a kippa to dedicate the city's new synagogue – the first synagogue in post-Soviet Russia to be built partly with federal funds – and announced that if the rabbi "needs a 10th for the minyan," he was ready to step in.

But then, that would hardly be necessary – half the city council is Jewish.

It's all quite surreal. But while Birobidzhan's odd Yiddish-Russian amalgamation should not be misinterpreted as signaling a real revival of Judaism in the Jewish Autonomous Region, it does go beyond nostalgia or kitsch to touch upon serious questions of cultural and religious identity.

What does it mean when Yiddish is no longer the language of Jews alone, but the national tongue of a non-Jewish community? When non-Jews tell Jewish jokes, and everyone laughs? When people of Cossack and Russian blood are proud of living in the "Jewish" Autonomous Region, where they search for their roots in the stories of Sholem Aleichem, where they feel a strong kinship with Israel, yet do not practice Judaism nor have any wish to do so?



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Almost all the larger Jewish communities were allowed to build synagogues and to open elementary Jewish schools (heder). Tobol’sk had a population of 1,500 Jews, which represented 8.5% of the city’s population, while in Kainsk the Jews constituted 8% of the city’s population. Every official source of the time emphasized that the Siberian Jews, who mostly earned their living as merchants and artisans, were very well off.

After the assassination of Alexander II in 1881, most of the privileges that had been granted to the Jews were abolished. However, in Siberia, where the local authorities benefited from the economic activity of the Jews, they preferred to “avert their eyes” and did not enforce the instructions sent to them from St. Petersburg.

According to the population census of 1897, the Jewish inhabitants of Siberia numbered 34,477 persons, the majority of whom were city dwellers and represented 0.6% of the total Siberian population. Following the opening of the Trans-Siberian Railroad (1904), many Jewish merchants, traders, artisans, and agricultural workers from the Pale of Settlement started to arrive in Siberia. The Jewish population increased to 50,000 in 1911 and continued to grow in the early years of the 20th century. Some 84% of Siberian merchants were Jews.

First half of the 20th century

The way of life of the Jews of Siberia differed from that of their fellows in the Pale of Settlement. They generally visited synagogues only on the High Holidays (Rosh HaShana, Yom Kippur, Sukkoth, Passover and Shavuot), they kept their shops open every day of the week including Saturdays and holidays, wore European clothes and had Russian-influenced given and family names. The Jews of Siberia disregarded the religious differences between Chassidic and Lithuanian Jews; in Siberian synagogues there were no old Torah scrolls and other Jewish ritual objects. Nevertheless, the education of their children was important for the Jews of Siberia. They wanted their children to learn Jewish subjects and to read something in "Jewish” and therefore they willingly donated money to Jewish schools and other community needs.