Monday, March 30, 2009
Stalin's Forgotten Zion
I recently stumbled across an article about a Yiddish resurgence in a city in Siberia called Birobidjan, otherwise known in the 1930s as a city within Stalin's Jewish Autonomous Oblast. Stalin established the region in 1934 to allow the Jews of the USSR to pursue "Yiddish cultural heritage within a socialist framework." The idea was to create a soviet zion, or an alternate Israel, within the Soviet State. But in Siberia? People were banished to Siberia to live in gulags and work in coal mines? Thanks Stalin!
Reading this made me think of Michael Chabon's rewritten history of the Jewish Homeland, which in his novel "The Yiddish Policemen's Union" is situated in Sitka, Alaska.
I thought I would share