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Microform Collection: Birobidzhan: An Experiment to Create a Soviet Jewish Homeland

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In 1934 the Soviet government established the 'Jewish Autonomous Region' (JAR) in a remote and sparsely populated region of the Soviet Far East: Birobidzhan. The creation of the JAR was part of the Communist Party's effort to set up a territorial enclave with a secular Jewish culture, rooted in both Yiddish and socialist principles, that could serve as an alternative to Palestine

The collection offers a broad panorama of sources on Birobidzhan as a unique phenomenon in the history of Soviet Jewry. It helps to understand why this project was undertaken, how it was implemented, the reaction of world Jewry, and how it was integrated into the national policy of the Kremlin. The collection offers the opportunity to vividly see how the Birobidzhan project was supported by some governments and the leftwing organizations in the West, especially in the United States. The collection is full of illustrations, charts, maps, drawings, plans, and photographs. It presents a chronological overview of the region's history as well as the activities of major organizations, both Soviet and non-Soviet, that participated in supporting and publicizing the JAR. Some of the organizations covered in the collection are: KOMZET (Committee for the Settlement of Jewish Toilers on the Land) and OZET (Society for the Settlement of Jewish Toilers on the Land) and Ambijan (American Birobidzhan Committee) and ICOR (Association for Jewish Colonization in the Soviet Union). The collection's two major languages are Yiddish and Russian, but a significant portion of the collection is in English. Other languages represented are German, French, Polish, Chinese, Spanish, Romanian, and Czech. The main part of the collection is held by the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York; another part is in the Rossiiskaia natsional'naia biblioteka (RNL) [National Library of Russia], St.-Petersburg.

Scope: ca. 285 titles.

In addition to this collection, 30 microfilm reels for the title Birobidzhanskaia zvezda are cataloged separately

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LOCATION: SML, Microform (Non-Circulating)
CALL NUMBER: Fiche B4230