Birobidzhan, The Jewish Autonomous Oblast

SusanWritesPrecise By SusanWritesPrecise, 11th Oct 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>Europe>Russia>Moscow & Around

Have you ever heard of Birobidzhan? This page will introduce you to an oftentimes overlooked piece of Jewish history.

Who Knew?

Contrary to popular belief, Israel was not the first designated Jewish homeland.

Stalin and his "comrades" had the Zionists beat by about twenty-one years. As an answer to "The Jewish Problem" a brainchild called Birobidzhan--the capital of the Jewish Autonomous Region/Oblast, was spawned by the Soviet powers that be (or were).

Ol' Stalin was a paranoid sort, and was convinced that Jewish doctors were out to kill him. Thus, he banned Yiddish language and synagogues in the Soviet Union--which prompted (forced?) even more Soviet Jews to make the trek.

Where is it?

Birobidzhan is inconveniently located at the marshy convergence of the Bira and Bidzhan rivers (hence the name) in the far eastern corner of Russia, near Mongolia. It's a tough area in which to live, as the summers are humid and mosquito-ridden while winters, as one might imagine, are pretty darn cold.

Today, there are about 4,800 Jews living in Birobidzhan, which equates to 5% of the city's population of 75,000.

According to Lonely Planet, there are two tourist attractions in Birobidzhan: a regional museum and a Jewish cultural center.

If my computer would cooperate, I'd upload some pictures for you to see...


Antisemitism, Birobidzhan, Jewish History, No Mans Land, Stalin, Travel

Meet the author

author avatar SusanWritesPrecise
I am a freelance writer who lives in Ellington, CT. Specialties include web content, Academic research & writing, travel guides, and articles.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
11th Oct 2013 (#)

Something else I learned today. Thank you, Susan, and Happy Friday if you can make it one.

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author avatar SusanWritesPrecise
11th Oct 2013 (#)

Thanks, Phyl! Same to you.

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