The Birobidzhan Affair: A Yiddish Writer...

The Birobidzhan Affair is the autobiography, “a chronicle of heart-rending events” recounting Emiot's eight years at hard labor in various work camps in Siberia. Poignant, remarkably understated in tone, it provides evidence of his travails as a Jewish victim of the bitter bureaucracy that was Stalinist Russia.

xi Introduction he lived in great poverty and continued to write. His reports on the Jewish refugees in the Soviet Far East were published in the Moscow Yiddish press and transmitted abroad by the Jewish Anti- Fascist Committee. In February 1944, along with other Yiddish writers, he was called to Moscow by the Anti- Fascist Committee to protest the Nazi persecutions of the Jews. This is where The Birobidzhan Affair begins: we learn that at this meeting in Moscow Emiot roomed with represen-tatives of the Jewish Autonomous Region in Birobidzhan, who appealed for renewed support for their dormant venture. Emiot now became a supporter of the Birobidzhan project and accepted the position of Birobidzhan correspondent for the Anti- Fascist Committee. He left Moscow for the Far East and arrived in Birobidzhan in July 1944. In his memoirs Emiot explains his decision in one short paragraph: The Birobidzhan representatives, with whom I shared a room in the Hotel Moscow, tried to persuade me to return with them and help in the work of restoring Yid-dish culture there. They particularly urged me to read the speech that Kalinin had delivered in 1926 at a con-ference of Gezerd. . . . I did so and was moved by its sympathy for the Jewish plight. Kalinin stated that Biro-bidzhan must become a Jewish republic where Jews, liv-ing on the land in large numbers, could evolve their own governing bodies and safeguard their own national cul-ture. I was captivated by the idea, despite Ilya Ehren-burg’s stormy outburst at the meeting: “ You people are trying to create a new ghetto!” To understand Emiot’s move, we must backtrack a bit and review the history of that obscure corner of the Jewish world that is Birobidzhan, the Jewish Autonomous Region of the Soviet Union. Birobidzhan is an area in the southern part of the So-viet Far East bordered by the river Amur, which for 550 kilo-meters constitutes the border between the Soviet Union and   C h a p t e r Home

The Birobidzhan Affair: A Yiddish Writer in Siberia


About Book The Birobidzhan Affair: A Yiddish Writer in Siberia

Front matterCopyright PageAuthor's prefaceIntroductionI go to BirobidzhanThe short-lived revivalIn jailFirst interrogationMy first inquisitorOzirsky of the NKVDMy first cellmateOne Yiddish poet, three Japanese generals, and a Russian thiefThe miracleAwaiting trialMy sentenceOn the road to penal servitudeBarbershop attendantBen SlutskyPenal servitudeProfessor S.How to handle a Jew-baiterI become one of the gangMoishe BrodersonWhen Pinke played Kol NidreiThe investigating commissionAvraham Khayim and the Sephardic JewsThe Jewish daughter from RigaWith the Chinese prisonersRepercussions of the Jewish Doctors' Plot300 women prisoners from MongoliaStalin is deadWe are moved to another campThe secret agent and the banditCelebrating the October RevolutionShot while attempting to escapeA Russian heart with a Jewish sighA Latvian of Jewish originTikhiRebellionMay it get no worseMoishe Broderson and Sholom AleichemOn the eve of liberationFarewell to Moishe BrodersonIn the village of StepanovkaBack to BirobidzhanAmong Jews in BirobidzhanMoscow–Warsaw–New York
birobidzhan affair yiddish writer siberia page https publishersrow yiddi ebookshuk books jewish hebrew ebooks autobiography chronicle heart rending events” recounting emiot eight years hard labor various work camps poignant remarkably understated tone provides evidence travails victim bitter bureaucracy that stalinist russia
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