|A propaganda poster telling Jews about the paradise of Birobidzhan, the new Soviet-Jewish homeland.|
Stalin pushed for a Yiddish-based Soviet-Jewish homeland, wanting Jews to become farmers and thus "productive" members of the Soviet economy and culture. In fact, Stalin's pet project became the first official Jewish state since the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 C.E., a few decades before the rebirth of Israel in 1948.
|Train station in Birobidzhan where Jewish settlers arrived from the western Soviet Union.|
Soviet Jews did not fit Stalin's definition. Jewish poverty, unemployment, and overpopulation, as well as wide-spread anti-Semitism and pogroms after 1917, caused concern within the Kremlin. Many Jews lived in small towns and cities where they earned a living from petty commerce, retail sales, small-scale handicraft production, and unskilled labor.
|A lottery ticket from 1929. Revenues raised through lotteries helped cover costs of construction projects in the J.A.R.|