by Bergelson, D. (Text by); H. Klering (Wrappers illustrated by)
Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1939. First edition. Softcover. g to vg. 16mo. 47, pp. Original illustrated wrappers by Hans Klering, a German actor, director, voice actor, graphic designer and author who joined the Communist Party and went into exile in the Soviet Union in 1931, returning to Germany in 1945. The front cover is an illustrated map of the Jewish Autonomous Region. Front free endpaper with a red and white vignette depicting a worker holding high the Soviet star, with the words "USSR - New York World's Fair 1939." Title page in red and black lettering.Illustrated with 6 b/w photographic reproductions, this rare pro-Jewish Soviet booklet was published on the occasion of the 1939 New York World's Fair, and introduces what was supposed to be the Red Zion.In 1934, at a time when Jews were being persecuted in Nazi Germany and attacked in the British Mandate of Palestine, Soviet authorities established the Jewish Autonomous Region (JAR) as the result of Soviet nationality policy under Stalin. It provided the Jewish population of the Soviet Union with a territory in which to pursue Yiddish cultural heritage. Located in the Russian Far East, bordering Khabarovsk Krai and Amur Oblast in Russia and Manchuria (China), the region is also referred to as "Yevrey" and "Birobidzhan" with its administrative center in the town of Birobidzhan. Unfortunately, by choosing Birobidjan as the homeland for Jews, Stalin was doing them no favor. Indeed, it was a desolate, isolated region with cold winters, hot summers, poor soil, and few natural ressources. The population was roughly 110,600 and few were Jews. Despite an energetic propaganda campaign (which this booklet was a part of), few Soviet Jews emigrated permanently to Birobidjan. According to the 1939 population census (at the time when this work was published), 17,695 Jews lived in the region (16% of the total population).Fore-edge of front cover darkened. Ex-library copy, with stamp and reference number on inside of title page (not affecting lettering). Wrappers in overall good, interior in very good condition.
(Inventory #: 41080)
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