jewish autonomy – еврейская автономная область

The Siberian branch of the Promised Land was established in 1934 as a homeland for Soviet Jews. Some 40,000 Jews from all Soviet republics and also from abroad moved in. Currently Jews constitute about 3% of the region`s population. Thousands fled to Palestine after restoration of diplomatic ties between Russia and Israel in 1991. Today Hebrew is once again taught in schools. The recent economic boom has prompted some Jews to return from abroad.

The entry sign to Birobidzhan in Russian and Hebrew.

In good old Soviet times the Jewish Autonomy was awarded an Order of Glory.

birobidzhan – биробиджан

The capital Birobidzhan is a small green town with shady streets.  A pleasant place to make a stop for a day or two to enjoy its quiet pace. Note the Hebrew sign on the train station as well as the menorah fountain in front of the station.

This monument standing next to the railway station commemorates the first Jewish settlers.

The WWII memorial.

The alley of heroes.

An orthodox chapel next to the memorial.

Sholem Aleichem (Solomon Rabinowitz; שלום עליכם) famous Jewish writer 1859-1916.  The 1964 musical "Fiddler on the Roof" is based on his stories.

Travelers can stay at the hotel just 50 m from the statue of Sholem Aleichem.

Street names are in Russian and Hebrew.

A Russian orthodox church.

Birobidzhan's Jewish culture center and a synagogue are 100 m across the church.

Visitors are welcome.

The Simkha - a Jewish cuisine restaurant serving kosher food.

The riverside promenade.

A Jewish girl is practicing martial arts.

Hi from Birobidzhan.

volochaevka – волочаевка

The village of Volochaevka is about 130 km from Birobidzhan towards Khabarovsk. On February 12, 1922 at the end of the Civil War that followed the 1917 Russian Revolution a fierce battle took place there. The revolutionary Red Army units held a victory over the counter revolutionary White Army and Japanese intervention force. There is a small museum and a memorial dedicated to this event. A good place to break the drive from Birobidzhan to Khabarovsk or vice versa. The memorial is on a hill and can be easily spotted from the highway.

One hundred eighteen Red Army soldiers rest in peace in this mass grave.