The Jews of Siberia: Welcome to the kingdom of snow and a treasure box of unique Jewish stories!
Join the BZD and tour guide Evgenia Kempinski on a Virtual Tour of the Jews of Siberia. Siberia is a large region of Russia that extends from the Ural Mountains in the West to the Pacific Ocean in the East. Usually, it is only associated with frost, snow, prisons, and forests. The first Jews in Siberia were exiled from Moscow as early as the 17th century for political or criminal offenses. Some Jews came to Siberia by choice, trying to escape the pogroms and poverty of the Pale of Settlement. It’s hard to believe, but to bypass the official ban, some Jews got fake documents to state themselves as criminals sentenced to Siberian exile.
We invite you to learn the unique and unusual story of Siberian Jews while looking at private Jewish homes, Synagogues, and monuments.
During our session, Evgenia will discuss the destiny of Jews exiled to Siberia from Poland, Ukraine, and Lithuania by the Soviet government between 1939 – 1940 and those Polish Jews who ran to the East, crossing the USSR border to escape from Holocaust. Most of them were sent to Siberia by KGB and survived the war. The absolute majority of Polish Jews who managed to survive the Holocaust did it in Siberia. We will also explore Birobidjan – an Autonomous Jewish region of the USSR and Russia. A small land in the Far East beside China’s border. The land was presented to the Jews by the Soviet government, but the gift was never received with appreciation. Today it is still a unique place where visitors may find street signs in Yiddish.