"The story of the Jews in twentieth-century Russia as told through the strange history of the Soviet solution to the Jewish question. In 1929, the Soviet Union declared the area of Birobidzhan a homeland for Jews. In the late 1920s and early 1932, tens of thousands of Jews moved to Birobidzhan, chased from the shtetl by poverty, hunger, and fear. Birobidzhan was written about breathlessly by a small group of intellectuals who envisioned a home built by Jews for Jews--a place where Jews worked the land and where Yiddish would become the common language of a post-oppression Jewish culture. The short period of state-building ended in the late 1930s with arrests and purges of the Communist Party and cultural elite. After the Second World War, Birobidzhan, now called the "Jewish Autonomous Region," received a new influx of Jews. These were the dispossessed from what had once been the Pale, and most of them had lost families in the Holocaust. They had no one and no place to return to. Once again, in the late 1940s, a wave of arrests swept through Birobidzhan, frightening the Jews into silence and making them invisible. WHERE THE JEWS AREN'T is the story of the dream of Birobidzhan--and how it became a nightmare. In Masha Gessen's haunting and haunted account, Birobidzhan becomes the cracked and crooked mirror that allows us to see the story of the history of absence and silence that is the story of Jews in twentieth-century Russia"-- Provided by publisher.