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Zhanliang Jewish Autonomous Community (Cherry, Plum, and Chrysanthemum)

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Zhanliang Jewish Autonomous Community
זשאַנליאַנג ייִדיש אָטאַנאַמאַס יידע
瞻良猶人自主地域

— Autonomous community of Manchuria
Timeline: Cherry, Plum, and Chrysanthemum
Flag of the Far Eastern Jewish Conference (Myomi Republic)
Flag of the Zhanliang Jewish Authority
Capital
(and largest city)
Shuangyashan
Language Yiddish; Chinese; Japanese
Ethnic group Ashkenazi Jews; Mizrahi Jews; Han Chinese; Jewish Chinese
Government Autonomous community
  legislature Zhanliang Jewish Authority
Area 26,483 km²
Population 370,000 
Established February 20, 1950
Time zone MST (UTC+8.5)
The Zhanliang Jewish Autonomous Community (Yiddish: זשאַנליאַנג ייִדיש אָטאַנאַמאַס יידע Zsanliang Yidish Otanamas Yid; Japanese: 瞻良猶人自主地域 Senryō Yūjin Jishu Chiiki) is an autonomous community of Manchuria. It is bordered with the Soviet Union in the east. The administrative center of Zhanliang JAC is in Shuangyashan.

History

In April 1934, the leader of Harbin Jews from Betarim Jew Zionist Movement, Solomon Domonovich, submitted a plan to the Japanese government to give a permission for the Jewish emigrees from Eastern Europe to provisionally settle in Manchuria. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of the Realm Affairs of Japan, however, felt relunctant about the plan after received the protest from the German Embassy in Tokyo.

But, after the plan reached the hearing session in the Congress of Japan in January 1935, the British Embassy contacted President of Japan, Nagayama Yoshida, to support Domonovich Plan. The British government thought the plan could temporarily solved the problem about the establishment of Jewish national homeland in Mandate Palestine. Japanese government itself viewed Domonovich Plan for being too risky to be realized as stated by the Japanese prime minister, Suzuki Bunji: "[The realization of the plan is] like eating a fugu."

In April 24, 1935, Isaac Steinberg, the leader of Jewish Territorialists' Freeland League, wrote a letter personally to Foreign Minister of Japan, Hayashi Kiroku, to persuade the Congress of Japan to give the immigrational permission to Manchuria. After a heated debate at the May 7 session, the Congress freezed the plan for about three months before could be hearing again at the parliamentary session.

The plan was brought up again at the August 13 session of Legislative Council of Japan before finally reviewed again at the August 19 session of National Congress that attended by the representatives from Manchurian Parliament and the Harbin Jewish community. The Congressional Commission for Jewish Settlement Affairs in Manchuria (known as "Makino Commission" after its chairperson, Makino Nobuaki) was formed on August 24, 1935.

On its private report to President Nagayama Yoshida, the commission wrote about "the importance of Jewish investation in Japanese national development" and the give a permission to Jewish settlement in Manchuria will "necessarily helped to achieve the aim of Great Economic Plan." The Law of Jewish Settlement was passed by the Congress of Japan on January 2, 1936 and ratified by the Great Council of Manchuria in January 14, 1936. In 1937, the law was revised for allowed Jewish refugees to enter Manchuria without any visa or passport required. By the time when most German Jews arrived, Russian Jews had already settled in the country, mostly in Harbin. As result, a large Jewish ghetto emerged in Harbin throughout World War II.

During World War II, Manchuria was occupied by China. Manchurian Jews under leadership of Jakob Rosenfeld and Abraham Kaufman participated on the resistance movement under the Anti-Fascist Jewish Liberation Committee in 1941. After the Liberation of Manchuria in 1945, the enthusiasm for establishment of a Jewish autonomous region in Manchuria grew significantly. Isaac Steinberg was invited by the Japanese government to personally scout an area on northern Manchuria. After negotiations with the President of the Republic and the Council of Ministers of Japan in May 1946, the delegation of Freeland League and the Japanese government signed a joint declaration in which both parties agreed to establish the Jewish autonomous entity in Shuangyashan.

Some Zionist leaders criticized Japanese government plan for slowing down the realization of Jewish state in Palestine. David Ben-Gurion, the leader of Palestine Yishuv, referred the plan as "the destruction of a hundred-year dream of the Jewish people"

In 1947, the authority of Shuangyashan Prefecture was formally transferred under the direct supervision of Ministry of the Realm Affairs of Japan although nominally still been a part of the State of Manchuria. The Far Eastern Jewish Provisional Administration was formed in Shuangyashan on August 1, 1947 with Isaac Steinberg was elected as the President of Jewish General Council and Solomon Domonovich was elected as the Speaker of Zhanliang Prefectural Council. The flag of the Far Eastern Jewish Conference was hoisted for the first time along with the flag of Japanese Realm in front of Shuangyashan Municipal Council building.

Due the uncertain situation between Palestinian Arab and Zionist Jewish forces in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, many Jews became pessimistic to the Zionist movement. The wave of Jewish immigration flooded to Zhanliang and lead the Japanese Ministry of the Realm Affairs to limit the number of emigrees per year to be only 2000.

Manchuria was granted its independence by Japan on February 20, 1950. Following the independence of Manchuria, Isaac Steinberg declared the establishment of Jewish Autonomous Community of Zhanliang within the State of Manchuria at the old Shuangyashan Municipal Building. The flag of Japanese Realm was lowered and flag of Manchuria was hoisted along with the flag of Zhanliang Autonomous Community. Yiddish and Japanese was declared as co-official languages. Solomon Domonovich was elected as first Speaker of Legislative Council of Zhanliang and Abraham Kaufman as the Director of Home Affairs Bureau.

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