Coming out Tuesday May 1, 2007:
The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon
ASIDE from geography, Sitka, a boomerang-shaped island in the southeastern panhandle of Alaska, has very little in common with the imaginary city named Sitka conjured up by Michael Chabon in his latest book, “The Yiddish Policemen’s Union.”
In this fourth novel, which comes out Tuesday, Mr. Chabon takes a historical footnote, a pie-in-the-sky proposal to open up the Alaska Territory in 1940 to European Jews marked for extermination, and asks: What if? What if this proposal, which in real life was supported by the secretary of the interior, Harold Ickes, but killed in Congress, had actually passed?Here's a quote from an article by Tom Kissa in the Anchorage Daily News:
"Imagine, if you please, a city of 3.2 million people on the shores of Baranof Island around Sitka. The official language is Yiddish, the inhabitants are Jews, and their lights stretch across the in-filled sound from Mount Edgecumbe to some place called Shvartsn-Yam. They have been gathering in Southeast since World War II, when U.S. officials hatched a plan to transport refugees from Europe to the territory of Alaska."
See the article below from Alaska History and Cultural Studies for background:
The King-Havenner Bill of 1940