Russian shame. The Chronicles of the Jewish pogroms in Russia

The picture of Moses Maimon “Again in the homeland” (1906). Jewish soldier finds his family murdered as a result of the pogrom. © /

Public Domain

Historical paradox — the practice of persecution of the Jews was widespread in Western Europe for hundreds of years, but today those dark pages almost entirely supplanted by what happened in the Russian Empire in the late XIX — early XX century. Russian word “pogrom”, unfortunately, has become an international symbol of violent actions against the Jewish population.

The Greek passion

Until the late eighteenth century the Jews constituted a small percentage of the population of the Russian Empire. The situation changed dramatically after the partition of Poland, when the Empire included territory in which lived hundreds of thousands of Jews.

In 1791 by decree of Catherine the great was determined the so-called “pale of settlement” that defined the territory, which was allowed to settle Jewish communities. “Pale” did not apply to certain categories, which, in particular, treated end recruits, merchants of the first Guild, persons with higher education, artisans, etc.

Ironically, the first anti-Jewish pogroms that happened in the Empire, had no relationship to the Russian anti-Semites.

In 1821 in Odessa, the initiators of the pogrom were the Greeks, is thrilled about the involvement of Jews to the murder in Istanbul Greek Orthodox Patriarch Gregory. Subsequently, the Greeks were the initiators of pogroms of 1859, 1862 and 1871, and the main reason they became not religious animosity, and trade competition.

A feature of these riots was that they were not accompanied by mass killings of Jews.

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The coming to power of Alexander III contributed to the tightening of policies against the Jews. Similar sentiments were supported subsequently by his son, Nicholas II.

“The people developed a belief in impunity of the most serious crimes, if only those directed against the Jews,” wrote one of the senior officials of the Empire.

The wave of pogroms that followed immediately after the murder of the people of the Emperor Alexander II, provoked the first wave of emigration from Russia.

In the 1890’s, emigration continued, as the authorities failed to take meaningful measures to prevent such phenomena.

When Nicholas II anti-Semitism to ultrareactionary of the king’s entourage becomes a tool for politics. Riots are perceived as a method to “relieve” social tensions, a way to distract people from the revolution. The turn comes the most famous of the pogroms in Russian history.


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April 1903. The pogrom in Kishinev

The occasion was the death in dubăsari 14-year-old Mikhail rybachenko. The Kishinev newspaper “Bessarabets”, led by prominent black hundred Pavel Krushevan, has released a series of articles which said that the murder was committed by Jews for ritual purposes.

The official investigation found that in fact the teenager was killed by a relative because of inheritance. After this “Bessarabets” stopped publishing new material, but the rumors of ritual violence continued to circulate.

On the eve of the Orthodox Easter in Kishinev there was talk — “the king allowed to Rob and kill Jews during the three days of Easter”.

Treatment alarmed the Jewish community to the authorities in what have not resulted. On April 19, the first day of the Passover, in the houses of the Jews threw stones. The authorities reacted to events rather sluggish, which forced the Jews to unite in self-defense squads.

The victims of pogroms in Kishinev. Source: Public Domain

The peak of the riots occurred on April 20. The attempt of the Jews to resist just to spite the attackers. Writer Vladimir Korolenko recalled: “I had the sad opportunity to see and speak with one of the victims… Is someone Meer Zelman Weisman. Before the pogrom, he was blind in one eye. During the pogrom, some of the “Christians” decided to get him another. My question is, if he knows who did it, he said quite dispassionately, that for sure, but “one boy”, the son of a neighbor, boasted that it was he, by means of iron weights tied to the rope.”

The Meer for more “lucky”. During the pogrom, was plundered and destroyed more than 1,500 homes, which accounted for one-third of the total housing stock in the city. 49 people Were killed, about 600 were wounded.

Only in the evening of 20 April the authorities have used troops to suppress the riots, and then they stopped. The Governor of Bessarabia Rudolf Samoylovich, Reuben was dismissed. Criminal proceedings were brought about 300 people.

The inaction of the authorities, many were explained by the fact that the organization of the pogrom had agents of the secret police who carried out a Directive aimed at inciting each other different segments of the population of the Empire.

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August 1903. A pogrom in Gomel

Events began with a fight in the market, provoked by the attack on Jewish traders. The attempt of the detachment of Jewish self-defense was foiled by police. The rioters, seeing the support of the authorities, attacked the Jewish houses. The city is caught up in looting and violence against the Jews.

After three days of clashes, authorities arrested dozens of rioters and dozens of members of the Jewish self-defense units.

The proceedings were brought 44 Christian accused of the perpetration of attacks on Jews, and 36 Jews, whom the authorities accused of “Russian pogrom”.

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October 1905. A pogrom in Odessa

The revolution of 1905 provoked a series of riots, arranged by the black hundreds. Authorities to what is happening, sluggish, calling the event “the indignation of the people, dissatisfied with the revolutionaries.” The peak of the riots occurred in October, when there was up to 690 pogroms in 102 settlements.

The Odessa massacre was the bloodiest. One of the reasons was the fact that his organization stood the mayor Dmitry Neydgardt. Among the rioters were dressed in civilian police officers. Looted Jewish houses and shops and the military.

Five days of the pogrom suffered almost 43 000 people. It killed more than 400 Jews, nearly 5,000 maimed.

The authorities decided to suppress the unrest only when it became clear that the rioters are willing to take the non-Jewish population of the city.

In order to bury all the victims, it was necessary to allocate a new cemetery plot. After the events of October 1905 from Odessa to emigration has left about 50,000 Jews.

Traces of the Jewish pogrom in Kyiv. Source: Public Domain

October 1905. A pogrom in Rostov-on-don

As the pogrom in Odessa, the massacre in Rostov was organized by the tsarist authorities along with the black hundreds. At this point in the city held a political strike, which was part of the Federal action. After the mass rally, the black hundreds and dressed in civilian police attacked a group of workers ‘ activists. When they began to resist, they attacked the Cossacks and the soldiers. Rostov was launched the rumor that the Jews beat the Russian.

When the resistance of the workers was suppressed, the black hundreds attacked the stalls of the Jewish merchants, and then the massacre quickly spread throughout the city.

For three days, during which authorities took no action to stop the atrocities, were killed more than 170 people and more than 500 injured.

Pogroms during the Civil war

Anti-Jewish pogroms of the early twentieth century ceased by 1907 when the first Russian revolution began to decline. During the two revolutions of 1917, pogroms have not become a mass phenomenon, but during the Civil war, they found a hitherto unprecedented scale.

According to historians, from 1918 to 1922 on the territory of the former Empire, primarily in Ukraine and southern Russia occurred from 900 to 1500 shares, which can be attributed to the Jewish pogroms.

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In this case, “distinguished” all parties who participated in the war. The smallest contribution was made by red at their conscience about 100, or less than 9 percent of all antinevralgic shares. Twice on the conscience of the whites, a quarter of all the various pogroms to blame gang green. Out of competition — supporters of Simon Petlura have committed more than 40 percent of all massacres.

Victims of anti-Jewish actions during the Civil war were from 100 to 200 thousand people, twice more were wounded and maimed. The total number of rapes and robberies are almost beyond counting.

The question of the level of anti-Semitism in Soviet society today causes heated debate among historians and political scientists. But admittedly nothing comparable to the pogroms of the early twentieth century in the USSR during the years of its existence did not occur.

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