Kishinev Pogroms
Map of “Pale of Jewish Settlement” in the Russian Empire

You might wish first to read an introductory sketch of pogroms in the late Russian Empire

I. Late 19th-century

II. 1903ap05:ap07; Kishinev pogrom

*1903:Easter Week| A Proclamation Inciting a Pogrom of the Jews
[Excerpted from Readings in Modern European History,
James Harvey Robinson and Charles Beard, eds., v2 (Boston:1908):371-372]


Our great festival of the Resurrection of Christ draws near. It is many years since, put to death by the Jews, Our Lord expiated by his blood our sins and those of all the world, pouring out in his mercy his holy blood for the salvation of all the nations of the earth, of us Christians as well as the adherents of other religions.

But the vile Jews are not content with having shed the blood of our Savior, whom they crucified, and who suffered for them. Every year they shed the innocent blood of Christians. They shed it and use it in their religious rites.

You have doubtless been told that at Dubossari they crucified a Christian youth, whose blood they offered in sacrifice.

The story is quite correct. The authorities know it too, though they do not breathe a word in order not to excite our anger against these miserable, bloodthirsty men who should have been driven out of our country long ago. A similar case has just occurred at Kiev, where they bled to death an innocent child and afterwards threw its body into the street.

At the present moment, whilst we are preparing to celebrate the Passion of our Lord, they are drinking Christian blood among themselves. Brothers, we are overcome with horror when we think of the number of Christian souls lost through them for many years.

They aspire to seize our beloved Russia. They issue proclamations in order to incite the people against the authorities, even against our Little Father, the Tsar, who knows them for a cowardly, vile, rapacious people, and will not give them liberty. They try, therefore, to provoke disturbances by which they hope to obtain more liberties for themselves. Now, if liberty is granted to the Jew, he will speedily become master of Holy Russia, lay his greedy hands on everything, and there will no longer be a Russia, but only a Jewry left.

Brothers, in the name of our Savior who gave his blood for us, in the name of our very pious Little Father, the Tsar, who watches over the wants of his people, and alleviates their lot by generous manifestoes, let us join on Easter Day in the cry, "Down with the Jews ! " Let us massacre these sanguinary monsters who slake their thirst with Russian blood !

Act in such a manner that they will remember the pogrom [i.e. massacre] of Odessa, where the troops themselves assisted the people. This time they will again aid us, inspired as they are, like ourselves, with the love of Christ.

Brothers, lend us your aid. Let us massacre these vile Jews. We are already numerous.


P. S. Make your visitors [i.e., customers] read this, or else your establishment will be sacked. We shall be kept informed of this by those of us who go amongst you.


Vladimir Korolenko Description of Kishinev pogrom aftermath [ID#1] [ID#2]

[Extracted from *Kishineff: The Medieval Outbreak Against the Jews* in
The Great Events by Famous Historians,
vol. 20 (n.p.: The National Alumni, 1914), pp. 35-49]

[SAC editor has made a first go at standardizing transliteration, providing links, etc.]

I arrived at Kishinev two months after the massacres had taken place, when the echo of those horrors was still freshly thrilling and reverberating throughout the whole of Russia. The Kishinev police had taken the most drastic measures, but in spite of their zeal it was difficult to efface all traces of the deeds of blood. Even in the principal streets broken doors and windows were still to be seen; while in the outskirts of the town there were still more traces of the same sort. At St. Petersburg a Jew, Dashevskii, struck M. Krushevan with a knife; but, strange to say, another Jew came forward prepared to give first aid to the wounded man. Krushevan repelled this proffered aid with a movement of disgust, and wrote later that *Dashevskii's soul was forfeit to him.* Together with M. Kumarov he demanded that sentence of death should be passed on Dashevskii, for the specific reason that he, M. Krushevan, was not a private person, but a *man representing a principle of State.* Two or three days after my arrival at Kishinev, three unknown young men attacked a Jewish youth returning from school, one of them stabbing him in the side with a dagger. The dagger was better aimed than was the knife of Dashevskii, and though the blow was weakened by the weapon coming in contact with a book, tightly buttoned up inside the boy's jacket, he did not escape unwounded. This Jewish youth, returning from school, could not of course be said to represent *a principle of State,* and consequently neither Kumarov, nor Krushevan, nor the editor of the local paper of Bessarabia took any notice of the occurrence (at least, during my stay at Kishinev), though the Jews of the town discussed the matter with a sense of uneasiness which may well be understood. Among other things it was reported that the blow struck at the student was a reply to the outrage committed by Dashevskii. Foolish as this may seem, it may possibly be the truth. Anything may happen in the town of Kishinev, where the moral atmosphere is still surcharged with fiery animosity and hatred. The ordinary life of the town is at a standstill; building operations have stopped; the Jewish inhabitants are tense with fear, and with uncertainty about the morrow.

It was while things were in this condition that I arrived at Kishinev. Bent on attempting to find some explanation for the horrible and incomprehensible drama which had unrolled itself but a few weeks before, I wandered through the town, its suburbs, streets, and markets, interrogating both Jews and Christians on the subject of the recent events. I cannot, of course, pretend to give any complete explanation, in the following short account of this terrible affair, of the incidents which resulted in the rapid, almost immediate, disappearance of the ordinary restraints of civilization, so that there unexpectedly burst forth something bordering on elemental bestiality. *There is nothing hidden that shall not be made known.* It is quite possible that the hidden springs which put in motion this criminal attack will someday be disclosed, when the whole affair will be as plain as is the machinery of a clock that has been taken to pieces. But possibly there will even then remain circumstances difficult to explain in the light of certain known and attested facts. One of the problems that constantly obtrudes itself is, how an average, every-day and fairly decent man, with whom intercourse under ordinary circumstances is not unpleasant, can be suddenly transformed into a wild beast, forming part of a crowd of other wild beasts? Much time and work, and very wide and careful study, would be needed in order to present a picture of what took place in all its fullness of color. It is not possible for me to accomplish this; and perhaps the time for doing so has not yet come. I wish I could hope that the Court of Inquiry would do it, but I have cause to fear that they will not. . . . My desire is to place before my readers some reflection of the feeling of horror which overcame me during my short stay at Kishinev two months after the massacres. In order to do this, I will endeavor to depict as calmly and as exactly as I can one single episode. It is the story of the house in Kishinev now become celebrated under the name of House No. 13.

House No. 13 is situated in the fourth district of Kishinev, in a by-street bearing the name of Asiatskii, at its juncture with another by-street, Stavriskii; the names of these narrow and tortuous little streets are known but indifferently even to the inhabitants of Kishinev themselves. The Jewish cab-driver who drove us (many Jewish cab-drivers were among the killed and wounded) did not understand at first where we wanted to go. Thereupon my companion, who for the last three weeks had been breathing the air of Kishinev, and was able to find his way to all the principal places of interest connected with the massacres, explained to the driver, *House No. 13; where they killed!* * Ah! I know!* replied the driver, nodding his head and whipping up a horse as dejected, as miserable, and as half-starved as himself. I could not see the man's face, but I heard him mutter through his beard words that sounded like *Nisensen* and *the glazier.* Nisensen and the glazier were a short time ago living men. Now they are but symbols, representing the concentrated horrors of recent massacres. We drove for some time, passing through the wide, well-populated, and comparatively civilized streets of the new town, to the narrow and tortuous, but most original back streets of old Kishinev, where stones, tiles, and bricks and mortar choke the growth of the young trees planted among the flag-stones; and where shadows of the stories of olden days -- stories of feudal lords and of Turkish invasions -- still seem to hover. The houses here are very small, and stone walls hide the entrances to the courtyards; many of the windows, too, are as narrow as the old lancet windows of the Middle Ages. At last we found ourselves in the street where the house was situated for which we were searching; it was low, and roofed like all the houses in the town with tiles; it stood in a prominent position at the corner of a small square, into which it projected in the shape of an obtuse angle. It was surrounded by similarly roofed houses, of smaller and more dejected appearance. These all showed signs of life. House No. 13 suggested nothing but death. It glared into the square with empty windows and broken, twisted window-frames. Its doorways had been hastily boarded up with broken fragments of wood.

One must do justice to the Kishinev police. Although they did little to stop the massacres, they have dealt ever since both energetically and promptly with the Jews in order to compel them to restore as quickly as possible their wrecked and ruined houses. But the owner of House No. 13 can no longer be called upon to obey police regulations! The courtyard still bears eloquent traces of the riots; it is covered with feathers and down from mattresses, fragments of furniture, bits of broken glass and crockery, and scraps of torn clothing A mere glance suffices to call up a picture of unbridled destruction; the furniture lies in small splinters; the plates have been stamped under foot into a thousand pieces; the clothing has been ripped into shreds; here lies a torn sleeve, there a child's pinafore. The window-frames have been torn out, and from some of the black, gaping openings still hang fragments of the woodwork swaying in the air like crushed hands. In one corner of the court, near a shed at the entrance to one of the dwellings, can still be seen a huge crimson patch, easily recognizable as dried blood, mixed with bits of glass, mortar, bricks, and feathers.

*Grinshpun was killed on this spot,* said a strange, hollow voice from behind us. When we first entered the courtyard, death and emptiness seemed to be in sole possession; but now there stood by our side a girl of ten or twelve. We judged her age from her height and size, though on closer examination she appeared older. Her eyes had lost the glance of childhood. They had watched the deeds that but a short time ago took place here; and, henceforth, for her, this scene of destruction in the silent courtyard under the scorching rays of the sun was full of a never-to-be-forgotten dread. Many a time since those events had she lain down to rest, and rising again in the morning had fulfilled ail her daily tasks; had thereby, perhaps, succeeded in *calming* herself; but the unchildlike terror which had once contorted her childish face had not disappeared. It had left behind permanent traces, an awful expression in her eyes, and a nervous twitch of the whole face. Her voice was hollow, and her words painful to listen to; they were jerked out with an effort, like the tones of an automaton; and they dropped mechanically from her mouth so as to give the impression of a voice that has been extinguished.

*He ran past just here,* she said, sighing heavily, and pointing with her hand toward the shed and the pool of blood.

*The glazier, did you say?* queried my companion.

Yes . . . the glazier . . . he ran past here, and he fell down just there . . . and that's where they began to murder him. . . .

With an involuntary shudder we turned aside from this pool where blood was mixed with mortar, rubbish, and feathers. Inside the house everything was destroyed as thoroughly as in the courtyard. The wallpaper was torn down, the doors broken from their hinges, the stoves smashed, and the partitions showed gaping holes. This extreme conscientiousness, shown in the midst of a scene of wild destruction, gave rise in the town to a story that before the massacres commenced a whole collection of crowbars and hooks was provided by some influential *anti-Semites* and a few of the less educated of the townspeople, for distribution among the rioters; and that these were collected afterward by *special agents.* It is difficult to say what truth there may be in this report, but it sounds extremely plausible. Anyhow, it was almost impossible to believe that ordinary, every-day life had been carried on in the spot only a short time ago, where now nothing existed but the ruin we were examining.

House No. 13 consisted of seven separate dwellings, in which crowded, as is their custom, eight Jewish families (about forty-five persons in all, including children). The landlord was Moses Macklin, a commission agent and the owner of a modest shop in the town. On the whole of his transactions, including his rents, his shop, and his agencies, he earned about 1,500 rubles a year. Among the inhabitants of the house he was naturally looked upon as a rich and very
fortunate man. He did not live at No. 13, but one of the lodgings was inhabited by his daughter, with her husband and children. One of the most respected of thee inhabitants was a small shopkeeper, Navtorili Serebrenik, whose shop was situated just at the corner of the house. It can still be recognized by the fragments of wooden boxes of which the counter was composed, lying about on the dirty floor between the wrecked walls. Besides these there lived in the house a draper's assistant Berlatskii, with his wife and four children; he earned forty-five rubles a month; also Nisensen, a man of about forty-six, an accountant, who kept tradesmen's books in order and checked the accounts of neighbors; in this somewhat superior occupation he was paid by piece-work, and earned from twenty-five to thirty rubles a month. Gofsha Paskar served as a shop assistant and earned about thirty-five rubles a month; he had a wife, Ita, and two children. Isaak Gervits was an attendant in a hospital, but latterly, having lost his situation, he had been out of employment and in trouble. Gofsha Turkenich had a carpenter's shop in which he employed three assistants; and Bassia Barbash kept a meat stall. Finally, the glazier Grinshpun, went off every morning with his load of glass and returned in the evening with his earnings. These details are gathered from the accounts of the sufferers and from their relations. They go to prove by what *wealthy* people No. 13 was inhabited. Further, these particulars, having been given in a claim for damages, may fairly be looked upon as overestimating rather than as concealing facts and conditions.

Thus lived quietly and peacefully these little households till the 6th of April in the present year. Nisensen went from shop to shop, making up the owners' books; Berlatskii and Gofsha Paskar sold things in other people's shops; 'Navtorili Serebrenik traded with his neighbors, the Jews, the Moldavians, and the Russians; carrying on a little commerce of candles, soap, matches, oil, cheap calico, and cheap Sweets. Isaak Gervits searched for work, and the glazier, Grinshpun, replaced broken panes of glass. No one foresaw what was so shortly to happen.

On the 6th of April, the first day of [Easter Week,] the greatest Christian festival, riots broke out in the town. The news of what was going on spread, of course, to old Kishinev, and it is easy to understand that the Jews in the densely packed house No. 13 passed through some terribly anxious hours when they learned how things were going, and what was the attitude of the officials and of the Christian inhabitants toward the rioters. But the report [rumors] ran that these excesses were due to the fact that the governor was awaiting some *order.* In the course of the night the *order* must surely come, and all would be quiet before the morning. Toward evening the riots died down, and the night passed in dread, but without further outrages.

What happened the next morning the survivors of No. 13 and their neighbors tell in the following words:

About ten in the morning came a policeman (No. 148), a man well known in the neighborhood, who, evidently anxious about the possible fate of the Jews, strongly advised them to hide themselves in their houses, and not to go out into the streets. The Jews naturally followed this advice, and the already crowded houses were soon filled with their terrified coreligionists. They barred up their doors, gates, and shutters. Soon the square in front of Asia Street appeared as quiet as the dead, waiting in breathless suspense. I have good reason to believe that this picture of closed shutters, empty streets, and breathless dread of what was coming was characteristic of all the Kishinev suburbs during the second day of the riots.

Policeman No. 148 having issued his friendly order, seated himself on the curbstone. There was evidently nothing more to do. People say that he sat there all the time, as if posing as a model for some sculptor who might desire to represent an emblematic figure of *The Greatest Christian Festival,* as understood in Kishinev. The whole tragedy in the Jewish hovels was played out with every horror of elemental savagery, within a few yards of this philosopher. The crowd arrived about eleven o'clock, accompanied by two patrols of soldiers, who unfortunately had *no orders,* either. It consisted of about fifty or sixty persons, among whom it was easy to recognize some of the good neighbors bearing Moldavian names. It is said that they started at the wine-shop, the proprietor of which was, however, treated leniently. The crowd said: *Give us thirty rubles, or we will kill you!* He produced the thirty rubles and saved his life by concealing himself as best he could, in order not to try the mercifulness of the savage rabble. The rioters set to work with the wholesale destruction of everything that came to hand, and in a few minutes the square was littered with fragments of glass and furniture and with down and feathers.

It soon became apparent, however, that the climax of horrors was to center round the house of Moses Macklin. It is difficult to give a reason for this. Had the rioters really some settled plan? Were they guided, as is believed by many in Kishinev, by some secret organization? Or were they simply led on by the fury that sometimes inspires a crowd, that blind and headlong instinct which rushes forward with absolutely elementary unconsciousness? These are questions which should, but probably will not, be settled at the forthcoming inquiry. Anyhow, at house No. 13 cries of murder and of death were soon ringing through the air to the accompaniment of falling stones, cracking walls, and breaking glass.

To the left of the gate, at the corner, where the ground is still stained with blood, there stand some low-roofed outhouses. In one of these the glazier Grinshpun, his wife, two children, Ita Paskar and her two children, and a servant-girl had hidden themselves from the fury of the crowd. The door would not close on the inside, and the structure itself was no stronger than a cardboard box. Its only advantage was that it contained nothing that could be broken or stolen. The Jews reckoned on having successfully hidden themselves out of the way. Defense was impossible; the house only contained eight men, all told. Policeman 148, not having received orders, was still sitting on the curb, and the two patrols of soldiers were stationed in the two by-streets above and below the doomed house. The crowd was already possessed by that inexplicable, elemental passion which causes fits of animality to burst forth from under the thin layer of Christian civilization. The riot was now at its height. Windows had gone, the frames were following, the stoves had been smashed and the furniture and crockery broken up. Pages of scripture and of the sacred books lay scattered on the ground. Piles of feathers were to be seen in the courtyard and all around the house. Feathers and down flew about in the air and covered the trees like hoar-frost. In the midst of this mad inferno, in the din of destruction and wild laughter and savage roars and cries of terror, the thirst for blood awoke. The rioters at this point ceased to be men. Their first rush was for the shed; they found there but one man, the glazier Grinshpun. A neighbor with a Moldavian name, whom Grinshpun's widow subsequently described as an intimate acquaintance, was the first to stab the glazier in the neck. The unhappy man rushed out, but they seized him and dragged him on to the roof of the outhouse, where they finished him off with sticks and cudgels on the spot which is still stained with his blood. When the widow was asked if she really recognized the murderer, and had not mistaken him for a passing rioter, an Albanian from Turkey, or for some escaped prisoner, she replied with conviction: *I held him in my arms when he was an infant. God help us to live as well as we know each other well.*

It was an intimate acquaintance, therefore, who struck the first blow in House No. 13. After this the situation developed rapidly. The first death-groan of the glazier showed clearly to the Jews, and possibly to the crowd also, what was to be expected later on. A Christian spectator described how *the Jews began to rush backward and forward like mice in a trap.* He would be a merry man, indeed, who could discover a touch of humor in such an episode.

Some of the Jews made a rush for the garret. At the back of the shed where Grinshpun -was killed there is a black opening leading up to the garret. It is a narrow and stifling staircase. Berlatsii and his daughter ran up first, and were followed by the landlord, Macklin. Macklin, as has already been said, did not live in the house, but his daughter lived there; and feeling anxious about her, he ventured on to the scene of the tragedy. He did not find his daughter, as she had already left with her children. His task now was to save himself. The three reached the garret in safety. This clearly shows that not the whole of the crowd was carried away by the same blood-lust, otherwise the fugitives would never have been allowed to gain the dark staircase, the opening to which was under the eyes of those in the courtyard. The three Jews, therefore, disappeared from view. Members of the crowd, who looked upon it as a pleasure, or perhaps as a duty, to plunder, but not to kill, allowed them to escape. But the murderers themselves were not long in following the fugitives into the garret. The garret at No. 13 is gloomy and dark, intersected with rafters, cross-beams, and the flues of chimneys. The luckless fugitives, after groping round for some time, realized that it was impossible to hide themselves effectively in this close and stifling attic. Hearing behind them the cries of their pursuers, they began, in desperation, to pull down the roof. Two gaping holes, with tiles scattered round, can still be seen, at the time of writing these lines, in the roof of House no. 13. Near one of these holes there lay, at the time of our visit, a blue enamel washing-basin. It must have been the very extremity of despair which drove them to tear open the roof with their bare hands, in that moment of mortal danger. But they succeeded. Their desire was to reach the roof itself at any cost. There they would see the sun, the surrounding houses, the crowd, the soldiers, and policeman 148 once more. It meant daylight, and . . . men.

So they tore their way through the roof. Moses Macklin was the first to get out; for he was (as described by the spectators) a small, lightly built man. Berlatskii had first to help his daughter, Chaia, and as he was attempting to follow her, one of his pursuers reached the garret, and seized him by the legs.

Then began, in full sight of the crowd, a desperate struggle. The daughter was attempting to drag her father up, and the pursuer was pulling him backward. The struggle was apparently unequal; and it was evident that Berlatskii had looked for the last time on the sun. But Chaia Berlatskaia suddenly ceased her efforts, and leaning over the aperture implored the ruffian to let go of her father.

He yielded to her entreaties.

May some of this man's sins be forgiven, because for a brief moment, at the height of the orgy of unrestrained fury, he allowed a ray of human pity to enter his heart -- pity for the anguish of a Jewish daughter, entreating for the life of her father -- a pity which penetrated through the gloom of the surrounding horrors into this darkened soul. He allowed the Jew to escape. One cannot help wondering what became of him. Perhaps he left the scene of the riots with shame in his soul, beginning dimly to perceive and feel that God, according to the teachings of all religions, reveals himself in love and brotherhood, rather than in the destruction of the defenseless. Or possibly he hardened his heart after that momentary impulse and repented, not of the hour of bestial fury, but of the instant of human pity toward the outraged Jews, as had happened on more than one occasion.

Meanwhile the three victims were crouching on the roof. They glanced shudderingly around at the daylight, the square, the neighboring houses, the blue sky, the sun, policeman No. 148 seated on the curbstone, the patrols awaiting orders; and possibly also at the Russian priest who, alone and unarmed, impelled by his conscience as a Christian, attempted to appeal to the infuriated mob of rioters. This priest, it seems, was passing accidentally through the square; and the Jews, watching from neighboring houses what was going on at No. 13, implored his help. I regret that I do not know his name; he was evidently a good man, who could not believe that there existed in *sacred Russia,* or anywhere else on earth, people who deserved killing like wild beasts for offenses common to all. Neither, presumably, did he believe that there existed men in Russia who would be allowed to kill defenseless Jews in broad daylight. An immediate and very natural feeling made him at first approach the crowd with a word of Christian persuasion. But the rabble threatened him, and he retreated. He was evidently an earnest Christian, but not a hero of Christian duty. Anyhow, we will hope that he did not regret his first impulse, and the attempt he made.

Whether it was at this exact moment that the episode took place, I cannot say; but it is well known that the three victims crouched for some time on the roof of that house in the middle of the town, visible to hundreds of people, and absolutely defenseless. Then the murderers emerged from the same opening by which the victims had escaped. The Jews began to run round the roof which made the angle of the square; at one moment they would appear on the side of the courtyard, at another moment on that of the street. The rioters followed at their heels. The same neighbor who was the first to strike Grinshpun was the first to wound Berlatskii. Another kept on throwing the enamel basin, which we saw on the roof weeks afterward, at the legs of the terrified victims. The basin struck the roof each time with a crash, and the mob probably laughed. Finally all three were tripped over the edge of the roof. Chaia fell on a pile of feathers in the courtyard, and escaped with her life. The wounded Macklin and Berlatskii lay writhing with broken limbs on the pavement, where the cowardly crowd of voluntary executioners finished them off with crowbars, amid the derisive laughter of the onlookers, who covered the bodies with feathers. Later on in the day casks of wine were broached and allowed to run to waste over the square, and the unfortunate victims were literally smothered in this mass of wine, mud, and feathers. Some assured us that Macklin lived for several hours.

Nisensen was the last to be killed. He and his wife had hidden in the cellar, but when he heard the cries of the murdered he realized that death and destruction were stalking through No. 13, and he ran out into the street. Once there, he was able to escape into the opposite courtyard, and might perhaps have saved himself, but the rioters were in hot pursuit of his wife. He followed her and called after her to return with him. This drew the attention of the mob to himself. They left the wife and pursued the husband. He turned and made for No. 7 in Asia Street, but just before reaching it he was caught and killed. Two names are definitely mentioned in connection with this scene. One is a Moldavian name, and the other has a Polish termination [e.g., “-wicz” or “-ski”]. It had rained just before Easter week, and the puddles were full of water. Nisensen fell into one of these puddles, and the murderers rinsed the Jew in the mud, then twisted and wrung him out, as one would rinse and wash out a dirty rag.

After this episode the mob, as if satiated with blood, fell back once more on its work of destruction and plunder, but left off killing. The Jews from the surrounding houses approached the unfortunate Nisensen and attempted to give him some assistance. He was still alive, and regained consciousness for a time, asking for water. His legs and arms had been broken in several places. They drew him out of the puddle, gave him water, and began to wipe the dirt from him. At this moment one of the rioters turned round and shouted out something to a companion. The Jews immediately disappeared. Nisensen remained alone. Then once more the same man who had first wounded Grinshpun and Berlatskii stepped forward and struck Nisensen a blow on the head with a crowbar, which put an end to his sufferings.

The work of havoc proceeded. The square became almost blocked, so high was it piled with furniture, clothing, and window-frames. A Jewess told me that she wanted to get to the other side where her children were, but failed after two attempts. She held a baby in her arms. At last a Christian neighbor, known to her, took charge of her baby, so that she was enabled with difficulty to pick her way across this barricade of destruction.

At five o'clock on the same day the news spread that the *order,* which from the first had been awaited with so much anxiety, had at last come. It took from an hour to an hour and a half to restore order in the town. No blood had to be shed, nor a rifle fired. A show of firmness was all that was necessary.

Years will have to go by before the terrible recollection of these doings and of the damning bloodstain on the *conscience of the Christians in Kishinev * can be at all effaced. There is a blot on the consciences not only of those who actually committed murder, but also of those who provoked to murder, by their base lies and their preaching of hatred to their fellow men; and also on the consciences of those who maintain that the fault lay not with the murderers, but with the murdered, that there exist such things as common irresponsibility, and that a whole nation [i.e., national or ethnic group] may be treated as having no rights.

I fully realize how little I have given the reader in these hasty notes, but I wished to pick out this one episode from the involved and impersonal chaos known as a massacre; and to show, by one concrete instance, the general character, and some of the causes of what happened. With this object in view, I have availed myself of the evidence of those who actually witnessed what took place, and who recounted their impressions personally, either to me or to my companion. It was he who helped me to reconstruct, bit by bit, the whole picture. It is true that all the witnesses are Jews, but there is no reason to doubt their word. This one fact cannot be disputed, that in House No. 13 a mob murdered defenseless people -- murdered them with every device that cruelty could suggest, in the center of a populated town, with as little interruption as if the horrible deeds were being enacted in a remote forest. The corpses remain as evidence. And after all, what does it matter to the surviving Jews exactly how their friends were killed? What object could they have in inventing details?

The moral is clear for any one in whom the ordinary feelings of humanity still dwell. But do any such exist? This important question comes involuntarily to my mind, after witnessing what I witnessed at Kishinev.

And yet. . . .

Overcome by the impression of these frightful details, I was busy with my disjointed notes, when I read in the paper of the death of the Kishinev lawyer, Pisargevskii [?Pisarevskii]. The name of this man was in every one's mouth during my stay in the town. Young, handsome, rich, frequenting the best society of Kishinev, he was ever seeking fresh distractions. Numbers of men told me that there was no doubt Pisargevskii took, part personally in the riots and even led the mob. I was also told what powerful influence had been brought to bear, in order to prevent this crying scandal from becoming known, and to hide the direct share taken in the rioting by the *lion of Kishinev society.* I wish I could believe that not all that was told me under this head was true. But even the points which are unquestioned would make a most important addition to the dreadful story of the Kishinev massacres. The efforts to suppress the truth were, however, futile. It was too apparent, and the newspapers soon reported that Pisargevsky was implicated in the late rioting. Until the moment of publication, however, he had continued his usual mode of life paid visits, enjoyed himself, played cards. On the fatal night he was lucky at cards, and, in consequence, seemed more than usually jovial. At daybreak he went out into the garden and wrote on a seat, *Here the lawyer Pisargevsky committed suicide,* and then shot himself. The newspapers, commenting on the event, added that he had suffered from a hereditary tendency to dipsomania, that the prospect of the impending inquiry had disturbed him, and that he had had an unfortunate love-affair. Was that all? Anyhow, the price has now been paid. It seems to me, therefore, that I shall hardly be offending against the memory of this unhappy man if I presume that in the account which he settled on the garden bench there may have been other items not yet mentioned. Is it not possible that, in the dawn of the day on which he destroyed himself, there arose before him and confronted him the realization of what he, a man of education, had done toward influencing the passions of those who slew the Jews?

These are but suppositions, and are possibly much too optimistic. I heard an undoubted, though not an unexpected, truth from the mouth of a poor cabman of Kishinev, a Jew by origin. We were discussing with him the massacres and their aftereffects, when he told me the story of a nursery gardener whom he drove a short time ago up to town. The gardener had come to town as usual to borrow money in order to pay the wages of his workmen in the summer. But the Jews, uncertain as to the way events were tending, refused the loan. The gardener was therefore compelled to apply to Christian instead of to Jewish usurers [money-lenders]; and *these gentlemen,* our cabman remarked, *will take three of your skins where a Jew will take one.* That this question of usury was one of the motives of the massacre is quite clear to anybody who begins to make inquiries in Kishinev. Among those who evidently sympathized with the rioters, and encouraged the crowd in their blind prejudice, race-hatred, and savage lust for plunder and murder, the citizens point to a well-known Gentile usurer who realized that his chance had at last come.


III. 1905oc19:oc20;

General Secondary Accounts on early 20th-century pogroms =
*-- [W]

*--From the article on Kishinev in Encyclopedia Judaica [SAC editor has introduced paragraphs and corrected errors in text] =

The name of Kishinev became known to the world at large as a result of two pogroms. The first, initiated and organized by the local and central authorities, took place during Easter on April 6 - 7, 1903.

Agents of the Ministry of the Interior and high Russian officials of the Bessarabian administration were [widely thought to be] involved in its preparation, evidently with the backing of the minister of the interior, V. Plehve.

The pogrom was preceded by a poisonous anti-Jewish campaign led by P. Krushevan, director of the Bessarabian newspaper Bessarabets, who incited the population through a constant stream of vicious articles. One of the authors of the most virulent articles was the local police chief, Levendall.

In such a heated atmosphere any incident could have dire consequences, and when the body of a Christian child was found, and a young Christian woman patient committed suicide in the Jewish hospital, the mob became violent. A blood libel, circulated by the Bessarabets, spread like wildfire. (It was later proved that the child was murdered by his relatives and that the suicide of the young woman was in no way connected with the Jews.)

According to official statistics, 49 Jews lost their lives and more than 500 were injured, some of them seriously; 700 houses were looted and destroyed and 600 businesses and shops were looted. The material loss amounted to 2500000 gold rubles, and about 2000 families were left homeless.

Both Russians and Romanians joined in the riots. Russians were sent in from other towns and the students of the theological seminaries and the secondary schools and colleges played a leading role. The garrison of 5000 soldiers stationed in the city, which could easily have held back the mob, took no action.

Public outcry throughout the world was aroused by the incident and protest meetings were organized in London, Paris, and New York. A letter of protest written in the United States was handed over to President Theodore Roosevelt to be delivered to the tsar, who refused to accept it.

Under the pressure of public opinion, some of the perpetrators of the pogrom were brought to justice but they were awarded very lenient sentences.

L.N. Tolstoy expressed his sympathy for the victims, condemning the czarist authorities as responsible for the pogrom. The Russian writer Vladimir Korolenko described the pogrom in his story, *House No. 13* as did H.N. Bialik in his poem, *Be-Ir ha-Haregah* (*In the Town of Death*).

On October 19 - 20, 1905, riots broke out once more. They began as a protest demonstration by the *patriots* against the czar's declaration of August 19, 1905 and deteriorated into an attack on the Jewish quarter in which 19 Jews were killed, 56 were injured, and houses and shops were looted and destroyed: damages amounted to 3000000 rubles. On this occasion, some of the Jewish youth organized itself into self-defense units.

The two pogroms had a profound effect on the Jews of Kishinev. Between 1902 and 1905 their numbers dropped from around 60,000 to 53,243, many emigrating to the United States and the Americas, while many more left after the second attack. The economic development of town was brought to a standstill.