The Jewish Chronicle
May 6, 1881
Outrages upon Jews in Russia [Reuters
St. Petersburg, April 20
Serious disturbances having their origin in the superstition of the peasantry regarding
the Jewish Passover rites, have occurred at Elizabethgrad in the province of Khersan.
The popular excitement against the Jews led to an attack upon the synagogue which
was destroyed by the mob. The aid of the military was called in to repress the
disturbance, and a large number of the rioters were killed by the troops.
St. Petersburg, Sunday.
An official account of the anti-Jewish riot at Elizabethgrad on the 27th ult. states
that some houses inhabited by Jews and several public houses belonging to members of that
faith, were attacked and pillaged by the populace. The disturbances continued until
the morning of the 29th ult., when order was reestablished. One Jew was killed and
several other persons were seriously injured by the rioters. The authorities have
instituted a strict investigation into the circumstances.
St. Petersburg, May 2.
Official intelligence from Odessa of yesterday's date announces that 400 persons have
been arrested for taking part in the excesses against the Jews at Elizavetgrad last week.
One hundred houses were pillaged, a quantity of furniture being thrown into the
streets. Two hundred people were injured during the riots. Order has been
restored, but the town is still patrolled by detachments of Ublanc and infantry. At
the request of the Town Council the fair which was to be held shortly at Elizabethgrad has
been indefinitely postponed.
The following details have been telegraphed by the Odessa correspondent of the Times : Since my telegram to you of yesterday stating that anti-Jewish riots had broken out at
Elizabethgrad, a town of about 40,000 inhabitants, situated in the governmenl of Kherson,
the following particulars have been published here upon the authority of Prince Dondonkoff
Kornakoff, the provincial governor general of Odessa. The disturbance commenced at 4
PM last Wednesday, and the contents of several Jews shops were stolen damaged or
destroyed. The police called in the aid of the troops, who made every effort to stop
the pillaging. This was however, only effected on the following evening, and with
great difficulty on account of the number of Peasants who had flocked into the town from
the surrounding villages to participate in the general plunder. During the night of
the 28th inet. there arrived at Elizabethgrad three squadrons of Uhlans and yesterday a
battallion of infantry. One Jew was killed, but the number of wounded is not great.
In a later telegram the correspondent states that at Elizabethgrad things have
remained quiet ever since the anti-Jewish riots. These were quelled last Thursday
evening. It appears that 400 persons were arrested. The rioting arose out of a
dispute between some Christians and Jews. The quarrel led to a general fight, which
according to the Elizabethgrad Vestnik, assumed a more serious nature upon revolver
shots being fired from some Jewish houses. The Christians then attacked the houses
and shops of the Jews indiscriminately by smashing doors, breaking windows, &c., up
until a late hour on Wednesday night. The violence was continued throughout
Thursday, but in a different form. The Jews, finding themselves vanquished,
offered no further resistance and all fighting ceased ; but the rioters, aided by an
influx of peasants from the surrounding villages to join in the general melee, sacked
the houses of the Jews, destroyed their furniture, and stole or spoiled there wares.
The military and police are represented as having done what they could to establish
order, but failed to do so at once, because while they were attempting that in one place,
disorder was breaking out in another. The Jewish population of Elizabethgrad is
reckoned at about 10,000 persons and more than half their houses are completely ruined.
A Reuters telegram states that on the 1st inst. two battallions of troops were
dispatched from Kieff by General Drentein, the Govenor General, to Smels and Korsumm to
quell disturbances caused at those places by excesses against the Jewish inhabitants.
At Uman, Schpola, and Letin the Jews are also threatened by the populace, but
energetic measures have been taken by the authorities to protect them.
It being feared that disturbances similar to those that have lately taken place at
Elizavetgrad and Olviopol might occur at various towns in the province of Kieff and
Kameneta Jodoisk, General Dronteln, the Governor, has sent troops in all directions to
protect the Jews and prevent disorder. The Golos lays the blame for the Judenhetze in South Russia on the anomalous position of the Jews whose disabilities effectually
prevent their absorption by the rest of the population and compel them to have recourse to
usury and huckstering in order to gain a livelihood.
The Vienna correspondent of the Daily Telegraph telegraphed on Wednesday night:
A gentleman who passed through Vienna yesterday on his way home from the Far East, via
Baku, Tiflis, and Charkoff, assured me that the agitation against the Jews in South Russia
has assumed proportions of which Western Europe is not yet aware. He reached
Elizabethgrad during the recent disturbances and gathered the particulars he gave me from
residents of that town and the neighbourhood. He accounts for the scarcity of news
from that part of Russia by the fact that the telegraph officials will not accept messages
in any foreign language, while those written in Russian are revised by the censor prior to
transmission. The post is scarcely a safer means of communication, there being
at present a regular system of letter opening for foreign postal service. My friends
informants told him that the anti-Jewish movement in Russia is the work of the
revolutionists. They understand that it would be of no avail to appeal to an
ignorant and bigotedly loyal peasantry on the grounds of political emancipation.
Ivan Ivanovitch knows little and is careless about Constitutions and administrative
reform. It would be worse than useless to talk to him on such subjects. The
revolutionists have consequently, touched another chord, and have excited his religious
fanaticism. They have represented the Jew as the source of all the evils with which
Russia is afflicted. They are held up to popular reprobation as the assassins of the
late Czar and Jessie Helfmann, the Jewess who was implicated, as having been the soul of
the whole plot. The Czar's assassination happened on a day that is kept up festively
by the Jews in Russia, and after the event they were charged with having made merry in
anticipation of what was going to happen. The object of the revolutionists is to
create a popular rising, in which the troops would be called upon to defend the Jews
against the Christians. They anticipate that either the troops would, under such
circumstances, refuse duty, or that the people would be so infuriated that a general
rising would ensue. The officers themselves apprehend the former contingency; but in
either case the opportunity would be favourable for the revolutionists, and they would
know how to turn it to account. The atrocities committed at Elizabethgrad,
said my informant, must have been fearful to witness, as an officer who travelled a short
distance with him and who was present at the time said he had seen things that sickened
him to think of. Neither women nor children were spared, and had not many of the
Jews been armed a wholesale massacre would certainly have taken place. At first it
was proposed to burn the Jews' houses; but it so happens that at Elizabethgrad they do not
live in a distinct quarter of the town. Their houses are not separate from those of
the Christians, so the latter would have suffered from a conflagration. I appears
that at a small locality named Golta, a massacre of the Jews was actually on the point of
commencing when the inhabitants of a neighbouring village called Olviopol, came to the
rescue and defended the Jews against their aggressors. According to an evening
telegram, there have also been excesses against the Jews in the Government of Kiev.
The Globe of Monday contains the following comments upon the occurence;
The Jedenhetze, or Jew-baiting, which has lately disgraced Germany,
unhappily is not confined to the Fatherland. Our correspondence columns have lately
borne witness to its existence in Egypt, where stories of the most atrocious cruelties
perpetrated upon Christian youths find greedy believers. And now we have news of a
fierce outbreak of anti-Jewish fanaticism in the South of Russia. Telegrams from
Odessa have already told us of the anti-Jewish riots that have broken out in a place
called Elizavetgrad, and the details now arriving show that they were rather formidable
disturbances. We have no account of the origin of the troubles beyond the vague
statement that they arose out of a dispute between some Christians and Jews. A
general fight followed and became serious when it was observed that revolver shots were
fired from some Jewish Houses. This led to an indiscriminate attack upon the houses
and shops occupied by the Jews of the town and the destruction of property continued over
a couple of days. The fighting was only stopped by the submission of the Jews, who
found themselves utterly beaten; but their acknowledgement of defeat did not save their
property. A general attack in which the original rioters were aided by peasants from
the neighbouring villages eventuated in the sacking of the houses of the Jews, the
breaking up of their furniture and the destruction of their goods. At first the
efforts of the military and police to restore failed of success, though ultimately the
riots were suppressed. The town of Elizavetgrad has a population of some 40,000 of
whom the Jews comprise about one fourth and it is said that more than half the houses of
those 10,000 Jews are completely ruined. The destruction of property , fortunately
was not accompanied by an equal loss of life, only one Jew having been killed, while not
very many are wounded. The fury with which the feeling of hatred to the Jews
blazed forth among the townspeople who are Christians and their allies from the country is
however a revelation as to the bitterness of feeling that was lying latent. Judenhetze would seem to be in the air in Russia as in Germany.
ANTI-SEMITIC RIOTS [REUTER'S TELEGRAMS]
Berlin, April 29
A popular outbreak against the Jews is reported to have taken place yesterday at
Argenau, a small town in West Prussia, but the accounts of the affair received up to the
present are somewhat conflicting. According to one version a mob led by a school
teacher named Baecker, broke into and wrecked the houses of some Jews and maltreated the
inmates, the police force being altogether insufficient to afford them protection.
Other reports represent the matter in a much less serious light, and declare that
there was no need of calling in the military, as the strength of the police was adequate
to cope with the disturbance. All accounts however, agree in speaking of the
animosity prevailing against the Jewish inhabitants.
Berlin, May 2,
Private advices from Argenau announce that fresh excesses of a serious character have
been committed against the Jews in that place. Fifteen gendarmes are now stationed
in the town to prevent further rioting. The question whether an interpellation on
the subject will be brought forward in the Reichstag depends upon the particulars still to
be ascertained in connection with the disturbances. Several Jewish families have
fled from Argenau.
THE RECENT ANTI-JEWISH DISTURBANCES IN ALEXANDRIA
We learn from private sources that the disturbances in Alexandria which were provoked
by the Greek population who charged the Jews with having murdered a missing Greek child (
the dead body of the boy was subsequently found and it was proved on indisputable medical
evidence that death resulted from drowning ) have been succeeded by a calm, which however
has not yet had the effect of reassuring the Jews. For the Greek journals continue,
by means of articles as violent as they are calumnious, to excite the Christian populace
against the Jews, and though the Government ordinarily adopt rigorous measures against the
press when it is guilty of any laches, on the present occasion the Ministry has
taken no steps whatever, notwithstanding that the attention of the President of the
Council and of the Bureau de la Presse has been officially directed to the matter.
The only action taken by the Government is to appoint a Commission consisting of
representatives of foreign Governments presided over by the Procurer-General, to
investigate the original cause of the disturbance.
M. Alexander Goldberg, the venerable Hebraist and ( italicised, not legible ) recently
received on the occasion of his 80th birthday, a silver goblet from Sir Moses Muniefiore
accompanied by a Hebrew letter eulogizing his service to the cause of Jewish literature.