THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE by AJC 1916

THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE by AJC 1916

 

 

 

 

THE AMERICAN JEWISH COMMITTEE 

 

NEW YORK 

 

1916 

 

 

 

THE AMERICAN JEWISH COMMITTEE 

 

 

 

Officers 

 

Louis Marshall, President 

 

Julian W. Mack. 1 ,,, „ 

 

\ V tee- r residents 

Jacob H. Hollander, J 

 

Isaac W. Bernheim, Treasurer 

 

 

 

Executive Committee 

 

CYRUS ADLER, Chairman, . . . Philadelphia, Pa. 

ISAAC W. BERNHEIM, …. Louisville, Ky. 

 

HARRY CUTLER, Providence, R. I. 

 

SAMUEL DORF, New York, N. Y. 

 

JACOB H. HOLLANDER, – – – Baltimore, Md. 

 

JULIAN W. MACK, Chicago, III. 

 

JUDAH L. MAGNES, …. New York, N. Y. 

LOUIS MARSHALL, …. New York, N. Y. 

JULIUS ROSENWALD, …. Chicago, III. 

 

JACOB H. SCHIFF, …. New York, N. Y. 

 

ISADOR SOBEL, Erie, Pa. 

 

OSCAR S. STRAUS, …. New York, N. Y. 

CYRUS L. SULZBERGER, – – – New York, N. Y. 

MAYER SULZBERGER, – – – Philadelphia, Pa. 

A. LEO WEIL, Pittsburg, Pa. 

 

 

 

OFFICE: 

 

356 Second Avenue, New York City 

 

 

 

CONTENTS 

 

PAGE 

 

INTRODUCTION 7 

 

RUSSIA 

 

Jewish Disabilities in Normal Times 19 

 

the pale of settlement 20 

 

Recent “abolition” act a half-way measure, 

dictated by military necessity. 

 

OTHER RESTRICTIONS 31 

 

1. Residence restrictions. 2. Occupational 

 

restrictions. 3. Property restrictions. 4. Fiscal 

 

burdens. — 5. Educational restrictions. — 6. Military 

burdens. 

 

The War and the Jews 36 

 

outbreak of war 36 

 

Manifestations of loyalty. Jewish patriotism. 

 

THE WAR IN POLAND 41 

 

Renaissance of Polish hopes. — Polish anti-Se- 

mitism. — Spy stories instigated by Poles, accepted 

and circulated by Russian military authorities. 

 

MILITARY REPRESSIONS 66 

 

Extraordinary conduct of military censor. — 

Stifling of Jewish press and speech. — Expulsions. — 

Demand for hostages. — Widespread misery. — Un- 

fair administration of relief. 

 

The People vs. The Russian Government … 70 

 

Anti-Jewish policy of the Government not ap- 

proved by the people. — Duma protests. — Resolu- 

tions of Constitutional Democratic Party. — 

Protests of Municipalities, Public Officials, Etc. 

— Protests of Trade and Professional Organi- 

zations. — Protests of Writers and Publicists. 

 

OTHER COUNTRIES 

 

AUSTRIA-HUNGARY 84 

 

Russian atrocities in Galicia. 

 

ROUMANIA 89 

 

PALESTINE 93 

 

APPENDIX 

 

1. Report of Russian Jewish Relief Committee. 98 

 

2. Speech of Deputy Friedman in the Duma Ill 

 

3. Speech of Baron Rosen in Imperial Council 117 

 

 

 

U’l 

 

 

 

THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION 

 

Of all the people that have suffered deeply from the 

present war, none have borne a greater burden than the 

Jews — in physical and economic loss, in moral and spiritual 

torment. 

 

Jews are today fighting each other in all the armies 

of Europe. Russia alone has over 350,000 Jewish soldiers; 

Austria has over 50,000; altogether there are probably 

one-half million Jews in the ranks of the fighting armies. 

 

The Jews are bearing the brunt of the war’s burdens, 

not only on the field of battle, where they suffer with 

the rest of the world, but also in their homes, where 

they have been singled out, by their peculiar geographic, 

political and economic position, for disaster surpassing 

that of all others. , 

 

When the war broke out, one-half of the Jewish / 

population of the world was trapped in a corner of Eastern ^ 

Europe that is absolutely shut off from all neutral lands -r / 

and from the sea, Russian Poland, where over two 

million Jews lived, is in a salient. South of it is Galicia, 

the frontier province of Austria. Here lived another 

million Jews. Behind Russian Poland are the fifteen 

Russian provinces, which, together with Poland, con- 

stitute the Pale of Jewish Settlement. Here lived another 

four million Jews. 

 

Thus seven million Jews — a population exceeding 

that of Belgium by one million — have borne the brunt 

of the war. Behind them was Holy Russia, closed to 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

them by the May Laws of 1881. In front were hostile 

Germany and Austria. To the south was unfriendly 

Roumania. They were overwhehned where they stood; 

and over their bodies crossed and recrossed the German 

armies from the west, the Russian armies from the east 

and the Austrian armies from the south. True, all the 

peoples of this area suffered ravage and pillage by the 

war, but their sufferings were in no degree comparable 

to those of the Jews. The contending armies found it 

politic, in a measure, to court the good will of the Poles, 

Ruthenians and other races in this area. These sustained 

only the necessary and unavoidable hardships of war. 

But the Jews were friendless, their religion proscribed. 

In this medieval region all the religious fanaticism 

of the Russians, the chauvinism of the Poles, combined 

with the blood lusts liberated in all men by the war — 

all these fierce hatreds were sluiced into one torrent of 

passion which overwhehned the Jews. 

 

Hundreds of thousands were forced from their homes 

on a day’s notice, the more fortunate being packed and 

shipped as freight — the old, the sick and insane, men, 

women and children, shuttled from one province to 

another, side-tracked for days without food or help 

of any kind — the less fortunate driven into the woods 

and swamps to die of starvation. Jewish towns were 

sacked and burned wantonly. Hundreds of Jews were 

carried off as hostages into Germany, Austria and 

Russia. Orgies of lust and torture took place in 

public in the light of day. There are scores of villages 

where not a single woman was left inviolate. Women, 

old and young, were stripped and knoutcd in the public 

squares. Jews were burned alive in synagogues where 

they had fled for shelter. Thousands were executed on 

the flimsiest pretext or from sheer purposeless cruelty. 

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION 9 

 

These Jews, unlike the Belgians, have no England to 

fly to. The sympathy of the outside world is shut off 

from them. They have not the consolation of knowing 

that they are fighting for their own hearths, or even for 

military glory or in the hope of a possible reward or in- 

demnity. The only thought they cherish is that after 

the struggle shall be over they may at last achieve those 

elementary rights denied to no other people, the right 

to live and move about freely in the land of their birth 

or adoption, to educate their children, to earn a 

livelihood, to worship God according to the dictates 

of their conscience. 

 

RUSSIA 

 

Nearly half of the Jewish population of the world 

lives in Russia, in the immediate area of active hostilities, 

congested in cities, which are the first point of attack. 

The dreadful position of the Jews of Russia in normal 

times is well known. Forbidden to live outside of the en- 

larged Ghetto, known as the Pale of Settlement; burdened 

with special taxes; denied even the scant educational 

privileges enjoyed by the rest of the population; harried 

by a corrupt police, a hostile Government and an un- 

friendly populace — in brief, economically degraded and 

politically outlawed — their condition represented the 

extreme of misery. It was the openly expressed policy 

of the reactionaries who ruled Russia to solve the Jewish 

question by ridding the country of its Jews. “One-third 

will accept the Greek Church; one-third will emigrate to 

America; and one-third will die of starvation in Russia” — 

so ran the cynical saying. Some did abjure their faith, 

tens of thousands did starve in Russia and hundreds 

of thousands did emigrate to America. 

 

 

 

10 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

Loyalty of Russian Jews 

 

Then came the war. The Jews saw therein an oppor- 

tunity to show the Christian population that in spite 

of all the persecutions of the past they were ready to 

forget their tragic history and to begin life anew in a 

united and regenerated Russia. Thousands of Jewish 

young men who had been forced to leave Russia to 

secure the education which their own country denied 

them returned voluntarily to the colors even though 

they knew that all hope of preferment and promotion 

was closed to them. On the field of battle the Jewish 

soldiers displayed courage and intelHgence which won 

the respect of their fighting comrades and gained for 

hundreds of them the much desired cross of St. George, 

granted for distinguished valor in the face of the 

enemy; while those who remained at home opened and 

equipped hospitals for wounded soldiers without distinc- 

tion of race or creed, contributed generously to all public 

funds, and, in brief, gave themselves and their possessions 

unsparingly to the Russian cause. 

 

It appeared at first as though the long desired union 

with the Russian people was about to be realized. But 

it soon developed that the chains which bound the Jews 

of Russia to their past could not be broken. Forces 

which they could not possibly control doomed them 

to the greatest tragedy in their history. The Pale in 

which they lived was Polish in origin and population. 

Poles and Jews were fellow victims of the Russian op- 

pressor; but instead of being united by the common 

bond of suffering, they were separated by religious and 

racial differences and above all by dissension deliberately 

fostered among them by the Russian rulers until it de- 

veloped into uncontrollable hate. 

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION 11 

 

Russian Atrocities 

 

Immediately before the war the struggle had assumed 

its bitterest form — that of an unrelenting boycott waged 

against the Jews. When the war broke out the political 

status of the Poles changed overnight. Both the Russian 

and the German armies found it politic to cultivate 

the good will of the Polish population. Many Poles 

seized the opportunity to gratify personal animosity, 

religious bigotry or chauvinistic mania by denouncing 

the Jews, now to the one invader and now to the other, 

as spies and traitors. In Germany the animus of the 

attacks was to some extent uncovered and the lies 

refuted. But in Russia they found fertile soil. The 

Russian military machine had met with defeat at the 

hands of the Germans. To exonerate themselves in the 

eyes of their own people the military camarilla eagerly 

seized the pretext so readily furnished them by the 

Poles and unloaded the burden of their ill-fortune 

upon the helpless shoulders of the Jew. Men, women, 

even children were executed without the shadow of 

evidence or the formality of a trial. Circumstantial 

stories of Jewish treachery, invented by the Poles, were 

accepted as the truth and circulated freely through the 

Russian press and on the local government bulletin 

boards; but when official investigation proved these 

stories false in every particular, the publication of the 

refutation was discouraged by the censorship. The 

authorities gave the troops a free hand to loot and 

ravage, even encouraging them by the publication of 

orders which officially denounced all Jews as spies and 

traitors. The result was a series of outrages unprece- 

dented even in Russia. A million Jews were driven from 

their homes in a state of absolute destitution. 

 

 

 

12 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

Protest of Liberal Russia 

 

All of the liberal elements of Russia protested against 

this campaign of extermination, but were powerless in 

the face of the military Government. Hundreds of 

municipal bodies, trade and professional organizations, 

writers, publicists and priests, petitioned the civil govern- 

ment to admit the Jews to human equality or at least 

to suspend its policy of persecution. These memorials, 

together with the speeches dehvered in the Duma, con- 

stitute a body of evidence from non-Jewish sources, 

which must condemn the Russian Government in the 

eyes of the world. (See pages 70-83; 117-120.) 

 

GALICIA 

 

During the ten months of the Russian occupation 

of Galicia the Jews of that section suffered even more 

severely than did the Jews who dwelt in the Russian 

Pale. For here the Jews were the subjects of the enemy 

and no pretext was needed for their maltreatment. The 

Ruthenians and Poles who occupied the land were friendly 

to Russia, which promised them independence and power. 

But Russia could expect nothing from the Jews of 

Galicia, for they were already in the possession of rights 

and liberties not enjoyed by the Jews of Russia, and 

the weight of the Russian invasion fell upon them 

mercilessly. Here thousands of Russian Jewish soldiers 

were forced to give up their lives in an attempt to impose 

upon the free Jews of Galicia the servitude from which 

they themselves so ardently longed to escape in Russia. 

They were forced to witness the desecration by their 

Russian companions-in-arms of synagogues, the outrage 

of Jewish women and the massacre of innocent and 

helpless civilians of their own faith. 

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION 13 

 

 

 

ROUMANIA 

 

 

 

Though Roumania is not yet a belligerent, some of 

the Jews of that country have been vitally affected by 

the war. In July of 1915, the Ministry of the Interior 

issued a general order expelling the Jews of the towns 

near the Austro-Hungarian frontier into the interior. 

Though this order was later alleged to have been de- 

signed to prevent the operations of Jewish grain specu- 

lators from Bukovv^ina, many Jews who had resided in the 

border towns for generations were summarily expelled. 

 

This action of the Government was bitterly criticized 

by the liberal press and in a memorial addressed to the 

King by the League of Native-born Jews, and the 

order was finally revoked. 

 

Whether the present Balkan situation may or may 

not result in the entrance of Roumania among the bel- 

ligerent nations there is no doubt that upon the ter- 

mination of hostilities the question of Roumania’s 

treatment of the Jews should be reopened. 

 

PALESTINE 

 

At the outbreak of the war Palestine contained, 

according to reliable estimates, about 100,000 Jews, 

some of whom were economically independent ag- 

riculturists, but the great majority of whom were 

aged pilgrims dependent upon their relatives and 

the good-will offerings of their pious co-religionists in 

Europe, The war cut them off completely both from 

the markets of Europe and from their relatives and 

friends; nearly the entire Jewish population was thus 

left destitute. Their position was further aggravated by 

the severity with which Turkey, upon her entrance into 

the war as an ally of the Central Powers, treated the 

 

 

 

14 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

nationals of hostile countries. About 8,000 Jews who 

declined to become Turkish subjects were either expelled 

or departed voluntarily. 

 

JEWS IN OTHER BELLIGERENT COUNTRIES 

 

In all the countries where the Jews have heretofore 

enjoyed freedom there has been no special Jewish problem 

during this war. The Jews have identified themselves com- 

pletely with the lands of their birth or adoption, and have 

shared the trials and glories of the peoples among whom 

their lot was cast. 

 

» In England, the Jewish population, according to 

estimates prepared by Lord Rothschild, furnished more 

than its share of recruits to the British army, its quota 

of 17,000 comprising about eight and a half per cent, 

of the total Jewish population as compared with the six 

per cent, furnished by the non-Jewish population. The 

Lord Chief Justice, Baron Reading, a Jew, mobilized 

the financial resources of the country and was called upon 

to head the Anglo-French commission which negotiated 

the $500,000,000 credit secured in the United States. 

Lord Rothschild is treasurer of the Red Cross organization. 

Hon. Herbert Samuels is a member of the Coalition 

cabinet. A Jewish battalion organized by Palestinian 

fugitives rendered exceptional service to the allies in the 

Gallipoli Peninsula. Many rewards, including the be- 

stowal of Victoria Crosses and promotions, are listed in 

the Anglo-Jewish press every week. 

 

In Germany the Jews, although without complete 

social privileges, have borne their full share of the 

burdens of war. To Herr Ballin, the head of the mercantile 

marine, was given the task of organizing the national 

food supply, and other Jews have been prominently 

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION 15 

 

identified with every department of the industrial mobil- 

ization of the country. In France and Italy, Austria- 

Hungary and Turkey, Jews are to be found in the 

ministerial cabinets, in command of troops in the field, 

and prominent in charge of the medical service of the 

armies. 

 

 

 

Thus the present war has again demonstrated the 

great truth that, in times of struggle as in times of peace, 

the Jews constitute a most valuable asset to those nations 

that accept them as an integral part of their population 

and permit them to develop freely, but wherever an auto- 

cratic government demoralizes its people by confronting 

them with the spectacle of an unprotected minority 

denied all human rights, the government itself feels the 

reaction and the moral tone of the nation is thereby 

impaired. 

 

 

 

RUSSIA 

 

 

 

NOTE ON SOURCES OF INFORMATION 

 

For the purposes of this report it has been deemed advisable to 

select, from the mass of material available upon the present status 

of the Jews in Russia, only evidence based upon: 

 

1. Official and semi-official reports of the Russian gov- 

ernment published in its official daily newspaper, “Pravitel- 

stvenny Viestnik,” in its semi-official organ, “Novoe 

Vremya,” or in its several miUtary organs. 

 

2. Debates and Proceedings in the Imperial Duma and 

in the Council of the Empire, particularly evidence fur- 

nished by non-Jewish deputies or evidence of Jewish depu- 

ties that has passed unchallenged or has been challenged 

unsuccessfully by the Right benches. 

 

3. Statements in the Liberal Russian press and the 

Jewish press pubhshed in Russia, all of which have been 

rigorously censored. 

 

“\i 4. Protests and manifestoes of non-Jewish organiza- 

 

tions, parties and leaders against the anti-Jewish policy of the 

government. These protests have been made publicly and 

have passed unchallenged by the Russian Government. 

 

In brief, the present report is based exclusively upon evidence 

furnished by the Russian government itself, officially in its own 

press, or countenanced by reason of the revision applied, through 

its military and civil censorship, to the opposition press, or in public 

speeches and declarations that have passed the government benches 

in the imperial legislative chambers unchallenged. 

 

 

 

RUSSIA 

 

INTRODUCTION 

 

Russia acquired the great bulk of her Jewish popula- 

tion through the partitions of Poland, from 1773 to 1795. 

Strongly medieval in outlook and organization as Russia 

was at that time, she treated the Jews with the exceptional 

harshness which the medieval principle and policy 

sanctioned and required. By confining them to those 

provinces where they happened to live at the time of the 

partitions, she created a Ghetto greater than any known 

to the Middle Ages; and by imposing restrictions upon 

the right to Uve and travel even within this Ghetto, she 

has virtually converted it into a penal settlement, where 

six milUon human beings guilty only of adherence to 

the Jewish faith are compelled to Uve out their lives 

in squalor and misery, in constant terror of massacre, 

subject to the caprice of police officials and a corrupt ad- 

ministration — in short, without legal right or social status. 

 

Only twice within the last century have efforts been 

made to improve the condition of the Jews in Russia; and 

each interval of relief was followed by a period of greater 

and more cruel repression. The first was during the reign 

of Alexander II; but his assassination in 1881 resulted 

in the complete domination of Russia by the elements 

of reaction, which immediately renewed the persecution 

policy. The “May laws” of Ignatieff (1882) which 

enmesh the Jews to this day, were the immediate product 

of this regime. The second period, a concomitant of 

the abortive revolution of 1904-5, was followed by a 

“pogrom policy” of unprecedented severity which 

lasted until the outbreak of the present war. 

 

19 

 

 

 

20 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

THE PALE OF SETTLEMENT 

 

At the beginning of the war the number of Jews in 

the Russian Empire was estimated at six miUion or more, 

comprising fully half of the total Jewish population of 

the world. Ninety-five per cent, of these six million 

people were confined by law to a limited area of Russia, 

known as the Pale of Settlement, consisting of the fifteen 

Governments of Western and Southwestern Russia, and 

the ten Governments of Poland, much of which territory 

is now under the German occupation. In reahty, how- 

ever, residence within the Pale was further restricted 

to such an extent that territorially the Jews were per- 

mitted to live in only one two-thousandth part of the 

Russian Empire.* No Jew was permitted to step outside 

this Pale unless he belonged to one of a few privileged 

classes. Some half-privileged Jews might, with effort, 

obtain special passports for a limited period of residence 

beyond the Pale; but the great majority could not even 

secure this privilege for any period whatsoever. A tre- 

mendous mass of special, restrictive legislation converted 

the Pale into a kind of prison with six million inmates, 

guarded by an army of corrupt and brutal jailers. 

 

The Recent “Abolition” of the Pale 

 

In August, 1915, the Council of Ministers issued 

a decree permitting the Jews of the area affected by the 

war to move into the interior of Russia. This act has 

been supposed in some quarters to constitute the virtual 

abolition of the Pale, this interpretation being chiefly 

attributable to the extensive publicity given the measure 

by the Russian government; but the evidence, official 

and otherwise, clearly indicates that far from being a 

 

 

 

*”LcKal RiifTcrincs of the Jews in Russia”; edited by Lucien Wolf. London, 

T. Fisher Unwin, 1912. 

 

 

 

THE “ABOLITION” OF THE PALE 21 

 

 

generous act of a liberal Government toward an oppressed 

people, it is in reality only a temporary expedient, dictated 

mainly by military necessity and partly by the need of 

a foreign loan; it is evident that it was granted grudg- 

ingly, with galling hmitations which served to emphasize 

the servile state of the Jews; that it is in practice ignored 

or evaded at the convenience of the local authorities; 

and that it has been utilized, if not designed, to mislead 

the public opinion of the world. 

 

Evidence in support of this view will now be considered : 

 

1. It is a temporary measure dictated by military 

necessity. It does not remove any of the disabilities 

to which the Jews in Russia are legally subject. 

 

This is admitted officially in the Minute of the Council 

of Ministers for August 4 (17), 1915, at which session 

the abolition decree was promulgated. This Minute 

reads as follows: 

 

“It has been observed, of late, in connection with 

the military situation, that Jews are migrating en masse 

from the theatre of war and are gathering in certain 

interior governments of the Empire. This is ex- 

plained, on the one hand, by the endeavor, on the 

part of the Jewish population, to depart in good 

time from the localities threatened by the enemy, 

and, on the other hand, by the order, issued by our 

military authorities, to clear certain localities in the 

line of the enemy’s advance. The further concen- 

tration of these refugees, whose number has been 

growing ever greater, in the limited area now avail- 

able to them, is causing unrest among the local native 

population and may lead to alarming consequences 

in the form of wholesale disorders. This excessive 

accumulation of Jewish refugees also impedes the 

 

 

 

22 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

Government seriously in its efforts to provide food, 

work and medical attention for them. Under these 

circumstances, deeming it urgently necessary to take 

prompt measures to avert undesirable possibilities, 

the Acting Minister of the Interior has made a repre- 

sentation with respect to this matter before the 

Council of Ministers. 

 

“Taking up this immediate subject for deliberation 

and without touching upon the question of the general 

revision of laws now in force concerning Jews, the 

Council of Ministers has found that the most advisable 

way out of the situation created would be to grant 

the Jews the right of residence in cities and towns 

beyond the Pale of Settlement. This privilege, es- 

tablished because of the exigencies of the military 

situation, must not, however, affect the capital cities,* 

and the localities under the jurisdiction of the Minis- 

tries of the Imperial Court and the Minister of War.” 

 

The appalling facts back of this dry official statement 

were already known to all Russia. Hundreds of thousands 

of Jews had been expelled from their homes overnight 

by act of the military authorities. At a previous session 

of the Council of Ministers, Prince Shcherbatoff, him- 

self a Conservative, had presented the terrible con- 

dition of these refugees. He pointed out that they 

were perforce driven into forbidden territory, that it 

was difficult to direct them anywhere, each one naturally 

seeking some place where he had friends or relatives 

in the hope of finding some means of livelihood, and 

that because of the residence restrictions they found 

themselves outlaws against their will, and poured in 

petitions and telegrams in tremendous numbers, begging 

 

 

 

* Petrograd and Moscow. — Ed. 

 

 

 

THE “ABOLITION” OF THE PALE 23 

 

, I 

for official permission to reside legally in their new homes. 

These people, he pointed out, cannot be turned away 

from places beyond the Pale, because they cannot pos- 

sibly go back to their old homes.* 

 

As was shown by Duma Deputy Skobelev, “the 

question of the Pale was brought up in the Council of 

Ministers only when the wave of Jewish refugees had 

already swept away this medieval dam!”t Another 

deputy, an Octobrist, Rostovtzev, declared in the Duma : 

“What Pale is this you are speaking of? There is 

no Pale; Kaiser Wilhelm has abolished it!” 

 

If any further evidence were needed to demonstrate 

that the abolition decree was not a voluntary act of 

emancipation but was forced upon the government by 

conditions beyond its control, the inspired editorial in 

the semi-official government organ, the “Novoe Vremya,” 

of August 9 (22), 1915, supplies this evidence. It declares 

flatly that the reception of the measure by the general 

press as “the first rays of a new dawn” is entirely un- 

warranted; that the question of removing all Jewish 

disabilities was never discussed; it is not particularly 

important anjrway; it was not even worked out for 

presentation to the Duma.| Certain conditions, created 

by a state of affairs already existing, had made it neces- 

sary to modify some of the regulations with respect to 

the Pale. That is all. No permanent statute will be 

enacted. 

 

2. The decree was issued in the hope of facilitatmg 

a foreign loan. 

 

 

 

* Petrograd “Retch,” Aug. 8 (21), 1915. 

 

tPetrograd “Retch,” Aug. 14 (27), 1915. 

 

JThis has reference to that section of the “Constitution” of 1905, which 

empowers the government to issue ministerial decrees wliilc the Duma is not in 

Bession, but requires it to introduce corrcspondin}; Iryislntion in the Duma withia 

eix months after the ministerial decree has been published. 

 

 

 

24 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

Count A. Bobrinski, a Conservative member of the 

Imperial Council, declared, in a statement to the editor 

of the “Dehn”:* 

 

“The conservative members of the Imperial Council raised no 

objection whatsoever against the recent Government measure 

granting permission to the Jews to reside outside of the Pale. I 

believe that we shall have to become accustomed to the idea of 

seeing the Jews dwell in all parts of Russia after tliis war is over. 

There can be no return to the old conditions. 

 

“The necessities of the war must lead us also to sanction future 

concessions toward the Jews whenever the need thereof will be 

recognized by the Government in order to be able to place a 

Government loan in America.” 

 

The attitude of “Kolokol,” the organ of the Holy- 

Synod, reflects this with perfect frankness: 

 

“Power has gradually passed from the mailed knights, from 

heroes of the battlefield to the counting house, because in gold 

there is more power than in fearless argonauts. If Germany excels 

us in armament and was better prepared in every other way it is 

because her nation is older than ours, older in its culture by several 

hundred years. Herein hes our weakness. But the Jews are the oldest 

people on earth. Their cult is the cult of gold and of brains. It 

does not matter that they have forgotten their glorious epoch of 

mihtary heroism, have forgotten how they defended their Jeru- 

salem. It does not matter that they are no longer accustomed 

to bear arms and to decide with the sword their differences and 

quarrels. This people has learned to draw to itself the gold of the 

world. It is hke a sponge. … It has learned caution and 

foresight and is organized into a powerful international force. 

Under the conditions of the present war the Jews are a power not 

to reckon with which is to be poUtically blind. Would it not be 

advantageous to Russia to throw into its scales these nuggets of 

gold, these billions of the international bankers? . . .”f 

 

The naivete of these statements is ridiculed by the 

liberal press, led by the Petrograd ” Retch,” with the 

 

 

 

“Reform Advocate,” Nov. 13, 1015. (Tr. from the French), 

t Quoted from “Retch.” Aug. 9 (22), 1915. 

 

 

 

THE “ABOLITION” OF THE PALE 25 

 

comment that “It is difficult for the anti-Semites of yes- 

terday to pour new wine into old flasks. The scare- 

crows of ‘Jewish freemasonry,’ the ‘universal Kehillah’ and 

other myths still terrify the editors of ‘Kolokol’; but 

instead of screaming: ‘The Jews are strong; crush 

them!’ the cry now is ‘The Jews are strong; yield to 

them!’ It does not seem to occur to these new converts 

that the Jewish question is merely one of elementary 

civic decency.”* 

 

The significance of this will be appreciated when it 

is recalled that the liberal press reflects the ideals of 

the Russian masses just as “Kolokol” reflects the hopes 

and fears of the Russian government. 

 

3. The measure was granted grudgingly, with 

galling limitations which emphasize the humiliating po- 

sition of the Jews. 

 

The Jews are even under the provisions of the new de- 

cree still debarred from all villages, from the two capitals 

Petrograd and Moscow, from the vicinities where royal 

residences happen to be located and from the districts 

of the Don and Turkestan which happen to be under 

the jurisdiction of the ministry of war. These restric- 

tions were denounced as senseless by all the liberal 

elements of the Empire. “Russkoe Slovo,” August 13 

(26), 1915, declares: 

 

“Hereafter a Jew may live in Kaluga, but is excluded from 

Tashkent; in Yckaterinodar he may not live; in Nizhni he may. 

It is very hard to find any sense in such distinctions, even from the 

point of view of the Black Hundreds. If you should ask Markov 

2d [the leader of the Black Hundreds. — Tr.] into what cities we 

ought to admit Jews — whether into Nizhni, or into Tashkent, 

he would answer at first, of course, that we ought not to admit 

them into either; but confronted with ‘dire necessity’ he would 

 

 

 

* “Retch,” Aug. 9 (22). 1915. 

 

 

 

26 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

hardly give preference to Tashkent, aheady full of alien 

nationalities. 

 

“And yet to whom, except Markov 2d and his kind, would all 

these exceptions and limitations give any aid or comfort? Sup- 

pose we do allow the Jews perfect freedom of travel within the 

country; suppose we do find villages where so much as a whole 

Jew — and not a fractional Jew — exists statistically per hundred 

of peasant population; suppose we do find a Jewish tailor, a black- 

smith or a merchant in a Russian village — would that be such 

a calamity?” 

 

4. In practice the act is often ignored or evaded 

by local officials. 

 

The Governor of Sraolensk has continued to expel 

Jews entering his province, entirely regardless of the 

law. The government of Kiev even refused to permit 

the publication of the ministerial decree until the middle 

of September, some six weeks after its official promulga- 

tion, and has consistently ignored it since. In prac- 

tically all the other governments of the Empire the 

administration of the act is entirely dependent upon 

the whims of the local governors. Late advices bring 

reports of the expulsions of Jews from the Caucasus, 

Tomsk, Vladivostok, Siberia, and many other cities and 

provinces in which, under the terms of the abolition 

decree, Jews are permitted to reside.* 

 

In many places the local authorities have even taken 

advantage of the new decree to deprive the Jews of 

rights possessed by them under older statutes. In 

Saratov, for example, a small number of Jewish mer- 

chants, professional men and artisans have been permitted 

to live and engage in gainful occupations since 1893, 

under the terms of a special Ukase issued in that year, 

although the city, being outside the Pale, is closed to 

Jews in general. The regulations, however, required 

 

 

 

* “Evreyskaya Zhizn,” Oct. 25 (Nov. 7), 1915. Nov. 8 (21). 1915, etc. 

 

 

 

‘THE “ABOLITION” OF THE PALE 27 

 

that the Jews obtain special passports from the police 

department certifying to their right of residence in 

Saratov, and special permits from the local license boards, 

based upon the police certificates, authorizing them to 

engage in their several occupations. But now that the 

Pale has been “abolished” the police officials have dis- 

continued the issuing of special certificates, claiming 

that since all Jews have been granted the right of resi- 

dence throughout the Empire the need for issuing such 

certificates to individual Jews no longer exists. Yet the 

license boards persist in their demand for such certifi- 

cates from the Jews and have, to date, absolutely refused 

to grant them the necessary licenses without which they 

cannot continue in their occupations. In other words, 

the Jews of Saratov now have the legal right to live 

in that city, but are denied the legal right to secure the 

wherewithal to live.* 

 

5. The promulgation of the abolition act, designed 

to mislead the public opinion, and thereby to win the 

sympathy, of the civilized world, has not misled the 

people of Russia. 

 

This is clearly indicated by the typical expressions 

of editorial opinion which follow; and at this point it 

may be well to remind the American reader again that 

in Russia, more than in any other country, the press 

must weigh its words carefully, since editorial missteps 

have serious consequences. 

 

The “Russkoe Slovo,” August 13 (26), 1915, condemns 

the measure as a half-way measure, as a substitution of 

one Pale for another, “even though it be granted that the 

new Pale is larger than the old.” It demands the full 

abolition of the Pale — “that greatest misfortune of 

Russian life.” 

 

 

 

* “Evreyskaya Zhizn,” Nov. 8 (21). 1915. 

 

 

 

28 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

‘”Unfortunately,” it continues, “we tend to repeat our mistakes 

only too often. When we do ‘submit’ to the demands of hfe we 

do so either too late or with such indecision and so grudgingly that 

in the end, instead of evoking real satisfaction, we not infrequently 

evoke a feeUng of misunderstanding or produce an effect which 

is the very opposite of the one intended. Yet an act can be valid 

and precious and achieve its highest aim only when it is done in 

good time, cheerfully, frankly, straightforwardly and with decision — 

as befits a government that is strong and sure of ItseK.” 

 

The Petrograd “Retch,” the great liberal daily, August 

20 (September 2), 1915, points out that the measure is 

merely tentative and must be legalized by statutory 

enactment within six months. It hopes that this enact- 

ment will not preserve the absurd limitations of the 

original decree. 

 

“If it has at last been recognized as expedient to remove that 

shameful blot, the Pale, we ought to leave not even a small speck 

of it. From a moral point of view, — and even an empire must have 

a point of view — it matters Uttle whether a man is held by a long 

chain or a short one. There should be no chains at all. . . .’* 

 

This is echoed by the Petrograd “Cornier”: 

 

“If there is only one corner of Russia left to which Jews may 

not be admitted, the Pale still remains, no matter what arguments 

may be used, and no matter what promises of future ‘privileges’ 

may be made. A principle cannot be measured quantitatively. 

The step taken so far is merely a beginning, and life demands that 

it should be completed. Besides the ‘right to live’ there are other 

rights derived from it: — the right to attend school, to do business, 

to own property, to choose one’s occupation freely.”* 

 

Even the extreme reactionary organ, “Kolokol,” 

which has hitherto been most insistent in its demand 

that “True Russians” be protected from Jewish competi- 

tion by the confinement of Jews to the Pale, now declares : 

 

“Abohsh the Pale entirely. Even now it is, in fact, nothing 

but a sieve. All of real ability in Jewry, every Jewish faculty 

 

 

 

* Quoted from “Evreyskaya Zhizn,” Aug. 23 (Sept. 5), 1915, pp. 10-12. 

 

 

 

THE “ABOLITION” OF THE PALE 29 

 

sharpened for the struggle for existence, easily escapes the Pale. 

But this constant necessity for circumvention of the law only cor- 

rupts the Jews and exasperates them.”* 

 

The persons most affected, the six miUion Jews of 

Russia, received the “Emancipation Act” with deep 

mistrust. They were chiefly concerned lest the news 

of this act should deceive their co-religionists abroad. At a 

national conference of Jewish publicists and relief workers 

at Petrograd these resolutions were adopted: 

 

•’We are unwilling that our brethren in other lands shall gain 

a false impression from our attitude toward the abolition measure. 

. . . The permission to reside in cities outside of the Pale 

in no way remedies the evil, nor does it relieve the pressing needs 

of our times, nor does it affect in any way the legal restrictions 

in force against Jews. … In expressing our profound indig- 

nation at the humiliation and persecution to which the Jews have 

been subjected since the beginning of the war, v/e declare that 

the State can do justice to the Jews and prevent further perse- 

cutions only by the total and unconditional repeal of all special 

restrictions.” 

 

The leading Russian Jewish Weekly, “Evreyskaya 

Zhizn,” of August 23 (September 5), 1915, declared 

editorially : 

 

“If this measure had been passed in July or August of 1914 

we would have met it with faith and joy. Then the Jewish people 

were ready to appreciate any pohtical measure of reUef and looked 

upon everything as the beginning of a new era. That new era 

came, but, alas! of what a different nature! Periods of accusations 

and horrors, of Kovno expulsions and Kuzhif slanders came and 

the people grew desperate. This half measure of the Ministers, 

in spite of its practical importance, cannot vitalize the Jewish 

people, and the main reason lies in the fact that this measure does 

not carry with it any new view upon tlie real subject matter of the 

Jewish question. This measure is only a slight relief in the con- 

 

* Quoted from “Retch,” Aug. 9 (22), 1915. f See page 48. 

 

 

 

30 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

dition of citizens who have no rights and who remain without 

rights. . . . The Jews are considered, in the new order, as 

citizens of the second class. We remain the same pariahs, from 

whom something has to be kept back, to whom the villages must 

be closed with fear, and to whom the chosen centers must be closed 

with a feeling of loathing. . . . The element of distinction 

between Jews and other citizens remains and is even more empha- 

sized. The principle of equality of rights for Jews has not been 

realized and without it no material benefits promised by the new 

act will find their way to the soul of the people. Only acknowledg- 

ment of the right of Jews to all rights of Russian citizenship will 

melt the ice of that cold disappointment which has seized all Russian 

Jews.” 

 

Finally, the eminent Jewish historian, Simeon Dubnov, 

in an impassioned article in “Evreyskaya Nedelya” 

(September, 1915), denounced the hypocrisy of the 

government and demanded the immediate abolition of 

all Jewish restrictions: 

 

“It is fully a year since the terrified faces of the ‘prisoners’ 

appeared through the bars of that gigantic prison known as ‘the 

Jewish Pale.’ Part of the prison was already enveloped in the 

flames of war, and the entire structure was threatened. The 

prisoners, in deathly terror, clamored that the doors be thrown 

open. They were driven from one part of the prison to another 

part that seemed in less danger, but the prison doors remained shut. 

The warden’s answer to their prayer was that it was impossible 

to ‘release them,’ even in war time, because later it would be difficult 

to ‘recapture’ them! 

 

“Ultimately the keepers were compelled to open the doors 

slightly and to let out a part of the dazed and half-asphyxiated 

inmates; but even then they were quarantined within three govern- 

ments, which were immediately congested with refugees; and only 

now, when the largest section of the Pale, with a Jewish population 

of two million, has become foreign country — only now are the gates 

of the overcrowded prison thrown wide open and the prisoners 

cautiously permitted to leave. . . . 

 

“Should our fiuther emancipation proceed at the same pace, 

we shall attain full freedom only after our complete annihilation. 

. . . The sop is thrown to us under conditions internal and 

 

 

 

OTHER JEWISH DISABILITIES 31 

 

external which sharply emphasize its enforced character. This 

measure is not one of restoration; rather is it hke a rag thrown 

to the victim after his last shirt has been taken from him. This 

belated, partial, privilege must remind the Jew that of all national- 

ities in Russia — not excepting the semi-savage tribes — he alone 

needed such a favor. 

 

“At this time of profound mourning, upon the graves of thou- 

sands of our brothers who have fallen victims not only to the sword 

of the enemy, but because of outrage within our own borders, amidst 

the ruins of our cities, our weary hearts cannot rejoice over the 

beggarly dole tossed out to us. In silence shall our people accept 

the miserly gift from those from whom it is accustomed to receive 

only blows; but, as ever, it will demand aloud that those rights of 

which it has been deprived should be restored to it.” 

 

It is apparent, therefore, that the legal status of the 

Jews in Russia has remained substantially unchanged 

by the war. 

 

The restrictions noiTnally imposed upon the Jews of 

Russia (with the exception of certain specially designated 

— and numerically negligible — fractions) subject them 

to the following principal disabilities: 

 

 

 

1. Other Residence Restrictions 

 

(a) Within the Pale. Although originally granted 

the right to live anywhere within the Pale, the privilege 

was gradually restricted until the Jews were, in effect, 

confined to the cities and larger towns. By the law of 

May 3 (15), 1882, the Jews were forbidden to settle in 

the villages of the Pale. By the law of December 29, 

1887 (January 10, 1888), they were forbidden to move 

from one town to another. By judicial and adminis- 

trative interpretation “towns” were often designated 

as villages and the Jews expelled from them overnight. 

The net result has been the congestion of the Jewish 

 

 

 

32 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

 

population in the cities and larger towns. Although they 

 

constitute only 12 per cent, of the total population of the 

Pale, they form 41 per cent, of the urban population. 

As this congestion tended to create a ferocity in com- 

petition which reduced incomes and standards to the 

lowest limits, many Jews of necessity attempted to 

escape into the interior of Russia. But their illegal 

stay was possible only with the connivance of a corrupt 

police. Even then the numerous police raids at mid- 

night or early dawn (oblavy — literally ” hunts “)> accom- 

panied by an excess of brutality, made the life of these 

illegal residents one of fear and torment. 

 

(b) Outside the Pale. The privileged five per 

cent, that was granted the theoretical right of free travel 

and residence throughout the Empire, was also con- 

tinually harassed by arbitrary police and judical meas- 

ures which practically nullified their privilege. This 

class comprises : 

 

Artisans, permitted free residence by the law of 1865; 

but constant restrictions and new interpretations of the 

term have reduced the number of Jews enjoying this 

status to a bare fraction of the Jewish population. 

 

Merchants of the First Guild, allowed to leave the 

Pale after five years’ membership in their guild, and on 

condition of the payment of an annual tax of 800 roubles 

($400) for ten years, after removal from the Pale. Nu- 

merically insignificant to begin with, this class was 

further reduced by police blaclanail until it became 

almost negligible. 

 

Jewish graduates of Russian institutions of higher 

education. The operation of the “percentage” rule, how- 

ever, reduces these to a minimum. (See pp. 33-34.) 

 

Prostitutes. Jewish women who have become pros- 

titutes are permitted to live outside the Pale. 

 

 

 

OTHER JEWISH DISABILITIES 33 

 

2. Occupational Restrictions 

 

The public service of the Empire, or of any of its 

political subdivisions, is practically closed to Jews. 

Jews may not be teachers (except in Jewish schools), 

or, as a rule, farmers. These artificial restrictions operate 

to drive the Jews into the occupations permitted to 

them, chiefly trade and commerce, thus overcrowding 

the ranks of tradesmen and artisans. 

 

3. Property Restrictions 

 

Jews may not buy or sell, rent, lease or even manage 

land or real estate outside the Pale or outside of the 

city limits within the Pale. The artisans privileged 

to practise their handicraft outside the Pale may under 

no circumstances own their homes. The ownership, 

direct or indirect, of property in mines or oil fields is 

also forbidden to Jews. 

 

4. Fiscal Burdens 

 

The Jews pay, in addition to the normal taxes, a candle 

tax, designed for the support of Jewish schools, and a 

meat tax, originally destined for Jewish religious purposes; 

but in practice these funds are diverted to general, non- 

Jewish, purposes, and even used, in part, for the enforce- 

ment of police measures against the Jews. 

 

5. Educational Restrictions 

 

Jews are not admitted to the secondary or higher 

educational institutions and universities, except in pro- 

portions varying from 3 to 15 per cent, of the entire 

number of non-Jewish pupils. (For high schools: 10 

 

 

 

34 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

per cent, within the Pale and 5 per cent, outside the 

Pale, except in the two capitals St. Petersburg and 

Moscow, where it is only 3 per cent.; and for univer- 

sities all over the Empire, about 3 per cent.) 

 

A ministerial decree issued in August, 1915, permits 

the children of all Jews actively connected v/ith the war 

to enter any educational institution in the country 

regardless of the percentage norm ; but in practice this 

decree, like the decree abolishing the Pale, is entirely 

subject to interpretation and modification by the local 

authorities, who have, so far, virtually ignored it. 

 

The result of the percentage norm applied to the 

admission of Jews to secondary schools and universities 

is that in the towns to which the Jews are restricted by 

the domiciliary regulations and where they constitute 

in many cases a very large proportion of the population, 

the great majority of the Jewish youth are denied the 

means of a higher education. In Warsaw, the Jews 

constitute 36.30 per cent, of the population; in Lodz, 

 

47.59 per cent.; in Lomza, 39.42 per cent.; in Kovno, 

 

54.60 per cent.; in Vilna, 40 per cent.; In Grodno, 

52.45 per cent.; in Bialostock, 65.62 per cent.; in 

Brest Litovsk, 78.81 per cent.; in Pinsk, 80. 10 per cent.; 

in Berditcheff, 87.52 per cent., etc., yet in all these 

towns only the stipulated percentage of Jewish students 

may be admitted. 

 

In addition to this restriction, many secondary schools 

(School of Military Medical Hygiene, School of Railroad 

Engineering, School of Electricity, etc.), are entirely closed 

to Jews. Even commercial schools, maintained by Mer- 

chants’ Guilds, admit Jews only in proportion to the 

Jewish membership of the Guilds. 

 

The Government also restricts the establishment of 

higher schools under Jewish auspices. In 1884, it closed 

 

 

 

OTHER JEWISH DISABILITIES 35 

 

the Technical Institute of Zhitomir (founded in 1862), 

on the ground that, in the southwestern Pale provinces, 

the Jews contributed a majority of the artisans, and a 

special Jewish technical school would increase this dis- 

proportion. In 1885 it closed the Teachers’ Institute 

(a noted center of Jewish learning) because “there was 

no further need for it.” 

 

As a consequence of these limitations and restrictions 

there has been a scramble among Jews to gain admission 

to these institutions. Parents have employed every 

expedient to have their children enrolled. Another 

consequence is that many Jewish young men emigrated 

to Switzerland, Germany and France, to obtain a higher 

education, and thereafter to return to Russia to enter 

professional life. A recent calculation shows that about 

3,000 Jewish students from Russia annually exile them- 

selves in order to attend foreign universities. 

 

6. Military Service 

 

The Jews constitute only 4.05 per cent, of the popu- 

lation of the Empire, but the proportion of Jews 

in the annual army contingent was estimated, at the 

outbreak of the Japanese war, at 5.7 per cent. This 

is due to the fact that a great many exemptions which 

the law provides for non-Jews are made inapplicable 

to Jews. In the army the Jews can achieve no rank 

higher than that of corporal. A penalty of 300 rubles 

(SI 50) is placed upon each Jewish defection, and the 

whole family, including parents and relatives by mar- 

riage of the person accused, is held responsible therefor. 

 

The results of these repressions and persecutions 

are known. Politically outlawed, socially and econom- 

ically degraded, the Jewish population imprisoned in the 

 

 

 

36 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

Pale has festered in misery. The merchants have been 

obliged to resort to fearful competition. Workingmen, 

overcrowding their industries, have been compelled to 

work for starvation wages. Most of the Jewish homes 

in Russia are miserable hovels, with little air or light. 

In the great cities, the proportion of paupers approxi- 

mates a fifth of the Jewish population. lu Odessa in 

1900, of a population of 150,000 Jews no less than 48,500 

were supported by charity; 63 per cent, of the dead had 

pauper burials, and a further 20 per cent, were buried 

at the lowest possible rate. In the Governments of 

Ekaterinoslav, Bessarabia, Pietrikov, Chernigov and 

Siedlets, the number of charity cases at the Passover 

festival increased from 41.9 per cent, to 46.8 per cent. 

in four years. 

 

THE OUTBREAK OF THE WAR 

 

It was against this background of ever-spreading 

persecution and misery that the great war broke upon 

the Jews. They accepted it as loyal Russian citizens, 

and not without hope that it might lead to some im- 

provement in their own conditions. 

 

The Kehillas (communities) of Petrograd, Odessa and 

other cities officially sent large sums in gold for the 

reservists, established hospitals for the use of the wounded 

without distinction of race or creed, held great patriotic 

demonstrations in the synagogues, at which the Rabbis 

urged the Jewish youth to render their full share of military 

service, and in other ways, presented, as the Mayor 

of Odessa said, “an example of readiness to sacrifice 

everything for the army.” 

 

The spirit of the Jews of Russia at the outbreak of 

the war is well expressed in the appeal which the Jewish 

 

 

 

JEWISH LOYALTY AND VALOR 37 

 

community of Vilna, the oldest in Russia, at the very 

heart of the Pale, issued in connection with the estab- 

lishment of a military hospital: 

 

“Our beloved Fatherland — the great Russian Empire — ^has been 

provoked to bloody, terrible conflict. It is a struggle for the 

integrity and greatness of Russia. All true sons of Russia have 

risen as one man to shield their country, with their own breasts, 

against the onslaught of the enemy. Our brothers of the Jewish 

faith, all over the Russian Empire, have also responded to the 

call of duty . . . and many have voluntarily joined the army 

which has gone forth to the field of battle. But circumstances 

now demand that those of us who have not been fortunate enough 

to be called forward to fight for our country with weapons in our 

hands should also make whatever sacrifices we can. We owe a 

sacred obligation to those who have left their famihes behind, 

those who are defending our country, and us, with their blood and 

their lives. It is our duty to assume all responsibility for the 

families of the reservists. It is our duty to take care of those who 

will fall wounded or ill in the war. No doubt this sacred duty 

will be assumed by the entire Jewish population of the Empire, 

by individuals no less than by entire communities. The history 

of all past wars, especially those of the nineteenth century, be- 

ginning with the war of 1812, shows that the Jews have honestly 

and sacredly fulfilled their duty as citizens and were ever ready 

to sacrifice upon the altar of their country their wealth, their blood 

and even their fives … In like manner, at this great crisis 

in the life of our country, we, the representatives of the Jewish 

community of Vilna, the oldest in Russia and at the very heart 

of the present conflict, take the liberty of appealing to our co- 

religionists to begin at once the work of organizing relief for the 

wounded and for the famihes of the reservists. We must care 

equally for all the soldiers of our glorious army, without dis- 

tinction of race or creed, for all are brothers, sons in common of 

our great Fatherland. . . .” 

 

The Jewish press also gave resonant voice to this 

spirit of loyalty and devotion. The “Novy Voskhod,”* 

one of the leading Jewish organs in llussia, issued this call: 

 

* September 24 (Oct. 7), 1914. 

 

 

 

38 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

“We were bom and brought up in Russia. Our 

ancestors are buried here. We Russian Jews are bound 

to Russia by ties which cannot be broken, and our 

brothers who have been driven beyond the ocean by 

cruel fate cherish their memories of Russia all through 

life. Custodians of the commandments of our fore- 

fathers, nucleus of the entire Jewish nation, we, the 

Jews of Russia, are nevertheless united inseparably 

with the country in which we have dwelt for hundreds of 

years, and from which neither persecution nor oppression 

can tear us away. At this historical moment, when our 

country is threatened by foreign invasion, when brute 

force has taken up arms against the great ideals of 

humanity, the Jews of Russia will bravely go forth to 

battle and will fulfil their sacred duty . . .” 

 

The Jewish contingent in the Russian army numbered 

from 350,000 (an estimate made by the Mayor of Petro- 

grad before the Conference of Russian Mayors in August, 

1914), to 400,000 (the estimate made by the Jewish 

Colonization Association, Petrograd). The thousands of 

Jewish students who have matriculated at foreign uni- 

versities because the “percentage rule” had closed the 

Russian universities to them, returned to enroll under 

the colors, even though they knew that there was no 

hope of preferment for them. 

 

On the field of battle the Jewish soldiers distinguished 

themselves for valor. Over one thousand received the 

Medal or Cross of St. George. From the many letters 

of appreciation and affection written by Russian officers 

to the relatives of Jewish soldiers under their command 

who had been disabled or killed, it was evident that the 

Jews had won the affection and respect of the fighting 

men in the field. But it was their eternal misfortune 

that the war, by the logic of military geography, had 

 

 

 

POLES AND JEWS . 39 

 

to be fought out, on the Eastern side, in Poland; for 

between the Poles and the Jews there had long been a 

state of open conflict — and the developments of the 

campaign in Poland foredoomed the Jews to disaster 

appalling and almost irretrievable. 

 

 

 

POLES AND JEWS 

 

The conflict between the Poles and Jews dates back 

to the earliest period of Jewish life in Poland. 

 

In its early stages it was purely religious. The Church 

Synod of 1542 declared that: “Whereas the Church 

tolerates the Jev/s for the sole purpose of reminding us 

of the torments of the Savior, their number must not 

increase under any circumstances.”* 

 

The Synod of 1733 reiterated this gospel of hate by 

declaring that the reason for the existence of the Jews 

is: 

 

“That they might remind us of the tortures of the 

Savior, and by their abject and miserable condition 

might serve as an example of the first chastisement 

of God inflicted upon the infidels.”! 

 

In its later stages the struggle was chiefly political 

and economic. When Russia acquired Poland, through 

the several partitions in the eighteenth century, it frankly 

adopted the old Roman principle of divide et impera. 

It persistently fomented hostilities between the Polish 

and Jewish population by crowding them together in 

a restricted area where neither could make a decent 

livelihood, by pitting them against each other in an 

 

 

 

• Friedlaender, “The Jews of Russia and Poland,” p. 38. 

t Ibid., p. 57. 

 

 

 

40 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

economic struggle conducted on the lowest possible 

plane and on the most hopeless terms, by playing off 

religious and racial prejudices and by every other de- 

vice possible to a government with unlimited power 

and an unprincipled policy. And the Poles, politically 

undeveloped, instead of combining with the other victims 

of Russia against the common oppressor, turned upon 

their fellows with a ferocity truly unparalleled in 

European history. 

 

Several years before the war broke out this struggle 

came to a climax over the election of a deputy to the 

Duma. The Jews of Poland felt that they were entitled to 

at least one member to represent them in the Duma, 

particularly in the city of Warsaw, where they con- 

stitute nearly half of the population. It happened, 

however, that in the city of Lodz they unexpectedly 

elected one Jewish deputy, Bomash. The Jews, there- 

fore, seeking to conciliate the Poles and not to wound 

their national pride by insisting upon the election 

of a Jewish deputy from Warsaw, the ancient Polish 

capital, offered to compromise, stipulating only that the 

Polish candidate be not an avowed anti-Semite. The 

Poles, however, insisted upon putting up a notorious 

anti-Semite. The Jews, equally unable to support such 

a candidate in self-respect or to elect one of their own, 

united on a Polish Socialist candidate, electing him 

to the Duma. This led to retaliation in the form of a 

boycott directed not only at Jewish tradesmen, but even 

at Jewish physicians, artisans and other workingmen, 

which soon spread destitution throughout Poland, affect- 

ing, as it did, Jews and Poles alike. So ugly and bitter a 

form did the boycott assume that at times even the Russian 

government was compelled to take the part of the Jews 

as against the Poles. 

 

 

 

THE WAR IN POLAND 41 

 

Anti-Semitism in Poland 

 

A significant observation upon the economic character 

of the PoHsh-Jewish struggle was made by the well 

known Russian journalist, Madam A. E. Kuskova. 

 

“I found red-hot anti-Semitism everywhere in Poland. We 

have anti-Semitism in Russia, but of a different kind. . . . Anti- 

Semitic papers Hke ‘Dva Grosha’ accused all Jews of all sorts of 

crimes, without protest from the Progi’essive press, and succeeded 

in arousing the PoUsh people. In Pyasechna, a ruined place near 

Warsaw, where ten-day battles took place, I spoke to many peasants 

who accused the Jews of many of their troubles, but could never 

explain what they really blamed them for. We Russians held a 

meeting, to try to find the causes of this feeling. . . . We 

came to the conclusion that . . . the Polish- Jewish ques- 

tion is really a Russian-Polish- Jewish question, and touches 

us as much as the Poles. They have not room enough to live, 

and more and more Jews are coming there. Even democratic 

organizations are compelled to take cognizance of this. One peasant 

organization expresses through its organ the idea that it is true that 

the Jews are a burden to Poland, but it warns the peasants against 

anti-Semitism nevertheless.” * 

 

THE WAR IN POLAND 

 

When the fighting armies overran Poland, the Poles 

saw their chance and seized it. The dream of a free 

Poland had never been absent from their minds. When 

the world catastrophe came the Poles saw in it not only 

an opportunity to regain their land, that had been dis- 

membered more than a century before, but also an 

opportunity to avenge themselves on the hated Jews. 

Just as the Russians had alwaj’^s played the Poles against 

the Jews, so now the Poles hoped to play Russian, Ger- 

man, Austrian and Jew against each other. It was 

indeed to the interest of both Russia and Austria to 

 

 

 

* “Rasviet,” December 5 (18), 1914, p. 12. 

 

 

 

42 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

court the sympathy of Poland. And the Poles seized 

the occasion to denounce the Jews, now to the Russians, 

now to the Germans, as spies and traitors. 

 

The position of the Jews under this cross-fire became 

unbearable. Here are several cases, selected at random, 

showing its effect upon the Jewish population: 

 

One of the first towns in Russian Poland captured 

by the Austrians was Zamosti, near the Hungarian 

frontier, taken by a detachment of Sokol troops in 

September, 1914. • They were soon driven out by the 

Russians; and at once the Poles of the town denounced 

the Jews to the Russian commander, accusing the Jews 

of having given aid to the enemy during the Austrian 

occupation of the town. Twelve Jews were arrested. 

They denied their guilt but were sentenced to death. 

Five of them had already been hanged, when, in the 

midst of the, execution, a Russian priest, carrying an 

image of the Virgin, appeared and with his hand on 

the image took oath that the Jews were innocent and 

that the accusation was merely a product of Polish 

vindictiveness. He proved that the Poles of the town 

themselves had supported the Austrians and that even a 

telephone connection with Lemberg could be found. 

The seven remaining Jews were then set free. But five 

had already been hanged.* 

 

At Lemberg, in September, 1914, the Poles accused 

the Jews of firing on Russian troops; as a consequence 

a great many Jews were arrested, and nearly seventy 

were attacked and wounded; but an investigation 

proved them all innocent, and Drs. Rabner and Diamond, 

the Jews who had been taken as hostages, were released, f 

 

 

 

* George Brandes in “Politiken,” Nov., 1914. 

 

t “Russkaya Viedomoati,” Oct. 2 (15), 1914, p. 20. “Novy Voskhod,” Oct. 2 

(15), 1914, p. 21. 

 

 

 

THE WAR IN POLAND 43 

 

At Kieltse and Radom the Poles plundered many 

Jewish shops and when the Russians returned after the 

German retreat the Poles denounced the Jews as German 

sympathizers. Here also those Jews who were arrested 

were found to be innocent and released after investi- 

gation.* 

 

At Mariampol, near the East Prussia frontier, because 

of a similar accusation, the entire Jewish male popula- 

tion, with their Rabbi, Krovchinski, at their head, were 

compelled to work the roads for three days — September 

22-24 (October 5-7), 1914 (the first two of these days 

falling on the Sukkoth hohday.)t 

 

In this town, also, one Gershenovitz was sentenced 

to penal servitude for six years because he acted as 

Mayor during the German occupation, although the 

inquiry held by the Russians showed that he had been 

forced by the Germans to accept the office.* 

 

At Jusefow the Jews were accused of poisoning the 

wells. Seventy-eight were killed outright, many Jewish 

women were violated and all the houses and shops 

plundered, t 

 

In Drsukenihi a mill owner, Chekhofski, was accused 

of having given a signal for the German bombardment 

of the town by blowing his mill whistle. When the 

Russians reoccupied the town he was brought to trial 

before the Military Tribunal and the charge was proven 

to be groundless. § 

 

These are only a few instances, taken at random, 

of Polish slanders. In not a single known case were 

the charges justified; on the contrary, their gross ab- 

surdity was demonstrated on numerous occasions before 

 

* “Novy Voskhod,” Sept. 22 (Oct. 8), 1914, p. 20. 

 

t “Rasviet.” Dec. 5 (18), 1914, p. 18. 

 

§ “Politiken,” Nov. 1, 1914. 

 

J “Rasviet,” March 29 (April 11). 1914, p. 20. 

 

 

 

44 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

military tribunals that could not possibly be charged 

with prejudice in favor of the Jewish side of the issue. 

 

A perfect illustration of this is furnished by the story 

of the villages of Groitsi and Nove-Miasto, near Warsaw. 

 

The Case of Nove-Miasto 

 

The Germans, in their first advance on Warsaw, in 

September-October, 1914, occupied these villages ‘for a 

few days. When the Russian troops recaptured the 

towns the Poles at once denounced the Jews as having 

welcomed the German troops and having aided them 

in every possible way — whereas the Poles, according 

to their own account, had accepted the German rule 

passively, doing only whatever they were forced to do 

by the military authorities. They pointed out seven 

persons, five Jews and two Germans, who had demon- 

strated such devotion to the invaders as to merit trial 

for treason and the death penalty. One Jew, Goldberg, 

it was charged, had revealed to the Germans the hiding 

place of ten Russian soldiers, resulting in their capture; 

another Jew had shown them where they might requisition 

horses and food, and had acted as guide. 

 

The case was brought to trial before the military 

guard, and there, under strict examination, it assumed 

an entirely different aspect. A priest, Zemberzhusky, 

testified that Jews and Poles had acted precisely alike 

toward the Germans; that their reception of the Ger- 

mans expressed no joy, that all alike had complained 

of the invaders’ requisition and pillage, and that it was 

only due to the tactful conduct of the citizens that the 

town of Nove-Miasto was not entirely demolished. It 

was shown that not a single Russian soldier had been 

captured by the Germans and that the Goldberg charge 

 

 

 

THE CASE OF NOVE-MIASTO 45 

 

was entirely false. All the other charges were similarly 

disproved. It developed that the3′- were based on two 

facts. In the preliminary investigation the trial officers, 

being ignorant of Polish, were compelled to employ 

interpreters. One of these interpreted the statement 

of a Polish witness to the effect that he had seen a certain 

Zilberberg walk the streets arm in arm with a German 

cflficer. The fact brought out in the new trial was that 

the witness had actually seen the German officer seize 

Zilberberg by the neck! In the second place, the story 

had been started in sheer mahce by two notorious 

gangsters, whose evidence was unworthy of any con- 

sideration. All of the accused were therefore acquitted.* 

 

The significance of this episode lies in the fact that the 

Colonel in command in this particular case happened 

to be a kindly man, who, being unwilling to see injustice 

done, went to the trouble to have the case carefully 

investigated. Hundreds of other cases based on 

equally groundless accusations came to court %vithout 

the possibility of such a fair investigation. 

 

Another case of this sort is reported from Suvalki. 

It was charged by the Poles that the Jews of Suvalki 

had met the Germans with bread and salt (the national 

Russian custom in welcoming guests). The facts were 

that practically the entire population of Suvalki had 

fled at the approach of the Germans. The Germans, 

however, had, with their usual thoroughness, made 

out in advance a list of the leading citizens of Suvalki 

who were to be appointed to the deputation that was 

“to welcome” the Germans. Only one Jew was on this list. 

 

Not all the Poles were bitterly hostile to the Jews, 

as may be seen from the following story, reprinted from 

 

* “Rasviet.” April 12 (25). 1915. pp. lS-19; ” Novy Voskhod,” April 10 (23) 

1915. pp. 29-30. 

 

 

 

46 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

the Polish paper, “Novo Gazeta,” in “Rasviet,” February 

8 (21), 1915, p. 36: 

 

“An army officer, a Pole, reports this: Where our detachment 

was stationed, I found a group of soldiers surrounding a muzhik, 

who was teUing them that the Jews had cut the telegraph wires. 

The soldiers were furious and ready to take revenge on the miserable 

Jews. I approached the group and said to the muzhik: *I am glad 

to see that your patriotic impulses urge you to expose these Jew 

traitors. You must take me to them at once. You say you know 

the guilty ones. Show us how we can capture them and dispose of 

them.’ 

 

“The muzhik became confused at once. He stammered: *I 

didn’t — say anything about them. I didn’t see them myself. I 

didn’t see anything myself. People say so. Everybody says so.’ 

 

“I assumed a severe attitude and said to him: ‘You know 

these people perfectly well, but you don’t want to expose them. 

You are trying to shelter these traitors. You must take me to 

them at once!’ After more evasions, the muzhik broke down 

completely. Thereupon the soldiers turned upon him, and wanted 

to beat him, but I took him under my protection. He confessed 

completely to me and I sent him off and told him to beg his 

priest to preach on the following Sunday on the text ‘Love thy 

neighbor as thyself.’ 

 

“Another instance was this. In a Warsaw street car filled with 

passengers, I saw a Pohsh woman physician looking out at a Jewish 

automobile ambulance. ‘Look here,’ she cried, ‘These Jews also 

have motor ambulances. I think they must be stolen.’ I 

took it upon myself to ask her for an explanation of this. She 

was decent enough to admit that she knew nothing at all about it 

and that she had said these words without thinking. 

 

“In these two cases it happened that I came out as a Pole 

defending the honor of Poland, because I believe that Poland does 

not require such outrageous falsifications and slanders for its regen- 

eration. If they were not so painful to relate, I could give you a 

whole series of such incidents.” 

 

Even the PoUsh clergy, usually anti-Semitic, felt com- 

pelled to protest against the excesses of their followers. 

Thus in January, 1915, the priests of Plotsk, headed by 

Archbishop Kovalsky, interceded on behalf of the Jews 

 

 

 

ANTI-SEMITISM IN POLAND 47 

 

with the Russian authorities who had made numerous 

arrests upon the denunciations of Pohsh agitators. 

 

So outrageous was the attitude of the Poles that at 

a Conference of Progressive Deputies of the Duma held 

at Petrograd in January, 1915, resolutions were passed 

to extend no help whatever to the Polish Deputies in any 

of their nationalist projects in the Duma because of 

their attitude toward the Jews. 

 

The Polish weekly, “Glos Polsky,” published in 

Petrograd, contains an interview with Professor Milyukov 

on the Polish question: 

 

“Our point of view is that along the River Vistula live not only 

Poles, but that there also lives another people, the Jewish people, 

which has a right to be recognized. . . . 

 

“When the Polish question will be taken up in the legislative 

chambers, we shall demand that the fundamental act should guar- 

antee the rights of the Jewish minority as well. . . .”* 

 

At several conferences of Russian, Polish and Jewish 

communal workers which took place in Petrograd and 

Moscow in January, 1915, the majority of the Russians 

expressed their solidarity with the Jews in this matter, f 

 

Even the most reactionary Russians foresaw danger 

to Russia in the Polish campaign of vilification against 

the Jews. Thus the “True Russian” (anti-Semitic) 

leader, Orloff, after a visit to Poland, declared: “I have 

seen nothing bad on the part of the Jews, although the 

Poles made up all sorts of accusations against them. 

But in these Polish reports you feel prejudice, vindictive- 

ness, hatred, nothing else. . . . The Jews are loyal 

and brave, and it is most inadvisable to pursue a policy 

which might convert six million subjects into enemies.”t 

 

 

 

* “Rasviet,” Jan. 25 (Feb. 7), 1915, p. 27. 

 

t “Rasviet,” Feb. 1 (14), 1915, p. 39. 

 

t “Rasviet,” Apr. 20 (May 9), 1915, p. 24. 

 

 

 

48 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

The Kuzhi Case 

 

But the Russian military authorities, seeking a scape- 

goat for their own failures, eagerly seized upon the 

Polish stories, and gave them official standing and 

wide circulation. The notorious Kuzhi incident illus- 

trates the methods used. The story, as first published 

in the military paper “Nash Viestnik,” the official organ 

of the northwestern army, on May 5 (18), 1915, in the 

official daily newspaper issued by the Russian govern- 

ment, the “Pravitelstvenny Viestnik,” May 6 (19), 1915, 

and elsewhere, ran as follows: 

 

“On the night of April 28th, in Kuzhi, northwest of Shavli, 

the Germans attacked a detachment of one of our infantry regi- 

ments resting there. This disclosed the shockingly treacherous 

conduct of a part of the population — especially the Jewish part — 

towards our troops. The Jews had concealed German soldiers 

in their cellars before our troops arrived, and at a signal they set 

fire to Kuzhi on all sides. The Germans, leaping out of the cellars, 

rushed to the house which our regimental commander was occupy- 

ing. At the same time two of the battahons, supported by cavalry, 

attacked our outposts and captured the village. The house in 

which the commander had his headquarters soon fell in. Colonel 

Vavilov ordered that the regimental colors be burned, and, re- 

fusing to surrender to the Germans, was killed. Our reinforce- 

ments then arrived, drove the Germans out of Kuzhi at the point 

of the bayonet, and saved the remnants of the burning standard. 

All the local inhabitants who had taken part in this terrible affair 

were brought before a court-martial and the ringleaders will be 

sent to Siberia. This sad incident again demonstrates the need 

of keeping constant guard, particularly over all those Jewish towns 

which have at any time been held by the enemy.” 

 

This story, in all its circumstantial details, was spread 

broadcast throughout the Empire, in all the official and 

semi-official organs of the government, on the bulletin 

boards, wherever the Russian populace congregates. 

By military order it was brought to the attention of every 

 

 

 

SPY STORIES 49 

 

man in the army, down to the last private. Country- 

editors were ordered to reprint the story under threat 

of prosecution. Not a hamlet in all Russia but shuddered 

at the monstrous treachery of the Jews. In Tashkent the 

clergy offered a prayer in the Cathedral, petitioning God 

to deliver the Russian army from the machinations of 

Jewish traitors. Even the Liberals, usually sj-mpathetic 

toward the Jews, were silent, as no defense was possible 

in so black a case. 

 

Then it occurred to someone to make an investi- 

gation. Three deputies of the Duma went to the spot 

in person and discovered that in the entire village of 

Kuzhi there were only six Jewish families — all but one 

living in miserable huts without cellar space; that the 

one cellar in a Jewish house was only nine by seven and 

too low for a man to stand upright in; that it could not 

possibly hide enough German soldiers to attack, much 

less annihilate, a Russian detachment; that the few 

Jews of the town had left it, with the permission of the 

military authorities, on April 27th, the day before the 

town had been attacked by the Germans, and were 

known to have spent the night of April 27-28 at another 

village, Minstok; and, finally, that no Jews had been 

tried, convicted or executed at Kuzhi; in brief, that the 

story was, from beginning to end, an absolute fabrication. 

 

This Kuzhi story was branded as a lie by the Jewish 

Deputy Friedman in the Duma on July 19 (August 1), 

1915. He was supported by the non-Jewish Deputy 

Kerensky, who denounced the fabrication in these words : 

 

“I declare now from this rostrum that I personally went to 

the town of Kuzhi to verify the accusation that the Jewish popula- 

tion of Kuzhi had committed a treacherous assault on the Russian 

army, and I feel it my duty to reiterate that this is but an igno- 

minious slander. There was no such case, and under local con- 

ditions there could be none.” 

 

 

 

50 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

But the refutation of the He was not spread through- 

out Russia. It has been consistently suppressed by the 

miHtary censor, and to this day the great majority of the 

Russian people, in the absence of disproof, fully believe 

the story. 

 

The Shavli Case 

 

Another spy story widely circulated in the anti- 

Semitic press was that the Jews of Shavli had been 

expelled from Kurland because they were detected 

in the act of leading the German troops on to Shavli. 

This also was printed in all the military and semi-official 

newspapers of Russia and from there reprinted in the 

general press. The newspaper “Dehn” pointed out 

the absurdity of this and similar charges:* 

 

“Accepting the story as it stands, without demanding the 

names of the Jews found guilty, or any other details, let us simply 

examine the map. Shavli is not in Kurland at all. It is in the 

province of Kovno, and is 50 versts from the nearest point in Kur- 

land, and more than 50 versts from the nearest point inhabitated 

by Jews. The Germans, we know, moved to Shavh, not through 

Kurland, but from the opposite direction. The charge, if true, 

would therefore mean that the Jews of Kurland went 100 versts 

out of their way in an entirely strange territory in order to commit 

treason by communicating with Germans. This is obvious non- 

sense. Nor is it less obvious that this fiction has been manu- 

factured out of whole cloth. And this is how it was manufactured: 

Reports reached the newspapers that the Jews of Kurland were 

being expelled. The anti-Semitic papers at once argued that if 

the Jews were being expelled they must have committed some 

treason, and since the hne of the German advance was known to 

be in the general direction of Shavli, and since these people were 

too lazy to consult the map, they promptly decided that the expulsion 

must have been due to the fact that the Jews of Kurland had guided 

the Germans to Shavli.” 

 

And so this preposterous story was started on its way. 

 

* Quoted from “Retch,” May 10 (23), 1915. 

 

 

 

SPY STORIES 51 

 

Other Spy Stories 

 

No story was too absurd to be given credibility and 

systematic circulation. It was reported, and seriously 

believed, that at a place unnamed and a time unknown 

some Jew had enclosed a million and half roubles in a 

coffin and shipped the coffin to Germany, The chief 

Rabbi and the Jewish community of Warsaw telegraphed 

to the “Novoe Vremya” and several other leading papers, 

protesting against this monstrous slander against the 

Jews at a time when their sons were shedding their blood 

freely on the battlefields. The “Novoe Vremya” de- 

clined to publish the telegram.* 

 

The Jewish community of Petrograd appealed to the 

Grand Duke Nicholas, then Commander-in-Chief of the 

Russian armies, in these words: 

 

“The entire Jewish people would cast out, 

with scorn and indignation, those base criminals 

who, forgetting duty and conscience, would, in 

this year of universal sacrifice, break their sacred 

vows of loyalty to the fatherland. Such treachery 

is alien to our faith and was never known to 

exist among Jews to any greater extent than among 

other peoples. And never yet, in the course of 

the centuries, no matter to what persecutions the 

Jews, under the influence of prejudice created 

by their devotion to their ancient faith and customs, 

may have been subjected, has any government 

denounced ALL of its subjects as traitors to their 

country. This is the first time in all history that 

such an attitude has been assumed by any govern- 

ment toward the Jews. At the very time that our 

sons are fighting in the ranks of the Russian 

 

“Novy Voskhod,” Aug. 28 (Sept. 10), 1914, p. 22. 

 

 

 

* “t 

 

 

 

52 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

army for the honor and glory of Russia, we, their 

fathers, are held responsible for the acts of a few 

criminals and are being persecuted for their 

vile deeds, aimed at the betrayal of our own 

sons. Never has any man or any people been 

subjected to torment greater than this, to humil- 

iation less bearable or more offensive to honor 

or self respect. . . . Your Imperial Highness ! 

In this sad hour of trial we long to implant in our 

people faith in a brighter future, we long to pre- 

serve that tie of loyalty towards our common 

country which is so essential for the welfare of 

all the peoples inhabiting Russia, and which was 

demonstrated so powerfully when the insolent 

enemy first threw down the gauntlet to Russia. 

We do not wish to admit discord, despair and 

sorrow where should reign only unity, harmony, 

hope. And we dare to appeal to your Imperial 

Highness in the hope that measures insulting to 

us will cease to be applied, that the stamp of out- 

cast be removed from our faces and that we may 

be permitted, as loyal sons of our country, freed 

from all suspicion, to use our v/hole strength in 

the struggle with the common enemy.” 

 

No reply was received to this appeal; on the contrary, 

the policy of fastening upon the Jews all the blame 

for Russian defeats was carried out consistently by the 

military machine. The “Russki Invalid,” the official 

journal of the War Department, m the spring of 1915, 

definitely accused the Jews of disloyalty to the State 

and of sympathy for Germany, and openly attributed 

Russian disaster to this cause.* 

 

 

 

* “Novy VoBkhod.” April 24 (May 7). 1915. 

 

 

 

SPY STORIES . 53 

 

Military orders like the following were common: 

 

ORDER No. 89. 

 

Issued to the Soldiers op the Fortified Region, Fortress 

NovoGEORGiEvsK, Nov. 27, 1914. 

 

“The German newspapers print articles de- 

claring that among the Russian Jews the Germans 

find reliable allies who, besides supplying them 

with food, are often the best and unpaid spies, 

ready to enter any service injurious to the cause 

of Russia, and that in German victory the Jews 

see their salvation from Imperial oppression and 

Polish persecution. Similar information continues 

to come in from the army. 

 

In order to protect the army from the harm- 

ful activities of the Jewish population, the Com- 

mander-in-Chief has ordered that the forces of 

occupation take hostages from among the Jewish 

population, warning the inhabitants that in case 

of treacherous activities on the part of any one 

of the local inhabitants not only during the period of 

our occupation of a given inhabited point, but also 

after our leaving it, the hostages will be executed, 

which order is to be carried out in case of necessity. 

 

Upon occupation of inhabited points, careful 

searches are to be made to find out w^hether there 

are any arrangements for wireless telegraphy, sig- 

naling, pigeon stations, underground telegraphs, 

and so forth, and the full penalty of the law is to 

be meted out to anyone connected with this. 

 

Reference: Telegram by General Oranovsky of 

this year under No. 3432. Signed, Chief of the 

Fortified Region. 

 

General of the Cavalry, Bobyr.” 

 

 

 

54 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

This order was issued from the press at six o’clock 

in the evening, December 2, 1914, and immediately- 

proved profitable to the dregs of the Russian soldiery, 

as was demonstrated at a court martial held in Lomza, 

where it was proven that three members of a signal 

corps had “planted” a telephone in the motion picture 

theater of a Jew named Eisenbiegel, and had then ar- 

rested him and demanded 5,000 roubles blackmail. 

In the course of the trial it developed that one of the men 

was responsible for the hanging of no less than seventeen 

innocent Jews as spies solely because they were unable 

or unwilling to pay the blackmail demanded by him.* 

 

Even the loyalty of Jewish soldiers was officially 

questioned. Order No. 1193 of the General Staff, dated 

April 27-May 10, 1915, commands all the troops “To 

watch the Jewish soldiers — especially their readiness to 

surrender as prisoners — and in general, their entire 

conduct.” 

 

But the publication and circulation of orders like 

these reacted disastrously upon the Russian arms. By 

branding the entire Jewish population as traitorous 

the military authorities encouraged the Poles to fabricate 

new slanders, the spread of which only served to heighten 

the distrust of the populations and to make the fighting 

area of Poland a quagmire for the Russian armies. The 

troops did not know whom to trust or distrust. Instead 

of fighting on friendly ground, welcomed and supported 

by the moral and economic resources of the civilian 

population, the Russians fought on ground undermined 

by hatred, dissension and distrust. 

 

When they began to realize this state of affairs some 

of the Russian commanders made desperate efforts to 

check the spy mania. 

 

* “Nasha Slovo,” June 24. 1915. 

 

 

 

SPY STORIES • 65 

 

General P. Kurlov issued the following order in the 

Baltic provinces on February 25, 1915: 

 

ORDER No. 27 

 

“Of late, more and more anonymous denun- 

ciations and reports concerning crimes and actions 

closely connected with the peculiar conditions of 

war times are coming in in the provinces given over 

to my supervision. Such reports not only lack 

confirmation in most cases, but investigations 

prove that they are caused in the majority of 

cases not by a patriotic desire to help the military 

authorities, but by personal reasons of revenge, 

not only not admissible in war time, but also par- 

ticularly criminal. By distracting the attention 

of officials from their necessary duties, these re- 

ports promote disorder and excitement among the 

local population. 

 

“I have asked the various Governors to order 

the police officials under their supervision not to 

institute any investigations on the basis of anony- 

mous denunciations except in extraordinary cases 

(Article 300 of the Criminal Code), but to for- 

ward these denunciations to me and wait for orders. 

 

“In the case of signed denunciations and re- 

ports, the police officials must first of all question 

the denunciator, warning him of the consequence 

of a false denunciation, and if any signs of crime 

should be established in the courses of the exam- 

ination, he should be dealt with according to 

Articles 250 to 261 of the Criminal Code, or the 

Governors should impose penalties in their ad- 

ministrative capacity. I order the police officials 

 

 

 

56 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

to strictly follow Article 254 of the Code when 

making an investigation. Witnesses found to 

bear false reports shall be subjected to criminal 

prosecution according to Article 940 of the Code. 

 

“In view of the particularly criminal character 

of false denunciations in war time, I shall apply 

the most rigorous measures to those found guilty 

of this offense. 

 

“I have asked the Governors to make this order 

public to all.”* 

 

SUPPRESSION OF YIDDISH PRESS AND 

 

SPEECH 

 

It appears also that the similarity of the Yiddish and 

German languages further laid the Jews open to dis- 

trust. The use of Yiddish, in conversation, in corre- 

spondence, over the telephone, in the theatre, etc., was 

prohibited by legal, military and civil authorities under 

penalty of heavy fine and imprisonment. In Lodz, Vilna, 

Riga, Warsaw, and other Jewish centers, the performance 

of plays in Yiddish was prohibited and theatres closed. 

 

Letters from foreign countries to Russia, in any 

language except Yiddish were generally passed by the 

censor after scrutiny, but letters in Yiddish were as a rule 

not delivered at all. 

 

In July, 1915, the commander of the Russian forces 

issued the following absolute order: 

 

“On the basis of the power entrusted to me according to Para- 

graph 6, Article 415, Section 6, I prohibit postal and telegraph 

communications within the district occupied by the army entrusted 

to me, in the Jewish, German, and Hungarian languages.” f 

 

 

 

* “Retch,” May 8 (21). 1915. 

 

t “Evreyskaya Zhizn.” July 19 (Aug. 2), 1915, p. 42. 

 

 

 

MILITARY CENSORSHIP 57 

 

By this order the Russian government not only 

branded the entire Jewish people as spies and traitors, 

but also prevented hundreds of thousands of Jewish 

soldiers at the front from communicating with relatives 

and friends, because many of the soldiers had been pre- 

vented by educational restrictions from learning to read 

and write Russian. To the Jewish soldier unable to 

read or write was thus denied even that scant comfort 

which his Russian comrades might derive from the stereo- 

typed communications checked on the regulation postal 

card and mailed by field-post. 

 

At the beginning of the war the military censors as- 

sumed command of the entire press of Russia. That they 

used their power with the utmost unfairness against the 

Jewish press was charged without contradiction in the 

Duma by Professor Miliukov, Deputies Bomash, Sucha- 

nov and others, who pointed out that if the aim of the 

censor was to suppress every truth and encourage 

every lie against the Jews, they could not possibly have 

pursued a more consistent policy. Deputy Bomash 

furnished the following concrete instances of perversion 

of facts by the censorship. 

 

1. It systematically expunged or mutilated 

 

the names of Jews to whom the cross of St. 

 

George had been awarded.* 

 

 

 

*Here is a list taken at random from an issue of “Ras- 

viet,” April 5 (18), 1915, p. 34: 

 

For saving a wounded Russian officer, presumably under 

fire, private B. M. O., of the village of Strumin, of Mohilef 

Government, was rewarded with the cross of St. George, 

fourth class. 

 

Private S. Y. R. awarded cross of St. George, fourth 

class. 

 

Private A. Kh. L., inhabitant of the village of Saxagan, 

of the Government of Ekaterinoslav, was awarded third and 

 

 

 

58 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

2. When the Mayor of Petrograd congrat- 

ulated the Jewish community upon the heroic 

conduct of a lad of 13, named Kaufman, the cen- 

sor suppressed the fact that Kaufman was a Jew, 

and that the community referred to was the 

Jewish community. 

 

3. Stories in the Russian press of the valor 

of Jews in the French armies are either sup- 

pressed or the Jewish names cut out. 

 

4. A news item referring to the fact that 

General Semenov, whom Jewish soldiers had 

saved from capture by the Germans, was treating 

Jews kindly was suppressed by the censor. 

 

5. Letters of regimental commanders to the 

parents of Jewish hussars congratulating them 

on the valor of their sons, or notifying them of 

medals of honor bestowed upon them, were sup- 

pressed by the censor. 

 

6. The military censorship also suppressed 

news of an absolutely non-military nature, whenever 

it might in any manner have been construed as 

friendly to Jews. Thus, a news item referring to 

the non-sectarian activities of the National Relief 

Committee, headed by the Princess Tatyana, 

daughter of the Czar, was suppressed. A news 

 

 

 

fourth grade crosses of St. George, and promoted to be sub- 

officer. 

 

For delivering despatches from the Staff to his battaUon 

under the enemy’s strong fire, private B. S. G. was awarded 

a medal of St. George and made a corporal. 

 

Severely wounded and now in a hospital at Moscow, 

Abr. B. was awarded a silver medal which was handed to him 

by Orloff, Adjutant to his Imperial Majesty. 

 

A long list of similar items is published in every issue of 

this paper. 

 

 

 

MILITARY CENSORSHIP 59 

 

item regarding the disapproval of the Council 

of Ministers of the poHcy of expelling Jews en 

masse and of wholesale charges of treachery 

was also suppressed. 

 

7. Even the official declaration of Count Bob- 

rinski, Military-Governor of Galicia, referring 

to the correctness of the conduct of the Jews of 

Galicia, was suppressed. 

 

8. But — outrageously false items published in 

the notoriously anti-Semitic papers were generally 

passed by the censor without hesitation. The 

“Novoe Vremya,” the “Russkoe Znamya,” and 

other anti-Semitic organs, systematically published 

reports of wholesale Jewish desertions, treachery, 

spying, etc., without at any time producing an 

iota of evidence. Thus, “Russkoe Znamya,” de- 

clared that the loyalty of not a single Jewish 

soldier could be depended upon. The *’Novoe 

Vremya” declared that the Jews were without 

exception embittered enemies of the Russian army, 

and that during the Japenese war 18,000 out 

of 27,000 soldiers voluntarily surrendered as 

prisoners to the Japanese. Stories without name, 

date or place to the effect that small Polish boys 

warned the Russian soldiers to take nothing from 

Jews because everything they would furnish was 

poisoned were passed by the censor, and made 

much of by the press. The notorious Kuzhi 

canard was not only passed by the censor and 

printed in the official and semi-official press of 

Russia, but the censors even hinted to that section 

of the press which hesitated to publish a tale so 

manifestly absurd that future relations with the 

censorship might be imperilled if the story were 

 

 

 

60 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

not given proper publicity. Editors received a 

continuous stream of circulars forbidding the 

touching of questions which had absolutely no 

relation to the war. 

 

9. When the great writers and publicists of 

Russia decided that it would be desirable, for the 

honor of Russia, to speak a good word for the Jews 

and thereby indirectly deprecate before the world 

the merciless governmental policy, the pamphlet 

containing their symposium was suppressed by the 

military censor. Even the prehminary letter of 

inquiry sent out by these eminent Russians, 

soliciting information as to the participation of 

Jews in the war, was suppressed. The Jewish 

weekly, the “Novy Voskhod,” was fined 2,000 

roubles and ultimately suppressed because of the 

publication of this letter. 

 

In spite of these suspensions, however, the six million 

Jews of Russia still continued, in a measure, to inform 

themselves as to the conduct of their sons in the field, 

and as to matters of Je-wish interest in general, through 

the half dozen, or more, Jewish newspapers, which man- 

aged to struggle on in spite of the repeated fines and sus- 

pensions imposed by the censor. But on July 5, 1915, 

the entire Jewish press was suppressed. Lately several 

papers have been revived in new form, but today the Jews 

of Russia are practically in the dark. They have no 

effective means of communicating with one another or 

with the Russian public. They can neither prevent 

the instigation of calumnies nor refute them when 

spread abroad. They live in a constant state of terror 

lest some new Kuzhi slander set the country aflame 

against them. 

 

 

 

WHOLESALE EXPULSIONS 61 

 

WHOLESALE EXPULSIONS 

 

This public official distrust of the Jewish population 

of Russia increased with the Russian reverses, and the 

assumption by the authorities that the loyalty of all 

the Jews was open to suspicion gave added impetus to 

the spy mania, set the Jews apart as a dangerous people 

and delivered them helpless into the hands of the Cossack 

soldiery and the hostile Poles. The atrocities com- 

mitted upon the Jews in Poland and Galicia have already 

been referred to. But a more disastrous, though less 

spectacular, consequence of the governmental attitude 

towards the Jews was the systematic expulsion of the 

entire Jewish population from the war zone, an act 

which assumed the character of a merciless war by Russia 

upon its o\\Ti population. 

 

From the very beginning of the war there were in- 

dividual cases of Jews, who, being suspected of bad faith, 

were ordered to leave a given locality. There were also 

sporadic expulsions, or rather a forced exodus, of the 

entire civilian population of localities which the authori- 

ties desired to clear for military operations. But it was 

in March, 1915, that the authorities began systematically 

to expel Jews from all the Polish provinces, even those 

not occupied by German troops, and from the govern- 

ments of Kovno and Kurland, thus affecting about 30 

per cent, of the entire Jewish population of the Empire. 

Even the Jewish deputy from the Kovno district, Fried- 

man, was expelled, in spite of his constitutional privileges 

as a member of the Duma. 

 

The first sufferers were the Jewish inhabitants of 

the smaller towns, because these were readily segregated. 

In a very brief space of time the region where the Jews 

constitute over eighty per cent, of the population of the 

 

 

 

62 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

small towns was absolutely denuded of Jewish inhab- 

itants.* It was only the rapid invasion of this terri- 

tory by the Germans which prevented the complete 

expulsion of every one of the two million or more Jews 

who inhabited this area. And those who have remained 

in this territory for the present have been promised, 

by decree of the supreme military authorities of Russia, 

immediate expulsion as soon as the Russian troops regain 

a foothold here.f 

 

The enforcement of the expulsion orders was carried 

out ruthlessly. The time generally allowed was twenty- 

four hours, rarely forty-eight hours. The Jewish inhabi- 

tants of the governments of Kurland and Kovno were 

given from five to tvventy-four hours’ notice. J 

 

The Jews of the city of Kovno were notified on the 

evening of May 3 (16) to leave not later than midnight 

of May 5 (18), 1915. 

 

Cruelty of OflScials 

 

In a speech delivered in the Duma the non-Jewish 

deputy Dzubinsky declared: 

 

“As a representative of our 5th Siberian division I was myself 

on the scene and can testify with what incredible cruelty the expul- 

sion of the Jews from the Province of Radom took place. The 

whole population was driven out within a few hours during the 

night. At 11 o’clock the people were informed that they had to 

leave, with a threat that any one found at daybreak would be hanged. 

And so in the darkness of the night began the exodus of the Jews 

to the nearest town, Ilzha, thirty versts away. Old men, invalids 

and paralytics had to be carried on people’s arms because there 

were no vehicles. 

 

“The police and the gendarmes treat the Jewish refugees 

precisely like criminals. At one station, for instance, the Jewish 

 

* “Ziemia Lubelska,” April 23 (May 6), 1915. 

 

t “Retch.” May 10 (23), 1915. 

 

t “Evreiskaya Nedelya,” June 14 (27), 1915. 

 

 

 

EXPULSIONS— CRUELTY OF OFFICIALS 63 

 

Commission of Homel was not even allowed to approach the trains 

to render aid to the refugees or to give them food and water. In 

one case a train which was conveying the victims was completely 

sealed and when finally opened most of the inmates were found 

half dead, sixteen down with scarlet fever and one with typhus. . . . 

 

“In some places the Governors simply made sport of the inno- 

cent victims; among those who particularly distinguished them- 

selves were the governors of Poltava, Minsk, and Ekaterinoslav 

. . . who illegally took away the passports of the victims and 

substituted provisional certificates instructing them to appear 

at given places in one of five provinces at a given date. When 

they presented themselves at these designated places they were 

shuttled back and forth from point to point at the whim or caprice 

of local officials. 

 

“In Poltava the Jewish Relief Committee was ofFcially repri- 

manded by the governor for assuming the name •Committee for 

the Aid of Jewish Sufferers from the War,’ and ordered to rename 

itself ‘Committee to Aid the Expelled’ on the ground, as stated 

explicitly in the order, that the Jews had been expelled because 

they were politically unreliable — and, therefore, presumably, 

deserved no help.”* 

 

No distinction of age, sex or physical condition was 

made. As most of ttie able-bodied yomig men were at 

the front, those affected by the expulsions were the 

persons least able to bear up under the suffering and 

privation entailed — old men and women, children, the 

sick from the hospitals, the insane from the asylums, 

even wounded and crippled Jewish soldiers — all were 

driven out en masse, without the slightest regard for 

human comfort or decency. Women in labor were given 

no consideration and manj” births occurred along the 

route. Mothers were separated from their children, 

entire families were broken up and dispersed all over 

Russia. The Jewish and liberal Russian press is filled 

with long lists of victims seeking their lost relatives. 

Where transportation was provided, the exiles were 

 

* “Evreyskaya Zhizn,” Aug. 9, 1915, p. 19-20. 

 

 

 

64 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

packed in cattle-cars and forwarded to their destination 

on a way-bill, like so much freight. In many places 

thousands of them were forced for weeks at a time to stay 

in congested villages which were absolutely unable to 

afford them a roof and shelter, or to sleep in the freight 

cars or in the open fields. And tens of thousands were 

forced to tramp weary distances along the open road, 

or, in the fear of the soldiery, to take to the back roads, 

the woods and swamps, there to die of hunger and 

exposure. 

 

The total number of Jews who have been expelled to 

date is unknown. Expulsions are still going on. At the 

beginning of June, 1915, at the deliberation of the Petro- 

grad Central Committee for the Rehef of Jewish War 

Sufferers, which was participated in by the most prom- 

inent provincial committees, it was calculated that 

the total number of homeless Jews ruined by the ex- 

pulsion — in Poland and the northwestern district — is 

600,000 at the least.* After the Kovno-Kurland ex- 

pulsions there collected in the Vilna government alone 

some 200,000 exiles, f In Riga there gathered, by May 

18 (31), some 9,600 families or 42,000 persons, t Up to 

August 6, 1915, there collected in the government of 

Volhynia upwards of 250,000 refugees. § 

 

 

 

Hostages 

 

There is evidence to indicate that the Russian govern- 

ment, overwhelmed by the consequences of the expulsion 

policy, has suggested to the military authorities the 

 

 

 

* “Hajnt,” May 21 (June 3). 1915. 

t “Evreyskaya Ncdelya,” May 31 (June 13), 1915. 

J “Evreyskaya Nedelya,” June 14 (27), 1915. 

§ “Retch,” Aug. 6 (19), 1913. 

 

 

 

EXPULSIONS— HOSTAGES 65 

 

advisability of repatriating the exiles; but these au- 

thorities have refused to consider the suggestion except 

on condition that the Jews voluntarily give hostages 

from among their own ranks, these hostages to include 

the Rabbi and other leading Jews. This proposal has 

been universally rejected by the Jews through their 

representative in the Duma, Deputy Friedman, in a 

letter to the President of the Council of Ministers : 

 

“As a deputy from the province of Kovno, from which I, to- 

gether with all other Jews, have now been expelled, I consider it 

my duty to call the attention of your excellency to the following: — 

 

“According to the latest decrees of the authorities the Jews 

who have been expelled from their homes are to be allowed to 

return on condition that they give hostages. This monstrous 

condition, which the government aims to impose upon its own 

subjects, the Jewish people will never accept. They prefer to 

wander about homeless and to die of starvation rather than to 

submit to demands which insult their self-respect as citizens 

and Jews. They have honestly performed their duty toward their 

country and will continue to do so to the very end. No sacrifices 

frighten them and no persecutions will make them swerve from 

the path of honor. But neither will any persecutions force them 

to accept a lie, to give testimony, through base submission, that 

the monstrous accusations against them are true. When the in- 

solent enemy threw down the gauntlet to Russia the Jews arose 

to shield their country vnth. their breasts, and I had the honor 

to appear at the historic session of the Duma as their spokesman 

in the expression of this spontaneous, inspiring enthusiasm. The 

Jews gladly assumed all the sacrifices demanded of them by their 

country because of a feeling of duty to the land to which they 

are bound by century old, historic bonds, and also because of a 

sincere hope for a brighter future. And I may say with deep 

conviction that even now, after all that we have gone through, 

this sense of duty is as strong as ever. But with the very same 

deep conviction I consider it my right and my duty to declare that 

no privations will shake our firm conviction that as Russian subjects 

we cannot be made the victims of measures applicable only to 

enemies and traitors; that we consider ourselves and shall never 

 

 

 

66 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

cease to consider ourselves above all suspicion of treason to our 

duty and our vows. If the authorities really desire to return 

the Jewish people to the places from which they were driven away 

by order of the authorities they must take cognizance of tliis feeling 

which I can testify under oath, on the basis of many conversations 

and observations, is universal among us. This permission to re- 

turn under shameful conditions is only a new and senseless insult. 

So the entire Jewish population feels, and this feeling is shared 

by me, their representative.” 

 

 

 

Misery of Refugees 

 

This sudden uprooting of an entire people from the 

land in which it has dwelt for centuries has brought 

irretrievable disaster to the Jews of Poland and Russia. 

It has been estimated that nearly three of the six million 

Jews of Russia and Poland are now without means of 

support. 

 

Overwhelming and incalculable as the economic loss 

may be, the moral losses far exceed them in intensity. 

Jewish communal life is disrupted. Many of the cities 

and towns from which the expulsions took place were 

centers of Jewish culture. Moat of the Jewish colleges 

and schools have been closed and many of the buildings 

and synagogues have been destroyed. It is safe to say 

that these losses cannot be repaired for generations to 

come. 

 

The demoralization and pauperization of the individual 

refugees is painfully noticeable everywhere. Beggary, 

which was practically unknown among the Jews, is now 

only too frequent. 

 

The appalling misery of the refugees is fully described 

in the appended report of the Russian Jewish Committee 

for the Relief of War Sufferers (see p. 98). The Jews 

of the Empire living outside of the war zone, have assumed 

 

 

 

UNFAIR ADMINISTRATION OF RELIEF 67 

 

a system of self-taxation which, added to their normal — 

or rather normally excessive — burden of taxation is 

practically impoverishing them. The small Jewish com- 

mmiity of Moscow alone gives about 85,000 roubles a 

month, ranging from an average of 200 roubles per 

month imposed upon 265 manufacturers down to the 10 

roubles per month imposed upon their poorest clerks. 

Other cities are contributing in proportion but they 

cannot possibly keep pace with the ever-growing need. 

 

Unfair Administration of Relief 

 

And in the midst of this catastrophe the old struggle 

between the Poles and Jews has continued with unabated 

ferocity. The local relief committees refused to accept 

Jews as representatives, denied Jews any help whatsoever 

and even drove them awaj^ by intimidation and force, 

from the relief stations supported by their own people. 

Of seventy-one relief committees operating in Poland, 

fifty-two contained no Jewish members, although the 

Jews constituted nearly one-half of the urban population 

and thirteen to fourteen per cent, of the rural population 

in these places. In the other nineteen committees the 

Jewish membership constituted scarcely ten per cent, 

of the total, although the Jewish population ran from 

thirty-five to sixty-eight per cent, of the total popula- 

tion in the cities and from ten to fifteen per cent, in the 

rural districts.* And in most of these places the Jews 

had contributed the major part of the relief funds. 

Even institutions supported solely by Jewish contributions 

were expropriated by the Poles. 

 

Thus “the magnificently equipped Hospital for the 

Wounded, in Warsaw, created at the expense of the 

 

* “Rasviet.” January 4 (17), 1915, p. 31-2. 

 

 

 

68 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

Jewish Kehillah, which had rejStted the Roman Hotel 

for the purpose, has been running until now under the 

ojQficial name of the Warsaw Local Relief Committee. 

But this has turned out to be an anti-Semite organization 

without a single Jewish representative, its board being 

made up of rabid Judeophobes, who feel no scruples in 

the methods and means of their anti-Jewish policy. 

Private donations, the personal labor of Jews — all this 

has gone into Polish institutions, all this has disappeared 

in the Polish river-bed,” declares “Novy Voskhod,” 

Sept. 11 (24), 1914. 

 

The present attitude of the Jews of Russia toward this 

problem is well reflected in a letter, published in a recent 

issue of ”Evreyskaya Zhizn,”* from a Jew, the owner 

of a salt mine, who had been invited, among others, to 

contribute salt for the poorer people of Warsaw, without 

distinction of race or creed. He replied, in effect, that 

the proposal met with his deepest sympathy, but he took 

the liberty of inquiring as to who would have charge of 

the distribution of the salt. “Everybody knows,” he 

wrote, “the intolerant attitude of the Polish Relief 

Committee toward the Jews. This makes us doubt 

whether your high principle would be carried out con- 

scientiously if administered by Polish hands. The War- 

saw Committee is particularly distrusted, and it would 

be extremely unpleasant for me to feel that the neces- 

saries that we contributed should be withheld from our 

own fellow Jews. On the other hand, we would welcome 

gladly every effort on the part of Russian organizations 

to undertake to cooperate with Poles and Jews in this 

matter to insure an equitable distribution.” 

 

When the Central Citizens’ Committee of Warsaw 

was dissolved by the German governor of Poland, in 

 

July 5 (18), 1915, pp. 30-31. 

 

 

 

UNFAIR ADMINISTRATION OF RELIEF 69 

 

September, 1915, its accounts showed that it had dis- 

tributed over eleven million roubles (S5,500,000) since 

the outbreak of the war, of which the Jews received 

scarcely 100,000, although they constitute one-sixth of 

the population and the funds had been gathered with 

the express understanding that the distribution be ab- 

solutely without discrimination between Poles and Jews. 

The Liquidation Commission which disposed of the 

balance on hand at the time of the dissolution of the 

Central Committee — some 1,290,000 roubles— allotted it 

all to Polish institutions. Although there are 300,000 

Jews in Warsaw, the majority of them in dire need, 

not a rouble was offered for their rehef. 

 

Finally it must be noted that the occupation of 

Poland by the German forces has afforded little relief 

to the Jews, as the scarcity of food in Germany pre- 

cludes the shipment of any considerable quantities of 

provisions to ameliorate the distress of the starving 

Jews of Poland. 

 

 

 

70 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

 

 

PROTESTS OF LIBERAL RUSSIA 

 

The cruelty of the government’s policy toward the 

Jews has not received the support of the Russian people, 

as the numerous protests uttered in the Duma, in public 

assemblies and in the press clearly indicate. When it 

is remembered that those non-Jews who, in Russia, dare 

to utter a word in favor of the despised Jews, risk their 

position and prestige to a degree unparalleled in any 

other country, the following calendar of protests and 

manifestoes constitutes a body of evidence against the 

Russian government which must compel conviction. 

 

These protests have been grouped, for convenience, 

into four classes: 

 

THE VOICE OF THE DUMA 

 

Early in the session of the Duma the Left groups 

proposed an interpellation of the Government with respect 

to its illegal acts against the Jews. After some debate 

the proposed questions were referred to the Committee 

on Interpellations, which reported them out, on August 

30, 1915, in this form: 

 

I. Do the president of the Council of Ministers 

and the Ministers of the Interior and Justice 

know of the illegal conduct of their adminis- 

trative officers with respect to the following: 

 

1. That officers of the prison administration 

received persons taken by the military authorities 

as hostages from the local Jewish population of 

Riga, Prushkov . . . etc.? 

 

2. That the prosecuting attorneys took no 

steps to obtain the immediate release of these 

 

 

 

THE PEOPLE VS. THE GOVERNMENT 

 

persons, accused of no crime and illegally im- 

prisoned? 

 

3. That the expelled were driven by agents of 

the police in Vilikomir, Zhagory and Shadov into 

freight cars inadequate for the accommodation of 

one-tenth of them, and that the remainder, in- 

cluding children, aged men and women, and 

invalids were compelled to follow afoot? 

 

4. That the officers of the local governments 

took no steps to check the repeated robberies by the 

local population of the property left by the exiles? 

 

5. That the officers of the Gendarmerie of 

Homel prohibited the supplying of food to the 

exiles, even though they were at the point of ex- 

haustion from hunger and thirst? 

 

6. That in Novozybkov individuals who sent 

telegrams appealing for help were arrested? 

 

7. That the officers of the Gendarmerie, with 

armed threats, refused to admit to sealed cars 

persons who brought food to the expelled at 

the station of Bielitsa, on the Poliess railroad? 

 

8. That the police officers locked the exiles in 

sealed cars for several days at a time? 

 

9. That in the shipment of these exiles from 

Zolotonosh to Kovno and back some of them were 

kept in the cars ten days? 

 

10. That the local government administration 

of the cities of Minsk, Samara and Rostov re- 

quired the reprinting in the local paper of the 

story of Jewish treason in the village of Kuzhi, 

first published in *’Nash Viestnik”? 

 

11. That the local administration of Tashkent 

ordered prayer for the delivery of the army from 

the treachery of the Jews? 

 

 

 

72 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

II. If the illegal acts of the authorities are 

known to the indicated individuals what steps 

were taken by them towards the punishment of 

the guilty and the prevention of similar breaches 

of law in the future? 

 

The significance of this interpellation cannot be 

overestimated, insofar as the facts implied in these 

questions are officially accepted by the great standing 

committee of the Duma as worthy of cognizance. Had 

the questions originally proposed by the Left groups 

been without foundation they would have been rejected 

without reference to the Committee on Interpellations; 

and had the Committee on Interpellations found, upon 

examination of the evidence underlying each question 

by both the Right and Left deputies on the Committee, 

that the evidence was defective or inadequate, the in- 

terpellation would never have been reported out in this 

form. The fact that it was so reported indicates 

that the evidence was incontrovertible, and was so 

accepted by the Liberals and reactionaries alike. The 

report of the Committee is dated August 30, 1915, but 

as the Duma was prorogued immediately afterwards, 

the Government’s answer to the interpellation is not known. 

 

In the course of the debates on these and other 

questions affecting the Jews the expressed attitude of 

the representatives of the great bulk of the Russian 

population left no doubt of their absolute opposition 

to the Government on the Jewish question.* 

 

Professor Miliukov, the leader of the Constitutional 

Democrats, declared on July 19 (August 1), 1915: 

 

The strongest factor in the disruption of our national unity 

was the government’s policy toward our alien subjects. The foul 

 

 

 

* Stenographic report of the Proceedings of the Duma. 

 

 

 

VOICE OF THE DUMA 73 

 

play upon the obscure racial prejudices of the masses, with the 

customary weapon of this kind of strife — anti-Semitism and the 

persecution of ail dissenting nationalities or religions — has been 

exercised with unparalleled effrontery. Under the mask of mili- 

tary precaution, measures worse than credible are taken against 

crimes that are imaginary. … At a time when nations are 

struggling for the liberties and rights of small peoples, such terrible 

deeds embitter our friends and evoke joy among our enemies.” 

(Loud applause from the left.) 

 

Deputy Kerensky. “We are fighting this war in a territory 

occupied by non-Russian nationahties. But did not our govern- 

ment, this very year, cause these peoples to doubt the wisdom of 

the path they took a year ago, when they linked their destiny with 

ours?” 

 

Deputy Tchkheidze. Aug. 3 (16), 1915: “It is well known to you 

that the Government regime has been based on Jewish oppression 

and that at all critical moments it aimed its blows first of all at the 

Jews, because they were in the line of least resistance. . . . 

 

“A year ago the war began and at once accusations of treachery 

against the Jews were started by the Government. To-day Russia 

and the whole world knows who is to blame for the condition in 

which Russia found herself. The guilty ones were not at all the 

Jews, as the whole country will confirm, but those who stuffed their 

pockets with the money which they made on Government orders 

for army supplies (shouts from the left: “That’s true!”) The 

guilty ones were those who, with the aid of men hke Myasoyodyeff, 

Grotgus and other traitors, betrayed Russia. . . . 

 

“This is supposed to be a war for hberty, fraternity, and equality, 

but what justice is there in making a whole nation answer for the 

crimes of individuals, granting that there are any? 

 

“In the name of what truth is the Kuzhi slander being published 

in the ‘PravitelstTenny Viestnik?’ 

 

“In the name of what truth are the various periodical publi- 

cations ordered to reprint this communication under penalty of a 

fine? 

 

“What justice demands that a Jewish volunteer who has several 

times been wounded be expelled within twenty-four hours when 

he tries to find a place in Russia to recover from his wounds? 

 

“In the name of what humanity is it forbidden to hand food to 

starving Jewish refugees cooped up in freight trains? In the name 

 

 

 

74 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

of what brotherhood is one part of the army aroused against the 

Jewish soldiers who are in the trenches side by side with our own 

soldiers? 

 

“We accuse the Germans of breaking the laws of warfare, of 

using poison gases and mutilating prisoners. Such acts can call 

forth only indignation and protest. Let these acts be a stain upon 

the ruling classes of Germany. But, gentlemen, in the name of 

what laws of humanity are orders issued to the Russian army to 

drive peaceful Jews ahead of the troops and to expose them to 

fire? 

 

“In the name of what laws of himianity are Jewish-Russian 

subjects taken as hostages and put into prisons and tortured and 

shot? 

 

“We denounced the Germans for having destroyed Loiivain 

and the Cathedral of Rheims; but I ask you in the name of v/hat 

ethical or esthetic principles is a Jewish woman who seeks refuge 

in the synagogue violated?” 

 

Baron Rosen, former Russian Ambassador to the 

United States, also protested outspokenly against the 

continuation of the anti-Jewish policy of the Government 

in a speech before the Council of the Empire, Aug. 22 

(Sept. 4), 1915. (See Appendix, p. 117.) 

 

 

 

RESOLUTIONS OF CONSTITUTIONAL DEMOCRATIC 

 

PARTY 

 

The leading political party of Russia — the Constitu- 

tional Democratic Party — officially voiced its sentiments 

on the Jewish question at a national convention of the 

Party, held at Petrograd on June 19-21 (O. S. June 6-8), 

1915, at which the Central Committee of the Party 

submitted a comprehensive report which was adopted 

unanimously, and which, summarized in the form of a 

resolution, was ordered published. This resolution, after 

citing the loyalty and patriotism of the Jews at the out- 

break of the war, continues: 

 

 

 

PROTESTS OF LIBERAL RUSSIA 75 

 

“This intense spirit of patriotism manifested 

by the Jews in the hour of Russia’s danger seemed 

for a time to have broken down the rooted prej- 

udices of the Government and to have cleared 

the way for the recognition in Russia, of that 

civic equahty which is accorded the Jews through- 

out the civihzed world. But this would have de- 

prived our reactionaries, those champions of an 

outlived past, of their old and well-tested weapon 

of black demagoguery — anti-Semitism. And so we 

see that under the direct influence of these noto- 

rious Jew-baiters measures were early adopted by 

the Goverimaent to set the army and the people 

against the Jews. Every advantage was taken 

of the exigencies of war. Isolated cases of es- 

pionage, likely to occur among the border popula- 

tions of all nations, were seized upon as a basis for 

universal accusations and furnished the occasion 

for the invention of incredible myths and rumors 

circulated exclusively to the injury of the 

Jews. . . . The Jews have been held col- 

lectively responsible for the acts of individuals 

among them — a policy which outrages the most 

elementary sense of justice, a policy which is no 

longer sanctioned by the laws of any civilized 

land, a monstrous survival of the remote 

past. . . . Needless to mention the spread of 

discord and hatred, the growth of mutual suspicion 

and distrust among the races inhabitating Russia 

which must of necessity follow such a policy. . . . 

“Not only in the name of brotherhood; not 

only in the name of that hannony so necessary 

where different nationalities are fated to live 

iinder the shelter of a common government; not 

 

 

 

76 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

only for the sake of keeping alive among the 

Jewish people, now being driven to despair, some 

hope of a brighter future, and some faith in that 

progress of which they have ever been the valiant 

champions, but also for the sake of the attainment 

of that ideal of the Russian people — the elevation 

of our beloved Fatherland to the status of a truly 

enlightened empire — ^must we offer united opposi- 

tion against the forces of reaction. . . . Our 

adversaries hope to continue, even after the war, 

to use the poisoned weapon of primitive race 

hatred which they have used until now. It is our 

task to demonstrate to the masses of the people 

that they are again being duped, that their base 

passions are now being aroused in order to dis- 

tract their attention from their own vital interests. 

We must continue, as before, to point out, firmly 

and persistently, that there is only one path to 

a brighter future for Russia, the same path along 

which the entire civilized world has traveled, 

and that along this road there is only one solution 

of the Jewish question — a solution demanded by 

the most elementary principles of civilized govern- 

ment — and that is to grant them, as individuals, 

full civic rights, and as a people, the right to free 

racial and cultural self-development.” 

 

A striking incident occurred during the debate upon 

this resolution. One of the leaders of the party, Maklakov, 

a brother of the former Minister of the Interior, advanced 

a plea in extenuation of the alleged Jewish treacheries. 

 

“The Jews have suffered such cruel persecutions in 

Russia,” he remarked, “that they might well be excused 

even if these spy stories were found to be true.” 

 

 

 

PROTESTS OF LIBERAL RUSSIA 77 

 

“We spurn this right to baseness,” cried out former 

deputy Vinaver, a Jew. “Our loyalty is not for sale. 

We are not newcomers here. Our ancestors have hved 

here for hundreds of years. We are patriots because 

we feel ourselves bound to Russia. We believe in Russia 

even more than you do.” 

 

PROTESTS OF PUBLIC OFFICIALS, CITIES, ETC. 

 

Various municipalities outside the Pale have peti- 

tioned the government to give equal rights to the Jews. 

 

The Municipal Council of Smolensk, at its session of 

December 19, 1914 (January 1, 1915), passed a resolution, 

with only two dissenting votes, petitioning the govern- 

ment “to abolish all measures which restrict the rights 

of Prussian subjects of the Jewish faith, and, in particular, 

to abolish the Pale of Settlement.” At this session 

Councillor P. V. Mikhailoff said: 

 

“We are referring not only to those families of Jewish soldiers 

at the front, to famiUes fleeing from devastated Poland, but even 

to the soldiers themselves who are placed hors de combat because 

of their wounds, after having vahantly served in our ranks. 

Thus, for example, a Jewish soldier wounded in the hand and 

in the breast, having parents in this city, obtained permission 

only with the utmost difficulty to stay here three months. At the 

end of this period he must go back to the Pale and Uve there without 

means or medical attention, although he is threatened with tuber- 

culosis. . . . This is merely one case in thousands which 

prove to us the horrors of the situation in which Jewish soldiers 

and their famiUes are placed because of their deprivation of civic 

rights. Those families whose members have shed their blood 

for Russia are ruined by the invasion of the enemy. They arrive 

here to find a refuge from starvation and death, from ruin and 

violation. We must remember that nearly a half miUion Jews 

are fighting side by side with our brave warriors against the common 

enemy. As to the civilian Jews, they have no less patriotism or 

enthusiasm than the other inhabitants. . . . His Majesty, 

 

 

 

78 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

the Emperor, in passing through Lublin, Grodno, and Tiflis, has 

deigned to express his thanks to the Jews for their faithfulness 

to our common country. The conclusion from this is clear: There 

is no serious reason to maintain any longer those measures of 

restriction so futile and so pernicious and so malevolent. . . . 

But the Jewish question is not merely a question of abstract 

justice. The economic and moral development of oui city life 

is seriously retarded by the restrictions placed upon one part 

of the population. . . .”* 

 

In August, 1914, a meeting of municipality, Zemstvo, 

Stock Exchange, and University officials and merchants, 

at Odessa, resolved that the country would benefit by 

the abolition of all repressive laws and the opening of 

educational institutions to all citizens, f 

 

In August, 1914, the Moscow Conference of Mayors 

also forcibly condemned the expulsion poUcy of some 

governors and resolved to use its influence to ameliorate 

the position of the Jews.f 

 

So also the Congress of Delegates from cities of 

Western Siberia petitioned for the abolition of all Jewish 

disabilities. § ^ 

 

Within the past few months the municipalities of 

Samara, Saratov, Ekaterinoslav and other important 

centers; the Siberian Municipal Conference, and the 

Conference of twenty Zemstvos held at Yaroslavl, all 

petitioned the government and the Duma to remove the 

disabilities affecting the Jews of Russia. 

 

PROTESTS OF TRADE AND PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZA- 

TIONS 

 

The Military-Industrial Committee, organized in May, 

1915, to integrate the economic resources of the country 

on a war basis, met on August 25, 1915, and condemned 

 

* “Novy Voskhod.” Dec. 30, 1914 (Jan. 12, 1915), p. 22-24. 

 

t “Novy Voskhod,” Sept. 4, 1914, p. 15. 

 

t “Novy Voskhod,” Aug. 14 (27), 1914, p. 24-25. 

 

§ “Novy Voskhod,” April 24 (May 7). 1915, p. 30. 

 

 

 

PROTESTS OF LIBERAL RUSSIA 79 

 

the incompetence of the government openly. In his 

presidential address P. P. Riabushinski deplored the 

tardiness of the government in calling upon the social 

forces of the country. “This leadership of the country 

has been attempted by persons incapable of leadership, 

and it is now evident to everybody that a new personnel 

is needed within the government. . . . We have 

observed the workings of the government departments 

from the very beginning of the war, and have come to 

the conclusion that these departments are unable to cope 

with the situation. The supply of war material is al- 

together unorganized, as the army M’ell knows. . . . 

The government will from now on transfer to us more 

and more of its functions. But the longer this is deferred 

the less benefit will result. . . . This work cannot 

be done through a poorly organized government. . . . 

The State is a huge business enterprise, whose parts 

must work harmoniously. . . . The war has now 

changed from a struggle of will and spirit into a struggle 

of machinery. Therefore, the persons entrusted with 

the defense of the country must know the country. . . . 

It cannot be denied that Russia is at the present moment 

facing a great danger, and we fear that the time may 

come when our courage will sink. . . . (censored). 

Our army is suffering heroically. . . . (censored). We 

know that after a while, with the war continuing in the 

same poor fashion as at present, the government will 

be ready to meet us half-way, but we also know by 

experience that it will then be too late and even the very 

best man called by the government will be unable to 

accompHsh anything.” 

 

This address was met with thunderous applause. 

Another speaker, Prof. E. L. Zubashov, referring to the 

Jews, declared that: **The sons of the Jewish nation 

 

 

 

80 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

are now fighting side by side with the Russians for their 

country. Unfortunately this country has until now been 

only a step-mother to them. Let us express the hope 

that it may now become a mother to them.” He there- 

fore proposed a resolution favoring the abolition of all 

restrictive laws against the Jews. His proposal was met 

with prolonged applause and was accepted by the con- 

vention.* 

 

At a meeting of the Free Economic Society — the 

foremost economic organization of Russia — on January 

16, 1915, the following resolution was adopted unan- 

imously : 

 

“The Commission . . . has taken into account the excep- 

tionally difficult position in which the Jewish population finds 

itself, in view of the residence restrictions to which they are subject. 

 

“While they are suffering aU the terrors of war together with 

the rest of the population, the Jewish population, being mainly 

urban, has suffered particularly from the general disorganization 

of economic relations not only within the immediate region of 

mihtary activities, but far beyond. 

 

“Under these conditions it would be a great rehef to the suffering 

population if measures were adopted which would make it easier 

for them to move about in search of work. In view of the size 

of our country and the unUmited economic resources of its regions, 

especially those of the interior, have hardly been touched by the 

miseries of war. There are regions in the interior of Russia where 

economic conditions have even improved somewhat, since they 

have assumed many of the industries abandoned in Poland, and 

since the commissary department placed large orders here. 

 

“At the same time the Jewish population is even at this excep- 

tional time artificially confined to the cities of Poland and the 

western provinces by force of existing legal hmitations which in- 

creases the hardships of war for them. If in time of peace these 

restrictions, which are economically harmful and morally degrading, 

are recognized as a relic of barbarism that must be abolished, it 

 

 

 

“Retch,” July 28 (Aug. 10). 1915; “Birzhevyia Viedomoati,” Aug. 26 

(Sept. 8). 1915. 

 

 

 

PROTESTS OF LIBERAL RUSSIA 81 

 

is all the more difficult to reconcile otirselves with them at the 

present time, when hundreds and thousands of Jews serve imder 

the Russian banners on the battlefield. 

 

In view of these facts the Commission has decided to request the 

Council of the Free Economic Society to communicate with the 

government and members of the society who are members of the 

legislative bodies: — 

 

“To immediately stop the functioning of all restrictive laws 

relating to the Settlement rights of Jews, and 

 

“To abolish them immediately and permanently by legislative 

enactment.”* 

 

Numerous commercial and technical associations have 

passed resolutions declaring that the main cause of 

Russia’s economic backwardness lay in the restrictions 

placed upon Jews, and that the sole means of combating 

German predominance over Russian industry and trade 

is through the abolition of these restrictions. Among 

these organizations are the national grain, lumber, fur 

and gold trades; the Chambers of Commerce of Moscow, 

Petrograd and the leading cities of Russia and Siberia, 

and the national Congress of Bourses; the Russo-American 

Chamber of Commerce, etc. Practically every national 

convention of every industry has petitioned the govern- 

ment to liberate the economic talents of the Jews by the 

removal of all legal restrictions. 

 

PROTESTS OF RUSSIAN WRITERS AND PUBLICISTS 

 

Just as the commercial and industrial elements of 

Russia demand equality for the Jews on economic grounds, 

so the intellectual elements of Russia demand it on broad 

human grounds. 

 

The great manifesto issued at the beginning of the 

war by 225 of the leading publicists and writers of Russia, 

declares: 

 

 

 

* “Rasviet”, Jan. 25 (Feb. 7), 1915. 

 

 

 

82 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

“Russia, in the present great war, is straining all her physical 

and intellectual forces to an extraordinary degree. All the peoples 

of Russia are taking part in the war, sharing equally in all the labors. 

We beheve that the blood of the fighters is not being shed in vain, 

We beUeve that after having borne the horrors of the war, the 

population will return with increased energy to the work of building 

for a better and brighter future. This we beheve, and we hope 

that the relations between the different peoples that inhabit Russia 

will be built up in the future on the eternal foundations of wisdom 

and justice. 

 

“But at this moment, so important in history, we see with 

sorrow and consternation that to the sufferings of one of the nation- 

ahties inhabiting Russia new distress and new vexations are added. 

The hmitation of the right of education is now felt with particular 

pain by the Jewish youth. As the Western frontiers are closed 

the usual exodus to the foreign schools is checked, while in Russia 

itself the percentage hmitations against the Jews in the schools 

are maintained in force. The Jews of the destroyed towns have 

no right to leave the Pale of Settlement, a measure which often 

leads to a disintegration and a division of members of families, 

wives and children of wounded soldiers not being allowed to visit 

their husbands and fathers, and being at the same time exposed 

to all sorts of chicanery. The sorely-tried Jewish nation which 

has given to the world such precious contributions in the domain 

of religion, of philosophy, of poetry; which has always shared the 

travails and trials of Russian life; which has been hurt so often 

by prejudice and insult; which more than once has proven its love 

for Russia, and its devotion to her cause, is now again exposed to 

unjust accusations and persecutions. 

 

“The Russian Jews, who are industriously working with us 

in all spheres of labor and activity that are accessible to them, 

have given so many convincing proofs of thek sincere desire to be 

with us, to render service to our cause . . . that the limitation 

of theu- right of citizenship is not only a crying injustice, but also 

reacts injuriously upon the very interests of the State. The Russian 

Empire can, and must, draw its strength from the complete union 

of all the nationalities inhabiting Russia, and only by the placing 

of all citizens upon an equal footing wall the power of Russia become 

indestructible. 

 

‘Russians, let us remember that the Russian Jew has no other 

country than Russia, and that nothing is dearer to a man than 

 

 

 

PROTESTS OF LIBERAL RUSSIA 83 

 

the soil on which he is bom. Let us understand that the pros- 

perity and power of Russia are inseparable from the well-being and 

the liberty of all the nationalities which constitute its vast Empire. 

Let us understand this truth, act according to our intelligence and 

our conscience, and we may be certain that the ultimate disappear- 

ance of persecutions against the Jews and their complete emanci- 

pation will form one of the conditions of a trtUy constructive 

imperial regime.” 

 

 

 

AUSTRIA-HUNGARY 

 

The total estimated Jewish population of Austria- 

Hungary is about 2,250,000, of which nearly one million 

were, at the beginning of the war, in the border province of 

Galicia, in the immediate area of hostilities. 

 

Here, as elsewhere, the Jews manifested their keen 

loyalty by trooping to the colors even when they were 

normally exempt, as in the case of the students of the 

Budapest Rabbinical Seminary, many of whom volun- 

teered, although not required to do so. The Government 

recognized this loyalty in many ways, particularly in 

the granting of special privileges with respect to the 

observances required by the Jewish religious ritual. 

Thus the Emperor, in his own. name, sent 20,000 Tallithim 

(prayer shawls) for the soldiers in the field during the 

holidays. When, at Passover, it was discovered that 

the matzoths for the Jewish troops had been improperly 

prepared, the Government, at the instance of the Chief 

Rabbi of Vienna, authorized the wholesale distribution 

of potatoes to Orthodox Jews. 

 

Hundreds of Jewish soldiers have been decorated on 

the field of battle, and many were given ofiicers’ com- 

missions. 

 

GALICIA 

 

It was the million Jews of Galicia who were made to 

feel the full burden of the war. Although their economic 

condition before the war was greatly inferior to that 

of the general population, their political condition was 

one of equality. But the Russian invasion of Galicia, 

in September, 1914, changed their status overnight. 

 

84 

 

 

 

GALICIA 85 

 

The Russian Governor-General, Count Bobrinski, a 

notorious anti-Semite, found the poUtical status of the 

Jews in Galicia most abhorrent to him. He at once 

proceeded to degrade them to the status of the 

Russian Jews, and, if possible, still lower. He proposed 

to his home Government that all Jewish landed property 

in Galicia be confiscated and the Jews be forbidden to own, 

lease or rent land; and this, he added, was an imme- 

diately imperative step, to be carried out even before 

the formal annexation of Galicia was announced! 

 

On February 13, 1915, the Grand Duke Nicholas 

issued an order declaring that “in view of the increase 

of spying on the part of the Jews, it is decreed that: 

 

1. No person of Jewish nationality may enter Galicia. 

 

2. No persons of Jewish nationality may pass from one district 

 

of Galicia into another. 

 

3. Infractions of this decree will be punished by a fine of three 

 

thousand roubles ($1,500) or by three months’ imprison- 

ment.* 

 

The spirit of these documents, communicated to the 

troops, produced a series of outrages against the Jewish 

population more horrible even than any perpetrated 

in Russia. As each town was invaded by the Russians 

the troops first sought the Jewish quarters, and here 

they let themselves loose in an orgy of pillage, sack and 

rapine. 

 

In the town of Bohorodczany there appeared, in Jan- 

uary, 1915, a detachment of Austro-Polish troops. They 

demanded food and quarters and were, of course, sup- 

plied. After a brief stay they departed. But the act 

of the Jews was reported to the Russian commander in 

Stanislau. He immediately sent a “punitive” expedition 

of four hundred Cossacks to the town. They set the 

 

 

 

* “Prikarpatskia Rusa”. 

 

 

 

86 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

town on fire, routed out the Jewish women and girls 

from their places of concealment, assembled them in 

the square and there held an orgy under the open sky. 

After their lusts were satisfied they drove the victims 

under the crack of the whip, half naked and starving, 

along the roads to Stanislau. One woman, who had 

risen from childbirth only a few days before, died on 

the way. One of the physicians of Stanislau, Dr. B., 

testifies that he alone treated ten cases of women and 

girls who had been violated.* 

 

In Szczerzec, Galicia, the Russian soldiers caught 

one Jacob Mischel, a town councillor, poured oil over 

him and burned him alive, f 

 

In Dembica, Cossacks raided a synagogue to which 

the Jews had fled for refuge and prayer, robbed and 

imprisoned the men, and outraged the women. Those 

who escaped through the windows were caught by the 

guards below and men and women were knouted to death. 

Then the troops set fire to the synagogue. J 

 

These are typical cases of outrages perpetrated against 

thes Jewish population of Galicia. Scarcely a town in 

the line of invasion escaped. The Jewish population fled 

before the invaders in vast numbers. 

 

There are about 175,000 Jewish refugees in Vienna; 

70,000 of these are destitute. There are about 70,000 

living in barracks in Bohemia; 8,000 of these are in Prague. 

There were about 52,000 in Budapest. All fugitives who 

have settled in Hungary, however, have been removed 

to Austria proper. Dr. J. Bloch of Vienna, estimates 

that the total number of Jewish refugees from Galicia 

is about half a million. The situation of these refugees 

 

 

 

* “Judisches Archiv,” p. 5. 

^ “Judisches Archiv,” p. 6. 

J “Judisches Archiv,” p. 10. 

 

 

 

GALICIA 87 

 

is somewhat better than that of the Jewish refugees in 

Russia, inasmuch as the Government has placed them 

in concentration camps, attends to their minimum wants 

and gives each one an allowance of 70 heller (14 cents) 

daily. With the rise in the prices of food, the daily 

allowance has risen to about 90 heller (18 cents) per 

capita. They are treated well by the population, and 

in many cases are provided with some work. 

 

 

 

ROUMANIA 

 

The future of Roumania is of interest to the Jews 

for two especial reasons: first, because the Jews of 

Roumania are deprived of their rights as citizens in 

contravention of a solemn promise made by Roumania 

to the Great Powers at the Berlin Congress in 1878; 

secondly, because it will no doubt be Roumania’s aim 

to win back from Austria-Hungary certain large terri- 

tories, including Transylvania and Bukowina, in which 

the bulk of the population is of Roumanian descent, 

thus, if successful, incidentally, increasing the number 

of Jews under Roumanian rule from about 250,000 to 

more than one million. 

 

During the present war Roumania has given evidence 

of its hostile attitude towards the Jews. Thousands of 

Jewish refugees who fled before the savagery of the 

Russian army which invaded Bukowina, sought refuge 

in Roumania. These were treated with great brutality 

by Roumanian officials in the border towns. At the begin- 

ning of July, 1915, the Government issued an order to 

the administrative authorities of all the districts bordering 

on Austria-Hungarj” to expel all the Jews from the locali- 

ties near the frontier, and to send them to the interior 

of the country. The officials took advantage of this edict 

to expel not only the refugees, but also hundreds of 

Jewish citizens of Roumania who had been living in the 

border towns for generations. The order of expulsion 

was executed summarily, and the Jews were forced to 

leave within forty-eight and in some cases with all their 

goods in twenty-four hours. As a rule, they w^ere not 

permitted to take their belongings with them, and even 

 

89 

 

 

 

90 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

under the most favorable circumstances they had perforce 

to leave them behind because they knew neither their 

destination nor their fate. 

 

This action of the Government caused a great deal of 

adverse comment in the press, “Vitorul” the official 

organ of the Liberal Party, now in power, met these 

attacks, in its issue of July 12, 1915, as follows: 

 

“Some of the newspapers pretend that the Ministry of Internal 

Affairs has given orders that the native-born Jews estabhshed in 

the towns bordering upon the northern frontier of Moldavia be 

sent into the interior of the country. This news is inexact. The 

Minister of Internal Affairs was not aiming at the Jews estabhshed 

in the towns near the frontier or in any other place when he issued 

his order of expulsion. The order given by the Minister of Internal 

Affairs concerns only the ahen subjects of a foreign country, and the 

native-bom Jews who, though not hving in frontier towns go there 

on business, acting as cereal brokers. And the purpose of the order 

is to prevent such people from committing acts dangerous to the 

interests of the population of the state. The peaceful Jewish 

population hving near the frontier is not the object of any hounding, 

as the irresponsible newspapers would have it.” 

 

The Bucharest “Adeverul” (Truth), an independent 

organ, and one of the two newspapers in Bucharest which 

sympathize with the Jews, replied: 

 

“In answer to the attacks of the Government organ upon 

the ‘irresponsible’ newspapers, we are in a position to pubhsh a 

hst of the ‘peaceful Jewish population’ which has been the subject 

of the most terrible persecutions by the authorities. We can give 

the names of the reserves, mobilized at the very moment, whose 

children have been driven from their homes. It is possible that 

the Minister of Internal Affairs did not mean to ‘aim,’ as the official 

organ says, at the Jews. If the Minister is innocent of the charge, 

we would hke to know what punishment to inflict upon his sub- 

ordmates who wilfully misrepresented his order. 

 

“But it is not we who are irresponsible. It is the Government 

that tries to mislead the public with ambiguous statements. It says 

that the order referred only to the brokers, who may commit dan- 

 

 

 

ROUMANIA 91 

 

gerous acts. We know that the law punishes crimes and delin- 

quencies which have been committed, but does not anticipate crimes 

that may be committed. Then again, the law provides strict 

punishment for each deUnquency and not a general and preventive 

punishment, such as deportation. Why is it that those who have 

committed the infraction have not been arrested and peaceful 

people are being punished instead? 

 

“Even the Government recognizes that this preventive punish- 

ment is apphed to the ahen and such Jews as are only doing business 

though not living in those places. It means that the suspicion 

rests equally upon the ahen and the Roumanian Jew, because the 

Jew, although not an alien, is of another religion. The suspicion 

then falls upon all the native-born Jews. Thus we see, that even 

if the official organ’s public interpretation of the law be correct, 

it is still the Jews who will suffer. But we cannot accept the 

explanation. It is false. 

 

“It is an absolute fact that not transient traders but people 

who are innocent, who are paying taxes in those localities have 

been expelled.” 

 

It is idle to speculate as to what Roumania may do if 

she becomes involved in the war. But it is well to consider 

whether, if she does not become involved, it will be possible 

to bring to the attention of the belligerent powers at a 

future peace conference the question of the status of the 

Jews of Roumania. These are in the anamolous position 

of people virtually without a country. They are subjects 

of Roumania, pay taxes and support the Government. 

But even the native-born and those whose parents and 

grandparents were native-born subjects of Roumania, 

cannot become citizens, and are also discriminated against 

by the Government. In this respect, Roumania may be 

called “Little Russia.” 

 

The situation of Roumania as a nation is exceptional. 

She was made an independent country by the European 

Powers, meeting at the Congress of Berlin, after the 

Russo-Turkish War of 1877-8. In a treaty which was 

 

 

 

92 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

then signed by all the great Powers of Europe, the 

following articles were inserted : 

 

XLIII. The High contracting parties recognize the inde- 

pendence of Roumania, subject to the conditions set forth in the 

two following articles. 

 

XLIV. In Roumania the difference of rehgious creeds and 

confessions shall not be alleged against any person as a ground 

for exclusion or incapacity in matters relating to the enjoyment 

of civil and poHtical rights, admission to pubUc employments, 

functions and honors, or the exercise of the various professions 

and industries in any locaUty whatsoever. 

 

“The freedom and outward exercise of aU forms of worship 

shall be assured to all persons belonging to the Roumanian State, 

as well as to foreigners, and no hindrance shall be offered either 

to the hierarchical organizations of the different communions, or 

to their relations with their spiritual chiefs. The subjects and 

citizens of aU the Powers, traders or others, shall be treated in 

Roumania, without distinction of creed, on a footing of perfect 

equahty.” 

 

Roumania having become an independent nation 

upon its recognition by these Powers, and upon the 

conditions set forth in the treaty of Berlin, it may be 

possible at the conclusion of the war that the viola- 

tions of this treaty on the part of the Roumanian Govern- 

ment may be considered by the Powers whose honor is 

thus flaunted by an open violation of a treaty to which 

they solemnly became parties. 

 

 

 

PALESTINE 

 

The Jews of Palestine were among the earliest victims 

of the war. The greater part of them are dependent, 

wholly or in part, upon their co-religionists in Europe 

and America. With the outbreak of the war all the 

normal channels of communication were temporarily- 

interrupted. Even had this not occurred the complete 

stagnation of trade in Europe would have made it impos- 

sible for the Jews, who were themselves in difficulties, to 

continue to afford material assistance. 

 

The difficulties of the situation before Turkey became 

a belligerent are briefly set forth in the following extracts 

from a report, dated October 21, 1914, made by Mr. 

Maurice Wertheim, who was entrusted by Ambassador 

Morgenthau with the distribution of a fund of $50,000 

contributed by American Jews. 

 

The colonists themselves did not stand in actual need of assist- 

ance, as they are largely men of certain means and can help them- 

selves. Furthermore, they are able to obtain their bank deposits 

in the folio -^-ing manner: the Anglo-Palestine Bank, with which 

most of the Jews in Palestine do business through their various 

branches in Jaffa, Jerusalem, Haifa, Safed, and Tiberias, etc., are 

registering or certifying for their depositors checks down to the 

smallest denominations. These checks are made payable to the 

drawer, endorsed by him, and the registration stamp of the bank 

is equivalent to a notice that the check will be cashed by the bank 

after the moratorium. With these checks the colonists are able 

to supply their immediate needs and harvest their crops. 

 

The only pressing requirement of the colonists was to exchange 

some of these checks for gold in order to pay Government taxes 

and military exoneration fees, and this was arranged. 

 

Further than this, the two great needs of the Jewish colonies, 

generally speaking, were: (a) to take care of Jewish laborers 

thrown out of employment by existing conditions, and (b) to secure 

 

93 

 

 

 

94 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

new markets for their products to take the place of those that had 

been affected by the war. 

 

There are about 2,500 Jewish laborers in the colonies. It ia 

impossible to determine the exact percentage of unemployed amongst 

them, but even if we assume that only half of them are out of employ- 

ment, it is easily seen that the amount of money we were able to 

divert to this purpose will not go very far. I might say here that 

in dividing the fund amongst the various districts in Palestine, 

we allotted to the colonics a somewhat larger proportion than their 

population justified. 

 

The opening up of new markets for Palestinian agricultural 

products (oranges, wine and almonds, are the chief articles of export), 

is probably the most pressing need of the colonist movement in 

Palestine. Colonists feel that the chief market for the oranges 

which in the past has been England, will be greatly interfered with, 

and if they are not able to dispose successfully of their products, 

their entire future and very existence will be tlu-eatened. 

 

The situation in the larger centers of population is very bad. 

Almost no currency enters the country and foreign checks that do 

find their way there are not realizable. This naturally places 

in great want those who depend on the “Chaluka” contributions 

and also the large class who depend on money sent by relatives. 

Furthermore, the industries of manufacture of antiques and souv- 

enirs are completely stopped, owing to want of customers, and 

there is no money to conduct industries such as building, carpenter- 

ing, tailoring and shoemaking, in which large numbers of Jews 

are employed. I found that the better class of Jews had themselves 

organized temporary rehef, but their possibilities of assistance 

are rapidly drawing to a close. People who had, a few weeks before 

my visit, contributed to the maintenance of soup kitchens, stood 

in need themselves upon my arrival. One Jewish hospital had 

already closed. 

 

The food situation in Palestine was precarious, for while prices 

had not risen to any large extent, yet the source of supply was 

limited. The introduction of wheat from the East of the Jordan 

had been prohibited by the Government (which restriction through 

the efforts of the Ambassador we have endeavored to have lifted). 

In order to guard against possible shortage of food and also to 

offer food at the cheapest possible price, our Committee will pur- 

chase from time to time as large quantities of food as it can, have 

bread baked itself, and will sell same at cost, or possibly a little less. 

 

 

 

PALESTINE 95 

 

When Turkey entered the war as an ally of Germany 

and Austria-Hungary the situation of the 50,000 Russian 

Jews, who constituted half of the Jewish population 

of Palestine, became precarious. As nationals of an 

enemy country, they became liable to any restrictions 

or deprivation of rights which military necessity or 

international animosity might dictate. Thus these 

thousands of Jews were to suffer because they technically 

bore the nationality of a country which had virtually 

exiled them. 

 

Upon the intervention of the German and American 

Embassies, however, the Ottoman Government made 

special concessions to these Jews. Several weeks’ time 

was allowed for those who so desired to become Turkish 

subjects by naturalization. Upon the expiration of this 

period, those who had not availed themselves of this offer 

were ordered to leave. About 600 were forcibly expelled 

and about 7,000 others left voluntarily. Most of the 

fugitives took refuge in Egypt, whence a number emigrated 

to the United States. In the spring of 1915, however, 

the Council of Ministers decided that the deportations 

be discontinued. 

 

The difficulties of the economic situation of the Jewish 

population were further increased by Turkey’s entrance 

in the war. The Government confiscated most of the 

crops, and a great many of the settlers were either drafted 

into the army or compelled to buy immunity. 

 

In March, 1915, the American Jewish Relief Com- 

mittee and the Provisional Zionist Committee were 

enabled, through the courtesy of the United States 

Government, to send a food ship to Palestine. Although 

considerable portions of these supplies were diverted by 

the Turkish Government into non-Jewish channels, the 

food question was to a great extent solved, and conditions 

 

 

 

96 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

have been steadily improving. The present situation 

is briefly described in the following extracts from a 

report of the Provisional Executive Committee for 

General Zionist Affairs, dated August 10, 1915: 

 

The economic situation has also shown some improvement. 

The arrival of the relief food ship “Vulcan” has been partly responsi- 

ble for this result. After considerable discussion with the govern- 

ment authorities, the following ratio of distribution has been agreed 

upon; 55 per cent, for the Jews, 26 per cent, for the Mohammedans, 

and 19 per cent, for the Christians. 

 

The sending of the rehef ship has had the important effect 

of lowering considerably the prices of food. The gathering of the 

harvest is now in full swing. The crops are satisfactory, especially 

in Galilee, which is principally a corn growing country. Our 

farms, in particular, have proved an important factor in the present 

crisis by supplying the colonies and cities with grain at reasonable 

prices. There is reason to beheve that Palestine will now be able 

to hold its own in the matter of food, without depending on further 

shipments from America. There is stiU some shortage felt in sugar 

and in some less important groceries, of which small quantities 

may still be procured from Egypt. 

 

The economic prospects would be considerably brighter were 

it not for the locust which has swept over Palestine in large numbers. 

In corn-growing Galilee the danger is less palpable than elsewhere 

where plantations are the principal feature of agriculture. The 

fight against the plague has been taken up energetically and system- 

atically. 

 

The danger of a shortage in grain was another problem that 

needed careful consideration. While in normal times Palestine is 

in a position to export grain abroad, the outbreak of the war, owing 

to the heavy requisitions of the Government and the difficult com- 

munications with the North of Palestine and the Hauran, the 

granaries of the country, brought an alarming situation. To deal 

with it, a special committee was organized. A number of well- 

to-do Jews bought up quantities of grain and had them milled, 

offering the flour to the public at cheap prices. In this way the 

danger threatening the population from unscrupulous speculators 

was averted and the prices were kept down. Thus, when, shortly be- 

fore Passover, the price of flour had soared up as high as 65 francs, 

 

 

 

PALESTINE 97′ 

 

the action of the committee had the effect of reducing it to 48. The 

committee also supplied public institutions with cheap flour. 

 

As another means of reUef, pubUe stores were opened by the 

committee for the sale of provisions. In spite of the fact that some 

of the goods were requisitioned by the government, the stores served 

a good purpose, helping, among other things, to circulate the checks 

of the Anglo-Palestine Company. 

 

From the very beginning of the crisis, the Palestina Amt made 

it a rule that no workingmen were to be dismissed, as such action 

might subject them to the danger of starvation. To supply all 

the workingmen with employment, public works were undertaken, 

such as road building, canahzation and water supply. Several 

builders who had been forced to discontinue their building operations 

were assisted with loans to resume them. 

 

Finally, a Public Loan Association was organized to meet the 

needs of those who had formerly received remittances from abroad, 

and, owing to the discontinuation of these remittances consequent 

upon the outbreak of the war, found themselves in pitiable circum- 

stances. Some 900 persons took advantage of the facilities offered 

by the Association. 

 

According to the statistics compiled by the Palestina Amt and 

embodied in a separate report, some 8,000 Jews left the country 

during the crisis. Of these, 4,000 were from Jaffa, 2,000 from Jeru- 

salem, 1,500 from the Judean colonies and 500 from the colonies 

in Gahlee. The estimated number of Jews at present in Palestine 

is 88,100, of whom 13,500 are to be found in the colonies. 

 

The requisitions and the war contributions levied upon the 

Jews during the war, amount to 152,805 francs. 

 

 

 

APPENDIX 

 

I. 

 

REPORT OF THE RUSSIAN- JEWISH RELIEF 

 

COMMITTEE 

 

NOTE. — The following report was issued by the (Russian) 

Jewish Committee for the Relief of Sufferers from the War, 

to its members in Russia, in May, 1915, since when con- 

ditions in Russia and Poland have steadily grown worse. 

The authoritativeness of the report is guaranteed by the per- 

sonnel of the committee, numbering among its membership 

the foremost Jews of Russia, among whom may be named: 

Baron A. de Gunzberg, H. Sliosberg, M. Ginsburg and B. 

Kamenka, chairman of the Executive Committee; M. A. 

Warschavsky, chairman of the Organizing Comndttee; and 

D. Feinberg, L. Bramson and M. Kreinin, Secretaries. 

 

Terrible disaster has befallen the Jewish population 

of the Pale of Settlement and of Poland. Hunger and 

thirst and disease and death, and moral sufferings beyond 

the power of human pen to describe are the lot of himdred 

thousands of Jewish men, women and children whom the 

war has driven from their homes, whose houses and 

hearths have been plundered and destroyed. Hundreds 

of thousands of our imfortunate brethren are staring 

in hopeless despair into a future that seems to spell 

nothing but new tears and sufferings. . . . 

 

According to the data collected by the General Polish 

Relief Committee, in Poland, alone there are at least 200 

towns and about 9,000 townlets and villages that have 

suffered from the war, the material damage amounting 

to the gigantic figure of over a milHard roubles ($500,000,- 

000). Besides the terrible lossscs sustained by the rural 

population, the whole industrial production, amounting 

 

98 

 

 

 

RUSSIAN JEWISH RELIEF COMMITTEE 99 

 

to nearly 800 million roubles a year, has been ruined. 

About three million townspeople are destitute, and of 

these three million at least half; i. e., 1,500,000, are Jews. 

To this number of unfortunate victims we have to add 

the population of the provinces of Kovno and Grodno in 

the northwestern region of the Pale, the provinces of Bes- 

sarabia, Podolia and Volynia in the southern and south- 

western regions. These provinces, bordering upon Ger- 

many and Austria, have a Jewish population of at least 

500,000 people. Thus the total number of Jews that 

have, in one way or another, suffered immediately from the 

conditions of warfare equals over two million people, 

representing one-third of the total Jewish population of 

Russia. 

 

Besides, there are hundred thousands of destitute 

Jews in Galicia (within Russian occupation) looking 

forward to relief from this country. 

 

To the utter ruin of their material welfare there are 

added the unspeakable sufferings that the population 

of the war area has to endure. In the most favorable 

of cases the inhabitants of the border places escape from 

the zone of fire, taking refuge in the inner parts of the 

country; while a large proportion of those unfortunate 

Jewish families have remained in the ruined places, 

facing the phantoms of starvation and disease that 

gather a rich harvest among them. 

 

Such is the devotion and love of the Jews to their 

native places, to their own comer, that they prefer to 

stay in the devastated towns and townlets and villages, 

if only permitted to do so. And those who have fled 

from their homes take the first opportunity of return- 

ing, heedless of the terrible disasters lying in store for 

them. A vivid example, typical of many other instances, 

is given by the Jews in the villages of Vissiltsy, District 

 

 

 

100 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

Busak, province Kielce. Our delegate found the place 

razed by hostile shells. The population — mostly Jews — • 

for over three months had been huddling together in 

cellars, where they had taken refuge. They were not 

to leave their shelter by day; no food was to be 

cooked, no fire lighted at night — such were the stringent 

orders from military quarters. A humane military chief 

permitted them to crawl out of their dingy holes by night 

and feed out of the soldiers’ cauldron. But soon another 

chief took his place and the unfortunate Jews were left 

to starve in their cellars. Those that succumbed were 

buried in holes that the survivors dug for them in the 

very same cellars. . . . 

 

Infinitely tragic too is the fate of those Jews who, 

by rigorous orders of the mihtary authorities at a notice 

of from three to twenty-four hours are expelled from 

whole provinces of Poland, their presence near the area 

of hostilities being considered “a danger to the safety 

of the Russian arms.” Leaving their homes and belong- 

ings, the fruit of years of hard toil, an open prey, the 

unfortunate exiles by the thousands w^end their weary 

way to towns and villages, thirty or more miles distant, 

that have not yet come within the decrees of the military 

authorities. Old men, sick women, clasping little children 

in their arms, carrying bundles with some scanty belong- 

ings that they had snatched up in haste, fill the silent 

roads with the sound of their moans and sobs. Here 

an old man breaks down, breathing his last sigh in the 

middle of the road. There a woman kneels bj’- the road- 

side staring in despair too deep for tears, at the child 

that lies dead in her arms. . . . Many are those 

who succumb on their way; indescribable are the suffer- 

ings of those who survive. Scarcely have they found 

shelter in a hospitable town or townlet when — alas! 

 

 

 

RUSSIAN JEWISH RELIEF COMMITTEE 101 

 

too frequently — the prohibition of the authorities is 

a few days later extended also to these places, and again 

the Jewish population must start upon its weary pil- 

grimage. . . . 

 

The total number of refugees from the war zone and 

of exiles can scarcely be calculated with precision because 

large numbers have made their way to numerous small 

townlets throughout the Pale, thus frustrating systematic 

registration, while, at the same time, the progress of the 

war tends to swell the host of refugees daily. 

 

Some idea of their number is given by the following 

approximate figures: 

 

Warsaw 75,000 people Radom 2,000 people 

 

Vilna. 12,000 people Gussiatin 1,000 people 

 

Kielce 3,000 people Shakvi (SuvalM). 1,500* people 

 

Konsk 4,000 people Lomzha 5,000 people 

 

Minsk 2,000 people Khmelnik 

 

Prassnysh 1,500 people (Prov. Kielce). 1,500 people 

 

And yet these figures only show the number of refugees 

who have applied for assistance; hundreds of thousands 

of others are meanwhile living upon their savings and 

do not come under the registration. But they also will 

be at the end of their scant resources one of these days 

and will join the ranks of the destitute. . . . Thus, 

for the above-named places and for many other dozens 

of towns and townlets the number of refugees within 

their walls may be doubled without fear of exaggeration. 

 

“While numerous towns and townlets have, in generous 

hospitality, opened their gates to the unfortunate refugees 

and exiles from the war area, the native Jewish population 

of these places is itself suffering a severe economic crisis, 

an acute attack of unemployment, which as a matter 

 

 

 

* At moment of investigation. 

 

 

 

102 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

of fact, is further intensified by the influx of refugees 

eager to offer their services, for the smallest remuneration. 

Thus poverty and misery are growing in these places 

too, the burden of relief becoming too heavy for the 

local community to bear. 

 

We have already stated that the industrial life of 

Poland and in a large part of the Pale has been laid 

waste as a consequence of the war. Hundreds of fac- 

tories have been destroyed, hundreds others have had to 

stop work for want of capital, raw material, fuel and — 

first and foremost — for want of a market for their articles 

of production. Many thousands of workmen who were 

formerly employed by these factories have remained with- 

out bread. 

 

Whole branches of trade have been shattered, burying 

the welfare of the artisans under their ruins. The 

tailors, weavers, bootmakers, builders, trades, normally 

sustaining a large percentage of Jews in Poland and in 

the Pale, are dead; the artisans are left to starve, unless 

something can be done to save them. 

 

Commercial life also has been laid waste. The mer- 

chants — great and small — are ruined; hundreds of mer- 

chant’s clerks are thrown out of work and have to apply 

to public charity. 

 

There is yet another class of sufferers whose wants 

and needs have to be attended to. About 300,000 Jews 

are fighting in the ranks of the Russian army. Their 

mothers, wives and children arc receiving but scanty 

support (about 2 roubles a head) from the Government. 

About half of them, however, are not getting any Govern- 

ment aid at all, their marriages, although legally solemn- 

ized, not having been entered in the official marriage 

registers. (It is a well known fact that the uneducated 

Jews of Poland and in the Pale frequently omit to have 

 

 

 

RUSSIAN JEWISH RELIEF COMMITTEE 103 

 

their marriages registered, failing to realize the full im- 

portance of this formality.) Rent and food having 

become considerably dearer with the outbreak of the war, 

the soldiers’ families often suffer acute want, which 

necessitates immediate help lest these people become 

charges on their community. Many of the soldiers will 

never return from the battlefields; others will come 

back as cripples, unfit to support themselves or their 

families. They will all want support of some kind or 

another. . . . 

 

It is a boundless sea of troubles that has to be coped 

with and the full weight of the task is falling upon Jewish 

shoulders. The gulf dividing the bulk of Russian society 

from Jewish life and needs and sorrows has not been 

bridged over by the horrors of war. Though now and 

again a voice of sympathy is heard from Russian quarters, 

here and there a Russian hand is extended to feed a 

starving Jewish child, both moral and material assistance 

offered by non-Jews to our stricken people is but in- 

finitesimal as compared with the magnitude of the distress. 

 

Nor do we now wish to dwell specifically on Polish- 

Jewish relations, it being too well known to what extent 

they have become pointed during the recent months, 

bearing in their train infinite, yea, unbearable sufferings 

for our Jewish brethren. 

 

In order to unite the efforts of Jewish society towards 

the relief of the Jewish sufferers from the war, at the 

very outbreak of the European conflagration there was 

formed at Petrograd a General Jewish Relief Committee, 

with the sanction of the Russian authorities, to act as 

a center for the collection and distribution of funds 

to the destitute and needy Jews. At the very beginning 

of its activity the General Committee issued an appeal 

to the Jewish public calling it to its duty to the 

 

 

 

104 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

unfortunate sufferers, just as the Jewish soldiers fighting 

and distinguishing themselves in the ranks of the Russian 

army are doing their duty by their mother country. 

 

Jewish society at large has shown its usual responsive- 

ness and material support has been forthcoming in as 

large a measure as individual means and circumstances 

would permit. 

 

Committees, similar to the General Committee, work- 

ing on the same lines and in close unity with it have since 

been organized in prominent centers of the stricken area 

and outside of it — e. g., in Warsaw, Moscow, Kiev, 

Odessa, Kharkov, and in addition the existing Jewish 

organizations, such as the Central Committee of the 

Jewish Colonization Association, the Society for the 

Promotion of Education in Russia, the Jewish Health 

Society, the Society for the Promotion of Trade and 

Industry among Russian Jews, etc., etc., are taking active 

part in the relief work. Representatives of the various 

committees and societies working in the war zone and out- 

side it meet periodically in order to discuss new measures 

and schemes for the alleviation of the terrible distress. 

 

The conditions and extent of distress in towns, town- 

lets and villages of Poland and of the Pale are being 

ascertained through delegates of the General Relief 

Committee working actively and energetically towards 

the organization of various forms of relief in the several 

districts.- In a number of places the local Jewish com- 

munity has readily joined in the relief work, doing its 

utmost to meet the demand for food, shelter, clothing; 

the local philanthropic and communal Jewish institutions 

thus becoming valuable agencies of the General Relief 

Committee. On the whole, however — particularly as far 

as Poland is concerned^ — the organization of assistance 

to the war sufferers is meeting with endless difficulties, 

 

 

 

RUSSIAN JEWISH RELIEF COMMITTEE 105 

 

due largely to the fact that the suffering population is 

in such a state of frantic terror, that many Jews do not 

even dream of applying to anyone for assistance. In 

many instances the first terror has given way to com- 

plete apathy. 

 

Often our representatives have to seek these people 

out in their hiding places, to rouse them from their 

lethargy, to exercise moral pressure on the more promi- 

nent members of the community, before anything can 

be done for the sufferers. This attitude of the people 

becomes intelligible when we consider the conditions 

that they live in under ordinary circumstances — their 

poverty, their lack of education, the contempt they are 

accustomed to meet with on the part of the non-Jewish 

population. 

 

Similar conditions prevail in the Galician Provinces 

within Russian occupation: 

 

“I found them huddling together in damp and dark 

cellars, half -naked, sick and starving” — these are the 

words of one of our representatives who visited some of 

the places that had witnessed all the horrors of the war. 

“They showed complete apathy, appeared to be in a trance 

of terror. Only a madman — he had become insane 

because of superhuman suffering — ^followed me into 

the street, shrieking for bread. I handed him a coin, 

but he threw it down and clamored for bread. . . .” 

 

The ever changing conditions of war, that open 

up new regions for relief work today, and close other 

districts tomorrow, that throw ever new crowds of 

sufferers upon public charity — these, to a large extent 

baffle all our efforts towards relief, destroying today 

what was organized yesterday. Add to this the peculiar 

circumstances of Jewish life in Russia, the unfavorable 

attitude of the authorities towards the Jewish population 

 

 

 

106 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

in the war area — and the difficulties that the organization 

of relief has to cope with will stand out in their full 

significance. 

 

Owing to these and other conditions the General 

Relief Committee up till now has had to concentrate 

largely on extending ”first aid,” this term being here 

used to comprise feeding and sheltering of the sufferers. 

Distribution of food (at low rates or free of charge), 

of fuel, clothes, foot-wear; organization of feeding centres, 

amelioration of sheltering and housing conditions, of 

sanitation and hygiene among the war sufferers — are 

the chief forms relief has taken so far. 

 

At the present moment there are being equipped 

by the General Relief Committee two so-called “sanitary 

and feeding expeditions” whose object it will be to offer 

medical assistance and provide free food to the sufferers 

in the war area of Poland, irrespective of religious de- 

nomination. (The money for this purpose has been 

received from London with the express condition that no 

distinction be made between Jews and non-Jews). 

 

Moreover, insofar as this has been possible, efforts 

have been made to secure work for the refugees and 

for those who have lost their employment as a result 

of the war. Thus in Warsaw there has been opened a 

workshop where refugees are employed in manufacturing 

various articles of underclothing for distribution among 

the war sufferers. In Vilna there has been established 

a workshop for bootmakers who are filling Govern- 

ment orders for army boots. Similar workshops have 

been organized at Dvinsk, Fastov, etc. Further, there 

has been opened at Warsaw a labor-bureau which is 

obtaining work for a considerable number of artisans. 

 

A large number of small merchants and artisans being 

in urgent need of credit to enable them to re-establish and 

 

 

 

RUSSIAN JEWISH RELIEF COMMITTEE 107 

 

operate their business and to prevent them from lapsing 

into utter destitution, credit is being afforded them 

through the medium of the Jewish cooperative credit 

societies that are working throughout the Pale of Settle- 

ment and Poland. So far, by way of experiment, about 

23,000 roubles have been invested in this operation; 

however, should this useful form of assistance be en- 

larged, considerable means will be required for the 

purpose. 

 

At the present moment the General Relief Com- 

mittee, working in close cooperation with the com- 

mittees in Moscow, Kiev and Odessa, is extending relief 

to over 300 centres of population situated in the following 

 

provinces : 

 

Approximate Number 

Poland — of Populated Centers 

 

Province Warsaw (including city of 

Warsaw where a large number of 

refugees are concentrated) 46 

 

Province Vilna 18 

 

Province Kovno 40 

 

Province Suvalki 20 

 

Province Liublin (only part of it 25 

 

being accessible to relief work) …. 

 

Province Kielce (only part of it being 

 

accessible to relief work) 12 

 

Province Radom 13 

 

Province Grodno (now included in 

sphere of activity of Moscow 

Committee) 5 

 

Province Lomzha (now included in 

sphere of activity of Moscow 

Committee) 10 

 

Province Plotsk (now included in 

sphere of activity of Moscow 

Committee) 8 

 

Province Kholm (now within activity 

 

of Kiev and Odessa Committee) . . 10 

 

 

 

108 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

Approximate Number 

of Populated Centers 

Southwestern Province — 

 

Province: Podolia, Bessarabia and 

Volynia (Border districts) 10 

 

Galicia — 

 

Petrograd Committee (cooperating 

 

with Kiev and Odessa Committee). 75 

 

Outside War Area 10 

 

 

 

Total 304 

 

Some idea of the expenditures of the General Relief 

Committee in Petrograd is given by the following figures: 

 

FOR GENERAL RELIEF 

 

Poland — Roubles 

 

Warsav? 350,000 

 

Province Warsaw 10,000 

 

Lodz 1,500 

 

Province Lomsha 12,000 

 

Province Suvalki 7,000 

 

Province Liublin 75,000 

 

Province Radom 45,000 

 

Province Cholm 4,400 

 

Province Kielce 40,000 

 

545,000 

 

Southwestern Province — 

 

(Border Places) 14,000 

 

Radzivilov 14,000 

 

Chtin 5,000 

 

Volotchisk 5,000 

 

Gorokov 1,000 

 

Novosselitsy 500 

 

Various email placea , 5,000 

 

31,000 

 

 

 

RUSSIAN JEWISH RELIEF COMMITTEE 109 

 

Northwestern Province — Roubles 

 

Province Kovno 55,000 

 

Province Vilna 30,000 

 

Province Bialystock, Minsk, etc 10,000 

 

95,000 

 

Galicia 112,000 

 

Assistance to Jews in Palestine and Syria (through 

 

representative in Alexandria) 10,000 

 

Assistance to Russian- Jewish Refugees from Abroad 

 

(when passing Petrograd) 1,500 

 

Assistance to Wounded and Recovered Soldiers return- 

ing to the Front 15,000 

 

Purchase of Matzoth for Soldiers at the Front (subsidy 

 

to the Rabbinical Committee) 15,000 

 

Subsidy to Various Educational Institutions (Yeshiboth, 

Jewish teachers, etc.) 16,000 

 

Organization of cheap credit to Jewish artisans, workmen 

and merchants (through Jewish Cooperative Credit 

Societies) 22,000* 

 

Assistance to clerks of Jewish Cooperative Societies 

 

(affected by the war) 1,000 

 

Organization and support of sanitary and feeding ex- 

peditions (two expeditions) 50,000 

 

Total 914,000 

 

Expenditure of the Moscow, Odessa, Kiev Committees . . . 350,000 

 

l,204,000t 

 

According to approximate estimates within the next 

months the General Jewish Relief Committee, working 

conjointly with the Jewish Committees in Moscow, Kiev 

 

* Besides the sums granted to the cooperative credit Bocieties by the Jewiib 

Colonization Association. 

 

t Towards these expenses Russian Jewry has contributed a little over a million 

roubles. 

 

 

 

110 THE JJJWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

and Odessa, will require the following sums to satisfy 

the most urgent needs of the organizations now in full 

operation and yet to be started : 

 

Poland and Northwestern Provinces — Roubles 

 

Warsaw From 150,000 to 200,000 

 

Province Warsaw From 15,000 to 20,000 

 

Province Liublin From 20,000 to 25,000 

 

Province Suvalki From 12,000 to 15,000 

 

Province Radom From 20,000 to 25,000 

 

Province Kielce From 20,000 to 25,000 

 

Province Kovno From 25,000 to 30,000 

 

Province Vilna From 10,000 to 15,000 

 

Province Grodno From 8,000 to 10,000 

 

Province Lomzha From 15,000 to 20,000 

 

Province Plotzk From 6,000 to 8,000 

 

Province Cholm From 10,000 to 12,000 

 

Southwestern Provinces — 

 

Province Volynia From 20,000 to 25,000 

 

Province Podolia 

 

Province Bessarabia From 40,000 to 50,000 

 

Galicia — 

 

Outside war area From 10,000 to 15,000 

 

Restoration of trade and industry among 

 

among war sufferers From 100,000 to 150,000 

 

Extraordinary expenditure From 10,000 to 15,000 

 

Thus From 484,000 to 650,000 

 

[Expressed in United States currency, the sum of $242,000 to 

$325,000 per month will be required, according to this early 

estimate, to satisfy the most urgent needs of the sufferers.] 

 

As already pointed out, the sphere and extent of 

distress are ever increasing with the progress of the war. 

The Jewish rehef organizations in Russia thus stand 

before the alarming problem: whence to obtain adequate 

 

 

 

SPEECH OF DEPUTY FRIEDMAN 111 

 

funds to satisfy the ever growing demand. This problem 

becomes the more urgent as new forms of reUef must be 

devised as the time goes on. It will not do merely to 

feed and shelter the stricken population. Many of the 

sufferers are able and wiUing to work, if they but had the 

possibility of doing so. 

 

The attention of the Jewish public will therefore 

have to be concentrated on a new problem: to help the 

ruined artisans to rehabilitate themselves, to rebuild 

their shattered homes and to restore their ruined business 

by means of cheap credit provided for them. The 

solution of this problem will, however, require infinitely 

larger means, which Russian Jewry is unable to raise. . . . 

 

 

 

n. 

 

SPEECH OF DEPUTY FRIEDMAN IN 

THE DUMA 

 

(August 2, 1915) 

 

(Translated from Petrograd “Retch,” of August 3, 1915, and 

published in the New York “Times,” September 23, 1915) 

 

In spite of their oppressed condition, in spite of their 

status of outlawry, the Jews have risen to the exalted 

mood of the nation and in the course of the last year 

have participated in the war in a noteworthy manner. 

They fell short of the others in no respect. They mobil- 

ized their entire enrollment, but, indeed, with this differ- 

ence, that they have also sent their only sons into the 

war. The newspapers at the beginning of the war had 

a remarkable number of Jewish volunteers to record. 

Gentlemen, those were volunteers who were entitled 

through their educational qualifications to the rank 

 

 

 

112 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

of officers. They knew that they would not receive 

this rank ; and nevertheless they entered the war. 

 

The Jewish youth, which, as a result of the restrictions 

as to admission to the high schools of the country, had 

been forced to study abroad, returned home when war 

was declared, or entered the armies of the allied nations. 

A large number of Jewish students fell at the defense 

of Liege and also at other points on the western front. 

 

The Zionist youths, when they were confronted with 

the dilemma of accepting Turkish sovereignty or being 

compelled to emigrate from Palestine, preferred to go 

to Alexandria and there to join the English army. 

 

The Jews built hospitals, contributed money, and 

participated in the war in every respect just as did the 

other citizens. Many Jews received marks of distinction 

for their conduct at the front. 

 

Before me lies the letter of a Jew who returned from 

the United States of America: 

 

“I risked my life,” he writes, “and if, nevertheless, 

I came as far as Archangel, it was only because I loved 

my fatherland more than my life or that American free- 

dom which I was permitted to enjoy. I became a soldier, 

and lost my left arm almost to the shoulder. I was brought 

into the governmental district of Courland. Scarcely 

had I reached Riga when I met at the station my mother 

and my relatives, who had just arrived there, and who 

on that same day were compelled to leave their hearth 

and home at the order of the military authorities. Tell 

the gentlemen who sit on the benches of the Right that 

I do not mourn my lost arm, but that I do mourn deeply 

the self-respect that was not denied to me in alien lands 

but is now lost to me.” 

 

Such was the sentiment of the Jews that found ex- 

pression in numerous appeals and manifestations in the 

 

 

 

SPEECH OF DEPUTY FRIEDMAN 113 

 

press, and finally also in this House. Surely these 

sentiments should have been taken into account. One 

should have a right to assume that the Government 

would adopt measures for the amelioration of the fate 

of the Jews who found themselves in the very centre of 

the war-like occurrences. Likewise, one should have 

taken into account the sentiments of hundreds of thous- 

ands of Jews who shed their blood on the field of battle. 

 

Instead of that, however, we see that from the begin- 

ning of the war the measures of reprisals against the 

Jewish populace were not only not weakened but, on the 

contrary, made much stronger. Banished were Jewish 

men and v/omen whose husbands, children, and brothers, 

were shedding their blood for the fatherland. A wounded 

soldier named Alexander Roskhov, who had been shot 

in the e^^e, came to Charkof for further treatment. On 

his passport were the words, “To be sent to a settle- 

ment.” The private soldier Godlewski, one of whose 

legs had been amputated, and who found himself at 

Rostof on the Don for recuperation, they tried to send 

to his native village in the Government of Kalisch, al- 

ready under German occupation; and it was only due 

to the activities of the Rural League that he was per- 

mitted to stay. An apothecary’s helper, who likewise 

had been wounded on the battlefield, was not allowed 

to remain in Pctrograd for his cure, and it was only by 

virtue of special intercession that he was later allowed 

to sojourn two months more at Petrograd, with the 

notice, however, that at the expiration of this period 

no further extension of his sojourn would be granted. 

 

In a long war lucky events alternate with unlucky 

ones, and in any case it is naturally useful to have scape- 

goats in reserve. For this purpose there exists the old 

firm; the Jew. Scarcely has the enemy reached our 

 

 

 

114 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

frontiers when the rumor is spread that Jewish gold 

is flowing over to the Germans, and that, too, in aero- 

planes, in coffins, and— in the entrails of geese! 

 

Scarcely had the enemy pressed further, than there 

appeared again beyond dispute the eternal Jew ”on the 

white horse,” perhaps the sam.e one who once rode on the 

white horse through the city in order to provoke a pogrom. 

The Jews have set up telephones, have destroyed the 

telegraph lines. The legend grew, and vvith the eager 

support of the powers of Government and the agitation 

in official circles, assumed ever greater proportions. A 

series of unprecedented, unheard of, cruel measures was 

adopted against the Jews. These measures, which were 

carried out before the eyes of the entire population, 

suggested to the people and to the army the recognition 

of the fact that the Jews were treated as enemies by the 

Government, and that the Jewish population was outside 

the law. 

 

In the first place these measures consisted of the 

complete transplanting of the Jewish population from 

many districts, to the very last man. These compulsory 

migrations took place in the Kingdom of Poland and in 

many other territories. All told, about a half million 

persons have been doomed to a state of beggary and 

vagabondage. Anyone who has seen with his own eyes 

how these expulsions take place, will never forget them 

as long as he lives. The exiling took place v/ithin twenty- 

four hours, sometimes within two days. Women, old 

men, and children, and sometimes invalids, were ban- 

ished. Even the feebleminded were taken from the 

lunatic asylums and the Jews were forced to take these 

with them. In jMohilnitse, 5,000 persons were expelled 

within twenty-four hours. Their way led to Warsaw 

through Kalwayra. IMcantirae they were forced to 

 

 

 

SPEECH OF DEPUTY FRIEDMAN 115 

 

travel across fields through the Government of Lublin, 

and were deprived of the possibiHty of taking along 

their inventories. Many were obliged to travel on foot. 

When they reached Lublin, the Jewish Committee there 

had pro\aded bread and food for them; but they were 

not allowed to tarry, and they had to travel on at 

once. 

 

On the way an accident occurred; a six-year-old 

child was lulled by a fall. The parents were not per- 

mitted to bury the child. 

 

I saw also the refugees of the Government of Kovno. 

Persons who only yesterday were still accounted wealthy 

were beggars the next day. Among the refugees I met 

Jewish women and girls, who had worked together with 

Russian women, had sewed garments with them and 

collected contributions with them, and who were now 

forced to encamp on the railway embankment. I saw 

families of reservists. I saw among the exiles wounded 

soldiers wearing the Cross of St. George. It is said 

that Jewish soldiers in marching through the PoHsh 

cities were forced to v/itness the expulsion of their wives 

and children. The Jews were loaded in freight cars 

like cattle. The bills of lading were worded as follows: 

“Four hundred and fifty Jews, en route to .” 

 

There were cases in which the Governors refused 

outright to take in the Jews at all. I myself was in Vilna 

at the very time when a whole trainload of Jews was 

stalled for four days in Novo-Wilejsk station. Those 

were Jews who had been sent from the Government of 

Kovno to the Government of Poltawa, but the Governor 

there v/ould not receive them and sent them back to 

Kovno, whence they were again reshippcd to Poltawa. 

Imagine, at a time when every railway car is needed for 

the transportation of munitions, when from all sides 

 

 

 

116 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

are heard complaints about the lack of means of trans- 

portation, the Government permits itself to do such a 

thing! At one station there stood 110 freight cars con- 

taining Jewish exiles. 

 

Another measure which likewise is unprecedented 

in the entire history of the civilized world, is the intro- 

duction of the so-called system of “Hostages,” and, 

indeed, hostages were taken not from the enemy, but 

from the country’s own subjects, its own citizens. Host- 

ages were taken in Radom, Kieltse, Lomscha, Kovno, 

Riga, LubHn, etc. The hostages were held under the 

most rigorous regime, and at present there are still under 

arrest in Poltava Jewish hostages from the Governments 

of Kieltse and Radom, 

 

Some time ago, in commenting upon the procedure 

against the Jews, the leader of the Opposition, even 

before the outbreak of the war, used the expression 

that we were approaching the times of Ferdinand and 

Isabella. I now assert that w^e have already surpassed 

that era. No Jewish blood was shed in defence of Spain, 

but ours flowed the moment the Jews helped defend the 

Fatherland. 

 

Yes, we are beyond the pale of the laws, we are 

oppressed, we have a hard life, but we know the source 

of that evil; it comes from those benches (pointing to 

the boxes of the Ministers). We are being oppressed 

by the Russian Government, not by the Russian people. 

Why, then, is it surprising if we wish to unite our des- 

tinies, not with that of the Russian Government, but 

with that of the Russian people? When three years 

ago there was pending here the Cholm law proposal, 

did the thought ever occur at the time to the sponsors 

of the bill that in a short time they would have to scrape 

and bow before free autonomous Poland? We likewise 

 

 

 

SPEECH OF BARON ROSEN 117 

 

hope that the time is not distant when we can be citizens 

of the Russian State with full equality of privileges 

with the free Russian people. 

 

Before the face of the entire country, before the 

entire civilized world, I declare that the calumnies against 

the Jews are the most repulsive lies and chimeras of 

persons who will have to be responsible for their crimes. 

[Applause on Left.] 

 

It depends upon you, gentlemen of the Imperial Duma, 

to speak the word of encouragement, to perform the 

action that can deliver the Jewish people from the terrible 

plight in which it is at present, and that can lead them 

back into the ranks of the Russian citizens who are 

defending their Fatherland. [Cries of “Right.”] 

 

I do not know if the Imperial Duma will so act, but if 

it does so act it will be fulfilling an obligation of honor 

and an act of wise statesmanship that is necessary for the 

profit and for the greatness of the Fatherland. [Applause 

on the Left.] 

 

III. 

 

ABSTRACT OF SPEECH OF BARON R. R. ROSEN 

IN THE COUNCIL OF THE EMPIRE* 

 

August 22 (September 4), 1915 

 

(Translation from “Retch,” No. 231, August 23 

(September 5), 1915) 

 

Baron Rosen began with the statement that while 

the question of supplies for the army and navy was 

paramount, there was nevertheless another side to it, 

and that was the question of the domestic policy of the 

 

* Baron Rosen was formerly Russian Ambassador to the United States. 

 

 

 

118 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

Empire. He reminded his hearers that in May, 1913, 

he had warned the Council of the Empire of the catas- 

trophe imminent in Europe, but that his statement 

had been met with ridicule and skepticism. The result 

of such an attitude in now obvious to all. In this great 

conflict, it has become clear that neither side will be 

able to crush the other, as was expected at the outset 

of this war. But even as it is, this war of extermination 

of the white race must, in the end, be decided in favor 

of one of the two parties at conflict. He thought that 

certain intangible elements entering into the question 

would be of great importance in the settlement of this 

war. Putting aside the political, economic and psychol- 

ogical questions that led to this conflict, he thought 

that the ultimate issue was the decision of the world 

to battle against the dictum of Germany that “might 

is greater than right and right is created only by might.” 

Under the circumstances, it would seem that the sym- 

pathies of the entire world should be on the side of the 

allies. But in reality this is not the case; and for this 

there are several reasons. 

 

“It is undoubtedly withm our power to do away with 

one of the factors militating against us in the public 

opinion of neutral countries. In the struggle that we, 

together with the most civilized nations of Europe, are 

waging against the Pan-Germanism, imperialism and 

absolutism, and for right and justice, for the liberty 

and independence of the weaker nations, we shall achieve 

the full sympathy of the civilized world only when we 

shall have put our inner front— if I may use that e:q)res- 

sion— on a level with the political ideology of our valiant 

allies; for instance, in the conduct of our polity with 

reference to the borderlands, and the so-called alien 

races composing its population.” 

 

 

 

SPEECH OF BARON ROSEN 119 

 

After stating that there were two diametrically opposed 

political systems, one current among the Allies and the 

other among the Germans, Baron Rosen continued: 

 

*’To the maximum injury of the true interests of Russia, 

we have adopted and have carried out unsu-ervingly the 

true German system of politics with reference to our 

borderlands and the so-called foreign races and foreign 

faiths, a policy which has been made even more perfect 

by the admixture of medieval religious intolerance, 

 

“It may be retorted that the fate of a campaign is 

decided by military power and not by the greater or 

lesser sympathy of neutral countries for the policy of 

a given state. The German Government does not think 

so; for otherwise it would not spend countless millions 

for pan-German propaganda in all the countries of the 

world, even the most remote. But we, on the other 

hand, not only fail to oppose anything to this propa- 

ganda, but by the course of our domestic policies we place 

in the hands of this propaganda powerful arguments 

for arousing against us public opinion of such comitries 

as the United States, the only great neutral power, and 

of Sweden, our neighbor. 

 

“It is inconceivable that the framers of our policy 

should fail to realize that the propaganda directed against 

us, conducted under official auspices and equipped with 

the amplest resources, will scarcely cause our own inter- 

ests and the interests of our Allies one-tenth of the harm 

which is caused to these interests by our attitude towards 

the Jewish population of Russia and our systematic 

violation of the legal conscience of the Finnish population 

— an attitude which smacks of the dark times of medie- 

valism. 

 

“The question now is, why did not the Government 

find it possible to put an end to this problem decisively 

 

 

 

120 THE JEWS IN THE EASTERN WAR ZONE 

 

and forever, as it has j&nally, and, alas, with such delay, 

settled the question of the autonomy of Poland? This 

may be explained only by the fact that the Government 

hesitated to break with the traditional policy so dear 

to the militant nationalism. 

 

“Accordingly the Duma and the Council are in duty 

bound to come to the aid of the Government in this 

regard and take upon themselves the initiative of intro- 

ducing a bill for the abolition of all laws restricting the 

rights of the Jews and for the abrogation of the law of 

July 17 (30) concerning Finland. The passage of these 

measures would undoubtedly lighten the heavy task 

now confronting the Government in the sphere of inter- 

national relations and it would be met by our valiant 

allies with the liveliest satisfaction. 

 

“We must remember that this great European war 

is not only a straggle of interests, but is also a struggle 

of ideas and principles. In the battle against German 

militarism, Russia has placed herself on the side of right 

and freedom, and for the triimiph of the idea for which 

we are now fighting, it is necessary that in Russia, too, 

there should be no longer any people without rights or 

any people oppressed.” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

L > n 

 

 

 

THE LIBRARY 

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA 

 

Santa Barbara 

 

 

 

.TJEUS BOOK IS DUE ON THE LAST DATE 

STAMPED BELOW. 

 

 

 

 

UC SOUTHERN REGIONAL LIBRARY FACILITY 

 

 

 

 

A A 000 292 243 3 

 

 

 

lili;!Hl:lilli’i^!ii;fiL> 

 

 

http://www.archive.org/stream/jewsineasternwar00amer/jewsineasternwar00amer_djvu.txt

 


Published on March 14, 2009 at 9:12 am  Leave a Comment  

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