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Title: The Jews in the Eastern War Zone
Author: Committee, American Jewish
Language: English
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[Illustration: Emblem of the American Jewish Committee]

The American Jewish Committee
New York



                       LOUIS MARSHALL, _President_
                 JULIAN W. MACK,     }
                 JACOB H. HOLLANDER, } _Vice-Presidents_
                     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, ILL.
           JUDAH L. MAGNES,                   NEW YORK, N. Y.
           LOUIS MARSHALL,                    NEW YORK, N. Y.
           JULIUS ROSENWALD,                    CHICAGO, ILL.
           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,                       PITTSBURGH, PA.

                   356 Second Avenue, New York City



    INTRODUCTION                                                 7


      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

      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-Semitism.
          —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.—Unfair
          administration of relief.

      THE PEOPLE VS. THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT                     70
            Anti-Jewish policy of the Government not approved
          by the people.—DUMA protests.—Resolutions of


        AUSTRIA-HUNGARY                                         84
            Russian atrocities in Galicia.

        ROUMANIA                                                89

        PALESTINE                                               93

        1. Report of Russian Jewish Relief Committee            98
        2. Speech of Deputy Friedman in the Duma               111
        3. Speech of Baron Rosen in Imperial Council           117



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 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, constitute 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 them by the May Laws of 1881. In front were hostile
Germany and Austria. To the south was unfriendly Roumania. They were
overwhelmed 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
overwhelmed 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 knouted 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.

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
indemnity. 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


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 enlarged 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 unfriendly 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.

                      Loyalty of Russian Jews

Then came the war. The Jews saw therein an opportunity 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 intelligence 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 distinction 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 oppressor; 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 developed into uncontrollable hate.

                        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 unprecedented even in Russia. A million Jews were driven from
their homes in a state of absolute destitution.

                     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
government to admit the Jews to human equality or at least to suspend
its policy of persecution. These memorials, together with the speeches
delivered in the Duma, constitute 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.)


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.


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 designed to prevent the
operations of Jewish grain speculators from Bukowina, 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 belligerent nations there is no doubt
that upon the termination of hostilities the question of Roumania’s
treatment of the Jews should be reopened.


At the outbreak of the war Palestine contained, according to reliable
estimates, about 100,000 Jews, some of whom were economically
independent agriculturists, 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 nationals of hostile countries. About 8,000 Jews who declined to
become Turkish subjects were either expelled or departed voluntarily.


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 completely 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 bestowal 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 identified
with every department of the industrial mobilization 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
autocratic 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.



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 government
  published in its official daily newspaper, “Pravitelstvenny Viestnik,”
  in its semi-official organ, “Novoe Vremya,” or in its several military

  2. Debates and Proceedings in the Imperial Duma and in the Council of
  the Empire, particularly evidence furnished by non-Jewish deputies or
  evidence of Jewish deputies that has passed unchallenged or has been
  challenged unsuccessfully by the Right benches.

  3. Statements in the Liberal Russian press and the Jewish press
  published in Russia, all of which have been rigorously censored.

  4. Protests and manifestoes of non-Jewish organizations, 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 acquired the great bulk of her Jewish population 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 live and travel even within this Ghetto,
she has virtually converted it into a penal settlement, where six
million human beings guilty only of adherence to the Jewish faith are
compelled to live out their lives in squalor and misery, in constant
terror of massacre, subject to the caprice of police officials and a
corrupt administration—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 régime. 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

                        THE PALE OF SETTLEMENT

At the beginning of the war the number of Jews in the Russian Empire
was estimated at six million 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 reality,
however, residence within the Pale was further restricted to such an
extent that territorially the =Jews were permitted to live in only one
two-thousandth part of the Russian Empire.=[1] 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 tremendous 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 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 grudgingly, with
galling limitations 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 explained, 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 concentration of these
  refugees, whose number has been growing ever greater, in the limited
  area now available 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 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 representation 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, =established because of the exigencies
  of the military situation,= must not, however, affect the capital
  cities,[2] and the localities under the jurisdiction of the Ministries
  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,
himself a Conservative, had presented the terrible condition 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 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 possibly go back to their old homes.[3]

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!”=[4] 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 unwarranted; that =the question of removing
all Jewish disabilities was never discussed; it is not particularly
important anyway; it was not even worked out for presentation to the
Duma.[5] Certain conditions, created by a state of affairs already
existing, had made it necessary 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 facilitating a foreign loan.=

Count A. Bobrinski, a Conservative member of the Imperial Council,
declared, in a statement to the editor of the “Dehn”:[6]

“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 this 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 mailèd 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 lies 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 military heroism,
have forgotten how they defended their Jerusalem. 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 like 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 politically blind.
Would it not be advantageous to Russia to throw into its scales these
nuggets of gold, these billions of the international bankers?...”[7]

The naïveté of these statements is ridiculed by the liberal press, led
by the Petrograd “Retch,” with the comment that “It is difficult for
the anti-Semites of yesterday 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.”=[8]

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 position of the Jews.=

The Jews are even under the provisions of the new decree 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 restrictions 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 Yekaterinodar 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 hardly give preference to Tashkent, already 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? Suppose 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 blacksmith 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 Smolensk 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
promulgation, and has consistently ignored it since. In practically
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

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 merchants,
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 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 discontinued the issuing of
special certificates, claiming that since all Jews have been granted
the right of residence 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 certificates 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

=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.”=

“Unfortunately,” it continues, “we tend to repeat our mistakes only
too often. When we do ‘submit’ to the demands of life 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
feeling 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 itself.”

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
enactment will not preserve the absurd limitations of the original

“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 little 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 “Courier”:

“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.”[11]

Even the extreme reactionary organ, “Kolokol,” which has hitherto been
most insistent in its demand that “True Russians” be protected from
Jewish competition by the confinement of Jews to the Pale, now declares:

“Abolish the Pale entirely. Even now it is, in fact, nothing but a
sieve. All of real ability in Jewry, every Jewish faculty sharpened
for the struggle for existence, easily escapes the Pale. But this
constant necessity for circumvention of the law only corrupts the Jews
and exasperates them.”[12]

The persons most affected, the six million 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 indignation at the humiliation and
persecution to which the Jews have been subjected since the beginning
of the war, we declare that the State can do justice to the Jews and
prevent further persecutions 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 political measure of relief 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 Kuzhi[13] 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 the real subject matter of the Jewish question. This measure is
only a slight relief in the condition 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 emphasized. =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 acknowledgment 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 governments, 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

“=Should our further 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 external which
sharply emphasize its enforced character. This measure is not one of
restoration; rather it is like 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 nationalities in Russia—not excepting
the semi-savage tribes—he alone needed _such_ a favor.

“At this time of profound mourning, upon the graves of thousands 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 normally imposed upon the Jews of Russia (with
the exception of certain specially designated—and numerically
negligible—fractions) subject them to the following principal

                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 administrative interpretation “towns” were often
designated as villages and the Jews expelled from them overnight. The
net result has been the congestion of the Jewish 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
competition 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 midnight or
early dawn (_oblavy_—literally “hunts”), accompanied by an excess of
brutality, made the life of these illegal residents one of fear and

(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 continually harassed by arbitrary police and judicial
measures which practically nullified their privilege. This class

_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

_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. Numerically insignificant to begin with, this class was further
reduced by police blackmail until it became almost negligible.

_Jewish graduates of Russian institutions of higher education._ The
operation of the “percentage” rule, however, reduces these to a
minimum. (See pp. 33–34.)

_Prostitutes._ Jewish women who have become prostitutes are permitted
to live outside the Pale.

                     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
enforcement of police measures against the Jews.

                    5. Educational Restrictions

Jews are not admitted to the secondary or higher educational
institutions and universities, except in proportions varying from 3
to 15 per cent. of the entire number of non-Jewish pupils. (For high
schools: 10 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 universities all over the Empire, about 3 per

=A ministerial decree issued in August, 1915, permits the children
of all Jews actively connected with 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 Merchants’ 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 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 disproportion.
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 themselves
in order to attend foreign universities.

                         6. Military Service

The Jews constitute only 4.05 per cent. of the population 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
($150) is placed upon each Jewish defection, and the whole family,
including parents and relatives by marriage of the person accused, is
held responsible therefor.

The results of these repressions and persecutions are known.
Politically outlawed, socially and economically degraded, the
Jewish population imprisoned in the 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 approximates a fifth of the Jewish population. In 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
improvement 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 community of Vilna, the
oldest in Russia, at the very heart of the Pale, issued in connection
with the establishment 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 families
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, beginning
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
lives.... 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 families of the
reservists. =We must care equally for all the soldiers of our glorious
army, without distinction 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,”[14] one of the leading Jewish organs in
Russia, issued this call:

=“We were born 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 forefathers, 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 Petrograd 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 universities 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 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 Jews for the sole
purpose of reminding us of the torments of the Savior, their number
must not increase under any circumstances.”=[15]

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.”=[16]

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 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 device 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 constitute
nearly half of the population. It happened, however, that in the city
of Lodz they unexpectedly elected one Jewish deputy, Bomash. The Jews,
therefore, 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,
affecting, 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.

                      Anti-Semitism in Poland

A significant observation upon the economic character of the
Polish-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 like ‘Dva Grosha’ accused all Jews of all sorts of crimes,
without protest from the Progressive press, and succeeded in arousing
the Polish 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 question 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

                         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 dismembered more than
a century before, but also an opportunity to avenge themselves on the
hated Jews. Just as the Russians had always played the Poles against
the Jews, so now the Poles hoped to play Russian, German, Austrian and
Jew against each other. It was indeed to the interest of both Russia
and Austria to 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.[18]

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.[19]

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 investigation.[20]

At Mariampol, near the East Prussia frontier, because of a similar
accusation, the entire Jewish male population, 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 holiday.)[21]

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.=[20]

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.[22]

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

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 absurdity was demonstrated on numerous occasions
before 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 demonstrated 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

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 Germans 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 was entirely false. All the other
charges were similarly disproved. It developed that they 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
officer. 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 malice by two
notorious gangsters, whose evidence was unworthy of any consideration.
All of the accused were therefore acquitted.[24]

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 without 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  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
telling 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 Polish 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 regeneration. If
they were not so painful to relate, I could give you a whole series of
such incidents.”

Even the Polish clergy, usually anti-Semitic, felt compelled 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 with the Russian authorities who had made numerous arrests
upon the denunciations of Polish 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 guarantee
the rights of the Jewish minority as well....”[25]

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.=[26]

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, vindictiveness, 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

                         The Kuzhi Case

But the Russian military authorities, seeking a scapegoat for their
own failures, eagerly seized upon the Polish stories, and gave them
official standing and wide circulation. The notorious Kuzhi incident
illustrates 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 government, 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 regiments 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 occupying. At the same time two of the
battalions, 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, refusing to surrender to the Germans, was killed. Our
reinforcements 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 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 sympathetic toward the Jews, were silent, as
no defense was possible in so black a case.

Then it occurred to someone to make an investigation. 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

=“I declare now from this rostrum that I personally went to the town
of Kuzhi to verify the accusation that the Jewish population of Kuzhi
had committed a treacherous assault on the Russian army, and I feel it
my duty to reiterate that this is but an ignominious slander. There
was no such case, and under local conditions there could be none.”=

But the refutation of the lie was not spread throughout Russia. It has
been consistently suppressed by the military 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:[28]

“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 Kurland, and more than 50
versts from the nearest point inhabitated by Jews. The Germans, we
know, moved to Shavli, 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 nonsense. Nor is it less obvious that this fiction
has been manufactured 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 line 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.

                         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” declined to
publish the telegram.[29]

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 government toward the
  Jews. At the very time that our sons are fighting in the ranks of the
  Russian 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 humiliation 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 preserve 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 outcast be
  removed from our faces and that we may be permitted, as loyal sons of
  our country, freed from all suspicion, to use our whole 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, in 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.[30]

Military orders like the following were common:

                             ORDER No. 89.

                    NOVOGEORGIEVSK, NOV. 27, 1914.

  “The German newspapers print articles declaring 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 harmful activities of the Jewish
  population, the Commander-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 whether there are any arrangements for wireless
  telegraphy, signaling, 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.”

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 arrested 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

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.

General P. Kurlov issued the following order in the Baltic provinces on
February 25, 1915:

                             ORDER No. 27

  “Of late, more and more anonymous denunciations 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 particularly criminal. By distracting the attention of officials
  from their necessary duties, these reports 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 anonymous denunciations except in extraordinary cases
  (Article 300 of the Criminal Code), but to forward these denunciations
  to me and wait for orders.

  “In the case of signed denunciations and reports, 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 examination, he should be dealt
  with according to Articles 250 to 261 of the Criminal Code, or the
  Governors should impose penalties in their administrative capacity. I
  order the police officials 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.”[32]


It appears also that the similarity of the Yiddish and German languages
further laid the Jews open to distrust. The use of Yiddish, in
conversation, in correspondence, 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 Paragraph 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.”[33]

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 prevented
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
stereotyped communications checked on the regulation postal card and
mailed by field-post.

At the beginning of the war the military censors assumed 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 Milyukov, Deputies Bomash, Suchanov 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

  1. It systematically expunged or mutilated the names of Jews to whom
  the cross of St. George had been awarded.[34]

  2. When the Mayor of Petrograd congratulated the Jewish community
  upon the heroic conduct of a lad of 13, named Kaufman, the censor
  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 suppressed 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 suppressed 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 item regarding the disapproval of the Council of Ministers of
  the policy of expelling Jews _en masse_ and of wholesale charges of
  treachery was also suppressed.

  7. Even the official declaration of Count Bobrinski, 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,” declared 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 Japanese
  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 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 preliminary 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 Jewish interest in
general, through the half dozen, or more, Jewish newspapers, which
managed to struggle on in spite of the repeated fines and suspensions
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

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 committed 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 own population.

From the very beginning of the war there were individual 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 authorities 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 governments 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, Friedman, 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 small towns was absolutely denuded of Jewish
inhabitants.[35] It was only the rapid invasion of this territory 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.[36]

The enforcement of the expulsion orders was carried out ruthlessly. The
time generally allowed was twenty-four hours, rarely forty-eight hours.
The Jewish inhabitants of the governments of Kurland and Kovno were
given from five to twenty-four hours’ notice.[37]

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 Officials

In a speech delivered in the Duma the non-Jewish deputy Dzubinsky

“As a representative of our 5th Siberian division I was myself on the
scene and can testify with what incredible cruelty the expulsion 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 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 innocent
victims;= among those who particularly distinguished themselves 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 officially reprimanded 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.”=[38]

No distinction of age, sex or physical condition was made. As most of
the able-bodied young 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 many 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 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 Petrograd Central Committee for the Relief of
Jewish War Sufferers, which was participated in by the most prominent
provincial committees, it was calculated that the total number of
homeless Jews ruined by the expulsion—in Poland and the northwestern
district—is 600,000 at the least.[39] After the Kovno-Kurland
expulsions there collected in the Vilna government alone some 200,000
exiles.[40] In Riga there gathered, by May 18 (31), some 9,600 families
or 42,000 persons.[41] Up to August 6, 1915, there collected in the
government of Volhynia upwards of 250,000 refugees.[42]


There is evidence to indicate that the Russian government, overwhelmed
by the consequences of the expulsion policy, has suggested to the
military authorities the advisability of repatriating the exiles;
but these authorities 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, together 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 insolent
enemy threw down the gauntlet to Russia the Jews arose to shield their
country with 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 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 this feeling
which I can testify under oath, on the basis of many conversations and
observations, is universal among us. =This permission to return under
shameful conditions is only a new and senseless insult. So the entire
Jewish population feels, and this feeling is shared by me, their

                         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. Most 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 a system of self-taxation which, added to their
normal—or rather normally excessive—burden of taxation is practically
impoverishing them. The small Jewish community 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

                  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 away, 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
population in the cities and from ten to fifteen per cent. in the rural
districts.[43] 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 Jewish Kehillah, which had refitted
the Roman Hotel for the purpose, has been running until now under
the official 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,”[44] 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 conscientiously if administered
by Polish hands. The Warsaw Committee is particularly distrusted, and
it would be extremely unpleasant for me to feel that the necessaries
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 September, 1915, its accounts showed
that it had distributed over eleven million roubles ($5,500,000)
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 absolutely 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 relief.=

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 precludes the shipment of any considerable quantities of
provisions to ameliorate the distress of the starving Jews of Poland.

                    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
  administrative 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 persons, accused of no crime and illegally

  =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, including
  children, aged men and women, and invalids were compelled to follow

  =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
  exhaustion 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 required 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?=

  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

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 interpellation 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.[45]

Professor Milyukov, 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 play
upon the obscure racial prejudices of the masses, with the customary
weapon of this kind of strife—anti-Semitism and the persecution of
all dissenting nationalities or religions—has been exercised with
unparalleled effrontery. Under the mask of military 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 nationalities. But =did not our government, 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 régime 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 like Myasoyodyeff, Grotgus and other traitors, betrayed

“This is supposed to be a war for liberty, 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 ‘Pravitelstvenny Viestnik?’=

=“In the name of what truth are the various periodical publications
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 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 humanity are Jewish-Russian subjects
taken as hostages and put into prisons and tortured and shot?=

=“We denounced the Germans for having destroyed Louvain and the
Cathedral of Rheims; but I ask you in the name of what 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.)


The leading political party of Russia—the Constitutional 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 outbreak of the war, continues:

  “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
  prejudices of the Government and to have cleared the way for the
  recognition in Russia, of that civic equality which is accorded the
  Jews throughout the civilized world. But this would have deprived
  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 notorious Jew-baiters
  measures were early adopted by the Government to set the army and the
  people against the Jews. Every advantage was taken of the exigencies
  of war. Isolated cases of espionage, likely to occur among the border
  populations 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 collectively 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
  harmony so necessary where different nationalities are fated to live
  under the shelter of a common government; not 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 opposition 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 distract 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 government—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.”

=“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 lived here for hundreds of years. We are patriots
because we feel ourselves bound to Russia. We believe in Russia even
more than you do.”=


Various municipalities outside the Pale have petitioned 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 government “to abolish all measures which restrict the
rights of Russian 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 families fleeing from devastated Poland, but even to the
soldiers themselves who are placed _hors de combat_ because of their
wounds, after having valiantly 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 live there without means or medical attention,
although he is threatened with tuberculosis.... This is merely one
case in thousands which prove to us the horrors of the situation in
which Jewish soldiers and their families 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 million 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, 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
our city life is seriously retarded by the restrictions placed upon
  one part of the population....”=[46]

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.[47]

In August, 1914, the Moscow Conference of Mayors also forcibly
condemned the expulsion policy of some governors and resolved to use
its influence to ameliorate the position of the Jews.[48]

So also the Congress of Delegates from cities of Western Siberia
petitioned for the abolition of all Jewish disabilities.[49]

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.


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 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 altogether unorganized, as
the army well 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 accomplish 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 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 therefore 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 convention.[50]

At a meeting of the Free Economic Society—the foremost economic
organization of Russia—on January 16, 1915, the following resolution
was adopted unanimously:

“The Commission ... has taken into account the exceptionally difficult
position in which the Jewish population finds itself, in view of the
residence restrictions to which they are subject.

“While they are suffering all 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 military activities,
but far beyond.

“Under these conditions it would be a great relief 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 unlimited 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 exceptional
time artificially confined to the cities of Poland and the western
provinces by force of existing legal limitations which increases 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 is all the more
difficult to reconcile ourselves with them at the present time, when
hundreds and thousands of Jews serve under the Russian banners on the

“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

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 government to liberate the economic talents of the
Jews by the removal of all legal restrictions.


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:

“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 believe that the blood of the fighters is not being shed in
vain. We believe 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 believe, 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

“But at this moment, so important in history, we see with sorrow and
consternation that to the sufferings of one of the nationalities
inhabiting Russia new distress and new vexations are added. The
limitation 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 limitations 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 their sincere desire to be with
us, to render service to our cause ... that the limitation of their
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 will the power of Russia become

=“Russians, let us remember that the Russian Jew has no other country
than Russia, and that nothing is dearer to a man than the soil on
which he is born. Let us understand that the prosperity 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 disappearance of persecutions
against the Jews and their complete emancipation will form one of the
conditions of a truly constructive imperial régime.”=


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

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
volunteered, 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 officers’ commissions.


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. The Russian
Governor-General, Count Bobrinski, a notorious anti-Semite, found the
political 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
immediately 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’ imprisonment.”=[52]

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 January, 1915, a
detachment of Austro-Polish troops. They demanded food and quarters and
were, of course, supplied. 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 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.[53]

In Szczerzec, Galicia, the Russian soldiers caught one Jacob Mischel, a
town councillor, poured oil over him and burned him alive.[54]

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.[55]

These are typical cases of outrages perpetrated against the 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 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.


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 territories, 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 beginning of July, 1915, the
Government issued an order to the administrative authorities of all
the districts bordering on Austria-Hungary to expel all the Jews from
the localities 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 were not permitted to take their
belongings with them, and even 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 established 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 established 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 alien subjects of a foreign country, and the
native-born Jews who, though not living 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
living 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 publish a list 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 like
to know what punishment to inflict upon his subordinates 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 dangerous
acts. We know that the law punishes crimes and delinquencies which
_have_ been committed, but does not anticipate crimes that _may_ be
committed. Then again, the law provides strict punishment for each
delinquency 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 punishment is
applied to the alien and such Jews as are only doing business though
not living in those places. It means that the suspicion rests equally
upon the alien 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 anomolous 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
then signed by all the great Powers of Europe, the following articles
were inserted:

XLIII. The High contracting parties recognize the independence of
Roumania, subject to the conditions set forth in the two following

XLIV. In Roumania the difference of religious 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 political
rights, admission to public employments, functions and honors, or the
exercise of the various professions and industries in any locality

“The freedom and outward exercise of all 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
all the Powers, traders or others, shall be treated in Roumania,
without distinction of creed, on a footing of perfect equality.”

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
violations of this treaty on the part of the Roumanian Government may
be considered by the Powers whose honor is thus flaunted by an open
violation of a treaty to which they solemnly became parties.


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 impossible 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 assistance,
as they are largely men of certain means and can help themselves.
Furthermore, they are able to obtain their bank deposits in the
following 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 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 is
impossible to determine the exact percentage of unemployed amongst
them, but even if we assume that only half of them are out of
employment, 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 colonies 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 threatened.

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 souvenirs are completely
stopped, owing to want of customers, and there is no money to conduct
industries such as building, carpentering, tailoring and shoemaking,
in which large numbers of Jews are employed. I found that the better
class of Jews had themselves organized temporary relief, 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 purchase 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.

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 Committee 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 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 responsible for this
result. After considerable discussion with the government 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 relief 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 believe that Palestine will now be able to hold its
own in the matter of food, without depending on further shipments from
America. There is still 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 systematically.

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 communications
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 before Passover, the price of
flour had soared up as high as 65 francs, 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 relief, public 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,
canalization 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 circumstances. 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 Jerusalem, 1,500
from the Judean colonies and 500 from the colonies in Galilee. 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.




  _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 conditions in Russia and Poland
  have steadily grown worse. The authoritativeness of the report is
  guaranteed by the personnel 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
  Committee; 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 hundred 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 unfortunate 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 milliard roubles
($500,000,000).= Besides the terrible losses sustained by the rural
population, the whole industrial production, amounting 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 Bessarabia, Podolia
and Volynia in the southern and southwestern regions. These provinces,
bordering upon Germany 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 corner, 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 returning,
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 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

Infinitely tragic too is the fate of those Jews who, by rigorous
orders of the military 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 belongings,
the fruit of years of hard toil, an open prey, the unfortunate exiles
by the thousands wend 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 belongings 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 by the roadside 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
sufferings of those who survive. Scarcely have they found shelter in a
hospitable town or townlet when—alas! 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 pilgrimage....

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 (Suvalki)    1,500 people[56]
  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 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 factories 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 without 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 merchants—great and
small—are ruined; hundreds of merchant’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 are receiving but
scanty support (about 2 roubles a head) from the Government. About
half of them, however, are not getting any Government aid at all,
their marriages, although legally solemnized, 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
their marriages registered, failing to realize the full importance
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 infinitesimal as compared with the magnitude of the

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 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 responsiveness and material
support has been forthcoming in as large a measure as individual means
and circumstances would permit.

Committees, similar to the General Committee, working 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 outside it meet periodically in order to
discuss new measures and schemes for the alleviation of the terrible

The conditions and extent of distress in towns, townlets 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 community 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, 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 complete 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 prominent 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

Similar conditions prevail in the Galician Provinces within Russian

=“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 in the war area—and the difficulties that the
organization of relief has to cope with will stand out in their full

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
denomination. (The money for this purpose has been received from London
with the express condition that no distinction be made between Jews and

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 Government 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 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 Settlement
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 enlarged, considerable means will be required for the

At the present moment the General Relief Committee, working in close
cooperation with the committees 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
      being accessible to relief work)          25
    Province Kielce (only part of it
      being accessible to relief work)          12
    Province Radom                              15
    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

  =Southwestern Province—=
    Province: Podolia, Bessarabia and
      Volynia (Border districts)                10

    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
    Warsaw                                       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 small places                           5,000
                                                  ——————  31,000

  =Northwestern Province—=
    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
     returning 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[57]
  =Assistance to clerks of Jewish Cooperative
     Societies= (affected by the war)                      1,000
  =Organization and support of sanitary and feeding
     expeditions= (two expeditions)                       50,000
              =Total=                                    914,000

  Expenditure of the Moscow, Odessa, Kiev Committees     350,000

According to approximate estimates within the next months the
General Jewish Relief Committee, working conjointly with the Jewish
Committees in Moscow, Kiev 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

    =Outside war area=                       From  10,000 to  15,000
    =Restoration of trade and industry
       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 relief
organizations in Russia thus stand before the alarming problem: whence
to obtain adequate funds to satisfy the ever growing demand. This
problem becomes the more urgent as new forms of relief 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 willing 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....



                          (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 mobilized their entire enrollment, but, indeed, with this
difference, 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
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

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 freedom 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 expression in numerous
appeals and manifestations in the 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 thousands of Jews who
shed their blood on the field of battle.

Instead of that, however, we see that from the beginning 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 women whose husbands, children, and brothers, were
shedding their blood for the fatherland.= A wounded soldier named
Alexander Roskhov, who had been shot in the eye, came to Charkof for
further treatment. On his passport were the words, “To be sent to a
settlement.” 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,
already under German occupation; and it was only due to the activities
of the Rural League that he was permitted to stay. An apothecary’s
helper, who likewise had been wounded on the battlefield, was not
allowed to remain in Petrograd 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 scapegoats in reserve. For this purpose
there exists the old firm; the Jew. Scarcely has the enemy reached our
frontiers when the rumor is spread that Jewish gold is flowing over
to the Germans, and that, too, in aeroplanes, 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 same
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 with 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 within
twenty-four hours, sometimes within two days. Women, old men, and
children, and sometimes invalids, were banished. Even the feebleminded
were taken from the lunatic asylums and the Jews were forced to take
these with them.= In Mohilnitse, 5,000 persons were expelled within
twenty-four hours. Their way led to Warsaw through Kalwayra. Meantime
they were forced to travel across fields through the Government of
Lublin, and were deprived of the possibility of taking along their
inventories. Many were obliged to travel on foot. When they reached
Lublin, the Jewish Committee there had provided bread and food for
them; but they were not allowed to tarry, and they had to travel on at

On the way an accident occurred; a six-year-old child was killed by a
fall. The parents were not permitted 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 Polish cities were forced to witness 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 would not receive
them and sent them back to Kovno, whence they were again reshipped to
Poltawa. Imagine, at a time when every railway car is needed for the
transportation of munitions, when from all sides are heard complaints
about the lack of means of transportation, the Government permits
itself to do such a thing! At one station there stood 110 freight cars
containing Jewish exiles.

Another measure which likewise is unprecedented in the entire history
of the civilized world, is the introduction 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. Hostages were taken
in Radom, Kieltse, Lomscha, Kovno, Riga, Lublin, etc. The hostages were
held under the most rigorous régime, 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 we 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 destinies, 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 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.]


                   IN THE COUNCIL OF THE EMPIRE[59]

                    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 Empire. He reminded his hearers that in May, 1913, he had
warned the Council of the Empire of the catastrophe imminent in Europe,
but that his statement had been met with ridicule and skepticism.
The result of such an attitude is 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 psychological 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 sympathies 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 within 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 expression—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.”

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 unswervingly 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
propaganda, 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 countries 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 interests 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 medievalism.=

“The question now is, why did not the Government find it possible to
put an end to this problem decisively and forever, as it has finally,
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

“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 introducing 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 international 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 struggle
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 triumph 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.”=


[1] “Legal Sufferings of the Jews in Russia”; edited by Lucien Wolf.
London, T. Fisher Unwin, 1912.

[2] Petrograd and Moscow.—Ed.

[3] Petrograd “Retch,” Aug. 8 (21), 1915.

[4] Petrograd “Retch,” Aug. 14 (27), 1915.

[5] This has reference to that section of the “Constitution” of 1905,
which empowers the government to issue ministerial decrees while the
Duma is not in session, but requires it to introduce corresponding
legislation in the Duma within six months after the ministerial decree
has been published.

[6] “Reform Advocate,” Nov. 13, 1915. (Tr. from the French).

[7] Quoted from “Retch,” Aug. 9 (22), 1915.

[8] “Retch,” Aug. 9 (22), 1915.

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

[10] “Evreyskaya Zhizn,” Nov. 8 (21), 1915.

[11] Quoted from “Evreyskaya Zhizn,” Aug. 23 (Sept. 5), 1915, pp. 10–12.

[12] Quoted from “Retch,” Aug. 9 (22), 1915.

[13] See page 48.

[14] September 24 (Oct. 7), 1914.

[15] Friedlaender, “The Jews of Russia and Poland,” p. 38.

[16] _Ibid._, p. 57.

[17] “Rasviet,” December 5 (18), 1914, p. 12.

[18] George Brandes in “Politiken,” Nov., 1914.

[19] “Russkaya Viedomosti,” Oct. 2 (15), 1914, p. 20. “Novy Voskhod,”
Oct. 2 (15), 1914, p. 21.

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

[21] “Rasviet,” Dec. 5 (18), 1914, p. 18.

[22] “Rasviet,” March 29 (April 11), 1914, p. 20.

[23] “Politiken,” Nov. 1, 1914.

[24] “Rasviet,” April 12 (25), 1915, pp. 18–19; “Novy Voskhod,” April
10 (23), 1915, pp. 29–30.

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

[26] “Rasviet,” Feb. 1 (14), 1915, p. 39.

[27] “Rasviet,” Apr. 26 (May 9), 1915, p. 24.

[28] Quoted from “Retch,” May 10 (23), 1915.

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

[30] “Novy Voskhod,” April 24 (May 7), 1915.

[31] “Nasha Slovo,” June 24, 1915.

[32] “Retch,” May 8 (21), 1915.

[33] “Evreyskaya Zhizn,” July 19 (Aug. 2), 1915, p. 42.

[34] Here is a list taken at random from an issue of “Rasviet,” 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 fourth grade crosses
of St. George, and promoted to be sub-officer.

For delivering despatches from the Staff to his battalion 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.

[35] “Ziemia Lubelska,” April 23 (May 6), 1915.

[36] “Retch.” May 10 (23), 1915.

[37] “Evreyskaya Nedelya,” June 14 (27), 1915.

[38] “Evreyskaya Zhizn,” Aug. 9, 1915, p. 19–20.

[39] “Hajnt,” May 21 (June 3), 1915.

[40] “Evreyskaya Nedelya,” May 31 (June 13), 1915.

[41] “Evreyskaya Nedelya,” June 14 (27), 1915.

[42] “Retch,” Aug. 6 (19), 1915.

[43] “Rasviet,” January 4 (17), 1915, p. 31–2.

[44] July 5 (18), 1915, pp. 30–31.

[45] Stenographic report of the Proceedings of the Duma.

[46] “Novy Voskhod,” Dec. 30, 1914 (Jan. 12, 1915), p. 22–24.

[47] “Novy Voskhod,” Sept. 4, 1914, p. 15.

[48] “Novy Voskhod,” Aug. 14 (27), 1914, p. 24–25.

[49] “Novy Voskhod,” April 24 (May 7), 1915, p. 30.

[50] “Retch,” July 28 (Aug. 10), 1915; “Birzhevyia Viedomosti,” Aug. 26
(Sept. 8), 1915.

[51] “Rasviet”, Jan. 25 (Feb. 7), 1915.

[52] “Prikarpatskia Russ”.

[53] “Judisches Archiv,” p. 5.

[54] “Judisches Archiv,” p. 6.

[55] “Judisches Archiv,” p. 10.

[56] At moment of investigation.

[57] Besides the sums granted to the cooperative credit societies by
the Jewish Colonization Association.

[58] Towards these expenses Russian Jewry has contributed a little over
a million roubles.

[59] Baron Rosen was formerly Russian Ambassador to the United States.

      *      *      *      *      *      *

Transcriber’s note:

Obvious punctuation errors in the transcribed text have been corrected.

Other errors have been corrected as follows:

  Page 3 – “Pittsburg” changed to “Pittsburgh”

  Page 31 – “is it” changed to “it is” (rather it is like a rag thrown
            to the victim)

  Page 43 – 3rd and 4th footnotes swapped to correspond with anchor
           ordering in text.

  Page 57 – “Miliukov” changed to “Milyukov” (in the Duma by Professor

  Page 59 – “Japenese” changed to “Japanese” (during the Japanese war)

  Page 62 – “Evreiskaya Nedelya” changed to “Evreyskaya Nedelya” in
            footnote 37

  Page 72 – “Miliukov” changed to “Milyukov” (Professor Milyukov, the
            leader of the Constitutional Democrats)

  Page 98 – “lossses” changed to “losses” (terrible losses sustained)

Source material used in this book has been translated from a number
of languages including Polish, Russian and Yiddish. Hence there are
variations in the spelling of words and this is particularly apparent
in the rendering of place names. The following variations in the
spelling of words and place names have been left unchanged:

  “Bialystock”, “Bialostock”

  “Cholm”, “Kholm”

  “Kehillas”, “Kehillah”

  “Kielce”, “Kieltse”

  “Liublin”, “Lublin”

  “Lomza”, “Lomzha”, “Lomsha”, “Lomscha”

  “Plotsk”, “Plotzk”

  “Poltava”, “Poltawa”

  “Rostov”, “Rostof”

  “Volhynia”, “Volynia”

Archaic usage, unusual/inconsistent hyphenation, other variations
that have been left unchanged:

  “amid”, “amidst”, “among”, “amongst”, “anomolous”

  “corn growing”, “corn-growing”

  “court martial”, “court-martial”

  “despatches”, “esthetic”, “feebleminded”

  “ever growing”, “ever-growing”

  “half naked”, “half-naked”

  “inhabitated”, “inhabitating”

  “manifestoes” (as the plural of “manifesto”)

  “RUSSIAN-JEWISH RELIEF COMMITTEE”, “Russian Jewish Relief Committee”,
  “Russian Jewish Committee”, “Russian-Jewish Refugees”,
  “Russian Jewish soldiers”, “Russian Jewish Weekly”


  “today”, “To-day”, “toward”, “towards”

A redundant column header in a table starting on page 107 and
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the end of the book.

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cover and is placed in the public domain.

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