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Russians, Jews, and the Pogroms of 1881-1882
Russians, Jews, and the Pogroms of 1881-1882
by John Klier
Edition: Hardcover
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4.0 out of 5 stars Encyclopedic Detail on Russian Pogroms. Conspiracies Rejected. Blame-Christianity Myth Rejected, August 21, 2014
This work examines the pogroms in tsarist Russia, and does so from various angles. Author John Doyle Klier includes a map of the pogrom occurrences, as well as a catalogue of archival descriptions of many of the events. He strongly rejects conspiracy theories that blame the pogroms on the tsarist Russian government and its supposed attempts to scapegoat the Jews for Russia's problems. He analyzes the pogroms in terms of the reactions of local friends and foes of the Jews, evaluates the government commissions that studied the pogroms, and comments on international reactions to the pogroms. Finally, the author places the pogroms in the broader context of the place of Jews in Russian society.

Klier warns against exaggerating the pogroms. He quips, (quote) Yet when applied indiscriminately to events in Eastern Europe, the term can be misleading, the more so when it implies that "pogroms" were regular events in the region and that they always shared common features. In fact, outbreaks of mass violence against Jews were extraordinary events, not a regular feature of East European life. (unquote). (p. 58).


A few of the pogroms in Russia were associated with the desecration of Jewish religious symbols. In other cases, the synagogues were the only Jewish buildings spared. (pp. 69-70).

Pointedly, author Klier categorically rejects popular attempts to blame hostility towards Jews on traditional Christian teachings about Jews. He comments, (quote) It has not been difficult to fit the pogroms into the context of Russian religious prejudice and fanaticism, the much-invoked "traditional Russian religious anti-Semitism". This was a common assessment by Jewish publicists who could decry the pogroms as a medieval atavism, destined to soon disappear as human progress advanced in Russia. Available evidence suggests that religious considerations did not figure prominently as a trigger for pogroms. In particular, the model of peasants emerging from the Russian Orthodox Paschal service intent on settling scores with the "Christ-killing Jews" is nowhere to be found in any pogrom report. (unquote). (p. 68).

It is manifestly incorrect to suppose that the Church encouraged anti-Semitism as a means of solidifying its hold on the masses. Klier writes, (quote) Almost without exception, Russian Orthodox clergy intervened to defuse pogrom situations, sometimes at risk to their own person. The clergy were ordered by the Holy Synod to preach anti-pogrom sermons, and a number of Russian Orthodox clergy were given medals and commendations for their efforts to prevent pogroms. (unquote). (p. 68).

Nor does the common association of Christian holidays with pogroms imply a religious-based cause-effect relationship. Klier writes, (quote) When violence flared up, it was invariably within the alcohol-fueled, carnivalesque atmosphere of Bright Week, far removed from the pious religiosity that was the Paschal ideal...Thus, religious celebrations provided not so much the cause as the occasion for anti-Jewish violence...There were additional reasons why pogroms tended to occur during religious festival periods: They were coterminous with fairs, market days, and hiring fairs which brought large crowds of Jews and non-Jews together and provided ample occasion for fights and squabbles. In the charged, post-regicide conditions of 1881-1882, fights possessed a higher potential to escalate into more serious forms of violence. (unquote). (p. 68, 70. See also p. 18).

Although not written in this context, John Doyle Klier's perceptive comments serve as a broad-based corrective to the anti-Christian (and anti-Polish) tendencies found in much contemporary Holocaust-related thinking. A notable recent example of the latter is neo-Stalinist Jan T. Gross, who regularly attacks Polish Catholicism in terms of Polish conduct towards Jews.


Which issues involving Jews were specifically Jewish, and which were not? The role of the Jews in the alcohol trade (PROPINACJA) deserves mention. One quoted exculpatory premise stated that the nationality of the tavern owner did not matter, as alcoholism was a common Russian problem even in Jewish-free areas of the Russian Empire. Contrary to this, Klier remarks, (quote) The Vilna [Wilno, Vilnius] commission prepared the most detailed and critical report on the Jewish tavern trade. The report consciously refuted the most common line of defense of Jewish spokesmen, the use of statistics to prove that alcohol abuse was greater outside the Pale. (unquote). (p. 190). [The reader should also appreciate the diffusion of cultural trends, in space and time. If widespread use (and misuse) of alcohol, among many groups of Slavs, developed under the considerable influence of Jewish tavernkeepers, then one should expect this "culture" of alcoholic consumption to diffuse to Slavic-inhabited locations that have no Jews, and even to continue when there were no more Jewish innkeepers.]


Klier delves into the role of Jews in Russian society, and focuses on the efforts to improve Jewish-gentile relations. Various perspectives are presented. For example, one article in a Russian newspaper in 1881 rejected the supposition that Jewish assimilation, and the granting of full legal rights to the Jews, would reconcile Jews and the goyim. Instead, it pointed to the vast size of the Jewish population, facilitated in part by a high Jewish birthrate, and the Jewish talent in trade and commerce, one that the economically underdeveloped Russian countryside could not accommodate. Only mass Jewish emigration, to places such as the USA, could solve the Jewish problem. (p. 148).

In a similar vein, liberal newspapers complained about the compulsory settling of Jews in the Pale, and how the resulting overcrowding forced Jews to exploit and devour others through competition in crafts and petty trade, and to engage in other objectionable behaviors. (p. 144). [This massive overcrowding of Jews in the western part of the Russian Empire, and the resulting problems, were later inherited by the resurrected Polish state (1918-1939), and only ended by the Nazi German-made Holocaust (1941-1945).]

Poland: Land Of The White Eagle
Poland: Land Of The White Eagle
by Edward C. Corsi
Edition: Paperback
Price: $28.76
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5.0 out of 5 stars Former Kosciuszko Squadron Commander Assesses Poland, With Fascinating Insights, August 19, 2014
My review is based on original 1933 edition. The author was a Polonophile American who was obviously fascinated with Poland. In a spirit of repaying the newly-resurrected Polish state for the earlier services of Kosciuszko and Pulaski to America, he had offered his services to Poland, and served as a flight commander of the Kosciuszko Squadron. This book provides countless details on the history, geography, and culture of Poland. It also includes seldom-mentioned details. I focus on these in my review.

The reader learns much about Krakow. The author considers Wit Stwosz to be the Polish Michelangelo. (p. 175).

Edward C. Corsi cites the German Major-General Koehler. He acknowledged the fact that, in 1308, the Teutonic Knights took Gdansk by storm, and massacred ten thousand Poles, after the manner of Genghis Khan. (p. 18).

The author discusses Polish kings and their policies. For instance, he points out that Stefan Batory made it easier for the Polish peasant to become a landowner and be granted the right to vote, thus transforming the peasant into a noble. (p. 31).

Owing to the devastation that Poland later experienced in WWII, the earlier devastation of Poland during WWI has been overshadowed. Corsi elaborates on the latter. He also provides a detailed inventory of returned Polish cultural items that had earlier been confiscated by Russia during over a century of partition. (pp. 108-109). [Of course, only a fraction of the stolen items were ever returned.]

Corsi also details the Russians' systematic sacking of the Royal Castle in Warsaw. (pp. 165). [This anticipated the sacking, and blowing up, of the Royal Castle, by the Germans during WWII. Not until decades later did the Soviet-imposed Communist authorities allow its rebuilding.]

Some specific topics:


As Poland was resurrected, the Germans made a big fuss about the "injustices" of the "Polish Corridor", and Danzig (Gdansk) not being awarded to Germany. [Later, Hitler used this as a pretext for attacking Poland in 1939, even though his real motive was lebensraum.] In rebuttal, Corsi cites even German sources that prove that 90% of the population of the Corridor was ethnically Polish (pp. 138-139), and provides examples of "corridors", in other nations, that attract no attention. (p. 139).

As for the "eternally German" claims, Corsi shows that, if anything, the opposite was true, (quote) That the Baltic coast was settled by Slavonic population as early as the second century A. D. was recorded by the historian Ptolemy. Danzig was mentioned for the first time in history in A. D. 997 in VITA S. ADALBERTI as "Gyddanyzc". Together with all the surrounding territory it belonged to Poland for eight ensuing centuries, until the second partition in 1793, except for an interval of one hundred and forty-six years (1308-1454), when it was detached by force and passed under the rule of the Teutonic Order. The derivation of the word Danzig furnishes us with an argument proving that it is of Slavic origin and not Teutonic. It is combined of two Slavic words, "ku" meaning TOWARDS and "dana" meaning WATER. Therefore the Polish Gdansk, formerly K'dansko, means on the seacoast. This statement is verified by the eminent German historian P. Simson... (unquote). (p. 137).

Edward C. Corsi continues, (quote) The name "Pomerania" or "Pomerelia", German "Pommern" is meaningless. But the Polish Pomorze signifies a land on or by the sea: "po" meaning on OR by, and "morze" meaning sea. (unquote). (p. 137).


(Quote) The stories of Paul Revere and the Polish hero, Michinski, are parallel in many ways. Paul Revere rode through the countryside informing the people of the approach of the British; Michinski galloped through the highways of Cracow [Krakow] warning the natives of the approach of the Turks [Tatars?]. The Bostonians each year celebrate the achievements of Paul Revere; Cracowians likewise perpetuate the story of the deeds of Michinski by an annual celebration. (unquote). (p. 175).


(Quote) Vilna, sometimes called the "outpost of Polish culture", is situated in the northeast of Poland...Of St. Ann's Napoleon, struck by its beauty, said, "If I could, I would carry this church to Paris in my hands." (unquote). (p. 170).


(Quote) On the outskirts of the City [of Krakow] stands the Kosciuszko Mound, built a century ago by the people of Poland who constructed it, transporting the dirt themselves until it was one hundred feet high. On the crest of the mound is a small pile of dirt taken from the battlefields of Yorktown and Saratoga and placed there on July 4, 1926, to commemorate the one hundred and sixtieth anniversary of American Independence. (unquote). (p. 176).


(Quote) On July 4, 1931--the anniversary of the Independence of the United States of America--a monument to Woodrow Wilson was unveiled at Wilson Park [in Poznan]...The monument was the thoughtful gift of Ignacy Jan Paderewski and it gave the people of Poland the opportunity of expressing their appreciation to Woodrow Wilson and America for the part they played in aiding Poland to gain her independence. (unquote). (pp. 183-184). [A few years later, the conquering Germans destroyed the statue, and, later, the Soviet-imposed Communist authorities gave the park a different name.]

The White Eagle of Poland
The White Eagle of Poland
by Edward Frederic Benson
Edition: Paperback
Price: $19.79
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Belligerents on Polish Territory at the Time of WWI, and Early WWI Pro-German Jewish Attitudes, August 17, 2014
My review is based on the original 1919 edition. This work provides much detail on the policies of the major powers during WWI in relation to foreign-ruled Poland, especially that of the German military government. Author Benson also touches on early potential plans to resurrect the Polish state in partial form. Finally, he apportions the blame, for the negative aspects of Polish-Jewish relations, to both sides. Let us focus on this subject:


The author evaluates the antipathy of Poland's Jews to the impending resurrection of the Polish state, and their pro-German orientation. (pp. 66-67; 152-153). He attributes this in part to the hostility of Poles to Jews (though he qualifies this, as quoted below, in mentioning Jewish conduct during the November 1830 and January 1863 Insurrections against tsarist Russian rule). He also points to the favors that the Germans had recently bestowed on the Jews of formerly Russian-occupied Poland, though elsewhere (p. 96, 153, 180), he recognizes this as a German tactic designed to solidify their rule over Polish territory.

Author Benson entirely fails to mention German anti-Semitism, and does not explain, if Jews were so animated by concern with anti-Semitism when it came from the Poles and the Russians, why the Jews evidently turned a blind eye to German anti-Semitism. He does mention the severe recent exploitation of the Lithuanian Jews by the Germans (p. 96; pp. 172-173), but again fails to explain why the Jews elsewhere overlooked it in their embrace of the Germans.

However, Benson does provide some tacit answers to the foregoing questions. He notes that the Jewish attitude against Poland and in favor of Germany stemmed in part from economic self-interest. He comments, (quote) She [Germany] has given them greater liberty and rights than they enjoyed in Russian Poland before; she has admitted them to the Council of State, she has founded Jewish schools, and above all she has given them "business". (unquote). (p. 67).


Benson continues, (quote) In both Poland and Russia she [Germany] has employed the Jews on the mission of disintegration with the success that up till now has always attended the policy of Mittel-Europa, and to-day the Judaic interest in the question of Poland cannot, in the very nature of things, be pro-Polish. POUR LE BON MOTIF, that is to say, for the interest of the nation, they support the German interest here, there and elsewhere, on patriotic grounds....In Russia similarly they have played Germany's game, both by aiding and abetting the Bolsheviks while they were Germany's tools, and by persistently making bad blood between the Poles there and the Russians. (unquote). (p. 67).


Benson continues, (quote) They [Jews] have no national territory at stake; they are but the mistletoe, a strong parasitic growth, on other trees, and, as regards Poland, they have selected the tree that they consider the most likely to give them nutriment. That tree is Germany...It is only necessary to note that the Jews of the whole of Poland as an independent united state, have put their money on Germany, because they believe that Germany will control the destinies of these territories. (unquote). (pp. 67-69).


Benson continues, (quote) But the Jews in the Kingdom of Poland are not only Pro-German but also anti-Polish, and it is noticeable that, whereas all Jews in German Poland declare themselves German, when a census was taken at Lodz after the German occupation, only 2,300 Jews declared themselves Poles, while 153,000 declared themselves Jews. The Poles claim that originally they were tolerant and hospitable to Jews, but that in the insurrections of 1830 and 1863, the latter sided against them with the Russians, and that during the last twenty years they have consistently organized themselves as a separate nationality, showing marked hostility to the Poles. (unquote). (p. 69).


Benson continues, (quote) About 1907 they [Jews] began a boycotting policy against Poles, forbidding their countrymen, for instance, to consult Polish doctors, and in 1909 when the Poles proclaimed a boycott of German products in Poland, this boycott failed because the Jews lent their support to German commerce. The ill-feeling between the two has been steadily on the increase, and came to a head when in 1912 at the election of the fourth Duma, for which M. Kucharzewski and M. Dmowski were standing at Warsaw, the Jewish vote succeeded in defeating both of them and electing their own candidate. This led to a Polish commercial boycott of Jews, and at present the antagonism between the two is hostile and fierce. The feeling of the Poles towards them is not so much anti-Semitic as such, but is the antagonism of a race for a foreign and hostile dweller in its lands. (unquote). (pp. 69-70). In addition, the author points out that the Jewish electoral victory in 1912 was also a victory of German influence. (p. 76).

The author concluded that Jews and Poles needed to reconcile themselves to each other (e. g., pp. 70-71, 97). However, he was vague as to how this was supposed to happen.

Third Duma: Election and Profile
Third Duma: Election and Profile
by Alfred Levin
Edition: Hardcover
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4.0 out of 5 stars Technical Issues in the Election Processes of Late Tsarist Russia, August 15, 2014
This work requires an in-depth knowledge of the political process in the early 20th-century Russian Empire. It focuses on political parties and personages.

This book has a number of shortcomings. It repeatedly refers to "Jewish rights" and "equal rights", but never defines such terms. In addition, author Levin glosses over the nature of the territories of the western Russian Empire. He treats each of the ethnic and religious groups as if they were independent islands in an unidentified sea. The reader would never guess that these territories were Russian-occupied Poland!

For purposes of this review, I focus on matters that set the stage for the later 4th Duma (1912). This is best known for the Warsaw Jews' election of Eugeniusz Jagiello and the ensuing Dmowski-led retaliatory Endek boycott of Jews.


The degree of Jewish representation (or over-representation) in Warsaw became a factor in the 1912 Duma elections. However, Levin makes it clear that this matter, in broader context, was a long-standing issue. For instance, there were pocket boroughs created for Russians in overwhelmingly non-Russian areas. In the Bialystok area, one elector represented 112 Russians while another elector represented 2,900 Poles and Jews. (p. 154). In addition, Poles were strongly under-represented in the Minsk area (p. 89), and the same held for Poles from what Levin calls the "Vistual Provinces" (Warsaw area, formerly Congress Poland). (p. 105).


For a time, Jews tended to take a low-key approach to advancing their interests, partly out of concern with arousing Polish opposition, and because they lacked the political unity to take more overt action. Levin comments, (quote) The first inclination of the Jewish political leadership, like the Polish, was to urge a closing of ranks to assure the election of an exclusively Jewish deputy in the Duma, if possible. But they were resigned to indirect representation, through moderately liberal Poles, since they were aware that the National Democrats could not control nationalist and anti-Jewish sentiment among the landowners, peasantry, and clergy. But the long-standing ideological differences among the Jews resting on philosophical grounds and class sustained a habitual state of disunity which rendered them politically ineffective. (unquote). (p. 54). [The Polish counterpart to this calculus was stated by Roman Dmowski, who pointed out that it did not matter if it was a Pole or a Jew who was elected, if he represented Jewish instead of Polish interests.]


With reference to Jewish political groupings, Levin writes (quote) Conservative and nationalist groups and, in a sense, the Jewish Bund were opposed to coordination of efforts with non-Jews, or concentration of effort on purely Jewish problems. Ultraconservatives (like the Khassidic [Hasidic] sect) feared liberal and revolutionary influences that made for religious indifferentism or godlessness among the Jewish youth. But it was the Zionists who were largely responsible for the fragmentation of the political efforts of the Society For Equal Rights by their insistence on the Duma concerned with Jewish, and particularly national interests. In 1910 they carried on a separate campaign with their own candidates attacking the Equal Rightists as assimilationists...The position of the Bund in the matter of cooperation with non-Jewish elements was somewhat anomalous. Like other Social Democrats among the national minorities, they would join with non-Marxist elements only insofar as that was practical and with the Populists and liberals when necessary. Their chief concern lay with the Jewish proletariat, and they warned specifically against traffic with the Polish Endeki [Endeks] for fear that Polish nationalists would disregard Jewish interests in general and particularly that of the workers. (unquote). (p. 55).

From the foregoing, a number of facts are evident. Despite the many differences between them, the Jewish groups (including the assimilationists) generally had no concept of being part of the Polish nation, and were essentially self-defined foreigners on Russian-ruled Polish soil. The Bund, and other so-called Social Democrats, were Marxist. (See also p. 53). Furthermore, the polarization between Jewish nationalists and Polish nationalists was mutual, but nowadays only the Endeks are demonized for it. There was a definite tendency towards the self-atheization and radicalization of Polish Jews, as later pointed out in a much-criticized statement, by Polish Cardinal August Hlond in 1936, on "Jews as freethinkers and vanguards of Bolshevism".

Poland : Land of the White Eagle / by Eileen A. Arthurton
Poland : Land of the White Eagle / by Eileen A. Arthurton
by Eileen Alice Arthurton
Edition: Hardcover
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Lucid and Uplifting Short History of Poland, With Interesting Numerical Figures, August 14, 2014
I have read numerous histories of Poland, and rarely have I encountered a foreign author with such a deep fascination with Poland. This British author provides familiar and unfamiliar information.

The author consistently juxtaposes the situation concerning Poland with that of England. Thus, the University at Krakow is Poland's Oxford University. (p. 14). St. Stanislaw was Poland's Thomas a Becket. (p. 76). Janosik was Poland's Robin Hood. (p. 71). The lively and crude wit of Warsaw's newsboys reminded the author of that of the Cockneys. (p. 114).


The author describes the Polish attempt to avert the Third Partition of Poland. (Quote) At the beginning of April [1794], he [Kosciuszko] met 2,000 peasants, brilliantly clad in their local costumes, and so inspired them, that the next day they swept down on the enemy artillery, disregarding the murderous hail of shells, and hacked the gunners to pieces with their scythes. That was the great victory at Raclawice...Soon after, the people of Warsaw rose, under the leadership of Kilinski, the shoemaker, and fought with the Russian garrison most of Holy Week, until the streets were running with blood. But on Easter Saturday, the bells rang out joyfully to announce a Polish victory. (unquote). (p. 32).


The account of the hejnal Mariacki is well known. Interestingly, there exists a Tatar version of the events, to which General Wladyslaw Anders' soldiers responded.

According to the Tatar version, the chieftain who had shot the trumpeter through the throat was among those who later fell in the unsuccessful battle to sack Krakow. The anguished sultan declared that the defeat was God's punishment for blasphemy--the killing of a man who was leading a prayer, (quote) ...and that happiness would not return to the Tatar capital of Samarkada until, from a tower in the center of the City, the call to prayer should be sounded as it was in Krakow. Nearly seven long centuries passed, and then, a short time ago, a band of Polish prisoners-of-war released from Russia, went to Teheran and were enthusiastically greeted by the Mayor of Samarkand, the old Tatar capital. He made one urgent request, that the "Chailow" or trumpet should be blown again, playing the same call that the young Tatar chieftain had so ruthlessly cut off, for, he explained, not till then would happiness really return to his native city. The Poles were amazed to find that the tale historians had patronizingly regarded as nothing more than a charming legend should unexpectedly prove to be true; and as the notes of the "hejnal" rang out on the alien air, there was a feeling of wonder and joy...(unquote). (pp. 5-6).


Author Eileen A. Arthurton mentions seldom-published numbers. Of 80,000 Poles who joined Napoleon's march on Moscow in 1812, only 3,000 returned. (p. 35). After the 1918-1919 Ukrainian separatist attempt to take Lwow, 300 fallen Polish defenders, the "Eaglets of Lwow", were buried in one cemetery. (p. 58). In the first days of WWII, the Germans murdered 120 Polish Boy Scouts, all aged 12-16, at Bydgoszcz (Bromberg). (p. 109). An estimated 80,000 Warsaw defenders--mostly civilians--perished during the 1939 German siege of the capital. (p. 95). During the Battle of Britain, Polish airmen accounted for 10 percent of the Luftwaffe planes shot down. (pp. 34-35).


Many years before WWII, Polish General Wladyslaw Sikorski realized the Europe was in an armed truce. He also published a widely-used book, in 1934, which correctly forecast the large role of tanks and airplanes in the next major war. (p. 103).

Arthurton features some lucid accounts of Polish sacrificial heroism during the 1939 Nazi German siege of Warsaw. For instance, children and teenagers went through savage German fire in order to bring water to Polish soldiers defending the city.

The author describes the brutal German occupation of Poland, including the cultural genocide, kidnapping of Polish children for Germanization, arbitrary mass murders of Poles, etc. Poles resisted in various active and passive ways, some of which she describes.

Arthurton also elaborates on how the Poles thwarted the long-term passive genocide of the Polish population, (quote) Children have become adepts at "black marketeering", without which many Poles would have starved. Boys and girls from the towns manage to slip out to some farm or other in the country, and buy a little milk or butter, or perhaps a few eggs. At infinite risk, they smuggle these back, and offer them to the local butcher, in exchange for a piece of meat, which would be unobtainable otherwise. (unquote). (p. 115). [Parenthetically, the near-starvation conditions faced by Poles at the hands of the Germans make it obvious why many Poles were unwilling to share their meager rations with fugitive Jews, and why Poles sometimes denounced fugitive Jews known or suspected to be stealing from Poles.]


The following were secretly circulated among Poles in Nazi German occupied Poland, and quoted by the author. (pp. 112-113).

1. Thou shalt have no other earthly love above me.
2. Thou shalt not take the name of Poland for thine own glory, career or reward.
3. Remember that thou shalt give to Poland without hesitation thy possessions, thy personal happiness and thy life.
4. Honor Poland, thy Motherland, as thine own mother.
5. Fight persistently with Poland's enemies to thy last breath, to the last drop of blood in thy veins.
6. Struggle with thine own complacency and cowardice. Behold, a coward cannot be a Pole.
7. Be without mercy to them that destroy the Polish name.
8. Always and everywhere boldly admit that thou art a Pole.
9. Suffer none to have doubts as to Poland.
10. Let no-one insult Poland, belittle her merits and greatness, her achievements and majesty. Thou shalt love Poland above all else, save only God. Thou shalt love her more than thyself.

Vladimir Medem: The Life and Soul of a Legendary Jewish Socialist
Vladimir Medem: The Life and Soul of a Legendary Jewish Socialist
by Vladimir Medem
Edition: Hardcover
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Leftist Political Climate Leading Up to the Russian Revolution (1917), August 13, 2014
This work covers the life of Vladimir Medem, from his beginnings as an educated, Russified Jew with minimal ties to Judaism. Medem became an avowed Marxist (p. 129), and believed that both rival Jewish factions--the assimilationists and the nationalists--were wrong. (p. 263). He became an ardent socialist, and associated with many named socialist (and later Communist) personages. Later, the Medem Sanitarium (near Warsaw) was named in his honor.

This memoir is not limited to biography and radical politics. It also provides a great deal of information about the Bund.

I now examine a few specific topics:


The term "socialist", as used by Vladimir Medem and editor Samuel A. Portnoy, is an amorphous one. It is obvious that these groups differed primarily in terms of personalities, priorities, tactics, perceived need or lack of need for a transitional industrial capitalist phase before the revolution, attitudes towards the specialness or non-specialness of Jewish concerns, etc. For want of a better name, I consider these socialist groups variously proto-Communist, pre-Communist, quasi-Communist, or Communist lite.

Consider the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks. Medem found an initial minimal difference between them, (quote) A more profound ideological differentiation evolved only later. At the point in time with which I am dealing, there was as yet no sign of a serious schism. (unquote). (p. 288).

Nor was there any sharp line between "Social Democrats", "socialists", and Communists. Many of the so-described socialists or Social Democrats (e. g, Feliks Dzierzhinsky and Adolf Warski) later became outright Communists. After the Russian Revolution, Medem professed disdain for the totalitarian aspects of Soviet Communism, and compared it with the totalitarian aspects of the Jacobins of the French Revolution (p. 279, 508), while his wife, Gina Medem, became pro-Soviet. (p. 498). According to Portnoy, the Bund also became pro-Soviet no later than about the time of the Russian Revolution. (p. 508).


Within decades after the Partitions of Poland, the Jews of Russian-occupied eastern Poland had lost whatever affinity that once had for Poland. Editor Portnoy describes the Jewish mindset in the mid 19th century, (quote) This was the period of the sixties, the springtime of Alexander II's reign. The attitude toward Jews was liberal, and Jewish society itself responded to it with a passionate urge to coalesce with the Russian people. The typical Jewish INTELLIGENT [member of the intelligentsia] considered himself a Russian. And what was there to bind him to Jewishness at the time? Religion? It had run its course. The idea of nationality? It had not yet emerged. So that people became, or at least desired to become, genuine Russians. Such was the nature of the whole environment. People wished to forget their Jewish origins. And in fact they gradually did proceed to forget. (unquote). (pp. 2-3).

In later decades of the 19th century, Jews commonly turned away from this pro-Russian orientation. They increasingly identified with Yiddishism (Bundism), Zionism, and political radicalism.


Vladimir Medem considered "haughty pride" to be often seen among Poles. (p. 308). As for his fellow Jews, he had this impression when he visited, in 1904, a colony of eastern European Jews living in Amsterdam, (quote) The Jewish quarters are tremendously interesting; they represent a world apart. Typically Jewish, they are unkempt, noisy, all trading and shouting. I had the illusion of being somewhere in Vilno [Wilno, Vilnius]...(unquote). (p. 319).


Interestingly, editor Portnoy identifies socialist Eugeniusz Jagiello as a member of the left-PPS (Polish Socialist Party). In addition, Portnoy describes the Polish Social Democratic Party (also known as the SDKPL or SDKPiL) as closer to the Bolsheviks, and the PPS as closer to the Mensheviks. (pp. 484-485).

Although neither Portnoy nor Medem elaborate further on this subject, the information they present is revealing. It helps the reader understand the implications of the election of Jagiello thanks to strong Jewish support, and the ensuing retaliatory Endek boycott of Jews, led by Roman Dmowski. The election of Jagiello not only meant that Poles were deprived of a representative in the Duma who would support Polish national interests: It also meant that Poles were now represented by a far-leftist quasi-Communist who, if anything, would go in the opposite direction of Polish national interests. Clearly, the Jewish vote was not a vote against a particular candidate or political party. It was a vote against Poland.

The Jews of the Soviet Union: The History of a National Minority (Cambridge Russian, Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies)
The Jews of the Soviet Union: The History of a National Minority (Cambridge Russian, Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies)
by Benjamin Pinkus
Edition: Paperback
Price: $57.60
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4.0 out of 5 stars Soviet Jews as Victimizers and Victims of Communism, August 11, 2014
Israeli Jewish author Benjamin Pinkus begins with a history of Jews in Russia. Instead of solely blaming Christianity for the negative aspects of Jewish-Christian relations, he also points to the role of Jewish-Christian disputations, Jewish proselytism, and Judaizing sects. (pp. 4-5). As for the 1881-1906 pogroms in tsarist Russia, Pinkus believes that many of them occurred on too geographic an organized scale to be without some degree of government influence behind them. (pp. 28-31).

This work elaborates on the role of Jews in the development of Soviet Communism (sometimes called the Zydokomuna), and then traces the fate of Soviet Jews in the decades after the Russian Revolution. Pinkus emphasizes the increasingly anti-Semitic trends in the USSR, and provides considerable detail on the growing anti-Israel policy of the Soviet Union.

I now focus on a few specific issues:


In 1936, Polish Cardinal August Hlond spoke of Jews as freethinkers and vanguards of Bolshevism. For this, he has been endlessly criticized. However, the self-atheization and Bolshevization of Poland's Jews was not only factual, but had begun many decades earlier, when the Jews were subjects of tsarist Russia. Pinkus writes, (quote) The process of secularization was a characteristic of the modernization of the life of Jewish society in Russia. At the end of the nineteenth century the process was still a slow one, in spite of strong forces, both internal and external, which were weakening the traditional framework and threatening its breakdown. The process was accelerated, however, by historical factors operating before the First World War, and in particular the rapid development of Jewish socialist parties, practically all of them anti-religious. (unquote). (p. 33).

A few years after the Russian Revolution, in 1925, the "League of Unbelievers", later renamed the "League of Fighting Unbelievers", was founded in order to engage in intense anti-religious activity. In 1929, there were 200,000 Jewish members against 2,000 Germans and 500 Poles. (p. 102). Pinkus attributes the imbalance to Jewish secularism and the position of Jews in society, but does not go into any detail.

The Evsektsia [Yevsektsiya] played a leading role in the Communist war against Jewish religion. This included the closing of synagogues, and the forcing of Jews to work on the Sabbath and Holidays. (p. 101, 104). However, Pinkus does not examine the role of militantly atheistic Jews in the Communist war against Christianity in the Soviet Union.

In the USSR, Jewish religion underwent a precipitous decline. The number of synagogues in the Soviet Union fell from 1,103 in 1926, to 500 in 1945, and only about 100 in 1954. (p. 208, 288). By the 1970's, only some 5-7% of Soviet Jews considered themselves religious. (pp. 297-298).


Back in 1907, Stalin published a report in which he stated that the majority of the Menshevik faction consisted of Jews. As for the Bolsheviks, he said that this faction was mostly Russian, and Jews were second. (p. 144).

It is interesting to note that many members of Jewish socialist organizations that were professedly non-Communist or even anti-Communist, later joined the Communists, if only under the auspices of their retention of autonomy. Thus, in early 1919, the Jewish Communist Party of Byelorussia was founded, and two-thirds of its delegates were former Bund members. (p. 129). Part of the Marxist Poalei Zion also joined the Communists, as did other Jewish organizations. (pp. 130-on).


It has been argued that Jews in Communism were usually those who had rejected their Jewishness. This is, at best, a half-truth. A Jew who is assimilated, or removed from Jewish practices, is still a Jew. In addition, even those Soviet Communist Jews that were the most hostile to Jewish religion and traditional Jewish ways still identified with Judaism, if only in a tribal sense. Thus, Pinkus notes that, (quote) In the 1920s and 1930s the custom of burying Jews only in Jewish cemeteries was observed even by the most fanatically anti-religious Evsektsia [Yevsektsiya] members. (unquote). (p. 105).

Benjamin Pinkus focuses on Soviet Jews who, even in relatively recent times, unambiguously considered themselves Jews despite their lack of even nominal affiliation with anything Jewish. For instance, the writer Lev Kopelev stated that he identified with his Jewishness despite finding nothing in his conscious mind that linked him with either the religious traditions or the nationalistic ideals of Judaism. (pp. 302-303).


Pinkus estimates that, in 1936, Jews comprised 2% of the Soviet population. (p. 81). He then presents data that shows that, in most Communist and Communist-sponsored organizations, Jews were overrepresented by at least a few-fold. However, when it came to leadership positions in the Soviet Union, Jews were routinely over-represented by a factor of at least ten, as elaborated in the next paragraphs:

(Quote) From 1903 to 1907 there were Jews among the leaders of the Bolshevik Party, which was run by Lenin as a clandestine organization, in each of the Troikas ("threes) that headed the party, at least until 1917, there was always one Jew, if not two, except for the years 1903 to 1905... (unquote). (p. 77).

(Quote) In the period between the February and October Revolutions in 1917, the percentage of Jews in the Bolshevik Party leadership rose...In April 1917, three of the nine members of the Central Committee were Jews: Kamenev, Zinovyev and Sverdlov. In August of that year, six of the twenty-one members of the Central Committee were Jews: Kamenev, Sokolnikov, Sverdlov, Zinovyev, Trotsky and Uritsky. It follows that despite the relatively small number of Jews in the Bolshevik Party, they held important posts in the leadership and were close associates of Lenin...What drew them to the Bolshevik Party was its centralizing and dictatorial character...(unquote). (p. 78).

(Quote) Jews held important posts in the Communist Party leadership in the 1920s and still had considerable power in the 1930's. In 1918, four of the fourteen members of the Central Committee were Jews (Sverdlov, Trotsky, Zinovyev and Sokolnikov); in 1919, again four of the nineteen Central Committee members were Jews (Kamenev, Radek, Trotsky and Zinovyev), while in 1921 five of the twenty give-members (20%) were Jews. (unquote)...In the Politburo in the first half of the 1920's the Jews comprised from 23% to 37% (Trotsky, Kamenev and Zinovyev)... (unquote). (p. 80).

Soon thereafter, Jews were largely removed from positions of power. Many died later in the purges of the 1930's but, according to Pinkus, not necessarily because they were Jews. (p. 80, 174).

However, Jewish dominance continued well into the 1930's, and part of it survived the purges. Pinkus comments, (quote) In 1936 (before the purges), there were six Jews among the twenty members of the Soviet government: Yagoda (Minister of the Interior and Security Services), L. Kaganovich (Communications), M. Litvinov (Foreign Affairs), Rozengolts (Foreign Trade), Y. Dreitser (Internal Trade), A. Kalmanovich (Agricultural Units). By 1939, the following Jewish Ministers and Deputy-Ministers were still in the government: L. Kaganovich, M. Kaganovich, B. Antselovich, M. Berman, L. Ginzburg, L. Vannikov and P. Zhemchuzhina-Molotov. (unquote). (p. 83). The latter was the wife of Vyacheslav Molotov. (p. 217).


Pinkus continues and concludes, (quote) Thus, throughout the whole period, Jewish representation in the central administration was well above any proportional relation to the national ratio of the Jews in the Soviet Union, and very high in comparison with all other national minorities. We can say that the Jews in the Soviet Union took over the privileged position, previously held by the Germans in tsarist Russia. (unquote). (p. 83). [Those, such as neo-Stalinist Jan T. Gross, who emphasize the (relatively temporary and usually modest) overabundance of Poles and Latvians in leadership positions of the USSR, as some kind of exculpation for the long-term massive over-representation of Jews, thereby stand corrected.]

Finally, Pinkus' analysis is incomplete. For instance, he does not examine the Jews in leadership positions in the NKVD, and the large percentage of commissars who were Jewish.

Laughter in Hell: The Use of Humor During the Holocaust
Laughter in Hell: The Use of Humor During the Holocaust
by Steve Lipman
Edition: Paperback
21 used & new from $17.79

4.0 out of 5 stars Humor Directed Against Nazi Germany, Its Personages, and Its Policies, August 8, 2014
This work is not just a collection of jokes. It also traces their purposes, and the psychology behind them. The title of this book is a little misleading, in that only a small fraction of it deals with humor that is related to the Holocaust.

Some jokes featured in this book were forms of satire, and passive resistance--the kind directed against all totalitarian regimes. Others were a means of coming to terms with the situation--such as GALGENHUMOR (gallows humor). (pp. 63-on). Still others were a form of resistance against oppressive conditions and impossible situations. They often raised the morale of the suffering. They could even be said to be a form of optimism--in that evil would not finally triumph.


Some jokes were about politics and political systems. For example:

What is the difference between Communism and National Socialism? Under Communism, if man has a cow, it is taken away from him. Under National Socialism, he is allowed to keep the cow and feed it--only the milk is taken away." (p. 91).

What is the difference between National Socialism and Communism? It is colder in Russia. (p. 105).


Some of the jokes touched on religious themes. For example:

What is the difference between Christianity and National Socialism? In Christianity, one man died for everyone. In National Socialism, everyone has to die for one man. (p. 91).

What is the difference between a missionary and the Reich Bishop? The missionary makes the savages devout, the Reich Bishop makes the devout savage. (pp. 98-99).


Many jokes poked fun at leading Nazis. For example:

Goering and Goebbels die and go to Hell. Their punishment: for Goering, 1,000 new uniforms and no mirrors; for Goebbels, 1,000 radios and no microphone. (p. 52).

The definition of a German Christmas goose: Fat as Goering, cackling like Goebbels, plucked like the German people, and brown like the party. (p. 76).


As the war began to turn against Germany, some of the jokes alluded to this fact. For example:

What does life in Berlin look like? The Germans rule the cellars, the foreigners rule the streets, and the British rule the air. (p. 81).


A number of the jokes included in this book were by peoples who had been conquered and occupied by Germany or the USSR. Examples:

"There's a German living in my house." "Hush. If Hitler hears about it, he'll annex the whole district." (p. 88).

A German asks a Pole, "You Poles don't want us Germans to stay here in Poland forever?" "Why not? You are very welcome...six feet under the earth." (p. 110).

Two ghosts meet in the Soviet Union in 1945. "Where did you die?" the first one asks. "1941, in Stalingrad, and you?" "1943, on a collective farm." A third apparition enters. "Where did you die?" the first two ask. "I'm not a ghost," the third forms answers. "I just came from a Russian gulag." (p. 75).


Part of this book is about Jewish humor. Author Steve Lipman points out that the Jewish element was very strongly represented in pre-WWII European cabaret. (p. 118). Here are some examples of jokes told by Jews, as described by the author:

Humor was a popular pastime in the Warsaw Ghetto, largest of the voluntary enclaves. "Nalewski Street looks like Hollywood nowadays" it was said there. "Wherever you go you see a star." Jews in the ghetto were required to wear an armband bearing the six-pointed Star of David. (p. 147).

Elie Wiesel's classic NIGHT contained a sardonic passage... "I've got more faith in Hitler than anyone else. He's the only one who's kept his promises to the Jewish people." (p. 151).

The Polish question in the Russian State Duma
The Polish question in the Russian State Duma
by Edward Chmielewski
Edition: Hardcover
16 used & new from $3.47

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tsarist Russian Policies and the Duma. Jews and Post-Polish Property Acquisition, August 6, 2014
This work begins with a history of the Russian rule over Poland. For instance, the author Edward Chmielewski points out that the Russian policy of emancipating the peasants, in 1864, backfired. Unlike the peasants of Russia, the Polish peasants were not required to pay for the acquisition of land. (p. 13). However, instead of winning over the Polish peasants to the Empire and turning them against the Polish landlords, the tsarist policy helped create a Polish middle class. The peasantry became more patriotic to Poland, and more anti-Russian, than ever. (p. 14).

This work emphasizes the efforts of Poles, in the first four Duma, in the early 1900's. One striking feature is the lack of sympathy, to any form of Polish national aspirations, from even so-called liberal Russians. Attempts at even Polish autonomy were dismissed by the Russians as a "nursing of dreams" (p. 48), and even nominal recognition of Poland was avoided. Instead, the territory was called "the provinces of the Vistula". (p. 62). [This anticipated the later Nazi German delegitimization of even the concept of Poland, through such Orwellian terms as Wartheland and General Government.]


By way of introduction to this sub-topic, neo-Stalinist authors such as Jan T. Gross have, in recent years, emphasized the fact that Poles acquired the properties of Jews murdered by Nazi Germany during the Shoah. Those who follow Gross would have us believe that this (somehow) made Poles complicit in the Holocaust, even if Poles were not involved in its implementation. At very least, it ostensibly made Poles beneficiaries of the Holocaust, and even meant that Poles now owe a moral, if not financial [read Holocaust Industry], debt to the Jews.

The following statements by author Chmielewski are instructive, (quote) Another proposal concerning Polish matters was introduced during the fifth session of the Duma. This was one to allow the sale of land in Poland from the large entailed estates of the Russian nobility. These estates had been created from imperial grants as a result of the confiscations of land from Polish landowners that had followed the suppression of the uprising of 1863. The Russian landowners were mostly absentee and had long been in the practice of leasing their land, very often to Jews. (unquote). (p. 78).

Clearly, property acquisition went both ways. Jews had, at least temporarily, acquired Polish properties that had forcibly been confiscated from its Polish owners by the tsarist Russian occupants of Poland, even if Jews were not involved in the expropriation itself. Were the same standards applied to both Poles and Jews, it would mean that Jews were indirectly complicit in the tsarist Russian crimes against Poles, and were at very least beneficiaries of the same. Therefore, Jews should now owe a moral, if not financial, debt to the Poles.


The Chelm region became a focus of conflict between Catholics and Orthodox, and Poles and non-Poles (Russians and especially Ukrainians). This situation persisted well into the 20th century.

Tsarist Russian policies were so onerous that even some Russians verbalized opposition to them, (quote) The Poles stated that in the district of Chelm the Orthodox clergy, with the cooperation of the administration, were persecuting the Catholics and forcibly expropriating the latter's churches. In the debate, the position of the Poles received unusually active support from the entire left wing of the Duma--Progressives, Kadets, the Labor Group, and the Social Democrats. All agreed in condemning the seizure of the church as an act of militant nationalism that would inflame Russo-Polish relations and as a useless and harmful political interference in religious affairs. (unquote). (p. 67).

One Russian, V. A. Bobrinskii, paid a grudging compliment to the attractiveness of Polish culture. Chmielewski writes, (quote) Bobrinskii attacked the policy of Alexander I and the bureaucrats in the second half of the nineteenth century as one that had preserved the dependence of the Russian peasant upon his Polish lord with the result that more Russians had been Polonized in the past hundred years than during three hundred years of Polish rule. (unquote). (p. 127). [Obviously, the Polonization was not done by force. Had force been necessary for success, one would expect more non-Poles to be Polonized while Poland was in existence than when she was under foreign rule. Instead, the opposite was the case.]

Given a choice, people voiced their preferences, (Quote) After the proclamation of the edict on religious tolerance in April 1905, anywhere from 100,000 to 200,000 inhabitants of the two Polish provinces gave up Orthodoxy and became Roman Catholics of the Latin rite. The problem of nationality was complicated by the fact that not all the Poles were Catholics and not all the Ukrainians were Orthodox or Uniate. (unquote). (p. 112).


This Polish statesman has sometimes been criticized, by both leftists and rightists, as being too conciliatory to Russia. What are the facts?

Because this part of Poland was under harsh Russian rule, the best that Poles could strive for was concessions from the occupant. Clearly, this did not imply support for Russian policies, much less resignation to the permanent loss of Poland as a nation. Chmielewski comments, (quote) ...The Poles in the Duma regarded themselves as the spokesmen of their entire nation and were therefore disinclined to enter into close and binding ties with Russian political parties (though they did frequently form various temporary alliances for tactical purposes)...(unquote). (p. 171).

Enter Roman Dmowski. Chmielewski writes, (quote) Finally, Dmowski asserted that the Kolo was not bound to any political party in the Duma but merely supported those programs and individuals that were sympathetic to the Polish nation. (unquote). (p. 54).


This work does not discuss the Jewish support for Jagiello, and the retaliatory Endek-led boycotts of Jews, but does set the stage for this event. To begin with, the original urban self-governing policies, that limited Jews to one-fifth of the town councilors regardless of the size of the local urban Jewish population, were initially instituted by the Russian authorities in order to thwart "Jewish predominance". (p. 139, 141). Poles concurred, for otherwise there would be "A Jewish inundation of the city administrations". (p. 143).

Polish support for restrictions on Jewish voting led to some moralizing by certain Russians, (Quote) The speech by Rodichev, the former Polonophile, urging the Poles not to oppress their minorities prompted a reply delivered by Harusewicz. He asserted that the Poles had not given the Kadets the right to teach them lessons in political behavior, particularly since the Poles had shown such marked restraint in the Duma. He pointed out that the Kadets had supported the introduction of zemstvos into the provinces of Astrakhan, Orenburg, and Stavropol despite franchise restrictions with regards to property and nationality. (unquote). (p. 152). Touche! [Isn't it just a little bit hypocritical of ANY Russian to complain about how Poles treat their minorities when the entire Russian Empire (tsarist and then Soviet) functioned as a vast expanse of conquered non-Russians?]

The fact that franchise restrictions occurred not only in Warsaw, but also in other parts of the Russian Empire, is eye-opening. It clearly shows that policies curtailing the rights of Jewish franchise, and supported by National Democrats and other Poles, had precedent in other parts of the Russian Empire. These policies were not something dreamed up by Warsaw-area Russian officials and those horrible Endeks, and directed only against Jews. Instead, they were widespread in scope and application.

The author does not discuss how the Warsaw Jews assumed the majority of votes in the pivotal 1912 election to the Duma. However, this was evidently related to the enfranchising of apartment dwellers, in Poland, which was sponsored by the Russian authorities owing to the fact that the Russians in Poland did not generally own real estate. (p. 139. See also p. 148).

Warsaw Before the First World War: Poles and Jews in the Third City of the Russian Empire 1880-1914
Warsaw Before the First World War: Poles and Jews in the Third City of the Russian Empire 1880-1914
by Stephen D. Corrsin
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Includes Much Detail on the 1906 and 1912 Elections to the Duma, August 4, 2014
This work provides much data on the development of Russian-ruled Warsaw in the late 19th and early 20th century. This includes many tables of information.

Increasing urbanization went hand in hand with increasing crime. On the west side of Warsaw, two major criminal gangs, one Polish and one Jewish, functioned. They controlled the prostitution in the area. (p. 16).

Jewish support for the Polish patriotic movement, which led to the January 1863 Insurrection, came from various quarters. This included assimilationists, such as the wealthy Mathias Rosen, as well as liberal rabbis Marcus Jastrow and Isaac Kramsztyk. It also featured the orthodox chief rabbi of Warsaw, Dov Berush Meisels. (p. 10).

The tsarist Russian rule, over even Congress Poland, was stifling. Underground Polish education included the so-called flying universities. (p. 18). (Such flying universities later became famous under the German Nazi occupation of Poland).


Corrsin uses the term acculturation to refer to Jews adopting Polish ways, and restricts the term assimilation to refer to Jews coming to adopt the national identity of the majority. (pp. 121-122). Elsewhere, Corrsin calls this "identificational assimilation". (p. 108). According to the 1897 Russian tsarist census, 13.7% of Warsaw's Jews gave Polish as their mother tongue, but this admittedly does not inform us how many of them actually identified with Poland. (p. 31). In fact, use of the Polish language increasingly had little to do with a Jew's ethnic or political allegiances. (p. 33).

Even avowedly assimilationist Jewish institutions, such as the newspaper IZRAELITA, professing to speak for Poles of the Mosaic faith, and to oppose both Polish and Jewish nationalism, did not follow a consistent pro-Polish path. For a time, at about the beginning of the 20th century, it veered into Zionism. (p. 74).

A number of factors led to the increasing polarization of Jews and Poles, besides the growing nationalism in both peoples. In 1882-1914, the Jewish population of Warsaw rose by 163.5% and the Polish population of Warsaw increased by only 118.7%. (p. 24). In addition, the rapid increase in the number of newspapers, both Polish and Jewish, intensified the sense of ethnic identification within these groups. (p. 67). Endek newspapers were notable in their numbers and the variety or targeted Polish audiences. (pp. 71-72).

Endek hostility to Jews was not unilateral. In fact, as recently as 1906-1907, the Endeks still considered at least some assimilationist Jews as part of the Polish nation. (p. 86). In 1912, National Democrats still praised the "handful of Jewish Poles" that had joined the National Concentration. (p. 88).

It all boiled down to who was master of Warsaw. (pp. 86-88). Was it the Poles, or were Poles and Jews co-masters of Warsaw? [Imagine a group of Poles living in Jerusalem, organizing into a political bloc, and demanding that they be co-masters of Jerusalem along with the Jews. Would the Israeli Jews just step aside, and welcome such an arrangement?]


Jews had, in recent centuries, always been an urban people. This meant, of course, that if political representation was apportioned according to the population of particular cities, Jews would have an inordinately large representation. [Such concerns, of course, occur in various political contexts, and it does not follow that representation in government necessarily should follow population. For instance, in the U. S. Senate, each U. S. state gets two representatives (senators), regardless of whether the state is populous (e. g., California) or not (e. g., Alaska).]

Because of this population imbalance, the Poles supported a Duma policy in which Jews would be no more than one-fifth of a city council, even if Jews were the majority in a city. (p. 89). However, a technicality in the policy, under unclear circumstances, allowed Jews to assume 55% of the voters in Warsaw even though the 1912 proportion of Warsaw's population was about 36% Jewish. (p. 90). Kucharzewski, a member of the National Concentration that had earlier broken with Dmowski, expressed himself as follows, (quote) "I am a supporter of the principle of Jewish equal rights." On the specific issue of urban self-government, however, he felt that limitations would have to be put on Jewish participation. Without this, since Jews made up a majority in many Polish cities, they would be able to control the institutions of self-government. He said that this would be an unacceptable "privilege" for the Jews, and not "equal rights" at all: "the seizure of urban administration by the Jews would be tantamount to the removal of the Poles from the organization of their own economic and cultural life." On a broader issue, he supported the abolition of the Pale of Settlement. (unquote). (p. 95).

Most interestingly, an article in the Jewish assimilationist newspaper, IZRAELITA, fully concurred with the National Concentration and Endek position on this matter, (quote) "Warsaw is a Polish city! The Jews must not benefit from their accidental voting majority! They must vote for a man of tested civic virtues, for a fervent Polish patriot! A manifestation of Jewish separatism must not be allowed to take place." (unquote) (pp. 92-93).


Jewish support for the socialist Jagiello, and his election, had obvious consequences. The Poles of Warsaw were deprived of Polish representation in the Duma. (pp. 103-104). Earlier, Roman Dmowski had stated that it made no difference if an elected politician was Jewish or Polish, if he represented Jewish instead of Polish interests. (p. 91).

The ensuing militant Polish opposition to the political conduct of the Jews, including the boycotts, came to encompass not only the National Democrats (Endeks) and members of the National Concentration, but also many Polish liberal elements. The latter fact is stressed by author Stephen D. Corrsin. (e. g., p. 102, 104, 107).


The aggressive, politicized separatism of the Jews of Russian-ruled Congress Poland (framed in terms of "civil rights" or "equal rights") was not just a local matter. Although author Corrsin does not put it this way, there is evidence of a broad-based collusion of Empire-wide Jewish and Russian influences behind the Jewish bloc voting in the 1912 Warsaw elections to the Duma. With reference to the Yiddish newspaper, HAYNT, Corrsin comments, (quote) One development in late October [1912] that caused a furor came when HAYNT interviewed Russian Kadet Party leaders in St. Petersburg. Pavel Miliukov, Ivan Petrunkevich, Fedor Rodichev, and Maksim Vinaver (the last by birth a Warsaw Jew) stated that the Jewish and Polish electors must compromise on a liberal Pole who would support Jewish equal rights. By November 4, Vinaver had gone further and added that, since no Polish nationalist elector had been found who would make this commitment, the Jewish electors should support the socialist Jagiello. (unquote). (p. 98; See also p. 101).

The foregoing matter raises questions. To what extent were the tsarist authorities meddling with Polish elections in order to weaken the Polish patriotic element?

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