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Pogrom is Russian for "devastation". During the 19th century Russia there were attacks by mobs against the Jews. These were often approved or condoned by those in authority.
After the assassination of Alexander II in 1881 there was a wave of pogroms in southern Russia against the Jewish community. This led to a large increase in Jews leaving Russia. Of these, more than 90 per cent settled in the United States.
Vyacheslav Plehve was appointed Minister of the Interior in 1902. His main concern was to suppress those advocating reform. At a speech given in Odessa in 1903 he claimed that in: "Western Russia some 90 per cent of the revolutionaries are Jews, and in Russia generally - some 40 per cent. I shall not conceal from you that the revolutionary movement in Russia worries us but you should know that if you do not deter your youth from the revolutionary movement, we shall make your position untenable to such an extent that you will have to leave Russia, to the very last man!"
Vyacheslav Plehve was blamed for encouraging pogroms against the Jews and in 1904 Evno Azef, the Jewish head of the Terrorist Brigade of the Socialist Revolutionary Party, ordered his assassination and he was killed on 28th July, 1904.
The Gentiles used to wonder at us because we cared so much about religious things about food and Sabbath and teaching the children Hebrew. They were angry with us for our obstinacy, as they called it, and mocked us and ridiculed the most sacred things. There were wise Gentiles who understood. These were educated people, like Fedora Pavlovna, who made friends with their Jewish neighbors. They were always respectful and openly admired some of our ways. But most of the Gentiles were ignorant. There was one thing, however, the Gentiles always understood, and that was money. They would take any kind of bribe, at any time. They expected it. Peace cost so much a year, in Polotzk. If you did not keep on good terms with your Gentile neighbors, they had a hundred ways of molesting you. If you chased their pigs when they came rooting up your garden, or objected to their children maltreating your children, they might complain against you to the police, stuffing their case with false accusations and false witnesses. If you had not made friends with the police, the case might go to court; and there you lost before the trial was called unless the judge had reason to befriend you.
The Tsar was always sending us commands - you shall not do this and you shall not do that - till there was very little left that we might do, except pay tribute and die. One positive command he gave us: You shall love and honor your emperor. In every congregation a prayer must be said for the Tsar's health, or the chief of police would close the synagogue. On a royal birthday every house must fly a flag, or the owner would be dragged to a police station and be fined twenty-five rubles. A decrepit old woman, who lived all alone in a tumble-down shanty, supported by the charity of the neighborhood, crossed her paralyzed hands one day when flags were ordered up, and waited for her doom, because she had no flag. The vigilant policeman kicked the door open with his great boot, took the last pillow from the bed, sold it, and hoisted a flag above the rotten roof.
The Tsar always got his dues, no matter if it ruined a family. There was a poor locksmith who owed the Tsar three hundred rubles, because his brother had escaped from Russia before serving his time in the army. There was no such fine for Gentiles, only for Jews; and the whole family was liable. Now the locksmith never could have so much money, and he had no valuables to pawn. The police came and attached his household goods, everything he had, including his bride's trousseau; and the sale of the goods brought thirty-five rubles. After a year's time the police came again, looking for the balance of the Tsar's dues. They put their seal on everything they found.
There was one public school for boys, and one for girls, but Jewish children were admitted in limited numbers - only ten to a hundred; and even the lucky ones had their troubles. First, you had to have a tutor at home, who prepared you and talked all the time about the examination you would have to pass, till you were scared. You heard on all sides that the brightest Jewish children were turned down if the examining officers did not like the turn of their noses. You went up to be examined with the other Jewish children, your heart heavy about that matter of your nose. There was a special examination for the Jewish candidates, of course: a nine-year-old Jewish child had to answer questions that a thirteen-year-old Gentile was hardly expected to answer. But that did not matter so much; you had been prepared for the thirteen-year-old test. You found the questions quite easy. You wrote your answers triumphantly - and you received a low rating, and there was no appeal.
I used to stand in the doorway of my father's store munching an apple that did not taste good any more, and watch the pupils going home from school in twos and threes; the girls in neat brown dresses and black aprons and little stiff hats, the boys in trim uniforms with many buttons. They had ever so many books in the satchels on their backs. They would take them out at home, and read and write, and learn all sorts of interesting things. They looked to me like beings from another world than mine. But those whom I envied had their troubles, as I often heard. Their school life was one struggle against injustice from instructors, spiteful treatment from fellow students, and insults from everybody. They were rejected at the universities, where they were admitted in the ratio of three Jews to a hundred Gentiles, under the same debarring entrance conditions as at the high school: especially rigorous examinations, dishonest marking, or arbitrary rulings without disguise. No, the Tsar did not want us in the schools.
Under every kind of outrage they died, mostly at the door of their homes. They were babes, butchered at the breasts of their mothers. They were old men beaten down in the presence of their sons. They were delicate women violated and murdered in the sight of their own children.
I remember a time when I thought a pogrom had broken out in our street, and I wonder that I did not die of fear. It was some Christian holiday, and we had been warned by the police to keep indoors. Gates were locked; shutters were barred. Fearful and yet curious, we looked through the cracks in the shutters. We saw a procession of peasants and townspeople, led by priests, carrying crosses and banners and images. We lived in fear till the end of the day, knowing that the least disturbance might start a riot, and a riot led to a pogrom.
Groaning are the oppressed nationalities and religions in Russia, among them the Poles and Finns. Groaning are the unceasingly persecuted and humiliated Jews, deprived even those miserable rights that other Russian subjects enjoy the right to live where they choose, the right to go to school, etc. Groaning are the Georgians, the Armenians and other nations who can neither have their own schools nor be employed by the state and are compelled to submit to the shameful and oppressive policies of Russification.
In Western Russia some 90 per cent of the revolutionaries are Jews, and in Russia generally - some 40 per cent. I shall not conceal from you that the revolutionary movement in Russia worries us but you should know that if you do not deter your youth from the revolutionary movement, we shall make your position untenable to such an extent that you will have to leave Russia, to the very last man!
America’s Forgotten Pogroms
In the 1940s, a right-wing group terrorized Jewish communities in Boston and New York while authorities looked the other way. Could it happen again?
David Greenberg, a professor of history and journalism and media studies at Rutgers, is a contributing editor at Politico Magazine . He is the author of several works of political history including, most recently, Republic of Spin: An Inside History of the American Presidency.
The massacre at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue last Saturday announced with chilling clarity that a lethal strain of anti-Semitism, long presumed to be peripheral in post-World War II America, had returned with a vengeance. Harbingers had been appearing for months: the online harassment of Jewish journalists during the 2016 presidential race the anti-Jewish themes deployed by Donald Trump and his campaign the painted swastikas, toppled gravestones, neo-Nazi handbills, threats to Jewish community centers, and other incidents of hate that made local and national headlines since the election and the siege of a Charlottesville synagogue during the right-wing rampage there in 2017. Yet even those warning signs somehow seemed aberrant, and the public outcry in each case told us that our nation’s underlying commitment to ethno-religious pluralism remained sturdy.
Why such confidence? It is true that over the course of the past 75 years, hard-right anti-Semitic voices were—though never eradicated—significantly sidelined. But such security might also be because some of the worst episodes of anti-Semitic violence in American history have somehow faded from memory. Historians describe physical violence against Jews in America as having been rare—painting the United States, in the words of one authority, as having “known no pogroms.” The abiding image of America as a haven from the bloody religious violence of Europe, for Jews as for others, reinforce the belief that it can’t happen here. In other words, caught up in an idealized picture of America, we’ve let some of the troubling details drop out of our historical narrative.
But according to Stephen Norwood, a senior historian at the University of Oklahoma, anti-Semitism in the United States has been “much more deeply entrenched than most scholars acknowledged.” In a startling academic article from 2003, Norwood amassed considerable evidence to refute this sunny picture of America as a sanctuary from brutal violence. In particular, the article tells the story of a right-wing Irish group called the Christian Front, inspired by the wildly popular radio preacher Charles Coughlin, that regularly menaced Jews—especially in Boston and New York—during the final years of World War II. Starting in 1942 and continuing for more than a year, Norwood recounts, marauding bands of Irish Catholic youths stalked and assaulted the Jews of urban communities like Dorchester and Mattapan in Boston and Washington Heights in New York, as police officers and even elected officials looked the other way. Harrowing as this episode was, few Americans know of it it was even omitted from a very good recent list of anti-Semitic incidents that ran in the Atlantic.
The role of Coughlin is significant, as he was a key figure in fostering a particular strain of angry right-wing populism, especially popular among American Catholics, that would organize the darkest impulses of American conservatism for many decades thereafter. Back in the 1980s and 1990s it went by the name of paleoconservatism. Its exponents were fond of conspiracy theories, eager to mobilize the power of the masses against alleged elites, often isolationist, protectionist, and nativist, and either overtly or subtly anti-Semitic in character. In the 1950s, its avatar was Joe McCarthy, the rabidly anti-Communist senator from Wisconsin. In our lifetimes, it was best embodied by Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan aide Pat Buchanan, who despite spouting anti-Jewish and racist sentiments was one of the most visible television pundits of the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s. Its best known spokesman today is probably Steve Bannon—although one could include Trump himself.
The point isn’t that Trump is an anti-Semite (though he has said anti-Semitic things) or that he would sanction anti-Jewish violence (he wouldn’t). Rather, it’s that for the first time we have a vessel for Coughlinite ideas, however transmuted, in the White House—raising worries that their darker expression may become common once again.
The years before World War II were difficult ones for American Jews. On the one hand, this was the era in which liberal ideas about equality spread widely in the United States looking abroad at the vicious anti-Semitism of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, Americans defined their values in opposition to those totalitarian regimes, placing civil liberties, religious pluralism and toleration at the center of the national creed. On the other hand, the Depression brought forth ugly resentments that took anti-Semitic form, including toward President Franklin Roosevelt, whom anti-Semites called “Rosenfeld” and whose policies they called the “Jew Deal.” Many prominent Americans espoused nakedly anti-Jewish views, including carmaker Henry Ford, whose Dearborn Independent published conspiracy theories about international Jewry in the 1920s, and Charles Lindbergh, who in 1941 claimed American Jews, possessing outsized influence in Hollywood, the media, and the Roosevelt administration, were pushing the nation into war against its interests. In 1939, the German American Bund held a rally of 20,000 people in Madison Square Garden, which was decorated with swastikas and other Nazi iconography (footage of which has been circulating on social media in recent years).
A key figure in fomenting anti-Semitic conspiracy theories was Coughlin, who years earlier supported Roosevelt and advocated vaguely left-wing redistributionist egalitarianism but whose populism steadily took on a bitter, aggrieved and, eventually, fascistic tone. Past the peak of his popularity in 1938, he nonetheless commanded a large, loyal fan base, especially among Irish Americans, some of whom formed the Christian Front, a vigilante group. In 1940, the FBI arrested 13 members of the Front for plotting to bomb the offices of the Forward, the Jewish paper, and to assassinate Jewish members of Congress.
According to Norwood, these arrests didn’t dent the Christian Front’s popularity. By 1942, its members—and toughs not explicitly affiliated with it—undertook a relentless monthslong campaign of physical intimidation, beatings and slashings that probably warrant the name pogrom. In what the New York Post called “an almost daily occurrence,” Jews in Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan (and, to some extent, in Jewish neighborhoods of New York) were attacked and beaten on the streets, in parks, with some victims stabbed or disfigured, and some girls having had their clothes ripped off. Gangs robbed Jewish merchants, defiled synagogues and cemeteries, and committed other acts of vandalism. Jewish Girl Scout troops and other clubs had to stop meeting.
Jewish residents of these besieged neighborhoods told their elected officials that they were living in “mortal fear.” Some non-Jewish leaders spoke up for them—including Frances Sweeney, a leading anti-fascist in Boston the black New York City Councilman Adam Clayton Powell Jr. and New York Attorney General Thomas Dewey, who was assailing the Christian Front in his (ultimately victorious) bid for governor in 1942. But most political leaders shrugged. In New York, Dewey’s opponent, Democrat John Bennett, was sympathetic to the Coughlinites. Others, such as Massachusetts Governor Leverett Saltonstall and Boston Mayor Maurice Tobin, both liberals, weren’t anti-Semitic but probably feared alienating Irish voters. Even New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, himself half-Jewish, downplayed reports as isolated occurrences—an increasingly untenable claim as the violence mounted.
The police disingenuously wrote off reports as run-of-the-mill juvenile delinquency or even sided with the thugs. In one case, two 17-year-old Jewish boys, Jacob Hodas and Harvey Blaustein, were set upon by a mob and then were themselves arrested and roughed up by the police. All the while, the Catholic Church did nothing, and no major newspaper covered the violence until the liberal New York paper PM finally ran an exposé in late 1943. Pressure then mounted on Saltonstall, the Boston police commissioner was soon replaced, and the violence began to abate.
It’s unclear whether the replacement of the police chief alone caused the violence to cease. (It diminished in New York, too.) The end of the crisis coincided with the war winding down and Americans learning the full nature of Hitler’s plans to exterminate European Jewry. Even though prejudice lingered, explicit anti-Semitism became unacceptable in mainstream politics. The idea of what historian Kevin Schultz has called “Tri-Faith America,” which had gained currency before the war, came to be widely accepted. And as another historian, Stuart Svonkin has written, groups like the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee poured their energies into interfaith programs, educational efforts, and research into the social and psychological nature of prejudice and bigotry, relying on some of the leading social psychologists of the day. One of them, Gordon Allport, whose book The Nature of Prejudice became a canonical work in the field, was sent by Saltonstall in 1945 to give lectures to the Boston police force in what Norwood deems the first-ever training course in prejudice awareness for policemen. These ideas and practices made their way into educational curricula and the broader culture, influencing generations of American children about prejudice and racism. (They should be revived today.)
The intervening years have hardly been free of anti-Semitism, even of a violent kind. But incidents have been sporadic, rarely tied to organized movements. Figures like Pat Buchanan and Joseph Sobran certainly maintained followings on the right (and Buchanan sustained his ubiquitous television presence), although in time they too were marginalized. To the extent that anti-Semitism has crept into mainstream discourse, it has tended to come from the left—commingling with animus toward the state of Israel. The attacks of 9/11 in particular prompted essays, like those written this week, prophesying that a dark strain of anti-Semitism had resurfaced. Some left anti-Semitism mirrors that of the right—with conspiratorial thinking, claims of Jewish disloyalty or un-Americanness, and fantasies that Jews will take a peace-loving America to war—just as the far left’s blend of isolationism, protectionism and anti-immigration sentiment finds a reflection in Trump’s international agenda.
A History of the Jews, a list of expulsions for 2000 years
The following is a brief summary of Incidents involving Jews in History.
Antiochus Epiphanes desecrates Second Jewish Temple leading to Hasmonean Revolt against the Greeks.
Titus took Jerusalem - second revolt. Over one million Jews killed.
580,000 men destroyed, 985 towns destroyed - third revolt.
Purim festival celebrating God's deliverance to Mordecai and the Jews through Esther and the fasting. Lies spread that Jews kill Christians for sacrifice. Emperor Severus also said the Jews purchased 90,000 Christians to kill them.
Council in Spain banned Christians & Jews meeting or marrying.
Constantine changed the celebration of Easter on the calendar so that it did not coincide with the Jewish Passover.
Vicious writing by St. John Chrysostom and St. Ambrose in Milan who said: "The Jews are the most worthless of all men. They are lecherous, greedy, rapacious. They are perfidious murderers of Christ. They worship the Devil. Their religion is a sickness. The Jews are the odious assassins of Christ and for killing God there is no expiation possible, no indulgence or pardon. Christians may never cease vengeance, and the Jew must live in servitude forever. God always hated the Jews. It is essential that all Christians hate them." He was called the Bishop with the Golden Tongue. St. Ambrose, Bishop of the Church offered to burn the synagogue himself.
St. Gregory of Nyssa in sermons and writings characterized Jews as assassins of the Prophets, companions of the Devil, a race of vipers, a Sanhedrin of Demons, enemies of all that is beautiful, hogs and goats in their lewd grossness.
Bishop Severus BURNED THE SYNAGOGUE IN THE VILLAGE OF MAGONA. BISHOP OF
ALEXANDRIA, ST. CYRIL EXPELLED JEWS FROM ALEXANDRIA AND GAVE THE MOB JEWISH PROPERTY.
ACCUSATION of Ritual murder by the Jews during Purim. Christians confiscated synagogues in ANTIOCH.
These were not hooligans but Church Fathers!
AUGUSTINE, JEROME, AMBROSE AND LESSER SAINTS AS ST. CHRYSOSTROM AND CYRIL, added to untruths the new ones that Jews were dishonest and prone to sexual perversions.
Jews had to wear special yellow garb. Originated in Islam.
Emperor Henry II of Germany expels Jews from Mainz, the beginning of persecutions against Jews in Germany.
First Crusade. Crusaders massacre the Jews of the Rhineland.
First recorded blood libel. In Norwich it was alleged that the Jews had "bought a Christian child before Easter, tortured him with all the tortures wherewith our Lord was tortured and on Friday hanged him on a rood in hatred of our Lord." (England)
This notorious allegation that Jews murder non-Jews, especially Christians, in order to obtain blood for the Passover or other rituals is a complex of deliberate lies, trumped up accusations, and popular beliefs about the murder-lust of the Jews and their blood-thirstiness, based on the conception that Jews hate Christianity and mankind in general. It is combined with the delusion that Jews are in some way not human and must have recourse to special remedies and subterfuges in order to appear at least outwardly, like other men. The blood libel led to trials and massacres of Jews. Its origin is rooted in ancient almost primordial, concepts concerning the potency and energies of blood. It is one of the most terrible expressions of human cruelty and credulity. These blood rituals are expressly forbidden in Judaism. (See Leviticus 1711 etc.)
Massacre of Jews in England.
The Jewish badge introduced.
Talmud burned in France.
Jews expelled from England.
Massacre of thousands in Germany, in 146 localities.
Expulsion from France.
JEWS blamed for the BLACK DEATH. Charge laid to the Jews that they POISONED the wells to kill CHRISTIANS.
MASSACRES in Bohemia, Spain.
270 JEWS BURNED AT THE STAKE. In the 14th and 15th centuries the Inquisition was more intense because the Church and State joined forces. Just being Jewish guaranteed persecution
Inquisition in Spain - Jews and Christians burned at the stake.
EXPULSIONS from Warsaw, Sicily, Lithuania, Portugal.
ALL JEWS EXPELLED FROM SPAIN.
Murders in Lisbon - 4000, "conversos", men, women, and children thrown from windows to street mobs below, due to preaching by Dominicans against the Jews.
EXPELLED from Brandenburg, Germany.
Venice initiates the ghetto, the first in Christian Europe.
The Reformation. At the end of Martin Luther's life the German reformer vilified the Jews in violent pamphlets which could not fail to exert their influence. But because Calvinists were steeped in Old Testament theology, the Dutch people respected the Jews as "the Chosen" people and were not anti-Semitic in their faith. The reformation was a time of turmoil as the Roman Church and feudalism lost their supremacy. There was a rising up of Nationhood and Luther was a German nationalist. The Talmud was seized and burned everywhere by Papal authority. Jews in Catholic countries and Polish Jews suffered greatly. Luther's anti-Semitic writings were later used in anti-Semitic literature.
Rome seized and burned the Talmud by order of the POPE.
12,000 copies of Talmud burned in Milan.
POPE PIUS V ordered all Jews out of the Papal states.
EXPULSIONS from Italy and Bavaria.
Ritual murder charge that sent three Jews to their deaths. Execution of the supposed guilty was done by QUARTERING. (In his book the "Birth of the Prison" Michel Foucault describes at length the quartering of a condemned man in 1757. It was done eventually by six horses instead of the four original ones and other means had to come in to play due to the failure even of six horses as the prisoners limbs were tied to ropes harnessed to the horses. Each horse pulled in a different direction. One horse fell to the ground unsuccessfully. Knives had to be used for severing. )
JEWS attacked and driven out of Frankfurt, Germany.
GHETTO established in Ferrara, Italy.
Leader of the Cossacks, in the Ukraine massacres 100,000 Jews and destroyed 300 communities.
Massacres of Jews in war against Sweden & Russia by Poland.
POPE PIUS VI issues edict against Jews.
20,000 Jews in Poland killed.
MASSACRE of Jews in Algeria.
BLOOD LIBEL in DAMASCUS.
BLOOD LIBEL in RUSSIA.
THE MORTARA CASE: Catholics abduct a 7 yr. old Jewish child. A Catholic servant baptized a Jewish child when the child was seriously ill and the church of Rome seized the child. Outcry had no effect on the POPE.
Word anti-Semitism comes into existence.
POGROMS BEGAN. The word is of Russian origin. It designates attack, accompanied by destruction, looting of property, murder, rape. There were three major outbreaks in Russia. The word designates more particularly the attacks carried out by the Christian population. Each pogrom surpassed the other in savagery.
KIEV, ODESSA Here murder of whole families was a common occurrence. Partial data are available for 530 communities in which 887 major pogroms and 349 minor pogroms occurred. There were 60,000 dead and several times that many were wounded.
FIRST ANTI-JEWISH CONGRESS HELD. In Dresden, Germany.
ALFRED DREYFUS TRIAL in France. Details follow further on in this summary.
APPEARANCE of a new issue of the PROTOCOLS OF THE ELDERS OF ZION. In Russia.
This spectre of a worldwide Jewish conspiracy aiming at reducing the Gentiles to slavery or extermination loomed up in the medieval Christian imagination and grew out of legends about well poisonings and plague spreading. It was concocted in Paris by an unknown author working for the Russian secret police. It was an alleged conference of the leaders of World Jewry. It was translated into all the world languages. In 1963 a Spanish edition was published. During World War II, the Protocols of the elders of Zion became an implicit justification for the GENOCIDE of the Jews and Nazi propaganda relied on them until the last days of the Third Reich. Smaller pamphlets of it have been distributed in B.C. 1983 published in California. Required reading in most Arab countries, in schools, to this day.
Russian pogroms continue. Also in Morocco, Ukraine, 300 dead.
3000 Jews killed in Hungarian pogroms.
Appearance of ADOLPH HITLER. Also Henry Ford the 1st believes the Protocols and publishes anti-Jewish articles in his newspaper, the Dearborn Independent.
MEIN KAMPH appears. Hitler's Plan published in Germany.
HITLER appointed chancellor in Germany.
Hitler writes his Nuremberg Laws which lead to his Final Solution.
Burning in AUSTRIA & GERMANY of Synagogues. Jews sent to concentration camps. Beginnings of the Holocaust.
Germany overruns Poland.
Gassing, shootings in Polish Ghettos (Jewish).
EXPULSION of Jews from the German Reich to Poland. Riots against Jews in Iraq.
Mass transports of Jews to Belgium & Holland.
EXTERMINATION OF HUNGARIAN JEWS.
HOLOCAUST Final Count: 6,000,000 Jews slaughtered.
Pogroms in Poland - 42 Jews murdered.
BIRTH OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL. Also Jewish intellectuals shot in Russia.
Jews murdered byCommunists, and others disappear. Prague trials. Murder of Yiddish intellectuals in Russia and many sent to work camps..
Jews expelled out of EGYPT.
SIX DAY WAR. Also new publication of Elders of Zion in Arabic.
Emigration of last remaining Jews in Poland.
JEWS EXECUTED IN IRAQ.
Beginning of imprisonment in Russia of PRISONERS OF CONSCIENCE. ("Refuseniks")
Russian imprisonments carry on throughout the 70's to the 80's.
War in Lebanon begins after many years of terrorist attacks against the Jews in the Upper Galilee area from the vantage point of Beaufort Castle. Many Lebanese killed over long period of time, but was ignored by the News Media. War in Lebanon gets slanted coverage.
Word from Christians in Israel that the PLO planned their next battleground to be Canada via Quebec. Documented proof that Russia planned in 1982 to attack Israel.
There can be economic and social or racial anti-Semitism. It didn't reach epidemic proportions until 175 B.C. Previous uprisings against Jews were not really anti-Semitic. It began almost exclusively in countries which later became part of the Roman Empire. Prejudice flared it seems because Jewish people in honouring their Jewish laws, appeared to be in defiance of Gentile governments. The false assumption began to emerge that Jews didn't have any respect for whatever was held in esteem by the rest of humanity.
In the Greek Hellenistic period no other nation denied the gods of it's neighbours on the contrary they recognized those gods, identifying them with their own deities. These heathen "gods" created a social bond between people in their domains. None of the people refrained from dining at table with their neighbours and from partaking of the sacrifices offered to their gods except the Jews. None of the peoples refused to send gifts to its neighbours temples, except the Jews. None of the peoples was unequivocally hostile to intermarriage except the Jews.
In the eastern Mediterranean area friction arose over the difference in occupations between Jews and Gentiles. The Jewish population was engaged primarily in small scale farming the non-Jewish population occupied itself primarily in commerce. The sea trade was almost entirely in the hands of the trans-Jordanian cities, which connected Syria, Asia Minor and the regions of the Euphrates with the Arabian countries. The inhabitants of Eretz Israel had connections abroad. Non-Jews also knew that Jews looked upon their land as their divine inheritance.
The first serious manifestation of anti-Semitism was in the days of the Syrian, Antiochus Epiphanes in 175 B.C. Hellenistic rulers saw the unfriendliness of the Jews as obstacles to the cultural scene. He undertook to destroy those laws of the Talmud that he regarded as unacceptable to humanity. To this end he desecrated their place of worship by sacrificing a pig on their altar in Jerusalem, and ordered that the residual juices be sprinkled over the Holy Books containing these Jewish laws.
Greek authors in the first century portrayed the Jewish people as descendants of a mob of lepers. They further stated that because of this uncleanness Jews shunned the flesh of pigs, since pigs were more prone to contract disease. The Gentiles knew that their own pagan religions and practices rendered them unclean in the eyes of the Jews.
The fact remains that even after four thousand years the idea of a covenant between the Jews and Jehovah is still alive and is mentioned daily in prayers in synagogues throughout the world. The idea of a covenant with God has remained constant. Because Jehovah is immortal He never dies and because He never dies He never has to be reincarnated. Thus the Jews dispensed with the reincarnation rites of the pagans. The Jews' God was invisible. The concept of "one God", Jehovah, being completely withdrawn from sexuality led to a curb of licentious impulses through inner discipline. By contrast ,the Greek gods themselves set the pattern for the unbridled lust and perversion which finally weakened the moral fibre of that people whereas the Jews, even when they later came in contact with the Greeks, refused to indulge in the Grecian sexual excesses, which included even temple prostitution. The Jewish religion did away with all fertility rites.
As a consequence of the Jewish dietary laws, intermarriage was forbidden and no real social intercourse with gentiles was possible. Also, Jews refused to enter into Emperor worship. It was considered to be an expression of loyalty to the state. About their own religious practices a libel began to circulate that Jews actually sacrificed humans on their altars, allegedly using the blood for Passover rites. Further it was said that the sacrificed person must be a Christian or one of their children. This became known as the "Blood Libel" against the Jews. It mattered not that it was a total fabrication.
Another libel circulating was that unclean leprous people were expelled from Egypt, and that the Jews were these people. Therefore, being foreigners, it was stated that the Jews had no right to claim ancient Israel as their divinely given land.
The destruction of the temple by Titus in 70 AD was seen as hatred by God of the Jews, and as punishment. Jews in Rome felt the barbs of Roman writers. Nero's teacher was anti-Semitic. Cornelius Tacitus wrote about every libellous fabrication against Jews that he could find in Greek anti-Semitic literature. Juvenal wrote a poem revealing that to him the Jews were hateful not only to man but to the gods as well.
In the fourth century AD, when Constantine became the Roman Emperor and supposedly converted to Christianity, he harnessed Political power to Religion and passed anti-Jewish laws, whereby Jews were excluded from every sphere of political influence, and denied civic rights.
The Gospel accounts began to be the source from which wrong teachings grew, until the word "Deicide" meant the Jews killed God, and were labelled "Christ-killers". Matthew 27:25 which spoke of some Jewish leaders was used instead to apply to all Jews: "His blood be on us and on our children. Ye are of your father the devil."
Converts to Christianity and converts to Judaism sparked a seriously divisive rivalry. Religious competition beg an between the Greek fathers of the Church, and Jews. Church laws were p assed whereby Jewish relations with Christian women was now punishable by death. Anti-Semitism at this time was mainly limited to the clergy, who were the educated minority.
Islam arose in the seventh century AD, and also attacked the Jews because the Jews did not recognize Muhammad as a legitimate Prophet. The Koran contained their writings and many statements in it were hostile to Jews. In the Middle Ages church councils legislated to prevent contact with the Jews because Christians were saying after visiting synagogues that the Jews were better priests.
The Holocaust was the final catalyst which led to the re-creation of the State of Israel in 1948. But we have to go back at the very least to the DREYFUS CASE to understand the long range process.
Alfred Dreyfus was the son of a wealthy Alsatian family in France. He entered the French Army in 1892 and became a Captain, and the only Jew. He was framed by a fellow officer for allegedly giving secrets to the enemy, arrested and tried for treason. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. Eventually Emile Zola took up the fight proclaiming the man's innocence and published an open letter to the President of France titled "I ACCUSE." Dreyfus was eventually declared unjustly convicted by the Parliament of France. The injustice was totally motivated by Jew-hatred.
During the course of the trumped-up trial a Jewish journalist became involved and he was the man that was to lead the Jews back to their Land. His name was THEODORE HERZL (1860 - 1904 A.D.) and he called European Jewry together in Basle, Switzerland in 1897 at the now famous "First World Zionist Congress". There in 1897 he publicly predicted to friend and foe alike that the Jews would be back in "the Land" of Palestine "within 50 years". In 1947, exactly fifty years later the United Nations passed the "Resolution For the Partition of Palestine", which lead to the declaration of Statehood on May 14,1948.
With the shouts of "death" to the Jews still ringing in his ears from the Dreyfus Trial, Herzl became convinced that the only solution was the mass exodus of the Jews from their present places of residence to a territory of their own. So out of the suffering of the Dreyfus family came the State of Israel. Herzl became the father of Political Zionism and founder of the World Zionist organization.
Herzl was born in Budapest. He left a German students society in 1883 in protest against his first encounter with anti-Semitism. He came across this "Jewish problem" again and again in his life. Although he graduated in 1884 with a doctorate of law he left the legal profession and became a famous writer. He wrote many literary works, some of them plays.
In 1891 he became the Paris correspondent of a Vienna newspaper. He pursued politics and organized the first Zionist Congress is Basle in 1897. (In 1960, Israel issued a centenary stamp with a well known painting of Herzl on the bridge at Basle.) The World Zionist organization was formed. He was chairman and remained so for the next five congresses. He knew Great Britain would be the deciding factor in the realization of Zionist aims. In 1917 the Balfour Declaration became the launching-pad for the founding of the modern Jewish state.
Herzl did not have an easy task. Even his own people were difficult on this issue. His heart failed in 1904. He did not live to see the creation of Israel in 1948. But in 1949 he was laid to rest, reinterred in a place that was named in his honour Mount Herzl, in Jerusalem. A Herzl monument stands nearby. The anniversary of his death on the 20th of Tammuz was declared a National Memorial Day in Israel. In the April 1983 issue of the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, following a report on Jerusalem there is a picture that could be titled: "The sorrow of the Jewish People". There are three young Israeli ladies, soldiers, who happen to be very beautiful standing or kneeling at the Herzl Tomb site where there are three new graves. the first soldiers to die in the 1982 conflict in Lebanon.
1983 was the 50th anniversary of Hitler's rise to power since he was made chancellor in 1933. There was an extensive report on this subject in the April 1983 issue of the Jerusalem Post. Their man in Bonn stated: "There has been no substantial break with the past. Therefore West German Democracy must continue to be subject to question by Germans more than by anyone else." The Post also offered these words which are worth contemplating. Perhaps you never considered this. I had not.
What about Canada?
Most of us would be quick to say that our hands are clean. A truly shocking indictment of our role in the Holocaust can be found in the book "None is Too Many". This title was taken from a statement made by an immigration official when a delegation of Jews went to Ottawa in 1939 to ask: "How many Jews will Canada take in?" The Immigration Minister answered "None is too many".
The authors, Irving Abella and Harold Troper, published this book in 1982 and was on the Canadian Best Sellers List. They received an award early in 1983 for it. It is thoroughly researched and documented proof that our top bureaucrat in the Immigration Department, Fred Blair, a professing Christian, wanted no Jews in Canada and did everything he could in the way of roadblocks to prevent it. In studying it I find I want to scream with the agony of our shame.
MacKenzie King didn't want them. Perhaps he was too busy talking to his dead mother and his dead dog as he gazed into his crystal ball (all told in his published diaries). The authors record that Canada's Prime Minister thought Hitler had a good face and that he was sweet. King was deathly afraid of what Quebec would do if he gave in and allowed in refugees. The French -Canadian press was very hostile to Jews (Le Devoir). There was also a very vocal fascist Party in Quebec headed by Adrianne Arcand.
Blair had the opportunity to rescue thousands, but wouldn't budge on his restrictive policy. He just didn't want any Jewish immigrants.
Lester Pearson said that we didn't have a boat. Ottawa would not listen either to the pleas of George Vanier even though he was Canadian Ambassador to France and was there on the scene.
Conservative Robert Manion didn't want any either. In the midst of all of the obstruction the Toronto Globe & Mail asked at one point "Does Canada stand for anything?" Manion wanted no Jews as long as Canadians were unemployed. Ernest LaPointe of Quebec and the Le Devoir newspaper and Vincent Massey of External Affairs wanted Jews kept out of Canada. Massey was a fringe member of the Pro-German anti-Semitic Cliveden set centred around Lord and Lady Astor in London where Vincent was Canadian High Commissioner.
We had one social worker on the scene and her name was Charlotte Whitton, outspoken Mayor of Ottawa. She fiercely fought not to have Jewish children here as she favoured British children. She led a movement to evacuate endangered British mothers and children. The Canadian Jewish Congress saw her as an enemy of Jewish immigration. Oscar Cohen said she "almost broke up the inaugural meeting of the congress on Refugees by her insistent opposition and very apparent anti-Semitism."
The saddest story I have ever read in my life is the whole chapter from the Abella book titled "The children that never came." It takes care of any pride we may have in being Canadians. It is documented evidence 25 pages in length of continuous pleading on behalf of officials in places like France and Poland to take children whose lives were in immediate danger. Blair's hard hearted efforts lead to the declaration in the end of that chapter that reads: "There were no more schemes to help. save the refugee children. None were needed." By the time of the allied invasion of France in June 1944 most of these children had been murdered. NOT ONE of them had made it to Canada! They had been talking at times about as many as 5000.
I am happy to report that good has come out of the publishing of this book. The authors report that Lloyd Axworthy, current Minister of Immigration, apologized for the behaviour of predecessors and promised that it would never happen again. But also having read some papers by these authors prior to publication, Ron Atkey, former Conservative Minister of Immigration, took the responsibility and opened the doors to the BOAT PEOPLE because he did not want to be known as another Frederick Blair.
In "Bridges for Peace", the 1983 issue from Tulsa, Oklahoma we read about the state of anti-Semitism as in this day, media coverage is slanted.
Christians throughout the world are awakening to a call to stand by the side of the Jewish people. Beginning in 1979 Christians in Jerusalem rallied to her side when the governments of the World began to pull their embassies out of Jerusalem in fear because of the Arab oil power. The "International Christian Embassy, Jerusalem" was established. With people like Jan Willem Van Der Hoeven and the Comfort Zion ministry of Merv and Merla Watson, Jews are beginning to be provoked to jealousy. They are watching Christian love in action and hope is being reborn when they see 5000 Christians celebrating during the Jewish "Feast of Tabernacles", dancing with joy on Mount Zion and supporting them in their hour of need.
If Canada's Joe Clark had kept his promise to move our embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, he would have done better. Six months after breaking his promise he ceased to be Prime Minister and twelve months later he was removed as Leader of the Progressive-Conservative Party.
Coincidence? God hears our promises even "election promises". The Scripture says God will bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse her. Every nation that has persecuted the Jews has, in the long run, inherited the negative side of God's promise to Abram: "and I will curse those who curse you (and your descendants)."
SO IN CONCLUSION:
Anti-Semitism is a venomous condition of the heart of man and not just prejudice, hatred or discrimination. Jealousy and envy of the Jew more than anything else seems to be the main root of this condition. It is a spiritual problem. But Jeremiah said it best and it is truth from God's Word. "The heart is deceitful, and desperately wicked who can know it?".
Anti-Semitism engages man in a conduct that is: inconceivable, unbelievable, shocking, grotesque, incomprehensible, unthinkable, inhumane and intolerable.
This information has been gleaned from Alan Lazerte's course on anti-Semitism given at Fraserview Assembly, January, February and March 1983 as Director of the Canadian Friends of the International Christian Embassy, Jerusalem.
I dedicate this to the children that never came and to my brother who died trying to stop a mad man that was on the loose in Germany.
Writers: Laureen Moe
Source: Canadian Friends, International Christian Embassy, Jerusalem
This page was produced by Joseph E. Katz
Middle Eastern Political and Religious History Analyst
Brooklyn, New York
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Pogroms World War II
During World War II, Einsatzgruppen (popularly known as mobile killing units) received orders from Security Police Chief Reinhard Heydrich to tolerate and even encourage the indigenous populations living in newly conquered Soviet territory in launching pogroms.
The pogroms (with varying degrees of spontaneity) in towns such as Bialystok, Kovno, Lvov, and Riga complemented the German policy of systematically eliminating entire Jewish communities in the Soviet Union. On June 29, 1941, as Nazi Germany and its Axis partner, Romania, invaded the Soviet Union, Romanian officials and military units, assisted at times by German soldiers, killed at least 8,000 Jews during a pogrom in Iasi, in the Romanian province of Moldavia. On July 10, 1941, Polish residents of Jedwabne, a small town located in Bialystok District of first Soviet-occupied and then German-occupied Poland, participated in the murder of hundreds of their Jewish neighbors. Although responsibility for instigating this “pogrom” has not been fully established, scholars have documented at least a German police presence in the town at the time of the killings.
By late summer of 1941, increasing instances of corruption, plunder, settling of old scores, destruction of important economic resources, and the infiltration of former communists into groups that perpetrated the “pogroms” led the German authorities to abandon the practice on the Eastern Front. German SS and police units purged hastily recruited auxiliary police units and began to carry out systematic and controlled massacres of entire Jewish communities in the occupied Soviet Union.
The city of Lvov (L’viv) in southeastern Poland was occupied by the Soviet Union in 1939, under the terms of the German-Soviet Pact. There were over 200,000 Jews in Lvov in September 1939 nearly 100,000 were Jewish refugees from German-occupied Poland. The Germans subsequently occupied Lvov after the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941.
Encouraged by German forces to begin violent actions against the Jewish population in Lvov, Ukrainian nationalists massacred about 4,000 Jews in early July 1941. Another pogrom, known as the Petliura Days, was organized in late July. This pogrom was named for Simon Petliura, who had organized anti-Jewish pogroms in the Ukraine after World War I. For three days, Ukrainian militants went on a rampage through the Jewish districts of Lvov. They took groups of Jews to the Jewish cemetery and to Lunecki prison and shot them. More than 2,000 Jews were murdered and thousands more were injured.
In early November 1941, the Germans established a ghetto in the north of Lvov. German police shot thousands of elderly and sick Jews as they crossed the bridge on Peltewna Street on their way to the ghetto. In March 1942, the Germans began deporting Jews from the ghetto to the Belzec extermination camp.
By August 1942, more than 65,000 Jews had been deported from the Lvov ghetto and murdered. Thousands of Jews were sent for forced labor to the nearby Janowska camp. In early June 1943, the Germans destroyed the ghetto, killing thousands of Jews in the process. The remaining ghetto residents were sent to the Janowska forced-labor camp or deported to Belzec.
Jewish Pogroms - History
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Adapted and Updated from: "Anti-Semitism", Keter Publishing House, Jerusalem, 1974)
3rd cent. B.C.E.
Manetho, Greco-Egyptian historian, says Jews were expelled from Egypt as lepers.
Anti-Jewish riots in Alexandria (Egypt): many Jews killed, and all the Jews were confined to one quarter of the city.
Emperor Tiberius expels the Jews from Rome and Italy.
Massacre of the Jews of Alexandria (Egypt) in which 50,000 were killed.
1st cent. C.E.
Apion of Alexandria surpasses other Hellenistic anti-Semites in the crudeness of his fabrications.
Tertullian, Church Father, writes his anti-Jewish polemic in Latin Adversus Judaeos.
After the ecumenical council, Nicaea, the Christian Church formualtes its policy toward the Jews: the Jews must continue to exist for the sake of Christianity in seclusion and humiliation.
John Chrysostom, Church Father in the East, violently anti-Jewish, delivers eight sermons in Antioch.
Theodosius II, Roman emperor of the East, legalizes the civil inferiority of the Jews.
Persecutions of the Jews in Babylonia.
Jews persecuted in Babylonia by Firuz, the exilarch, and many Jews killed and their children given to Mazdeans.
Emperor Justinian I issues his novellae to Corpus Juris Civilis expressing his anti-Jewish policy.
Visigothic king Sisebut of Spain inaugurates a policy of forcible conversion of all Jews in the kingdom.
Jewish tribes of Hejaz (Arabia) destroyed by Muhammad.
Dagobert I expels Jews from Frankish kingdom.
Heraclius, Byzantine emperor, decrees forced baptism of all Jews in the Byzantine empire.
Official Church doctrine on conversion of Jews in Spain formulated.
Visigothic king Chintila compels the sixth council of Toledo to adopt resolution proclaiming that only Catholics may reside in the kingdom Spain.
All Jews under Visigothic rule in Spain declared slaves, their possessions confiscated and the Jewish religion outlawed.
Caliph Omar 11 introduces series of discriminatory regulations against the dhimmi, the protected Christians and Jews, among them the wearing of a special garb.
Fatimid caliph Al-Hãkim in Erez Israel issues severe restrictions against Jews.
Emperor Henry 11 of Germany expels Jews from Mainz, the beginning of persecutions against Jews in Germany.
First Crusade. Crusaders massacre the Jews of the Rhineland (1096).
Blood libel at Norwich (England) first record, blood libel.
Anti-Jewish riots in Rhineland by the Crusaders of the second Crusade.
Beginning of the brutal persecutors of the of North Africa under the Almohads, lasted until 1212.
King Philip Augustus of France decrees the expulsion of the Jews from his kingdom and the confiscation of their real estate.
Anti-Jewish riots in England: massacre at York,and other cities.
Fourth Lateran Council introduces the Jewish Badge.
Blood libel at Fulda, Germany.
Severe anti-Jewish persecutions in western France.
Disputation of Paris which led to the burning of the Talmud.
Burning of the Talmud at Paris.
Blood libel at Lincoln, England.
Expulsion of the Jews from England, the first of the great general expulsions of the Middle Ages.
Massacre of thousands of Jews in 146 localities in southern and central Germany led by the German knight Rindfleisch.
Expulsion of Jews from France.
Pastoureaux ("Shepherds"), participants of the second Crusade in France against the Muslims in Spain, attack the Jews of 120 localities in southwest France.
Persecutions against Jews in central France in consequence of a false charge of their supposed collusion with the lepers.
Expulsion from the kingdom of France.
Persecutions against Jews in Franconia and Alsace led by lawless German bands, the Armleder.
Black Death Massacres which spread throughout Spain, France, Germany and Austria, as a result of accusations that the Jews had caused the death of Christians by poisoning the wells and other water sources.
Massacre of the Prague (Bohemia) community.
Wave of massacres and conversions in Spain and Balearic Islands.
Expulsion from the kingdom of France.
Oppressive legislation against Jews in Spain as an outcome of the preaching of the Dominican friar Vicente Ferrer.
Disputation of Tortosa (Spain). The most important and longest of the Christian-Jewish disputations the consequence of which was mass conversions and intensified persecutions.
Persecutions of Jews in Vienna and its environs, confiscation of their possessions, and conversion of Jewish children, 270 Jews burnt at stake, known as the Wiener Gesera(Vienna Edict). Expulsion of Jews from Austria.
Massacre and conversion of the Jews of Majorca.
Establishment of mellahs (ghettos) in Morocco.
John of Capistrano, Italian Franciscan friar, incites persecutions and expulsions of Jews from cities in Germany.
Marranos of Valladolid and Cordoba, in Spain massacred.
Marranos of Segovia, Spain, massacred.
Inquisition established in Spain.
Torquemada appointed inquisitor general of Spanish Inquisition. Expulsion of Jews from Warsaw.
Blood libel in La Guardia, town in Spain, where the alleged victim became revered as a saint.
Expulsion from Portugal: mass forced conversion.
Massacre of Marranos in Lisbon.
Expulsion of Jews from Brandenburg (Germany).
Venice initiates the ghetto, the first in Christian Europe.
Inquisition established in Portugal.
Jews of Tunisia expelled and massacred.
Expulsion from the kingdom of Naples. Expulsion from Prague and crown cities.
Martin Luther, German religious reformer, attacks the Jews with extreme virulence.
Expulsion from Genoa (Italy).
Burning of the Talmud in Rome.
Censorship of Hebrew books introduced in Italy.
Burning of Marranos at Ancona, Italy.
Expulsion from the republic of Genoa (Italy).
Expulsion from the Papal States (Italy).
Vincent Fettmilch, anti-Jewish guild leader in Frankfort, Germany, attacks with his followers the Jews of the town and forces them to leave the City.
Ghetto established at Ferrara (Italy).
Massacres initiated by Bogdan Chmielnicki, leader of the Cossacks, and peasant uprising against Polish rule in the Ukraine, in which 100,000 Jews were killed and 300 communities destroyed.
Jews of Tunisia confined to special quarters (Hãra).
Massacres of Jews during the wars of Poland against Sweden and Russia.
Expulsion from Vienna. Blood libel at Metz (France).
Johann Andreas Eisenmenger writes his Entdecktes Judenthum ("Judaism Unmasked"), a work denouncing Judaism and whlch had a formative influence on modern anti-Semitic polemics.
Blood libel in Sandomierz (Poland) after which the Jews of the'town were expelled.
Pope Pius VI issues a severe "Edict concerning the Jews", in which he renews all former restrictions against them.
Haidamacks, paramilitary bands in Polish Ukraine, attack Jews.
Haidamacks massacre the Jews of Uman (Poland) together with the Jews from other places who had sought refuge there.
Haidamacks massacre the Jews of Uman (Poland): 20,000 Jews and Poles killed.
Destruction of most of the Jewish communities of Morocco.
Pale of Settlement -twenty-five provinces of Czarist Russia established, where Jews permitted permanent residence: Jews forbidden to settle elsewhere in Russia.
Massacre of Jews in Algeria.
A series of anti-Jewish riots in Germany that spread to several neighboring countries (Denmark, Poland, Latvia and Bohemia) known as Hep! Hep! Riots, from the derogatory rallying cry against the Jews in Germany.
Compulsory military service for the Jews of Russia: Jewish minors under 18 years of age, known as "Cantonists," placed in preparatory military training establishments.
Oppressive constitution for the Jews in Russia issued by Czar Nicholas 1.
Blood libel in Damascus (The Damascus Affair).
Blood libel in Saratov (Russia), bringing a renewal of the blood libel throughout Russia.
Abduction of a 7-year-old Jewish child, Edgard Mortara, in Bologna by Catholic conversionists (Mortara Case), an episode which aroused univeral indignation in liberal circles.
Adolf Stoecker, German anti-Semitic preacher and politician, founds the Social Workers' Party, which marks the beginning of the political anti-Semitic movement in Germany.
Heinrich von Treitschke, German historian and politician, justifies the anti-Semitic campaigns in Germany, bringing anti-Semitism into learned circles.
Wilhelm Marr, German agitator, coins the term anti-Semitism.
Pogroms sweep southern Russia, beginning of mass Jewish emigration.
Blood libel in Tiszaeszlar, Hungary, which aroused public opinion throughout Europe.
First International Anti-Jewish Congress convened at Dreseden, Germany.
A series of "temporary laws" confirmed by Czar Alexander III of Russia in May, 1882 ("May Laws"), which adopted a systematic policy of discrimination, with the object of removing the Jews from their economic and public positions.
Expulsion of about 10,000 Russian Jews, refugees of 1881-1884 pogroms, from Germany.
Blood libel in Xanten, Germany.
Expulsion from Moscow, Russia.
Karl Lueger establishes in Vienna the anti-Semitic Christian Social Party and becomes mayor in 1897.
Alfred Dreyfus trial in Paris.
Alexander C. Cuza organizes the Alliance Anti-sémitique Universelle in Bucharest, Rumania.
Houston Stewart Chamberlain, racist and anti-Semitic author, publishes his Die Grundlagen des 19 Jahrhunderts which became a basis of National-Socialist ideology.
Blood libel in Bohemia (the Hilsner case).
Pogrom at Kishinev, Russia.
Pogroms n the Ukraine and Bessarabia, perpetuated in 64 towns (most serious in Odessa with over 300 dead and thousands wounded).
First Russian public edition of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion appears.
Pogroms In Bialystok and Siedlce, Russia.
Polish boycott against Jews.
Menahem Mendel Beilis, blood libel trial at Kiev.
Ku Klux Klan, rascist organization in the U.S., refounded.
Pogroms in the Ukraine and Poland. 1) Pogroms by retreating Red Army from the Ukraine (spring, 1918), before the German army. 2) Pogroms by the retreating Ukraine army under the command of Simon Petlyura, resulting in the deaths of over 8,000Jews. 3)Pogroms by the counter revolutionary "White Army" under the command of General A.I. Denikin (fall, 1919) in which about 1,500 Jews were killed. 4) Pogroms by the "White Army" in Siberia and Mongolia (1919). 5) Pogroms by anti-Soviet bands in the Ukraine (1920-21), in which thousands of Jews were killed.
Abolishment of community organization and non-Communist Jewish institutions in Soviet Russia.
Pogroms in Hungary: c. 3,000 Jews killed.
Adolf Hitler becomes Fuehrer, of the National-Sozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP), later known as National Socialist.
Henry Ford I begins a series of anti-Semitic articles based on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, in his Dearbon Independent.
Economic restrictions on Jews in Poland.
Adolf Hitier's Mein Kampf appears.
Adolf Hitler appointed chancellor of Germany. Anti-Jewish economic boycott: first concentration camps (Dachau, Oranienburg, Esterwegen and Sachsenburg).
Nuremberg Laws introduced.
Anti-Semitic legislation in Rumania.
Discrimination against Jews in Polish universities.
After Anschluss, pogroms in Vienna, anti-Jewish legislation introduced: deportations to camps in Austria and Germany.
Charles E. Coughlin, Roman Catholic priest, starts anti-Semitic weekly radio broadcasts in U.S.
Kristallnacht, Nazi anti-Jewish outrage in Germany and Austria (Nov. 9-10, 1938): Jewish businesses attacked, synagogues burnt, Jews sent to concentration camps.
Racial legislation introduced in Italy (Nov. 17, 1938). Anti Jewish economic legislation in Hungary.
Anti-Jewish laws introduced in the Protectorate (Czechoslovakia).
Outbreak of World War 11 (Sept. 1, 1939), Poland overrun by German army: pogroms in Poland beginning of the Holocaust.
Nazi Germtny introduces gassing.
Formation of ghettos in Poland: mass shootings of Jews: Auschwitz camp, later an extermination camp, established Western European Jews under Nazis. Belzec extermination camp established.
Algerian administration applies social laws of Vichy.
Germany invades Russia and the Baltic states. Majdanek extermination camp established. Chelmno and Treblinka extermination camps established. Anti-Jewish laws in Slovakia. Pogroms in Jassy, Rumania. Pogroms and massacres by the Einsatzgruppen and native population in Baltic states and the part of Russia occupied by Germany. Expulsions of Jews from the German Reich to Poland. Beginning of deportation and murder of Jews in France.
Severe riots against Jews in Iraq in consequence of Rashid Ali al-Jilani's coup d'état. Nazi Germany introduces gassing in extermination camps.
Conference in Wannsee, Berlin, to carry out the "Final Solution" (Jan. 20, 1942). Beginning of mass transports of Jews of Belgium and Holland to Auschwitz. Massacres 'In occupied Russia continue. Death camps of Auschwitz, Majdanek and Treblinka begin to function at full capacity: transports from ghettos to death camps. Sobibor extermination camp established.
Germany declared Judenrein. Transports of Jews from all over Europe to death camps. Final liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto (May 16, 1943). Annihilation of most of the ghettos. Transport of Italian Jews to death camps.
Extermination of Hungarian Jewry.
Germany surrenders (May 8, 1945) estimated Jewish victims in the Holocaust 5,820,960.
Pogroms at Kielce, Poland, 42 Jews murdered and many wounded (July 4, 1946).
Jewish culture in U.S.S.R. suppressed and Jewish intellectuals shot.
Prague Trials (Slánský): Murder of Yiddish intellectuals in Russia and many Jews disappear or sent to work camps.
Accusation of "Doctors' plot" in the U.S.S.R., cancelled with Stalin's death.
Arabic version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion published in Egypt.
Fresh wave of anti-Semitism in Poland emigration of most of the remaining Jews of Poland.
Leningrad, and other trials of Soviet Jews, who agitate for right to emigrate.
Spread of Neo-Nazi publications in US and other parts of the world denying the Holocaust
Eleven Israeli athletes massacred at the Munich Olympic Games, which continue after a brief memorial ceremony.
UN General Assembly passes a resolution equating Zionism with racism.
Steven Cokely, an adviser to the mayor of Chicago and his link to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, accuses Jewish doctors of purposely infecting blacks with the AIDS virus in order to further a plan for world domination.
Iraq fires scud missiles at Israel in reaction to allied attacks during first Gulf War
Terror attacks in Israel increase.
Shooting attack on Jewish Community Center in Los Angeles, CA
- Thirteen Iranian Jews tried as Israeli spies.
- Outbreak of anti-Israel violence at second ("Al-Aqsa") intifada.
- The UN World Conference Against Racism in Durban becomes a platform for anti-Israel and anti-Semitic demonstrations by thousands.
- Coordinated "9/11" attacks against United States targets by Islamic terrorists blamed on Jewish conspiracy.
- Attacks on Jewish targets in Europe, including bombing of a Jewish school in Paris and simultaneous bombings of two synagogues in Istanbul during prayer services.
- University of Berlin report showing rise of anti-Semitism in Europe released after being suppressed by EU.
Every entry on the timeline is a hot-spot that pops a balloon with an image, further reading and useful links (Wikipedia & more). In addition, you may freely download and print a high resolution version of the Odyeda Jewish Timeline in PDF format in white or parchment backgrounds.
For a short summary of the subjects that appear on the timeline click here. or simply scroll down. For our main sources & recommended reading click here.
Click on any of the following titles to expand its contents:
In the beginning God created the world and everything in it in six days. Man was created, only after everything else was ready, on the sixth day. Jewish years begin with the creation of the first man. The year 2012 CE corresponds to the Hebrew year 5772. Therefore Genesis, that is dated to the Hebrew year 0, is dated to the year 3761 BCE in the Gregorian Calendar.
The Flood (Noah's Ark)
On account of man's wickedness, God resolved to destroy all mankind and animals by a flood. For his righteousness, only Noah and his family were excepted together with pairs of every living species.
Tower of Babel
As mankind tried to “reach the sky“ God scattered it abroad upon the face of all the earth. The place where this took place in was named “Babel,“ meaning “confusion” in Hebrew, since there God confounded the language of the earth.
God's Covenant with Abraham
God appeared to Abraham with a promise of offspring and their subsequent inheritance of the Land of Israel - between the river of Egypt and the Euphrates.
Binding of Isaac
The greatest trial of the patriarch's life came when God bade him offer up his only son as a burnt offering. Eventually, an angel of the Lord restrained him, once more delivering the prophecy that the patriarch's seed should be “as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the seashore,“ and that in them all the nations of the earth should be blessed.
Journey to Egypt
When the famine grew severe in Canaan, Jacob sent his sons into Egypt to buy corn, Later he went to Egypt with his eleven sons and their children, numbering altogether sixty-six, Joseph meeting him in Goshen.
Exodus from Egypt
The departure, under the leadership of Moses, of the Israelites from the land of Egypt. The Torah was given shortly after at Mount Sinai, by God revealing to all the Israelites, and not to a single prophet, as the case usually is in other religions.
1st Temple built
David, desired to build a temple for God, but was not permitted to do so because he was engaged in wars. His son, King Solomon, built the First Temple.
The Division of the Kingdom Israel & Judah
King Solomon's death led to the division of the kingdom into two: Judah and Israel (also named Samaria). The division led to political and spiritual deterioration. Wars and assimilation became common.
Exile of the 10 Tribes by Assyria
Around two hundred years after the division of the kingdom, the Assyrian Empire conquered the kingdom of Israel. The remaining population of the ten tribes of Israel either fled to Judah or were exiled to Assyria.
Destruction of the 1st Temple by Babylon
Babylonian conquest brings terrible devastation, destruction and exile. Those who remain are poor and incompetent. The day the Temple was burned, Tisha B'Av, was set to be a fast day.
Assassination of Gedalia and the Babylonian destructive response
Assassination of Gedalia, governor of Palestine. The Babylonian response was destructive. A fast day was set to commemorate the terrible event and its consequences.
Return to Zion following Cyrus's decree
Cyrus of Persia allows Jews to return to Eretz Yisrael. About 50,000 return led by Zerubbabel. Ezra and Nehemiah lead other Alyia waves and spiritual revival.
Purim – the Jews are saved from a planned massacre
The event, told in the Book of Esther, is the source of Fast of Esther Day and Purim, celebrated since then on the fourteenth of Adar (and Shushan Purim on the 15th of Adar).
2nd Temple built
The Jews that returned to Zion finally succeeded in building the 2nd Temple on the ruins of the previous one. In the process they had to overcome many difficulties including violent opposition from the neighboring tribes.
Re-dedication of the Temple thanks to the Maccabean Revolt
Maccabbean Revolt rose against the Greek Empire, as its king Antiochus outlawed Jewish traditions and ordered a pagan altar to be set up in the Temple at Jerusalem. The revolt succeeded and the temple was dedicated. Hanukkah, celebrated during eight days from the twenty-fifth day of Kislew (December), chiefly as a festival of lights, was instituted by Judas Maccabeus, to be celebrated annually with mirth and joy as a memorial of the dedication of the altar.
Destruction of the 2nd Temple by Rome
Roman army led by Titus to suppress the Jewish Big Revolt did so brutally. The suffering in Jerusalem was terrible. According to Josephus, even before the siege was ended, 600,000 bodies had been thrown out of the gates. On the 17th of Tamuz the Romans entered Jerusalem. On the 9th of Av they destroyed the Temple. Both days were set to be fast days ever since. Many of the inhabitants were killed or carried off and sold as slaves in the Roman markets.
Bar Kokhva rebellion suppressed
Roman anti-Jewish laws lead to the Bar-Kokhva Revolt. Although successful at first, the revolt was firmly suppressed after three years. As many as 580,000 Jews fell in battle, not including those who succumbed to hunger and pestilence. It was then when the Romans gave the name “Palestine” to the land of Israel so that the Jewish connection to the land would vanish. For the same reason Jews were not allowed into Jerusalem and Jewish traditions were outlawed.
Dome of the Rock built on the Temple's ruins
Caliph Abd al-Malik completes the construction of the shrine “Dome of the Rock” on the Jewish Temple's ruins in Jerusalem.
Khazar converts to Judaism
The Chazars' King felt that God appeared to him in a dream and promised him might and glory. The King questioned the Mohammedans, the Christians and the Jews about their religions. Following his research he decided to adopt Judaism. Rabbi Yehuda Halevi uses this story as a platform to explain the Jewish Philosophy in his book the “Kuzari”.
The Crusaders conquer Israel and massacre its Jewish inhabitants
The crusades were expeditions from western Europe to bring Jerusalem and the holy places back to the hands of Christians. The mobs accompanying the first three Crusades attacked the Jews in Europe and Israel, and put many of them to death. The Jews of Jerusalem, as in other places in Israel, were slaughtered as the first crusade conquered it in 1099.
Expulsions from England and France
Most countries in Central and Western Europe expelled their Jews between the 12th and the 15th centuries. England did so in 1290. The expulsions were generally accompanied by robbing their belongings and nationalizing their houses. Occasionally the Jews were allowed to come back and then robbed and expelled again after several years.
Jews blamed and persecuted for the Black Plague
The Black-Death was a violent pestilence which ravaged Europe between 1348, and 1351, and is said to have carried off nearly half the population. A myth arose, especially in Germany, that the spread of the disease was due to a plot of the Jews to destroy Christians by poisoning the wells from which they obtained. All over Europe mobs against Jews arose and thousands of them were slain over these false accusations.
Poland grants rights to Jews
Casimir The Great, King of Poland grants rights to the Jews. Poland therefore attracts Jewish immigration from Germany and Russia and as a result becomes the most important Jewish center of Europe.
Expulsion from Spain (Spanish Inquisition)
An edict of expulsion was issued against the Jews of Spain by Ferdinand and Isabella (March 31, 1492). It ordered all Jews and Jewesses of whatever age to leave the kingdom in 4 months, leaving their houses, gold, silver, and money. Approximately 200 thousand fled Spain, 50,000 converted, and dozens of thousands were killed or died from diseases on the journey.
Maharal establishes academy
Moreinu ha-Rav Loew, the Maharal, establishes his academy in Prague and thus contributes to Jewish education and evolvement.
The Ukrainian massacre
Led by Chmielnicki the Ukrainians slain between 100,000 to 300,000 Jews in less than 2 years. Terrible massacres spread over the course of the next ten years to Poland, Russia and Lithuania killing dozens to hundreds of thousands Jews.
Establishment of the Hasidic & Misnagdim movements
Hasidism movement arose among the Polish Jews and won over nearly half of the Jewish masses there. It was founded by the Ba'al Shem Tov. His teachings assign the first place in religion not to religious dogma and ritual, but to the sentiment and the emotion of faith. This change gave rise to an opposition movement called the “Mitnagdim” led by the Vilna Ga'on, that most valued man's Talmudic learning and traditional rituals and prayers.
Napoleon's proclamation to the Jews
Napoleon has published a proclamation in which he invites all the Jews of Asia and Africa to gather under his flag in order to re-establish the ancient Jerusalem.
Emancipation and the emergence of the Jewish Enlightenment, Reform and Orthodox movements
Big changes in European society influenced its Jewish world. Emancipation, enlightenment, assimilation and the appearance of the Reform and the Orthodox movements are some of the main results.
Accusation of ritual murder brought against the Jews of Damascus in 1840. The affair shook the Jewish world.
Capt. Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish officer in the French army was falsely accused of spying, as an indirect result of antisemitism. The novelist Emile Zola published under the title “J'Accuse,“ an open letter to the president of the republic, an eloquent philippic against the enemies “of truth and justice.“
1st Zionist Congress
The First Zionist Congress was held in Basel with the initiative and leadership of Herzl. The Congress was a Zionist parliament with Jews represented from all over the world. It was initiated in order to discuss and make decisions regarding the Jewish nation and the ways to achieve Jewish sovereignty and national aspirations.
Wave of pogroms in Russia, including the most known Kishinev pogrom, began in 1881 and continued for over 40 years. Dozens of thousands were murdered. The pogroms had great impact on migrations (more than - 2 million Jews migrated mainly to America) and the development of Zionism.
The Nazi criminals and their collaborators murdered 6 million Jews systematically and cold blooded, as they intended to perish the existence of Israel. In memory of the Holocaust victims, the State of Israel set a national memorial day on the 27th of Nisan.
The State of Israel established
The State of Israel was established on May 14, 1948 with the declaration of independence made by the Jewish People's Council, led by David Ben Gurion.
Jewish Demography - Population and Immigration
Jewish Demography - Entering Egypt
Jacob and his sons were 70 people as they descended to Egypt, apart from their wives. We can assume that Jacob's house-hold members also joined. It is told that Abraham had 318 men. Therefore, we can assume that Jacob and his sons also had several hundred “Household Members“ - men, women and children.
Jewish Demography - Exodus
After the exodus, in the year 1313 BCE the Israelites counted more than 600 thousand men over the age of 20. Therefore, having a population of around 2.5 million.
Jewish Demography - Era of the Judges
Around the year 1000 BCE, just before the monarchy began, Israel's population is estimated to have been approximately 3.4 million.
Jewish Demography - David's Kingdom
Around the year 960 BCE, Israel's population is estimated to have been approximately 5 million. This comes from King David's census that counted a total 1.3 million adult males, indicating a total population of about 5 million people.
Jewish Demography - Israel and Judah post-division and pre-exile
Around the year 720 BCE Israel's population is estimated to have been approximately 1.3 million. The big drop in population was caused by wars and assimilation that came as a result of the kingdom's split to Judah and Israel after King Solomon passed away.
Jewish Demography - Deportation of the 10 Tribes
Around the year 700 BCE Israel's population is estimated to have been approximately 0.8 million. The drop in population was caused by the Assyrian conquest and exile of Israel's 10 tribes.
Jewish Demography - Babylonian Exile
Around the year 585 BCE, Israel's population is estimated to have been approximately 0.3 million, most of which lived outside the land of Israel, as a result of the Babylonian conquest and exile.
Jewish Demography - Return to Zion
Around the year 515 BCE, the total Jewish population is estimated to have been approximately 0.3 million. Approximately half lived in Israel after the Return to Zion was allowed by the Persian Empire.
Jewish Demography - 2nd Temple – renewed Jewish sovereignty
Around the year 65 CE, the Jewish population is estimated to have been approximately 4.35 million. Approximately half living in the Land of Israel, and the other half outside of Israel, in its surrounding countries.
Jewish Demography - The destruction of the 2nd Temple
Around the year 70 CE, after the great revolt was brutally suppressed, the Jewish population is estimated to have been approximately 2 million. The Romans killed many, and took many others as slaves. This gave birth to the European diaspora.
Jewish Demography - Suppression of the Bar Kokhva Rebellion
Around the year 135 CE, after the Bar-Kochva revolt was brutally suppressed, the Jewish population is estimated to have been approximately 1.5 million. It was estimated that 580,000 Jews were killed during that war.
Jewish Demography - The Crusaders
Around the year 1100 CE, the Jewish population is estimated to have been approximately 1.0 million. Crusaders killed Jews on their way to the Land of Israel and in it.
Jewish Demography - Black Death persecutions
Around the year 1351 CE, the Jewish population is estimated to have been approximately 1.0 million. Thousands of Jews were murdered as christians in Europe blamed them for causing the black plague.
Jewish Demography - Spanish Inquisition
Around the year 1500 CE, the Jewish population is estimated to have been approximately 1.0 million. That was a few years after the expulsion from Spain, which deported about 100,000 Jews to the Ottoman Empire, Asia and Africa. About 50,000 Jews were converted. Presumably, some tens of thousands were killed.
Jewish Demography - The Ukrainian massacre
Around the year 1650 CE, the Jewish population is estimated to have been approximately 1.0 million. As more than 100,000 Jews were slaughtered in Poland and Lithuania.
Jewish Demography - Pogroms
Around the year 1882 CE, the Jewish population is estimated to have been approximately 7.8 million. Fast natural growth in European population. Pogroms in eastern Europe lead to casualties and immigration waves to America.
Jewish Demography - Pre-Holocaust increase in western Jewish population
In the year 1939 CE, the Jewish population is estimated to have been approximately 16.6 million. Fast natural growth in Europe and America.
Jewish Demography - The Holocaust
In the year 1945 CE, the Jewish population is estimated to have been approximately 11.4 million. The Nazi criminals and their collaborators murdered 6 million Jews systematically and cold blooded, in an attempt to demenish the existence of Israel.
Jewish Demography - Present Jewish demography
In the year 2010 CE, the Jewish population is estimated to have been approximately 13.5 million. Today the State of Israel is the largest Jewish center in the world, with approximately 6 million Jews. It had less than a tenth of that number of Jews only 64 years ago when it was established.
Control Over The Land of Israel
Rule over the Land of Israel - Egypt & Canaanites
During the Bronze Era, prior to the conquest of Israel by the Israelites, the Land of Israel was occupied by a number of small nations called the Canaanites. The Canaanites lived most of this period under Egyptian hegemony. Edited from Wikipedia.
Rule over the Land of Israel - Israel
After wondering 40 years in the desert, following the Exodus from Egypt, the people of Israel occupied the land of Israel under the leadership of Joshua (appointed by Moses before his death). The occupation was gradual and the Israeli tribes frequently suffered from wars with neighboring nations. Prosperity began as the tribes united to form the monarchy. Prosperity and peace peaked during the reigning of King Solomon. This enabled him to build the First Temple in Jerusalem. With his death the kingdom split.
Rule over the Land of Israel - Israel & Judah
After the death of Solomon, all the Israelite tribes except for Judah and Benjamin refused to accept Rehoboam, the son and successor of Solomon, as their king. The rebellion against Rehoboam arose after he refused to lighten the burden of taxation that his father had imposed on his subjects. Rehoboam fled to Jerusalem and Jeroboam was proclaimed king over all Israel at Shechem. The northern kingdom continued to be called the Kingdom of Israel or Israel, while the southern kingdom was called the kingdom of Judah. The split of the kingdom weakened both sides and led to internal and external wars as well as assimilation.
Rule over the Land of Israel - Judah & Assyria
Assyria conquered Israel but not Judah. The remaining population of the ten conquered tribes either fled to Judah or were exiled.
Rule over the Land of Israel - Babylon
Babylon conquered the Assyrian Empire and Judah. Doing so they exiled the Jews and destroyed the first Temple.
Rule over the Land of Israel - Persia
The Persian Empire conquered Babylon and replaced it as the region's ruler and the world's greatest empire yet. Cyrus the Great, the Persian king, permitted the Jews that were exiled by Babylon to return to their land and rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem.
Rule over the Land of Israel - Greece
Greece, under the leadership of Alexander the Great, conquered Persia and took its place as the region's empire. The relationships with the Jews were good at first but deteriorated after Alexander's death.
Rule over the Land of Israel - Hasmoneans
Antiochus Epiphanes, King of the Greek-Seleucid Empire, outlawed the Jewish religious practices and desecrated the holy sites. These actions led to a national revolt led by the Maccabees. The revolt succeeded and the temple was dedicated. Hanukkah, was instituted by Judas Maccabeus, to be celebrated annually with mirth and joy as a memorial of the dedication of the altar. The Maccabees succeeded in gaining full independence a few years later, and that is how the Hasmonean State was born.
Rule over the Land of Israel - The Roman Empire
The Roman Empire easily swallowed the Hasmonean State. This huge empire was one of the cruelest and most devastating for the Jewish people. It destructed the Second Temple, and later on firmly suppressed the Bar-Kochva revolt. In each war the Romans massacred hundreds of thousands of Jews, exiled and enslaved many others. It was then when the Romans gave the name “Palestine” to the land of Israel so that the Jewish connection to the land would vanish. For the same reason Jews were not allowed into Jerusalem and Jewish traditions were outlawed.
Rule over the Land of Israel - Byzantine
The Roman Empire was split into Western Rome and Eastern Rome, which was later named Byzantine.
Rule over the Land of Israel - Arabs
The Arabs fought Byzantine for a couple of years before they eventually won and took its place in the land of Israel and Syria.
Rule over the Land of Israel - Crusaders
The first Crusade started its journey to Israel in 1096. Its goal was to gain Christian rule over Jerusalem. Three years later it succeeded. The mobs accompanying the Crusades attacked the Jews in Europe and Israel, and put many of them to death. The Jews of Jerusalem, as in other places in Israel, were slaughtered as the first crusade conquered it in 1099. This was the end of a stable large Jewish community in Israel until the modern era.
Rule over the Land of Israel - Mamlukes
The Mamluks were non-Arab Muslims, who were first slaves and later took over Egypt. As Egypt's leaders they led a war and defeated the Mongolians and thus secured rule over Israel and Syria.
Rule over the Land of Israel - Ottoman Empire
The Sultan Selim I led the Ottoman Empire to the east. In the year 1516 he defeated the Mamluk Sultanate and took over its dependencies including the land of Israel.
Rule over the Land of Israel - Great Britain
The Land of Israel was conquered during the First World War by Great Britain. A few years later, the League of Nations passed an instrument granting Britain a mandate over the area. The purpose of the Mandate, as defined by the League of Nations, was to prepare a national home for the Jewish people on that territory. The territory included the land that is occupied today by Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. The British did not follow the Mandate they were given. Less than twenty years later Europe's Jews (that did not have their own homeland) were killed by the Nazi criminals and their supporters.
Rule over the Land of Israel - Israel
The State of Israel was established on May 14, 1948 with the declaration of independence made by the Jewish People's Council, led by David Ben Gurion. It is today the largest Jewish center in the world, with approximately 6 million Jews. It had less than a tenth of that number of Jews only 64 years ago when it was established.
Era - Patriarchs
The period between Abraham and Moses.
Era - Judges
The period from the entrance of the Israelite tribes to the Land of Israel after the Exodus until the coronation of King Saul.
Era - Kings & Prophets
The period from the coronation of King Saul to Ezra the Scribe.
Era - Knesset HaGdolah
The period from Ezra the Scribe to the first Zugot.
Era - Zugot
The Zugot (couples in Hebrew) were the couples that stood at the head of the Sanhedrin. One as president and the other as father of the court. Jose ben Joezer, and Jose ben Johanan were the first couple (during the time of the Maccabees). Hillel and Shammai were the last and probably most known couple.
Era - Tannaim
The Tannaim were the Rabbinic sages that came after Hillel and Shammai. Their main work and legacy was the Mishna, that was compiled by the last Ta'na Rabbi Judah HaNasi. His death signs the end of the Tannaim period.
Era - Amoraim
The term Amora was applied to the teachers that flourished during a period of about three hundred years, from the time of the death of the patriarch R. Judah I. (about 210) to the completion of the Babylonian Talmud (about 500). The activity of the teachers during this period was devoted principally to expounding the Mishnah — the compilation of the patriarch R. Judah — which became the authoritative code of the oral law. This activity was developed as well in the academies of Tiberias, Sepphoris, Cæsarea, and others in Palestine, as in those of Nehardea, Sura, and later of Pumbedita, and in some other seats of learning in Babylonia. In these academies the main object of the lectures and discussions was to interpret the often very brief and concise expression of the Mishnah, to investigate its reasons and sources, to reconcile seeming contradictions, to compare its canons with those of the Baraitot, and to apply its decisions to, and establish principles for, new cases, both real and fictitious, not already provided for in the Mishnah. The Amoraim's work finally became embodied in the Gemara (the Talmud). Credit note: the passage was taken from the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia.
Era - Savoraim
The principals and scholars of the Babylonian academies in the period immediately following that of the Amoraim. According to an old statement found in a gloss on a curious passage in the Talmud, Rabina, the principal of the Academy of Sura, was regarded as the “end of the hora'ah,“ i.e., as the last Amora. The activity displayed by the Saboraim is described by Sherira, in the following terms: “Afterward [i.e., after Rabina] there was probably no hora'ah [i.e., no independent decision], but there were scholars called Saboraim, who, rendered decisions similar to the hora'ah [i.e. the Talmud as left by the Amoraim], and who gave clear explanations of everything that had been left unsettled.“ Credit note: the passage was taken from the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia.
Era - Geonim
The title of “Gaon“ was given to the heads of the academies of Sura, Pumbedita and Israel. For while the Amoraim, through their interpretation of the Mishnah, gave rise to the Talmud, and while the Saboraim definitively edited it, the Geonim's task was to interpret it for them it became the subject of study and instruction, and they gave religio-legal decisions in agreement with its teachings. The last gaon was Hai Gaon, who died in 1038.
Era - Rishonim
Rishonim are the Rabbinical authorities and scholars that came after the last Gaon (Hai Gaon) and before the period of the Spanish Inquisition and the compilation of the Shulchan Aruch. Amongst the most known Rishonim are Rashi, the Rambam and Ramban.
Era - Acharonim
Achronim are the Rabbinical scholars from the time of the Spanish Inquisition to our days. During this period, the Shulchan Aruch was written, which still serves today as the main source for learning Halachic Laws.
World History - Main Events
Agricultural revolution – vine domestication
The Neolithic Revolution transformed the small and mobile groups of hunter-gatherers that had hitherto dominated human history into sedentary societies based in built-up villages and towns, which radically modified their natural environment These developments provided the basis for high population density settlements, specialized and complex labor diversification, trading economies, the development of non-portable art, architecture, and culture, centralized administrations and political structures, hierarchical ideologies, and depersonalized systems of knowledge (e.g., property regimes and writing). The first full-blown manifestation of the entire Neolithic complex is seen in the Middle Eastern Sumerian cities (ca. 3,500 BC), whose emergence also inaugurates the end of the prehistoric Neolithic period and the beginning of human society as we know it. Source: edited from Wikipedia (link below).
The first kingdom: Egypt
The coalescing of Egyptian civilization around 3100 BC under the first pharaoh has a great significance as it was the first bureaucracy to control, tax and unite under a single ruler hundreds of thousands of individuals. This proves the existence of a sophisticated and professional bureaucracy that had the ability to take notes and manage huge and organized archives and data-bases.
True writing systems developed from neolithic writing in the Early Bronze Age. The Sumerian archaic writing and the Egyptian hieroglyphs are generally considered the earliest true writing systems, both emerging out of their ancestral proto-literate symbol systems from 3400–3200 BC with earliest coherent texts from about 2600 BC. (Source: Wikipedia). Its significance comes from the ability to write down anything that can be expressed, which was impossible before that, since the written symbols was limited to numerous specific words.
Code of Hammurabi
The Code of Hammurabi is a well-preserved Babylonian law code, dating back to about 1772 BC. It is one of the oldest deciphered writings of significant length in the world. The sixth Babylonian king, Hammurabi, enacted the code, and partial copies exist on a human-sized stone stele and various clay tablets. The Code consists of 282 laws, with scaled punishments, adjusting “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth“ (lex talionis) as graded depending on social status, of slave versus free man. (Source: Wikipedia)
In Greek mythology, the Trojan War was waged against the city of Troy by the Greeks afterParis of Troy took Helen from her husband king of Sparta. The war is one of the most important events in Greek mythology and has been narrated through many works of Greek literature. The end of the war came with one final plan. Odysseus devised a giant hollow wooden horse, an animal that was sacred to the Trojans. The hollow horse was filled with soldiers. When the Trojans discovered that the Greeks were gone, believing the war was over, they “joyfully dragged the horse inside the city“. The soldiers from inside the horse emerged and killed the Trojan guards and opened the gates. The Greeks entered the city and killed the sleeping population. (Source of this passage: Wikipedia)
The first known coin was invented in the region of Turkey. Its value was set by the weight and value of the metals that composed it. It had the same value melted or in a different form since its value was the value of its materials. Today money has no material value and most of it is completely virtual on computers. Its value comes only from peoples belief in it.
Buddha (founder of Buddhism) is born
Gautama Buddha was a spiritual teacher from the Indian subcontinent, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. His work was focused on decreasing human suffering through self help.
China Unifies (40 million) & builds the Great Wall
Chinese Monarchy, under the Qin dynasty, was the largest in population ever in history up-until then. The form of monarchy survived more than two-thousand years until the establishment of the Chinese Republic in 1912.
Jesus is born
Christians hold Jesus to be the awaited Messiah of the Old Testament. Most Christians believe that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, performed miracles, founded the Church, died sacrificially by crucifixion to achieve atonement, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven, from which he will return. The majority of Christians worship Jesus as the incarnation of God the Son, and the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. Today, Christianity is the largest religion in the world. (Source of this passage: Wikipedia)
Rome adopts Christianity
Before the end of the 1st century, the Roman authorities recognized Christianity as a separate religion from Judaism. The distinction was given official status by the emperor Nerva around the year 98 by granting Christians exemption from paying the humiliating tax imposed by Rome only upon Jews. At first, Christians were persecuted for their belief and refusal to worship the Roman gods or to pay homage to the emperor as divine. Only in 313, Emperor Constantine granted Christians and others “the right of open and free observance of their worship“. By the end of that century Emperor Theodosius I established the Christianity as the official state religion, reserving for its followers the title of Catholic Christians and declaring that those who did not follow were to be called heretics. Pagan worship became formally forbidden. (Source: Wikipedia)
Muhammad (founder of Islam) is born
Muhammad was a religious, political, and military leader from Mecca, who unified Arabia into a single religious polity under Islam. He is believed by Muslims to be a messenger and prophet of God and, by most Muslims, the last and most important prophet sent by God for mankind. Islam is the second largest religion after Christianity.
Arabic Numerals invented
Arabic numerals are the ten digits (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9). They are descended from the Indian numeral system developed by Indian mathematicians. They were transmitted to Europe in the Middle Ages. The use of Arabic numerals spread around the world through European trade, books and colonialism. The system was revolutionary by including a zero and positional notation. It is considered an important milestone in the development of mathematics. Today they are the most common symbolic representation of numbers in the world. (Source of the passage: Wikipedia)
First book printed (China)
Printing was invented in China around the year 200 using wood blocks. The first printed book found in the world was printed in China around the year 868. The technology was brought to Europe but the fast global spread of the printing press began with the invention of movable type printing press by Gutenberg in Germany in the 15th century. This revolutionary invention had great effect on humanity as it led to the scientific and industrial revolutions.
100 Years' War
The Hundred Years' War was a series of conflicts waged from 1337 to 1453 between the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of France and their various allies for control of the French throne. The war gave impetus to ideas of French and English nationalism. The first standing armies in Western Europe since the time of the Western Roman Empire were introduced for the war, thus changing the role of the peasantry. In France, civil wars, deadly epidemics, famines and bandit free companies of mercenaries reduced the population by about one-half. (Source: Wikipedia)
The Black Plague reduce Europe's population by about one-third. Christians blamed the Jews for causing the plague (a common rumor was that the Jews poisoned water sources) and thus persecuted them. This led the Jews to flee Western Europe towards the East.
Europe discovered America and opened new frontiers and opportunities. From that point on European imperialism was to search, find, conquer and exploit most of the world.
Scientific & Industrial Revolutions
The Scientific and Industrial Revolutions occurred in Europe and led to its meteoric development. These revolutions eventually enabled this small and insignificant (at that moment) continent to spread out and eventually take over the whole world.
The colonies of North America united and rebelled against Britain. They declared independence in Philadelphia in 1776. Today, the USA is the world's only super power.
The French Revolution (1789–1799), was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France that had a lasting impact on French history and more broadly throughout the world. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed within three years. French society underwent an epic transformation, as feudal, aristocratic and religious privileges evaporated under a sustained assault from radical left-wing political groups, masses on the streets, and peasants in the countryside. Old ideas about tradition and hierarchy–of monarchy, aristocracy, and religious authority–were abruptly overthrown by new Enlightenment principles of equality, citizenship and inalienable rights. Since then, in France the Bastille Day, 14th of July, is a public holiday. (Source: Wikipedia)
The largest and most lethal war the world has seen up to that point. More than 18 millions killed as technological development led to more lethal weapons. The war changed completely the former global order.
The largest and most lethal war the world has ever seen. Around 60 million people killed. The atomic bomb was both developed and deployed during that war. Under the war's circumstances the Nazi criminals and their supporters led the Holocaust, in which they systematically murdered around 6 million Jews.
Jewish Historical Figures
Adam & Eve
According to Jewish tradition, Adam and Eve were the first human beings to be created.
Noah was a righteous man in the generation of the big Flood. Thanks to his righteousness he was chosen by God to save humanity and animals. Therefore, all humanity today originates from him.
Abraham and Sarah
Abraham and Sarah are the first patriarch and matriarch of the Jewish nation. Parents of Isaac. Abraham is considered to be the founder of monotheism.
Isaac & Rebekah
Isaac and Rebekah are the second generation of Israel's patriarchs and matriarchs. Parents of Jacob.
Jacob, Leah and Rachel
Jacob, Lea and Rachel are the third generation of Israel's patriarchs and matriarchs. Jacob was named Israel. Jacob is the father of the Tribes of Israel.
Sons of Jacob – the Tribes of Israel
Each one of Jacob's 12 sons became a Tribe of Israel, except for Joseph, that got to be the father of 2 tribes through his Sons: Ephraim and Mannasse. There were thus 13 Tribes of Israel. The land of Israel was divided to only 12 of the tribes since Levi did not get land as its work to serve god and take care of religious duties did not require land.
Moses and Aaron
Moses is the greatest prophet of all times. He led Bnei Israel out of Egypt towards the Land of Israel. He was the one who formed the Israeli Nation. He received the Torah from God on Mount Sinai. His brother Aaron was by his side for aid. He was also the first to serve as a Cohen and the father of all Cohanim.
Joshua was Moses’s apprentice and successor. As such he led Am Israel into the Land of Israel and conducted its occupation.
Deborah was a prophetess, the fourth Judge-Leader of pre-monarchic Israel, counselor and warrior.
Shimshon Ha'gibor (Samason the hero) was a Nazir and the third-to-last Judge of pre-monarchic Israel. He was granted superpowers by God and became a hero warrior fighting Israel's enemies.
Ruth Ha'moavia (of Moab) is known for her great devotion to Am Israel and its God. As such she was granted to be the great grand mother of King David.
Samuel (Shmuel) was the last of the Hebrew Judges and the first of the major prophets who began to prophesy inside the Land of Israel. He was thus at the cusp between two eras. He also anointed the first two kings of the Kingdom of Israel: Saul and David. (Source: Wikipedia)
The second King of Israel, as he replaced King Saul. Father of the dynasty that ruled the United Kingdom and then Judah until the destruction of the 1st Temple and the Babylonian exile.
King Solomon, son of King David and Bat-Sheva, is known for his wisdom. Built the 1st Temple in Jerusalem. During his time, the United Kingdom of Israel prospered economically and politically.
Elijah was a famous prophet and a wonder-worker in the northern kingdom of Israel during the reign of King Ahab. He fought against worshiping pagan gods (the “Ba'al”). He raised the dead, brought fire down from the sky, and was taken up in a whirlwind of flame (thus never died). Elijah's return is prophesied “before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord.“
Jeremiah was one of the great prophets. He was active around the time of the destruction of the 1st Temple. As such he played an important role in keeping the nation together after the terrible destruction and exile. He authored the Book of Lamentations, that is recited on the 9th of Av (the day when the Temple was destructed).
Ezekiel was one of the great prophets. He active around the time of the destruction of the 1st Temple. One of his most known prophecies is the Vision of Valley of Dry Bones, where he sees the dead rise again.
Esther & Mordechai
Esther and Mordechai saved the Jewish people from the genocide that was planned by a Senior minister of the Persian Empire, Haman.
Ezra & Nehemiah
Ezra and Nehemiah led waves of immigrations of exiled Jews from Babylon back to the Land of Israel. Ezra the Scribe enforced observance of the Torah and fought against mixed marriages. His work has great influence on Jewish life even today.
Judah the Hammer
Yehuda Ha'Macabee (Judah the Hammer) was the head of the Jewish army that fought in the revolt against the Greeks and won.
Herod was a Roman client king of Judea. His epithet of “the Great“ is widely disputed as he is described as “a madman who murdered his own family and a great many rabbis.“ He is also known for his colossal building projects in Jerusalem and elsewhere, including his expansion of the Second Temple in Jerusalem and the construction of Caesarea. (Source: Wikipedia)
Hillel & Shammai
Hillel and Shammai were two leading rabbis of the early 1st century CE who founded opposing schools of Jewish thought, known as the House of Hillel and House of Shammai. The debate between these schools on matters of ritual practice, ethics, and theology was critical for the shaping of the Oral Law and Judaism as it is today. (Source: Wikipedia)
Philo of Alexandria, also called Philo Judaeus, was a Hellenistic Jewish philosopher who lived in Alexandria, Egypt during the Roman Empire. He attempted to fuse and harmonize Greek philosophy with Jewish philosophy.
Jewish historian that lived through and documented Judah's Great Revolt and its devastating suppression by the Roman Empire.
Johanan ben Zakai
Yohanan ben Zakai was one of the tannaim, and a primary contributor to the core text of Rabbinical Judaism, the Mishnah. During the suppression of the Great Revolt he asked the Roman commander to save Yavne and its sages. There he founded his school that functioned as a re-establishment of the Sanhedrin so that Judaism could survive the destruction and adopt to the new situation.
One of the greatest rabbinical figures of all times. Rabbi Akiva supported the Bar-Kokhba Revolt against the Romans and suffered martyrdom upon his opposition to Hadrian's edicts against the Jewish religion.
Led the revolt against the Romans. Many thought he was the Messiah at his time that was sent to save Israel. The revolt was brutally suppressed and resulted in deaths of more than half a million people, destruction, exile and cruel edicts. It was then when the Romans gave the name “Palestine” to the land of Israel so that the Jewish connection to the land would be forgotten. For the same reason Jews were not allowed into Jerusalem and Jewish traditions were outlawed. These edicts still affect the Jewish nation today, almost 2,000 years later.
Bruriah was a clever sage. She was highly valued due to her wisdom, her sharpness and the scope of her knowledge. It is said about her that she studied 300 laws in one day.
Judah the Prince
Judah the Prince, also known as Rabbi, was a 2nd-century rabbi and chief redactor and editor of the Mishnah. He was a key leader of the Jewish community during the Roman occupation of Judea.
Rabbi Yochanan was considered as the greatest rabbi of his generation. He started a school in Tiberias, and let anyone who wanted to learn in, a controversial move at the time. He laid the foundations for the Yerushalmi Talmud.
Rav Ashi was a Babylonian Amoraic sage, who reestablished the Academy at Sura and was first editor of the Babylonian Talmud.
A prominent rabbi, Jewish philosopher, and exegete of the Geonic period. The first important rabbinic figure to write extensively in Arabic, he is considered the founder of Judeo-Arabic literature. Known for his works on Hebrew linguistics, Halakha, and Jewish philosophy. In this capacity, his philosophical work Emunoth ve-Deoth represents the first systematic attempt to integrate Jewish theology with components of Greek philosophy. Saadia was also very active in opposition to Karaism, in defense of rabbinic Judaism.
Leader of the Ashkenazi Jews in the 11th century. Amongst his halachic rulings are prohibitions on: polygamy, deportation of a woman against her will and opening a letter addressed to another person.
Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki) is considered to be the greatest commentator of all times. His commentary on the Tanach (the Bible) and the Talmud is characterized by it conciseness. He was born in France in 1040.
Rabbi Yehuda Halevi was one of the greatest Jewish poets and thinkers. Amongst his works is the book “The Kuzari,“ in which he lays out and explains Jewish philosophy. Born and raised in Spain. Fulfilled his spiritual aspiration to live in the Land of Israel. He was assassinated in Jerusalem by an Arab. Among his famous songs “My heart is in the East, tho' in the West I live”, describing his longing to Israel. In addition to his spiritual work, he worked as a physician.
The Rambam, Maimonides
RAbbi Moshe Ben Maimon (RaMBaM, also known as Maimonides) was born in Spain in 1135. One of the greatest Jewish leaders and philosophers. A popular saying states, “From Mosheh (Moses) to Mosheh (Rambam) there was none like Mosheh. He became the head of the Jewish community in Egypt. In addition to his rabbinical and philosophical skills and works he was a scientist and worked as a physician. The Rambam emphasized the importance of work.
Ramban (Rabbi Moshe ben Naḥman), was a leading medieval Jewish scholar, philosopher, physician, kabbalist, and biblical commentator. He was raised and lived for most of his life in Spain. Following his longing to the Land of Israel he managed to live in Jerusalem during his last years. One of his works that I especially like and recommend is “Iggeret ha-Musar“, which is a letter addressed to his son, giving him day to day tips for life.
Rabbi Yosef Karo
Joseph ben Ephraim Karo, was author of the last great codification of Jewish law, the Shulchan Aruch, which is still authoritative for all Jews pertaining to their respective communities. To this end he is often referred to as HaMechaber (“The Author“) and as Maran (“Our Master“). (Source: Wikipedia)
Baal Shem Tov
Rabbi Israel Ben Eliezer, often called Baal Shem Tov or Besht, was a Jewish, mystical rabbi. He founded the Hasidic Judaism and movement.
The Vilna Gaon
Elijah ben Shlomo Zalman Kremer, known as the Vilna Gaon, or by his Hebrew acronym Gra (“Gaon Rabbenu Eliyahu“), was a Talmudist, halachist, kabbalist, and the foremost leader of non-hasidic Jewry of the past few centuries. Through his annotations and emendations of Talmudic and other texts he became one of the most familiar and influential names in rabbinic study since the Middle Ages, counted by many among the sages known as the Acharonim, and ranked by some with the even more revered Rishonim of the Middle Ages. He held great scientific knowledge. He led the opposition to the Hasidut movement. (Source: Wikipedia)
The Chasam Sofer
One of the leading rabbis and poskim of recent generations. One of the major designers of Orthodox view. Coined the term “new forbidden by the Torah,“ meaning that there should be no change in Jewish customs and religious traditions. This view was clearly in contrary to the Reforms' view. He supported secular-studies in addition to religious studies. Encouraged and worked to settle the Land of Israel.
The Chofetz Chaim
Yisrael Meir (Kagan) Poupko, known popularly as The Chofetz Chaim, was an influential Lithuanian Jewish rabbi of the Musar movement, a Halakhist, posek, and ethicist whose works continue to be widely influential in Jewish life. Amongst his works are: Chafetz Chayim (“Desirer of Life“), his first book, that deals with the laws of gossip and slander Sh'mirat HaLashon (“Guarding of the Tongue“), is a discussion of the philosophy behind the Jewish concepts of power of speech and guarding one's speech Mishna Berura (“Clarified teachings“) is an important commentary, on a section of the Shulchan Aruch. (Source: Wikipedia)
Austria-Hungarian Jew. Journalist and political activist. “Visionary of the State of Israel“. Initiator and leader of the Zionist Congress and the World Zionist Organization.
Jewish Pogroms - History
Scholars discuss the events of Kristallnacht, a series of violent attacks against Jews in Germany, Austria, and part of Czechoslovakia in November, 1938.
I call the events of November 1938 a pogrom because they fall in the tradition of violent, state-mandated actions against Jews, specifically against Jews. There was a long history of pogroms carried out by many different peoples at different times and this falls into that tradition. In early November 1938, a young Jewish man named Herschel Grynszpan walked into the German embassy in Paris and shot the Third Secretary of the embassy.
His parents were Polish Jews who lived in Hanover in northern Germany. They had been rounded up and they had been taken to the border between Germany and Poland and the Germans had tried to push them, along with about 30,000 other Jews, across the border into Poland. The Poles had refused to accept them and they stood there for several weeks in no man's land.
Grynszpan was desperately upset about what was happening to his parents and that's what prompted him to go to the embassy and shoot this person as a way of drawing international attention to what his parents were experiencing. And this, the German propaganda apparatus immediately drummed up as part of the international Jewish opposition to Germany.
The Nazi newspaper, the Völkischer Beobachter, published a report of this attempted assassination, and by November 8th, there were already wild cat attacks on Jews and Jewish property. So there was already stoking of popular resentment, hatred, and violence—street violence. As ill luck would have it, the party leadership was meeting just at that time in Munich and it was a moment for them to show their loyalty to their Führer.
The party leaders wrote, telephoned, telegrammed the local party bosses across the country telling them to attack Jewish property and telling them that the police would not intervene, that the fire department would not quell the fires. It turned into an explosion of violence.
Most of the synagogues in the country were burned down that night, Jews' private residences were attacked, their furniture thrown into the streets. Thousands and thousands of shop windows, about 200 synagogues, burning in this way. It was a much more public act of violence than anything that had come before. This was open, manifest violence occurring in the downtowns of every major city in some of the most prominent places within the community, and occurring to places that had hither-to been regarded as sacred.
They burned Torah scrolls, they burned Bibles, they burned religious artifacts, they destroyed the very essence of what the synagogue represents. They also destroyed the economic infrastructure—looted, ransacked, broke the glass, and they arrested 30,000 Jewish men aged 16 to 60. And they did so for all to see, none could not see it, none could deny it.
They see the leadership sees just how much they can get away with. A lot of this is this kind of pushing of the envelope and seeing how things are going to play out and how the general public is going to respond. And there was no uprising about the pogrom. Instead, ordinary Berliners referred to it as Kristallnacht, broken shards of glass, which need to be cleaned up.
Most interesting part of that is what happened three days later. They have a meeting in the economics ministry and the meeting essentially is to assess the damage of Kristallnacht. And the economic minister is not very happy because there were the destruction of 7,000 Jewish businesses, which in order to repair would have essentially meant that the entire foreign reserves would have to be used to buy glass.
They then said, let's come out with a total fine of the Jewish people equivalent to the damage that had been done. And once that happened at the meeting they decided, OK, let's go. Jews expelled from civil service, all businesses have to be transformed to non-Jewish by January 1st. And the meeting concluded with the following cynical words: "I should not like to be a Jew in Germany today."
In one respect, this was a radical departure from what had occurred before. There had been occasional street riots, there was a pogrom in a little town in Bavaria in 1933, but on the whole, the Nazis had not attacked Jews physically. On the other hand, it came at the end of a whole year of mounting persecution.
More and more German-Jewish owned businesses had been driven out of business, more and more restrictions had been imposed on the Jews of Germany—they had been required to adopt identifying middle names, for example, their identity papers had been stamped with the red J, so on. In early 1938, there were more applications on file for visas to enter foreign countries than there were Jews left in Germany. That doesn't mean every Jew had applied, because sometimes they applied to multiple countries, but that does give you a sense of how clearly people understood that the future in this country would not be good for us.
So the violence on the one hand did not change the mentality of German Jews but it did increase the urgency of leaving. That's when the desperate migration began. The desperation to get out of Germany now, immediately, and the young people first because the young people were the future of the community.
Within the German Reich, it's clear that you want to get out if you're Jewish. Outside the Reich, the international response was outrage. It should have been more, we should have done more than we did. The US recalled its ambassador temporarily—we didn't break up diplomatic relations with Germany at this time. The British, they recognized how dangerous the regime was. They started to facilitate the transportation of children to Great Britain and about 10,000 children came to the United Kingdom in this way.
It's a glass half empty, half full. Clearly there's international outrage. On the other hand, clearly the international community didn't do enough at this point. I don't think there was yet a willingness to stand up and protest and I don't think a protest would have made much difference to Hitler. We now know that that attack, first on property but then on people—and it's the attack on people that I focus on—that was the beginning of the end.
It was the end of any hope that Jews could have of living as Jews in Germany and it was the transition to systematic violence, which ultimately became slaughter.
How a small pogrom in Russia changed the course of history
The terror lasted for less than three days, and “only” 49 Jews were killed, but the Kishinev pogrom of 1903 had surprisingly far-reaching ramifications. Within weeks of the pre-Easter massacre, the town’s name became synonymous with the worst horrors of Diaspora persecution, and political movements around the world took notice.
Although the pogrom was meticulously documented, mythology played a key role in shaping Kishinev’s aftermath. In his new book, “Pogrom: Kishinev and the Tilt of History,” Steven J. Zipperstein outlines some of these distortions, as well as the role Kishinev played in spurring — for instance — the alignment of American Jews with Leftist politics. The Jews’ enemies, too, drew conclusions from the pogrom, widely disseminating “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” in the years that followed.
“It was a moment that cast a shadow so deep, wide, and variegated as to leave its imprint on Jews, on Jew-haters, and on wounds licked ever since,” wrote Zipperstein. In addition to the murder of 49 Jews, at least 600 Jewish women were raped, and hundreds more injured. Although the town’s Jews organized at least one large-scale defense action, this resistance was largely ignored for decades, buried in the notebooks of Zionist reporters sent to cover the atrocities.
Located in Tsarist Russia’s fertile Bessarabia region, turn-of-the-century Kishinev was home to about 55,000 Jews among a population of 280,000. Today, the city is called Chisinau, and is the capital of the Republic of Moldova. Wedged between Ukraine and Romania, the small country is home to 15,000 Jews, most of whom live in the city that defined the word pogrom in 1903.
As with other attacks organized against Jews, the Kishinev pogrom began with a “blood libel,” or the accusation that Jews murdered a Christian child to use its blood for ritual purposes. The region’s anti-Semitic intellectuals, including journalists, played a key role in stirring up animosity against Jews, making sure the masses knew it was permissible — and even desirable — to deal with them harshly.
“From its start their attack on Jews was justified as self-defense, a reasonable response to a pariah people, capable of any and all transgressions,” wrote Zipperstein, a professor of Jewish history and culture at Stanford University in California.
One Jew to lose his life in the pogrom was 60-year old Moshe Kigel, who was killed at the entrance to his home. In accounts of the massacre, however, Kigel was transformed into a sexton, or synagogue caretaker, who was found dead on the street surrounded by desecrated Torah scrolls. In this mythical retelling, the devout Kigel was slain while attempting to rescue the holy parchments from Lower Kishinev’s small shuls.
According to Zipperstein, the misleading depiction of Kigel’s final moments served, in part, to detract attention from the pogrom’s hundreds of rapes, including knowledge that “the town’s cowardly men” hid in fear while Jewish women were assaulted. The heroic account of Kigel’s death also helped memorialize the massacre’s poorer victims, who — unlike some of Kishinev’s more well-to-do Jews — were unable to flee before the violence.
‘Their flesh portioned out as booty’
Although very few Jews outside of Russia knew the name Kishinev before 1903, many of them had heard of the bustling port city Odessa, a day’s journey east. There, on the shores of the Black Sea, some of Zionism’s chief thinkers laid out plans for the Jewish future.
Upon hearing of the massacre in Kishinev, some of these Zionists considered their beliefs about Jewish passivity to have been confirmed. In their view, the massacre illustrated “the stereotypes of feminized Jewish males hopelessly softened by the humiliation of the Diaspora,” wrote Zipperstein.
The most lasting accounts to come out of Kishinev were from the writer Hayim Nahman Bialik, who was sent by the Odessa leadership to document the atrocities. Bialik, who would later become Israel’s national poet, arrived on the scene with “his own sense of the degradation of exile,” according to Zipperstein.
“Even before Bialik goes to Kishinev, his circle in Odessa has already insisted that Jews died and were utterly defenseless and offered no resistance,” Zipperstein told The Times of Israel in an interview. “[The poet] Ahad Ha’Am, too, thought anti-Semitism was caused or reinforced by the behavior of the Jews themselves,” added the author.
The most formidable defense put up by Kishinev’s besieged Jews took place in “the wine courtyard,” where 250 “working class” Jews armed with clubs and poles — and a few guns — assembled to fight back. These defenders managed to hold off some of the rioters, but the chief legacy of their efforts was in providing “proof” that Jews had attacked first. In court trials that took place until the end of the year, the Jewish defenders were blamed for bringing the slaughter upon themselves.
Any mention of Jewish resistance was absent from Bialik’s seminal work on the pogrom, “In the City of the Killings,” which has been called the most important Jewish poem since the Middle Ages. In his gory depiction of the massacre, Bialik expressed his “overwhelming disgust at the reaction of a significant cluster of Jewish males,” said Zipperstein.
“Do not fail to note in the dark corners of Kishinev, crouching husbands, bridegrooms, brothers peering through the cracks of their shelters, watching their wives, sisters, daughters writhing beneath their bestial defilers, suffocating in their own blood, their flesh portioned out as booty,” wrote Bialik.
In contrast to Bialik, the famed Jewish anarchist Emma Goldman toured the US with a theatrical production based on the pogrom, in which “an undeniable dignity” was granted to “Jewish victimhood,” wrote Zipperstein.
The “message” of the Kishinev pogrom, in other words, was dependent on the messenger. In pre-state Israel, accounts of the violence from new immigrants helped spark the formation of the self-defense group Bar-Giora, a forerunner to the Israel Defense Forces. For Bialik and others of his mindset, elevating the role of resisters during the pogrom was futile, as Jews — in their assessment — were fated for nothing good in Russia’s Pale of Settlement.
“[Accounts of the pogrom were] assiduously edited, with many of its details treated like unnecessary baggage for an already overburdened people,” wrote Zipperstein.
‘I did not believe in the Jewish question’
The Kishinev pogrom’s impact was fueled, in part, by photographs of the atrocities that made it around the world. One image of 45 murdered victims laid out in prayer shawls was particularly resonant, appearing in numerous broadsheets during the early days of news photography.
“It was a little bit like how that [photo of Alan Kurdi, a dead] Syrian child on the beach concretized Syrian misery,” said Zipperstein, referring to how a captivating image can break through the “abstraction” behind human catastrophes.
Although the pogrom did not sway many American Jews toward Zionism, there was a decided shift to the political left. It was generally (and erroneously) assumed the pogrom had been organized by Russian officials, prompting many Jews to become suspicious of conservative government. In 1905, the Russian Empire’s formation did, in fact, lead to a wave of state-sanctioned, anti-Semitic violence. As many as 200,000 Jews were murdered in an estimated 600 massacres, including an additional 19 victims in Kishinev.
In the US, it was not only Jews who drew conclusions from Kishinev. Black leaders spoke about the “twin evils” of European pogroms and lynchings in the American south, where thousands of blacks were murdered in a decades-long campaign of racial terrorism. In 1909, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was formed to combat this violence, and Kishinev was mentioned in the group’s founding documents.
The Jews’ enemies, too, drew conclusions from the pogrom, realizing that mass media could be used to incite large-scale violence. One of Kishinev’s chief instigators, the publisher Pavel Krushevan, pushed out the anti-Semitic forgery, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” in the months following the pogrom. The notorious canard made it into the hands of anti-Semites including Henry Ford, who published half a million copies in the US.
According to some Jewish leaders, “every aspect of the Holocaust had been anticipated by the Kishinev pogrom.” From the role of intellectuals in galvanizing anti-Semitism, to the blaming of Jews for defending themselves, the pogrom helped solidify a template that culminated in the murder of six million Jews during World War II. This modernization of anti-Semitism was not lost on Jewish thinkers, some of whom predicted Nazi Germany’s “Final Solution” with eerie precision.
“When I was in America, I did not believe in the Jewish question removed from the whole social question,” wrote Emma Goldman after being deported to Russia by the US government in 1919. “But since we visited some of the pogrom regions I have come to see that there is a Jewish question, especially in the Ukraine,” she wrote.
“It is almost certain that the entire Jewish race will be wiped out should many more changes take place,” wrote Goldman.
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Jewish Immigration to Pre-State Israel
Nazi Germany 1933-1939: Early Stages of Persecution
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One of the fundamental changes in Jewish life in the period under review [the 19th century] was the enormous movement, mainly from Eastern to Western Europe and overseas, and above all to the United States of America. This migration was the consequence of demographic, economic, and political developments. The high rate of natural increase created population surpluses that could not be absorbed in the traditional Jewish occupations. Capitalist development, which commenced at a rapid pace in Russia after the liberation of the serfs in 1861 and also reached Galicia and Austria at about the same time, opened up new sources of livelihood for a small number of Jews, but caused deprivation to greater numbers, as it had eradicated many of the traditional occupations.
This development was exacerbated by the expulsion of the Jews from the villages and their eviction from occupations connected with the rural economy. Many Jews became artisans and there was fierce competition among them, while others became day‑labourers and, in fact, remained without livelihood. These two groups, the artisans and the hired labourers, provided the main candidates for emigration. Under the backward conditions of Galicia, the increase in sources of livelihood could not catch up with the growth of the Jewish population, particularly when the Poles began to organize rural cooperatives and other economic institutions in order to exclude the Jews from economic life. In Rumania, the government and population conducted an economic war on the Jews, the declared aim of which was to drive them out of the country, while in Russia, oppression and harsh decrees were the official method of &ldquosolving the Jewish problem.&rdquo
Persecution was no less effective a factor than the economic causes. The great wave of Jewish migration commenced with the flight from pogroms. In 1881, thou­sands of Jews fled the towns of the Pale of Settlement in Russia and concentrated in the Austrian border town of Brody, in overcrowded conditions and deprivation. With the aid of Jewish communities and organizations, some of these refugees were sent to the United States, while the majority were returned to their homes. Jewish organizations to a large extent later lost control over migration, and it became based on individual initiative, as family members who had established themselves in the New World brought over their relatives. A factor of considerable importance in encouraging emigration, even after the first panic of the pogroms had died down, was the disillusionment of the Jews of Russia and Rumania with the hope of obtaining legal equality or at least ameliorating their condition. This emigration movement was largely a &ldquoflight to emancipation.&rdquo
The effect of political discrimination on migration is attested to by the increase in the number of emigrants after each new wave of pogroms. Migration from Russia increased greatly after the expulsion from Moscow in 1891 (in 1891 some 111,000 Jews entered the United States, and in 1892, 137,000, as against 50,000,000 in previous years.) In the worst pogrom year, from mid to mid, more than 200,000 Jews emigrated from Russia (154,000 to the United States, 13,500 to Argentina, 7,000 to Canada, 3,500 to Palestine, and the remainder to South America and several West and Central European countries). Between 1881 and 1914 some 350,000 Jews left Galicia.
Members of other nationalities, particularly from Southern and Eastern Europe, also emigrated in large numbers in this period to the United States and other over­seas countries, but Jewish migration was different, both in dimension and in nature. From 1881 to 1914, more than 2.5 million Jews migrated from Eastern Europe, i.e. some 80,000 each year. Of these, some two million reached the United States, some 300,000 went to other overseas countries (including Palestine), while approximately 350,000 chose Western Europe. In the first 15 years of the twentieth century, until the outbreak of the First World War, an average of 17.3 per 1,000 Jews emigrated from Russia each year, 19.6 from Rumania, and 9.6 from Galicia this percentage is several times higher than the average for the non-Jewish population.
The characteristic feature of Jewish migration was the migration of whole families. The percentage of children among Jewish immigrants to the United States was double the average, a fact which demonstrated that the uprooting was permanent. And in fact, in the last few years before the First World War, only 5.75 percent of Jewish immigrants returned to their countries of origin, while among other immigrants about one-third went back. Nearly half of the Jewish immigrants had no defined occupation, i.e., no permanent source of livelihood, as against some 25 percent of the other immigrants, but of the other half, about two‑thirds were skilled artisans (mainly tailors) as againstonly one‑fifth of the general immigrant population.
A further distinguishing feature of Jewish migration was that from the outset it displayed clearly ideological tendencies. A considerable number of the younger immigrants, members of the intelligentsia, were motivated not only by the desire to find a new refuge or a place in which there were greater chances of success. Their departure constituted a protest against the discrimination and injustices they had suffered in their old homes and reflected their ardent desire for a place in which they could live independent and free lives.
From the beginning, controversy existed between the &ldquoPalestinians&rdquo (Hovevei Zion, Lovers of Zion), who believed that independent existence of the people was only possible in their ancient homeland, and the &ldquoAmericans&rdquo (above all the Am Olam group), who hoped to establish a Jewish state as one of the states of the union to serve as the background for an autonomous, territorial, national experience, or who claimed that the &ldquoLand of Freedom&rdquo was the most suited to the free development of the Jews, even without an autonomous framework. It ­was not the ideological argument but the conditions of absorption that determined the direction of migration for the great majority of those forced to flee their countries of residence.