According to Jarrod Tanny, most historians argue that the earlier incidents were a result of "frictions unleashed by modernization" rather than antisemitism. The 1905 pogrom was markedly larger in scale and antisemitism played a central role.
Odessa is a port city on the Black Sea and its multi-ethnic population included Greek, Jewish, Russian, Ukrainian, and other communities.
The 1821 pogrom, perpetrated by ethnic Greeks rather than Russians, is named in some sources as the first in the modern period in Russia:
In Odessa, Greeks and Jews were two rival ethnic and economic communities, living side by side. The first Odessa pogrom, in 1821, was linked to the outbreak of the Greek War for Independence, during which the Jews were accused of sympathizing with the Ottoman authorities and of aiding the Turks in killing the Greek Patriarch of Constantinople, Gregory V, dragging his dead body through the streets and finally throwing it into the Bosphorus.
According to the Jewish Encyclopedia (1906 ed.),
The community did not escape the horrors of the pogrom. Indeed, the very first pogrom in Russia occurred in Odessa in the year 1859. This was in reality not a Russian but a Greek pogrom; for the leaders and almost all of the participants were Greek sailors from ships in the harbor, and local Greeks who joined them. The pogrom occurred on a Christian Easter; and the local press, in no wise unfriendly to the Jews, attempted to transform it into an accidental fight, the Greek colony at that time being dominant in the administration as well as in the commerce of Odessa. Further pogroms occurred in 1871, 1881, and 1886."
Historians note economic antagonism between the two urban minorities, in addition to religious frictions.
However, after 1871, the pogroms in Odessa took a form more typical of the rest of the Russian empire: "Although the pogrom of 1871 was occasioned in part by a rumor that Jews had vandalized the Greek community's church, many non-Greeks participated to it. Russian resentment and hostility toward Jews came to the fore in the pogrom of 1871 as Russians joined Greeks in attacks on Jews. Thereafter, Russians filled the ranks of pogromist mobs in 1881, 1900, and 1905." In the 1881 and 1905 pogroms, many Greek houses were also destroyed.
The 1871 pogrom is seen as something of a turning point in Russian Jewish history: "The Odessa pogrom led some Jewish publicists, exemplified by the writer Peretz Smolenskin, to question belief in the possibility of Jewish integration into Christian society, and to call for a greater awareness of Jewish national identity."
In the post-1871 period, pogroms were often perpetrated with tacit approval of the Tsarist authorities. Evidence exists that during the 1905 pogrom, the army supported the mob:
The Bolshevik Piatnitsky who was in Odessa at the time recalls what happened: "There I saw the following scene: a gang of young men, between 25 and 20 years old, among whom there were plain-clothes policemen and members of the Okhrana, were rounding up anyone who looked like a Jew—men, women and children—stripping them naked and beating them mercilessly... We immediately organised a group of revolutionaries armed with revolvers... we ran up to them and fired at them. They ran away. But suddenly between us and the pogromists there appeared a solid wall of soldiers, armed to the teeth and facing us. We retreated. The soldiers went away, and the pogromists came out again. This happened a few times. It became clear to us that the pogromists were acting together with the military."
The 1905 Pogrom of Odessa was the worst anti-Jewish pogrom in Odessa's history. Between October 18 and 22, 1905, ethnic Russians, Ukrainians, and Greeks killed over 400 Jews and damaged or destroyed over 1600 Jewish properties.
The city of Odessa, founded in the late 18th century, encouraged foreign immigration, especially for the purpose of promoting economic growth. For this reason, Jews were far more welcome in Odessa than in many other parts of the Pale of Settlement. Nonetheless, Jews of Odessa were not viewed as equal to non-Jewish residents and were familiar with anti-Semitism. A number of serious anti-Jewish pogroms occurred during the 19th century in Odessa, and rumors of a pogrom appeared each year around Eastertime. Jewish and Russian youths also often got into violent fights with each other.
The combination of economic downturn, Jewish backing of Japan in the war against Russia, Jewish opposition to the October Manifesto, and the June 1905 massacre all contributed to great tension between Gentiles and the Jewish community in Odessa in 1905.
Anti-Semitism among Greeks:
Growing anti-Semitism as a result of the changing place of Jews in Odessa's economy created an environment conducive to a pogrom. When the Crimean War disrupted trade routes, many Greek commercial firms shifted their business out of Odessa due to bankruptcy or a willingness to seek more profitable trading locations. To fill the resulting vacuum in grain trade, Jewish merchants expanded business and began to acquire greater profits. Many factors contributed to the spread of anti-Semitism among Greeks in Odessa including: the success of many Jewish traders, their preferential hiring of Jewish workers, and rumors of hostile actions by Jews toward Greeks.
Anti-Semitism among Russians:
Many Russians blamed the Jews for their troubles, such as limited employment opportunities and lower wages. They cited dramatic Jewish population growth in Odessa, from 14% (14,000 of 100,000) in 1858 to 35% (140,000 of 400,000) in 1897. These numbers contributed to suspicion that Jews possessed great wealth, power, and influence in Odessa. Although by the end of the 19th century Jews held high positions in manufacturing, the majority of wealth in Odessa belonged to non-Jews. Jews certainly did not dominate the economy of Odessa, nor did they control Odessa politically. Unlike other ethnic and religious groups, wealthy Jews could not transform wealth into political power. Out of 3449 total staff, only 71 Jews worked for the imperial government. After an 1892 civic reform, Jews could no longer elect representatives to city councils; instead, a special office for municipal affairs appointed six Jews to the sixty-person Odessa city council. Given that 35% of Odessa's population in 1897 consisted of Jews, the 10% Jewish city council was hardly representative.
A significant economic downturn in Odessa at the turn of the 20th century played a major part in the October Pogrom. Restricted trading, reduced industrial production, and the Russo-Japanese War led to high unemployment in Odessa. Many despised Jews for lay-offs during the economic recession. Hatred for Jews heightened when a number of Jews did not support the war with Japan. Patriotic Russians called Jews unpatriotic and disloyal.
Fear of a pogrom in April 1905 prompted the National Committee of Jewish Self-Defense to urge Jews to arm themselves and protect their property. Non-Jews were threatened with armed retaliation if a pogrom occurred. Although a pogrom did not take place until October, fear of one re-emerged in June when Jews were declared culpable for instigating shootings as well as fires at the port. On June 13, 1905, Cossacks shot several striking workers. The next day, large groups of workers stopped working and attacked police with rocks and guns. The battleship Potemkin, whose crew had mutinied on June 14, arrived in Odessa that evening. Thousands of Odessans went to the port to see the battleship and support the mutinous sailors. During the afternoon of 15 June, the unruly crowd began to raid warehouses and set fire to wooden buildings in the harbor. Chaos ensued when, in order to prevent further unrest, the military blocked off the harbor and fired into the crowd. Strikes, disorder, and the arrival of Potemkin caused the death of over 1,000 people at the Port of Odessa. A few days after the atrocious incident at the harbor, an anti-Semitic pamphlet called Odesskie dni ("Odessan Days") appeared, blaming the Jews for the tragedy. Odesskie dni demanded compensation by Jews to the non-Jews, disarmament of Jews in Odessa, and a search of all Jewish apartments in the city. Although the events of June did not immediately cause a pogrom, an anti-Semitic environment had been formed, sufficient for the October Pogrom.
On October 17, Tsar Nicholas II issued the October Manifesto, which established civil liberties for the people and promised to create an elected assembly. It was reported in Odessa on October 18, causing celebration in the streets. Jews hoped that the Manifesto would lead to greater freedom and less anti-Semitism in the Russian Empire. While many Jews and liberals in Odessa celebrated the October Manifesto, conservatives saw the document as a threat to the autocracy and the might of the Russian Empire.
On October 14, a number of high school students skipped classes and attempted, but failed, to join rallies taking place at the university due to police intervention. In the process of intercepting them, armed policeman injured several children. The next day, radical students and revolutionaries armed themselves and encouraged other workers to lend them support. On October 16, students and workers took to the streets and erected barricades. To try to preserve order, the police fought them and killed several students. Although a public funeral had been planned for the students, the Odessa city governor, D. M. Neidhart, had the bodies buried secretly to limit rallying around the deaths. On October 17, the police and military continued to monitor the streets, though no major confrontations occurred. About 4000 workers, including many Jews, went on strike.
On October 18, Jews and liberals cheered over the news of the October Manifesto. Although demonstrations began peacefully, they quickly turned violent. Those chanting anti-regime propaganda caused trouble when they took out red flags and anti-imperial propaganda. As violence increased between supporters and opponents of the October Manifesto, members of the latter group began to take out their anger on Odessa's Jews, identifying them as the root of Russia's troubles. When a group of Jews asked a few Russian workers to show respect to a red flag, a fight broke out on the streets and soon turned into an anti-Jewish riot.
The bulk of the October Pogrom took place on October 19-21 and was worst on October 20. Violence spread all over Odessa, from the city center, to the suburbs, and to nearby villages. The rioters demonstrated excellent organization throughout sections of Odessa, coordinating their numbers based on the size of the neighborhood under attack. Rather than working to protect Jews and end the pogrom, many policemen and soldiers wearing civilian clothes watched or participated in the massacre. Though they suffered many casualties and were eventually vanquished, Jewish self-defense forces successfully defended some houses as well as streets and even neighborhoods.
On October 21, after much of the pogrom was over, the city governor of Odessa, D. M. Neidhart, and the commander of the Odessa military garrison, A. V. Kaul'bars, appeared in the streets, and told the rioters to get off the streets and go home. Neidhart and Kaul'bars' inaction up to this point became the subject of debate and led to Neidhart's subsequent resignation from office.
Various reports estimate the number of Jews killed in the October Pogrom from 302 to 1,000. Other relevant statistics from the pogrom include approximately 5,000 injured Jews, 3.75 million rubles in property damage, 1,400 ruined business, and 3,000 families forced into poverty. The Odessa Jewish Central Committee to Aid the Victims of the Pogroms of 1905 collected 672,833 rubles from Jews in Odessa and abroad to aid those hurt by the pogrom. In total, the committee assisted 2,499 families affected by the October Pogrom.
Such violent incidents, as most historians argue today, were largely the product of frictions unleashed by modernization, not a resurgence of medieval anti-Semitism and Judeophobia.
Antisemitism in the Russian Empire included numerous pogroms and the designation of the Pale of Settlement, from which Jews were forbidden to migrate into the interior of Russia, unless they converted to the Russian Orthodox state religion.
Russia remained unaffected by the liberalising tendencies of this era with respect to the status of Jews. Before the 18th century Russia maintained an exclusionary policy towards Jews, in accordance with the anti-Jewish precepts of the Russian Orthodox Church. When asked about admitting Jews into the Empire, Peter the Great stated "I prefer to see in our midst nations professing Mohammedanism and paganism rather than Jews. They are rogues and cheats. It is my endeavor to eradicate evil, not to multiply it."History of the Jews in Ukraine
Jewish communities have existed in the territory of Ukraine from the time of Kievan Rus' (late 9th to mid-13th century) and developed many of the most distinctive modern Jewish theological and cultural traditions such as Hasidism. According to the World Jewish Congress, the Jewish community in Ukraine constitute the third biggest Jewish community in Europe and the fifth biggest in the world.While at times it flourished, at other times the Jewish community faced periods of persecution and antisemitic discriminatory policies. In the Ukrainian People's Republic, Yiddish was a state language along with Ukrainian and Russian. At that time there was created the Jewish National Union and the community was granted an autonomous status. Yiddish was used on Ukrainian currency in 1917–1920. Before World War II, a little under one-third of Ukraine's urban population consisted of Jews who were the largest national minority in Ukraine. Ukrainian Jews are comprised by a number of sub-groups, including Ashkenazi Jews, Mountain Jews, Bukharan Jews, Crimean Karaites, Krymchak Jews and Georgian Jews.
In the westernmost area of Ukraine, Jews were mentioned for the first time in 1030. An army of Cossacks and Crimean Tatars massacred and took into captivity a large number of Jews, Roman Catholic Christians and Uniate Christians in 1648–49. Recent estimates range from fifteen thousand to thirty thousand Jews killed or taken captive, and 300 Jewish communities totally destroyed. During the 1821 anti-Jewish riots in Odessa after the death of the Greek Orthodox patriarch in Constantinople, 14 Jews were killed. Some sources claim this episode as the first pogrom. At the start of 20th century, anti-Jewish pogroms continued to occur. When part of the Russian Empire in 1911 to 1913, the antisemitic attitudes can be seen in the number of blood libel cases. In 1915, the government expelled thousands of Jews from the Empire's border areas.During the 1917 Russian Revolution and the ensuing Russian Civil War, an estimated 31,071 Jews were killed during 1918–1920. During the establishment of the Ukrainian People's Republic (1917–21), pogroms continued to be perpetrated on Ukrainian territory. In Ukraine, the number of civilian Jews killed during the period was between 35 and 50 thousand. Pogroms erupted in January 1919 in the northwest province of Volhynia and spread to many other regions of Ukraine. Massive pogroms continued until 1921. The actions of the Soviet government by 1927 led to a growing antisemitism in the area.Total civilian losses during World War II and German occupation in Ukraine are estimated at seven million, including over a million Jews shot and killed by the Einsatzgruppen and by their many local Ukrainian supporters in the western part of Ukraine. Ukraine had 840,000 Jews in 1959, a decrease of almost 70% from 1941 (within Ukraine's current borders). Ukraine's Jewish population declined significantly during the Cold War. In 1989, Ukraine's Jewish population was only slightly more than half of what it was thirty years earlier (in 1959). The majority of the Jews who remained in Ukraine in 1989 left Ukraine and moved to other countries (mostly to Israel) in the 1990s during and after the collapse of Communism. Antisemitic graffiti and violence against Jews are still a problem in Ukraine.Jacob Pavlovich Adler
Jacob Pavlovich Adler (born Yankev P. Adler; February 12, 1855 – April 1, 1926) was a Jewish actor and star of Yiddish theater, first in Odessa, and later in London and in New York City's Yiddish Theater District.Nicknamed "nesher hagodol", ("the Great Eagle", Adler being the Yiddish for "eagle"), he achieved his first theatrical success in Odessa, but his career there was rapidly cut short when Yiddish theater was banned in Russia in 1883. He became a star in Yiddish theater in London, and in 1889, on his second voyage to the United States, he settled in New York City. Adler soon started a company of his own, ushering in a new, more serious Yiddish theater, most notably by recruiting the Yiddish theater's first realistic playwright, Jacob Gordin. Adler scored a great triumph in the title role of Gordin's Der Yiddisher King Lear (The Jewish King Lear), set in 19th-century Russia, which along with his portrayal of Shakespeare's Shylock would form the core of the persona he defined as the "Grand Jew".Nearly all his family went into theater; probably the most famous was his daughter Stella, who taught method acting to, among others, Marlon Brando.Odessa massacre
Odessa massacre may refer to
1941 Odessa massacre
2014 Odessa clashesPogrom
A pogrom is a violent riot aimed at the massacre or persecution of an ethnic or religious group, particularly one aimed at Jews. The Russian term originally entered the English language in order to describe 19th and 20th century attacks on Jews in the Russian Empire (mostly within the Pale of Settlement). Similar attacks against Jews at other times and places also became retrospectively known as pogroms. The word is now also sometimes used to describe publicly sanctioned purgative attacks against non-Jewish ethnic or religious groups. The characteristics of a pogrom vary widely, depending on the specific incidents, at times leading to, or culminating in, massacres.Significant pogroms in the Russian Empire included the Odessa pogroms, Warsaw pogrom (1881), Kishinev pogrom (1903), Kiev Pogrom (1905), and Białystok pogrom (1906), and, after the 1917 Russian Revolution, the Lwów pogrom (1918) and Kiev Pogroms (1919). The most significant pogrom in Nazi Germany was the Kristallnacht of 1938 in which 91 Jews were killed, a further 30,000 arrested and subsequently incarcerated in concentration camps, 1,000 synagogues burned, and over 7,000 Jewish businesses destroyed or damaged.Notorious pogroms of World War II included the 1941 Farhud in Iraq, the July 1941 Iaşi pogrom in Romania – in which over 13,200 Jews were killed – as well as the Jedwabne pogrom in Poland. Post-World War II pogroms included the 1945 Tripoli pogrom, the 1946 Kielce pogrom and the 1947 Aleppo pogrom.Pogroms in the Russian Empire
Anti-Jewish pogroms in the Russian Empire (Russian: Еврейские погромы в России; Hebrew: הסופות בנגב ha-sufot ba-negev; lit. "the storms in the South") were large-scale, targeted, and repeated anti-Jewish rioting that first began in the 19th century. Pogroms began occurring after the Russian Empire, which previously had very few Jews, acquired territories with large Jewish populations from the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth during 1791–1835. These territories were designated "the Pale of Settlement" by the Imperial Russian government, within which Jews were reluctantly permitted to live, and it was within them that the pogroms largely took place. Most Jews were forbidden from moving to other parts of the Empire, unless they converted to the Russian Orthodox state religion.Warsaw pogrom (1881)
The Warsaw pogrom was a pogrom that took place in Russian-controlled Warsaw on 25-27 December 1881, then part of Vistula Land in the Russian Empire, resulting in two people dead and 24 injured.
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