Friday, June 30, 2023

The Kishinev Pogrom, Jewish Passivity, and Jewish Self-Defense

Curiously enough, however, Bialik recorded in the transcripts of the interviews [with pogrom survivors] he conducted during his Kishinev stay, often in copious detail, many efforts at Jewish self-defense, including one so notorious—in the minds of local anti-Semites and their sympathizers, at least—that they would credit it, and not their own actions, as the main cause for [the] violence.

When fifty-seven-year-old Yeḥiel Kiserman fought off four attackers, throwing several of them to the ground, a rumor rapidly spread that a Jew had murdered Christians. This news further enraged the mobs, which now attacked with heightened fury. . . .

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