PAGE 33
HOME | GUIDE | BACK | NEXT
Jews in the Russian Empire

Renewed Oppression - the "May Laws"


The opening of a temporary chapel...



Peisakh and Leah Zilberman...



Russian liberals...



The June 15, 1881 declaration...



The pogroms of the 1880s...


THE EVENTS FOLLOWING THE MURDER of Alexander II in 1881 dash all hopes the Jews might have had for further improvement of their situation. The assassination, by a small group of revolutionaries, takes place in an atmosphere of great social unrest, and the beleaguered regime falls back on a well-tried recipe: blaming the Jews.

Beginning in Elizabetgrad, a wave of pogroms spreads throughout the southwestern regions, more than 200 in 1881 alone. The authorities condone them through their inaction and indifference, sometimes even showing sympathy for the pogromists. An official investigation confirms: the plunderers were convinced that the attacks were sanctioned by the Czar himself. The same investigation blames "Jewish exploitation" as the cause for the pogroms.

With the so-called "Temporary Laws" of May 1882 a new period of anti-Jewish discrimination and severe persecution begins. It lasts until 1917. The area of the Pale of Settlement is reduced by 10 percent. Jews are once more prohibited from living in villages, to buy or rent property outside their prescribed residences, denied jobs in the civil service and forbidden to trade on Sundays and Christian holidays. (CONT)


home next back