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Jews in the Russian Empire

The Pogroms of 1903 - 1906


Front page of Pluvium...



Three members of the Black Hundreds...



The flag of the Union...



The founding ceremony...



Homes vandalized...



Victims, mostly children...



Three pogrom victims...


NICHOLAS II, WHO SUCCEEDS Alexander III in 1894, makes it clear from the start that he will guard the fundamentals of autocracy with the same strictness as his father. But the movement for political reforms, freedom of speech and universal franchise has gained in strength. Successive riots of peasants, workers and students can no longer be crushed by oppression.

The government tries to deflect the revolutionary movement by initiating a war with Japan abroad, and pogroms at home. After months of violent anti-Semitic campaigns a pogrom breaks out in Kishinev in 1903. Forty-five people are murdered, and 1,300 homes and shops plundered.

For his anti-Semitic agitation, the editor of the local newspaper, Bessarabets, had received funds from the Minister of the Interior, Viacheslav Plehve. When the perpetrators of the Kishinev pogroms receive only very light sentences, it becomes clear that pogroms have now become an instrument of government policy, and Jews begin to form self-defense units.

During the war with Japan the anti-Semitic press blames the Jews for conspiring with the enemy. These campaigns culminate in a new wave of pogroms after the disastrous defeat of Russia. The Black Hundreds now openly declare the extermination of the Jews as their program.

But the worst orgy of violence breaks out after the Czar is forced to grant a constitution in October 1905. Mainly organized by the monarchist Union of Russian People, and with the cooperation of local government officials, pogroms are staged in more than 300 towns and cities, leaving almost a thousand people dead and many thousands wounded. Because there is no sign of change in the Czar's policies and as the pogroms took place with apparent approval by the authorities, a feeling of despair spreads among the Jewish communities.


Protest meeting...



Jewish soldiers...


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