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"...If we assume that 120,000 deaths were due directly to the pogroms, we shall not be guilty of exaggeration. To these must be added the injured and wounded, those suffering from nervous and mental shock and the violated women. The pogroms swept the Ukraine like a hurricane... So also the number of victims who suffered material loss. It may be said that in all of the places which were visited by the pogroms the possessions of the Jews were completely destroyed. ..."The plunderers rushed at the Jewish houses... Here they were helped by the whole Russian population. Everything was loaded on wagons and carried away. After they had completely emptied the houses and squeezed out in every possible way the last savings of the Jews they proceeded to destroy the houses and the shops. Shutters, window panes, doors were taken out, roofs were torn off, and so on. The greatest zeal was shown in searching for money. The floors were torn up, the soil was turned up again and again in the barns, cellars and yards, ovens were taken apart... " ... "The pogrom stopped of itself, since everything was looted and all the inhabitants had fled to Mirgorod."*

Elias Heifetz, J.U.D., The Slaughter of the Jews In the Ukraine In 1919, pages 180 - 181*

Heifetz chaired the Red Cross committee which investigated the Jewish pogroms through 1919. His book is an invaluable document of the period, and can be downloaded and read at google docs.

BOOK: SLAUGHTER OF JEWS IN THE UKRAINE
CHAPTER: TROSTIANETZ
PAGES: 393-401

Town of Trostianetz (Government of Podolia)

I. Testimony of Bogdansky, July 25, 1919

Trostianetz is a town in the government of Podolia, on the railroad, about 50 versts to the southwest of Gaisin. The Jewish population is about 500 families. There are almost no Christians; they live in the country outside. The pogrom movement began on May 1 and lasted until the 17th. The principal butchery was on May 10. The pogrom was perpetrated by local peasants with the watchword “Kill the Jews, away with the commune.” The organizers of the pogrom were persons known as sympathizers with the Ukrainian nationalist movement: the student Gonzenko and the former Petlurist officer Drevinsky. They rang the signal bell, the peasants collected and the pillaging began. In the commissariat’s quarters about four hundred Jews were herded together—all of the male sex, beginning with boys of ten and ending with decrepit old men. Drevinsky energetically spread the rumor that Jews from surrounding towns were approaching in armored automobiles, and that in one village they had already massacred all the Christian. “if we simply keep still, they will massacre all of us, too.” Then the peasants rushed to the quarters of the commissariat and began to throw bombs through the windows and to fire from rifles. Since the Jews who were there threw themselves flat on the floor, the peasants then rushed in and massacred them all. This butchery was perpetrated on Saturday, May 10, at 6 P.M.; but the night before an enormous grave had already been dug outside the city. All the bodies were carried there in carts and dumped into the pit. About eighty corpses were carried out from the dwellings. The total number of dead was as many as 400, among them 13 women. The murders continued until ten o’clock in the morning; but on the next day only pillaging and general devastation took place.

The photographs in the main gallery come from the book, Evreiskie Pogromy, edited by Zalman Solomonovich Ostrovskii and published by the Jewish Relief Society in Moscow in 1926. Sergei Kan provided the English translations of the captions. The book was a catalogue of a photography show illustrating the pogroms during the Russian Civil War. With the discovery and installation of these photographs, we are taking the project full-circle, making this history accessible to modern Americans.

S. Ansky, The Enemy At His Pleasure: a journey through the Jewish Pale of Settlement during World War I, Metropolitan Books, 2002.

Jonathan Dekel-Chen, David Gaunt, Natan M. Meir, and Israel Bartal, Anti-Jewish Violence: rethinking the pogrom in East European history, Indiana University Press, 2011.

John D. Klier and Schlomo Lambroza, Pogroms: Anti-Jewish violence in modern Russian history, Cambridge University Press 1992.

There are resources on the internet. A good starting point is The Jewish Virtual Library, which has a section on pogroms.

For those who prefer to learn about the pogroms through literature, the great journalist, playwright, and short story writer, Isaac Babel, wrote a beautiful series of short stories about the pogroms, based on his experience as an embedded reporter.

The Collected Stories of Isaac Babel, edited by Nathalie Babel and translated by Peter Constantine with an introduction by Cynthia Ozick, W. W. Norton & Company

Red Cavalry and Other Stories, Isaac Babel, Penguin Books

As a young college student, Aaron Lansky realized that in order to preserve the Yiddish language and culture, he needed to personally find, collect and preserve millions of volumes of Yiddish books scattered across North America. His book is an inspiring read, and very, very humorous.

Lansky, Aaron, Outwitting History: the amazing adventures of a man who rescued a million Yiddish books, Algonquin Books 2005

Outwitting History is a thrilling story about how a group of young college students at Hampshire College in the early 1980s preserved Yiddish language book and eventually built the National Yiddish Book Center at Hampshire College.

I am building a resource for students, scholars and interested members of the public. If you would like to help with this effort, please send me an e-mail here.