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[Pages 41-51]



The successful assassination of chief of police Captain Aleks Goltsev took place on 21 August 1906.1 The assassin, dressed as a Jew, was Józef Wasilewski, pseudonym “Sparrow,” a member of the Combat Organization of the PPS; he ran away after completing the act. Goltsev, along with the sanitary commission, which included the Polish doctor Anastazy Sawicki and the Jewish paramedic Dawid Szwarc, were performing an inspection of the soda-water factory of Samuel Josef Goldsztern. It was located on Piękna Street (currently Pułaski Street), which was inhabited completely by Jewish residents. The first to exit the factory gate was Sawicki, who was approached by an unknown person and told, in Polish, to quickly walk away. When Goltsev appeared at the gate, the assassin threw a bomb in his direction. The chief of police died on the spot, and the badly wounded Szwarc, a few days later in the hospital. The guard Szulżyk was also wounded. The army stationed in the city was placed immediately on emergency combat alert. Patrols were sent to Piękna Street, and the tailor Ch. M. Frydman, who was the owner of an apartment located near the location of the assassination, was arrested. It was suspected that the assassin may have used these premises. That day the soldiers opened fire on groups of people who appeared on Piękna Street. In this way, six people were killed: Szlomo Zalman Goldsztern, Ita Miriam Macielińska, Icchak Milgram, Dawid Macieliński, Baruch Mordechaj Morgensztern, and Mrs. Sukniewicz; about 40 people were wounded. A few days later, in the afternoon, the army surrounded the “Jewish neighborhood,” which was located between Piękna Street and Ogrodowa Street (currently Sienkiewicz Street), and a search was conducted looking for revolutionaries and socialists. Jakow Jabłoń, a Bund activist, was killed during this raid, and about 60 people were beaten and wounded. The soldiers had come across them in the local Beit Hamidrash at the evening prayer. They broke into the building and beat the men gathered there with the butts of their rifles. When they left, they shot out the windows of the building. After this incident, the entry door locks were reinforced and metal shutters were installed in the windows.

The assassination of Goltsev became the pretext for mounting a pogrom against the Jews of Siedlce. The raid that resulted in the deaths of several people and the wounding of a dozen was only a portent of what was to take place. At the encouragement of the tsarist authorities, there was an attempt as early as June to stage a pogrom by instigating Christians. But things did not go as easily in Siedlce as they had in Białystok.2 The Christian community of the city, both Catholic and Eastern Orthodox, did not succumb to the provocation of the tsarist authorities thanks to the decisive anti-pogrom stance of the PPS and the clergy.3 The residents did not allow themselves to be dragged into the provocation that was attempted on 17 June; it was supported neither by the railroad workers nor by the soldiers. At that time one provocateur was killed, a policeman who was shooting at a soldier, as well as a gendarme who was agitating in favor of the pogrom. The soldiers of the Ostrołęka Regiment, which was at the time stationed in Siedlce, sent out heavy patrols onto the streets of the city to prevent any disturbances. Soldiers were particularly targeted for provocation because two years previously, on 6 November 1904, about 800 recruits had started robbing Jewish stores. Soldiers also became involved when the Jews organized a self-defense, having clubs and rocks at their disposal.4

Also refusing to be provoked were the young people of Siedlce, who remembered their Saturday battles with the “Jew kids” on the roads outside of town and on Wojskowy Square across from the prison, where they played stickball and where several dozen youths would gather on one or the other of the two sides. It is characteristic that the participants in these events were condemned for these battles by their older friends and parents.5

In September 1906, a state of emergency was declared in Siedlce. The Ostrołęka Regiment, which the tsarist authorities did not trust, was moved away and replace by the Libava Infantry Regiment, seasoned in pogroms and punitive expeditions in Livonia.a Foot and mounted patrols appeared on the streets. A police curfew was imposed, lasting from 8 P.M. to 6 A.M. Colonel Tikhonovsky took charge of the city, which was placed under the special protection of the Okhrana [Russian secret police force—trans.]. Proclamations, signed by the St. Nicholas Society for Reformed Order, were distributed among the military and civilian populations and contained the so-called Protocols of the Elders of Zion.6 This proclamation contained the so-called speech of the head rabbi, which had the following content: “We have been fighting against the cross for the past nineteen centuries, and our nation is not giving up on this and is not kneeling. We are scattered in all parts of the world in order to conquer the whole world. Our power increases each day. The golden calf, which the priest Aaron created in the desert, is at our disposal, and this is the true God in our time. Only when we are the sole possessors of gold shall we seize power.”7

On 7 September, the patrols were strengthened starting in the morning. The rumor was spread throughout the army that sixteen revolutionaries had arrived in Siedlce. In the evening, the army surrounded the entire city. It had earlier been divided into zones for which particular officers were responsible: Bolikhov, Vesyolov, Aleksandrov, Musaratov, Bialer, von Kleist, and Sumarkov. Telegraphic communication was turned off, and no one was allowed to leave or enter the city. The signal for the start of the pogrom was the hanging of a flag from city hall. About 8:30 in the evening, several shots were fired in the center of the city, and these were followed by gunshots from the 39th Narew Dragoon Regiment and the Libava Infantry Regiment. Shots were heard in the city from 7 to 10 September (old calendar), that is, from Friday evening, the beginning of Shabbat, to Monday at 2 P.M. On the night of 7 September, soldiers set fire to houses, stores, and stalls using kerosene. The stores of Grinberg, Rosen, Solarz, Liwerant, and Stołowy, among others, were burned down. That night, the head of the Okhrana, Tikhonovsky, summoned Rabbi Szymon Dow Anolik;8 two community council clerks, Nachum Weintraub and Mosze Temkin; as well as the secretary of the community council Czaczkes and demanded that they give up those who were shooting at the army. The rabbi responded that he knew nothing about this. Tikhonovsky then gave them two hours to provide an exact list of the addresses of the revolutionaries. The next day a delegation went to see the provisional governor-general Engelke with a demand to explain the situation that had arisen and to stop the murder and robbery. In response, Engelke arrested the delegates, accused them of espionage, and threatened to have them shot. He even allowed them to write farewell letters to their families and then handed them over to Tikhonovsky. Tikhonovsky placed them facing the wall of the police building and arranged soldiers with rifles ready to fire across from them. He did not, however, give the order to fire. After this “game,” he let them go with a repeated demand to provide him with a list of the revolutionaries. The delegation once again stood against the wall; this time they were saved from certain death by the tsarist officer Stayanov, who arrived at the order of the Dubienecki Regiment commander in order to obtain information about events in the city.9 The next day, that is, 8 September, gunfire lasted all day with small interruptions. Soldiers with officers at their head broke into apartments, robbed and murdered. On that day, Meir Wolf was killed, the father of six children. The soldiers killed him while he was praying with his children. Soldiers wounded Chana Liebhaber and Chaim Liberman for refusing to pay a ransom, and then they murdered them while taking them to the hospital. They did the same to Romanowicz, who sustained burns but saved himself from his burning house. The soldiers took him to the hospital and there finished him off with their rifle butts. In the courtyard of the Jewish hospital, the guard Jan Born, a Christian, was killed when he was admitting the wounded and the murdered. Inside the hospital, a shell wounded the paramedic Maria Łazarska and the patient Judka Lipszyc, who subsequently died of his wounds. Even a tsarist soldier, Abraham Rafał (age 22), who had come home on leave, was killed. He tried to defend his parents when the soldiers broke into their apartment. He was shot by rifle fire. Mendel Tajblum (age 34) had his eyes poked out before he was shot. The teacher Mordechaj Josef Miller (age 40) was murdered using bayonets and sabers. The youngest victim of the pogrom was three-year-old Jehoszua Rozen, whom the soldiers killed in the arms of his mother while taking her to the prison.10 Not only was the Jewish hospital shelled but also the synagogue, the Catholic church, the Polish school building, and the building of the Rural Credit Society.11The soldiers used 30,000 rounds of ammunition during these incidents, according to “Petukhov's Report.”12 Jewish homes on Prospektowa Street, Sokołowska Street, and Jatkowa Street were burned down, altogether over a dozen buildings as well as ten stalls belonging to the hospital and located near the square. The stores of Szmul Solarz and Ball Rozen were also burned down.

Icons of Nicholas the Wonderworker and the Black Madonna of Częstochowa appeared in the windows of terrified Christians. Stolen items were traded next to the railroad station, where you could buy a pair of bloody earrings for next to nothing.

Drunken soldiers, who had been supplied with half a railroad car of pigs, held a free-for-all on Warszawska Street, where they murdered animals and people to the accompaniment of songs. Colonel Tikhonovsky, “in order to uplift the mood of the troops,” ordered a choir to be assembled so as to spur on the battle. Among others, “God, Protect the Tsar” was sung.13 Tikhonovsky was worried that he might be the victim of an assassination, so he ordered his subordinates to arrange a “real memorial and bathe in blood to their ears” in the event of his death.14

New divisions of the army were brought to Siedlce; the Vladimir Regiment, famed for its pogrom in Białystok, arrived, and on 8 September the 195th Infantry Regiment was summoned telegraphically from Dęblin as well as the 48th Artillery Regiment, which fired upon the houses on Piękna Street at 7 A.M. The result of the shelling was damage to the houses of Estera Rabinowicz, Rachela Groch, Brajna Czestodna, and Mosze Eliahu Solnic.

The bloody balance sheet of the pogrom may have been as many as 50 murdered, 100 wounded, and about 500 arrested.15 Many families were left without a roof over their heads. About 40 stores and many apartments were robbed. The desire to rob by drunken soldiers was so great that, even a day after the pogrom, Wiktoria Radzikowska was shot sitting at the table in her own house on Stodolna Street.

In spite of searches conducted in almost all the houses in the city, the solders failed to find any evidence of the activity of revolutionaries. They found no weapons or any publications of illegal publishing houses. It was stated officially that the army and police sustained no losses. The records of the gendarmerie, however, show two wounded: one in the hand and one in the head.16 As became evident subsequently, one of the soldiers was injured by his colleague while breaking into a store when the latter tried to pry open the door with the butt of his rifle. During this action, the rifle went off. The other wounded soldier was one who was struck with a sabre by an officer while the dragoons were demolishing the buffet in the Victoria Hotel. The drunken dragoon refused to listen to his officer's summons to desist from robbing because officers lived in the hotel and it was the property of a Christian.17

Right after the Siedlce pogrom, the governor-general, Evgeny Sykalov, issued a proclamation to the residents, ending with the words, “Residents and Citizens! I call upon you for mutual amicable work to calm our agitated lives. Let us heed the voice of truth and humanity residing in each soul, and let us direct our common efforts toward making our heretofore calm and hard-working Siedlce no longer resemble a prison watched over by the authorities.”18

The public reacted to the pogrom by creating the Committee for Those Who Suffered during the Disorder in Siedlce. The authorities did not permit the use of the correct name, which was the Committee for Aid to the Victims of the Pogrom. The Committee comprised the most eminent representatives of the city, both Jews and Poles: Stanisław Sunderland (chair, an attorney by profession), Dawid Czaczkis (secretary of the Committee and secretary of the Jewish community council), B. D. Anolik (Anulik, rabbi), I. N. Weintraub, J. Scipio del Campo (a Catholic canon), M. Minc, A. Chrzanowski (an attorney), Korsak (mayor of the city), and N. D. Glizberg. The committee had two goals: first, aid to everyone who had suffered in any way during the pogrom; second, the preparation and publication of a memorandum to the government in St. Petersburg with a request to explain how the pogrom could have taken place, to punish the guilty, and to free those who had been arrested.

The memorandum to the government was prepared by three attorneys: Fiszbain, Luria, and Warszawski, signed by Aleks Chrzanowski, Dawid Czaczkis, and Stanisław Sunderland, and delivered through a delegation to Prime Minister Pyotr Stolypin. Here are some fragments: “Your Excellency. We are appealing to your Excellency in connection with the events that took place in Siedlce on 8–10 September 1906. We do not wish to present atrocities or give the names of people and complain about them. We wish only to establish facts that no one can deny and from which Your Excellency will draw the proper conclusions. […] During the entire time that this military action was taking place, the city was cut off from the world. No one was allowed to enter Siedlce. Permanent residents, who had left the city for fear of misfortune and wished to return to Siedlce due to distress about the fate of their families, were forced to remain at the railroad station. The telegraph was closed to clients. […] During the shooting, soldiers fell upon every Jewish apartment, and in every instance of a failure to open the door, they broke it down with the aid of huge firehouse crowbars. Immediately upon breaking into the apartment, the soldiers demanded that revolutionaries be handed over and took the opportunity to demand greater or lesser sums of money. Everyone who had the courage to resist was mercilessly beaten. During searches in houses, these poor wretches were also tortured. Of all the cruel acts of the soldiers, we wish to emphasize only one incident. A young Jew, the father of six children, Meir Wolf, was accosted in his apartment during prayers. Contrary to the officer's testimony, he was very cruelly tortured. He was thrown from wall to wall until his skull was crushed. It must be emphasized that no weapon was found on him or in his apartment. […] Altogether, 59 stalls were robbed and 12 buildings went up in flames. An uncountable number of private apartments were robbed and destroyed.”19

The response to the memorandum was the creation of a new commission, which arrived in Siedlce and took two weeks to familiarize itself with the matter. After the commission returned to St. Petersburg and its results were assimilated, another commission was immediately formed, which arrived in the city in December 1906. During its stay, those who had been arrested started to be released from prison. This was the only result of the activity of these two governmental commissions, and in a secret report it was ordered that soldiers be searched and all looted objects be seized. It was maintained that the pogrom was not a military action but only a reaction of soldiers who were hostile toward the revolutionary movement and especially Jews after the assassination of Captain Goltsev.20 The investigation ended with a press announcement of Colonel Tikhonovsky's receiving thanks from the Warsaw governor-general. The Vilnius newspaper Dos Yiddishe Volk aptly summed this up at the end of 1906, writing, “The Siedlce slaughter ended as all slaughters of Jews do. Investigating commissions arrived, then a government declaration follows, in which everything is blamed on the revolutionaries, the perpetrators of the pogrom are promoted, and everything moves on.”21

According to Committee data, 1,502 families suffered, amounting to 7,306 people. Material costs were assessed at 334,584 rubles.22 In the published proclamation asking for aid, the members of the Committee appealed, “You who are human beings, you in whose hearts burns the sacred fire of love for your fellow man, a sense of justice and brotherhood, open your hearts to the Siedlce Fellowship, open your fraternal arms, and when you cannot return to them the price of blood, tears, and suffering, avert from them the torment of hunger and cold, poverty and sickness. But hurry! Hurry because right behind poverty walks the angel of death!”23 The response was moral and material aid in the amount of 120,000 rubles. For a population of the region that was not too prosperous, this was a significant amount. These funds were earmarked for the repair of vandalized houses, the rebuilding of burned down stores, the purchase of stolen stock, and the purchase of ship tickets for immigrants departing for Denmark (mostly Copenhagen), America, or Palestine. One thousand rubles were appropriated from the collected funds and used to found a Savings and Loan Fund, which was later changed into a Joint-Stock Bank and prospered well among the largest cooperative banks in reborn Poland.

The tsarist authorities intended to court martial 150 people who were arrested earlier and were being held in the Siedlce prison. However, as a result of protests from national opinion and from abroad, they abandoned this intention, but the majority of the prisoners had to leave Siedlce and emigrate.

Right before the pogrom, the activists of the Jewish self-defense left the city, rightly suspecting that they would be the first to be sought. With a military operation of this scale, they would have had no chance to stage an opposition to the great strength of the shelling and could only serve as a pretext for even greater repressions.

The military pogrom in Siedlce made everyone aware that the authorities had decided to squelch the revolutionary movement with force. The fears that a similar pogrom, but with the benefit of greater experience, could take place in Warsaw were well founded. The Siedlce pogrom had far-reaching repercussions throughout the country and abroad. Maurycy Minkowski, a graduate of the Fine Arts Academy in Kraków, came to the city right after the pogrom in company with Noach Pryłucki. At the railroad station they saw hundreds of terrified Jews, sitting on their bundles and waiting for the train to flee the city. After this experience, the artist painted two moving paintings titled “Fugitives” and “After the Pogrom,” which were displayed in many exhibits abroad.b The city was also visited by the writer Lejb Perecc and the poet Menachem Borejsza.d A folk song also arose that was sung in Yiddish and contained 12 to 14 verses. Only six of them were written down, and they have survived. I cite it here in a loose translation:

On Saturday during the day after dinner,
The Jews were rejoicing,
They had no idea
That a disastrous night awaited them.
We sat hidden in attics and basements,
Our hearts in our throats24
The pigs from Libava25 were rampaging in the courtyards
Lurking in wait for our lives.
Icchak the butcher put up a strong resistance,
They smashed his head with their rifle butts,
And took all his goods.

Listen, you goy,
Don't think this is how it's going to be:
You killed small children,
Many will pay for the children's blood.
In your own city
Watch yourself carefully,
So that a bomb is not thrown at you.26

The day after the pogrom, Józef Bekker, at the time a journalist for the Warsaw Dos Leben (Life), arrived in Siedlce. He described his observations in the paper and in a memoir, fragments of which were published. They have great value because Bekker talked to the witnesses of those events and wrote them down:

The train stops. Everyone, even those who fear returning to the city, decide to leave the train. It is impossible not to enter the city. In all the doorways there are soldiers and gendarmes, who search everyone. I walk between two rows of soldiers. Fat hands groped me. One of the gendarmes left me alone, but another wanted to show his power as well so he also groped me. Finally, the search ended. But the soldiers are not letting anyone out—they are waiting for the train to leave. Time is dragging on remarkably slowly. Finally the train moved and left. The soldiers open the doors. We want to run, but then a shout is heard: Stop or I'll shoot! Stop at once! There is a new order: all the droshky drivers who had gathered by the railroad station were to leave. Let no one dare leave in a droshky. As soon as the droshky drivers left, the soldiers ordered us to line up in rows and start moving under the guard of the police. Everyone arriving in the city, regardless of sex or age, was taken to the police station. […] Regardless of the fact that the authorities insist that everything is the fault of the revolutionaries, who instigated the pogrom, none of those present with whom I spoke blamed the Bund. Even the elderly were very well aware of the prevocational fictions of the authorities, who wanted to place the blame for what had taken place on the revolutionaries. Not a single person, not even those whom the pogrom left naked and barefoot, not one of them dared place the blame for the pogrom on the Bund or the Bundists. […] One old Jew told me that he had tolerated all the beating that the soldiers inflicted on him in the house. On the street—it was an unbelievable miracle—no one touched him. After arriving at the police station, he hoped that here the end of his suffering would come and that here he was safe. There were many officers in the police station. Now they won't beat me, I thought, and I was sorely mistaken. Suddenly one of the officers shouted, Beat all the Jews! I immediately got such a blow to the head with a rifle butt that I fell to the ground. Some officer ran up and started to kick my head with his foot. I stood up and with all my might started to run, but along the entire length of the corridor I was bombarded with blows, and all of this took place right next to a large group of officers. A large group of people were gathered at the police station, another old man told me. The whole floor was covered in blood from sabre and rifle wounds. There was not a drop of water to wash the wounds. An officer came, who separated the men from the women. The young people were also separated. This last group was beaten with particular brutality and then led off to jail. Then an officer came out and in the name of Tikhanovich, the head of the Okhrana, announced that if the revolutionaries are not surrendered immediately, then everyone at the police station would be killed. He repeated this several times. Everyone started preparing for death. But when the indicated time limit was reached, those at the police station were not killed but taken to jail, where they stayed until Monday. During that entire time the prisoners were not fed. Bread had to be bought from the criminals. […] Those who remained in basements or attics were in an immeasurably most difficult situation. Several families hid in a certain basement. These were the old and the young. They were there from Saturday evening until noon on Monday without food or water. The children cried and asked for something to drink, but the older people were afraid these cries might reach the ears of the soldiers. In this horrible situation, the Jews were even prepared to smother the crying children. Fortunately, it did not come to that. In some basements, children were give urine to drink. It is not difficult to imagine in what a horrible situation and under what conditions people found themselves if they were prepared to take such actions.

[….]One shopkeeper was approached by a certain colonel who needed some cigarettes. He didn't pay for them. After not paying for them, he said that the shopkeeper would soon receive his payment. The colonel barely left when the shooting started. Soldiers broke into the store, wounding the shopkeeper and looting everything. An officer came to another Jew and asked for change for a ten-ruble note. When the shooting started, the shopkeeper wanted to flee, but the officer calmed him. But when the shopkeeper opened his cash register to break the ten-ruble note, the officer grabbed all the money in the drawer and yelled, “Here's for all your work, boys!”

The most horrible pillaging was on Saturday and Sunday. As soon as the shooting started, the soldiers ran into one of the stores, looted everything, and raped the girl who worked there. That same evening, soldiers herded a whole family to the police station, a father, mother, and daughter. On the street in front of the parents, the girl was raped and then shot. The parents were wounded and led to the police station. Stores that were closed suffered even more brutal pillaging than those that were open. At the head of the soldiers and firefighters walked the police, who pointed out the Jewish stores. The firefighters broke down the doors and immediately started open looting. They took everything down to the shoddiest trinket. Then they doused the store with kerosene and set it aflame.

[….] In one house, all who were still alive hid in the back rooms of the apartment, where bullets did not reach. The soldiers broke into the house, and after taking everything of value that was there, they took the cooked food from the cupboard and, spreading themselves out at the table, gobbled up everything. Then they broke all the dishes and turned the room into a toilet. […] In front of officers, soldiers mercilessly beat children who fell on the street to avoid the bullets. The soldiers exhibited particular cruelty toward those unfortunate wounded who were lying helpless in the street.

A certain G. was wounded while he was being taken to the police station. He fell to the street. The soldiers wanted to determine for sure whether he was still alive. They shoved a lighted cigarette up his nose and forced his eyes open, but G. gave no sign of life. The soldiers threw him onto a wagon, drove him to the hospital, and again tried to find out if he was still alive. They finally decided he was dead and ran off. Even in the hospital, G. tried not to show any sign of life. They were about to send him to the morgue. Finally feeling that the soldiers were no longer there, G. started to show some signs of life. A few days later, when he was telling me about what he had experienced on the way to the hospital, G. was himself surprised that he had enough willpower to put up with all the adversities he had endured.

P. was not so lucky. The dragoons who were taking him to the hospital kicked him the whole way. They decided that P. had died, but when he made a noise, the dragoons threw him to the ground and finished him off.

An elderly man of 69 was searched, robbed, beaten, and then he and his wife where driven to the police station. On the street the old man sustained such a beating with a rifle butt that he fell. One of the soldiers hit him on the head with his shashka [Cossack saber—author's note], while the other fired. The bullet hit him in the face, and the old man stayed in the street. With great difficulty and agony the old man crawled to the gate of some house, where he was pulled inside. There they washed his wounds, helped him, and the unfortunate old man survived. The soldiers drove a pike [a kind of spear in the Russian cavalry—author's note] through another seventy-year-old man and took four rubles from him. Upon leaving the poor wretch, they threatened him that if he shot at soldiers again, they would finish him off!

[….] But there were those people in Siedlce who in those doleful days dared to show their humanity toward Jews. The saleswoman in a liquor store on Długa Street [currently Bishop I. Świrski Street—author's note] hid several Jewish families in her place. When the soldiers needed some vodka, she didn't open the store so as not to reveal the Jews but gave the vodka out the window, explaining that she's afraid a stray bullet might get into the shop. The wife of an officer in the Dubieński Regiment hid several Jewish families in her apartment. […] The Jews who told me about this unusual humanism in Siedlce said with envy, “What lucky people; in a few moments they earned the right to life in paradise for themselves!” There were very few people in Siedlce who were so eager for a heavenly reward.27

After the pogrom, the activity of all Jewish parties ceased. For the most part, their activists emigrated. The Jews of Siedlce fell into an apathy that lasted over a dozen years. On the other hand, religious life blossomed. Rabbi Szymon Dow Anolik, Meir's son, started a reform of religious education. On the 9th day of the month of kislev in 1907,28 he issued a proclamation in which he appealed,

Many people have long since realized that it is essential to convene special committees in all cities for supervising cheders and for taking care of the concerns of teachers and their students. They should mainly give exams to students and assign them to the appropriate teacher. Parents should pay tuition to the committee, and the committee should pay the salaries of teachers. I found out the Rabbi Lajb Hunter, may he live, the son the head rabbi Reb Josef Zindl from Warsaw, may he live, has authority to act in this matter, which started in Warsaw a long time ago and has even achieved some success. He is doing the honorable thing for scholarship, and there is much benefit from this. I have long been acquainted with the respected the rabbi Reb Lajb, who does everything as the Torah commands. That is why it is important to aid him, to strengthen his hands in all his endeavors, and may education spread among the Jews. Parents and teachers will see the benefit that this matter brings in a very short time. Things will become brighter for Jews.29

A few weeks after issuing this proclamation, Rabbi Anolik died, and the text of the proclamation was treated as the testament of this venerable man.

In January 1911, Siedlce had a population of 31,153, of which 17,157 were Jews, 12,090 were Catholics, and 1,792 were Eastern Orthodox (this figure does not include soldiers stationed in barracks).30 In 1911, 27 houses of prayer, among which 24 were private, functioned in addition to the synagogue.31 During this period, an increase was noted in the number of Jewish students in all types of schools that existed in the city.

The general stagnation of the city intensified after 1912, when Siedlce Province was liquidated and Siedlce County was added to Lublin Province. During this time, there were seven hotels in Siedlce, five of which were run by Jews. These were the Litewski Hotel of Chaim Wyszkowicz, the Węgierski and Warszawski Hotels of Moszek Zubrowicz (all three on Piękna Street), the Europejski Hotel of Mendl Goldfarb (on Warszawska Street), and the Nadwiślański Hotel of Ester Szapiro (on Alejowa Street).32

Translator's Notes, Chapter 3

  1. Livonia—currently Latvia. See also author's note 25 below. Return
  2. For information about Minkowski's paintings, see
    http://www.yivoencyclopedia.org/article.aspx/Painting_and_Sculpture; http://www.thejewishmuseum.org/home/content/exhibitions/special/emergence/emergence_zoom/emergenceL7.html; and http://www.flickr.com/photos/magnesmuseum/sets/72157629588665079. Return
  3. Isaac Leib Peretz (1852–1915) was one of the “Big Three” of classic Yiddish literature, together with Mendele Mokher Seforim and Sholem Aleichem. Return
  4. Menachem Goldberg-Borejsza (1888–1949)—poet and journalist, born in Brześć Litewski; moved to Warsaw in 1905 as a teacher of Hebrew; initially published under his birth name of Goldberg, later added his mother's maiden name, Borejsza; convinced by Peretz to write in Yiddish rather than Russian. Return

Author's Notes, Chapter 3

  1. APS, SGZŻ, sig. 192, pp. 24, 40. Return
  2. On 10 July 1905, the tsarist authorities in Białystok, with the participation of the Christian population, executed a pogrom, as the result of which 12 Jews died and about 100 were wounded. The pogrom in Białystok was repeated a month later, that is, 12 August; this time over a dozen people were killed and about 200 were wounded. The August pogrom used the police and military troops. Return
  3. The PPS issued five proclamations in which it warned the Jewish residents about a pogrom: on 3 May 1905, in June 1905 (day unknown), on 10 November 1905, on 7 December 1905, and on 14 June 1906 (it condemned the pogrom in Białystok; see U. Głowacka-Maksymiuk, “Odezwy Siedleckiego Komitetu Robotniczego PPS z okresu rewolucji 1905–1907,” in Szkice Archiwalno-Konserwatorskie na Terenie Województwa Siedleckiego, issue 3 (1982), pp. 123–136. Among the Catholic clergy, the most ardent anti-pogrom stance was taken by Canon Józef Scipio del Campo. Return
  4. B. Mark, “Proletariat żydowski w okresie walk styczniowo-lutowych 1905,” in Biuletyn Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, no. 17–18 (1956): 11. Return
  5. K. Dębiński, „Gimnazjum siedleckie w latach 1870–1877,” in Księga pamiątkowa Siedlczan (Warsaw, 1927), pp. 119–120; F. Kuropatwiński, „Ze wspomnień młodości,” in Księga pamiątkowa Siedlczan, pp. 140–239. Return
  6. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion was published for the first time in the St. Petersburg periodical Russkoe Znamya in 1903. Two years later, they appeared in book form. This date coincides with the events of the 1905 Revolution. Everything points to the fact that the Protocols were drawn up on the initiative of the tsarist Okhrana, which wanted to use them to combat the revolutionary movement. For more on this subject, see Janusz Tazbir, Protokoły mędrców Syjonu (Warsaw, 1992). Return
  7. Kaspi, “History of the Jews in Siedlce,” p. 107. Return
  8. Szymon Dow Anolik (Anulik), son of Meir—a righteous and learned rabbi. He was an opponent of the conservatives, but he was honored by them for his wisdom. Before he came to Siedlce, he was the rabbi in Szorki, Ostrów, and Tykocin. He published many of his sermons. He died in 1907. His book containing the basics of Hebrew grammar appeared in 1912. Return
  9. Kaspi, “History of the Jews in Siedlce,” p. 107. Return
  10. Ibid., p. 111. It is noted in the police reports that Rozen died in the flames of his house on Warszawska Street (APS, SFZŻ, sig. 158, pp. 23–24, 26–30). Return
  11. “Interpelacja posła do Dumy, znanego adwokata siedleckiego Stanisława Sunderlanda,” in Gazeta Podlaska, no. 25/26 (1931). Return
  12. The secret report of the captain of the Siedlce police Petukhov to the governor-general in Warsaw was stolen by a certain Bakaj. In Petukhov's report, he mentions that as early as 11 August, that is, a month before the pogrom, Tikhonovsky demanded a meeting during which the most appropriate way of accomplishing a mass search of houses was discussed. This meeting was attended, besides Petukhov and Tikhonovsky, by colonel of the gendarmerie Virgalich, captain of horse Potocki, the deputy Siedlce chief of police Protopopov, and Aleksandr Grigorov. Tikhonovsky was then supposed to have said, “We will respond to terror with even greater terror.” Bakaj is a very unclear figure in the revolutionary movement. He worked for the Warsaw Okhrana, but at the same time he cooperated with the socialists, especially Burtsev. For more information about him, see Czesław Miłosz, Człowiek wśród skorpionów. Studium o Stanisławie Brzozowskim (Paris, 1962), p. 94; „Fragmenty Raportu Pietuchowa,” in Gazeta Podlaska, no. 25/26 (1931). Return
  13. S. Martynowski, Pogrom w Siedlcach (Łódź, 1936), p. 24. Return
  14. Kaspi, “History of the Jews in Siedlce,” p. 117. Return
  15. Martynowski, Pogrom w Siedlach, pp. 21–22; in the records of the gendarmerie, APS, SAZŻ, sig. 158, pp. 23–24, 26–30; these numbers are reduced: 26 killed, 76 wounded, and the correct number of 500 arrested. Jewish sources, that is, Kaspi, “History of the Jews in Siedlce,” pp. 112–119, give 31 killed and 600 arrested. Return
  16. APS, SAZŻ, sig. 158, pp. 23–24, 26–30. Return
  17. Martynowski, Pogrom w Siedlach, p. 26. Return
  18. Ibid., p. 27. Return
  19. Kaspi, “History of the Jews in Siedlce,” pp. 124–125. Return
  20. . Martynowski, Pogrom w Siedlach, pp. 26–27; Gazeta Podlaska, no. 25/26 (1931). Return
  21. Kaspi, “History of the Jews in Siedlce,” p. 140. Return
  22. Ibid., p. 121. Return
  23. Tygodnik Ilustrowany, no. 38 (1906), p. 18. Return
  24. Literally: We were holding our souls in our hands. Return
  25. This is a reference to the Libava Regiment, whose soldiers distinguished themselves by their cruelty. [Libava, or Liepaja, a Baltic port city in the southwest of what is currently Latvia, previously known as Livonia.—trans] Return
  26. Kaspi, “History of the Jews in Siedlce,” p. 139. Translated into Polish by Adam Bielecki. Return
  27. Nazajutrz po pogromie—a fragment of the memoire of Józef Bekker. Preparation for print and introduction by Dora Kaneleson. Translated and annotated by Krzysztof Gębura, in Prace Archiwalno-Konserwatorskie, issue 14 (2004), pp. 183–193. Return
  28. Kislev—the ninth month of the Hebrew lunar calendar, counting from Passover, or the third after Rosh Hashanah (New Year)—begins at the end of November or the beginning of December. The holiday of Hanukkah begins on the 25th day of this month. Return
  29. Kaspi, “History of the Jews in Siedlce,” p. 65. Return
  30. S. D. Kaszyński and H. H. Tiliński, Gorod Sedlec, istoriko-statistichesky ocherk (Siedlce, 1912), p. 12. Return
  31. Ibid., p. 42. Return
  32. Ibid., p. 42. Return


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