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[Col. 249]

18. Jews and Christians Once Upon a Time

Now, after the Satanic Hitler massacres of Jews in Eastern Europe, in which the local populations participated, it is worth looking at the Jewish-Christian relationship in Suwalk, 80 or 90 years ago as reflected in the correspondence in the Hebrew press of that time. It is especially appropriate to do so in a book which is a memorial for the unknown graves of our holy and pure martyrs in a part of that Hitler hell.

It should be understood that such correspondence reflects the very good deeds of the Christian neighbours their very bad actions - - and omits the daily activities. Nevertheless, it does shed some light on Jewish- Christian relationships in countries which, years later, became the graveyards of millions of Jews. It is less correspondence about Christian wickedness in the Suwalk area[1] than correspondence about peaceful and often friendly relationships between Jewish and Christian Neighbours. us cite here three instances of the former[2] from a survey of fifty years of Hebrew press. In 1895 a Christian killed a Jew

[Col. 250]

in Saini in the middle of a market day.[3] In 1899, a Jewish baker and his wife murdered in the middle of the night.[4] In 1881, Lithuanian army recruits attacked and robbed Jewish shops in Suwalk.[5] The correspondence of the second kind is, as we have said, much greater quantity. Polish Count Moyshinski, from the village of Motel, donated 3,000 rubbles for the Jewish and non- Jewish families affected by the fire in Lazdey in 1879.[6] Polish Count B. Narbut left money for the Jewish poor in his will in 1865: for the poor Jews of Suwalk 150 rubbles; for the poor Jews in Psherosle 60 rubbles; in Filipwe 60 rubbles and also a certain Amount for the poor Jews in Ratzk.[7]

General Ganetski, Commander of the Vilna District, gave 110 rubbles in 1892 for Jewish and non-Jewish poor in Suwalk.[8]

At the time of the appeal for funds in Baklerowa in 1872 for the suffering Jews of Persia, Captain Nadziratl Tshermishov gave a fine donation.[9]

In 1864, when it was necessary to expand the Jewish cemetery in Suwalk,

[Col. 251]

Major Lubrov donated a piece of his land which bordered the cemetery.[10]

In the town of Shtabin near Suwalk, the Polish Count Bzshastavski left all of his property to the local Jews and non-Jews after his death in 1881.[11]

The Pole, Zigmunt Gut (252) got along so well with Jews that after he died in 1881 at his estate Zigmuntova, Jews came from Kalverie to eulogize him.[12]


Footnotes

    1. We are not referring to organized persecutions like pogroms.
    2. This is quoted as a sample not as a statistic.
    3. “Hamelit”, 1895. N°152.
    4. Ibid, 1899. N°125 supplement.
    5. Ibid, 1881 N°47.
    6. Ibid, N°35.
    7. “Hamagid” n°11.
    8. “Hatsefirah” n°139.
    9. “Hamagid” n°15.
    10. “Hamelits” n°4.
    11. Ibid n°5.
    12. Ibid n°5.

 

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