THE JEWS IN RUSSIA
[From the New York World, Sept. 25th, 1877.]
IT is to be regretted that
your incandescent contemporary, The Sun, should have no better
sources of information. It stated on Saturday last that
In Russia the persecution of the Israelites is continued, with nearly
all its ancient cruelty. They are not permitted to reside in many of the
greatest cities. Kief and Novgorod as well as Moscow are forbidden to them,
and even in the rural districts they are burdened with multiform exactions.
This is the reverse of correct, as is also the further statement that
They have been robbed and oppressed in Bulgaria by the Russians.
The murdering and plundering at the seat of war, it is now pretty well
settled, has been done by the Turks exclusively, and, notwithstanding that
the English and other Turkophile organs have diligently cast the blame upon
the Russians, the plot of the Ottoman Government, thanks to the honest old
German Emperor, is now discovered. The Turks are convicted of systematic
lying, and nearly every country, including England herself, has sent a protest
to the Sublime Porte against atrocities. As to the condition of Israelites
in Russia, it has immensely improved since the ascension of Alexander II
to the throne of his father. For more than ten years they have been placed
on jury duty, admitted to the bar, and otherwise accorded civil rights and
privileges. If social disabilities still linger, we are scarcely the ones
to chide, in view of our Saratoga and Long Branch customs, and the recent
little unpleasantness between Mr. Hilton and the descendants of the "chosen
If your neighbour would take the trouble to ask any traveller or Russian
Israelite now in America, it would learn that Kief, as well as other "greatest
cities" are full of Jews; that in fact there are more Jews than Gentiles
in the first-named of these cities. Pretty much all trade is in their hands,
and they furnish even all the olive-oil that is permanently burnt at the
rakka (shrines) of the 700 orthodox saints whose beatified mummies fill
up the catacombs of Kief, and the wax for the candles on all the altars.
It is again the Jews who keep the dram-shops, or Kabak, where the faithful
congregate after service to give a last fillip to their devotional ardour.
It is barely four months since the chief Rabbi of Moscow published in the
official Viedomosty an earnest address to his co-religionists throughout
the empire to remind them that they were Russians by nativity, and called
upon them to display their patriotism in subscriptions for the wounded,
prayers in the synagogues for the success of the Russian arms, and in all
other practical ways. In 1870, during the émeute in Odessa,
which was caused by some Jewish children throwing dirt into the church on
Easter night, and which lasted more than a week, the Russian soldiers shot
and bayoneted twelve Christian Russians and not a single Jew; whileand
I speak as an eye-witnessover two hundred rioters were publicly whipped
by order of the Governor-General, Kotzebue, of whom none were Israelites.
That there is a hatred between them and the more fanatical Christians is
true, but the Russian Government can be no more blamed for this than the
British and American Governments because Orangemen and Catholics mutually
hate, beat, and occasionally kill each other.
H. P. BLAVATSKY.
New York, Sept. 24th, 1877.
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