Odessa and "Pogrom"

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Mon Jul 29 14:04:12 UTC 2002

In a message dated 07/28/2002 11:20:08 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
Bapopik at AOL.COM writes:

>    Herman Rosenthal, Chief of the Slavonic Department of the New York Public
>  Library, wrote that in 1905?
>     The NYPL's building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street combined several
>  libraries (Astor  and Lenox Libraries, for example)  and opened in 1911.
>     Something seems wrong here.

Volume I of the Jewish Encyclopedia, copyright 1901, also lists Herman
Rosenttaal  as "Chief of the Slavonic Department of the New York Public

In a message dated 07/28/2002 4:50:21 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
Bapopik at AOL.COM writes:

>  From April to
>  June, 1881, a series of pogroms broke out in larger and smaller places in
>  southern and southwestern Russia; in the other parts of the empire there
>  only one, at Warsaw in December.
>  --THE UNIVERSAL JEWISH ENCYCLOPEDIA, Ktav Publishing House, Inc., NY, vol.
>  pg. 559 (1969).

This was an important event in American history, too, as the pogroms that
started in 1881 caused a massive immigration of Eastern European Jews into
the United States, converting the US Jewish community from one dominated
demographically by Germans and Sephardim and "politically" by Reform Judaism
into one with a very large Eastern European demographic and politics that put
a stop to the dominance of the Reform movement and its assimilationist
tendencies.  (For some statistics on immigration to the US, see Jewish
Encyclopedia, volume X, page 547 column 2).

I strongly suspect that "1969" Ktav edition you cite is simply a
photoreproduction of a somewhat earlier edition, in which case your 1969 date
is overly, uh, Conservative.

>     OED has 1882 for "pogrom," then 1905.  Merriam-Webster uses a 1903 date.
>  Clearly, I should come up with something in 1881, if not earlier.

Our friend Herman Rosenthal supplies a clear 1901 citation.  Jewish
Encyclopedia volume I page 347 column 1 article "Alexander III.,

<begin quote>
He ascended the throne March 14, 1881...Soon after Alexander III had ascended
the throne, anti-Jewish riots (Pogromy) broke out in Elizabethgrad (April 27,
28), Kiev (May 8-11), Shpola (May 9), Ananiev (May 9), Wasilkov (May 10),
Konotop (May 10), and during the following six months, in one hundred and
sixty other places of southern Russia...It was clear that the riots were
premeditated ("Voshkod", May 24, 1881, p. 75).  To give but one example---a
week before the pogrom of Kiev broke out, Von Hubbenet, chief of police of
Kiev, warned some of his Jewish friends of the coming riots.

In the above "Pogromy" was in small caps, indicating that an article with
that title existed (or in this case, was to exist).  There is an entry in
Volume X page 100 for "Pogromy" but it merely states "See RUSSIA".  In "the
pogrom of Kiev", the word "pogrom" is in italics".

Rosenthal's biography includes five English-language sources, of which the
earliest is "US Congressional Record, 1882, iii. 657, 658".

Now for something odd.  The entry in volume X for "Poland" (page 102) also
states "see RUSSIA".  (In both cases "Russia" is in small caps, indicating an
article under that entry.)  The actual article on Poland begins on page 561
column 2 at the end of the article on "Russia", and is by the ubiquitous
Herman Rosenthal.  There is a footnote at the bottom of page 561 column 2

<begin quote>
Owing to the recent disturbances in Russia, the article Poland [small caps],
which was assigned to a Russian collaborator and which was to have appeared
in its proepr vocabulary place, was not received.  The only other caption
under which it could be inserted is that under which it now appears.
<end quote>

It is the Twenty-First Century and I am sitting in front of a computer
(invented by Turing in 1936) and it is with a sense of shock that I realize
"recent disturbances in Russia" means "the Revolution of 1905".

      - James A. Landau

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