Author Topic: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.  (Read 107863 times)

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Offline James_Davidov

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Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« on: November 01, 2004, 07:10:15 AM »
It saddens me to learn Nicholas II was such an anti-semitic :(.  I understand the history of Russia's policies on Jews, and the pograms that took place during his reign. However I always viewed Nicholas, from the mass of information avaliable, that he was such a virtuous kind man, therefor it saddens me to learn of examples where he showed such hate towards the jewish... from 'The Fate of the Romanovs' -

:-[ "Nicholas II inherited both his fathers personal anti-semitism and his public anti-semitic policies.  He firmly believed in a worldwide Jewish conspiracy against the Russian empire in general and himself in particular.  He once denied an orchestra permission to perform in Yalta on the excuse that it contained jewish musicians; on another occasion, learning that the widow of a Jewish doctor in Yalta had been evicted from her home and applied for permission to return, Nicholas dismissed her request by writting 'there are too many Yids already'.  The systematic pograms of Nicholas II's reign were far more vicious than anything witnessed under Alexander III".

This all troubles me and whilst i'd like to think of myself as a realistic romanov fan - delighting more in the normality of this extraordinary family, unlike some people, I'd really like it if someone could provide an excuse for Nicky's behavior or a contradiction - Im desperate!!! :-/ :-[ :(
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Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2004, 07:49:46 AM »
James,

There is a very long and informative thread about the Romanovs and anti-semitism. I forget exactly what the topic title was, but it was somethinng along those lines. You can do a search and I am sure you will find it.

Also, Radzinsky, in his book The Last Tsar, assures us that Nicholas was not really anti-semitic because he had some sort of, what the author interprets as a serious fling with a Jewish woman. I never heard about this anywhere else but his book, so not sure how factual that information is. Of course, as the case may be, even if it's true, that still doesn't prove Nicholas not to be anti-semitic, he just happened to like one person who happened to be Jewish, that's all. Prejudice and racism doesn't preclude liking individuals from a group you dislike...

In any case, try to find the aforementioned thread, I think it will be interesting for you...

Helen

Helen

Offline Olga

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2004, 07:54:33 AM »
Quote
This all troubles me and whilst i'd like to think of myself as a realistic romanov fan - delighting more in the normality of this extraordinary family, unlike some people, I'd really like it if someone could provide an excuse for Nicky's behavior or a contradiction - Im desperate!!! :-/ :-[ :(


The Romanovs are not perfect. If you think you're realistic then you will know that Nikolai Alexandrovich plus most of his family did and said some pretty stupid things. There is no excuse for his anti-Semitic statements. Is it too hard to believe that Batyushka Tsar could do something wrong?

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2004, 08:09:47 AM »
Fact is, although he was a "nice guy", Nicholas was not really an intellectual and sometimes had rather simplistic views of the world (at least I get that impression from many things I read about him. Alexandra seemed even more so, IMO.)
The practice of stereotyping is usually born out of an attempt to make sense of something very complicated by simplifying via categorezing. Of course all this goes way deeper than that, but if you keep this in mind, it may sort of explain some things about Nicholas or some other seemingly "nice" people who have these kinds of views...  

Helen
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by helenazar »

AnastasiaFan

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2004, 09:15:02 AM »
Quote
It saddens me to learn Nicholas II was such an anti-semitic :(.  I understand the history of Russia's policies on Jews, and the pograms that took place during his reign. However I always viewed Nicholas, from the mass of information avaliable, that he was such a virtuous kind man, therefor it saddens me to learn of examples where he showed such hate towards the jewish... from 'The Fate of the Romanovs' -

 :-[ "Nicholas II inherited both his fathers personal anti-semitism and his public anti-semitic policies.  He firmly believed in a worldwide Jewish conspiracy against the Russian empire in general and himself in particular.  He once denied an orchestra permission to perform in Yalta on the excuse that it contained jewish musicians; on another occasion, learning that the widow of a Jewish doctor in Yalta had been evicted from her home and applied for permission to return, Nicholas dismissed her request by writting 'there are too many Yids already'.  The systematic pograms of Nicholas II's reign were far more vicious than anything witnessed under Alexander III".

This all troubles me and whilst i'd like to think of myself as a realistic romanov fan - delighting more in the normality of this extraordinary family, unlike some people, I'd really like it if someone could provide an excuse for Nicky's behavior or a contradiction - Im desperate!!! :-/ :-[ :(


Nicholas' anti-semtisim was not as black and white as portrayed in FOTR. He started to change his views for the better towards the end of his life. For a quick bit of info on this, go to the link below. It is from a section of this site titled Nicholas' New Study.

http://www.alexanderpalace.org/palace/newstudy.html
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by AnastasiaFan »

Offline bookworm857158367

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2004, 02:09:50 PM »
At a guess I'd say he, like others, probably believed that the Jews were being willfully blind and obstinant by not seeing the truth of Christianity and were destined for Hell. They were the Other. I doubt if he was quite so negative towards Jews were converted to Christianity. It was an unfortunate attitude all too common.

Offline Georgiy

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2004, 02:45:41 PM »
I should imagine that as an Orthodox Christian he would be more concerned with his own salvation than thinking about who would be condemned to hell as that is a perogative for God alone.
Anti-semitism was very common across Europe in those days and had been for a very long time. It wasn't something unique to the Romanovs or the Nazis in Germany later. Even in seemingly benign books like those by Agatha Christie you will find a good deal of anti-semitism in books written before WW2, and the impression is that it was something taken for granted or as a normal state of affairs.

Offline Silja

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2004, 03:07:00 PM »
Indeed the antisemitism of the Romanovs or many Russians was very different from that of the nazis in the way that a Jew who converted to Orthodoxy was perfectly acceptable. The nazis were interested in the race, not the religion. The antisemitic Russians cared about the religion.

Offline Alibubba

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2006, 02:06:03 PM »
  I'm afraid to sound ignorant;  but I have always been an ardent Nicholas and Alix fan, but I confess to be interested  in them as a couple and a family---I'm not so interested in politics.  I admire the depth and strength of their faith, and the way their religion was an all-encompassing part of their lives.  But I just read a piece about Nicholas's intolerance, even cruel treatment, toward the Jews.  As a Christian, I very much have difficulty reconciling these attitudes and actions with Christ's teaching, especially since they have been made saints.  As a logtime fan of the family, this troubles me.  I would be grateful to hear others' thoughts and feelings on the subject. Thanks! :-? :-/

Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2006, 02:38:08 PM »
It's a not very pleasant chapter in Romanov history to be sure. It's caused quite a bit of discussion over the years on the Forum. Here is the biggest thread though if you do a search, you'll find the topic comes up in various threads throughout the Forum.

Anti-Semitism of the Romanovs (this one's 24 pages long)
http://forum.alexanderpalace.org/YaBB.cgi?num=1078793610/0


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David_Pritchard

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2006, 04:27:12 PM »
One would have to know the the factors that determined if one was a good Russian in order to understand why Emperor Nikolai II thought as he did about the Jews living within his country.

The three factors that made a Russian were belief in the Emperor as God's annointed representative on Earth; belief in the sanctity and defence of Mother Russia; a belief that the Orthodox Church was an organ of God's true word.

How could the Jews feel the inherent respect for Mother Russia if they already had their own historical and sacred homeland? How could they participate in the Orhtodox Church if they rejected it? How could they believe that the Emperor was God's annointed if they rejected the theological principles behind the annointing?

By rejecting the three factors that made one a good Russian, they allienated the Russians populace from them, becomming not Russian Jews but merely Jews living in Russia. In simplest terms, they refused to assimilate and thus became a target for abuse.

David

Offline Tsarfan

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2006, 05:49:21 PM »
Why then were the Crimean Tatars -- who were Muslim -- viewed as good and loyal subjects of the tsar and allowed to keep their own religion, dress, and traditions?  No one -- and certainly not Nicholas -- viewed their non-Orthodox faith as mutually exclusive of loyalty to the throne or as a signal of a desire to be excluded from the body politic of Russia.  

The reason the Pales of Settlement and the prohibition on practising certain trades were first established was to protect the ethnic Russian merchant classes from competition.  The Tatars were accepted as colorful and eccentric -- but thoroughly loyal -- Russians because they did not put themselves in economic competition with ethnic Russians in the core of the empire.  Religion had precious little to do with it, except as pretext.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Tsarfan »

Offline Janet_W.

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2006, 07:50:06 PM »
I agree with Tsarfan, but would add in the classic "Jews are Christkillers" accusation.  If this concept continues to be believed among many of today's "good churchgoing people" (who also, by the way, assign Jews much of the responsiblity of the Russian Revolution and other ills) why is it so difficult to come to grips with a man who lived one hundred years ago thinking along the same lines?

The last tsar was, in many ways, a cosmopolitan fellow, but deep down he continued to retain the prejudices he had been taught by his tutor, probably by his father, and certainly by the general culture surrounding him during his formative years. In addition, he had the luxury of being distanced from the evil that was inflicted on Jews. If he had witnessed the horrors of a pogrom, would Nicholas have changed his attitude? I don't know. I would hope so.

I have always liked, and continue to like, Nicholas II.  But just as I can understand (though not condone) WHY he had anti-Semitic leanings, I also cannot twist things around in my mind so as to declare him innocent of anti-Semitism.

It is through learning about anti-Semitism as practiced not only by goons such as Hilter, but also by far more appealing individuals such as Nicholas II, that we learn how prejudices take hold and are accepted by "good" people who are complacent or even swear fealty to monsterous governments promoting murderous policies.

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Janet_W. »

David_Pritchard

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2006, 07:58:37 PM »
Tsarfan,

I was simply explaining the prevailing common attitude toward the Jews during the reign of Nikolai II. I did not write that there were no alterior motives behind some of the repression.

The difference between the Jews and Tatars of any variety, is that the Jews were immigrants who refused to assimilate rather than conquered 'semi-civilised' native peoples who in the Russian point of view would take many years to assimilate, educate and convert.

If one only sees the situation through the present reality how can one ever understand the past. In or present world some Pakistani comes to the US on an immigrant visa, takes up residence, holds a job and in three years passes the citizenship examination; takes the oath and he is a citizen, no different in the eyes of the law from a native born person whose family had lived in the US for 300 years. This is not how it was in Imperial Russia. We should not confuse two vastly different reallities.

David


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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2006, 08:23:17 PM »
Please read the excellent discussion on this subject in "Fontanka 16".  The authors researched the Okhrana archives which had been sealed until the late 1990s.  The genuine truth is that the government of Nicholas II NEVER EVER ordered nor sanctioned a single pogrom.  Nicholas, to the contrary, is on record ordering pogroms to cease and/or be prevented. The genuine source of pogroms during Nicholas II's reign is of lower level police and governmental officials all on the local level.
Now, Nicholas was not exactly what we would modern people call totally open minded about Jews. I'm Jewish myself.  However, Nicholas realized that many of his subjects were indeed rabidly anit-Semitic and he sought to keep the peace with all groups.