Author Topic: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.  (Read 113885 times)

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #30 on: June 13, 2006, 02:22:10 PM »
The police inaction was explained as I wrote earlier. The lower level "on the street" police were sympathetic to the pogrom and the man in charge was dismissed with Nicholas' permission for his mis handling of the events:
"Plehve secured the tsar's agreement to dismiss von Raaben because of his poor handling of the disturbances.  He sent his director of police, A.A. Lopukhin to Kishniev to investigate the conduct of the local authorities at the time of the pogroms.  Lopukhin did not discover any trace of premeditated preparation of the pogrom, but he concluded that the events could not have taken place without the participation of the lower police ranks. "

Here is Spiridovitch's take on Nicholas, from his memoir:
There was an opinion widely repeated in which the Emperor had detested the Jews.  That is incorrect.  As he was a Russian, and a man well versed in political and social history, the Emperor would not love the Jews, however he never once displayed the slightest hatred toward them.  He always showed himself to be as equally fair in regards to them as he was to many other groups.
     Those who created the anti-Jewish policies were acting in accordance with their own personal beliefs, and were hiding behind the Emperor and were trying to make him the scapegoat for them.  All of that was for nothing."


Also, several soldiers of the Orchestra of Nicholas' own Praeobrazhenskaya Regiment were Jews, there was a huge row when Dombadze tried to have them expelled from Yalta during one of Nicholas's stays at Livadia.

David_Pritchard

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #31 on: June 13, 2006, 03:28:23 PM »
Quote
>snip<

and keeping in mind that Nicholas II had a copy of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion reminds me of some of the right wing trash I found among my father's effects after his death.

>snip< 

That Nikolai II owned a copy of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is not unusual at all for a man of his day. We of course do not know how he came by this booklet, as part of a report from the Okhrana, as a curiosity or because he believed what it said. I have books on communism, is that evidence that I am a communist; I have books on Hinduism, does that mean that I am a Hindu;  I have books on Taoism, do they make me a Taoist?

Out of curiosity, I once purchased a copy of Mein Kampf and read it. The best thing that could be written about this book is that it is repetitive and poorly written. I then ripped it to pieces and threw it in the trash. Owning a controversial book does not mean that one ascribes to its premise.

David

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #32 on: June 13, 2006, 03:32:41 PM »
Quote
The police inaction was explained as I wrote earlier. The lower level "on the street" police were sympathetic to the pogrom and the man in charge was dismissed with Nicholas' permission for his mis handling of the events:
"Plehve secured the tsar's agreement to dismiss von Raaben because of his poor handling of the disturbances.  He sent his director of police, A.A. Lopukhin to Kishniev to investigate the conduct of the local authorities at the time of the pogroms.  Lopukhin did not discover any trace of premeditated preparation of the pogrom, but he concluded that the events could not have taken place without the participation of the lower police ranks."

I have no information on what was going on down in the lower police ranks, but it certainly would not surprise me to find a lot of sympathy with the rioters.

But I think there are some questions that present themselves from what is known about the situation.  For starters, I think Lopukhin's investigating the situation is somewhat akin to the Bush administration's investigating the Valerie Plame leak.  The findings cannot be dismissed out of hand, but neither they should they be accepted uncritically.

But I have more substantive questions about the events.  My understanding is that the police were not called into action until 6:00 p.m. on April 7.  They then quelled the unrest in the main city within two hours.  This does not sound like the accomplishment of a police force that was not under control.  So, what converted them from an unreliable force on Sunday afternoon into a crackjack team on Monday evening?

Also, if the police were found on Sunday to be unreliable, why was the army garrison not called into service?  If von Raaben could not be found -- and reports were that he could not be -- then why wasn't St. Petersburg telephoned or telegraphed for authority to call up the army?

I think there is another possible explanation of these events . . . and one that provides some connective tissue to the widely disparate report of events that came later.  The central government was willing to let the pogrom go just far enough to send a signal to the Jews but then wanted to intervene soon enough to maintain "credible deniability" with the international community.

This would explain the authorities' taking no action in the face of building rumors and reports in the days leading up to Easter 1903.  It would explain a police force absent on Day One suddenly becoming highly effective on Day Two.  It would explain an army garrison inexplicably left in its barracks.  It would explain an ambiguous message from Plehve to von Raaben in the weeks before the pogrom.  It would explain a tsar later thanking the publisher of a highly-incendiary newspaper.  It would explain Witte's later comments.  It would explain the removal of only one senior person (the scapegoat von Raaben) in a widespread litany of mayhem.

Speculation, I admit.  But the official story just doesn't ring true.

Nicholas' views of the Jews has always been a cypher to me.  I have read Spiridovitch's comments before, and I was aware of various Jews in his regiments and even his household (such as Max Factor, who did the photography make-up for Alexandra and her daughters).  I do not doubt the veracity of these reports.

However, for every one of these stories, there is an opposite.  For instance, he denied a Yalta residency permit to a Jewish widow, saying there were already "enough yids" in Yalta.  He denied Max Factor permission to marry, thereby precipitating Factor's emigration to the U.S. (and his founding of the cosmetics industry there).  He made viciously anti-semitic comments to his mother after seeing a provocative play about the Jew's role in the crucifixion.

Either Nicholas did not know his own mind on this topic, or he echoed the sentiments he thought were shared by the people he was addressing, or he was personally highly ambivalent about Jews . . . or all of the above.

What is suspected with some good reason is that, toward the end of his reign, Nicholas might have been toying with signficant liberalization of Jewish policy, against the strenuous objections of senior Romanovs.  But even then, there are questions as to how much of the thinking was his own or Alexandra's.

Usually I end up concluding that Russia -- and the Orthodox Church -- were profoundly anti-semitic and that Nicholas, as usual, could either not determine and communicate his own will categorically or could not exert it over his empire.

Offline Janet_W.

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #33 on: June 13, 2006, 03:34:23 PM »
Ortino, I agree with you: The damage done by one's mistakes can rarely, if ever, be undone. Which is why I have always been wary of the philosophy that wrongdoing can be wiped free from one's spiritual slate by repentance.

It is true that Jews were members of many Russian regiments. I once knew a man whose father had been a member of one of the Tsar's regiments; they were Jews who came to America not long after the Revolution.

I don't think Nicholas would have thought in terms of being anti-Semitic or not. He had been trained to think of himself as the representative of the One True Faith, period, end of story. The idea of being anti-this or anti-that would be inconsequential in the face of upholding a national faith.


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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #34 on: June 13, 2006, 03:49:37 PM »
Exactly, David. If a book is found to be of value, it is worth keeping among one's personal effects, affording the opportunity to return to it time and again. On the other hand, if a book is found to be hate-mongering filth, one not only discards it but destroys it. Like dirty underwear, it is purged from one's existence.

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #35 on: June 13, 2006, 04:20:02 PM »
While owning controversial literature does indeed not necessarily indicate that one is a follower or supporter, we must consider the period of ownership. If, David, you owned Mein Kampf during World War II, you would probably be seen as a follower of Hitler--the same thing goes for the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The other significant difference between the two is that Protocols was issued by the government, as opposed to simply being published by one man.

Quote
The first unrest started in Kishniev on 6 April. The first killing happened at noon on 7 April.  The pogrom was suppressed by evening of 7 April. I don't see that being three days of inaction.
 
Please cite exactly where it is "suggested" Plehve organized the pogrom. The documents in GARF totally are at odds with such a statement.  Please cite exactly where "Lopukhin recalled that leaflets inciting the violence were printed under his direction on Minister of the Interior presses" Again, the documentation in GARF disagrees totally with that statement as well. There is no evidence that there ever WERE leaflets inciting the violence.

I've only ever heard that the pogrom lasted three days--where did your frame time come from?

As FOTR's credibility is questionable to some, I used the word "suggested" :"The notorious Easter Massacre at Kishinev in 1903 was organized by Vyacheslav Plehve, the minister of the interior, with the emperor's knowledge and support. Alexei Lopukhin, director of the Imperial Police Department recalls that leaflets inciting the violence were printed under Phelve's direction on Ministry of the Interior presses; the text had been personally approved by General Trepov on the emperor's behalf, and the costs borne by Nicholas himself. Some fifty Jews were dragged from their houses and murdered in the streets, with another six hundred beaten and tortured with the assistance of the local police." (FOTR, pg. 39, paperback).

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #36 on: June 13, 2006, 05:26:15 PM »
I'll stick with the first hand participant's statements, and the facts in GARF. You are certainly free to believe what ever makes you happy.

David_Pritchard

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #37 on: June 13, 2006, 05:36:13 PM »
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Exactly, David. If a book is found to be of value, it is worth keeping among one's personal effects, affording the opportunity to return to it time and again. On the other hand, if a book is found to be hate-mongering filth, one not only discards it but destroys it. Like dirty underwear, it is purged from one's existence.

Janet,

Congratulations! You are to be commended on your debating skill. My intention was to give Nikolai II and your father the benefit of the doubt. Instead you took my post and turned it into support for your position, even convincing me of the validity of your premise!

David

 

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #38 on: June 13, 2006, 06:14:07 PM »
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I'll stick with the first hand participant's statements, and the facts in GARF. You are certainly free to believe what ever makes you happy.

This is just a curious question (because I don't know much about the pogroms or the participants) but are the first hand statements reliable? Would Spiridovich, or others, have written statements that were favorable to the Emperor for instance? Many first-hand accounts of the massacre of the IF and other events have been discredited.
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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #39 on: June 13, 2006, 07:37:02 PM »
I can make excuses for Nicholas. Perhaps he had allowed his reading to pile up. Perhaps there was no way to discard the book without receiving attention from the guards. We don't know, nor will we probably ever know. But since the book was with him in exile--or at least found among his effects (a plant?!)--we have to consider that he might have found the subject of interest and that possibly, to him, the text made some viable points. I hope that is not the case; I've long been a supporter of Nicholas, and continue to be. But it is important that we not allow our personal feelings to obliterate possibilities that do not reconcile with what we want to hear. (That's a double negative sentence and I apologize--it has been a long day!--but I hope you'll understand what I'm attempting to get across!)

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #40 on: June 13, 2006, 08:12:07 PM »
Lopukhin was sympathetic to the plight of the Jews and constantly fought for their rights, and eventually resigned his position in frustration over the failure of the government to address "the Jewish question."
Spiridovitch was trained as a police officer, and has addressed other sensitive subjects honestly. It seems a bit disingenuous to compare these men to the Bolshevik executioners of the Imperial Familhy in terms of veracity.

I would be interested to see if the FOTR statements made 100 plus years after the fact are supported by citation and documentation.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by admin »

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #41 on: June 13, 2006, 09:44:47 PM »
I hope you didn't think I was trying to be disingenuous.  :( I  meant it as a sincere question since I am really enjoying learning some of the facts here. I had no idea who Spiridovich was and was trying to get a sense of who he was and what his mindset/viewpoint was--not trying to compare him to the Bolsheviks executioners. I only mentioned that in relation to first hand statements, not necessarily who was making them.
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Offline RichC

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #42 on: June 13, 2006, 11:30:36 PM »
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Exactly, David. If a book is found to be of value, it is worth keeping among one's personal effects, affording the opportunity to return to it time and again. On the other hand, if a book is found to be hate-mongering filth, one not only discards it but destroys it. Like dirty underwear, it is purged from one's existence.

I'm sure you would not rate reading hate-mongering filth to one's family a good thing.  Well, that's what Nicholas did during the Tobolsk captivity.  On March 27, 1918 Nicholas wrote in his diary,

"Yesterday I started to read aloud Nilus's book on the Antichrist, to which have been added the "protocols" of the Jews and Masons -- very timely reading matter."

Alexandra's diary entries for several nights record that Nicholas read "The Great and the Small" out loud -- presumably to his family.

Also, Alexandra reported, in a letter to Anna Vyrubova on March 20, 1918, that someone had sent her a copy of "The Great and the Small" which she read with interest, and which she passed on to Nicholas.

Does anyone know who sent the book to Alexandra?

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

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #43 on: June 14, 2006, 06:16:39 AM »
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"Fontanka 16" by Ruud & Stepanov.

Re Kishniev 1903 (at pg. 233 et. seq.)
"In any event the documents show that Plehve, having received news of the pogrom from the local authorities, undertook all measures possible under the law to restore order.  He also reported to the tsar about his supplementary measures: "Despite the summoning of the military and the arrest of more than 60 rioters, disorders continued.  The governor requested authority to impost measures of strengthened security.  I approved the request by telegram. (GARF 601/1/1046, sheet 2)

I cannot find any other sources which mention the calling up of the military during the riots.  I have only found reports that the military was not deployed.  Although the reports I have read indicate it was the "police" that quelled the riots within two hours on the evening of April 7, that sudden effectiveness does sound suspicious to me.  Was it perhaps the military that showed up that evening?  Do you know at which point the military was called up?


Quote
"Fontanka 16" by Ruud & Stepanov.

Following the pacificationof the outbreak, Plehve secured the tsar's agreement to dismiss von Raaben because of his poor handling of the disturbances.  He sent his director of police, A.A. Lopukhin to Kishniev to investigate the conduct of the local authorities at the time of the pogroms.  Lopukhin did not discover any trace of premeditated preparation of the pogrom, but he concluded that the events could not have taken place without the participation of the lower police ranks.

Lopukhin does seems to have been accorded credibility on other topics later in his career by groups across the political spectrum.  However, there were public documents -- such as the letter sent to the "Moscow Tavern" and numerous newspaper reports of two children (a boy and a girl) being killed by Jews for Passover rites -- in the days leading up to the riots that seemed aimed at whipping the public into a fury.  Given Lopukhin's personal views, he would not likely have seen these newspaper articles as actual reportage of true events.

Information later emerged that both von Raaben and the local Okhrana chief had been given prior warnings that trouble was brewing.  Given the nature of Russian bureaucracy, I think it likely that Lupokhin might not have been able to obtain information from the Okhrana -- especially compromising information.  Also, it was later determined that there was a high level of organization apparent in the events at least of Sunday, April 6.  Again, in the immediate aftermath of the riots, this information might not have yet been collected and analyzed in such a way that made the pattern apparent.

I can only conclude one thing from all this.  Either Lopukhin ignored the indications of prior planning for the pogrom for some reason, or key facts were withheld from him by everyone he interviewed in Kishinev when he he was conducting his investigation.  I find it hard to believe someone would not have at least pointed out the reportage of Bessarabetz.  However, given the independent character Lopukhin later evinced, I think it more likely that key information was withheld from him during his investigation . . . and that it was, perhaps, not the most determined investigation ever mounted or one done under an unrealistic deadline imposed on him from above.

Without impugning Lopukhin's personal character, I nevertheless think there are reasons to approach some conclusions of his report with skepticism.


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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #44 on: June 14, 2006, 09:00:03 AM »
Courntey, my apologies. I've mentioned Spiridovitch so often I just thought you knew him.  He was the head of Personal Secret Security Police for the IF for eight years, spending literally 24/7 with Nicholas and Alexandra.

Tsarfan:  Lopukhin reported that the local gendarmerie "seemed duplicitious" at the time. There was also evidence that the local Okhrana chief B aron Levendal, a known anti-Semite, was supportive of the pogrom and sent a telegram to Petersburg "advising" of a "tense atmosphere" brewing in the area, but based it wholly on "suppositions".  The idea being to throw off the commanding authorities, while leaving a paper trail so that Levendal could later "cover his butt" after the fact.  The GARF record does not state specifically that troops were sent or not.  It says "The governor requested authority (on the 7th) to impose measures of strengthened security. I (Plehve) approved the request by telegram."