Author Topic: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.  (Read 131879 times)

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Offline AGRBear

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #210 on: April 17, 2014, 01:43:26 PM »
As I have said many times,  Nicholas II was brought up by a family who were raised to believe Jews were the "killers of Christ" and it was up to Nicholas and the others, as they grew older, to learn Jews were no different than anyone else.  Some were good.  Some were bad. But he didn't.  Why didn't he?    Nicholas II witnessed several horrific events.  First and foremost, he, as a child with ice skates as he had just returned home,  saw his grandfather, Alexander I, screaming with pain as he lay bleeding and torn apart from a bomb which Nickolas was told was thrown by a Jew.    There are an unknown number of attempts on his life which the Secret Police claimed were by Jews.   He watched his father holding up part of the royal train car to save his family.... The Secret Police claimed the train was blown up by Jews.  Never mind that the train wreck was probably a train traveling too fast...  There were those around him who believed the same as they had been taught, that the Jews were "killers of Christ" and, now,  they were plotting against all of the Royals...  Does this excuse Nicholas II?  No.  But I can understand how his hatred was planted in his head and how he felt he could not trust the Jews.   And,  there is no reason to deny what he felt and what he did.  He wasn't alone.  Most of his family, religious leaders, political leaders, secret police ..... (the list goes on and on) believed Jews were the enemy.  Oh, now and then,  Nicholas did meet  Jews he liked.... But they were exceptions and the pogroms continued to take place under Nicholas II's years of rule. 
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Offline Inok Nikolai

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #211 on: June 07, 2014, 01:07:14 PM »
Quote
The reading of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion by Nikolai II to his children comes as a real surprise to me. A shock indeed, rather like finding out that Hitler believed that a Communist Pole burnt down the Reichstag or that Polish troops fired first in 1939 and started World War II. I find it disturbing that the leader of an autocratic regime was unaware of the falsehoods of the propaganda of his own secret police. My opinion of Nikolai II dops even more.
David

This is one of the mysteries.  We know what Nicholas and Alexandra wrote in their diaries in 1918, but there is evidence from other sources that Stolypin exposed the Protocols in 1905 as a faked document created by the Tsarist secret police.  When Nicholas learned of this he repudiated the Protocols.  If that's true, why suddenly read it again many years later??

I began to read this particular thread only recently. Perhaps the information given below will clear up a few points or shed some light on the questions posed in this thread.

Such as:
http://forum.alexanderpalace.org/index.php?topic=1225.msg193272#msg193272
http://forum.alexanderpalace.org/index.php?topic=1225.msg193956#msg193956

1) Sergei Nilus’ book was not taken to Tobolsk by the Imperial family when they left Tsarskoe Selo. It was sent to them later in Tobolsk.
On March 20, 1918, Empress Alexandra wrote to A. A. Vyrubova:
“…Zina sent me her book Something Great in Something Small by Nilus…”

2) Some think that the Zina mentioned here is Zinaida Tolstaya, then in Odessa.
Mr. Alferieff, compiler of the Letters from Captivity, felt that it was the Empress’ friend, Zinaida Menshted.
Perhaps at this late date, it cannot be determined for certain who indeed sent the book to the Imperial family.

3) The Empress (and the Emperor) wrote of the Protocols as though they were primarily the work of the Freemasons. It seems that in this particular case they viewed the Jews as allies or collaborators with the Freemasons, not the instigators of the plot.

4) The Protocols form the last part of Nilus’ book. The first part has chapters on Russian religious figures.
On March 24, 1918, Empress Alexandra wrote to A. V. Syroboyarsky:
“…I am now reading that which everyone was reading 15 years ago, and which some people have now sent to me… The Protocols of the Freemasons. It used to be sold as a separate publication, but the Freemasons bought up all the copies, so now it is included in the back of Sergei Nilus’ book Something Great in Something Small, and is entitled “Antichrist as an Imminent Political Possibility” — published in 1905… The first part of the book is about Fr. John of Kronstadt, St. Seraphim of Sarov, and the Elder Ambrose of Optina — this section we will read with the children when alone in order not to make them overly sad.”

5) On the convoluted history of the origins of the Protocols, see the meticulously researched study by Cesare G. De Michelis, The Non-existent Manuscript: “A Study of the Protocols of the Sages of Zion”, trans. Richard Newhouse (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2004); and Michael Hagemeister’s recent works, such as “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion: Between History and Fiction,” New German Critique 103, Vol. 35, No. 1 (Spring 2008), pp. 83-95. They demonstrate quite convincingly that — contrary to popular belief — the Protocols were not fabricated by M. Golovinsky and Peter Rachkovsky in Paris at the end of the nineteenth century, nor were they composed originally in French, nor were they created by the Okhrana or by S. Nilus himself. Rather, the Protocols were most likely composed by members of Russian right-wing political circles within Russia itself sometime in 1902 or 1903.

6) As for the Imperial family’s attitude to the Protocols in 1918, perhaps for them too, as for so many other Russians at that time, the enormous political and social upheavals then convulsing Russia may have made the Protocols seem more credible. Maybe all that the Imperial family had recently undergone caused the Tsar to reconsider his reported previous opinion of the Protocols. We will probably never know.

For an insightful analysis of the dazed and bewildered mental state of people in those very difficult days, see the Afterword of Richard Pipe’s The Russian Revolution.

PLEASE NOTE: The conjectures expressed in point 6 above are not meant to grant any credence to the Protocols themselves.

7) Concerning the whole discussion here on racism, anti-Semitism, and Tsar Nicholas II being a product of his time, see Carlo D'Este’s interesting comments on whether or not General George Patton should be considered a racist and bigot: Patton, Genius for War (Haper-Colins, New York, 1995: pp. 171-72).

 
« Last Edit: June 07, 2014, 01:12:09 PM by Inok Nikolai »
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Offline Inok Nikolai

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #212 on: June 15, 2014, 04:52:23 PM »
[ch1054][ch1088][ch1090][ch1080][ch1085][ch1086],

 Do you know if the use of the term 'Yid' was a pejorative in 1890's Russia or simply a slang term referring to a speaker of Yiddish? The meaning of words do change over time so one should not assume that the meaning was what it is today.

David



Disclaimer: The comments below are not meant as an attempt to “redeem” the word “zhid” or to defend the Romanovs' use of the word.
Etymology and historical usage are incapable of “rehabilitating” a word once the majority of people have come to consider it to be a pejorative epithet.

My point here is that it is imprecise and misleading to translate the Russian word “zhid” into English as “yid”. It would be best to simply transliterate the word as “zhid”, and leave it at that.

The word “yid” (from Yiddish) is a mid-nineteenth century English-language coinage. It was originally just a slang term; one which is now considered to be pejorative and derogatory.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yid

The relatively modern word “yid” has never been standard usage in English, whereas the Russian word “zhid” has a long and rich lexicographical history in the Slavic languages. Both “zhid” and ‘evrei” occur in the Slavonic translations of the Bible. In medieval Russian chronicles the two words occur interchangeably. And the hero of the legend “The Wandering Jew” is known in Russian as “Vechny Zhid”, the Eternal Zhid.

The word occurs in the classics of Russian literature by such famous authors as Gogol and Dostoevsky, and it is used in St. Dmitry of Rostov’s [d. 1709] collection of the Lives of Russian Saints, published in Russian in twelve volumes from 1902 to 1911.

A. Alexandrov’s well known Complete Russian-English Dictionary (Sixth Edition, Petrograd, 1917, p. 159) has seven entries under the root ‘zhid’, (nouns, adjectives, verbs, etc.), all of which are translated into English as Jew, Jewess, Jewish, Judaism, Judaize, etc. Only one entry of the seven carries a negative connotation.

This is not to deny that the word “zhid” was used pejoratively, but certainly not in every case, and not by all classes and groups. By the end of the 19th century, “progressive” circles in Russian society, especially journalists, considered use of the word unacceptable. Some Jewish scholars have even noted a politico-ideological divide here, with socialists and liberals using the word “evrei”, while nationalists, monarchists, and conservatives retained the common people’s term “zhid”.

Already during the reign of Catherine II, prominent Jews in Russia had sought to have the word banned. However, it was the Bolsheviks who officially proscribed the word — declaring it to be an “anti-Semitic and counter-revolutionary” term, and making the use thereof a criminal offense. Later, in the 1950s, the Soviets even deleted it from reprints of V. Dahl’s famous and authoritative pre-revolutionary Comprehensive Dictionary of the Living Great Russian Language.

In Ukrainian, the word “zhid” was normative until the 1930s (until the 1950s in the western Ukraine), and it only took on a negative connotation under the influence of the Russian language. Even today, in Polish, Czech, Slovakian, Croatian, Hungarian and Lithuanian, the root word “zhid”, or derivatives thereof, still denotes simply a Jew.

Such well known contemporary historians of the period of late Tsarist Russia, such as Walter Laquer, Richard Pipes, Robert Nichols, Mark Steinberg, and others, have, in certain contexts, judiciously and selectively translated the word “zhid” as “Jew”, and not as “yid”.

Both Tsar Nicholas and Empress Alexandra used the words “zhid” and “evrei” interchangeably when referring to Jews. And it is interesting to note that in their private diaries they often wrote “evrei”, while writing “zhid” in letters posted from captivity which would be read by the censors, and possibly by others. (One would have expected the exact opposite: “zhid” in private, and “evrei” in public.)
« Last Edit: June 15, 2014, 04:55:36 PM by Inok Nikolai »
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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #213 on: June 16, 2014, 09:09:47 AM »
To help clarify Inok Nikolai's well thought postings, allow this Jew to add:  In Yiddish itself the word Yid means just "Jew" and nothing more.  My Dad used to often say "oh, Mr. X, he's a Yid"  and mean nothing more than he had learned an acquaintance was also Jewish.  The use of the word Yid between Jews referring to "Jew" is not at all derogatory. "Yid" comes from the Hebrew word for Jew "Yehudi".

The word "Evrei" in Russian comes from the Hebrew language word "Ivreit" (EEv-reet) which just means the Hebrew language. "Ani medeber Ivreit" "I speak Hebrew".  The Hebrew word for Jew is not "Ivreit" but "Yehudi".  So we have two different and similar words as well.The difference between "Zhid" and Evrei is nothing really more than a distinction between Jew and Hebrew.  Indeed in my Grandparents' day, Yiddish was the daily language or "Mama Loshen" (Mother Tongue) and Hebrew the language of the Torah was the "Loshen Chodesh" or Holy Language.  All Jewish men could read and understand Hebrew, but never ever used it for daily language, which was only Yiddish.

Offline wakas

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #214 on: June 16, 2014, 09:36:10 AM »
So, when Olga wrote the word "Zhid" in letters to her father (cf: the Diary of Olga Romanov), it was not in a pejorative sense? It just meant "Jew"?
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Offline Inok Nikolai

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #215 on: June 25, 2014, 04:58:32 PM »
It’s a real pity that A. I. Solzhenitsyn’s Two-Hundred Years Together has still not been fully translated into English, although it has already appeared in other European languages.

The book’s two volumes deal with the relations between the Russians and the Jews from 1772 to 1972. As a starting point Solzhenitsyn chose the year 1772 — the first partition of Poland, when the Russian Empire gained 100,000 Jewish inhabitants.

Although the book received very mixed reviews, I found it to be an honest attempt by a serious scholar and writer to treat a very complex topic from the Russians’ point of view. Its publication in English could contribute a great deal to the ongoing discussion of this sensitive issue.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two_Hundred_Years_Together

************
Wikipedia Summary:

In the first volume, Solzhenitsyn discusses the history of Russians and the 100,000 Jews that had migrated to Russia between 1772 and the revolution of 1917. He asserts that the anti-Jewish pogroms in the Russian Empire were not government-sponsored but spontaneous acts of violence, except for some government culpability in the Pale of Settlement.
 
Solzhenitsyn says that life for Russian Jews was hard but no harder than life for Russian peasants. The second volume covers the post-revolution era up to 1970 when many Jews left Russia for Israel and other western countries. Solzhenitsyn says that, despite the presence of Jewish Leon Trotsky, the 1917 February and October Revolutions were not the work of Judaism. Solzhenitsyn says that the Jews who participated in revolution were effectively apostates splitting from the spirit of tradition. Solzhenitsyn emphatically denies that Jews were responsible for the revolutions of 1905 and 1917. At the end of chapter nine, Solzhenitsyn denounces "the superstitious faith in the historical potency of conspiracies" that leads some to blame the Russian revolutions on the Jews and to ignore the "Russian failings that determined our sad historical decline.”

Solzhenitsyn criticizes the "scandalous" weakness and "unpardonable inaction" that prevented the Russian imperial state from adequately protecting the lives and property of its Jewish subjects. But he claims that the pogroms were in almost every case organized from "below" and not by the Russian state authorities. He criticizes the "vexing," "scandalous", and "distressing" restrictions on the civil liberties of Jewish subjects during the final decades of the Russian old regime. On that score, in chapter ten of the work he expresses his admiration for the efforts of Pyotr Stolypin (Prime Minister of Russia from 1906 until 1911) to eliminate all legal disabilities against Jews in Russia.

In the spirit of his classic 1974 essay "Repentance and Self-Limitation in the Life of Nations", Solzhenitsyn calls for the Russians and Russian Jews alike to take responsibility for the "renegades" in both communities who supported a totalitarian and terrorist regime after 1917. At the end of chapter 15, he writes that Jews must answer for the "revolutionary cutthroats" in their ranks just as Russians must repent "for the pogroms, for...merciless arsonist peasants, for...crazed revolutionary soldiers." It is not, he adds, a matter of answering "before other peoples, but to oneself, to one's consciousness, and before God.”

Solzhenitsyn also takes the anti-Communist White movement to task for condoning violence against Jews and thus undermining "what would have been the chief benefit of a White victory" in the Russian Civil War: "a reasonable evolution of the Russian state.”


-- Also see the section on the book under the general heading on Solzhenitsyn:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleksandr_Solzhenitsyn

************

But it seems that once a few critics claimed “anti-Semitism”, it frightened off any prospective professional translators or publishers.

Solzhenitsyn himself addressed the accusation of his supposed “anti-Semitism” in his talks with David Remnik.
See:  “The Exile Returns”, The New Yorker, February 14, 1994, p. 75.

At present, the book reviews in English are by those relatively few people abroad — scholars and academicians — who are able to read Russian. It’s a rather closed club: “We will tell you about the book, but you may not read it.” But what of the general English readership? It almost seems like another form of censorship. Why not put the entire book into English and let a wide circle of serious readers decide for themselves?

Even if one disagrees with Solzhenitsyn’s conclusions, isn’t it important to be familiar with the ideas of such a famous author whose writings will influence and shape the views of many others for years to come?

And it is an especially sad irony that this reluctance to print the book in English has been interpreted as a “Jewish conspiracy” — the very sort of thing that Solzhenitsyn himself derided and scoffed at. And the several chapters that have been translated into English are to be found on neo-Nazi, pseudo-Aryan, white-supremacy web-sites!

Surely the Russians, the Jews, Solzhenitsyn, and we -- all deserve better than that!
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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #216 on: June 26, 2014, 09:11:34 AM »
So, when Olga wrote the word "Zhid" in letters to her father (cf: the Diary of Olga Romanov), it was not in a pejorative sense? It just meant "Jew"?

Yes that is correct. There was no other word for her to use actually, in Russian.

Offline wakas

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #217 on: June 26, 2014, 02:34:29 PM »
Thank you, FA.
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Offline Inok Nikolai

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #218 on: June 27, 2014, 03:31:32 PM »
...The difference between "Zhid" and Evrei is nothing really more than a distinction between Jew and Hebrew...

An additional nuance which I forgot to mention above:

In Russian, “evrei” would be used when one is referring to ethnic or national group; “iudei” stresses religious affiliation.

But then, that raises the age-old question of what is “Jewishness”: nationality or faith?

And I’m not going there, because that matter is still being hotly debated among the Jews themselves! :)
« Last Edit: June 27, 2014, 03:39:31 PM by Inok Nikolai »
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Offline JamesAPrattIII

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #219 on: July 08, 2014, 06:09:04 PM »
The book "Easter in Kishinev" by E. W. Judge is an excellent account of the Kishinev Pogrom and why it happened. It also looks at anti-Semitism in this area and why it was so extreme. In reading this book the Pogrom was mainly do to a mixture of incompetence and anti-Semitism of the local authorities not do to any orders from St Petersburg.

There is another book called "Bloodlands" by Tim Snyder which deals with Eastern Europe in the 30s and 40s and all the violence and killing that went on there including anti-Semitic violence.

In reading these two books and the book "Harvest of Sorrow" by Robert Conquest. Nicholas and the Russian government got really blasted for what happened in Kishinev by all or nearly all of the western media. Stalin who carried out the famine/genocide in Russia in the years 1930-34 did come under fire from some of the Western media. There were others who said there was no famine in Russia ect and that the others were liars. A reporter named Walter Duranty was one of the worst offenders. I hope this is of some information.

Offline Belochka

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #220 on: July 08, 2014, 06:56:52 PM »
The book "Easter in Kishinev" by E. W. Judge is an excellent account of the Kishinev Pogrom and why it happened. It also looks at anti-Semitism in this area and why it was so extreme. In reading this book the Pogrom was mainly do to a mixture of incompetence and anti-Semitism of the local authorities not do to any orders from St Petersburg.

Many thanks for providing this reference, which I will order later today.

Luckily I have all the other books you have listed.

Regards,

Margarita Nelipa


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Offline JamesAPrattIII

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #221 on: July 09, 2014, 04:46:58 PM »
Glad to be of help Margarita. I thought your book on Rasputin was great.  I'll read your bio on Alexander III one day. If you have a question on historical or military matters just ask I'll see if I can help.

Offline Inok Nikolai

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #222 on: September 08, 2014, 10:00:03 AM »
A couple more tidbits of information pertinent to this topic:

1) According to the prominent Russian-Israeli historian, Felix Kandel, the massive and indiscriminate expulsion of the Jewish population from the theater of war instigated by Grand Duke Nicholas Nicholaevich was immediately halted as soon as Tsar Nicholas II assumed supreme command during WW I.

(Felix Kandel, Ocherki vremeni i sobytii. Iz istoria rossiiskikh evreev, Jerusalem: 1994, pp. 309-310.)

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felix_Kandel
Since 1987 Kandel initiated an ambitious project of writing a popular history of the Jews that lived on the territories comprising the Russian Empire. The resulting volumes titled, Books of Times and Events, appeared over the next 20 years in Russian and were well received by the public and the critics. All six volumes were published in Russia since 1994. Moscow and St. Petersburg Universities’ courses on Jewish History use it as reference source, and it is widely used in Jewish schools throughout the former Soviet Union.]

2) On August 4, 1915, the Council of Ministers authorized the Ministry of the Interior to grant Jews the right to live anywhere in the Russian empire “except for in the two capitals [i.e., Petrograd and Moscow] or those places located within the jurisdiction of the Minister of the Court or the Minister of War”. Tsar Nicholas II gave his approval to the measure, which, de facto, abolished the Pale of Settlement.

(Vazhneishie zakoni, ukazi, i rasporozheniia voennogo vremeni, Petrograd: 1915, vol. 2, p. 297.)
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Offline Romanov_Fan19

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #223 on: September 21, 2014, 11:22:16 PM »
So is it fair to say he was  no longer  Anti  Semetic  at the end of his life or    not   so    much as he had been

Offline LisaDavidson

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #224 on: October 07, 2014, 12:16:17 AM »
It is difficult to judge an essentially 19th century monarch by 21st century standards. I would say that based on 21st century standards, Nicholas II had some anti-Semitic views throughout his life. However, he was also an intelligent man and so I think some of his life experiences softened some of these views subtly over time.