Author Topic: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.  (Read 136164 times)

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Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #135 on: February 20, 2008, 09:48:26 AM »
I do agree that Nicholas, as a well educated (for his time) Tsar

One can be very educated, yet very ignorant. The two can be mutually exclusive...

Offline Cody

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #136 on: February 20, 2008, 11:21:36 AM »


The fact that European monarchs and the people in general were anti-Semites, as they had been for centuries, doesn't justify that the Emperor and the Empress followed that line of thought


I agree with a lot of what you said above, but I wanted to comment on this point.  The way that we are looking at the world that Nicholas II lived in now would not have existed back in the early 20th century.  Let me give you an example, in the later part of the 20th century there has been a great deal of friendship among the various religions of the world (Jewish, Christian, Muslim, etc...).  This friendship was brought on by the ecumenical movement, which began in the 1940s, and really exploded in the 1960s after the Catholic Church's Second Vatican Council.  But before this time, such friendliness would not have existed.  Therefore, it's hard for us to put our standards in a time when such standards did not exist.

Oh Cody - Cody -  You can't imagine how many times I have said the same thing and been soundly "trounced".  You have been much more eloquent that I, but that message was so badly received in another thread, (perhaps the original of this one) that I had to leave the forum for a while as I was accused of being an anti-Semite and as I tried to explain my thought in more detail, I became (to those who didn't agree with me) not only an anti-Semite but a racist as well.


Some people may not like to hear such things, but it doesn't change the fact that they are simply true.  Obviously anti-Semitism is as wrong now, as it was then; but back then, people just didn't see things that way.
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Offline LisaDavidson

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #137 on: February 20, 2008, 03:32:41 PM »


The fact that European monarchs and the people in general were anti-Semites, as they had been for centuries, doesn't justify that the Emperor and the Empress followed that line of thought


I agree with a lot of what you said above, but I wanted to comment on this point.  The way that we are looking at the world that Nicholas II lived in now would not have existed back in the early 20th century.  Let me give you an example, in the later part of the 20th century there has been a great deal of friendship among the various religions of the world (Jewish, Christian, Muslim, etc...).  This friendship was brought on by the ecumenical movement, which began in the 1940s, and really exploded in the 1960s after the Catholic Church's Second Vatican Council.  But before this time, such friendliness would not have existed.  Therefore, it's hard for us to put our standards in a time when such standards did not exist.

Oh Cody - Cody -  You can't imagine how many times I have said the same thing and been soundly "trounced".  You have been much more eloquent that I, but that message was so badly received in another thread, (perhaps the original of this one) that I had to leave the forum for a while as I was accused of being an anti-Semite and as I tried to explain my thought in more detail, I became (to those who didn't agree with me) not only an anti-Semite but a racist as well.


Some people may not like to hear such things, but it doesn't change the fact that they are simply true.  Obviously anti-Semitism is as wrong now, as it was then; but back then, people just didn't see things that way.

I disagree, Cody. While I do agree that we should not apply our own standards to the behaviors of people in other eras, the fact remains that many people in the 19th and early 20th centuries recognized anti-Semitism for exactly what it is (and has always been) - bigotry. I think it would be more correct to say that in that era, bigotry of this type was so overt and so pervasive that many people failed to see it in themselves or those close to them - or in those they admired.

I often hear this type of comment when it comes to slavery in the United States - that people then just did not see it as wrong. Not true! Otherwise, there would have been no Abolision movement - and maybe slavery would have lasted much longer.

Offline Mexjames

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #138 on: February 20, 2008, 05:57:35 PM »


The fact that European monarchs and the people in general were anti-Semites, as they had been for centuries, doesn't justify that the Emperor and the Empress followed that line of thought


I agree with a lot of what you said above, but I wanted to comment on this point.  The way that we are looking at the world that Nicholas II lived in now would not have existed back in the early 20th century.  Let me give you an example, in the later part of the 20th century there has been a great deal of friendship among the various religions of the world (Jewish, Christian, Muslim, etc...).  This friendship was brought on by the ecumenical movement, which began in the 1940s, and really exploded in the 1960s after the Catholic Church's Second Vatican Council.  But before this time, such friendliness would not have existed.  Therefore, it's hard for us to put our standards in a time when such standards did not exist.

Oh Cody - Cody -  You can't imagine how many times I have said the same thing and been soundly "trounced".  You have been much more eloquent that I, but that message was so badly received in another thread, (perhaps the original of this one) that I had to leave the forum for a while as I was accused of being an anti-Semite and as I tried to explain my thought in more detail, I became (to those who didn't agree with me) not only an anti-Semite but a racist as well.


Some people may not like to hear such things, but it doesn't change the fact that they are simply true.  Obviously anti-Semitism is as wrong now, as it was then; but back then, people just didn't see things that way.

I disagree, Cody. While I do agree that we should not apply our own standards to the behaviors of people in other eras, the fact remains that many people in the 19th and early 20th centuries recognized anti-Semitism for exactly what it is (and has always been) - bigotry. I think it would be more correct to say that in that era, bigotry of this type was so overt and so pervasive that many people failed to see it in themselves or those close to them - or in those they admired.

I often hear this type of comment when it comes to slavery in the United States - that people then just did not see it as wrong. Not true! Otherwise, there would have been no Abolision movement - and maybe slavery would have lasted much longer.

I must disagree here as well.  I heard from first-hand sources that anti-Semitism was prevalent in Russia, and Jews were physically abused in many ways, sometimes even at the hands of the authorities.  It is a historical fact that when Jews were abused during the pogroms, neither the Imperial nor the Communist authorities would move one finger to bring the situation to order, much less to prosecute the organizers. 

And the higher ups denied having anything to do with what was going on.  I think that "plausible deniability" is not a new concept.

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #139 on: February 20, 2008, 06:00:58 PM »
I heard from first-hand sources that anti-Semitism was prevalent in Russia, and Jews were physically abused in many ways, sometimes even at the hands of the authorities.  It is a historical fact that when Jews were abused during the pogroms, neither the Imperial nor the Communist authorities would move one finger to bring the situation to order, much less to prosecute the organizers. 

And the higher ups denied having anything to do with what was going on.  I think that "plausible deniability" is not a new concept.

This is true. It was most prevalent during NII's reign and also AIII's (the pogroms), which is when the Kishinev pogrom happened in 1903, as well as the one in Odessa in 1905 (supposedly as a retaliation for the 1st revolution).  http://www.moria.farlep.net/vjodessa/en/pogroms.html
« Last Edit: February 20, 2008, 06:19:36 PM by Helen_A »

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #140 on: February 20, 2008, 06:19:24 PM »
I don't think that either Cody or I are saying that anti-Semitism (or slavery for that matter) was right or that people didn't know that is was wrong.  We know from many sources of the atrocities visited on the Jews in Russia.  We are not saying it didn't happen.  We are not saying that it didn't happen during Nicholas II's reign.

I think that Lisa Davidson is right when she says that anti-Semitism was so prevalent that people did not recognize it in themselves or in those they admired.  Because during that time  the world we know and the values we hold so dear were not the world or the values of the people living during that time.

We are just saying (and Cody forgive me if I misconstrue) that we can't apply our values to a past era.

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #141 on: February 20, 2008, 06:26:45 PM »
Well, it was rather palpable in some of the Romanovs. GD Elisabeth Fedorovna, for instance, was one of the biggest proponents of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and it was published and promoted in Russia for years...  Going back to Catherine the Great - one of the most enlightened Russian monarchs - she was the one who set up the Jewish Pale and was quoted as saying something along the lines of: I don't want anything from these killers of Christ (I think she was referring to borrowing money from Jews?). Russia was always way behind Western Europe in these matters (not that there wasn't anti-semitism in W Europe).  In fact, it still is, but now they are just plain racist...

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #142 on: February 20, 2008, 10:52:14 PM »
It is interesting though, that for a wandering people who had no "homeland" until 1948, the Jews were seen as "money lenders" and therefore rich by most standards.

And yes, there is the "Christ killer" thing, but that was Pilot and he was a Roman.  Sure he "washed his hands" of it and let the crowd decide, but, come on, we all know the crowd mentality.  And the soldiers who actually committed the crucifixion were Romans as well.

And Christians sometimes forget that Jesus was a Jew.  And the Jews still don't believe that he was the Son of God, they never did.

I think what scared most people was that Jews don't give "lip service" to their religion.  They truly live it.  I have a very good friend who is a Jew and when I am with him and his family, I get a very special feeling that I never got with my husband's large, noisy Catholic family.  I actually feel a reverence in their presence and not just on holidays and holy days.  I feel this special calm perspective at all times.  I envy them their ability to "live" their religion.  And I know that the Israelis have an army and that they fight, probably better than most armies. 

But my friend and his wife are both doctors and they have a whole large family of very well behaved children.  I hope that I am making sense here, it is a hard feeling to express in words.  I just know that I am very lucky to know them.

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #143 on: February 21, 2008, 08:23:03 AM »
It is interesting though, that for a wandering people who had no "homeland" until 1948, the Jews were seen as "money lenders" and therefore rich by most standards.

Many Jews became money lenders in countries like Russia in order to make a living, because they were excluded from most other professions. So they had to become good with money, almost by default... And then they were despised even more because they were money lenders and had money to lend, so basically they couldn't win...

BTW, there is such a thing as 'Jews for Jesus' you know ;-)

Offline Cody

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #144 on: February 21, 2008, 10:14:53 AM »
It is interesting though, that for a wandering people who had no "homeland" until 1948, the Jews were seen as "money lenders" and therefore rich by most standards.

Many Jews became money lenders in countries like Russia in order to make a living, because they were excluded from most other professions. So they had to become good with money, almost by default... And then they were despised even more because they were money lenders and had money to lend, so basically they couldn't win...

BTW, there is such a thing as 'Jews for Jesus' you know ;-)

There's a lot of points that need to be discussed from what was said above.  On the subject of anti-Semetism and slavery, certainly many people from the time of Nicholas II and before--in this case America--said that it was wrong.  Often those people would quote the Bible, yet those who supported the pogroms and slavery quoted the Bible as well (consider Matthew 27:21-25 for anti-Semetism; and Colossians 3:22 for slavery).
As for Jews having this stereotype of being associated with money, Helen pretty much hit the nail on the head as the reason why.  During Christendom's period of Feudalism, Jews could not take part in the Feudal system, because it involved taking a Christian oath.  Therefore, as a way to make money Jews became merchants.  Often acting as intermediaries between Christian and Muslim merchants, who would not speak to one another.
Now on the subject of Jews for Jesus...I'm going to tell you that most Jews, for good reason, do not care for "Jews for Jesus."  Jews, even in its most liberal form, have a word for a Jewish person who accepts Jesus as their "Lord and Savior"--it's called a Christian.  Jews for Jesus uses unethical tactics to bring members into their organization--some of the members often claim to be Jews, when many of them were never Jewish in the first place.  I encountered some of them one time on campus after all the controversy surrounding the movie, The Passion of the Christ, and they gave me this pamphlet about what Jews believed about The Passion.  What I saw were quotes from the canonical gospels.  No Jewish pamphlet would EVER be quoting from the gospels, if it was a pamphlet involving devotional practices about Judaism.
Well, now that I've rambled too much, I'll close with this.  No, I was certainly not trying to advocate anti-Semetism, and I hope no one was accusing me of that either.  But I was trying to show a point of view that is sometimes overlooked involving subjects like the ones addressed above. 
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Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #145 on: February 21, 2008, 10:17:33 AM »
Thanks for the info, Cody!

Jews, even in its most liberal form, have a word for a Jewish person who accepts Jesus as their "Lord and Savior"--it's called a Christian. 

Exactly, that's why "Jews for Jesus" are so funny :-)

Offline HerrKaiser

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #146 on: February 21, 2008, 01:41:25 PM »
Hmmmm. Intersting view of the terms.

In my circles of jewish and non jewish people, being Jewish definitely has two meanings. one is the nationality/ethnicity. the other is religious designation.

I have never known a Jewish person who converted to Chrisitianity to shed the Jewish nationality part. They usually refer to themselves as jewish but of christian faith.

Jews for Jesus, then, has always made sense to me and among those who I know who self define as such.
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Offline Cody

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #147 on: February 21, 2008, 01:52:04 PM »
Hmmmm. Intersting view of the terms.

In my circles of jewish and non jewish people, being Jewish definitely has two meanings. one is the nationality/ethnicity. the other is religious designation.

I have never known a Jewish person who converted to Chrisitianity to shed the Jewish nationality part. They usually refer to themselves as jewish but of christian faith.


You are correct that many of them do not, because you're born into the Jewish tradition through your mother--regardless of whether or not you believe in God.  Jews, who convert to Christianity, often make--sometimes using the term "completed Jew."  But, like I said earlier, Jews--even Reformed Jews, which is the most liberal form--have a word for a Jewish person who accepts Jesus; it's called a "Christian."  Just like Jews have a word for someone who accepts the teachings of Muhammad--it's called a "Muslim."
I'll put it to you like this.  A few years ago, I had a course on the History of Judaism that was taught by the rabbi in this area.  The rabbi said that the term "Jews for Jesus" is similar to Christians who convert to Islam and now call themselves "Christians for Muhammad;" or during the Protestant Reformation, the Protestant Reformers calling themselves "Catholic for no pope."  Do you get what I mean?
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Offline HerrKaiser

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #148 on: February 21, 2008, 04:29:24 PM »
yes, I do follow you Cody, but it does seem like we are playing semantics in the semitic thread! :)

Jews for Jesus are still Jews, but christians on top of it. Two labels work here.

Christians for no pope were called Lutherans. One label.

Christians who convert to Islam are simply no longer Christians. they are muslims. One label.

hope this helps!  :)

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Offline Mexjames

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #149 on: February 21, 2008, 06:54:01 PM »
Regarding the jobs that Jews were allowed to have in Europe for centuries, I'd like to add that it wasn't only money lending, which in fact was practiced by some.  The vast majority of Jews took different trades to survive.  Some were indeed traders, buying and selling merchandise, but some were also goldsmiths, jewelers, carpenters, blacksmiths and so on.  Rabbi Eliezer aka "Baal Shem Tov", the founder of the Hasidim, was himself a shoe maker and was very poor.

Also, most of the time and in most countries Jews weren't allowed to own land, so that also put severe limits to what they could do.

One last comment as the Jews being seen as rich.  Clearly some of them were if not rich, better off but that still was relative. 

You see, on top of paying regular taxes to the city, the duchy or the kingdom or all of them, there were special taxes that Jews had to pay.  Sometimes they had to pay a fee to go in and out of the Jewish section of town, or ghetto. 

Periodically, the government or the Church or both would stage some incident that involved Jews; riots against them followed with loss of life and property.  Then, the Jews would be forced to gather in a synagogue or other place while the authorities searched the houses for you-name-it.  This was just blackmail to take money away from them.  Some communities didn't have the amounts of money that were required of them, and they were kicked out, their property confiscated and again, with loss of life, raped women and children, etc.

So it wasn't that the Jews in general were rich, as a matter of fact the vast majority lived in extreme poverty, even by the day's standards.  And sure enough, there were some that were rich and a few made it to be the "court Jew".  Shafirov I think was one of those, converted to Orthodoxy and founded the secret police in the time of Tsar Peter I (please correct me if I'm wrong).

It is amazing how this has affected the lives of some of us, even today. 
« Last Edit: February 21, 2008, 06:55:40 PM by Mexjames »