Author Topic: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.  (Read 135940 times)

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Offline Mexjames

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #150 on: February 21, 2008, 07:08:51 PM »
interesting, never heard of 'renegade Jews'. But, also keep in mind that part of their being 'renegade' was their adoption of atheism. The communist movement was atheistic and the Jews involved were defiinitely so.

When the Kibbutzes were originally begun in palestine during the mid 19th century, they were almost exclusively russian jews were were ethnic jews but atheists and communists. This was also the start of Zionism.

going back to NII's anti semitism, it was not his unrealistic fear or dislike for judaism or Jewish people (any more than the many ethnic groups that made up his empire), rather the concern for the danger the communist/zionist movement posed to the peace and solidarity of his empire.

No, Nicholas didn't like Jews qua Jews. He was shocked by the fact that his wife's uncle received them socially at the English court. I doubt he was any more rabidly anti-semitic than usual, but it is cutting Nicholas II too much slack to assume that his dislike was purely political. Furthermore, and I realize that others have a higher opinion of his native intelligence than I, I truly doubt that he was capable of the kind of subtle distinction you imply in regard to Jews and Zionists. In fact, the Jews --- ALL Jews --- were treated far worse under Tsarist rule than, say, Moslems.

He had many good qualities, but freedom from prejudice in this regard was not one of them.

I was not making assumptions that his attitudes were purely political. It is generally considered that most prejudice is irrational and emotional; I was pointing out reasons why he would have had concerns about the political nature of mid 19th century revolutions and the ongoing concern to his power. And as such, would have to disagree that he was incapable of distinguishing between the political threats and emotional ones.

Were moslem groups or other ethnic/religious groups in Russia during his reign organizing reactionary political inititatives? I'm not aware, but could be. Let us know! thanks!
I think that if that happened, it might have been for territorial and then political situations.  Muslims lived generally in Asia and were not as exposed to Western thought as others, such as the Jews living in the Pale.  Jews spoke several European languages and might have had access to the works of Voltaire and others, as well as the works by anarchists and nihilists in the 19th century.  I don't think that Muslims had access to any of this.

Alixz

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #151 on: February 21, 2008, 09:38:24 PM »
I believe that the tsar had Muslim subjects as well as Jews and Christians and Russian Orthodox.

The Black Sea area in the Crimea had Muslims living there.

Offline Mexjames

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #152 on: February 22, 2008, 02:02:14 PM »
Does anybody out there know what was the attitude of the Emperor in particular, and the Empire in general, to the non-Jewish minorities?  My guess is that Muslims, not being Christians, might have had a hard time as well.  After all, many if not all Russian Orthodox churches have a cross on top with a crescent moon below, symbolizing the victory of Christendom over Islam.

Alixz

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #153 on: February 22, 2008, 03:40:59 PM »
Mexjames - that is a very good and interesting question!

I am going to have to do some research.  I know that when the tsar and his family stayed in the Crimea, there is mention of the ethnic costumes and traditions of his subjects there.  However, I don't believe that there were ever pogroms against any other ethnicity than the Jews.

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #154 on: February 22, 2008, 03:50:02 PM »
I don't believe that there were ever pogroms against any other ethnicity than the Jews.

I don't think so either. I also remember reading somewhere (unfortunately can't remember where) that Nicholas and family liked his muslim subjects from the Crimea, etc. very much and used to receive them often and exchange gifts, etc...

Offline Cody

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #155 on: February 22, 2008, 08:00:32 PM »
Does anybody out there know what was the attitude of the Emperor in particular, and the Empire in general, to the non-Jewish minorities?  My guess is that Muslims, not being Christians, might have had a hard time as well.  After all, many if not all Russian Orthodox churches have a cross on top with a crescent moon below, symbolizing the victory of Christendom over Islam.

From a historical point of view, Christians have been less tolerate to Muslims, than it has been the other way around.  However, I do believe that Nicholas II had respect for his Tatar subjects, which I think may have been Muslim. 
+ Cody +

Alixz

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #156 on: February 22, 2008, 09:35:02 PM »
Russia's Muslims have historically lived in two broad geographical areas of the country. One part lives in the Volga river basin, and is made up of Tatars, Bashkir and Chuvash peoples. They have been part of the Russian state since the 16th century, and their autonomous regions and republics lie in the heart of the Russian Federation. They are Russian citizens and have been an integral and inseparable part of the state -- be it the Russian Empire or the Soviet Union.

The second large Muslim population lives in the region between the Black and the Caspian Seas, in the Caucasus area. These populations were finally incorporated into the state much later, in the 19th century, and small-scale resistance to state rule existed all the way up to 1991. This resistance quickly escalated into full-scale war as the Republic of Chechnya sought to break away from the Russian state as an independent Islamic republic.


From PINR      http://www.pinr.com/report.php?ac=view_report&report_id=222&language_id=1

Alixz

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #157 on: February 22, 2008, 09:41:19 PM »
The formation of the Mongolian Empire, and then the Golden Horde, did not change the position of Islam in the Volga Region. According to the 'Yassa' (code of laws) of ghengis khan, all religions were admitted as equal, exempted from taxes, and oppression of any existing church and the clergy was considered as a crime subject to punishment. Therefore both Islam and Christianity developed freely in the Golden Horde era. Even when, in the year 1312, Uzbek Khan has declared Islam as the state religion, it did not touch the Russian Princedoms that remained Orthodox. As we see, already in the Middle Ages, tolerance was implanted in the culture of the Tatars and it found continuity in the next centuries.

The epoch of Baptising Kazan Territory in the 16th-17th centuries was the most difficult period in the history of Tatars. It was accompanied by continuous revolts of the Muslim population until Katherine II issued in 1773 the "decree on tolerance of all confessions"... The rights of Muslims were recognised officially and since that moment the revival of Islam and all Tatar culture began.

The development of Islam in the Volga-Ural region has reached a bloom in the 19th and the beginning of 20th centuries. Mosques were constructed, and religious and secular literature were issued in huge quantities, education became practically full, vigorous activity of the Tatar businessmen made it possible to sponsor many public structures. Due to the development of a network of medreses, there appeared a number of advanced centres of Islamic learning in Kazan, Ufa, Orenburg, and other cities of Russia which offered reformatory ideas.



Address delivered by His Excellency Mintimer Shaimiev, President of the Republic Tatarstan, at the opening session of the international symposium on "Islamic Civilisation in Volga-Ural Region", 8 June 2001

Alixz

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #158 on: February 22, 2008, 09:55:07 PM »
MOSQUE

    Against the background of Petersburg's austere architecture the oriental building crowned with a turquoise-blue cupola and accented by two elegant minarets stands out. It is the Mosque that is nowadays the only functioning Muslim temple in the city.
   The Mosque was founded shortly before the World War I, in 1910, and was meant to commemorate the 25-th anniversary of the rule of Abdul Ahat Khan, Emir of Bukhara (Turkistan). The Muslim community, one of the largest religious communities of Saint Petersburg, asked the authorities the permission to build a temple since 1880, but the permission was given only on 1906. The place for the future building was chosen close to the Peter and Paul Fortress. Although there were many opponents of the construction of the Moslem Mosque in the very center of Saint Petersburg, in 1907 Nicholas II authorized the sale of land. The announced architectural contest was won by architects Krichinsky, Vasiliev and Gogen.
   The project of Petersburg's Mosque was inspired by the most famous monuments of Central Asian Muslim architecture. Thus, the cupola of the Mosque greatly reminds of the 15th century Gur Emir Mausoleum of Samarqand. The walls were faced with dark-grey granite that attaches monumentality to the construction and makes the building look more natural in the austere architectural ensemble of the Northern Capital. The dome and two minarets of the mosque were decorated with multi-colored tiles and the facade was adorned with sayings from the Koran.
   The traditions of Muslim architecture were strictly followed not only in the exterior but also in the interior decor. The columns supporting the arches under the dome were faced with green marble. In the center of the hall hangs a giant chandelier, covered with sayings from Koran. The semi-spherical niche in the wall, calling the mihrab, is faced with blue ceramics. The mihrab's location is oriented to the sacred Moslem city of Mecca. According to Islam regulation there is no depiction of living creature, but a plenty of ornamental patterns lavishly covering the walls.
   In 1913, to honor the 300th anniversary of Russia's ruling Romanov family, the first Mohammedan prayer was said in the Mosque and the solemn opening of the first Muslim temple of the Northern capital was held. That doesn't mean that the construction works had been completed by that time. The finishing works of the interior and exterior decor lasted for 7 years more and the regular public worships were started in 1920. In 1940 Soviet authorities banned services and turned the building into a medical equipment storehouse. In 1956 the Mosque was returned to the Muslim Religious Society.
   Nowadays the recently restored Mosque of Saint Petersburg is one of the largest in Europe - on Muslim holy days about 5,000 worshippers gather there to pray and praise Allah. The Mosque is the only functioning Moslem temple, as well as a leading educational and cultural center of Saint Petersburg.


http://www.saint-petersburg-hotels.com/mosque.htm

Offline Mexjames

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #159 on: February 24, 2008, 08:13:10 PM »
Many thanks for all the above, very interesting!

Offline Cantor Tany

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #160 on: June 09, 2008, 05:12:21 PM »
As a new member I totally enjoy everything on this forum and thank everyone for their wonderful comments.  I am a Jewish Cantor.  My very dear friend is from Moscow and heads the Moscow Jewish Capella Choir.  They have sung all over the world and are reknown for introducing Jewish Music that was confiscated after the revolution by the "government "  All of this music was put into hiding in Moscow, and when Gorbachov became the new head of Russia the music was found and released to my dear friend and now the choir is brining it back to life, and this has started my interest in Russian history and has led speciafcally to Nicholas II.

I guess what does this have to do with anti-semitism.  Naturally the subject is quite imposing on my interest in Nicholas and Alexandra, and especially as a Cantor in the Jewish Faith I am trying to find other things about them that I can handle.  I think you can see my dilema with this, but I have purchased numerous books on this family and come across occasional ani-semetic actions by the czar, but I am looking at the ENTIRE life of these individuals and hoping to come to some resolution in my own mind.  Does this make any sense????

Thanks again for such a wonderful site.

Tany

Offline LisaDavidson

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #161 on: June 09, 2008, 06:01:04 PM »
As a new member I totally enjoy everything on this forum and thank everyone for their wonderful comments.  I am a Jewish Cantor.  My very dear friend is from Moscow and heads the Moscow Jewish Capella Choir.  They have sung all over the world and are reknown for introducing Jewish Music that was confiscated after the revolution by the "government "  All of this music was put into hiding in Moscow, and when Gorbachov became the new head of Russia the music was found and released to my dear friend and now the choir is brining it back to life, and this has started my interest in Russian history and has led speciafcally to Nicholas II.

I guess what does this have to do with anti-semitism.  Naturally the subject is quite imposing on my interest in Nicholas and Alexandra, and especially as a Cantor in the Jewish Faith I am trying to find other things about them that I can handle.  I think you can see my dilema with this, but I have purchased numerous books on this family and come across occasional ani-semetic actions by the czar, but I am looking at the ENTIRE life of these individuals and hoping to come to some resolution in my own mind.  Does this make any sense????

Thanks again for such a wonderful site.

Tany

Dear Cantor Tany:

What you say makes perfect sense. It is difficult for many people to understand how pervasive anti-Semitism was in Europe - and also in Russia - prior to WWII. (And perhaps how pervasive it is becoming once again in countries such as France). 

I think that Nicholas' attitudes changed over time. He was certainly raised to be an anti-Semite. But, I think he was intelligent enough and sensitive enough that I think he must have questioned these views when they did not match his direct experiences with Jewish people, which seemed to be very positive. We do know that his last argument with his brother in law, Alexander Mikhailovich, was over Nicholas' plans to repeal anti-Jewish laws within the Russian Empire, a move Sandro opposed.

Now this alone doesn't mean he didn't continue to be anti-Semitic, but I think it does mean that at a certain point in his life, he became open to the possibility of change. I quite agree with you, by the way, that we need to look at the whole person, good and bad, and not just his attitude about Jewish people, the latter of which I think most of us find unfortunate, if not bigoted.

And, I am pleased so say that some of our most articulate members here, including some of us who help run the Forum, are also Jewish and also struggle with many of the same issues you outline. (Oh, and I hope it is correct to address you as Cantor Tany. If it is not, I hope I will be forgiven my ignorance.)

Lisa

Offline Cantor Tany

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #162 on: June 09, 2008, 06:41:40 PM »
Lisa thank you so very much for your words regarding my posting.  ( I have photographs of Nicholas II which I have purchased over the years and for some reason have been " afraid " to hang them up do to the Romanovs history of anti-semitism.  Note I said Romanovs and not Nicholas (lol)  It is like going into a Jewish home and hanging up a picture of H----r.  It is so very interesting to see that there are indeed a number of Jewish people in this forum.  It definitely makes me feel more comfortable.

Again thank you for your comments, and yes my parents nick named me " TANY " for Nathaniel and I am a Cantor. :)

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #163 on: June 09, 2008, 08:41:42 PM »
Cohan Tany

Welcome to our forum.  I agree with you about the difficulty about accepting the anti Jewish practices of the Imperial Regime yet acknowledging Nicholas II as a good man.  My own Grandfather, born in Warsaw in1884 used to say, in words of "Fiddler" "May G-d bless theTsar and keep him, far away from us."

I quote to you a passage from Spiridovitch, close to Nicholas as chief of the Personal Secret Police to HM the Emperor.  He refers to Prince Metschersky, a second father to Nicholas II, this is about his last audience with Nicholas II before the Prince died:

"You don't know, my friend, how difficult it was to speak to the Emperor…Even thinking about that reception is painful for me...I spoke about the Jewish question. The Emperor listened to me without interrupting me and with great attention.  From time to time, in his kind face, I saw the shadow of displeasure.  I did everything I could to force him to respond to me.  But he kept silent.  Knowing well his intelligence, the fineness of his spirit, I was wounded that he did not want to face the evidence.  When I had finished with the Jewish question, the Emperor thought for several minutes, looked me fixed in the eyes and slowly smiled as if he wanted to soften his response, said to me: 'Excuse me, my old friend, but I am not in agreement with you.  I thank you very much for the advice which you have given me and which has been dictated by your devotion to me, by the love for our Mother Russia, but…you know that it is often that I do not wish to follow your advice.  I must take into consideration many other circumstances which you do not know about, which escape your attention…My responsibility towards Russia is so great that I do not have the right to consider a question of such great importance to the State on just one side alone, although I should find it personally desireable. You do not know all of these circumstances which I do, which I do not have the right to ignore, and which, quite to the contrary, I must take into consideration…"
   

Offline Mexjames

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Re: Nicholas II and Anti-Semitism.
« Reply #164 on: June 12, 2008, 06:25:01 PM »
As a new member I totally enjoy everything on this forum and thank everyone for their wonderful comments.  I am a Jewish Cantor.  My very dear friend is from Moscow and heads the Moscow Jewish Capella Choir.  They have sung all over the world and are reknown for introducing Jewish Music that was confiscated after the revolution by the "government "  All of this music was put into hiding in Moscow, and when Gorbachov became the new head of Russia the music was found and released to my dear friend and now the choir is brining it back to life, and this has started my interest in Russian history and has led speciafcally to Nicholas II.

I guess what does this have to do with anti-semitism.  Naturally the subject is quite imposing on my interest in Nicholas and Alexandra, and especially as a Cantor in the Jewish Faith I am trying to find other things about them that I can handle.  I think you can see my dilema with this, but I have purchased numerous books on this family and come across occasional ani-semetic actions by the czar, but I am looking at the ENTIRE life of these individuals and hoping to come to some resolution in my own mind.  Does this make any sense????

Thanks again for such a wonderful site.

Tany

Dear Cantor Tany:

What you say makes perfect sense. It is difficult for many people to understand how pervasive anti-Semitism was in Europe - and also in Russia - prior to WWII. (And perhaps how pervasive it is becoming once again in countries such as France). 

I think that Nicholas' attitudes changed over time. He was certainly raised to be an anti-Semite. But, I think he was intelligent enough and sensitive enough that I think he must have questioned these views when they did not match his direct experiences with Jewish people, which seemed to be very positive. We do know that his last argument with his brother in law, Alexander Mikhailovich, was over Nicholas' plans to repeal anti-Jewish laws within the Russian Empire, a move Sandro opposed.

Now this alone doesn't mean he didn't continue to be anti-Semitic, but I think it does mean that at a certain point in his life, he became open to the possibility of change. I quite agree with you, by the way, that we need to look at the whole person, good and bad, and not just his attitude about Jewish people, the latter of which I think most of us find unfortunate, if not bigoted.

And, I am pleased so say that some of our most articulate members here, including some of us who help run the Forum, are also Jewish and also struggle with many of the same issues you outline. (Oh, and I hope it is correct to address you as Cantor Tany. If it is not, I hope I will be forgiven my ignorance.)

Lisa

Just out of curiosity, Lisa, what were those positive experiences of the Emperor and the Jews you mention above?  Are any documented, even on an anecdotal basis?

I'm asking this because my grandparents came from there, and they didn't have any good memories of their time in the Empire or the Soviet Union.  I know their parents had a hard time as well.

Also, I don't know if the Emperor might have been forced to change his mind about the Jews, as the famous (at the time) Bayliss affair put some international pressure on the Empire.  That wasn't the first time, I read that the House of Rotschild wouldn't issue Russian bonds unless actions were taken to ease the lives of the Jews in the Empire, mostly by eliminating pogroms.