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Kišinev or Linkuva?

Rumors and threats against Jews in Lithuania in 1903

Klaus Richter

 

Technische Universität Berlin, Centre for Research on Anti-Semitism, E-mail: klaus.richter@tu-berlin.de

 

Abstract:

Over Easter 1903, a large-scale anti-Jewish riot in Kišinev, capital of the Russian governorate of Bessarabia, left dozens of Jews dead and hundreds injured, thus leading to a massive wave of emigration. A product of social discontent and anti-Semitic agitation, the riots of Kišinev became notoriously famous as the onset of a wave of pogroms of hitherto unprecedented brutality, which only subsided after the end of the Russian Revolution of 1905/06. This article analyzes the incidents by emphasizing cultural transfers between Kišinyov and Lithuania, using the histoire croisée approach in order to provide for the different ethnic, social and political backgrounds and motivations of the actors. It also compares the disturbances in the rural north of Lithuania and in the Bessarabian industrial city of Kišinev in order to contextualize anti-Jewish violence in Lithuania on the larger scale of the Russian pogroms. When Lithuanian Jews were sometimes threatened to be killed “as in Kišinyov” and at other times to be treated “as in Linkuva”, the significance of analyzing cultural transfer while keeping the regional context in mind becomes apparent.

 

Rezumat:

În perioada Pastelui anului 1903, o revolta antievreiasca la scara larga izbucnita la Chisinau, capitala guberniei rusesti Basarabia, lasa în urma sa zeci de evrei morti si sute de raniti, ceea ce a condus la un val masiv de emigrare. Rezultat al nemultumirilor sociale si al agitatiilor antisemite, revolta de la Chisinau a devenit foarte cunoscuta ca marcând debutul unui val de pogromuri, de o brutalitate fara precedent pâna în acel moment, care s-a diminuat abia dupa încheierea Revolutiei Ruse din 1905-1906. Articolul de fata abordeaza incidentele prin studierea transferurilor culturale dintre Chisinau si Lituania, utilizând metodele histoire croisée în scopul de a oferi explicatii pentru diferentele ce apar în ceea ce priveste mediile etnice, sociale si politice si motivatiile actorilor. Acesta compara, de asemenea, tulburarile din partea rurala de nord a Lituaniei si din orasul industrial basarabean Chisinau, în scopul de a contextualiza violenta anti-evreiasca din Lituania la scara mai larga a pogromurilor rusesti. Atunci când evreii lituanieni au fost, uneori, amenintati ca vor fi ucisi „ca la Chisinau” si în alte momente ca vor tratati „ca în Linkuva”, semnificatia analizei transferurilor culturale, pastrând în acelasi timp în minte contextul regional, devine evidenta.

 

Keywords: rumors, anti-Semitism, pogroms, mass-media, Linkuva, Kišinev


 08.Richter.pdf

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