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A century ago

A century ago, in 1903, the world Jews and not only Jews, normally thinking mankind, was shocked with the Kishinev events - great massacre in Kishinev, great bloodshed, great troubles. This caused different response, but a majority of people shared the indignation of the mankind leading part.
It should be stressed what was happening in the then Georgia. The Georgians community, press unanimously supported Jews. This fact once more witnesses traditional relations between Georgians and Jews. We would like to cite here the material published in 1903 in the "Iveria ". The material has been collected by Maka Jaoshvili from the newspaper "Jews of Georgia” .

"Iveria", N84, April 18, 1903

On March 6 and 7 the local Jews in Kishinev were attacked by the workers, who had destroyed their shops, inns and houses. The police and the army were called but they failed to stop the people, who continued breaking glass in the windows of Jews' houses, taking away their property all over the city. Next day the disorders became more intensive, at some places even turning into clashes. The people used sticks, stones, iron bars and fired revolvers. 25 persons were killed, about 64 were badly wounded and 200 were wounded lighter. On the order of the Interior Minister the security measures were reinforced in Kishinev and Kishinev "uezd" (region).

Odessa railway station represented an unusual picture on April 8 morning. Jews gathered in crowds waiting for the train. The trains of southwest railway brought numerous Jews from Kishinev and its neighbouring stations. They were forced to come. Some of them managed to bring some things with them, all of them seemed pale and troubled. The local Jews met the newly arrived and were familiarized by them about unfortunate attacks. All the small hotels in Odessa were overcrowded with the refugees from Kishinev, who were forced to abandon their houses, property, flats and to escape to Odessa.

During the Kishinev disorders against Jews there were many injured. The crowds broke the Jews' shops, houses, the windows of gubernia (region) governance printing house, of military sakrebulo (council), club and "Bessarabez" printing house.

Poor Jews were damaged most of all. There were many people left homeless, without dwellings, 30 were killed, some Christians being among them. Those wounded were 62 in number.

"Iveria", N88, April 23, 1903

The newspapers of the royal capital published details of the Kishinev attacks on Jews. They released this specified information after the "Novoe Vremia", "Svet" and "Bessarabez" published articles on the local Jews. The city residents started expressing hostile attitude towards Jews. One could hear among the people every day the following words: "Soon Jews should be beaten". A majority of the population are Moldavs, peaceful people, so no one took these words into consideration. Easter day came, people gathered at the city square to celebrate and were entertaining themselves. A few persons, Jews were also among them, were watching the Christian holiday. In the afternoon the people got somehow agitated. Jews left the crowd and ran to their dwellings. Little boys ran after them, throwing stones and ciying: "beat these unbelievers." The agitated people were encouraged by these cries and they scattered about the streets. A majority of them ran to the new market. Terrible "Hurrah" was heard, drunk people started breaking windows, doors in the Jews houses. Brutal cries of the enraged crowd were intermixed with the horrible screams of Jewish women and children who were mercilessly beaten. In half an hour, a furious crowd gathered at the railway station beating any Jews they managed to catch. They struck them brutally until the poor Jews lost consciousness. The crowd broke the huts of poor people, tore to small pieces their property throwing away into the street. In the afternoon, at 3 o'clock hurrah, whistles were heard in the centre of the town. Peace befell at night and people thought the terrible events were all finished. But when it dawned lots of people gathered at the market and in the streets. The crowd was now armed with carts, axes and iron bars, crashing the shops owned by rich, damaged the goods and threw them out into the streets. They got hold of clothes, hats and shoes. The police failed to do anything with the agitated crowd. In the afternoon rumours spread: there were many Jews killed in diffent districts of the city. The Jews' sanctuaries -synagogues - could not have escaped the enraged people, who broke into them raiding everything.

By the evening the people somehow calmed down. The police and army detained the criminals taking away from them the goods they snatched. The city was terrible to look at, the streets being full on the fragments of furniture, chairs, tables, dishes, the streets were full of feathers from cushions and rags of the bed clothes. The people were hungry, the food products got more expensive. The local Red Cross office started operating.

"Iveria", N89, April 25, 1903

"The newspaper "Ruskie Vedomosti" correspondent informs the newspaper from Kishinev: I saw 19 dead Jews at the cemetery covered with black-white striped shrouds. The cemetery guard opened the shroud from the corpses and I saw dead bodies of a woman, a baby of a year and a half, a young man of 17-18, an old man, etc. all of them had poor clothes on. A face of one corpse was covered with blood, an old man had a black cavity instead of a nose and forehead. They were heavily beaten as if they were stones and not human beings. Jews were reportedly thrown out from the second floor, some Jewish women were said to be raped. One could see Jews gathered in the street. I saw two little girls wrapped in shawls walking in the street, frightened. One of them walked with her father, kissing her hand and trembling with fear. What emotions she could have in her heart towards her enemies, what feelings Jews could have towards their robbers, to the citizens having Jews' blood on their hands, to the state order which failed to avoid these brutal attacks off this unhappy people?!

Special strict measures were declared in Kishinev and Kishinev "uezd", "Kvali", Sunday, April 20, 1903.


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