Hearings in front of the USA Committee on Immigration and Naturalization in the House of Representatives, in the 64th Congress, First Session on H.R. 558 on Thursday, January 20, 1916, concerning Restriction of Immigration into USA. Pages 685-698:

1915 Deportations

Hearings in front of the USA Committee on Immigration and Naturalization in the House of Representatives, in the 64th Congress, First Session on H.R. 558 on Thursday, January 20, 1916, concerning Restriction of Immigration into USA. Pages 685-698:





Modern theory of international law condemns acts of cruelty or reprisals committed by the civil government or the army of a belligerent against noncombatant citizens of an enemy nation. Unfortunately neither side to the present war has lived up to this theoretical standard. But the Government of the Czar has offered the only example known to history of a government using a foreign war as a pretext for acts of wanton cruelty against its own unarmed and defenseless subjects.


The Russian Government has inaugurated a campaign of extermination against the Jewish people. Not content with the traditional pogroms, the Government has resorted to general expulsion of the Jews from entire sections, which does not strike the imagination as much as does a pogrom, attended  y violation of women and other fiendish deeds, but surpasses any and all pogroms in the devastation wrought by it.

Expulsion of the Jews has become an everyday occurrence. What seemed an impossibility, even in the land of the Tsar, quite appropriately named the “land of unlimited possibilities” has now become a reality. The expulsion of the Jews has assumed enormous proportions extending beyond the boundaries of Poland, to Lithuania and the Baltic region. The “Pale of Settlement,” the section assigned to the Jews for habitation, has become the place of wandering for hundreds of thousands of people driven from town to town at the caprice of the authorities. Bureaucrats, who could not organize the war against the foreign enemy, have displayed amazing inventiveness and energy in organizing the war against their own unarmed people. In a few hours, or a few days at least, they depopulate entire cities and provinces, and, with the thoroughness of expert pogrom makers, they are turning into a desert a cultivated region linked by a thousand economic ties with the rest of Russia.

The expulsion of the Jews is intended as an excuse for the defeats suffered by the Russian Army. The soldiers and the masses are made to believe that the Russian defeats are due to the fact that the army has to operate in a section with an enormous Jewish population, which supplies the Germans with information concerning the disposition and movements of the Russian Army, furnishes them with supplies, etc. The expulsion of the Jews is but a method to give this calumny wide circulation.

The facts laid before the American public in the following pages have been com­piled exclusively from Russian newspapers which have passed the scrutiny of the Russian military censor.  A newspaper that would dare to circulate false or exaggerated reports of the acts of the Government at the present time would make itself table to severe punishment.



The headquarters from which the false charges of Jewish treason were issued was the general staff of the commander in chief, Grand Duke Nicholas Nicholayevitch. As early as in November of last year an army order was sent along the Polish front, in which soldiers were told that the Germans had met reliable allies in the Russian Jews who, in addition to furnishing them with supplies, are the best and often unselfish spies, ready to render any service which is likely to injure the Russian cause. It was therefore ordered to search for underground telephones and telegraphs, by means of which the Jews were alleged to communicate with the Germans, to take hostages from the Jewish population, and to execute those hostages “in case of treasonable activity on the part of any one of the local inhabitants.”



The record of persecution was beaten by the last orders concocted in the tent of the commander in chief. The most remarkable of them all is the “manifesto” to the soldiers, which begins with the words, “The cup of patience has been filled to overflowing.” The Jews, says the “manifesto,” render services to the Germans, the army must be on the lookout against them in every way. For this reason a general order has been issued directing the expulsion of all Jews from the zone of military operations.



Expulsion of the Jews, by the Russian military and civil authorities, closely followed the invasion of Russian territory by the German Army. The following description of the expulsion from Poland is given by a correspondent of the Retch, of which Prof. Paul Milukov, the leader of the Constitutional Democratic Party in the Duma, is the editor.

“On January 25 I was in Grodzisko and saw how the signal to leave was given to the Jews by tapping on the window panes from the street. Within a few minutes this anthill poured out into the streets and, shouting and crying, ran for the train. Some carried children, some their old folks, others carried bundles with some household effects. All platforms, all car buffers, finally all roofs were choked with people. It was a sort of living serpent made up of human bodies.”

The picture of wholesale destruction of human beings rises before us in all its horrifying reality even from the censored press reports, of the arrival of the exiles in Warsaw;

“All last night and all of yesterday, through the streets of Warsaw stretched an endless stream of horsecarts packed with old folks, women, and children, shivering with cold and cuddling up to one another. Behind these walked the men folk, almost bent double, for whom there was no room in the carts. All night long the benumbed Jews wandered about the darkened streets of Warsaw, not knowing where to lay their wearied heads to rest, to whom to apply for aid. Ever and anon the silence of the night would be broken by the crying of the almost frozen and hungry infants and the moans of the women.” * * * Only a very insignificant part of the enormous mass of the homeless were lucky enough to secure horsecarts or get on the train. The poorer folk, and in general those living away from the railway line, had to walk. These wanderers had to carry the children, the old, and the sick.” 1

The privations of the exiles grew worse, if worse they could be, when the authorities barred them from Warsaw, since anything like substantial assistance could be given them only in a great city with a large Jewish population. The Jews, expelled to the right bank of the Vistula, were compelled to spend two or three winter days in the open air, having nothing to cover their bodies with because they had been unable to take along anything of their belongings, owing to the suddenness and hurry of their departure.2


The following summary of the expulsion policy in Poland is furnished by a Polish newspaper: “In the region where the Jews constituted over 80 per cent of the total population of the small towns, at present not a single Jew is to be found in those same towns situated within the zone of military operations.”3


With the expulsion of the Jews from the Province of Suwalki, which is the connecting link between Poland and Lithuania, a new feature was put into practice; the expelled Jews were classed as prisoners, they were denied the right to choose a place of residence even within the limits of the pale of settlement,4 and were supplied with “Certificates of passage” to specified districts, like suspicious characters;5 in certain places they were convoyed by guards; in the larger towns situated on their route they were mostly refused admittance, even for the very briefest respite,4 and if, through the oversight of the police, they happened to get in there, they were mercilessly driven farther.

1 Haint, January28, 1915.

2 The Jewish W eek, No. 1, May 24,1915.

3 Ziemia Lubelska, No. Ill, Apr. 23,1915.

4 See Appendix IV.

5 See Appendix, section7




In the latter part of April and early in May, 1915, expulsion of the Jews was ordered on an enormous scale extending over the whole area of the provinces of Grodno, Kovno, and Kurland. The entire “pale of Jewish settlement” was overflowed by the stream of exiles, running into hundreds of thousands.1


The Kowno administration received the following order from military headquarters: ” Pursuant to the order of the commander in chief of the army, each and every Jew residing to the west of the line Kowno-Yanoff-Wilkomir-Rogoff-Ponyevezh-Posvol-Salata-Bausk shall be expelled. The points herein enumerated are likewise included within the territory from which the Jews shall be expelled. With regard to the Jews living within the territory at present occupied by the German forces, the said order shall be carried out immediately after the said territory is cleared of the enemy forces and upon its occupation by our troops. The expelled Jews must proceed to one of the following districts: Bakhmut, Mariupol and Slavyanoserbsk, of the Province of Yekaterinoslav, and Poltava, Gadyach, Zenkoff, Kobeiyaki, Konstantinograd, Lokhvitsa, Lubny, Mirgorod, Romny and Khorol of the Province of Poltava. The time limit for their departure has been set for the 5/18 of this May. After that date, sojourning of the Jews to the west of the said line will be punished in accordance with martial law, and the police officials failing to take effective measures for the enforcement of the said order will be removed from office and indicted. Notice of the foregoing hereby being given for enforcement, you are directed, upon the completion of the general expulsion of Jews beyond the said limit of the territory under your jurisdiction, to report to me by telegraph by 12 midnight of May 5. The progress of the expulsion of the Jews from territory now held by the enemy shall be reported as fast as the same is carried out.”2

two days’ notice to quit.

In accordance with this order, the Jews were expelled from a number of districts of the Province of Kowno, viz: Kowno, Shavli, Ponyevyezh, Vilkomir, etc.3 The expulsion was carried out with cruelty characteristic of the Russian bureaucracy. On Sunday, May 3/16, in the evening, the police gave notice to the Jewish inhabitants of the city of Kowno, that they must all leave the city not later than 12 o’clock at midnight, May 5/18.   Nearly 20,000 Jews were expelled at one swoop.4

threatened with martial law IF too slow in leaving.

On April 30/May 13, 1915, an order was promulgated for the expulsion of all Jews from the Province of Kurland on or before May 4/17, 1915. The Jews who would not leave voluntarily by May 4/17 would be deported with their families under guard, and, moreover, would be liable to prosecution under martial law.6

An unusual exception was made by the authorities of Mitau for a few Jews, viz, Dr. Feitelberg, who held the office of city physician, a few patients, and a butcher.6

The administration keenly watched that none of those who were expelled from Kurland should stay anywhere else in the Baltic region; those among them who had rushed to Riga during the early days were immediately forced to leave.7

business of the community ruined.

The Jews expelled from Mitau (the capital of Kurland) had lived there for many generations, and had grown deeply rooted in the life of the city. It goes without saying that the expulsion of the Jews dealt a powerful blow to the business life of Kurland.7


The administration did all in its power to aggravate the conditions of expulsion. The exiles from Kurland were allowed only from 5 to 24 hours to leave.8 In Riga, the authorities ordered them to quit immediately, threatening that otherwise they would be deported under guard and that hostages would be taken from them. After extraordinary efforts, their time to leave was extended.9

1 See Appendix, I (b), (c), and (d)

  1. Retch, May 10, 1915.

3 Retch, May 6/19

4 Retch, May 9,1915.

5 Retch, May 3,1915.

6 Kieff Thought, May 7/20, 1915

7 Retch, May 6, 1915

8 Jewish Week No. 4 1915

9 Jewish Week No. 3, 1915


exiles driven prom pillar to post.

To cap the misery of the exiles, in a number of localities they were ordered out again. Thus the exiles from the Provinces of Kovno and Kurland, were forbidden to stop off at Vilna.1 Those of them who had already managed to get into Vilna were ordered, by the highest military authority, to be expelled from the city within 10 days. 2 In Warsaw the police gave notice to the exiles that they were not within any category of persons entitled to remain in Warsaw, by virtue of the order of the commander in chief, and that accordingly they must leave the city.3

never to return to their homes.

That the expelled residents of Kovno might cherish no hopes ever to return to their homes, the administration ordered all the Jews to be struck off the registration books as no longer residing within the zone of the Kovno Fortress.4

hostages demanded a condition for return op the exiles.

The Kieff committee of relief to the Jews petitioned the governor of Kovno for leave to the Jewish exiles from the Province of Kovno to return home. The following telegram came in reply to this petition:

“The Jews deported from a part of the Province of Kovno beyond the line Riga-Bausk-Ponyevyezh-Vilkomir-Kovno may reside only beyond that line, to wit: in the Novo-Alexandrovsk district and part of the Vilkomir district, to the east of the above-mentioned line. Return to permanent residence, if within the zone of military operations, is allowed only on condition that acceptable hostages be first furnished.

“(Signed)  Governor Gryaznoff.”

The Jews refused to avail themselves of this peculiar privilege.6

member of the duma barred from his district.

Even Mr. Friedman, member of the Imperial Duma from the Province of Kovno, was not allowed to come to his home in Ponyevyezh to wind up his business.

a people turned into paupers.

In the rush with which the expulsion was carried out—within one or two days, at times only a few hours—no one could she any time to his business. Factories, stores, shops, house furnishings, personal belongings, everything, was left to fate. Deprived of the opportunity to take along with them even the most necessary of their belongings, the exiles suddenly found themselves in the condition of paupers sent out into the world to beg. “On many of them their underwear has been entirely worn out and turned into dirty rags.” 6

exiles packed off in cattle cars—many forced to walk.

The semiservitude in which the Jewish masses are held in Russia has strikingly manifested itself in the manner of deportation of the exiles. They were transported in cattle cars, into which healthy and sick, men, women, and children were packed like sardines. Yet lucky were those who managed to get into a car of this kind, because enormous crowds had to travel on foot.

families broken up—children lost.

With the expulsion of the Jews from the Province of Kovno, the whole “Pale of Settlement” was set amoving. Reading the newspaper reports, one might think that the times of the great migration had returned.

The chronicle of expulsion abounds in dramatic detail. In one train the body of a child was found; a paralyzed woman was discovered; a lunatic, and a 105-year-old woman were taken off a train.

An overwhelming impression is produced by the exceedingly long list of lost relatives which are published in the newspapers.   In the turmoil accompanying the

1 Jewish Week. May 24, 1915.

2 Haint, May 18, 1915.

3 Haint, June 10. 1915.

4 Haint, May 20, 1915.

5 The War and The Jews. Weekly, 1915. No. 11.

6 The Jewish Week, No. 1, 1915.


Expulsion, which was carried out with dazing speed, hundreds of children, women, and old folks were lost. And so now one is looking for his children, another for his wife, another for his sisters, and still another for his parents.1

The number of lost exiles was so large that special information bureaus had to be established by the Vilna and Dvinsk Societies for the relief of the war sufferers,2


The expulsion, the breaking up of families, produced numerous cases of mental derangement among the exiles, which threatened to become epidemic.3


The condition of the exiles became intolerable, owing to the fact that on reaching the left bank of the Dnyepr they were assigned to a limited number of small boroughs, in which thousands upon thousands of people congested, who simply could not find any shelter. In numerous cases the exiles had to camp in the open air.4 As a rule, the Jewish exiles outnumbered the local Jewish population. But the exiles could not be distributed over rural settlements, owing to the regulations forbidding the Jews to settle outside of incorporated cities and towns.


All Russia proper was closed to the exiles by the statutes confining the Jews to a “pale of settlement.” The overcrowding of the pale forced the Government to throw open to the exiles the Province of Voronyezh, outside the “pale of settlement,” and late in August the Jews were permitted to settle beyond the pale.


There is one striking detail in the chronicle of expulsions—the enormous preponderance of women, children, and old people, which at first glance seems incomprehensible, considering that the order of expulsion affects all Jews alike. The explanation, however, is simple: The men in most cases have been taken into the Army, and that at a rate considerably in excess of the ratio of Jews to the whole population of the Empire.

An illustration of this fact may be found in the results of an inquiry made by the Chernigoff committee for the relief of the Jewish population. It has investigated 139 exile families numbering 589 persons, who have come to Chernigoff from the zone of military operations, mostly from the Province of Kowno; 95 members of those families had gone to war. There were some exiled families who had two or three members on the fighting line.   On the average every 10 families had furnished 7 men to the army.5


In some cases Jewish young men subject to conscription were, after deportation returned to their former residences to be drafted into the army.6

Accordingly a Jew who has been deported from the zone of military operations on suspicion of sympathizing with the Germans is given access to that very army which it was intended to protect from a “blow in the back” by him. This hardly tallies with the legend of “Jewish treason,” manufactured by the Government.



The number of Jews deported from the northwestern region on a few days’ notice is colossal.

At a conference of the Petrograd central committee for the relief of Jewish war sufferers last May in which representatives of the most prominent provincial committees participated, the total number of homeless Jews ruined by the expulsion in Poland and the northwestern section was conservatively figured at 600.000.7

1 See Appendix V.

2 The Jewish Week, No 3, 1913

3 See Appendix VI

4 Jewish Week, No 1, 1915

5 Kieff Thought, June 26, 1915.

6 See Appendix VIII

7 Haint, May 21, 1915


This number comprises only those Jews who have not a penny to their names, who are in need of daily assistance of shelter and food, and many of them in need of the means necessary for traveling to the places assigned to them for residence. Tens of millions of roubles are wanted in order to save these masses barely from death through starvation.

the whole Jewish people branded as spies—not permitted to travel on business—nonresidents expelled.

The condition of the Jews who were allowed to remain in the western section was likewise made unbearable. To say nothing of the fact that the Damocles sword of expulsion was hanging over them, paralyzing all their energy, by complete uncertainty of the morrow, the May orders of the commander in chief of the Russian Army, as interpreted and supplemented by the commanders of the northwestern and southwestern fronts, threatened to destroy all productive forces over an enormous area at their very roots.

By these orders, bearing the characteristic title: “Precautionary rules against spy emissaries,” the millions of Jews living in this vast region were all suspected of spying. Communications between towns have been rendered difficult in the extreme. To enter such points as Kovno, Grodno, Brest-Litovsk, Warsaw, Riga, Vilna, Byelostok, Rovno, Zhmerinka, etc., a special permit from proper military authority was required. Such permits were issued upon extremely oppressive terms, for a single passage and for brief periods. Only persons who had resided there prior to July 1/14, 1914. were allowed to stay there; all others had either to procure, from the military authorities, permits for further residence or to leave within 10 days.1

From Bialystok it was reported that orders had been given to expel immediately all clerical employees of mercantile establishments unless they had settled in that city prior to July 1/14, 1914.2 The Birzhevyia Vyedomosti reported the expulsion from Riga of all persons who had settled in that place.   *  *  *

1 I consider it quite intolerable that a whole class of the population should be held under suspicion of espionage.” 3 The convention instructed its council to make representations to the Government that the expulsion of the Jews from the Province of Kovno be stopped.4

No attention was paid by the Government to any of these representations and protests.

czar’s government maliciously spreading false charge of treason  against Jewish people—

the kuzhi myth.

A myth was elaborately worked up concerning the engagement near the borough of Kuzhi. The reverses of the Russian troops at that place were blamed by the military authorities upon the Jews, and a skillfully concocted story was circulated for general consumption. Our Messenger, the organ of the staff of the northwestern army, reported in its issue of May 5/18: “On the night of April 27-28 (May 10-11) an attack was made by the Germans at Kuzhi, a little to the northwest of Shavli, upon a portion of one of our infantry regiments which was resting. This incident revealed the shocking treachery of a certain element of the local population, especially of the Jews, against our forces. Prior to the arrival of our detachments at this borough the Jews had concealed Germans in many of its cellars and set Kuzhi on fire on all sides at a signal given by a shot. Leaping from the basements, the Germans rushed to the house of the commander of our infantry regiment.” etc.

This story, written up in conformity with the accepted rules of the Government’s pogrom communications, winds up with the following moral: “This regrettable incident once more confirms the fundamental requirement of field service; the necessity of guarding all important points which had been held by the enemy and are mostly inhabited by Jews.”

The Kuzhi incident has been extensively exploited by the authorities for Jew-baiting. Thus even in far off Tashkent, where there are scarcely a score of Jews, notices were posted in the streets on May 7/20 announcing that on the 9th/22d of the month memorial services would be held in the local cathedral in memory of those who had fallen at the borough of Kuzhi, “through the treason of the Jewish population.”5

Upon investigation made by Deputy Kerensky, of the Imperial Duma, the whole story proved to be a fabrication.

1 Retch. 137, 1915; Haint, No. 123,1915.

2 Retch, May 6, 1915.

3 Jewish Week, No. 2, 1915.

4 Russ?????,  May 29, 1915.

5 Haint, May 20, June 2, 1915.





The official organs of the Government have industriously circulated obviously false stories of alleged treasonable conduct of the Jews.

Thus in the Government Messenger of May 3/16, 1915, the following dispatch appears from Kielce: “On April 30/May 13, while the Kossacks were successfully shooting up from an ambush an enemy detachment entering the city, they were witnesses of its reception by a Jewish delegation.”

Thus, the Jews were said to have been tendering a reception to the Germans under rifle fire. This self-evident absurdity was transmitted to the foreign press by the Petrograd telegraph agency. The official organ of the war ministry, the Russian Invalid, is especially zealous in accusing the Jews of treason. Here are a few of its outbursts. When nearly a hundred bombs were thrown on *** from German aero planes the official editor, commenting upon this fact, insinuated that the bombardment of a city inhabited by Jews was rather perplexing, since “the German reconnaissance bureau had mostly recruited its agents among them.” 1 Later, when the German forces began to press toward Libau, the Russian Invalid said, editorially: “Among the measures for fighting the Germans in the Baltic region we note the expulsion of the Jews from all Kurland, which is carried out with extraordinary energy. Evidence of their guiding the Germans to Shavli has been secured.” The absurdity of this item is obvious. The Kurland Jews living north of Shavli are alleged to have “guided” the Germans who were pressing toward the town from the southwest. The fabrications of the Russian Invalid about Jewish war prisoners displayed an extraordinary heinous spirit. The Jewish soldiers are said to be enjoying especial privileges in German prison camps. ” The Germans have granted them unlimited power over other Russian prisoners; they are supplied with rubber clubs especially recommended by the German general staff, which they use to beat up their Gentile fellow prisoners who have been found guilty of some transgression. The Jews make extensive use of these plenary powers and even abuse their rights, making sport of the Russian soldiers and instigating the German guards against them, as a result of which torture is frequent.” 2


The calumny of Jewish treason is drummed into the heads of the ignorant masses in a. variety of ways. At the approach of the summer season the commander of the Kronstadt fortress issued an order barring the Jews from summer resorts within the zone of fortifications along the coast of the Gulf of Finland. The governor of Vyborg followed suit and gave orders to bar the Jews from country houses in those portions of the Vyborg Province which are within the Kronstadt and Vyborg fortification zones.3


The military commander of the city of Reval went them one better. He issued an order forbidding entry and residence within the limits of the Reval fortification zone to Russian subjects of Jewish faith returning from German detention camps, where they had been held as prisoners.4


Notwithstanding the fact that more than 300,000 Jews are fighting along with others on the battlefields, the military authorities are deliberately trying to arouse distrust against the Jewish soldiers among their Gentile comrades. Thus, by order No. 1193 of the general staff, under date of April 27-May 10, 1915, the rank and file were instructed “to watch the Jewish soldiers, whether they readily surrendered as prisoners, and their conduct in general.”

1 New Voskhod, Apr. 24-May 7, 1915.

2 Haint, June 10, 1915.  Russian Invalid, No. 124, 1915.

3 New Voskhod. 1915. No. 11-12. 14.

4 Retch, June 16/19, 1915.



The treatment accorded by the Government to Jewish soldiers wounded in battle is illustrated by the following examples:

Early in October, 1914, at a meeting of the Zemstvo Union, in Moscow, a communication was read from one provincial committee to the effect that a wounded Jewish soldier, relieved from further service because of the amputation of his right arm, was about to be expelled to the “pale of Jewish settlement” in western Poland, which was then held by the enemy.1

In January, 1915, the minister of the interior made it known that even those Jews who had been in active service in the field during the present war could obtain relief from the laws restricting the residence of Jews only by a special order of the ministry of the interior, in each individual case, upon the petition of the person concerned.2

About the same time the following incident occurred: In an engagement with the Germans, Private Rozhkoff, a Jew, lost his left eye. The physicians sent him to Kharkoff to have an artificial eye put in. Upon his arrival at Kharkoff, his passport was stamped “To leave immediately.”3

In May, 1915, deeming it wise under pressure of public opinion, the minister of the interior, somewhat to relax the rigor of the law toward crippled Jewish soldiers, issued the following order: “Jewish privates who, upon leaving the hospitals, will be admitted for special treatment, to be provided with artificial limbs, to the house of refuge organized by the society for the protection of the health of the Jewish inhabitants, are permitted by the minister of the interior to stay in the capital for a period not to exceed two months, provided that the said persons will be admitted to the said house of refuge upon certificates from physicians in charge of the municipal or military hospitals showing that they are in need of further treatment.” 4


The Government is neatly aided by the reactionary press in the circulation of stories of Jewish treachery. Here are a few samples. The Novoye Vremya assured its readers in the mast serious manner that in Russian Poland the Jews transported “hundreds of poods5 of gold into Germany in coffins. In a letter dated from Warsaw, the story in a certain Polish borough (its name was cautiously withheld) a coffin was opened at a Jewish funeral procession, and. instead of the corpse, there was found in it one and a half million in gold destined for the Germans.

A similar story was told in the Lithuanian anti-Semitic paper. Litvucs Zenlos. No. 182. The Jews were alleged to have dug an underground tunnel from Shavli, through which they drove cattle and poultry into Germany. As the transportation facilities of the tunnel seemed to have been inadequate, a German Zeppelin was said to have descended from time to time at Shavli. where it collected cattle and geese from the subservient Jews and carried this cargo to Prussia.


Not only do the subsidized “Black Hundred” papers clamor about “treason,” but they plainly call for pogroms: “See who is thy enemy. For Jews there is no excuse and there must be none. From century to century this tribe, accursed of God, has been hated and scorned: the blood of Russia’s sons betrayed by it will long still cry for vengeance.”6


It is worthy of note that the Government, notwithstanding its influence upon the courts, has failed to make out a single case in support of the legend of Jewish treason. Even the courts-martial, notorious by their severity during the punitive expeditions following the Revolution of 1905, have not succeeded in finding even a semblance of proof of Jewish complicity in military espionage. All attempts of this kind have ended in a fiasco.   On March 9-10/22-23, 1915, before the court-martial in Warsaw,

1 Retch, Oct 8/21, 1914

2 New Voskhod, No 5, 1915.

3 Razsvyet No. 5, 1915

4 Razsvyet No. 21, 1915

5 A pood is over 36 pounds avoirdupois

6 Volga, May 8/21, 1915



seven Jews from the boroughs of Groicy and Nowe-Miasto were tried upon the charge of high treason. The charges were found to be so utterly absurd and were so completely refuted by the testimony of the witnesses that upon the motion of the military prosecutor the court dismissed the case against all the defendants.1


The way in which cases against Jewish “spies” are manufactured was revealed in Lomza on the trial of officers Chusranyk, Doroshenko, and Mickiewicz, of the reconnaissance detachment, upon the charge of extortion. The evidence against them showed that they had planted a telephone with a Jewish proprietor of a moving-picture show, Eisenbiegel, arrested him on the charge of “maintaining communication with the enemy,” and demanded 5,000 rubles of him to set him free. On their trial the fact was brought out that 17 Jews had been hanged upon similar charges, trumped up by Chupranyk. The court sentenced two of the prisoners to six years’ imprisonment, while the third one, who turned state’s evidence, and disclosed a long series of facts of similar kinds, was allowed to go free. Thus the order to search for telephones had encouraged blackmail and led to the destruction of many innocent Jews.


Since the beginning of the war there have been convicted of military espionage Col. Myasoyedoff Baron Grotgus, and Fernat, all high officials of the imperial police department. “Treason,” said a member of the Duma Kerensky, in a letter to the president of the Duma, “has made its nest in the ministry of the interior.”

The reactionary press made an unsuccessful attempt to fasten the blame for Myasoyedoff on the Jews, claiming, as usual, that he himself was a Jew, that his real name was Goldstein, or that he was married to a Jewess, or that his grandmother had been a Jewess, etc. In this way the staging is being prepared for an “outburst of popular wrath,” which is to bring death and ruin to the masses of the Jewish people.


  1. The following telegram from Vilna, under the date of May 29, 1915, appears in the Russkoye Slovo, No. 1231: “A party of Jews, subject to conscription, and lately deported from Vilkomir, have passed through Poltava on their way back to Vilkomir. They all have been furnished with temporary certificates for admittance to the cities of the province of Kowno.”
  3. The petty persecution of the Jews is manifested in the following characteristic fact: ” Itsek Levit, 59 years of age, keeper of a bakery shop at No. 85 Sadovaya Street, Petrograd, has been deported to the Province of Yeniserisk (in Siberia) for the period of duration of martial law, for talking in the German language over the telephone.” 2 Two days later in the same Petrograd, for similar offenses the following penalties were imposed upon gentiles: For speaking German over the telephone one, Prashitsky, was placed under arrest for three weeks, the penalty being commuted to a money fine; another, Maryanum, for spreading false rumors and talking in the German language over the telephone, was placed under arrest for one month.3

The mere juxtaposition of these facts clearly shows the discrimination against the Jews. Moreover, it is hardly open to doubt that Levit spoke in Yiddish and not in German. After the declaration of war, however, the officials suddenly began to confuse the Yiddish language with the German. The Jews are forbidden to use their native tongue even in private life, as shown by the following fact: ” By order of the Petrograd chief of police, dated June 24, Shlyoma Sklovsky, Dveyra Sklovskaya,       Nakham Ravich, and Yosif Elyasheff have been sentenced each to a fine of 100 rubles or to arrest for one month for talking in the Yiddish jargon.” 4


1 New Voskhod, No 14, 1915.

2 Retch, June 17, 1915

3 Retch, June 19, 1915

4 Den, June 25, 1915


  2. The native gentile Russian business men are opposed to militant anti-Semitism of the Government. Its economic interests require, if not complete civic equality of the Jews, at least the repeal of the most outrageous disqualifications imposed upon them, such as the “pale of settlement,” and the percentage restriction of the number of Jewish students admitted to educational institutions (technical in particular). They consider it absolutely necessary for the economic development of the country to grant the Jews freedom of choosing their residence. They have repeatedly given expression to their sentiments during the war at their conventions, viz., at the convention of representatives of finance, commerce, and agriculture, held in April, at the convention of the representatives of gold mining in February, and through their permanent organizations, such as the National Board of Trade and Industry and governing committees of the exchanges in many cities.

Especially characteristic in this respect is the inquiry addressed by the Moscow Merchants’ Association to country members, dealers, manufacturers, etc., on the subject of the best means of combating “German economic domination.” The replies nave been published as a special report, from which the following is quoted:

“All of the replies favor the abolition of the ‘pale of settlement.’ This measure is considered * * * primarily as one of the means for combating German influence in our industry. The hope is expressed that the abolition of the pale of settlement’ will encourage the activity of the middlemen and introduce them to the great masses of the consumers.” 1


  1. a few newspaper reports op the expulsion of the jews.

(a) Poland.

  1. During the two days of February 7-8, 1915, 20,000 Jews arrived in Warsaw.2
  2. As early as January, 1915, 1,000 Jews came to Kielce and 1,500 Jews to Radom from small towns around.3
  3. In March, 1915, the whole Jewish population, without distinction of age, position, or wealth, was expelled from certain district of the Provinces of Radom and Kielce,4 near the zone of military operations
  4. Early in May, 15.000 Jews were deported from the Provinces of Kielce and Radom to the Province of Lublin.5
  5. In Lomzha there gathered nigh onto 900 exile families. For the most part these are from Yedvabno, who were driven to Lomzha after their expulsion; then again residents of Novgorod and Piontica, a suburb of Lomzha, whence the inhabitants were also expelled.6
  6. The exiles from Rozhany, Province of Lomzha, 150 families in number, were wallowing in the field in the vicinity of Ostroff, entrance to which was forbidden to them by the police.7
  7. The New Voskhod of April 17, 1915, reports that the expulsion of Jews from many places in the Province of Suwalki has begun; the next issue of the same paper (April 24) brings detailed data.

In the borough of Merech Province of Grodno. 350 families suddenly arrived last week from the boroughs of the Province of Suwalki. This throng, about 2,000 persons in all are supplied with “certificates of passage,” for proceeding into Provinces situated in the Dniepr Basin.

The borough of Yezno. Province of Vilna. is overcrowded with Jews expelled in April from the Province of Suwalki. boroughs of Seree. Simno. Balwerzizki, Preny, and others. The inhabitants of the borough of Yezno themselves “are full of apprehension for their own fate as well.

Exiles from the Provinces of Suwalki have begun to come to Vilna. All their property has been left by them to fate. They were compelled to leave their homes in the course of a few hours. The first party of 45 persons came from Silen with “passage certificates “for Nadezhdinoand Kaminka in the Province of Yekaterinoslav.

1 The Jewish Week, No 5, 1915

2 Haint, Feb 8, 1915

3 Haint, No’s 23 and 24, 1915.

4 Diennik Polski, No 95, 1915

5 Retch, No 127, 1915

6 The Jewish Week, No 2, 1915

7 The Jewish Week, No 1, 1915


Some of these exiles left property worth tens of thousands of roubles at home. The second party from Kozlova-Kuda  came under guard.

  1. The Razsvyet of May 10,2 1915, supplements this picture with new details: “For several weeks now nearly 3,000 exiles from the Province of Suwalki have been in Morech. There is no way to forward them further, owing to the impossibility of obtaining trains. One can imagine in what congestion, under what incredible conditions these 3,000 persons are living in this small borough, without any facilities to shelter so large a number of people.

” In Balwerziszki the Jews, prior to their expulsion, had suffered abuse and humiliation to which even Jews, and even in these times, have not been used.” Four hundred families were forced to leave Preny.

  1. “On April 14, 1915, a train with 500 exiles passed from Grodno to Vitenbsk. All of them are exiles from the Province of Suwalki, from Lipsk, Kopciowo, Sopockin, Dolynka. Krasnopol, Syen, and others.”1
  2. “The trains with exiles from the Province of Suwalki have moved on with large parties for Vitenbsk (500 people), Mohileff (400), Kremenchug (365), Ooman (200).  8
  3. According to a telegram to the Utro Rossii of June 9, 1915, “special cars have been assigned for the transportation of 20,000 women, expelled from Warsaw, as having no definite occupation.”

(6) Province of Grodno.

  1. As early as in the month of March steps were being taken to expel the Jews from the Province of Grodno. The Razsvyet of March 29, 1915, reported that “in the last few days over 800 families had received official notice ordering them to depart immediately. They succeeded in having their departure postponed until after Passover. “

In Zhitomir a telegram to the following effect was received from the Kieff Jewish aid committee: “The departure of 5,000 women, children, and old folk from Grodno is imminent. Many working women from Shereshefski’s tobacco factory are among them.” 3

  1. “The first party of exiles, 300 in all, from among those expelled from Grodno, is due in Berdicheff during the next few days.” 4
  2. The entire Jewish population is expelled from Druskeniki.5
  3. By order of the military authorities, the Jewish inhabitants of Knyshin, Goniondz, and vicinity of the Byelostok district of the Province of Grodno, 6,000 persons in number, were ordered to leave within three days, beginning May 4. Subsequently the date of their departure was extended to May 13.6
  4. The Kiev Oskaya Mysl of May 28, 1915, reports: “Yesterday a party of 600 Jews, deported from Grodno for the time of the war, came to Kieff. The party is made up of women, children, and a small number of old people. The Jews are bound for Yelisavetgrad and Yekaterinoslav.”
  5. “Homel: 214 exiles have arrived from the Province of Grodno.”7

(c) Kurland and Kowno.

  1. Owing to the expulsion of the Jewish population from the Province of Kurland there is a great influx of Jews in Riga, who are on their way to the places assigned to them for temporary residence. They come by railway, on steamboats, in vehicles, and on foot.8
  2. One thousand Jewish exiles arrived in Orsha from Kurland. Of these 150 were domiciled in the neighboring little towns, the others in Homel.9
  3. Eight hundred Jews were deported from Kurland to Mohilef .5
  4. From Mitau the news comes that 8,000 Jews arrived simultaneously in Ryezhitsa. Province of Vitebsk.5
  5. On May 18, 1915, there were in Riga 9,600 families of exiles, or nearly 42,000 persons, of whom the majority had come from seven districts of the Province of Kurland, and 15,000 persons from the Telshi, Shavli, and Ponyevyezh districts of the Kovno Province.10
  6. On May 22 a party of 150 exiles from the Province of Kovno came to Byelaya Tserkov.11

1 Razsvyet. No 18, 1915.

2 Razsvyet, 1915, No. 19.

3 New Voskhod, Apr. 10, 1915

4 New Voskhod, Apr. 24, 1915

5 Razsvyet, May 10, 1915.

6 Retch, 1915. No. 127.

7 Haint, June 5, 1915

8 Retch, May 3,1915.

9 Haint, May 20 1915.

10 Jewish Week, No. 4,1915.

11 Kievskaya Mysl, No. 145, 1915.



  1. “Out of the 3,000 exiles from Kovno who had poured into Simferopol, there had been sent to Melitopol 650 persons: To Oryekhoff, 400; to Bolshoy Tokmak, 500; to Berdyansk, 600; to Chernigovka, 100; to Mikhaylovka, 150; to Nogaysk, 150; and to Genichesk,400. In Smorgon, 1,200 exiles from the provinces of Kowno and Kurland have gathered; 107 exiles have arrived in Vilna from Boguslavichi; 350 exiles came also to Vilna from the boroughs of Gelovan, Seym, Ozere, and others. They are being deported to other towns.”1
  2. The expulsion from Kurland overlapped the boundaries of that province; simultaneously with the order of April 30 an order was issued to expel the Jews from the zone of the Ustodvinsk fortress, which includes also the outlying districts of Riga.2
  3. By order of the Riga military authorities steps were taken to expel again the Jewish exiles who sought refuge along the seashore.3


  1. After the expulsion from the Kurland and Kowno Provinces nearly 200,000
    assembled in the Vilna Province alone.4


  1. The following telegram appeared in the Russkoye Slovo: “To-day, trains are passing filled with Jews expelled from the Kowno region. Altogether 8,000 Jews have passed by to-day.”

Vitebsk, May 8: “During the last three days over 20,000 Jews expelled from Kurland, Kowno, and Ponyevyezh have passed through Vitebsk.”

  1. The Razsvyet, of May 24, 1915, reports:

“Mariupol.   Several thousand Jewish exiles have arrived here.”

‘Poltava.   Five hundred Jews, principally from the Province of Kowno, have arrived.  They have been lodged in the barracks.   Later 1,400 more have arrived.”

  1. The Jewish Week, No. 3, 1915, gives the following chronicle:

“In Berdyansk, during the last days of May, 920 exiles arrived from the Province of Kowno. The majority of them are old people and children. Some are quite feeble, unable to move without assistance. Many have lost their parents and children on the way. As for property, that goes without saying. The need of medical aid, and chiefly financial aid, is enormous.   Clothing and underwear are a necessity,

“In Yelisavetgrad, 1,000 exiles have arrived from the Provinces of Grodno and Kowno.

“Romny.   Two hundred Kowno exiles have arrived.

“Toward the end of May 226 exiles arrived in Berdieheff

“Six hundred and five exiles from the Provinces of Plotsk and Lomzha arrived in Kharkoff from Kieff on May 25 and 26.

“Over 100 horse carts with exiles from Shirvinty, Gelvany, and Boguslavishki, principally women, children, and old people, came to Vilna on May 23.

“Bobruysk,   A party of exiles. 200 in number, passed through Kieff.”

  1. “On June 3 horse carts with exiles from Zhosla and Meyshagola arrived in Vilna. From Grodno, 1,200 exiles passed through Vilna en route to the Provinces of Chernigoff and Poltava” 5
  2. “On June 8, 20 conveyances with exiles, principally women, children and old folk, came to Vilna from Shirvinty.   Exiles also came from Yanoff and Shaty” 6
  3. The Retch of June 9, 1915, has the following report:

“In the latter part of May a noisy wave of exiles came with a rush. Several thousand people passed daily through Vilna. When the force had subsided, there were found nearly 8,000 stranded on the Vilna shoals -in asylums, houses of refuge—and over 2,000 people in private quarters”

  1. The same correspondence states that in the small borough of Shirvinty, Province of Vilna, there have gathered nearly 3,000 exiles.
  2. “Trains with exiles have been dispatched to Orsha, Mglin, Kremenchug, Bolotsk, Khorol, Konstantinograd, Mirgorod. In Kishineff a telegram was received on May 10 from the Petrograd Jewish community that no fewer than 400 exiles from the Provinces of Kowno, Kurland, Lomzha, and Grodno were due there.” 7


1 The Jewish Week, No 2. May 31, 1915.

2 Razsvyet, No 19, 1915

3 Jewish Week, No 6. June 28, 1915.

4 The Jewish Week, No. 2, 1915

5 The Jewish Week, No. 4, 1915

6 The Jewish Week, No. 5, 1915

7 The Jewish Week, No. 1, 1915


  2. A telling list of telegrams sent by the Riga Jewish Aid Committee to the Moscow Committee appeared in the Jewish Week, No. 3, 1915:
  3. On May 24, at 9 p. m., a train with exiles was dispatched: To Romny, 225 persons; to the city of Syeversk 125; to Novozybkovo, 52. Itinerary: Vitebsk-Zhlobin-Homel.
  4. On May 25, 53 exiles were dispatched to Lokhvitsa, 70 to Sosnitsa, and 80 to Romny.   Itinerary: Vitebsk-Zhlobin-Homel.
  5. Beginning with to-day we are compelled to forward from Riga daily, Fridays and Saturdays not excepted, 1,000 Kurland and Kowno exiles. Postponement has been absolutely denied. On the evening of May 26 a train of exiles was dispatched to Borzna, 200 persons; to Piryatin, 200: to Zolotonosha, 200: to Sosnitsa, 200.
  6. To-day, May 25, we have dispatched trains of exiles to Zolotonosha, Piryatin, Borgdn, Mirogod, Kremenchug, 200 each.
  7. On May 29, a train with 1,000 exiles was dispatched to Priluki, Piryatin, and Pereyaslav.
  8. On May 30, a train with 1,100 exiles was dispatched to Melitopol.
  9. On May 31 there have been dispatched 800 exiles to Kremenchug, 400 to Krolyevets, 70 to Konotop.
  10. On June 1, 1,000 exiles were sent to Berdyansk,


(a) On the condition of exiles from Poland.

  1. An awful picture of the condition of the exiles in Poland is drawn in the reports submitted to the Moscow Jewish Relief Society for War Victims by its delegates, who had made a tour through Poland. This is, e. g., what one of these representatives writes regarding the condition of the Jewish population of the Province of Lomzha:

“It can not be said that it has been ruined, because that word does not make clear the true reality, does not reveal the true scope of this terrible event. In cases of ruin something is preserved at all events, some however wretched remnants, in the extreme case at least the ruined place, at least the old site in ashes. But here the people have been cast out onto a desert road, as if after a shipwreck or an earthquake. Thou­sands of families, tens of thousands of persons, naked and barefoot in the literal sense, with children in their arms, old and young, looking for shelter and bread, are roaming among the hamlets. The disaster has not spared anybody, has made all equal, and erstwhile wealthy men apply to you for a few pounds of potatoes.” 1

(b) Expulsion from the Province of Grodno.

  1. The delegate of the Moscow Jewish committee reports from Byelostok, under date of May 30:

“On the 23d instant a train with 650 persons was dispatched to Yelisavetgrad; to-day other trains are to be sent to Berdicheff, Rovno, and Vinnitsa. Expulsion from a part of the Sokolka district of the Province of Grodno has been announced. From Kuznitsa 120 families are to be expelled; from Novy Dvor, 110 families: i. e.. nearly 1,000 persons.   The date set is June 3 at the latest.” 2

  2. The territory where the exiles were permitted to seek refuge was restricted by the administration. At first the Dnieper region was designated for them. Then came an order from headquarters forbidding settlement on the right bank of the Dnieper.3

The sections where the exiles were permitted to settle soon became overcrowded. The local authorities, on the other hand, in many places denied admittance to the exiles.4

Thus the Kieff military district3 and the Province of Yekaterinoslav5 were closed to the exiles.


1 The Jewish Week, No2. 1915.

2 Jewish Week, No. 3, June 7, 1915.

3 Jewish Week No. 3. 1915.

4 Minutes of the serial meeting of the Jewish relief committee for war sufferers, held un May 21, 1915 Jewish Week. No. 3, 1915

5 Haint No 142, 1915


  1. lists of persons lost by their families appeared daily in the newspapers.
  2. The following notice, which appeared in the Kievskaya Mysl of May 28, 1915, is quoted as a specimen:

”Forwarding herewith the inclosed list of relatives sought by the Jewish exiles who have arrived in Bakhmut from Kowno and vicinity, we respectfully request you to publish it in the next issue of your esteemed paper. (A long list of names follows.) Signed Committee of the Bakhmut Branch of the Society for the Relief of the Jewish Inhabitants Suffering from the Military Operations.”

  1. insanity among exiles.
  2. On May 27,1915, there were brought to the Jewish Hospital of Vilna 8 mentally deranged from among the exiles of the Province of Vilna. In the course of three weeks 28 mentally deranged—26 women and 2 men—were registered among the exiles.1

vii. suffering of the HOMELESS exiles.

  1. According to the report to the Jewish Week from Kiev, Jewish exiles who arrived there on May 19 from Kowno were living together with the women and children in freight cars at the railway station, awaiting to be forwarded to Berdicheff and Byelava Tserkof.2
  2. “There are at this moment in this city (Vitebsk) over 3,000 exiles, most of them women, children, and old people, incapable of work. The exiles are sheltered in the synagogue building, without light, in congestion and overcrowding. Many sleep on the floors.” 3
  3. A report from Berdyansk states that several hundred exiles from the Province of Kowno have been housed in barns.3


1 Jewish Week, No. 3.1913.  Vilna Courier, May 29.1915.

2 The Jewish Week No. 2.1915.

3 The Jewish Week, No. 3, 1915.


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