Browsing All posts tagged under »Russian Empire«

A Jewish-Russian Frontier Man

June 1, 2015

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This is the story of Aharon Ya'akov Dukhan, a Jewish-Russian frontier man whose life spanned the second half of the nineteenth century. In Pale in Comparison, a paper that I am currently developing, I argue that even in as late a period as the one in which Aharon Ya'akov was active, Jews were, in a certain economic sense, countryside people. The rural frontier was an integral part of the ecology that defined the economic and demographic aspects of Jewish lives in the Pale of Settlement. Dukhan embodied the experience of the Jewish frontier, and his path exemplifies several of the empirical regularities that I find in the paper.

Pogroms, Networks, and Migration: The Jewish Migration from the Russian Empire to the United States 1881–1914

November 5, 2014

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The migration of one and a half million Jews from the Russian Empire to the United States during the years 1881–1914 is commonly linked to the occurrence of pogroms, eruptions of anti-Jewish mob violence, that took place mainly in two waves in 1881–1882 and in 1903–1906. Although the common perception that pogroms were a major cause for Jewish migration is now questioned by historians, little quantitative evidence exists to support or refute this view. This paper addresses this question empirically, based on a large newly constructed data sets. The answer is a complex combination of a "yes" and a "no".

Pogrom-Driven Migration: The Case of Kalarash

April 10, 2014

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Were Jewish immigrants from the Pale of Settlement to the United States really driven by pogroms? This is a question with which I deal empirically, using data on migration and on events of anti-Jewish violence. But before zooming out to the large statistical picture, it is important to verify anecdotally that one can find particular cases in which pogrom-driven migration did clearly occur. For this, I chose to dwell into a case study of a single Jewish town–Kalarash–that experienced a rather gruesome pogrom in October [o.s.] 1905. In this rather extreme case, I show here that indeed there was such a thing as pogrom-driven migration. That is, the pogrom was so devastating that the data shows without doubt that many Jews of Kalarash that would not have immigrated otherwise, were driven out by it in search of a safe haven in a new land. This is how it looked.

“Stop Your Cruel Oppression of the Jews”: Reading a Cartoon

January 20, 2014

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When I present my work on the Jewish migration, I like using this cartoon in order to illustrate the traditional thesis that the Jewish migration from the Pale of Settlement was caused by the pogroms. It shows a Jewish town, on that right, that was hit by a pogrom, and a stream of Jewish refugees fleeing it on their way to become immigrants in the United States. The cartoon is interesting in its own right, and I wanted to share my thoughts on how I understand it.

A Letter from a Jewish Surgeon During the Russo-Japanese War

October 5, 2013

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A Russian Correspondent of The Times says that the mother of one of the Jewish surgeons who were sent from Warsaw to the war recently received from her son a letter written in the usual official Russian style and bearing the stamp of the censor. The letter stated that the writer was in good health, that admirable order prevailed among the troops, who were certain of victory and amply supplied with all necessaries, and that there was so little illness that the army surgeons had hardly anything to do. It concluded with the request that his mother send some Hebrew books of which he gave the titles. These read: “Famine and Destitution,” “Consequent Fearful Epidemics,” “Scarcely Any Sanitary Appliances,” Demoralization of the Army Constantly Increasing,” “End of Discipline,” “Wish I were Taken Prisoner.” Evidently the censor did not know Hebrew.

A Mother’s Obituary for Her Fallen Son: The Pogrom of Orsha 1905

December 4, 2012

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For fourteen years I had been a childless Jewess, I prayed God for a son, and he gave him to me in the fifteenth year of my marriage. It was my long-awaited yearned son. God has blessed me, for I had a pure and noble son, full with love for his family and passion for his people. He was only seventeen years old, but he dedicated himself entirely to the service of his brethren.

Who-is-a-Jew Algorithm

November 24, 2012

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I present an algorithm that I developed to identify who was Jewish and who was not from among a population of immigrants who arrived in Ellis Island from the Russian Empire during the pre-WWI Age of Mass Migration. The algorithm has two main steps: Determine how “Jewish” were each first name and last name Determine whether each immigrant was Jewish or not based on his first and last names I explain how this algorithm works and show evidence indicating that this identification process works well.