pogrom n : organized persecution of an ethnic group (especially Jews)
EtymologyFrom Russian погром.
Pogrom (from ; from громить, "to wreak havoc, to demolish violently") is a form of riot directed against a particular group, whether ethnic, religious or other, and characterized by destruction of their homes, businesses and religious centres. Historically, the term as used in English has very often been used to denote extensive violence against Jews — either spontaneous or premeditated — but it has also been applied to similar incidents against other, mostly minority, groups. Pogroms are usually accompanied by physical violence against the targeted people and even murder or massacre.
Pogroms against Jews
Before the 19th centuryThere were antisemitic riots in Alexandria under Roman rule in AD 38 during the reign of Caligula.
Evidence of communal violence against Jews and Christians, who were seen as a Jewish sect, exists dating from the second century CE in Rome. These riots were generally precipitated by the Romans because Jews refused to accept Roman rule over Palestine and early Christians were seen as a Jewish sect that proselytized actively. It should be noted that Romans were generally quite tolerant of other religions.
Massive violent attacks against Jews date back at least to the Crusades such as the Pogrom of 1096 in France and Germany (the first to be officially recorded), as well as the massacres of Jews at London and York in 1189–1190.
The eleventh century saw Muslim pogroms against Jews in Spain; those occurred in Cordoba in 1011 and in Granada in 1066. In the 1066 Granada massacre, a Muslim mob crucified the Jewish vizier Joseph ibn Naghrela and massacred about 4,000 Jews.
In 1348, because of the hysteria surrounding the Black Plague, Jews were massacred in Chillon, Basle, Stuttgart, Ulm, Speyer, Dresden, Strasbourg, and Mainz. A large number of the surviving Jews fled to Poland, which was very welcoming to Jews at the time.
In 1543, Martin Luther wrote On the Jews and Their Lies, a treatise in which he advocated harsh persecution of the Jewish people, up to what is called now pogroms. He argued that their synagogues and schools be set on fire, their prayer books destroyed, rabbis forbidden to preach, homes razed, and property and money confiscated.
Jews and Roman Catholics were also massacred during the Khmelnytsky Uprising of Ukrainian Cossacks in 1648–1654, as well as in the following century during the Koliyivshchyna.
Russian EmpireThe term pogrom as a reference to large-scale, targeted, and repeated antisemitic rioting saw its first use in the 19th century.
The first pogrom is often considered to be the 1821 anti-Jewish riots in Odessa (modern Ukraine) after the death of the Greek Orthodox patriarch in Istanbul, in which 14 Jews were killed. Other sources, such as the Jewish Encyclopedia, indicate that the first pogrom was the 1859 riots in Odessa.
The term "pogrom" became commonly used in English after a large-scale wave of anti-Jewish riots swept through south-western Imperial Russia in 1881–1884.
The trigger for these pogroms was the assassination of Tsar Alexander II, for which some blamed "the Jews." The extent to which the Russian press was responsible for encouraging perceptions of the assassination as a Jewish act has been disputed. Local economic conditions are thought to have contributed significantly to the rioting, especially with regard to the participation of the business competitors of local Jews and the participation of railroad workers, and it has been argued that this was actually more important than rumours of Jewish responsibility for the death of the Tsar. These rumours, however, were clearly of some importance, if only as a trigger, and they had a small kernel of truth: one of the close associates of the assassins, Gesya Gelfman, was indeed Jewish. The fact that the other assassins were all Christians had little impact on the spread of such antisemitic rumours.
A much bloodier wave of pogroms broke out in 1903–1906, leaving an estimated thousands of Jews dead and many more wounded, as the Jews took to arms to defend their families and property from the attackers. The number of people of other nationalities killed or wounded in these pogroms exceeds Jewish casualties. The 1905 pogrom of Jews in Odessa was the most serious pogrom of the period, with reports of 400 to 2,500 Jews killed.
Some historians believe that some of the pogroms had been organized or supported by the Tsarist Russian secret police, the Okhrana.
Even outside of these main outbreaks, pogroms remained common—there were anti-Jewish riots in Odessa in 1859, 1871, 1881, 1886 and 1905 in which hundreds were killed in total.
Many pogroms accompanied the Revolution of 1917 and the ensuing Russian Civil War, an estimated 70,000 to 250,000 civilian Jews were killed in the atrocities throughout the former Russian Empire; the number of Jewish orphans exceeded 300,000.
Outside RussiaPogroms spread throughout Central and Eastern Europe. Anti-Jewish riots also broke out elsewhere in the world. During the Greek War of Independence, thousands of Jews were massacred by the Greeks to the point of complete elimination. In 1918 and throughout the Polish-Bolshevik War, there were sporadic pogroms in Poland. In 1927, there were pogroms in Oradea (Romania). In the Americas, there was a pogrom in Argentina in 1919, during the Tragic Week.
In the Arab world, there were a number of pogroms which played a key role in the massive emigration from Arab countries to Israel. These occurred during rising tensions and violence in Palestine as Jews tried to secure a homeland there. In 1945, anti-Jewish rioters in Tripoli, Libya killed 140 Jews. The Farhud pogrom in Iraq killed between 200 and 400 Jews.
There is also said to have been a Limerick Pogrom, in Ireland in the late 19th century. This pogrom was less violent than the others. Although it involved campaigns of intimidation, it chiefly took the form of an economic boycott against Jewish residents of Limerick.
During the HolocaustPogroms were also encouraged by the Nazis, especially early in the war before the larger mass killings began. The first of these pogroms was Kristallnacht in Nazi Germany, often called Pogromnacht, in which Jewish homes and businesses were destroyed and up to 200 Jews were killed.
A number of deadly pogroms occurred during the Holocaust at the hands of non-Germans, for example the Jedwabne pogrom of 1941, in which Polish citizens killed between 400 and 1,600 Jews (estimates vary), with German assistance. The region was previously occupied by the Soviet Union, (Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact) and the Jewish population was accused of collaboration with the Soviets.
In the city of Lviv, Ukrainian nationalists allegedly organized two large pogroms in June-July, 1941 in which around 6,000 http://www.history.ucsb.edu/projects/holocaust/Resources/history_of_lviv.htm Jews were murdered, in apparent retribution for the alleged collaboration of some Jews with the previous Soviet regime. ( See: Controversy regarding the Nachtigall Battalion).
In Lithuania, Lithuanian nationalists (led by Klimaitis) engaged in anti-Jewish pogroms for similar reasons as well, on the 25th and 26th of June, 1941 (after the Nazi German troops had entered the city), killing about 3,800 Jews http://www.holocaustrevealed.org/_domain/holocaustrevealed.org/lithuania/lithuanian_history.htm and burning synagogues and Jewish shops. Perhaps the deadliest of these Holocaust-era pogroms was the Iaşi pogrom in Romania, in which as many as 13,266 Jews were killed by Romanian citizens, police, and military officials.
After World War IIEven after the end of World War II, there were still few pogroms in Poland, such as the Kraków pogrom on August 11, 1945 or, the best-known, the Kielce pogrom of 1946 http://www1.yadvashem.org/Odot/prog/image_into.asp?id=3048&lang=EN&type_id=&addr=/IMAGE_TYPE/3048.JPG, in which thirty seven Jews were killed.
Until today the debate in Poland continues whether the murderers in Kielce were leftists or rightists and who inspired the killings but the 1946 massacre was a turning point in the attempt to rebuild a Jewish community and convinced many Holocaust survivors that they had no future in Poland.
Anti-Jewish riots also broke out in several other Polish cities where many Jews were killed. (see: Anti-Jewish violence in Poland, 1944-1946) http://www1.yadvashem.org/odot_pdf/Microsoft%20Word%20-%203128.pdf.
Soon after, Jews began to flee Poland. The vast majority of survivors left for several reasons, often more than one. Many left simply because they did not want to live in a communist country. Some left because the refusal of the Communist regime to return prewar property. Others did not wish to rebuild their lives in the places where their families were murdered, yet others wanted to go to British Mandate of Palestine, which soon became Israel.
As a result the number of Jews in Poland decreased from 200,000 in the years immediately after the war to 50,000 in 1950 and to 6,000 by the 1980s. http://books.google.com/books?id=ZgaNjbesx-gC&pg=PA220&dq=pogroms+poland+%22post+war%22&sig=w2mteIyiMeEqhZPp1MPImm-6wHY
Influence of pogromsThe pogroms of the 1880s caused a worldwide outcry and, along with harsh laws, propelled mass Jewish emigration. Two million Jews fled the Russian Empire between 1880 and 1914, many going to the United Kingdom and United States.
In reaction to the pogroms and other oppressions of the Tsarist period, Jews increasingly became politically active. The General Jewish Labor Union, colloquially known as The Bund, and Jewish participation in the Bolshevik movements, were directly influenced by the pogroms. Similarly, the organization of Jewish self-defense leagues (which stopped the pogromists in certain areas during the second Kishinev pogrom), such as Hibbat Zion, led naturally to a strong embrace of Zionism, especially by Russian Jews.
Modern usage and examples
Other ethnic groups have suffered from similar targeted riots at various times and in different countries. In the view of some historians, the mass violence and murder targeting Black people during the New York Draft Riots of 1863 can be defined as pogroms, though the word had not yet entered the English language at the time. The same could be said of the Chinese massacre of 1871 in Los Angeles, California, and of the killing of Koreans in the wake of the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake in Tokyo, Japan, after newspapers printed articles saying Koreans were systematically poisoning wells, seemingly confirmed by the widespread observation of wells with cloudy water (a little-known effect after a large earthquake).
In the 1955 Istanbul Pogrom, ethnic Greeks were attacked and overwhelmed by ethnic Turkish mobs. In the years leading up to the Biafran War, ethnic Igbos and others from southeastern Nigeria were victims of targeted attacks. The term is therefore commonly used in the general context of riots against various ethnic groups. Other examples include the pogroms against ethnic Armenians in Sumgait in 1988 and in Baku, in 1990, both of which occurred in Azerbaijan. The Jakarta Riots of May 1998 were pogroms targeted against ethnic Chinese in Indonesia. Businesses associated with Chinese were burnt down, women were raped, tortured and killed. Fearing for their lives, many ethnic Chinese, who made up about 3–5% of Indonesia's population, fled the country.
Sikhs have also have also experienced pogroms in India, most notably those occurring in November 1984 when India's Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by two of her Sikh guards acting in the aftermath of Operation Bluestar. In these 1984 Anti-Sikh Riots, Sikhs were killed in pogroms led by government loyalists, with the government allegedly aiding the attacks by furnishing the mobs with voting lists to identify Sikh families.
In 1999, after NATO troops took control of the Serbian province of Kosovo, the non-Albanian population of the capital Pristina was driven from their homes by ethnic Albanians and their property sacked and demolished, witnesses report that NATO forces stood back and refused to intervene.
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