I have read with much interest and gratification the comments provoked by my article, Two Jews, posted at American Thinker the other day.
There was, however, one reader whose obstinance sets my teeth on edge. Someone called Daniel Leeson repeatedly questions the veracity of Jabotinsky's account of the Kishinev pogrom. Me, I have no reason to doubt Jabotinsky; he has never lied to me. And I knew that he was living at the time, in the spring of 1903, so I trusted that he knew of what he wrote.
However, it's all just become even more interesting, as I found this at the Forward http://www.forward.com/articles/8544/ .
Kishinev 1903: The Birth of a Century
Reconsidering the 49 Deaths That Galvanized a Generation and Changed Jewish History
By J.J. Goldberg
Published April 04, 2003, issue of April 04, 2003.
I beg you to read it all, but especially these two bits. The first establishes the likelihood that Jabotinsky personally encountered people who had just fled the pogrom. It is not unreasonable to assume that they told him specifics, such as the hammering of nails into babies' eyes, that they themselves had witnessed. That memory lived on in Jabotinsky, who didn't write about it until eight years later, and I dare say it should live on in all of us. Unless of course, you think you might excuse yourself by professing to doubt the truth of it.
Here is how the historian Dubnow recalled the evening in his memoirs:
It was the night of April 7, 1903. Because of Russian Easter, the newspapers had not been issued for the previous two days so that we remained without any news from the rest of the world. That night the Jewish audience assembled in the Beseda Club, to listen to the talk of a young Zionist, the Odessa “wunderkind” V. Jabotinsky [….] The young agitator had great success with his audience. In a particularly moving manner, he drew on Pinsker’s parable of the Jew as a shadow wandering through space and developed it further. As for my own impression, this one-sided treatment of our historical problem depressed me: Did he not scarcely stop short of inducing fear in our unstable Jewish youth of their own national shadow?… During the break, while pacing up and down in the neighboring room, I noticed sudden unrest in the audience: the news spread that fugitives had arrived in Odessa from nearby Kishinev and had reported of a bloody pogrom in progress there.
And secondly, there's this, which I offer in the hope that it will be a source of strength and pride for every Jew who reads it, as it is for me.
Here is a front-page report from the Forward of April 24 :
Armed with knives and machetes, the murderers broke into Jewish homes, where they began stabbing and killing, chopping off heads and stomping frail women and small children. If such a vicious, enraged mob would have attacked a Jewish town somewhere in Volin or Lithuania, thousands of Jews would have been killed in an hour’s time. But Kishinev Jewsare tough, healthy, strong as iron and fearless. When the murderous pogromists began their horrible slaughter, Jewish boys and men came running and fought like lions to protect their weaker and older brothers and sisters. Even young girls exhibited amazing heroism. They defended their honor with supernatural strength…. The Jews, however, fought with their bare hands and the murderers, armed with machetes and knives, were primed to annihilate and decimate all the Jewish townspeople.