Mendel Beilis was a quiet, unassuming man who was to become the archetypical scapegoat, a tragic, though heroic victim whose fate epitomized the persecuted Jew in Czarist Russia. Caught up in a chain of events over which he had no control and charged with a crime of which he had no knowledge, he humbly yet bravely persevered. Forced to endure an imprisonment that included torture and solitary confinement, he finally stood trial as the whole world watched.
In his autobiography, Mendel Beilis speaks to us from a vantage point few others have experienced, much less recorded. Even though the original version of his self-published book is an awkwardly written English translation of his Yiddish manuscript, a simple eloquence shone through. It is this pathos, a poignancy that flowed from his own pen that has been so carefully preserved in this newly revised edition. Additionally, footnotes have been inserted to enhance the reader’s understanding of terminology and events.
I would like to note my personal appreciation to C.I.S. Publishers for allowing me to work on a book such as this. As a historian, I welcome the opportunity to contribute to this generation’s knowledge of its past; as a writer, I can think of few projects more exciting than the autobiography of an important historical figure. Anti-Semitism, Jewish persecution and the Jew as scapegoat are age-old topics that, unfortunately, are still relevant in our day.
Much has been written about Mendel Beilis, the blood libel and Russian anti-Semitism. For those interested in a more detailed study, I would recommend The Russian Jew under Tsars and Soviets by Salo W. Baron, History of the Jews in Russia and Poland by S. M. Dubnow and The Decay of Czarism: The Beilis Trial by Alexander B. Tager. This preface, by nature of its brevity, can only deal with these complex subjects in the most general manner. Still, we feel it is important to give this brief synopsis to allow the reader a basic orientation before he begins to read the actual words written by Mendel Beilis three-quarters of a century ago.
When I first showed the Beilis manuscript to one of my daughters, she reacted in a way that should not have surprised me. “Can it be true that Jews were really accused of killing Christian children and using their blood?” she asked incredulously. “How can such a thing be? Why did they do that?”
The answer to that question penetrates to the heart of the relationship that has existed for centuries between Jew and gentile. Tragically, much of the misery inflicted on European Jewry happened as a consequence of the terrible, macabre lie of the “blood libel,” even in modern times. Yet most people instinctively associate the blood libel with a hazy medieval past and fail to realize the role this aspersion continues to play in negatively defining the Jew in the hearts and minds of the non-Jewish world.
The Blood Libel
In 1911, in Kiev, Russia, Menachem Mendel Beilis was accused of murdering a Christian child as part of a mystical religious rite and using his blood to bake Passover matzos. This was but the latest in a seemingly endless list of similar accusations that has plagued the Jewish people for a thousand years.
Ironically, the precursor of the blood libel was not directed at the Jews but at the early Christians. At the time, the Christians were a breakaway Jewish sect whose rapid growth was threatening the stability of the Roman Empire. Christian theology was so filled with anthropomorphic references and rites that the Romans accused the early Christians of murdering their own children in order to use their blood for ritual purposes. This charge swept through the Roman Empire and gained widespread credibility among the citizenry. After their own conversion to Christianity, the blood accusation lay dormant for centuries, but when the European Christian societies sought to oppress the Jews, who were flourishing and prospering in their midst, the accusation was resuscitated, embellished and directed at the Jewish people. Since the Jews were blamed for murdering the Christian savior, whose last meal before his crucifixion had been the Passover seder, the allegation contended that every Passover the Jews re-enacted this crucifixion with yet another innocent Christian victim. The original victims of the accusation had become the accusers of a new victim.
The first recorded case of what was to become known as the “blood libel” can be found in the chronicles of English history. In 1144, the Jews of Norwich were officially charged with abducting, torturing and murdering a Christian child in order to use his blood for Passover. Just two years later, reports of this incident spread rapidly among the knights and peasants massing in France for the start of the Second Crusade.
One of the first eruptions of violence was in the French city of Blois. The town’s Jews were dragged to a wooden tower where they were given the option of baptism or death. None chose the former. On May 26, 1171, thirty-four men and sixteen women met a fiery death in the Rhineland, with the song Aleinu on their lips. As if sensing the potential power of this new vehicle for further inflaming an already hostile citizenry, Rabbi Yaakov Tam, known as Rabbeinu Tam, declared the anniversary of their martyrdom a fast day in the communities of France, England and the Rhineland.
In 1181, in Vienna, Austria, upon the sworn testimony of several witnesses, the Jews were found guilty of slaughtering three Christian boys who were last seen playing on a frozen river. For this crime, three hundred Jews were burned at the stake. In the spring, the thawed river yielded the drowned, yet unharmed bodies of the three boys.
More blood libels were to follow, some attracting more attention than others. In 1199, and in 1235, in places such as Erfurt and Lauda, in Bischofsheim and Fulda, there were more Christian accusations and more Jewish deaths.
In 1255, all the Jews of Lincoln, England, gathered for a wedding. The next day, the body of a boy named Hugh, who had been missing for a month, was found. He had probably drowned in a cesspool, but the Jews were accused of abducting him, hiding him for a month and fattening him up. It was charged that the wedding party was really a celebration of Hugh’s crucifixion and that everyone had partaken of his blood. Nineteen Jews were hung without benefit of a trial.
More blood libels followed in London and Gloucester. By a decree signed on Tishah b’Av, July 18, 1290, all Jews were banished from England, not to be legally readmitted until the middle of the nineteenth century. Even in their absence, however, the blood libel accusation was perpetuated and the deleterious image of the Jew reinforced. A century after the banishment of the Jews of England, Chaucer wrote The Prioress’ Tale, which centered around “Jew demons” who were handmaidens of the devil and murdered Christian children.
The enemies of the Jews promulgated these false accusations for a variety of reasons, whether as a solution for an unsolved murder or to create an opportunity for the confiscation of Jewish property or to divert the attention of a restless populace from the injustices of their own societies. And by and large, the validity of the blood libel went unquestioned, even if a particular accusation was disproved. Perhaps this particular Jew had been found innocent, but there was no doubt that the Jews and their religion still bore the guilt of the blood libel.
As the charges flourished, so did the accompanying literature, further validating the authenticity of these attacks. One theory, published by a Dominican monk in 1263, purported the Jews would have to commit this crime on a yearly basis, because as a punishment for having shed the blood of the Christian savior, they were afflicted with a terrible disease that could only be treated with innocent Christian blood. The ritual lie and the portrayal of the Jew as a bloodthirsty demon to be hated and feared had become an accepted part of Christian dogma. Holy shrines were erected to honor innocent Christian victims, and well into the twentieth century, churches throughout Europe displayed knives and other instruments that Jews purportedly used for these rituals. Caricatures of hunchbacked Jews with horns and fangs were depicted in works of art and carved into stone decorating bridges. Proclaimed by parish priests to be the gospel truth, each recurrence of the blood libel charge added to its credence, thus prompting yet more accusations. This vicious cycle continued to spiral.
There were a few emperors and enlightened Christian clergy such as Emperor Frederick II and Pope Innocent IV who declared that the blood libel was baseless and false. Yet neither these rare proclamations nor the vehement denial of respected rabbis could mitigate the monstrosity of the charge or the frequency of its occurrence. From the twelfth century on, not a single generation of European Jewry was spared. During the Middle Ages, in Colmar, Krems, Munich, Magdeburg and Weissenburg, in Paris, Bern, Wurzburg and Prague, indeed in all of Europe, the blood libel served as the pretext for the massacre of thousands of Jews.
In 1475, a particularly notorious incident took place in Trent, Italy. On the Thursday before Easter, a Jew by the name of Samuel found the body of a Christian toddler named Simon on the banks of the river. In order to avert even the semblance of misconduct, he took the child straight to the Catholic bishop. Not surprisingly, the Jews were nevertheless accused, and many were arrested. After fifteen days of torturous interrogation, all confessed to the crime and were burned forthwith. Meanwhile, rumors began to circulate of miraculous cures attributed to the bones of little Simon, whose embalmed body had been put on display. Pilgrims flocked to this newfound “holy” shrine, and by the sixteenth century, Saint Simon was canonized as a holy martyr by Pope Gregory XIII. For centuries, Catholics the world over continued to pray to Simon as a holy saint. Only in 1965 did the Church cancel the beatification of Simon and all celebrations in his honor.
The increased persecution of the Jews was almost always accompanied by the ubiquitous blood libel accusation. As part of his plan to convince King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella to expel the Jews from Spain in 1492, Grand Inquisitor Tomas de Torquemada engineered a blood libel case in the town of La Guardia, in which converted Jews were forced to confess under torture that the chief rabbi of the Jews had helped them abuse and crucify an innocent Christian victim. Wherever the Jew fled, the blood libel accusation followed, with all of its political, economic and social ramifications. The Jew was the perennial pariah, the perfect scapegoat, putty in the hands of those who wanted to foment anti-Semitic sentiments. Whether it was at the hands of the Poles or the Cossacks, the Ukrainians or the Tartars, the Jews were mercilessly slaughtered time and time again.
In a famous case in Damascus, Syria, in 1840, a Christian monk disappeared. The French consul confided to the Syrian authorities that a Jew was probably responsible for the crime and that the innocent monk had probably been murdered as part of a religious ceremony. Many Jews were arrested and tortured, and more than sixty Jewish children were held hostage to coerce the confession of their parents. Prominent Jews around the world, including Sir Moses Montefiore, lodged horrified protests, and ultimately, except for two who died and others who were permanently disabled, the Jews were spared. Nevertheless, the incident introduced the blood libel to the Arab world, where it has maintained credence ever since.
The blood libel has stubbornly persisted into modern times, gaining new impetus from the anti-Semitic propaganda of Nazi Germany. It has even reared its ugly head in the United States. But it is in Russia that this medieval canard found its most comfortable home during the last two centuries.
Although some Jewish communities probably graced the northern shores of the Black Sea almost twenty centuries ago, their numbers were undoubtedly very small. As persecutions of the Jews throughout Western Europe increased, however, a limited Jewish flight deep into this region began, especially from the seventh to the tenth century. Russia did not accord these Jews a very warm welcome. The Jews were thus seen as harbingers of ill. Most times, they were excluded altogether. At other times, they suffered greatly. In the sixteenth century, Czar Ivan IV, known to history as “Ivan the Terrible,” ordered the drowning of all Jews who lived in territory annexed to his kingdom unless they converted to Christianity. In 1648 and 1649, the infamous years of Tach and Tat, genocidal massacres perpetrated during Bogdan Chmielnicki’s Cossack uprising devastated the Jewish communities of the Ukraine.
Even in times when the Jews proved themselves an economic asset, it was often decided that it was better not to profit from a sinful enemy of the church. By 1742, all Jews who remained in the realm were expelled, and towards the end of the eighteenth century, less than 100,000 Jews lived in all of Russia.
The situation in neighboring Poland, however, was different. In the thirteenth century, in an effort to improve the economic condition of his impoverished land, King Boleslav the Pious invited Jews from across Europe to come and settle in Poland. Except for sporadic flare-ups, the masses of Jews from the hostile West who sought haven in Poland enjoyed relative freedom and prosperity for almost four hundred years until the decline of the Polish kingdom in the seventeenth century. In 1792, the dismemberment of Poland by Austria, Prussia and Russia began. By the third and final partition of Poland in 1795, after which Poland ceased to exist as a sovereign nation until 1918, over one million unwanted and despised Jews found themselves living under the iron fist of the Russian Czar.
One of the first Russian responses to its Jewish problem was the designation of a large ghetto-like district. All Jews were ordered to move to this district, known as the Pale of Settlement, which reached from the Black Sea to the Baltic and included the districts that had formed the western boundary of Russia and the eastern provinces of Poland. Even within the Pale, the Jews were restricted as to where they could live, where they could travel and how they could earn a livelihood. Decrees such as the first “Jewish Statute” of 1804, for example, prohibited settlement in villages. Before long, the Jews of the Pale found themselves constrained and subjugated in almost every aspect of their lives.
By the nineteenth century, the new spirit of enlightenment and the ideals of freedom and equality dramatically altered the existing political and social order. The American and French Revolutions had brought an end to the totalitarian rule of once-powerful monarchs, and the eastward advance of Napoleon carried the light of modern civilization into the black abyss of backward Russian medievalism and its autocratic regime. Fearing that the oppressed peoples of Russia, and especially the despised Jews, might be tempted by these revolutionary rumblings, Czar Alexander I issued even more restrictive absolutist decrees designed to crush any opposition and safeguard his throne. After his death, his successor, Czar Nicholas I, proved to be cut of the same cloth, and the Jews were offered no reprieve.
In 1827, Czar Nicholas I instituted Russia’s notorious “Cantonist” conscription decree. All eligible Russian young men were required to join the military service of the Czar at the age of eighteen for a period of twenty-five years, but a quota of young Jewish boys were to be drafted at the age of twelve, to spend an additional six years in “training” in small military camps, or “cantons.”
For a high percentage of these precious, painfully young Jewish children, this was an immediate death sentence, as many perished on the march to the camp itself, unable to endure the harsh conditions. For those who survived, conversion to Christianity was a foregone conclusion, for few were able to withstand, either physically or spiritually, the torments to which they were subjected. Especially onerous was the twist that it was the responsibility of the established Jewish leadership to insure that the quota was fulfilled. Even though it is estimated that at most there were “only” 60,000 actual victims over a thirty-year period, the damage was massive. Families were devastated and communities were destroyed as leaders agonized over who should live or die; fathers stopped at nothing in an attempt to spare their own sons, even at the expense of others. This evil decree of the Czar, perhaps more than any other, broke the back of Jewish resolve, undermined the legitimacy of the established leadership and destroyed community cohesiveness.
It was also during the reign of Nicholas I that the blood libel achieved new fame.
In 1799, four Jews were arrested near Vitebsk on the evening before Passover and charged with ritually murdering a Christian woman. They were ultimately released for lack of evidence, yet an official opinion was submitted to the Czar informing him that there existed a people in his realm who did, indeed, perpetrate such crimes. It was a topic that was researched and debated at the highest levels of government.
Through 1816, there were several instances of blood libel prosecutions resulting in much terror and suffering, yet mercifully, all charges were found to be baseless. In 1817, Czar Alexander I issued a circular outlawing the blood libel indictment, only to rescind it when Jewish leaders were blamed for the death of a Christian child in Velizh. With the approval of Czar Nicholas I, more blood libel charges were prosecuted in Telz in 1827 and in the district of Volhynia in 1830. A secret government commission issued a document in 1844 that detailed how and why Christian blood was used by the Jews. In 1853, two Jews of Saratov were actually convicted of ritually slaughtering two Christian children.
The blood libel had always been an integral ingredient in the castigation of the Jew, but under Nicholas I, it assumed a semi-official status. In the past, village monks had been primarily responsible for the dissemination of these vicious accusations. However, once government endorsement of anti-Semitic activities became known, many different segments of Russian society took advantage of the malice these lies generated to provoke a variety of public outrages against the Jews. A new wave of blood libels in Poland and elsewhere in Europe further inflamed the already volatile situation in Russia.
As a result of the hostility against Jews fomented by the persistent blood libels, Nicholas I was able to continue his assimilationist agenda with ease. In 1844, he issued a decree that established official government schools whose sole purpose was to estrange Jewish children from their religion. As an added burden, these schools were to be financed by a “candle” tax that was imposed upon the already indigent religious community. In an effort to further pauperize what was left of the shattered Jewish economy, all Jews were divided into two classes, “useful” and “non-useful,” the latter being a sentence tantamount to extreme impoverishment, starvation or death. With the advent of the Crimean War, the Czar tripled the quota for conscription and gave the army permission to seize any Jewish child or traveler that lacked sufficient documentation.
When Nicholas I finally died in 1855, his successor, Czar Alexander II, who is portrayed as the great reformer in Russian history for his emancipation of the serfs in 1861, believed that the key to a successful assimilation of the Jews was through the adoption of a “milder” policy. The “Cantonist” laws were replaced with a general draft, whereby thousands of Jews were forced to serve in the army of the Czar, but “only” for a period of four years. Certain groups of “useful” Jews were even allowed admittance into the universities as part of an overall program to separate the Jew from his traditional moorings. Many Jews, feeling that Jewish emancipation would soon follow, leaped at the opportunity and soon distinguished themselves in many areas of Russian society. They had failed to anticipate, however, that this newfound prominence would cause a sharp and immediate reaction from the Russian people, who still did not want the Jew to live, much less prosper, in their midst.
Notwithstanding the emigration of hundreds of thousands of Jews to America (from 1880 to 1920 there would be three million), the Jewish population of the Pale had exploded to over five million by the late 1800s. As far as the gentile was concerned, these numbers meant that the Jewish problem posed a greater menace than ever, and many segments of the Russian people sought to rid themselves of the Jews. They would soon be given the opportunity.
Although there had been reforms, Alexander II was still a despot who held tight rein over a backward, feudal society and a corrupt aristocracy whose abuse of its millions of impoverished peasants was legendary. In March, 1881, the Czar was assassinated by revolutionaries. The country was in a turmoil, and a scapegoat was needed. The new successor, Czar Alexander III, was quick to spread the idea that the Jews and not the Czars were responsible for the suffering of the Russian people; the Jews were the revolutionaries bent upon the destruction of Mother Russia.
This was not a novel approach. Tremendous forces of change were sweeping through Europe as industrialization, imperialism, the power of money and the power of the machine wreaked havoc with the existing social structure. The feudal, agrarian medieval empires were dying, to the utter dismay of its aristocratic and ecclesiastical masters, and the Jew presented the perfect prey upon whom all sides could vent their frustrations. This scenario had already occurred in Germany under Bismarck and would soon repeat itself in the Dreyfus Affair in France. The Czar responded in Russia by continuing to incite pogroms and increasing the severity of his restrictions against the Jews, who were then held responsible for these outrages that “they brought upon themselves.”
An adamant advocate of the divine right of kings and a fanatic adherent to the tenets of the Russian Orthodox Church, Czar Alexander III eschewed the reforms of his predecessor and instead passionately pursued his goal of restoring absolute control to the monarchy. To accomplish this, he strove to eliminate those who disagreed with his vision and to rid his kingdom of all alien influences. The Jews fell into both categories. Anti-Semitic propaganda proliferated as the government vigorously strove to cause “one-third of the Jews to assimilate, one-third to emigrate and one-third to perish.” In few periods of history have the Jews been more persecuted or more maligned than they were during this period, which is why no one could have imagined that when Alexander III died in 1894, his oldest son, Czar Nicholas II would be worse.
The great masses of the Russian people were peasants and laborers who had suffered for centuries in abject poverty and ignorance. A terrible famine in 1891 further exacerbated their misery. The ruthless tyranny of the Czars ultimately led to the growth of anarchists, terrorists, communists, socialists and all manner of other radicals, who spurred a widespread opposition movement. These group attracted many Jewish revolutionaries to whom a drastic change also seemed to provide the only solution to their unmitigated persecution. They dreamed of a glorious new era of equal rights and social justice that could only come with the downfall of the Czar.
In desperation, the new Czar also turned to the age-old strategy of attempting to redirect popular discontent onto a convenient scapegoat. The Jew, the “murderous, blood-sucking, money-hungry fiend,” was now a “subversive revolutionary” as well. The Jew was once again the culprit that all sides could blame. “Drown the revolution in Jewish blood!” became the battle cry that ultimately erupted during Passover of 1903 in the Kishinev pogrom, notorious for its violence and bloodshed.
Russia seethed with unrest. There were more assassinations and bombings—and more pogroms. Russian society was being shaken to its very foundations. The entry into the Russo-Japanese War of 1903-05, which was intended to help restore the Czar’s prestige and unite the country, resulted in a disastrous loss. Violent strikes and terrible uprisings followed until January of 1905, when, in front of the winter palace, government troops opened fire upon workers who had come to petition the Czar for a constitution. Over a thousand were massacred on that “Bloody Sunday.”
In October of 1905, the workers finally revolted and organized a nationwide strike. To avert an all-out civil war between the privileged and the protesters, the frightened Czar temporarily yielded to the demands of the liberals. He signed the October Manifesto, creating an elected parliament called the Duma, and he granted the country a limited constitution.
While ending the immediate violence, these democratic concessions failed to bridge the deep chasms that had formed within Russian society. For the radicals, these reforms were not nearly enough; they intended to use whatever newfound freedom they had acquired to continue their struggle. On the other hand, those who supported the Czar—the Church, the nobility and the landed proprietors—were determined to maintain their stranglehold on the people and resist reform at all cost; any attempt to address the genuine grievances of the people was met with opposition and oppression. A key component of this reaction to the revolution was the plan to convince the peasants that the revolutionary movement was a Jewish movement destined to destroy all of Russia. If the revolution could thus be discredited, the Czar reasoned, the masses of the Russians would turn to him for protection against this common foe.
To further arouse the passions of the people against the Jew, the government became involved in the production of incendiary literature. From 1905-1916, detailed records reveal that 14,327,000 copies of 2,837 anti-Semitic pamphlets were written and distributed by various government officials, and many of them were printed in the offices of the Ministry of the Interior. The Czar himself contributed over twelve million rubles from his private purse for the publication of one particularly noxious work, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a forgery concocted by the Russian secret police from old German and French lies. This tract purportedly contained secret notes detailing the inner workings of an international Jewish conspiracy to take over the world. The Czar was so genuinely convinced of the existence of a universal Jewish alliance, which possessed tremendous financial resources, that he conducted private negotiations with the Kaiser of Germany and the Vatican on how to deal with this imminent threat.
The plan for the government’s counteroffensive to the revolution was in place. The Minister of the Interior was in charge of organizing pogroms, and the Minister of Justice was responsible for pardoning all who might be found guilty of robbing or killing a Jew. To help the Czar carry out the “holy” work of purging the motherland of her enemies, there arose a paramilitary organization called the Black Hundreds, which was composed of hoodlums organized into cadres one hundred strong to carry out the dictates of the Czar. All was ready.
In 1905, during the last week of October and the first week of November, six hundred and sixty Jewish communities were attacked. In Odessa alone, three hundred victims were killed, thousands maimed and over forty thousand financially wiped out. The modern world recoiled in horror as the Czar honored the leaders of the Black Hundreds, rewarding them for their loyal service to the Russian people. By the time brutal pogroms took place in Bialystok and Siedlce in 1906, the Czar was able to involve his army openly and actively.
From the beginning, the Duma posed a problem for the Czar. The first Duma, to which twelve Jews had been elected, appointed a committee to investigate the pogrom that had occurred in Bialystok in 1906. Several liberal members of the parliament, including the twelve Jews, signed a report that held government officials responsible for the carnage. The Czar branded the signatories traitors and threw them all into prison. He also promptly dissolved the Duma and called for new elections.
Of the four Jews elected to the second Duma, two were soon assassinated by the Black Hundreds. The Czar dissolved the second Duma in 1907, and the third Duma was nothing more that a forum for militant, nationalistic ranting against all who were not true Russians and loyal to their Czar. The Jewish people were, of course, singled out. In February of 1911, in a speech entered into the official record of the third Duma, a representative stated, “The Jewish race is a criminal race that hates mankind . . . they must remain subjugated by all the restrictions established in the past . . . The Jewish force is extraordinary, and the State alone is powerful enough to resist this dreadful power.”
For decades, the government had defended its persecutions of Jews by emphasizing their role in the revolutionary movement. The official government position was that anti-Jewish pogroms were merely spontaneous “outbursts of popular indignation” against the Jewish rebels. However, since increasing numbers of Russians were joining the ranks of the opposition, this official explanation was no longer adequate. The Russian people needed a stronger motivation to ally themselves with the Czar, even if it was in his struggle with the Jew. The Czar needed to persuade his Russian subjects that no civilized society could tolerate such a race in its midst. The Czar would further have to convince them that only he could save them from the danger the Jew posed. He hoped a renewal of the heinous blood libel accusation, on a scale never before attempted, could accomplish this feat. The wheels were set in motion.
A report issued by the Congress of the Nobility soon thereafter took the position that the war against the Jews must be continued until they were all annihilated, since their religion “teaches its adherents to be bloodthirsty, cruel and criminal, even to the point of murdering Christian children.” The press release of a right wing organization more graphically stated that “the government must recognize that the Jews are dangerous to the life of mankind in the same measure as wolves, scorpions, reptiles, poisonous spiders and similar creatures, which are destroyed because they are deadly for human beings . . . Jews must be placed under such conditions that they will die out. This is the present task of the government and of the best men in the country.”
On March 19, 1911, the newspaper Zemshtchina warned the public that it would be impossible to restore any rights to the Jews, for they were too dangerous. Not coincidentally, on March 20, the head of the Nationalist faction in the Duma stated that he considered it his mission to see that all Jews were again confined to the Pale and totally “eliminated from the schools, the courts and the press.” The noose was tightening rapidly.
On that very same day, March 20, 1911, it was reported that the dead body of a boy by the name of Andrei Yustchinsky had been found on the outskirts of Kiev. The stage was thus set for what was to be one of the most infamous blood libel accusations in history.
Marcheshvan, 5753 (1992)
Brooklyn, New York
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