Posts tagged antisemitism.


Torah scrolls in Demiev Synagogue in Kiev, Soviet Ukraine, vandalized during one of the many pogroms that brought death and destruction to the city’s Jews (1920).

(via marxistswithattitude)

In the decades before the Holocaust, national identity and Yiddish spelling were deeply intertwined. When I read Yiddish literature printed before World War II, I can often guess the writers’ political milieu through their spelling alone. In 19th-century Europe, religious writers spelled Yiddish words by imitating Hebrew, using vowel markings where none were necessary so their new writing would resemble ancient Hebrew texts. Meanwhile, Jews who wanted to assimilate into European life wrote in a Yiddish spelling that openly imitated German. This brand of spelling — it used Hebrew letters to represent even silent German characters in shared cognates — subtly announced, as leaders of the German Jewish Reform movement once proclaimed, that “Berlin is our Jerusalem.”

Spelling in the early Soviet Union was even more perverse. There, government control over Yiddish schools and presses led to the invention and enforcement of a literally anti-Semitic Yiddish orthography by spelling the language’s many Semitic-origin words phonetically instead of in Hebrew. (Imagine spelling “naïve” as “nigh-eve” in order to look less French.) It was an attempt to erase Jewish culture’s biblical roots, letter by letter.

Dara Horn, “Jewish Identity, Spelled in Yiddish" (The New York Times)
  June 11, 2013 at 09:20am via The New York Times

Ukraine: Town to stop paving with Jewish graves ›




The municipality of Lviv, Ukraine, recently announced its decision to stop using Jewish headstones as paving materials.

The announcement follows a protest by members of the town’s Jewish community, who claim that hundreds of the old tombstones are still used as materials for construction projects.

In the years following World War II, the Soviet Red Army used the tombstones to build the town’s roads, sidewalks and the central Krakivsky Market, as well as for rebuilding structures that had been destroyed in the fighting.

The market was built on the site of a Jewish cemetery that had been devastated during the German occupation.

Authorities in Lviv have promised Jewish community leaders that the gravestones will be transferred to the only local cemetery that was not destroyed during the war, the town’s two main synagogues having been destroyed in the Nazi bombardment.

Some fragments of Jewish headstones were also found in villages outside of Lviv, and local residents said that they were waiting for the municipality or the Jewish community to return them to their original locations. Lviv authorities said that they will collect the headstones from around the city, if they can find the necessary financing.


(via mappedbird)


American Fund for the Relief of Those So Bitterly Oppressed in Russia Will Be Used to Bring Thousands Here.

New York City is just beginning to feel the crest of another great wave of Jewish immigration. The Russian massacres have caused more Hebrews to look hither for a refuge than have ever before turned their faces toward this land of freedom and wealth. The “plagues of the sword and torch” that have smitten their race in Russia in the last few weeks exceed any catastrophe known to their history since their dispersal. As was said the other day in the appeal by the National Hebrew Relief Fund Committee of the United States to the Jews of this country:

"Apparently no calamity of such magnitude has befallen Israel since the fall of Jerusalem. All the horrors of the Inquisition, all the persecutions of the Middle Ages, seem incomparable with this stupendous and unspeakable crime, both in its malignity and in the number of people affected and endangered."

And yet in spite of all these horrors it is said by Jews as prominent as Oscar S. Straus that the worst is still likely to come.

Headline in the New York Tribune, dated December 17, 1905

See the newspaper page here & more of the article transcription here.

It’s winter in Russia and the people are hungry. The town council announces that meat will be arriving so everyone gets in line to wait for the meat. After an hour of waiting in the snow and freezing cold, the town council announces that there will be less meat coming than expected, all Jews go home. So all the Jews leave the line. Another hour goes by and, again, the town council announces there will be less than expected food arriving, all non-communists go home. All the non-communists leave the line. Another hour, and the town council announces there will be no food arriving, everybody go home. As one man trudges home through the snow, he turns to his friend and says, “you see, the Jews always get to go home first!”

(via JRCC)

Costume design by Léon Bakst for Ida as Saint Sebastian

After leaving the Ballets Russes, Ida Rubinstein formed her own dance company, using her inherited wealth, and commissioned several lavish productions. In 1911, she performed in Le Martyre de Saint Sebastien. The creative team was Mikhail Fokine (choreography); Leon Bakst (design); Gabriele d’Annunzio (text) and score by Debussy. This was both a triumph for its stylized modernism and a scandal; the Archbishop of Paris prohibited Catholics from attending because St. Sebastian was being played by a woman and a Jew. [x]

more on Ida Rubinstein

more on Léon Bakst

Mila Kunis Targeted By Anti-Semitic Ukrainian Politician




Jewish organizations around the world are furious with the Ukrainian government … after a Ukrainian politician used an Anti-Semitic slur in a Facebook rant about Mila Kunis.

The man who set off the controversy is lawmaker Igor Miroshnichenko — who had written that Mila (a Jew who was born in the Ukraine) is not a true Ukrainian because she’s a “zhydovka” … a word that has been used as a slur against Jewish people since the Holocaust.

After protests by Ukrainian Jews, the Ukrainian government announced the word was OK to use because it appears in the Ukrainian dictionary as a term for a Jew that isn’t necessarily a slur.

Now, the famous Simon Wiesenthal Center in L.A. is getting involved — firing off a letter to the Prime Minister of the Ukraine to “express our outrage and indignation against the slanders of the Svoboda Party directed against the Jewish community in the Ukraine.”

In the letter, Rabbi Marvin Hier explains … the term “zhydovka” translates to “dirty Jewess” … and was used as an “insidious slur invoked by the Nazis and their collaborators as they rounded up the Jews to murder them at Babi Yar and in the death camps.”

The org. has called on the Prime Minister to “publically condemn this attack and to take measures to defeat the xenophobic forces that threaten your democracy.”

Well, if the dictionary says it.


"Babel chronicles how both the Red and White Armies, while fighting each other, would also both commit horrible atrocities against the Jews in the old Jewish Pale, leading Gedali, a Jewish shopkeeper to famously ask, “which is the Revolution and which the counterrevolution?” In stories like “Gedali,” the narrator is forced to confront his dual, seemingly contradictory nature as both a Jew and a fighter for the Revolution.”


The acronym at the top of the tattoo stands for ‘We will make the Russian and German anti-Semites into frightened sheep’. The lower text in Latin reads ‘Crush the arrogance of the rebellious’.

A Jewish nationalist tattoo, depicting the Star of Zion and the all-seeing eye.


Rosh Hashanah- a great time to make political jokes? In this 20th century post card, the head of the rooster used for kapparot is substituted by the face of Tsar Nicholas of Russia.  Apart from celebrating the Jewish new year, this card is an alert to any anti-semitic leader that this is where he/she might end up!  

Rosh Hashanah postcard. YU Museum Collection. Early 20th century (1996.286)

Lebisch: Is there a proper blessing… for the Tsar?
Rabbi: A blessing for the Tsar? Of course! May God bless and keep the Tsar… far away from us!

— Fiddler on the Roof