Chapter the twenty fifth.
The murder of Alexander the Second. - The impression it made on Jews. - Ignatyev. - Bad news. - Vasilkov. - Khsidim of Vasilkov. - My 'certificate' . - Kievlyanin. - Get the Jews!. - People escape to America. - Ruffians. - Fear - The evening before the pogrom. - My good landlady. - It has started ... - Cruelty, caused by fear. - In the storehouse. - The emigration to the attic. - Attic live. - Mice. - Life comes to an end. - Mice speaking a human tongue. - Down from the attic. - My good landlady again. - Grownups cry like little children. - The pogrom is over. - Casualties. - The barrack. - Fleeing from here. - The death of my father and grandfather.
Then Alexander the Second was killed1. The news made a deep impression on Jews. Alexander the Second was very popular and well loved among Jews. Jews called him 'Meylekh ha Khesed', the good king. As I have remarked before, during his reign they fostered strong patriotic feelings. With great grief Jews said their 'eyl-mole rakhmim'2 over him in the synagogues, quite a few crying.
After his death the air became pregnant with dark secrets and bad news.
The liberal Loris-Melikov3 handed over his position to the famous Ignatyev4
The Jewish heart sensed danger.
At the time I happened to be very occupied with my business, with my wine. I was swamped with work and badly needed a remeslene'5 ', a certificate of proficiency at making wine.
Soon after Peysekh6 I took off for Vasilkov7 , a small town in the Kiev Government, carrying a letter from the Rabbi8 of Kiev to the Rabbi of Vasilkov, to the effect that he should issue me a certificate. The Rabbi of Vasilkov was a Khosid and there were only Khsidim in the town. Inside the khasidic 'shtibl'9 , were I went later, it looked just like in a big study house. That's were I had to go to pray during the several days of my stay there.
But the way they said prayers!10
They run into each other, jostle, they gesticulate wildly, touching their sides, chest and face; it's a wonder they don't hurt themselves.
At the praying itself it's the same jumping around; one says 'hoydu'11 , another 'ashrey'12 , a third 'oz-isher'13 , a fourth the 'yishtabakh'14 . They ignore each other. The gazn meanwhile intones the 'kdushe'15 and suddenly they all stand to attention echoing three times: "kdushe, kdushe, kdushe" - to go off again on their own.
I have to confess, that I never got slapped on the head or chest or in the flank, but then, I didn't have a grudge against anyone. Jews running, jumping, shouting and singing, what a turmoil! Very lively it was.
In one corner people talk 'khsides'16 . A bit further down an old man is reading the 'Zoyer'17 in a high, clear voice. Another is looking in the 18 Medresh. The head-shames is standing near the 'bema'19 surrounded by young men with golden watchchains across their vests; well-to-do young housefathers still living on 'kest'20 , just starting out on the good life.
The shtibl was very smoky. The Khsidim held their pipes between their teeth and smoked, the smoke rose to the rafters in gray clouds21 . But one forgives them everything, because of the excitement, the cheerful hubbub, the exuberance radiating from those enthusiastic people.
After a few days I obtained my 'certificate' and went home.
On the way home I was in high spirits. I was sure of an income, I would have peace, my wife would stop nagging me.
But, as said before, Jewish joy lacks foundation. On my arrival home I read the bad news in the22 'Kievlyanin': In Yelisavetgrad23 they had held a pogrom against Jews.
The 'humanitarian' 'Kievlyanin' intentionally described the whole pogrom in minute detail, how they had plundered and beaten up people, how they had cut open feather beds and pillows to shake out the feathers in the street. Even a child could catch the noble, humanitarian drift of this black leaflet, its tenor being: Beat up the Jews! Rob them, let them have it!
This report about the pogrom wrapped all Jews of Kiev in a heavy cloak of fear. All hopes were suddenly ruined, dreams came to an abrupt end. The misery of the Jews came forth, like a naked skeleton, in its full gigantic proportions. People felt that the misery wasn't over with Yelisovetgrad, that other towns were in for it yet and that one of the first would be - Kiev...
Their backs showed an unusal curve
The terror made the Jews turn pale, made their backs show how downcast they were. What to do?
There were Jews who did not excel at being optimists, who did not feel like waiting to be robbed and beaten up. These left all their belongings behind and were gone, off to America. Saying good by to them, bitter tears welled up in my eyes and my heart was deeply saddened.
But soon it became clear to us that a pogrom was to take place in Kiev, that Kiev would be next. Everything bore witness to it: the look of a goy, the suffocating air, the façades of brick houses, the cobblestones of the street.
And we waited, the only thing one could do was wait. My God, no place to run.
During the next phase clear messages started coming from people's mouths.
The dockers24 working on the shores of the Dnjepr, and Kiev had thousands of those, openly said that they would do the 'job'. Obviously sensing that they were treading on solid ground they bragged about what they were going to do, "We will make a better job of it than in Yelisavetgrad."
Others went even further, "We wont plunder, only kill! Butcher!"
It is very hard to bring across the situation of a Jew waiting for a pogrom. It is a kind of horrendous swaying, a silent wavering between death and life in terror - death - life - death - life. Sheep on their way to the slaughterhouse must feel that way.
But worse than the pogrom itself is the sheer insult that goes with a pogrom, the brute drunken power wanting to encroach upon frail helpless weakness.
And they whose hands where itching to begin were gloating with delight even before the start, noticing the downcast state of the Jews, the Jewish misery, the Jewish pain incapable of outing itself in cries.
Now the street was theirs, they made their steps resound and the ear of the Jew, furtively sneaking through the streets like a shadow, took in with pain the sinister, menacing shouting on the streets, "We will cut your guts out!"
But terror likes to increase.
It strengthened its grip on us, getting denser by the hour. You didn't feel like eating anymore, not like drinking, you couldn't see with your eyes, hear with your ears, move your hands.
Old people took to their beds, their old bones rattling, crackling like dry chips of wood on a huge fire.
Children stopped playing. Their looks of mixed fear and an unformulated question grew fixed.
For those dear, sweet children it was a question, but the grownups kept silent.
Next the day became known, leaving only uncertainty about the exact hour:
"It will start on Sunday25 ..."
At that time I lived in the house of a certain Lashkerov, a young Christian about thirty years old. Apart from the house he owned a tobacco and a timber business. Both he and his very beautiful young wife were decent, open-minded people who had four Jewish families living in their house.
These Christian landlords lived on very good terms with their Jewish neighbors. They often expressed their sincere admiration for Jewish soberness and equinamity, for the orderly and stable relation between husband and wife.
When our landlady visited us on the Shabes before the pogrom, she first was silent for a moment, looked around bewildered and then started sobbing. What was she crying about? Why wouldn't she cry? She was young, pretty and honest, she had a good soul.
Later it became clear that she hadn't only tears for us, but solace as well, and 'protection'. In order to protect us she had organized a small army, from her clerks and brothers. They had to protect the Jews and not allow it, not allow it.
I was strangely moved by this kindhearted, humane woman. It was like she had sprinkled my heart with a warm dew, though if truth be told, I didn't have any confidence in her 'army'. My instinct told me that once it had started they might be among them. Who can trust the hands of a goy at such a moment?
Those that were craving Jewish blood and property really were as punctual as a watch, it started on Sunday, during the day.
Here it is. Here it is. Here it is.
If there had been, by chance, one Jew in ten thousand who had doubted it, he would have heard it now: wild shouting, windows being smashed, the breaking of furniture, the crack of a lock broken open. It had started not far from our place.
The shouting increased and came nearer. The sound of smashing and crashing of furniture and windows burned our ears.
Either I was too bewildered and my eyes had stopped noticing, or it was really true, but I didn't see my good and pretty landlady Shmire. Shmire wasn't there. Certainly, my instinct had been right. And we, the four Jewish families of the compound, followed the latest fashion and started running. We ran into a storeroom. In our compound. With our wives and children. The store-room is big and dark. Timber laying there. We're holding our breath, cling to the mute, cold wood. Suddenly the children start crying loudly. Children are spontaneous, if their heart urges them to cry, they cry. We force back our tears and with our lips bitten blue we threaten them, "Don't cry! Quiet! The pogrom-people are out there! Be silent you! Do you hear me? You must be silent! Ssshush!"
The children were petrified, their eyes big, their faces wet with tears.
The child didn't know what it was about, what pogrom-people were, it could not stop crying. It cried louder and louder. Because I couldn't quiet it down I pressed my hand over its little mouth,to make sure the pogrom-people would not hear where we were.
We soon realised that the store-room wasn't right for us. An attic is better, more Jewish. Jews love attics. We immigrated to the attic.
There our golden landlady showed up. She put wood in front of the attic door to make it more secure. And we wanted to kiss her hands, not out of gratitude, not as a noble gesture, but rather out of dispicable dejection, out of animal fear, like mice that for a moment have escaped from the cat.
Everywhere shouting, screaming; they were plundering, beating, maiming, killing people. We thought we heard the muffled choking of Jews in their last agonies, struggling with death.
The night passed. A black night, an attic night. Why had the landlay hidden us behind wood? Wouldn't it have been easier to kill us? What good is it to lay in hiding, seeming to hear the distant lamenting of Jews getting beaten up; it's easier, better to get killed.
But we weren't people at all, we were mice.
When the difficult, leaden attic night had passed and the day forced its way in though the cracks we looked at each other. Deadly pale faces, bulging eyes, twisted mouths. We didn't speak. We were ashamed to look each other in the eye; ashamed to speak.
The small children held up better than we did. They lay there, lethargic, as if they were orphaned but philosophically calm, with wide-eyed little eyes.
When the daylight became stronger we permitted ourselves a peep through the cracks of the attic. We wanted to know: what was going on in our street ?
I don't know who was busy in other streets at that moment , but in our alley small barefooted street kids, twelve-year-olds, with iron staves, crowbars and axes in hand were on the rampage.
Looking through the crack at those little devils you wanted to bite your fingers: Fathers, foolish fathers, have locked themselves in on an attic and just sit. Get on the street! go out into the street! It would have been a mitsve, a good deed to get down from there.
But we were terrible cowards and we stayed put on that attic, in anguish and fear for a full forty eight hours.
That is how long the pogrom lasted.
There were moments you wanted to grab a knife and kill yourself. Such a desire came over you in your more lucid moments, when you sensed that there was something to wish for, when the fear started ebbing away somewhat, the kind of state you might be in after a strong toothache.
In those minutes you also started pitying the innocent little ones. They must want to eat; hunger is gnawing at them. They must want to drink; thirst is torturing them.
But then the shouting of the pogrom-people rings out even more savagely and in that instant everything else is forgotten again, once more you are overcome with animal fear, you lose control completely.
During the second night we already were in a state of shock, we were laying there hardly breathing. You did not hear a sound from the children. You couldn't tell whether they were alive or dead. Those amazingly clever little ones understood that they couldn't be helped now, so they kept silent.
Sometimes I discerned the soundless breathing of the infants, it was the fluttering of their souls. But no one bothered about them.
When the day came, after the second night, the wild pogrom shouts slowly died down. Slowly it got more quiet. It seemed the cat had gone an we, the mice, lifted our heads. And with their heads up the mice soon started talking among each other, in human language:
It seems it has stopped?...
Nothing to be heard ...
It has ended ...
Maybe go down? ...
Wait, I think I hear shouting ...
I hear ...
No, you imagine it ...
It's quiet ...
If that's so ...
Listen carefully ...
Really, all quiet ...
I thought ...
It appears to me ...
I'm afraid ...
What's that? ...
Really quiet ...
Are you sure? ...
Quiet, quiet ...
But then the mice heard someone crawling up to the attic. The mice immediately held their breath and broke out in a final cold sweat. But is was the landlady 's maid. She had come to tell us that it was now safe to come down.
You hear, we can go down! We slowly realised: We can go down. We can go down. We can go down!
The mice got up, but their walking was a sorry performance. They couldn't use their legs, they managed with difficulty to scramble down from the attic.
We all went to my apartment. The landlady came in, with her husband and brothers, and when they saw us they just kept gaping at us. The landlady had a fit. The mice looked very nice indeed.
The fainting of the landlady was the last straw, we broke down and gave ourselves over to self-pitying, to pitying the children, and we all started crying loudly as only miserably orphaned children with a very horrible stepmother can cry.
I can't remember when or why we stopped crying. I guess our landlady quieted us down. Soon she came to and comforted us. After all, she had not been hiding on an attic.
The infants were taken care of; milk was given to them and tea from the landlady's samovar, which her maid had carried in. We, the bigger ones, couldn't eat or drink. We were lightheaded like we hadn't eaten in a thousand years.
After that the neighborhood warden26 came. He announced that we could go out in the street, that it was quiet now, calm, we could even open up our shops.
Thanks for the news. A very good warden. "Now", he says, "we may go out on the street." A very good warden.
However hard it was, I went out into the street. Stepmother street. There it was quiet like after a battle. I learned that the people I knew and my friends all had got off with a fright - as if fright doesn't harm a person. The Jewish community of Kiev was in ruins. That had been exactly what the organisers of the pogrom had wanted and they had succeeded completely, for even the wealthier Jews, who hadn't been plundered, went bankrupt. The city looked like it had suffered an earthquake. In those few days Jews had aged. All they could do was heave a deep sigh. In many streets, especially in the Podol area27 the ground was covered with feathers, torn up shirts, broken household goods and furniture.
Later you often would see small groups of pogrom participants on their way to the police station28
To the hurt Jewish feelings that was a drop of 'consolation'. A sign that there was at least a remnant of justice left, that there was after all a limit, a fence protecting against wild animals, bloodthirsty creatures. But soon we found out that this wasn't the case. The pogrom participants were let out of prison immediately; they would parade through the streets with a mocking smile on their faces.
Now it was clear that we had nothing to hope for. (There were others with hopes).
It became even more obvious when 'warnings' where put up in the streets, issued by the Governor29 , saying that if 'disorder' broke out again, he would resort to force and open fire at those participating in the pogrom.
As if they couldn't have done that earlier.
The pogrom had been carried out to the full: raping of women, beating up invalids, breaking furniture, looting shops and wheeling off the plunder to the villages.
Some of the bigger Jewish businesses had suffered huge damages, among them Rozenberg's bakeries30 , whose losses amounted to a million rubles, those of the Brodski house31 , where they had plundered without limit, were beyond estimation, and there were others as well as.
All the Jews who had become homeless were herded together somewhere in a big barrack. That's also where they brought the sick and the pregnant women, who were completely overcome by fear. Especially the pregnant women, that is, women about to give birth. They were a terrible sight. They really had timed the birth of their child wrong. They had to go through the whole business of going into labor and giving birth in a barrack, surrounded by strangers that had no other place to go to, amidst the groaning of the sick and the terrible crying of the healthy.
The sight of the barrack was such, that it remained etched in fire for ever in the memories of anyone who saw it.
But as we learned afterwards, the Kiev pogrom had been conducted 'mildly'. In Balte, in Gezhin32 it had been a thousand times worse. There the atrocities had gone so far, that they dwarfed the acts of the most ferocious and bloodthirsty animals.
Right after the pogrom about five thousand people left for America. Many Jews set out with wife and children for the Pale of Settlement, in the hope of finding a quiet spot to rest their heads there .
Nobody thought about an income, trade, a life. All they thought about was a place free of fear, where people would not come at you with hatchets and crowbars in hand, where your daughters wouldn't be raped, where your child wouldn't have to lie on an attic floor for two days and nights, terrified. A place were you would not be turned into a mouse.
Of course I didn't want to stay in Kiev either. Let the city go on without me. The streets disgusted me, the goyim made sick. I could no longer breath the Kiev air.
Good friends advised me to stay, "That's what it's like to be a Jew, where can you run to?"
I didn't listen to them. I left my business in Kiev for what it was. To hell with it. I decided to go to Poland, to Warsaw.
Poles, I thought then, (I have changed my mind slightly since), will never hold pogroms against Jews. Poles are a people with culture and they know enough about the 'suffering of a nation', about the 'anguish of a nation'. They themselves know well enough the meaning of 'the tragedy of a nation', what it means to be harried, to be tortured, to be strangled.
Having left Kiev, a man starving, broken, I made my way to Warsaw, by myself for the time being. I intended to find myself some kind of business in that big city and to have wife and children come over later.
Part of all the adversity that I lived through in Kiev, hardship and anguish, a flood33 , fear for man-hunts34 and a pogrom, was the news that my dear father had passed away. He, the fine, pure and sincere man he was, had not been able to cope any longer. Someone convicted to hard labor probably feels better than he did in the village; he died at the age of forty six. The rural environment, the wide open fields, where no singing Khosid would ever pass through, the unfamiliar and rough work on the land, his constant longing for his Rebbe, for God, for Jews - it all had worn out his heart and he had died away like a tiny bird in dark, small cage. His heart had failed him.
So young, forty six years35 .
He could not endure.
About a year after father's death grandfather Arn Leyzer died. The last several years he hadn't been living in the village, but in Kamenits. His influence on the town was still big. Not as big of course as it had been during his younger years. When he was young he could oppose the opinion of the whole community. If for instance the town wanted a certain Rov and he wanted another, the town would have to give way to his power. This actually happened once.
After the death of my uncle, the Rov of Kamenits36 , they had to appoint a new one and a meeting to discuss the matter was convened. They had the option of appointing a son of the deceased Rov. He was a Talmud scholar, but he was a Khosid37 . There was a second son, a Misnaged all right, but he was Rov in a small town in Poland38 and was not deemed fit to replace his honorable father. He was not important enough for Kamenits; he also had the reputation of being a bit of a fool; Kamenits didn't want him for its Rov. But grandfather wanted to give him his support. His father had been the Rov, now it was his son's turn, even though grandfather hadn't liked the last Rov a whole lot. He made a point of it and on this very issue grandfather bravely measured his willpower against the will of the community. Grandfather didn't make use of any weapons in his battle. He did only one thing. He refused to sign the contract when the town wanted to appoint a visiting Rov they were taken with after hearing his a sermon. That was all.
Refusing to sign he said, "I don't want to mix in affairs concerning the rabbinate. You can take any Rov you want, I won't tell you what to do. Do what you like. I just don't happen to be an expert in Rov's.
Having received this answer the leaders left perturbed. They knew very well that Arn Leyzer's not signing would make the appointment of a Rov very insecure.
One day a well known person, Mr. Ye(hoy)shuele39 arrived in Kamenits. He was a great Jewish personality, a man of great knowledge. He gave some sermons and the people of the town liked him very much. They decided to call a meeting for Shabbes evening at Dovid Yitskhok's place. All members of the community were present at this meeting, a contract was made up and everyone there signed it. But the first line underneath the contract they left blank for Arn Leyzer. Two well respected gentlemen went to ask grandfather to come and put down his, the first signature. He didn't want to.
"Well, in that case we can do without his signature!" said the angered citizens. "If he doesn't want to sign, we'll do without! We can't lose such a great scholar!"
But among these angry men there were a few skeptical individuals who shook their heads and said in a derisive tone: "Fools you are, fools. Say, have you ever succeeded in doing anything without having Arn Leyzer's permission? Much good you are without him. We feel sorry for Mr. Yehoyshele for wasting his time here.
Mr. Yehoysele, seeing that there wasn't anything he could do there, stood up from his place and went with Dovid Yitskhok to grandfather.
"Mr. Arn Leyzer," he pleaded with tears in his eyes, "it's not because the wages you pay me here. They are terrible wages. Hardly enough to buy bread with. But my ambition is to get the chair that so many great scholars and holy men have held in the past."
My strong grandfather finally gave in ...
He went to the meeting and placed his signature. He also put ten rubles on the table, for the Rov.
That was an excellent move and at the same time a kind of revenge. That way he forced all those stingy citizens of Kamenits to follow suit by giving at least three or four rubles, something they resented doing very much.
Grandfather died at the age of seventy40 . Many people cried at his demise and quite a few were happy to be rid of such an intellect, such a force.
He found his eternal rest in the graveyard of Kamenits. He had loved dearly that poor Lithuanian soil, the place were he had been born. Closing his clever eyes forever the thought, maybe his very last thought, which must have warmed his blood, the cold blood of a dying man, was that his tired body was going to rest in the quiet, motherly earth of Kamenits.
1.1Alexander II: 1818-1881; czar of Russia (1855-81); emancipated the serfs (1861); assassinated in 1881. Son of Nicholas I.
2.eyl-mole rakhmim - First words of prayer for the death said by Azhkenazim: "Oh Lord, full of compassion".
3.Loris-Melikov: Count Mikhail Tarielovich Loris-Melikov, 1826-88, Russian general and statesman. He was created count for his services in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78 and in 1880 was made minister of the interior by Alexander II.. Mentioned as Governor General of Kharkov. (Vol. II, Chapt XXI, p. 289.)
4.Ignatyev: Count Nikolay Pavlovich = Ignatiev, Paul-Nicolas: Russian general and diplomat, born in St. Petersburg (1832-1908). He instituted the so called 'Temporary May' laws of 1882, severely curbing the settlement of Jews in villages.
5.remeslene: Artisans had to obtain certificates of proficiency in their craft. Comp. Vol. II, Chapt. XVII, p. 255: Here a plan is discussed to open Jewish 'remeslene schulen', schools for artisans. See: Oytser: 435, p.346 = balmelokhish;. Shapiro: remesljennik - handwerker; remeslo - melokhe; remeslejenni - handverker-/(er)isher. If an artisan changed his trade, he would have to leave the city and go to the Pale of Settlement to 'qualify' for his new trade.
6.The first day of Pesach fell on Thursday, 14 April 1881.
7.Vasilkov - Wasilkow, about 30 km. south of Kiev.
8.Kotik uses the term 'rabiner',both for the 'rov' of Kiev and the 'rebbe' of Vasilikov. A 'rabiner' or 'Government Rabbi, R. 'kazyonni ravvin', was appointed by the Russian government, rather to further the interests of the government than to give religious guidance. The institution existed from 1835 until 1917.
9.Normally a small Khasidic house of prayer.
10.Compare Vol. I, Chapt XXIX, for a similar discription of khasidic worshipping.
11.hodu/hoydu: First word of the Psalm "Give thanks unto the Lord", I Chr. 16,8-36. Part of the morning prayer, preceding the 'borekh-sheomar'. In Nusekh-Ashkenaz the morning service begins with Borekh-sheamar. in Nusekh-Sfard and Nusekh-Hoari with Hoydu.
12.ashrey: First word of a prayer in praise of God said three times a day: "happy is he who..."
13.oz-isher: = shire. First words of the song sung by Moses and the Jews to God after crossing the Red Sea. Part of the daily morning prayer.
14.According to information received from Mr. Abraham J. Heschel: "Yishtabach is the concluding prayer of the first part of the Morning prayers known as Pesukei D'Zimrah, and is right before Borchu and after Oz Yoshir". Mr.Leonard Prager: "leshabeakh = to praise - yishtabeakh is future third person of the hitpael - 'will be praised".
15.kdushe: Part of the morning prayer.
17.zoyer - Zohar: The holiest mystical book of the Kabbalah [kabole - Kabbalah: A Jewish mystical philosophy]. According to the tradition written in the 2nd cent. C.E. by tane r' shimen bar yekhay. The probable author or editor is r' moyshe de-leon, end 13th cent. C.E.
18.medresh, pl. medroshim - Midrash: Commentaries on the tenakh, Biblical exegesis, consisting of translations, legends,and fables, compiled in Talmudic and Post-Talmudic times, from 400 to 1200 C.E. It is not a single work, but a body of literature.
19.belemer > Hark. balmemer - bema, pulpit. Hark. balemer - Platform in a synagogue from where the Torah is read. Comp. omed - column; pulpit, cantor's desk.
20.kest - Comp. Du. kost - food. Room and board, offered by a family, as part of the marriage contract, to its new son-in-law to enable him to continue his studies without financial worries.
21.Smoking was considered by Khsidim as a means to hasten the comiming of the Mesiekh.
22.Kievlyanin: an anti-semitic newspaper: "a paper, that like all anti-semitic papers, poured every day tar and sulfur on Jews." ( Vol. II, Chapt. XVIII, p. 257). The daily newspaper 'Kievlianin. literaturnaia i politicheskaia gazeta iugo-zapadnago kraia' was published in Kiev from 1864 untill 1918.
23.Yelisavetgrad - Jelisawetgrad/Elizavetgrad - Kirovograd, Ukraine, province of Kherson. In 1881 the population was about 40,000, of which one fourth Jews. The pogrom took place from Wednesnesday 27 April afternoon untill the morning of the 29th. One Jew was killed. The event was reported in 'The Jewish Chronicle' of May 6. 1881, p. 11.
24.bosiak: Hark. - bosak - ruffian, rowdy; R.bosiak - tramp, down-and-out.
25.The Kiev pogrom started on Sunday, May 8.
26.okolodotshni > R. okolo - about, near. A kind of neighborhood policeman, warden.
27.Podol: name of one of the Jewish neigborhoods [tsirkl; rayon] of Kiev. > R. podol - lower part, lower slopes, foot.
28.tsirkl - district. Comp. Vol. II, Chapt. XVII, p. 233: di gasn fun a por tsirklen zenen fartrunken gevorn. Here: district's police office.
29.At the time of the Kiev pogrom the Governor General of Kiev was General Drenteln.
30.Comp. Vol. II, Chapt. XVII, p. 238: The millionaire Rozenberg, who was a brother-in-law of Baron Ginzburg
31.Comp. Vol. II, Chapt. XVII, p. 238: r' Yisroel Brodski. Vol. II, Chapt. XIX, p. 258: He owned a sugar factory in Tsherkos. One of the five sons of Meir Shor from Brody, who, when he settled in Zlatopol, in the province of Kiev, changed his name to Brodsky. The family owned a chain of sugar factories, one situated Demievka outside Kiev.
32.Balta and Gaisin, towns in theUkraine.
33.This flood is described in Vol. II, Chapt.XVII, p. 233 we are told that this flood took place around peysekh and that it was one of the worst since many years. Kotik does not give the year, but it must have been 1875 or 1876.
34.obloves: Police would round up vagrant Jews, old people, invalids, women, children, to be deported from the city. (Vol. II, Chapt. XVII, p. 237, 238). The former Governor-General of Kiev, Tshertkov, put an end to the man-hunts in 1877. (Vol. II, Chapt. XVIII, p. 253, 254). However, they were resumed under his successors. In Vol. II, Chapt. XVI, p. 229-231 Kotik describes his first 'oblove' in Kiev.
35.Moyshe, the eldest son of Arn Leyzer, was thirteen years old when his marriage contract was made up. He left his wife soon after the marriage to go and live with his Rebbe in Kobrin, where he stayed for several months. He was fourteen and a half years older than his son when his son married [in August/September 1865]. His son, the author, born in the summer of 1847, was seventeen years old at the time - probably almost eighteen. Moyshe must have been thirty two years and six months old. He would have been born in 1832. If he died at the age of forty six, the year must have been 1878 or 1879.
36.Abraham Dov Halevi, died on the first day of Sukhes 1865. He was the brother of the father of the author's mother.
37.The author's namesake Yekheskl, who was married to Hadase, a sister of Yekheskl Kotik's wife.
38.The name of the second son is Simkhe, mentioned in Chapter XVIII.
39.Kotik gives no further information about r.'Ye(hoy)shuele.
40.Vol. I, Chapt. II, p. 68: mayn zeyde, r. arn-leyzer ... geboyrn iz er gevorn in yor tav-kuf"samekh [400-100-60=5560=1800], 1798-tn yor.
There is obviously a mistake in the conversion of the date. Kotik makes more mistakes with date conversions, e.g. Vol. I, Chapt. III, p.88, where he equals the year 5592 instead of 5602 with 1842.
If Arn-Leyzer was seventy years old when he died, he would have died in the year 1868 or 1870. If the writer made a mistake, an age of eighty years is more likely. Then he would have died in 1878 or in 1880. If he died about a year after his son Moyshe, 1880 must be the year.
In Vol II, Chapt. I we read that grandfather remarried shortly after his wife's death, at the age of sixty. Hiswife died around 1866, after the marriage of her grandson, the author, August- Sept. 1865, and after the cholera epidemic of 1865-1866. If this second marriage took place in 1866, grandfather would have been born around 1806. It is therefore more likely that he was born in or around 1810 than in 1800.
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