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The Legal Sufferings of the Jews of Russia (1912)

The Pale 1835-1917What was it like to be a Jew in tsarist Russia? Hans Rogger has produced an excellent book on the evolution of government policy regarding the Jews (Jewish Policies and Right-Wing Politics in Imperial Russia, Macmillan 1986). But this study is written from a top-down perspective. We can get some idea of the situation "on the ground" from the works of Sholem Aleichem (for example, Tevye the Dairyman and the Railroad Stories, Schocken Books, 1987). However, the most valuable source on the situation of Jews in tsarist Russia that I have been able to locate is a report published in 1912 by the London publisher T. Fisher Unwin and edited (and probably largely written) by Lucien Wolf, an Anglo-Jewish journalist well known at the time. The report, entitled The Legal Sufferings of the Jews in Russia: A Survey of Their Present Situation, and an Appendix of Laws, presents a mass of detailed information about the ways in which discriminatory tsarist laws affected the daily lives of Russian Jews. 

As this source does not seem to be available elsewhere on the internet, here is a file that contains a photocopy of the report. 

The Legal Sufferings of the Jews of Russia (1912) - April 1912 (23.3 MB)

I am grateful to the librarian at the Board of Deputies of British Jews for making this document available to me. 





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