Anti-Jewish violence in Central and Eastern Europe, 1944–1946

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The anti-Jewish violence in Central and Eastern Europe following the retreat of Nazi German occupational forces and the arrival of the Soviet Red Army – during the latter stages of World War II – was linked in part to postwar anarchy and economic chaos exacerbated by the Stalinist policies imposed across the territories of expanded Soviet republics and new satellite countries. The anti-semitic attacks had become frequent in Soviet towns ravaged by war; at the marketplaces, in depleted stores, in schools, and even at state enterprises.[1] Protest letters were sent to Moscow from numerous Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian towns by the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee involved in documenting the Holocaust.[1]


The Soviet authorities failed to address the years of Hitler's anti-Jewish propaganda, wrote Colonel David Dragunsky; anti-Semitic elements from among the former Nazi collaborators in the Soviet Union were often put in charge of state enterprises.[1] Solomon Mikhailovich Mikhoels, Chairman of the JAFC, who was murdered in Minsk in January 1948, wrote that Jewish homes were not being returned. In Berdichev, Mogilev-Podolsk Balta, Zhmerinka, Vinnitsa, Khmelnik, Old Rafalovka and many other towns, Jews were forced to remain in the areas of former Nazi ghettos for their own safety.[1] The Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee (JAFC) was targeted by Soviet authorities directly in the so-called rootless cosmopolitan campaign of the second half of the 1940s and in the Night of the Murdered Poets.[2][3]

The JAFC Presidium met in late August, 1944, with a commander of a Jewish partisan unit from Belorussia. Answering a question concerning attitudes of the non-Jewish population towards Jews in Minsk, he stated: "... the attitude wasn't good. There have been numerous anti-semitic incidents ... a battle for apartments has started ... there are difficulties concerning employment.[1]

Several months after the Mikhoels assassination, other Jewish figures were arrested. His death signalled the beginning of the country-wide repression of the Jews accused of espionage and economic crimes. A campaign against Zionism was launched in the fall of 1948, but by the end of the decade, Jews had disappeared from the upper echelons of the party in the republics.[4] This was followed by the Jewish doctor-killers case of 1952–53 accompanied by publications of anti-Semitic texts in the media,[5] and hundreds of torture interrogations.[6] Most communities in the Soviet Union never acknowledged the involvement of the local auxiliary police in the Holocaust.[7][8][9] The vast majority of the 300,000 Schutzmannschaft members in the German-occupied territories of the USSR[10][11] quietly returned to their former lives, including members of the Byelorussian Home Defence participating in the pacification actions, in which some 30,000 Jews were murdered,[12] and members of Ukrainische Hilfspolizei battalions responsible for the extermination of 150,000 Jews in the area of Volhynia alone.[13] Khrushchev proclaimed that the Jews were not welcome in the Ukraine.[14]

Satellite countries[edit]

Upon the Soviet takeover of Poland, "only a fraction of [the Jewish] deaths could be attributed to anti-semitism" wrote Jan T. Gross.[15] Most were caused by the raging anti-communist insurrection against the new pro-Soviet government.[16] According to David Engel, the anti-Jewish violence in Poland from 1944–46 took the lives of at least 327 Jews.[17]

Hundreds of returning Jews were killed in Romania.[18][19] Anti-Jewish demonstrations, sometimes based on blood libel accusations, took place in Hungary in dozens of places,[20][21][22] including in Kunmadaras (two or four dead victims) and Miskolc.

In Topoľčany, Slovakia, 48 Jews were seriously injured in September 1945. A number of Jews was murdered in Kolbasov in December. 13 anti-Jewish incidents called partisan pogroms reportedly took place on 1–5 August 1946, the biggest one being in Žilina, where 15 people were wounded.[23] Partisan Congress riots took place in Bratislava in August 1946 and in August 1948, including anti-Jewish riots in several other locations.[24][25]

In Kiev, Ukraine on September 4–7, 1945,[26] around a hundred Jews were beaten, of whom thirty-six were hospitalized and five died of wounds.[27] In Rubtsovsk, Russia, a number of anti-Semitic incidents took place in 1945.[28]


  1. ^ a b c d e Shimon Redlich, Kirill Mikhaĭlovich Anderson, I. Alʹtman (1995). War, Holocaust and Stalinism: A Documented Study of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee in the USSR. Psychology Press. pp. 38–44, 97, 229, 459. ISBN 9783718657391.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  2. ^ Medvedev, Zhores (2003). Сталин и еврейская проблема: новый анализ [Stalin and the Jewish Question: New Analysis]. Moscow: Prava Cheloveka. p. 148. ISBN 5-7712-0251-7.
  3. ^ Pinkus, Benjamin (1984). The Soviet Government and the Jews 1948-1967: A Documented Study. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 183–184. ISBN 0-521-24713-6.
  4. ^ Zvi Y. Gitelman (2001). The Black Years and the Gray, 1948-1967. A Century of Ambivalence: The Jews of Russia and the Soviet Union, 1881 to the Present. Indiana University Press. pp. 144–154. ISBN 0253214181.
  5. ^ Brent, Jonathan; Vladimir P. Naumov (2003). Stalin's Last Crime: The Plot Against the Jewish Doctors, 1948-1953. New York: HarperCollins. p. 4. ISBN 0-06-019524-X.
  6. ^ Sebag-Montefiore, Simon (2005). Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar. New York: Vintage Books. p. 636. ISBN 1-4000-7678-1.
  7. ^ Meredith M. Meehan (2010). "Auxiliary Police Units in the Occupied Soviet Union, 1941-43: A Case Study of the Holocaust in Gomel, Belarus" (PDF). United States Naval Academy: 44 – via PDF file, direct download 2.13 MB. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  8. ^ Alexandra Goujon (28 August 2008). "Memorial Narratives of WWII Partisans and Genocide in Belarus". France: University of Bourgogne: 4. Archived from the original on 5 August 2016 – via DOC file, direct download. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  9. ^ John-Paul Himka and Joanna Beata Michlic (July 2013). Bringing the Dark Past to Light. The Reception of the Holocaust in Postcommunist Europe (PDF). University of Nebraska Press. p. 16. ISBN 978-0803246478. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-10-22.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  10. ^ Dean, Martin (2003). Collaboration in the Holocaust: Crimes of the Local Police in Belorussia and Ukraine, 1941-44. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 60. ISBN 9781403963710.
  11. ^ Andrea Simon (2002). Bashert: A Granddaughter's Holocaust Quest. Atonement. Univ. Press of Mississippi. p. 225. ISBN 1578064813.
  12. ^ Eugeniusz Mironowicz (2014). "Okupacja niemiecka na Białorusi" [German occupation of Belarus]. Historia Białorusi od połowy XVIII do XX w. [History of Belarus, mid 18th century until the 20th century] (in Polish and Belarusian). Związek Białoruski w RP, Katedra Kultury Białoruskiej Uniwersytetu w Białymstoku (Internet Archive). Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  13. ^ Alexander Statiev (2010). The Soviet Counterinsurgency in the Western Borderlands. Cambridge University Press. p. 69.
  14. ^ Benjamin Pinkus (26 January 1990). The Jews of the Soviet Union: The History of a National Minority. Anti-Semitism. p. 219. ISBN 0521389267.
  15. ^ Gross, Jan T. (2005). "After Auschwitz: The Reality and Meaning of Postwar Antisemitism in Poland". In Jonathan Frankel (ed.). Studies in Contemporary Jewry. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-518224-3.
  16. ^ August Grabski. "Central and Eastern European Online Library (CEEOL); page 11, note 7 of current document" (PDF). Book review of Stefan Grajek, "Po wojnie i co dalej? Żydzi w Polsce, w latach 1945−1949", translated from Hebrew by Aleksander Klugman, Żydowski Instytut Historyczny, Warsaw 2003 (p. 95) (in Polish). Kwartalnik Historii Żydów, Recenzje (Jewish History Quarterly; Reviews). p. 240 – via direct download, 1.03 MB.
  17. ^ Engel, David (1998). "Patterns Of Anti-Jewish Violence In Poland, 1944-1946" (PDF). Yad Vashem Studies Vol. XXVI. Yad Vashem. p. 32.
  18. ^ Minicy Catom Software Engineering Ltd. (1946-07-04). "Institute for Global Jewish Affairs – Global Antisemitism, Anti-Israelism, Jewish Studies". Archived from the original on 2010-06-13. Retrieved 2010-04-08.
  19. ^ Jean Ancel, "The Return of the Survivors from Transnistria," in David Bankier, ed., The Jews Are Coming Back (Yad Vashem, 2005), 241.
  20. ^ Levy, Richard S. (1939-01-30). Antisemitism: a historical ... - Google Książki. ISBN 9781851094394. Retrieved 2010-04-08.
  21. ^ Petö Andrea. "Népbiróság és vérvád az 1945 utáni Budapesten" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2010-04-08.
  22. ^ Kenez, Peter (2001). "Antisemitism in Post World War II Hungary - violence, riots; Communist Party policy | Judaism | Find Articles at BNET". Retrieved 2010-04-08.
  23. ^ "CS Magazin". CS Magazin. Retrieved 2010-04-08.
  24. ^ Mgr. Ivica Bumova, PhD. "Protizidovske vytrznosti v Bratislave v historicksom kontexte" (PDF). Studie Pamat Naroda. 28 (27 / 100) in PDF. The Jewish demands to return lost property caused and open resistance of a certain part of Slovak community. The frustration was transformed into anti-Jewish riots that took place in Bratislava and several other cities and villages... {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  25. ^ Protizidovske nepokoje v Bratislave - August 1946 - August 1948. Archived 2013-06-23 at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ "State-sponsored Anti-Semitism in Postwar USSR. Studies and Research Perspectives; Antonella Salomoni". Quest. Issues in Contemporary Jewish History / Questioni di storia ebraica contemporanea. 2 April 2010. Retrieved 2012-07-26.
  27. ^ Amir Weiner. Making Sense of War: The Second World War and the Fate of the Bolshevik Revolution. Princeton University Press. 2008. p. 192.
  28. ^ Redlich, Shimon; Anderson, Kirill Mikhaĭlovich; Altman, I. (1995). War, Holocaust and Stalinism: a ... - Google Książki. ISBN 9783718657391. Retrieved 2010-04-08.

Further reading[edit]