Our Notes & References
This work delves into the infamous case of Menahem Mendel Beilis, a Russian Jew (1874-1934) who stood accused of ritual murder in Kiev in 1911. The prosecution alleged that the murder of the 13-y. old child Iushchinskii was a religious ritual, drawing connections to the blood libel, a widespread legend that many Russians believed during that time. Beilis endured over two years of imprisonment awaiting trial, during which an anti-Semitic campaign raged in the Russian press. Despite the lengthy trial, Beilis was eventually acquitted, but the legal proceedings shed light on the prevailing issue of anti-Semitism within the Russian Empire, sparking international criticism.
Published more than 20 years after the events and the judgement, this scarce pamphlet is part of the series ‘Biblioteka Russkago Natsionalista’, published in Shanghai by the Russian Fascist Party, a minor Russian émigré movement based in Manchukuo during the 1930s and 1940s. Among the works advertised on the lower wrapper we find ‘What Figures Say about Jews (Official Data of German Stastistics)’.
It seems that the text is a reedition of a supplement to the newspaper ‘Novaia Zhizn’, published in Vilna the year of the trial, in 1913. Beilis died in July 1934; however the pamphlet’s publication in February of that year doesn’t seem to be connected to it.
Sometimes compared to the Leo Frank case in the USA, Beilis’s story inspired Bernard Malamud’s acclaimed 1966 novel, ‘The Fixer’, which received both the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the US National Book Award for Fiction.
‘Manchuria’ (blue ink stamp to lower wrapper); Avenir Nizoff (a pianist who lived in Edmonton, Canada, in the second half of the 20th century, and gathered a large, wide-ranging library of Russian works, especially covering art, history and literature, with a strong representation of émigré works).