Machno, Pogrom Band Leader, Attempts to Disclaim Guilt for Pogroms

(Jewish Telegraphic Agency Mail Service)

An attempt to disclaim his guilt in organizing anti-Jewish pogroms in the Ukraine was made by Attaman Nestor Machno, infamous leader of pogrom bands, in an open letter published in the French anarchistic weekly, “Le Liberte.”

The letter, which is addressed “To the Jews,” reads as follows:

“Jews, fellow citizens, for several years one hears in your organizations and in your political circles outcries and curses against the Machno movement and against me personally. We are considered as pogrom makers. We are accused of having robbed, murdered and violated the Jewish population of the Ukraine.

“This infamous lie has been repeated lately since the murder of Semion Petlura, the chief and national hero of the semi-bourgeois Ukraine.

“I read these lies and insults in two Parisian papers not long ago and I therefore consider it my duty to state that provocation and lies will not help the Jews to establish the facts, the real story which should give the Jews the right to take revenge on its oppressors. It is necesary that the truth, a truth which, based on the facts and which would be submitted for the judgment of the world, the press and public gatherings, should be told.

“Before the entire world I state that no Jew is in possession of one fraction of an established fact which would allow a man with a fiery soul to come and, honestly looking me in the eye, say that I am responsible for the pogroms, that I robbed and murdered the Jewish population or that I was even indifferent when such shameful acts were committed by others. I can enumerate before the world the names of the towns in the Ukraine and the dates, which will prove where and when and by what measures attempts of agitation or acts directed against the Jewish population were prevented in the course of several years by myself or by the staff of the movement at the head of which I stood. Indeed, the number of rich representatives of the Jewish people who take up the absurd rumors and the malicious lies about me cannot prove anything. They have only irresponsible gossip or purposeful insults.

“Jews, an open heart tells a truthful story. Declare publicly that the entire world may hear you: where and when were there pogroms in the Ukraine organized by me or by the revolutionary peasants’ movement, of which I was the head? The moment is willing to tell mankind the historic truth concerning the anti-Jewish pogroms in the Ukraine and concerning those who were really guilty of instigating the pogroms.”

The letter of Attaman Machno, the notorious pogrom band leader, was considered here as an attempt on his part to whitewash himself in the fear of sharing Petlura’s fate. It was stated that evidence concerning his pogrom activities will be included in the testimony at the trial of Sholom Schwartzbard.

The “Jewish Daily Forward” of New York, in an editorial published July 20, declared that it has opened a Schwartz-bard defense fund and urges its readers to send in contributions. Abe. Cahan, editor of the paper, was announced as treasurer of the fund. The editorial states that now, since it has become clear that the Schwartzbard trial will be of the greatest importance to the Jews throughout the world and will serve as an occasion to bring out the facts concerning the Ukrainian massacres, it is the duty of every Jew to contribute to this fund, which will be used to reveal the truth.

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