Minsk (Jan. 18)
Not since the Beilis affair has a case with a Jewish aspect atracted so much attention in Russia as the trial in the Barshay affair which opened Wednesday evening at six o’clock in the high court here. Because of the large crowds attending, the court was forced to seek larger quarters, transferring its sessions to the spacious hall recently built by the workers’ club. Russian and foreign correspondents of newspapers crowded around the press table. A representative of the Polish Consular service was present. The majority of those who came to witness the trial are Jews. Two members of the defense counsel, appointed by the White Russian Lawyers’ Collegium are Jews, Friedman and Kotzina.
Dreize Barshay, the victim of the persecutions for which the defendants are being tried, was attended by her girl friends. Timid and tearful, she declared she was unable to speak Russian or White Russian well. She is to have an interpreter as the court proceedings are being conducted chieflly in White Russia and partly in Russian.
Four defendants, Tochilin, Gruzdyev, Tuliakov and Krasnyansky, were cross-examined at the opening session and the Thursday morning session. Tochilin, the foreman in the department where Miss Barshay worked, stated that he had taught her her work, that he occasionally scolded her, but he did not abuse her. Later he admitted that he “teased” Miss Barshay white Nitzievskaya and others spilled water on her. Tochilin denied intentions of persecution saying that to him the word “Jew” and the term “Zhid” are identical, therefore he meant no evil. In its attempt to prove counter revolutionary activities against Tochilin, the prosecution in its questions brought replies from Tochilin that he served in the Red army for two years, but he was unable to explain what the Soviet regime is, saying he had forgotten.
Krasnyansky, guard stationed at the factory, claimed that he did not see the pouring of water on Miss Barshay. He said he arrived on the scene when two Jewish workers demanded that he stop her being tortured, but he only saw a group, including Miss Barshay, laughing. He admitted that Miss Barshay’s clothes were wet and that Nitzayevskaya held a water pitcher.
The defense is seeking to prove that the defendants are too ignorant and stupid to realize the significance of the term “Zhid,” a derogatory term.