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The Behaviour of the Police in Vilna: a Censored Document Giving Numbers of Police Who Joined in Bea

Councillor A. Cincinatus, a member of the Vilna City Council, and former President of the Jewish Students’ Mutual Aid Society at Vilna University, submitted a detailed statement on the behaviour of the Vilna Police during the anti-Jewish outbreak to the District Governor of Vilna, at his own request, expressed at an interview on the subject of the outbreak which the Governor gave to Jewish newspaper representatives, in which Councillor Cincinatus took part. By order of the censor, no Jewish paper in Poland has been permitted to publish the document, a copy of which has reached the London J.T.A.

On November 9th., at about 5 p.m., the Police Commissioner in charge of the detachment stationed outside the University building turned in an offensive manner to the Jewish students who had gathered there and shouted several times: “This is not Palestine’. You must not demonstrate here!”, Dr. Cincinatus begins. This fact, he says, can be confirmed by the students Weksler, Bastacki and others.

The Jewish students Minker and Kogan, who had been beaten and thrown out of the University courtyard, were again beaten with rubber cudgels at about 9.30 by Police Constables 1140 and 1624, stationed near the University. Minker’s spectacles were smashed, he proceeds. At about 10 o’clock the Jewish students in the building of the Physiological Institute in the Nowo Grodska Street were beaten and thrown out of the building, and the police not only stood by completely indifferent, but actually helped to beat the Jews. The following suffered at the hands of the police: Iser Levine, beaten with his truncheon by 46; Hisch Gorfan, beaten by 197; Poievski, beaten about with his sabre by 423; Ompsiboski, beaten by 1147 till he was a mass of blood; Zakov, beaten with his truncheon by 995; Landman, beaten with his truncheon by 499; Meyer Rabinovitch, beaten by 1047 till he was covered in blood and had to be given first-aid; Demigolski, beaten by 1199; Sokolovski, beaten by police sergeant 182; Hoffman, ridden down by mounted policeman 282; Lobecki, beaten by 1146, who tore his coat collar right off; Lekach, beaten with a rubber cudgel by 1198.

POLICE COMMISSIONER ISSUED ORDERS TO HIS MEN TO BEAT JEWS

The student Brevda, graduate in Chemistry, is a witness that the Commissioner in charge of the police detachment issued orders to his men to beat the Jews.

The National Democratic students went in procession from the Institute of Physiology through the following streets, Slovod Kiego, Wielka, Pohulanka, Trozka, Dominikanska, and St. Ignacego, shouting “Beat the Jews! Out with the Jews!”.

The procession stopped outside the premises of the Jewish Students’ Federation in the Ludviarska Street, and the demonstrators encircled the building. Instead of clearing the street, the police allowed the demonstrators to start bombarding the Students’ Home with cobble stones, and then the police themselves broke into the building, beating everyone they met, and driving them into the street where the National Democratic students were waiting for them. Thus the Jewish students found themselves between two fires, the police inside their building, who were beating them with their truncheons and driving them out to be beaten by the National Democratic students, and the National Democratic students outside, who beat every Jew who came out of the building.

While this was going on, the President of the Vilna Jewish Community, Dr. Jacob Wygodski, and City Councillor Engineer Spiro were present in the building. (Dr. Wygodski’s statement was given in the J.T.A. Bulletin of the 21st. inst.).

The following students who were in the Jewish Students’ Home were beaten by police officers: Pomeranz, beaten over the head by 91 and 683 with their cudgels till he was a mass of blood, and had to be taken away by the first-aid detachment; Shapiro, beaten by 995; Schwartzbard, beaten with his rubber cudgel by 1456; G. Kogan, beaten over the knuckles with his cudgel by 210; he was removed to hospital, where it was found that two fingers on his right hand were broken; Solz, badly knocked about by 33; Wiszomiraski, beaten with his rubber cudgel by 595; Rodzunski, beaten with his truncheon by 391; Bakaltchuk, beaten by 535; Sokolski, banged about with his bayonet by 484; Snorski, beaten over the neck with his cudgel by 28; and Goldberg, beaten by police sergeant 50.

Policeman 427 distinguished himself by breaking into the Secretariat of the Jewish Students’ Union, shouting and beating everyone he met. He attacked Hekler, who was at the telephone speaking to the Chief of the Security Department in the office of the District Governor. Policeman 427 dragged him away from the telephone, beating him with his rubber cudgel and shouting that he would not let him talk. The student Abraham Feldhendler saw policeman 57 break into the Students’ Home and lay about him with a rubber cudgel, shouting: “You Jew-dogs! We will show you!”. Then he pulled out his revolver, threatening to shoot if everybody did not at once leave the building. The student Halpern was among those present at the time. The same policeman 57 ran up to policeman 535, who at the moment was beating the student Bakaltschuk, and shouted: “That is not enough; you are treating them too gently”.

The student Abraham Cincinatus, student of law, who was in the building at the time, was beaten, and thrown out of the building by policeman 25. In the street he was set upon by the National Democratic students, who gave him a real thrashing, while the police helped to knock him about with their rubber cudgels. But for a butcher whose shop adjoins the building and who dragged him to safety in his shop, he would have sustained severe injury.

The same student, Abraham Cincinatus, looking through the window of the shop saw the Police Commissioner in charge of the detachment talking with some of the leaders of the National Democratic students, laughing and joking about what was going on. The Jewish student Ostrinski went up to the Commissioner to complain that the National Democratic students were beating the Jews, but the Commissioner pushed him away, saying: “I have no time to attend to you now. You be off!”.

These facts, the memorandum concludes, are only a fraction of all that happened. Should more details be required, the students mentioned are available, if they are notified through the Jewish Students’ Mutual Aid Society at Vilna University.

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