The death of Mendel Beilis, the Kiev brickyard superintendent, who was falsely accused by the Tsarist government of “ritual murder” and who was acquitted by the jury, recalls the criminal methods resorted to by the decomposing Tsarist regime in its efforts to justify its pogrom policy and to discredit the Jews everywhere. An ordinary innocent Jew was charged with having killed a Christian boy and used his blood for ritual purposes. Minister of Justice Scheglovitov set in motion the entire government machinery at his disposal, fabricating evidence and securing unscrupulous experts to testify that certain sects of Jews used Christian blood for ritual purposes.
The whole civilized world was aroused at the Ts###st attempt to revive the long – exploded myth and to convict the innocent Jew. Protests came from various lands. The Vatican also denounced the resurrection of the ritual murder legend in unmistakable terms. The Russian liberals, aroused by the criminal folly and cruelty of the Tsarist government, came to the aid of the counsel for the defense of Mendel Beilis â€” Gruzenberg, Margolis and others.
The Beilis affair, staged by the government, collapsed. The conspiracy of the Russian government against the Jewish people was revealed in all its horror and stupidity. The government’s experts discredited themselves. Mendel Beilis was acquitted.
The “ritual murder” conspiracy, by which the Tsarist government sought to divert the attention of the suffering Russian people from its real enemies, served to hasten the end of the decaying autocracy. This conspiracy was followed by the reign of Rasputism, which precipitated the revolution.
The “ritual murder” myth has been revived from time to time in various lands by the criminal political elements which deluded the ignorant masses. In all instances, the truth triumphed in the end.
The Beilis affair was, however, the most brazen attempt ever made by a government to manufacture proof that the Jews used Christian blood for religious purposes.
And now we have, in Germany, a movement headed by Julius Streicher, close friend of Adolf Hitler, inciting Jewish massacres by conducting a most vicious campaign against the Jews on the ground that they are guilty of “ritual murder.” In Germany, where the press is absolutely controlled and muzzled, Streicher is permitted to carry on his murderous campaign, which may thus be regarded as being officially sanctioned.
When the foreign press expressed its indignation at the “ritual murder” propaganda conducted by Streicher, the Nazi government gave half-hearted orders to stop the circulation of the special “ritual murder” issue of Streicher’s organ in Berlin. All precautions were taken to prevent the circulation of that issue abroad. But Streicher is allowed to continue his dastardly “ritual murder” agitation. Streicher is part and parcel of the sadist Hitler government, and the “ritual murder” accusations against the Jews are part of the Hitler anti-Jewish pogrom-program. Just as in Tsarist Russia, this “ritual murder” frame-up in Nazi Germany is hastening to drive the nails into the coffin of Hitlerism.
The death of Mendel Beilis also reminds us that this innocent victim, who suffered unspeakable hardships merely because the Tsarist government selected him as a Jewish symbol through which it sought to discredit all Jewry, was quite an ordinary Jew of average intelligence. But in his tragic plight he developed remarkable qualities of martyrdom and conducted himself with remarkable courage and dignity. When he was released from prison, a broken man, without the means of earning a livelihood for himself and his family, he declined all sorts of luring financial offers from American impresarios, on the ground that he did not want to commercialize his martyrdom and thus reflect discredit upon the Jewish name.
Mendel Beilis was helped to some extent from time to time, but ever since he was drawn into the notorious affair, to his last days, he and his family lived in poverty and occasionally suffered dire privation.