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50,000 Jews Killed in Petlura Pogroms, Paris Court Hears

July 22, 1926
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

(Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

A number of witnesses testified in the second hearing of the Petlura-Schwartzbard trial which was held here before Magistrate Peyre who is conducting the investigation in the case.

Dr. S. Goldstein, Petrograd attorney, who lived in the Ukraine during the pogrom period, and is former chairman of the Jewish Commission to investigate the Ukrainian pogroms, in his testimony declared that Semion Petlura organized the pogroms in the Ukraine, as a result of which 50,000 Jewish men, women and children were massacred and tens of thousands were wounded and crippled. The pogrom in the Ukrainian towns and villages were everywhere carried out in the same manner and were apparently under one direction. The same methods of incitement were applied and even the same slogans were used. The slogan, “Bey Zhidov, Spasay Ukrainu” (Kill the Jews, save the Ukraine), was everywhere the motto of the pogrom bands. The same false rumors were spread in various towns and villages, as for instance, Attorney Goldstein stated, the rumor was spread by the pogrom leaders in Proskurov that the Jews of Felstin had stolen the church bells and installed them in the synagogue, while in Felstin they spread the rumor that the Jews of Proskurov had stolen the church bells and installed them in the synagogue in Proskurov.

Attorney Goldstein described the cruel massacres by Petlura’s bands and stated that Petlura’s soldiers used to kill Jewish children and carry the bodies on the tip of their rifles with the inscription, “Trotzky.” Petlura, he stated, did not punish those who were guilty of the pogroms.

When asked by the magistrate whether the entire Ukraine considers Petlura guilty for the pogroms, Attorney Goldstein replied, “Three million Jews hold him responsible.”

A favorable impression was made on the court by the fact recalled by Attorney Goldstein that in 1921 Schwartzbard asked the Jewish Orphans’ Committee of Paris to give him a Jewish orphan from the Ukraine for him to care for, although he was poor himself.

Two witnesses for the Petlura party were also heard. The first witness was Professor Roval of Prague. He testified that last April he saw Schwartzbard follow Petlura from Paris to Boulogne in a motor car. When asked by the magistrate to describe Schwartzbard, Professor Roval stated that Schwartzbard was dark and slight of stature. Laughter was caused in the courtroom when the magistrate asked the accused to rise and pointed out to the witness that Schwartzbard is blonde. The Prague professor, greatly embarrassed, admitted that he had made a mistake, but turned to another point, and claimed that Petlura accused Schwartzbard of having carried on negotiations in 1921 with Jewish leaders in Paris to organize propaganda in the Ukrainian army against the pogroms.

Sholom Schwartzbard, replying to Professor Roval’s charges, declared that he never went to Boulogne by motor car and that he negotiated with Paris Jewish leaders after the pogroms took place.

The second witness for the Petlura party was Prokopovitch, former Premier in the Ukrainian government. He declared that Petlura was opposed to the pogroms but the pogrom band leaders disobeyed him and acted independently.

Schwartzbard, who was brought into the courtroom handcuffed, appeared in good spirits. When he appeared he was applauded by the public in the courtroom. Madam Petlura and her Ukrainian friends waited outside the courtroom.

When the hearing ended, Schwartzbard, who was taken back to the jail through the courtroom, remarked to the journalists, “Give my heartiest regards to the Jewish people.”

At the close of the court session a lively skirmish took place. Madam Petlura rushed up to Mrs. Anna Schwartzbard and started to beat her with a stick she held in her hand. The police intervened and removed Madam Petlura from the courtroom.

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