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Thousands Mourn at Funeral As Martyr Beilis is Laid to Rest

July 10, 1934
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

More than 3,000 people stormed Congregation Kahal Adath Jeshurun, Anshe Lutz, at 12 Eldridge street yesterday afternoon to pay their last respects to Mendel Beilis in one of the largest funerals witnessed on the streets of the lower East Side.

Soon after noon people began pouring into Eldridge and Canal streets from all parts of the city. A detail of policemen from the Fifth Precinct under the supervision of Sergeant John Gallo maintained order. Repeatedly the crowd attempted to gain entrance into the synagogue, but police prevented, as the synagogue was not yet opened to the public.

Hats were crushed as the milling mob surged up the stairs of the synagogue as the building was opened soon afterwards. A woman fainted and was quickly revived.


Only a small portion of the throng gained admittance.


Promptly at two the body was brought to the synagogue from the Zion Memorial Chapel. The hearse made its way through the streets of the East Side with a large throng following, while windows of nearby houses were crammed with the curious. Groups peered down from roofs of tenements.

When the casket, draped in black, was carried into the synagogue, all jumped to their feet. The casket was placed in the center of the room. The immediate family seated themselves in an enclosure in front of the pulpit.

David Parness presided over the services. Rabbi Idel Idelson, of the synagogue, conducted the services. Cantor Samuel Kantarof chanted the “El Mole Rachamin,” prayer for the dead.

Speakers reviewed Beilis’ tragic career. They told how he was imprisoned in Russia twenty-three years ago, charged with “ritual murder,” instigated by the Russian government, conducting an anti-Semitic campaign. Beilis, a Kiev brickyard superintendent, was held incommunicado for two years. The public trial of the cause celebre and finally the acquittal were reviewed.


“His name is holy to Jews throughout the world,” Rabbi Idelson said. With tears streaming down his face he pointed to the weeping family and said, “Don’t think that only the family has lost a dear one. The Jewish people have lost a great man.”

The congregants burst into tears. In the family pew Esther Beilis, wife of the deceased, was on the verge of collapse. She lay crying in the arms of her daughters, May and Ray. The two surviving sons. David and Teddy, stood sobbing in front of the pulpit.

The rabbi told how the Russian government, realizing its mistake, offered a release Beilis secretly but the martyr refused. He demanded a public trial at which his innocence would be proved.

“Beilis is not leaving us now,” Rabbi Idelson continued. “As long as the Jewish people live so long will the spirit of Beilis survive.”


The speaker concluded with a simple eulogy, “He was a fine and true Jew,” he said.

The services over, the crowd moved slowly into the streets where 2,000 awaited patiently. Morris Kulok, who befriended Beilis upon his arrival here six years ago, was in charge of the funeral. He paid all expenses.

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