Wellington House, Britain's war
propaganda division, was keenly aware of the negative impact that ally
Russia's persecution of Jews could have in the United States. (The Entente
Powers were hoping to get the USA into the war.) What better way to keep the
heat off Russia than by coming up with a greater monster? The ill-reputed
Turks were tailor-made for the role.
The British had cleverly cut the German cable to the USA, and illegally (but
with the tacit approval of the U. S. government) operated a Wellington House
division on U.S. soil. The British controlled the level of news entering the
United States so expertly, reports of Jewish persecution filtered in only
sporadically. Note the date of the following news item, as late as October,
The Duluth News Tribune — October 28, 1915.
Persecution In Russia
The facts regarding the persecution of the Jews in Russian Poland are only gradually
reaching this country, says the Kansas City Star. They show that the government has taken
advantage of the anti-Semitic feeling to oppress an important part of the population.
Apparently the necessity was felt of shifting the blame for the Russian retreat. The
Jewish residents were accused of helping the invading Germans. As a result large numbers
were expelled from their homes and subjected to mob violence.
In a dignified and moderate speech in the duma the Jewish deputy, Mr. Freedman, recently
recounted the sufferings of this people. He insisted that thorough investigation had
proved the stories circulated of help to the enemy to be without foundation. Case after
case he cited of whole communities reduced to poverty. His estimate was that a half
million Jews had been beggared by the persecutions.
World public opinion has been brought to bear on Turkey for its slaughter of the
Armenians. If the reports from Russia are verified — and the facts seem well established
— the czar's government cannot escape moral condemnation for its wholesale persecutions
Holdwater: As it served no political purpose for the Allies,
Russia easily escaped moral condemnation.
LENDING A HAND
Chapin in Pittsburgh Dispatch; reproduced in The
Frederick, Maryland, Feb. 23, 1915.
The standing woman must be representing the USA
(resembling feminine depictions of "Europa" in
political cartoons), as her basket reads, "Nation Wide
Aid." The dress of the one below reads: "The Stricken
Jews of Europe." The Jews would soon be mostly
forgotten in a few months; where pro-Armenians are
concerned, there can only be room for one victim.
Another intent of British propaganda was to counter the image of
Russia, especially in the United States. Britain wanted the United States to take
its side in the war, or at least to remain a friendly neutral. In the United States,
Russia had a very bad image, a well-deserved bad image, because it had been involved
in the persecution of the Jews for some time, specifically in 1915. Then Russian
soldiers had massacred large numbers of Jews during Russian campaigns against the
Germans. Because of that and because reports of these atrocities reports had come
back to the United States, Russia, one of Britain's allies, had become a very
negative factor in trying to draw America into the war. It was feared that the
Jewish influence in America was so great that the Russian actions would harm
Britain. — Prof. Justin McCarthy
|Morgenthau the Hypocrite!
From the Dallas News, July 29, 1919:
MORGENTHAU SAYS REPORTS OF POGROMS IN POLAND EXAGGERATED
Paris, Sunday July 27. — (Havas Agency.) — Henry Morgenthau, former
American Ambassador to Turkey, appointed by President Wilson as head of the American
commission to investigate reported pogroms in Poland, told newspaper men here today that
the short visit which he made to Poland had convinced him that the reports of pogroms were
Mr. Morgenthau added his view that the Polish Jews sometimes overlooked the fact that
equal rights involved equal duties. If the Polish Jews wished sincerely to collaborate
with the State, he declared, they must follow the example of their American
coreligionists, who consider themselves, above all things, patriotic Americans.
The above is an incredible report, on several levels.
1) How was Morgenthau to know the extent of
the cruelties the Russians performed upon Polish and Lithuanian Jews from a "short
visit," years after the fact?
Morgenthau's horrid "Story" book had already been out for more than half a year,
and he had a vested interest in showing the Turks to be as bestial as possible; he was, or
was soon to be, the National Vice-Chairman of Near East Relief, very attached to the
Armenian Cause by this time. It certainly would not do to have the Russians compete with
the Turks in the role of "monster." It was Morgenthau's duty to downplay the
Russians' role, even if it meant giving short shrift to fellow Jews.
2) If Polish Jews were so terribly treated by the Russians in 1915, how could Morgenthau
have expected the Jews to consider themselves as "patriotic"?
(A caveat: It is not clear whether these pogroms were related to the massacres from a few
years back, or if they were brand new ones... in which case the persecutors could possibly
have been the Poles themselves. If the Poles were the guilty party here, then the question
needs to be asked who fired the first shot. It is doubtful that it would have been the
But here is the greatest outrage:
3) If Morgenthau was wagging his finger at the Polish Jews for neglecting their
allegiance to the State, then why did he not require the same from the treacherous Ottoman-Armenians?
ADDENDUM, Dec. 2006: Thanks to Erju Ackman, further insight on this episode may be
found below. The Russians are off the hook, with this one.
From "Vilna," by Israel Cohen, Jewish Publication Society; the following
excerpts are from pages 377-382, "5. The Polish Liberation":
"The arrival of the new 'liberators' opened a fresh chapter of
Jewish agony. The Bolsheviks, before retreating, made their last stand from the old Jewish
cemetery at Shnipishok. This circumstance, together with the fact that some Jews had sided
with them, although many Poles had likewise done so, sufficed to make the Polish
legionaries see a Bolshevik in every Jew. After a couple of days' fighting the Bolsheviks
were driven to flight, whereupon the legionaries defiled and desecrated the cemetery,
smashed the tombstones, and opened up the graves (including some of Vilna's earliest
rabbis) in the belief that they would find in them arms and money. Disappointed in their
search, the Poles transferred their attention from the dead to the living and ran amuck in
the Jewish quarter. For three days they seized Jews in the streets, dragged them out of
their homes, bludgeoned them savagely, and looted their houses and shops. About eighty
Jews were shot, mostly in the district of Lipuvka, where some were ordered to dig their
own graves; others were buried alive, and others were drowned, with their hands tied, in
the Vilia. On April 21  a detachment of soldiers fired at a house from which they
said, Jews had been shooting through a window. They drove out all the occupants, who
included the writers A. Weiter, Lieb Jaffe, and Samuel Niger. Weiter was shot on the spot;
the two others were seized and imprisoned for several days. [The author goes on in this
vein for several long paragraphs].
"On July 19, there arrived an Inquiry Commission sent by President Wilson, and headed
by Mr. Henry Morgenthau, a former American ambassador to Turkey.
The purpose of the commission was to ascertain the facts about the atrocities and to find
a means of bringing about the conciliation of the Poles with the Jews. It proved a
failure, for, although it heard a few hundred witnesses and took 1500 'protocols' of cases
of looting, assault, and murder, its report, which was published in January, 1920, utterly
failed to give an adequate account of the extent and character of the disorders or to
express unqualified condemnation of those responsible."
(An explanatory note from page 512: "The Mission consisted of Mr. Henry Morgenthau,
Brigadier General Edgar Jadwin, and Mr. Homer Johnson. It had been appointed by the
'American Commission to Negotiate Peace, " which sat in Paris in 1919....
The Mission was in Poland for two months from July 13 to
September 13, 1919. Its report which was published in full in the *New York Times* of
January 19, 1920, provoked a controversy which raged on both sides of the Atlantic for
several months. Of the four closely-printed columns of small type, only a paragraph was
devoted to Vilna, confined solely to the incidents of April 19-21.)