The town of Busk is situated in Eastern Galicia, 36 km. from the city of Lwow (Lemberg), 36 km. from the town of Brody and about 30 km. from Zloczow, the birthplace of the poet Imber, the author of Hatikva. The railway station at Busk is in the village of Krasne, about 6 km. from Busk. It is a central depot from which the trains travel in every direction: to Lwow, Zloczow, Tarnopol, Brody and Rowne in Russia. To and from the station passengers used to travel by horse-drawn carriages which were run by a few Jewish families in Busk.
The name "Busk" originates from the Ruthenian language meaning "stork", and thus its emblem was a stork. A statue of a stork made of steel was attached to the roof-top of a Kiosk in the center of the town
Busk is built on a hill, and is surrounded by brooks and rivers. The largest river is the famous "Bug" which flows through the middle of the town. Her tributaries are the Peltew from the east and the Rokitna and Solotwina from the west. In spring, the snow melts and all the brooks and rivers overflow. At this time the town looks like an island in the midst of a sea, a kind of miniature Venice. Slowly the floods recede, leaving behind them pools of water and marshes in the vast meadowlands around the town, making the area into a natural nesting ground for the many storks that come.
There are six suburbs surrounding Busk. They are populated by Polish and Ruthenian peasants, artisans and other workers. A few Jewish families lived in each suburb as well. The Jews worked in agriculture or had retail businesses (i.e. groceries. tobacco stores). They were grain and cattle traders too, and even a few artisans. The suburbs were called:
Busk was under the jurisdiction of two officials; the regional officer, who's seat was in the neighbouring town of Kamionka Strumilowa, and the governor of the whole province "Wojewodztwo", who's seat was in Tarnopol.
Busk is surrounded by rich and fertile farmlands and forests, enabling the peasants of the surrounding villages to farm, raise cattle, and breed work-and race-horses. The Jews of Busk traded with them in grain and cattle and made an honest livelihood.
Many of the surrounding farms were the property of the Polish Earl Kazimierz Badeni, who was an Austrian patriot and a favorite of the royal family of Habsburg in Vienna. At one time Badeni served as Prime Minister to H.M. Franz Joseph the First. from the house of Habsburg in Vienna. Earl Badeni often visited Busk and inquired into the lot of the local Jews. Re knew many personally and spoke with them in Yiddish. Often, he exempted poor Jews from paying the town taxes. The only remnant left of Earl Badeni's family is a grandson Kazimierz who is a Cardinal in the Taciturnos Monastery in the Polish holy city Czenstochow. Busk is a very old town. As early as in the eleventh century, Polish earls and counts fought over its ownership, handing it over from one to another. From the beginning of the 19th. century Busk became the property of the Badeni family.
There is no historical source regarding the presence of the first Jewish settlers in Busk, except for an edict written in 1510 and issued by the Polish King Zigmunt, ordering Christians only as eligible for election to the Town Hall. This edict clearly shows that Jews were living in Busk at this time. Other legal documents involving Jews and written in the year 1500, note that there was a Jewish area in the town called Ghetto. Reliable sources show that there was a well founded Jewish populate in Busk. Neither an organized or autonomous congregation, the Jews of Busk were affiliated to the large congregation at Lwow (Lemberg).
With increased political disturbances during the 17th century, (especially in Poland's eastern provinces) the position of the Jews of Busk turned for the worse, and many were killed. There is proof that by the end of the 17th century only 400 Jewish souls were alive. All were poverty stricken, toiling night and day for their mere existence.
Busk, a town of many streams and brooks, always served as a strategic point in war. The river Bug was considered a natural stumbling block in war, and both attacker and defender desired to establish its frontline along the Bug.
The town was consequently laid to waste by both. Houses were burned down by Tatars, Turks, Swedes, Cossacks and Poles. Citizens were robbed and murdered. Naturally the Jews suffered most of all.
Peace and stability returned to Busk in 1772 during Austria's occupation of Galicia. Economic conditions improved, and a more liberal and tolerant attitude was accorded to the Jews. At the beginning of 1860 a big improvement in the plight of the Jews came about. Throughout all Galicia. Jews were permitted to purchase rural lands, properties and farms. Most of the commerce and trade were conducted by Jews. They were allowed to organize their own communities, which were comparatively free and autonomous. The Jews of Busk recovered economically. They dealt in commerce, rented farms, bought lots in town and built houses.
At this time, Dr. Leo Sheps lived in Busk. Dr. Sheps was born in Busk, and graduated from the medical faculty in Lwow. He practiced in Vienna, and then returned to Busk to open a clinic. As well as being a doctor he took part in public affairs and did a great deal in improving health conditions of the population.
His son, Morris Sheps was born in Busk in 1833, and attended high school and University in Lwow. In 1854 he began studying medicine in Vienna, but later switched to Journalism and became a very influential newspaper writer.
His articles in the "Neues Wiener Tagblatt" show how he fought for a liberal and democratic government. He also favoured an Austro-Franco alliance as against an alliance with Prussia. Many noted French writers and statesmen were friends of Morris Sheps. One of his closest friends was the famous statesman Georges Clemanceau, known as "The Tiger". Clemanceau, a passionate defender of Dreyfus. was a Senator and elected twice Premier of France. Once he journied to the Jewish cemetery in Busk with Morris Sheps. There, Sheps paid homage at his father's grave, and showed Clemanceau his town of birth. Upon return, Clemanceau wrote an article about his visit to Busk, In this article he wrote: "In addition to storks, geese and ducks, Busk is populated by Orthodox Jews. These Jews are very poor. They have small stores, or work as artisans or peddlers. They are clad in rags, and live in such a state of poverty that they arouse a feeling of compassion for their pitiful state. It is difficult to say whether they are aware of their miserable conditions, since they are always seen with a humble smile on their faces".
Although Morris Sheps lived in an aristocratic society, and became a noted writer, famous for his progressive ideas and statesmanship, never did he deny his Jewishness or feel shame for his birthplace. Up to the time of his death in 1902, Morris Sheps visited Busk often to honour his father's grave.
The name "Sheps" is probably derived from "Shabthai". Some historical sources claim that the false Messiah Shabthai Zvee had many followers in Busk. There is some reason to believe that the family of Sheps was for some time active in the Shabthai Zvee movement therefore assuming the name "Shabthai". Later they returned to the Jewish community changing their name from Shabthai to Sheps.
At the beginning of the 20th. century there was a great wave of emigration to the United States. Many Jewish artisans, small merchants and other unemployed left Busk as emigrants to America. Among them were Mr. Max Kremnitz and his wife Regina. Mrs. Kremnitz is an active charity worker, and is now the President of the Busker Ladies Auxilliary in New York.
In August 1914 (the beginning of World War 1), most of Busk's Jews fled in lieu of the Russian invasion. Some of these refugees reached Vienna, while others settled in Bohemia, Munkacz in Hungary or other places far from the front line. The refugees quickly adapted themselves to their new environments. They found work, established businesses and most of them did not return to Busk.
At the end of the First World War in 1918, the Austrian Monarchy collapsed. Busk, as well as the whole of Eastern Galicia became a battlefield between Ukraines, Bolsheviks and Poles until it finally became part of the Republic of Poland. All these battles reduced the Jewish population causing a new wave of emigration to America.
Among these emigrants were Mr. Simon Zipper and the Padwa brothers who are now outstanding members of the Busker Society in New York.
With the establishment of Polish rule in Busk in 1920, life slowly turned back to normal. Influenced by the national renaissance movement of that era, Zionist clubs and Youth movements were organized and blossomed in Busk. With the help of the Busker Auxilliary's Relief Committee in Boston Mass. a Mutual Assistance Association was founded which was headed by the late Dr. Kutin Shabthai. Through the initiative of Mrs. Rosa Kutin, a diligent and educated welfare worker and by the active support of Mr. Karavan and Mr. Kuhn of Boston Mass., an orphanage was founded which could care for up to 40 homeless children, and a public kitchen which provided food for the needy and poor.
The Population of Busk under Polish Rule
Year Population Jews % Jews
1921 6,148 1,533 24.9%
1931 7,010 2,600 22.8%
Under German Occupation
1941 - 1.800 Jews
1942 - 2,000 Jews
1943 - 7,494 in ghetto.
Today one Jew who fled Busk at the outbreak of World War I, is living in the town. His name is Friedman and he is the uncle of our friend Dr. Benjamin Friedman of New York. But recent reports tell us that this last Jew has left too.
Busk had two government run (7 year) elementary schools for boys and girls, but no high school. Wealthy parents sent their children to the neighboring high schools in Kamionka - Strumilowa, Brody. Zlochow or Lwow. Those who could not afford the tuition studied at home as autodidacts. Many passed their final examinations successfully and went out into the world in search of a University that would accept them for the continuation of their studies. Busk had no Yeshiva, although any student wishing to continue his religious studies after "Cheder", could learn in "Clause". There the local Rabbis helped them in the study of the Talmud and other Judaic books. There were quite a few outstanding scholars, well versed in Judaica as well as in general studies, who learned as autodidacts or with private instruction.
The Jewish national renaissance movement was felt in Busk right from its beginning.
The pupils of the "clause" as well as other students studied Hebrew. In 1908, an evening school for the teaching of Hebrew was established. The school's first teacher was Mr. Israel Baruch (Hahn) who is living now in Haifa, Israel. He has agreed to relate his impressions of the first Hebrew school in Busk as a contribution in memory of the town on one of the pages of this book.
Hebrew Schools were founded in 1921, contributing to the spread of spoken Hebrew as a modern living language, as well as to the understanding of the Bible. The study of Hebrew also produced many "Chalutzim" (pioneers) for Eretz Israel. Many youths continued their studies of Hebrew in Teachers' Seminaries and Hebrew High Schools and other institutions of higher learning in Lwow.
The Jews of Busk took an active part in various Zionist activities. There were branches of all the Zionist Youth Movements: "Hashomer Hatzair", "Gordonia". "Achvah". "Bethar" etc., and groups from all the Zionist political parties : "General Zionist', "Hitachdut", "Revisionists", "Poalei-Zion left" and "Yad Charutzim". Busk even had a football team and sport club called "Bar Kochba". Several "chalutzim" from Busk joined the 3rd aliya to Israel. Through the many hardships and difficulties of life in Israel at that time there were many who stood firm and persevered. One of these Chalutzim is Meyer Dror (Shore), the founder of "Hashomer Hatzair" in Busk. Mr. Dror built his home in Kfar Yechezkiel and established a prosperous plant export business. Busk was a very important link in the long chain of events in the history of the Diaspora of the Jews in Europe. The Jews there contributed proportionately to the national renaissance movement and the building of Eretz Israel. They fought in the clandestine ranks of the Hagana, and in the open war for the Independence of Israel. All the Jews of Busk were killed, destroyed, exterminated in the most cruel ways by the Nazi murderers. They shared the tragic lot of all European Jewry. We, the few who live in Israel, under close cooperation with our dear friends, natives of Busk, living in the United States, dedicate this book as an eternal monument in memory of all the innocent martyrs of the holy congregation of Busk.
Peace to their souls.
A SHORT INTRODUCTION TO THE CHAPTER
Georges Clemenceau accompanied by his close friend Morris Sheps, a native of our town, visited at the end of the nineteenth century Busk. Upon his return to France, he dedicated to Busk a whole Chapter named "Busk", which was firstly published in a daily paper and afterwards it was included in his very interesting book: "Au pied du Sinai".
In 1922 this book was translated into English by A.V. Ende entitled : "At the foot of Sinai".
I would like to make clear to the reader, that Dr. A. Coralnik named the stories of Clemenceau's book: Short Stories of Jewish Life.
Here is the Chapter in full. -A. Shayari, Editor
A desolate village at the end of Galicia, close to the Russian frontier, it is all built of wood and mud. In the leprous houses the plaster is crumbling, the woodwork shows cracks and fissures, and attempts at repairs have been made with patches of leather, tin and filthy rags. On the corduroy road-bed of the marshy streets long teams are painfully swaying to and fro, making the weary traveler bob up and down on his couch of straw. Ducks and geese are waddling about among the coming and going of big muddy boots. Out of these boots rise the forms of emaciated Jews with glowing eyes under Talmudic locks ; Ruthenians, whose coarse hair mingles with the sheep wool of their garments, Mongols and Kalmucks, red, blond or black, with powerful jaws, cheek bones abruptly protruding beyond the flat noses and little slanting eyes shining out of haggard faces ; Slavs of divers origin, in long white coats, their starlike blue eyes beaming a false innocence. A camp that has migrated from Asia and been suddenly arrested in the mud ; and to complete the vision, in the open plain a village of tents, around which are slumbering a black crowd of half-naked gypsies.
What is most striking in Busk, next to the ducks and the geese. is the Jews ; unkempt, restless and gentle, carrying on all industries and all trades. The poverty of this people is extreme. One does not know whether they suffer from it or not, as they pass along. sordid, lamentable, with a perpetual smile of obsequious envy. Perhaps they are not unhappy.
Their domain is the village square. a large parallelogram of greenish swamp lined with low huts that are filled with a hideous din and bustle. All the length of the road, raised in the form of a sidewalk, on the trunks of trees or on boxes used as benches, huddle frightfully ragged forms, motionless, in Oriental resignation. Sallow - skinned children with open mouths and big sheepish eyes. long wisps of hair fluttering about their cheeks, fraternize with the ducks on the dungheaps. Strange housekeepers, draped in nameless things. carry pails emitting unpleasant odors. Through the open doors of the wretched habitations, miserable pallets show their rotting straw amid all sorts of decaying refuse.
Here dwells a race, active, industrious, with long agile hands, reaching out for sustenance, a patient people, capable of the most marvelous endurance as of incredible persistence of effort, contented with little, ambitious of everything, humble, timid, implacable, charged with four thousand years of will power. The Pole governs Austria, it is said. The Jew, being a universal negotiant, holds in his hand the Pole, whether peasant or magnate.
"When I want to buy or sell anything", said the Baron of Busk, "whatever it may be, I call a Jew. His relations with all the markets of the country, his understanding of business, his interest in keeping me as customer, are to me an assurance that I am going to be served promptly and well. There is no large landholder in Galicia who for business of any kind is not forced to address himself to the children of Israel".
The man who spoke thus owns sixty thousand hectares. His estate is a manor. The greater part is forest, of course. The hour of the revolution which will cut up into parcels these vast Galician domains has not yet struck ; I doubt whether anybody thinks of it. The Galician, whether Slav or Jew, is accustomed to his poverty. The agricultural industries bring the proprietor but little profit, and assure the worker only a rather precarious existence; but each seems contented with his lot. There is fatalism in the blood of Asia.
The very plain castle with large servant quarters is surrounded by a beautiful park through which flows a river. Strange contrast of aristocratic lawns with a sprinkling of horticultural artifices and the savagery which begins on the other side of the wall.
I was advised to visit the Ruthenian church. Irreverently we push open the gate of a wild garden, and meet a tall old man in black garb and a straw hat of vast proportions, absorbed in smoking his long pipe. It is the curate. As he bows in welcome he displays his handsome, smooth, firmly modeled cranium, a profile of aquiline distinction, softened by a pair of eyes, blue as a baby's.
A certain vessel hanging on a pole near the door receives the friendly pipe and the good smoker, without smoking, accompanies us across a field with here and there a few centenarian trees, in the generous shadow of which nestles the modest church, its skeleton of laths covered with unpainted tiles. Beside the sacred temple is a barn-like structure with gables and a heavy wooden belfry with absolutely bare sides. The interior of the church is luxuriously ornamented with barbaric images, of which the excellent old gentleman seems quite proud. He shows us his gold embroidered vestments, a handsome chasuble with flower design of the last century, and he makes us notice that it is of French tissue. Some court gown of a friend of Louis XV, perhaps, which after strange vicissitudes is in this quiet place piously expiating the sins of departed flesh.
While the priest naively makes us admire a little chapel crudely carved in wood with a simple knife, the work of his hands on long winter evenings. a dozen peasants. men and women, have entered and eagerly share the feast spread before our eyes. As we pass the altar we find on the floor a little wooden box which these people had placed there. His last art object duly exhibited, the saintly man politely salutes and without any transition, slipping on a black soutane, intonates pious chants which the chorus of peasants, candles in their hands, duly repeat.
We are expected at the Jewish cemetery. We accompany one of our friends, who after a brilliant career in the Viennese press, Was come on a pilgrimage to the grave of his father, a physician of Busk, who had spent his life in nursing. succoring and tenderly caring for the poor of all races and creeds. As a Jew he had helped all the unfortunates of his race whose suffering gripped his heart by so many bonds of common history. As a man, he served humanity. unselfishly, as one may well believe, for, judging from the Busk of to-day, the Busk of fifty years ago can hardly have assured a fortune to the healer of countless ills that Providence sent to the poor. The old wooden house which had been his home, now resplendent in a coat of fresh white paint, was pointed out to us. After fifty years of faithful labor and service, he had simply, without any pomp. left it for his resting place in the graveyard.
At the gate some ragamuffins were watching for us and joined us without a word. I had once visited the ancient Jewish cemetery in Prague. which all guides recommend to the tourist. It is like an avalanche of old gravestones, that had been tumultuously tossed about by the hurricane of ages. Elder bushes, a century old and never trimmed by human hand, cover the stones with their dark foliage. It is difficult to find one's way through this thicket. Fragments of inscriptions are still discernible, clasped hands, too, and symbolic birds and heaps of little stones deposited by pious visitors in homage of the departed. It is an ancient custom of the desert, where the traveler devoutly adds his pebble to those heaped on the mounds.
I found no trace of this custom in Busk; hut the hands were there and the birds too, still enliven the tombstones with their primitive images. The Jewish cemetery of Busk is a virgin forest, an impenetrable jungle of trees, brambles and weeds growing in untrammeled freedom. Old trunks are molding at our feet; heavy branches, beaten down by age or storms, burden with their long agony the young shoots that sprout between them in the will to live. There is no path or anything resembling one. White birch stems crowd close together. as in battle array; interlacing twigs, spines bristling in defense, arrest the explorer.
The miserable troop that had followed us is silence got ahead of us at the first step, and, passing between the trunks, holding apart the branches, slipping like adders into the densest thicket, guided us to the grave we sought. Humble creatures they were, with long bony faces, their beards, coats and boots shining with the same sticky ochre-like dirt. But there was an incredible intensity of life in their vivid black eyes, well protruding from their sockets and glowing with fire. We followed them through the underbrush, accompanied by the noise of broken branches, lashed by rebounding twigs, stumbling perhaps over mossgrown stones buried in a mess of dead wood. A sumptuous living frame for this picture of death they were, and they suggested a sensation more powerful and more beautiful than our pretentious cities of the dead, full of grimacing figures and disgraced by mendacious epitaphs.
At last we reached a group of four stones which our guides had already stripped of their covering of vines and brambles. Their fingers scratched the lichens to lay bare the writing which the stone would jealously keep secret. Then all the hands pointed to a stone leaning over as in a faint : "There it is".
And suddenly all these haggard faces, even when they smiled, contracted as with suffering, were ennobled by the solemn gravity of the sublimest sentiment known on earth. The eyes were fixed in contemplation of the mysteries of the world; thoughts that commanded respect rose from under the fur of worn-out bonnets, greasy little caps. Each of these beggars was at this moment a pontiff. One of them, sacristan or rabbi, I know not which, with authoritative voice and in well-scanned lines pronounced words that ravished, transporting with ecstasy all who heard them :
"Here we are before your grave, friend. We bring to you your son, who had not appeared before you since the day when he marked with this stone the place of your great rest. Life had taken him into the world, where your long-continued efforts for his good through your continuing to live in him, assured the success of your progeny. Ever present among your kin, you thus carry on your work on this earth. That is why your son comes to pay grateful homage to you. In times gone by. before life, you were united in eternity. His birth separated him from you, gave him a life of his own. And now, in thought he comes to reunite with you and to revive you in himself even as you did".
The invocation, of which only this brief passage was translated for me, seemed to me of superior beauty. I wish I could literally quote the naive address to the neighboring dead that followed, asking them to entertain friendly relations with him, whom we had come to honor and expressing the hope that they, too, would be thus visited by their kin.
With difficulty we groped our way back through the thicket and found ourselves before a sort of barn, where on the solid earthen floor were huddled in a circle women, children and old men, the poorest of the poor in the village. It is customary to give them alms and my friend passed before them and dropped money into their outstretched hands. Then there appeared a board with bowls, decked with inscriptions that claimed the generosity of the visitor for various institutions. I saw bills dropping into one after another ; not one of these charities was forgotten.
As soon as we came out a mob of paupers presented themselves, pressing forward at the news that a son of Israel, who had gone forth from Busk, had returned with unheard-of treasures which his hands were dropping into every yearning pocket. It was a veritable race as to who would get closest to him. The twelve tribes were there, seeking the occasion to ameliorate their condition.
"I knew you when you were a little tot", said an old man.
I am a relative of-"
"I am a friend of so-and-so whom your father cured", they eagerly proclaimed.
Thus the beneficence creates a claim against the benefited or his descendants for the benefactor and those that follow him. One of the speakers had lost his calf, the other his horse. All had been victims of some accidents. Never in so short a space of time was heard such an accumulation of catastrophes.
Implored, caressed, dragged forth, deafened by a hundred stories, our friend, followed by those poor whining wretches was forced, in order to reach his hospitable lodgings, to pass through a crowd of persistent claimants that barred his passage. By the use of our shoulders and our elbows we succeeded in breaking away from them. But at the gate of the castle another formidable attack awaited us. The whole synagogue was there, with the great rabbi in the lead, a marvelous Moses of Michael Angelo, whose head, crowned with a high fur bonnet, lost itself in a torrential beard, in which the waves of silver alternated with those of ebony. A long discussion took place; for the house of God was still unfinished, and if the visitor would but move his magic wand of gold, it would be built and all Busk would rejoice. I must admit that our friend did not strike me as a very fervent devotee at the altar of Jehovah. Nevertheless, it would have surprised me, if childhood memories and the natural feeling of solidarity with a great tragic race had not made him add his stone towards the erection of the edifice where his forbears had worshipped.
The gate was finally locked. While the chattering crowd retired, disappointed that the galions vanished as dream-like as they had appeared, we gradually regained our composure. The neighboring gypsy camp was tempting me and I suggested a visit before our departure. I had retained the vision of a little gypsy of perhaps ten years, who that very morning had for a copper coin frantically followed our car across the holes in the road, while at each of her leaps, like that of a rag doll, the smiling head of a bronze marmot bobbed up, madly tinkling its bells on the shoulders of the swift runner. A gate of the park permitted us to get out into the plain, unnoticed by the eyes of restive Israel, and soon we were in the midst of the tents planted at the border of the forest.
Compared with the Jews we had just met, these people live in happy serenity. Pariahs, the degraded refuse of the castes of India, they carry in the folds of their cloaks what was left of them of their native land. Towards the horizon which ever recedes they are going all the time, marching towards the unknown, disdainful of the present sojourn and ever hopeful of a better one. Serious without restless agitation, without the rudeness of conquering races, they take across the planet their tranquil contentment with everything. What is to them the possession of some earth? Where chance guides them, they plant their long poles, attach the canvas, and their palace is ready. Their little horses feed on the grass, while the gypsy, resplendent in copper buttons, goes from farm to farm in quest of worn out pots and kettles that need the restoring hand of the itinerate tinker.
Earth offers plenty for her children, and the troop, enriched by beggary and occasional depredations, appears to enjoy the solid comfort of nomads living on next to nothing. The depth of their eyes, diamond black, their placid features, their solemn gestures, reflect the fatalist soul of the Orient. Little boys of ten to twelve, stark naked, voluptuously recline like young wild animals, only their head of heavy coarse hair now and then bobbing up from the couch of green. Women, likewise crouching on the grass, look at us with supreme indifference. Their shining tresses end in chaplets of silver coins, evoking a vision of brilliantly decorated idols.
Under a big tent is gravely reclining a handsome black divinity. radiant with silver coins. Her couch is a rug of violet coloring, forming a frame of sumptuous brightness. Blue spirals are rising from her pipe and seem to fascinate her like a dream. At her feet is a little girl of about six, who lights one of her mother's pilets on the hearth fire and seems to derive in finite joy from it. It is a certain view of life which makes the Oriental, with all his inwardness, adapt his customs to life under the misty skies of the Occident. The Orient has also given us this Slav peasant, fashioned by the despotism of Asia, who doubles up at our sight and without even knowing us, in passing, kisses our hands.
From the Orient, too, come these restless Jews whose contemplative faculty is so seriously disturbed by militant contact with occidental society. Of a philosophy less disinterested than the Aryan, a stranger, who as harmless wanderer carries with him the implacable malediction of his brothers, the Jew, however accursed, has attempted to conquer the hostility of the world, into which dispersion by conquest has thrown him. Scorned, hated, persecuted for having imposed upon us gods of his blood, he has wanted to redeem himself and to perfect himself by overcoming untoward circumstances. For this task nothing was spared ; no suffering, no torture counted, no vengeance was scorned. There is no more astonishing history in the world.
And because it now happens that these people have resisted menaces, stakes, forced conversions, because with all their vices and their virtues they have entered the social organization of our own vices and virtues, because they have drawn from their stock of good and evil a power of action at least equal to our particular power of good and evil, combined for the conquest of wealth, because they have possessed themselves of our weapons and have learned to turn them against us, I hear that their systematic extermination is desired. Thus one can revive the hatreds of those defeated in the contest for domination, one can resuscitate plans of persecution, which are hut an admission of defeat: but how can one found upon all this something that will last ?
The enormous power of Israel in contemporary Christendom can not be denied. All things remaining as they are, the activity of this enduring race, this marvelous producer of energy, can in my opinion only increase. For Aryan idealism I would not consider this a misfortune. Besides, each people has good and bad characteristics, and all supremacy of race seems to me to contradict the deepest interests of our manifold humanity. But when the faculties of a race have so miraculously adapted themselves to the social order of the present, as different from the past as it is certain to be from that of the future, what can one say, unless the race and the economic order in changing give us other results. The Jews will not be destroyed.
The Sultan himself, with hundreds of thousands of Armenians massacred, will at the end be conquered by Armenia. Israel, having gone forth alive from the Middle Ages, cannot be suppressed.
Instead of condemning a race whose lucky or unlucky faculties have made it a factor in present society. instead of crying cowardly that it must be annihilated to give us room to live-why do we not try, simply and more justly. to frame a more equitable, a more disinterested social code, in which the power of selfish appropriation-be it Jewish or Christian-is rendered less harmful and its tyranny less crushing for the great mass of humanity. Then the Judaism of Judaea, if its cleverness made it sovereign of a society of barbarous egotism travestied by the false gold of charity, and the no less triumphant Judaism of Christianity whom fate has permitted to have its chance will no longer know the evil temptations of today and will be contented within the limits of an individualistic development compatible with a superior notion of social justice. Without violence, without massacres and persecutions, Semitism, remaining what it is now, as it is typified in many children of Ham and Japheth, could no longer present the danger which it is said to be today.
Fools are those, who believe in founding liberty upon the growth of tyranny ! Less license for selfishness, more room for pity. Clear the roads that lead towards justice; bar the avenues through which unhindered triumphant oppression is entering. How short-sighted it is to dream of a change of oppressors! To kill the oppressor is but to replace one by another. What is needed is to attack him in his possibilities of action. Thus the wretched Christians of Paris or the wretched Jews of Busk will be efficiently assisted in their personal efforts against the heavy yoke with which they are burdened by their big brothers of all races, to whom the law at present is contented to say, "Crush, dominate, abuse!" and who do crush, dominate and abuse. What the Christians, who are after all still masters of the world, need above anything else, is to better their own ways; then they will not need to fear the Jews who may be reaching out for the crown of opulence, which has ever been coveted by men of all ages and of all countries.