Monday, February 10, 2014

KIEV JEWISH EMIGRATION SOCIETY: KIEV REGION STATE ARCHIVE

KIEV JEWISH EMIGRATION SOCIETY:
STATE ARCHIVE OF THE KIEV REGION (GAKO): FOND F-444

This article (in Russian) describes the history and factors leading to the mass emigration of Jews from Russia in the late 1800’s: Pogroms, restrictive admission to educational institutions, exclusion from participation in local government, forced return to the Pale of Settlement for the Jews who managed to escape, secret surveillance, etc.  It includes a report from the Housing Commission (1898) which described the  extreme conditions under which many Jews from Kremenchug, Elisavetgrad (Kirovograd), and Odessa lived: “…poor shacks of rotten planks, where two families of 5-6 people each, crammed into one room…[in]Gomel pits that encompass 120 similar walled cottages, built level with the ground, in which up to 2,000 people lived. ..We saw in Vilna in cellars ---two floors below ground level  5000 families…living in these lairs. In one of them…we saw 20 people, completely unknown to each other, children, women in rags, hungry men. Total darkness fills this cellar…”

The Jewish Emigration Society, established in Kiev in 1909 and headed by Dr. M. Mandelstam and Dr. D.L. Iohelman, was created in order to provide an “orderly settlement” of Jews. Documents from Fond F-444 are related to this emigration. The once secret documents were declassified and made available to researchers in 1991. The documents are all originals and include lists of emigrants and questionnaires containing twenty-three questions responded to by the emigrants. For those interested in information about relatives who emigrated to the U.S. in the late 1800’s the questionnaires include name, age, marital status, occupation, place of residence and address, spoken language (as well as language for reading and writing), family members also travelling, and members who considered emigrating, reasons for leaving, weekly earnings, address of nearest relatives remaining.

Case N 140, Opis 1: contains information about the diseases and disabilities that disallowed the admission of an immigrant to the U.S.


The documents are in Russian, Hebrew, English, and German.