pogrom pōˈgrəm, pōgrŏmˈ [key], Russian term, originally meaning “riot,” that came to be applied to a series of violent attacks on Jews in Russia in the late 19th and early 20th cent. Pogroms were few before the assassination of Alexander II in 1881; after that, with the connivance of, or at least without hindrance from, the government, there were many pogroms throughout Russia. Soldiers and police often looked on without interfering. These pogroms encouraged the first emigration of Russian Jews to the United States. After 1882 there were few pogroms until 1903, when there was an extremely violent three-day pogrom at Chisinau resulting in the death of 45 Jews. Although it has not been conclusively proved that the czarist government organized pogroms, the government's anti-Semitic policies certainly encouraged them. After the abortive revolution of 1905, pogroms increased in number and violence. With the success of the Bolshevik Revolution, pogroms ceased in the Soviet Union; they were revived in Germany and Poland after Adolf Hitler attained power.

See E. H. Judge, Easter in Kishinev: Anatomy of a Pogrom (1992).

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