Episode 34: The Forgotten History of Cooperation and the Horrors of the Kishinev Pogrom w/Steven Zipperstein

Episode 34: The Forgotten History of Cooperation and the Horrors of the Kishinev Pogrom w/Steven Zipperstein

So shattering were the aftereffects of Kishinev, the rampage that broke out in late-Tsarist Russia in April 1903, that one historian remarked that it was “nothing less than a prototype for the Holocaust itself.”

In three days of violence, 49 Jews were killed and 600 raped or wounded, while more than 1,000 Jewish-owned houses and stores were ransacked and destroyed. Recounted in lurid detail by newspapers throughout the Western world, and covered sensationally by America’s Hearst press, the pre-Easter attacks seized the imagination of an international public, quickly becoming the prototype for what would become known as a “pogrom.”

It would also be the impetus for efforts as varied as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and the NAACP. Using new evidence culled from Russia, Israel, and Europe, distinguished historian Steven Zipperstein’s wide-ranging book brings historical insight and clarity to a much-misunderstood event that would do so much to transform twentieth-century Jewish life and beyond.

Steven Zipperstein is the Daniel Koshland Professor in Jewish Culture and History at Stanford University. He has also taught at universities in Russia, Poland, France, and Israel; for six years, he taught at Oxford University. For sixteen years he was Director of the Taube Center for Jewish Studies at Stanford. He is the author and editor of eight books including The Jews of Odessa: A Cultural History and Pogrom: Kishinev and the Tilt of History.

Professor Zipperstein’s articles have appeared in The New York Times Sunday Book Review, the Washington Post,  the Jewish Review of Books, and elsewhere.  He is currently Chair of the Stanford History Department's Graduate Studies Committee.  

In this latest episode, Professor Steven Zipperstein and I discuss:

  • Christian-Jewish cooperation during days that were both good and bad; also how at times the most vicious attacks were committed by individuals against neighbors they recognized.

  • Additionally, we attempt to get the the truth of the story. The Kishinev Pogrom was a horrible event that was made out to be a caricature of itself both by the community of the victims and also the attackers. By the victims to spur action and defense of the community, and by the attackers to demonstrate the importance of eliminating this minority community.

To watch Professor Steven Zipperstein speak about the Kishinev Pogrom, click on the video below!


The Kishinev Pogrom inspired the birth of organizations like the NAACP. Is there a moment or story from history that encouraged you to act?

Comment below!

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