The Beilis case was one of the last in the long history of persecutions of the Jews for the supposed crime of murdering Christian children so their blood could be used in the Passover matzos.
At the apex of it all was Tsar Nicholas II himself, who seems to have believed that Bei-lis was innocent but also believed in all the old canards about limitless Jewish iniquity, and, further, that anti-Semitism, a powerful binding force in Old Russia, was a kind of common ground between the ruler and his people that could not be given up, especially at a time of revolutionary ferment--after all, Nicholas himself was overthrown and murdered five years after the Beilis case was finished.
The Beilis case in this sense comes across as one of the final gestures of an old regime, an old way of life that was coming to an end.
Goldhagen reminds us of the extraordinary fact, seen in the Beilis case and many others, that anti-Semitism has for centuries been a kind of "animating idea," the "glue of many societies and cultures for much longer than practically any major belief system or ideology or political form." Building on this widespread foundational hatred of the Jews, "hundreds of millions have been and are willing to support anti-Jewish programs, including--indis-putably in the past and all but indisputably today--large-scale lethal violence."
Stein first published in De-Novo, Cardozo Law Review called "Pulitzer Plagiarism: The Malamud-Beilis Connection." Finally an afterword by Jay Beilis, along with several appendices containing additional documents and discussions of the various versions of Mendel's Life and many photographs pertinent to the study of the Beilis case
. If anyone is to study The Fixer from now on this collection is an absolutely necessary casebook to go with the novel.
At one point in the book, a desperate Nicholas rails against Jews and their propaganda and laments that "there is hardly a Yiddish banker in the world who didn't blame ME personally for inspiring Shcheglovitov [Russian minister of justice] to have the Jews executed for ritual murder" and that nefarious Jewish influence would doubtless be used to destroy Russia just as "poor Nilus [Russian religious writer and self-described mystic] predicted." (34) It's hard not to suspect that these references to the Beilis case
and the Protocols were suggested or inspired by Brasol.
Set in 1905, the year of the failed Revolution and six years before the Beilis case, Fiddler was the antithesis of the Jews of Silence in its unabashed romantic nostalgia and sweet sentimentality--all the warts and lesions of Czarist Russian shtetl life skillfully excised.
The Beilis case began on March 12, 1911, when a Russian boy, Andrei Yuschinsky, was murdered by a gang of thugs who thought the boy was going to inform the police about their criminal activity.
Though it has been compared to the Dreyfus affair that went on from 1894 until 1906--only five years before Mendel Beilis was arrested--the Dreyfus affair never faded' but the Beilis case fell into obscurity.
It also addresses the political police's role in the anti-Jewish pogroms of the late imperial period and in the infamous Beilis Case
that saw a Jewish worker tried for the ritual murder of a Christian child in Kiev in 1913.
If Juliette Hassine is right, it is only when ironic distance necessarily collapses, as the Beilis case
catapults the legendary, quasi-mythical accusation of ritual murder from the more easily dismissed domain of fringe diatribe into a center-stage Petersburg tribunal, that the allusion must be struck from the text.(3)
The result, is a numbing listing of pronouncements and written statements by prominent political, cultural, and religious leaders in response to such events as the Damascus Affair, the Mortara case, the Beilis case
, the Dreyfus Affair, and the onset of Nazi persecution in the 1930s.