Pale of Settlement

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Pale of Settlement


the part of the Russian empire in which Jews were permitted to reside on a permanent basis. It included the provinces of Bessarabia, Vil’na, Volyn’, Grodno, Ekaterinoslav, Kovno, Minsk, Mogilev, Podol’sk, Poltava, Tavrida, Kherson, Chernigov, and Kiev.

The pale of settlement was created in the late 18th century, when the Right-bank Ukraine, Byelorussia, and Lithuania—all with large Jewish populations—were ceded to Russia in the partitions of Poland. Only “local Jews” were permitted to live in Courland Province, the Caucasus, and Middle Asia. Within the pale of settlement, Jews were forbidden to live in the villages or in the cities of Kiev, Sevastopol’, and Yalta. Those permitted to live outside the pale were merchants of the first guild, persons with higher and specialized education, artisans, and soldiers fulfilling compulsory military service; the descendants of persons in these three categories were also authorized to live outside the pale.

For the Jews the pale of settlement was the most onerous burden resulting from their unequal status as a nation (natsiia, nation in the historical sense). The pale of settlement was abolished by the law of Mar. 20 (Apr. 2), 1917, On the Abolition of Religious and National Restrictions.


Gessen, Iu. I. Zakon i zhizn’: Kak sozidalis’ ogranichitel’nye zakony o zhitel’stve evreev v Rossii. St. Petersburg, 1911.
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Catherine the Great issued an order about the Pale of Settlement that expelled Jews from the properly Russian parts of the Empire into Polish territory.
As they bade each other farewell upon their journeys to America and Palestine, I realized that, despite their travails, they would be spared death in the Holocaust, and I thought of my own good fortune that the Russian pogroms that began in 1881 caused my paternal ancestors to flee the Pale of Settlement and seek a better life in the United States.
While there is no doubt that imperial officials tried to halt pogroms in Poland, they did much the same thing in the Pale of Settlement.
It devotes chapters to: "Siberia under the Whites," "In the Former Pale of Settlement," "Evobshchestkom [Jewish Public Committee for Assisting the Victims of Pogroms, aka "Evobkom"]," which controversially distributed all of JDC's aid to Russia; "Under the Auspices of the ARA [American Relief Association, headed by Herbert Hoover], which the JDC partnered with; "From A Painful 'Divorce' from the ARA to Sovnarkom Backing," "Last Year of Relief Work-1923," and "Reconstruction Work.
Some favoured confining Jews more closely to the Pale of Settlement, while others urged abolition of the Pale in order to dilute the Jewish "poison" through a wider territory.
Rejecting prior claims that outrage over the letter lead to the collapse of Gordin's group, Henry outlines the intricacies of political life in the Tsarist controlled Pale of Settlement.
In the 19th century, Birmingham became the magnet for people from further afield - in particular, from Cornwall, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Italy and the Jewish pale of settlement in the Russian Empire.
At first, few of the more than two million Yiddish-speaking Jews who fled to the United States from the Pale of Settlement in the early 1900s arrived in Alexandria.
Life in the Pale of Settlement was largely rural, not urban, and the threat of pogrom or famine was never distant.
But what is particularly interesting is that while the young Jewish painter from Vitebsk in the Pale of Settlement (now part of modern-day Belarus) was influenced by the work of Cubists like Robert Delaunay for example, it was always on his own artistic terms, creating paintings uniquely and idiosyncratically his own.
The Jewish Dark Continent: Life and Death in the Russian Pale of Settlement.
The so-called May or Temporary Laws, promulgated in May 1882, re-established the Pale of Settlement.