The Russo-Japanese War, which took place almost a century ago, had profound consequences on the conditions of the Jews in Russia and, subsequently, on their ever-increasing pace of emigration from that hostile country.
The war grew out of the misguided Russian foreign policy, and out of what was a seen as a necessity to boost Tsar Nicholas II's regime internally by a "short, victorious war", in words of Russia's Interior Minister, V. Plehve. First, Russia broke the terms of its treaty with China by introducing military into Manchuria. Then, instead of negotiating with Japan over spheres of influence in the Far East, it annexed Manchuria. On February 8, 1904, the Japanese attacked Russian fleet in Port Arthur (now Lushun, in North-East China). The attack was successful and made headlines around the world. For the next year, Port Arthur became a battleground, which cost great many lives to both sides. The city surrendered to the Japanese in the end of December. 25,000 Russian troops were taken prisoners by the Japanese. Russia's Pacific fleet, and the Baltic fleet that came to its rescue, were decimated by the Japanese as well. The result of the war was emergence of Japan as world power. For Russia, it was a major disaster, one which directly contributed to the civil unrest, the Revolution of 1905, the rise of nationalism and, of course, sharp increase in anti-Semitism and a wave of bloody pogroms that lasted for over two years.
As it happened too many times in history, Russian Jews fought in a war that was not theirs, for the country that treated them as sub-humans, against the backdrop of official persecutions, mob attacks, and a deep sense of despair. And yet, as it happened too many times in other wars, the history of the Russo-Japanese war is filled with stories of Jewish bravery and patriotism. The most notable and well known example is the heroic conduct of Yosef Trumpeldor, a 24 year old dentist. He lost one arm during a battle at Port Arthur, but refused to leave the front, asking for a sword and a gun. He continued fighting, was taken prisoner when Port Arthur fell, was awarded four times with the St. George Order, the highest Russian military award. Later he emigrated to Palestine and was killed in 1920 in a battle with Arabs.
Medical student Henryk Goldszmit, one of the first Jews, accepted to the Warsaw University to study medicine, served in field hospitals in Manchuria. He wanted to be a writer, while his family wanted him to become a doctor. He became both and was know to the world as Janusz Korczak. He ended his life in Treblinka gas chambers, comforting the children of the orphanage which he directed in the Warsaw Ghetto.
Many thousands of Jews, less known or totally unknown in the big world, fought, were injured, killed, or missing in the Russo-Japanese war. In the tradition of the times, many Russian papers printed the names of the soldiers killed or missing in action. The compilation of nearly three thousand Jewish names was prepared and translated into English from notices that first appeared in the Russkij Invalid newspaper in 1904-1905. The records provide information of considerable genealogical value to those with roots in the Russian Empire, as the examples show.
For the purpose of making it easy to search and browse the database on the Web, the records were sorted by two criteria: surname-town and town-surname. Only this, essential for research information, has been translated for the on-line database. The complete information about each person, in the format of the examples, will be translated on an as-needed basis, at a nominal charge of US$18.00 per record. The records can be ordered from FAST Genealogy Service, using the enclosed order form . To browse the database by names, please go to the surname-town page , to browse the database by towns, please go to the town-surname page. If you find a record of interest to you, write its number in the order form. We also accept payment by paypal using this e-mail address: email@example.com. Original records are not available, only their exact translations.
The computerized database of these records was created in summer 1998 by Josh Feldblyum, at a
considerable sacrifice of his summer vacation from school. This project would not have been
possible if not for his dedication and diligence. He is also credited with the HTML design. Josh
was happy to learn that commercial benefits, if any, from this project, will be directed to finance
his rapidly approaching college years.
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