Town of Smela (Governmnet of Kiev) Pogrom of May 14-15, 1919

I. Testimony of Moishe Sumsky, Merchant, 52 Years Old I and several other Jews hid in a Russian's garret. Several armed men came in and asked whether there weren't Jews there. That moment a baby began to cry in the garret, and this gave us away. A fearful scene began. Wild cries resounded: "Come here, comrades, here is where the Jew-communists are hiding. Come down! To the wall !" We were searched, and everything we had taken from us. It was awful. The women and children raised the most terrible cries. They drew us up to shoot us, and our Russian protector with us. With great difficulty we suc-ceeded in saving our lives. They left the Russian householder alone only because he was not the owner of the house.

II. Testimony of Hannah Pavletzsky, 38 Years Old, Merchant On Sunday, May 18, after all the ways of leaving the city had been cut off (the soldiers met those who tried to leave with pointed rifles), we crept through the fence to a Russian neigh-bor's garret. Besides our family there were about 15 other people there--men, women and children. About 9 A.M. we heard noises and the cry: "Haven't you some Jews here?" We all got scared and one began to go down from the garret. Im-mediately a man in military uniform ran up, fired twice, and cried : "Come here, comrades, you see where the Jew-commun-ists are firing on us from." In answer to his summons there gathered about ten armed men in military uniforms and shouted: "Come down, come down, you communists, Jewish dogs, give up your weapons." And they immediately began to throw us down from the garret. When we came down we were carefully searched, and all our money and clothes taken from us. Some-one gave the command : "All to the wall." The children who were with us raised a scream and began to cry hysterically. Then they separated the women from the men. The latter, in-cluding also the Russian householder, were taken to the com-mandant of the station Bobrinsky. The wife and daughter of the householder swore that not one of us had a weapon, and that they had admitted us to their house because we lived peace-fully and amicably together. Finally the Russian householder was freed because it was not his own house. And we Jews were freed because on one of us was found a document showing that he worked in the mines.

III. Testimony of Krasnopolsky, Aged 36

On the morning of May 11 I heard firing at the door. Bullets were coming through the window. We swiftly left the house and went into our own garden. After a few hours I saw through a crack in the fence that Mazariuk, a former student, now a militiaman, was organizing a band of pupils of the middle schools ; he went with them into the neighboring yard, dug up fifteen rifles there, and then went to report that Jews were hid-ing where they lived, and afterwards started pillaging with the entire gang.

IV. Testimony of Chernikhov, Aged 24

On Sunday, May 11, at noon, the Grigorievists came to our house, conducted a search, and finding on one of us a Zionistic document with the tnogen dovid (Shield of David), began to yell that the owner of this document was a genuine communist and stood him against the wall. When it was explained to them that this was not a communist document, they took the goods and clothing and departed. After two hours they returned again to look for the "communist," but he was no longer there.

V. Testimony of Fastovsky

On May 14, at twelve midnight, there came to our house four armed men in military uniforms, who demanded weapons, searched us, and beat us terribly. My husband gave them a thousand rubles and they left the house and ordered them to go along. They took my husband and three sons with them. Half an hour later the youngest son came running back and asked for another thousand rubles. He hastily explained that they had been terribly tormented along the road. His father be-sought them : "Let me live for the sake of my little children." The reply was: "Shut up, Jew." They took them to the river, stripped them naked, and began to beat them with gun-butts. When the father couldn't speak from pain, he cried : "I must have a thousand rubles more ; take them, but let us live." When the boy arrived with the money, he found his father and two brothers lying dead in pools of blood.

VI. Testimony of Gersh Kazakevich, Aged 56, Baker From May 10 to 18 there were about a hundred people hiding from the pogrom in his dwelling. All that time the owner's son kept walking up and down in peasant's garb, guarding the place. The bands that passed took him for a peasant and asked: "Where is the headquarters of the Jew-communists here ?" He replied to this that the Jews had already been plundered. On Thursday, the 15th, in the evening, bandits surrounded the house and demanded that he give the Jews up to them, but he insisted that there were no Jews there. They departed. On the next day, May 16, they came again, surrounded the house, and de-manded that the Jews be surrendered; if not, they would shoot the son. The latter was compelled to hide. They broke into the house, and seized five Jews, whom they Feat terribly and took away to the railway train.

VII. Testimony of David Meyer Goldstein On Saturday, May 17, 1919, at 6 A.M., bandits broke into the house of Aria Levitzsky, found several people there, and de-manded money from them. The first to be killed was the teacher of the Talmud-Torah, who had no money. The second victim was Feiga Zhukialianskaia, an old woman of 72 ; she begged to take the place of the young people. They then collected 1,300 rubles from the witness, and afterwards left the house. As soon as the armed bandits kit the dwelling, a crowd of peasant men and women with sacks and baskets broke in and divided every-thing they found in the house among themselves. Those who remained thought that the presence of the corpses would frighten off the peasants and save them from further tor-ments. In reality it was still worse. Every new band, on seeing the corpses, became convinced that here the Jews had defended themselves with weapons in their hands, and demanded of the living that they give up their weapons, and stood them up against the wall with the vilest abuse. All day long we kept ransoming ourselves with money.