Pogrom of April 10, 1919 Testimony of Vera Borisovna Rosenstein:
The town of Emilchino, canton of Novograd-Volynsk, is 15 versts from the station of Yablontzy, Korosten-Shepetovsky branch of the Podolia railroad. Population, four or five thousand 2,000 or 2,500 Jews.
Before the war a large number of German colonists lived in the town itself and round about it at the outbreak of the war they were transported to eastern governments. An insignificant number of the colonists returned in the year 1918 and settled in their former places.
The relations between Jews and Christians had long been good, free from any tension. The Jewish population, economically very backward, in political respects was, especially the younger generation, strongly imbued with Zionistic and Hebraistic spirit. The Christian population was rather well-to-do and lived always in great friendliness with the Jews. The same attitude, which stood out in specially sharp relief at the time of the pogrom, was observed also on the part of the local Christian intellectuals the priest and the teachers in the local schools.
On April 9 at 12 midnight there appeared in the town a detachment of five or six hundred Petlurist cavalry, going, as was afterwards learned, from Olevsk to Novograd-Volynsk. First of all they broke up the Jewish "Night Patrol." A Jewish "patrol" is a regular phenomenon in this part of Ukraine. It was first organized after the overthrow of the Hetman, and consisted of 30 Jews. The absence of a strong and definite government and the appearance ever since then of internal dissensions caused the Jewish population to see the necessity of providing for their own defense, or at least the appearance of it. This guard from its very beginning had no weapons, by the wish of the Jewish population itself, and remained in this condition during the whole period of its existence. Besides this Jewish bourgeois patrol, there was an armed guard of ten "hirelings," as they were called in the town, exclusively Russians, and also a militia of 15 members.
In a moment all the Jewish inhabitants of the little town learned of the arrival of the detachment and became alarmed. In spite of the time of night, they poured forth into the streets, and decided to send to the detachment a delegation of the most prominent representatives of the Jewish population, with the president of the Jewish Community at the head (Schneidermann, owner of a ready-made clothing store). When the delegation asked who they were, whence they came and whither they were going, the commander of the detachment answered that he was going with his detachment from Olevsk to Novograd-Volynsk, and that they would proceed on their way the next day. He also asked that quarters for the night and provisions be furnished for his detachment.
With this reassuring reply the delegation returned to the groups of Jews, who were waiting right there in the street, and immediately started to collect bread for the detachment. But suddenly, at 1 A.M., several soldiers of the detachment went past the Jews who had not yet disbursed and cried out: "Oh, you Jews, to your houses, or we will fire." This threatening warning, and a whole series of others which followed it, and which were not less threatening, convinced the Jews that all manner of unpleasantness was to be expected from the detachment. They at once began to hide, sending the young women to the elementary school, under the protection of the teachers, and to the local justice of the peace. The rest fled to hide with peasants, but some did not succeed in doing this and remained at home. In the house where the Rosenstein family rented an apartment two of the detachment were quartered, who called themselves "commandants." At first it was thought that there was no danger, because the "commandants" would not allow the house to be touched, and the Rosenstein family therefore decided to remain. But suddenly the son of the owner of the house ran in to say that the "commandants" staying with them were boasting of having participated in a Jewish pogrom. There was no time to make any decision before shots and cries were suddenly heard. Towards morning it was discovered that the soldiers were firing in the air, entering houses and demanding money. Though they were not natives and knew no one in the town, they addressed the Jews marked out to be plundered, calling them by name. This finally decided the Rosenstein family to go and hide somewhere. So they ran to a neighbor, a German sausage-dealer. He took them to the dwelling of a Polish locksmith, which was more like a barn than a house and was situated in the depths of his own courtyard. Miss Rosenstein herself fled to her aunt's, but when towards morning it was learned that the soldiers were especially interested in young girls, she fled back and joined her sister at the home of the Polish locksmith. But it was overcrowded there, and therefore the Pole took her over to the dwelling of the Gee: man sausage-man. In the morning, with a great crowd of peasants from the neighboring villages, especially "katzaps" (Ukrainians) from the village of Nitia (eight versts from Emilchino), the soldiers began to break into stores and together with the peasants to carry out everything that was in them. This continued till two o'clock. At this time one Jew was killed, the first victim of the Emilchino pogrom, Khaikel Brausmann, aged 50, who ran out of his home to save his iron-shop. By two o'clock, out of a hundred shops, more than half were looted. About this time the soldiers began to visit houses, accompanied by groups of peasants who by this time had been greatly excited by the soldiers' propaganda. Peasants of the locality took part in the looting only to a very insignificant extent. So it went on all day long. Towards night the agitation became especially great. Reports were heard from some source or other that the soldiers were promising to massacre the whole population at night. The night passed, however, all right. Towards morning on April 11 the detachment left in the direction of Novograd-Volynsk. The Jews thought it was all over and started to return to their abandoned homes. But suddenly the detachment appeared again. Afterwards it was explained that during the night, after drinking heavily, the soldiers got to quarreling, and one of their number was wounded. The soldiers decided to make use of this incident and give it the proper application. And so, when they had already gone eight versts and reached the village of Sereb, the detachment turned back and burst into the town to complete the devastation. The peasants accompanied them on this day. The shops that had escaped the day before were opened, and to finish them off were set on fire. The soldiers set machine guns before the shops and threatened to shoot anyone who should go up to put out the fires. Since the burning shops were in the neighborhood of the church, and the conflagration threatened to reach it, the priest came out to the crowd with the cross in his hands and addressed them with the following words : "I do not protect Jews and their property, but you have shed enough blood already, and plundered enough, and besides, remember that now even the orthodox church may suffer." This had its effect, and they did not start any more fires, continuing, however, to plunder the houses. Towards morning the detachment left the town for good, leaving it completely desolate and ruined. In the two days of the pogrom 11 people were killed, is shops burned, more than 300,000 rubles in money stolen, and the value of 21 to 23 millions in wares and private property (at valuations far from market prices).