Added: November 1, 2014 – Last updated: May 16, 2015


Author: Irina Astashkevich

Title: The Pogroms in Ukraine in 1917-1920

Subtitle: An Alternate Universe

Thesis: Ph.D. Thesis, Brandeis University

Year: May 2013

Pages: 372pp.

Language: English

Keywords: 20th Century | Russian History, Ukrainian History


Link: ProQuest (Restricted Access)



»This dissertation examines the pogroms in Ukraine in 1917-1920 as a historical phenomenon within their larger context. It describes their genesis from the early outbreaks of violence in 1917 against the backdrop of the developing Ukrainian democratic experiment and their transformation in 1918 under German occupation. It then analyzes the pogroms carried out in early 1919 by the Ukrainian National Army and its allied military gangs (the Petlyura pogroms) and the pogroms of late 1919 to-early 1920 committed by the Armed Forces of the South of Russia (the Denikin Army). These four pogrom waves constituted a new stage in the development of anti-Jewish violence in terms of scale, level of brutality and number of deaths.
The thesis is based on the vast and little investigated archive collected by Eliyahu Tcherikover in YIVO. It examines not only the course of the pogroms but also the genesis of the Jewish grassroots communal and individual responses. The author argues that the third and fourth wave of these pogroms (carried out by Petlyura’s forces and those of Denikin), while still taking the form of traditional pogroms, fall into the now emerging pattern of ethnic/national conflict in time of war, which has been a feature of the last century. They were characterized predominantly not by looting and murder but by the mass rape of Jewish women and the large-scale torture of the victims. The thesis deconstructs this mass rape and elucidates its characteristics—its extraordinary savagery and brutality, the prevalence of gang rapes and the “performance” of rape as a public spectacle to assert power and dominance. It also attempts to provide a collective portrait of pogrom perpetrators.
In its microhistorical investigation of the pogroms the thesis makes use of a variety of methods, including narrative theory and trauma theory and draws on a wide range of socio-anthropological and ethnic studies of conflict in time of war. It contributes to the historiography of this tragic period by creating an all-inclusive, dynamic reconstruction and analysis of the “pogrom universe” that emerged in Ukraine in 1917 to 1920 in the context of Jewish history and in the broader universal historical perspective.« (Source: Thesis)


  Preface (p. vi)
  Introduction (p. 1)
  Chapter 1. 1917: Origins of the Anti-Jewish Progroms in Ukraine (p. 36)
  Chapter 2. 1918: Anti-Jewish Violence in the Transitional Period (p. 99)
  Chapter 3. 1919: Progroms under the Directory (p. 161)
  Chapter 4. 1919-1920: Pogroms by the Volunteer Army (p. 242)
  Conclusion (p. 345)
  Bibliography (p. 356)

Wikipedia: Pogrom: Anti-Jewish pogroms in the Russian Empire, Antisemitism in Ukraine, Kiev Pogroms (1919)