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Destruction of the Ghetto, Kiev

Abraham Manievich (American, b. Russia, 1881-1942)

Destruction of the Ghetto, Kiev, 1919

  • Oil on canvas
  • 70 5/8 x 72 1/8 in. (179.4 x 183.2 cm)
  • The Jewish Museum, New York
  • Purchase: Gift of Deana Bezark in memory of her husband Leslie Bezark, 1991-30

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Destruction of the Ghetto, Kiev

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ANTISEMITISM AND IMMIGRATION

The reasons for Jewish emigration from Russia and Eastern Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries are complex. Population growth, economic stagnation, and political failures all played a part in pushing Jews to leave. Another "push" factor was antisemitism.

In 1881, a wave of pogroms spread across southern Russia. During the ensuing decades, Anti-Jewish violence and terror remained an ever-present threat throughout czarists Russia. Jews were expelled from Moscow in 1891, and in 1903 a bloody massacre in the town of Kishinev set off another round of anti-Jewish violence. Pogroms in Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe were perpetrated by local residents but often instigated, or at least overlooked, by police and government officials.

Many Jews responded by immigrating to the West. The development of railroad lines and steamships meant that travel to the United States and Western Europe was more convenient. Prospective immigrants could get from their Eastern European towns to New York Harbor in as little as a couple of weeks. From there, entry into the United States was virtually free.