||Prayers for the Jewish victims of pogroms in Russia in 1905. The title, set within a black border, is Trauer – Feier: Opfer der Judenverfolgungen in Russland (Mourning Services for the Jewish victims of persecution in Russia). It is dated Sunday, December 17, 1905, 19 Kislev 666. Services are to be held in the Gemeindesynagoge (the municipal synagogue). Hamburg has been added as the location in pencil. The verso of the title page has a schedule for services, consisting of Minhah, Psalm 10, and 103 verses 15-17. This is to be followed by trauerrede (a memorial sermon), El Male Rahamim (God full of compassion), recited for the departed, Psalm 16 and Ma’ariv. The text consists of the Psalms to be said, printed in two columns, the right column Hebrew, the left German in Fraktur.
The Jews of Russia were the victims of three large-scale waves of pogroms, each of which surpassed the preceding in scope and savagery. These occurred between the years 1881 and 1884, 1903 and 1906, and 1917 and 1921.
The second wave of pogroms was connected with the revolutionary agitation in Russia and the first Russian revolution of 1905. In its struggle against the revolutionary movement, the Russian government gave the reactionary press a free hand to engage in unbridled anti-Jewish incitement in an attempt to divert the anger of the masses against the Jews and to represent the revolutionary movement as the result of "Jewish machinations." Monarchist societies, such as the Union of Russian People, the Double-headed Eagle Society, and others, which were referred to by the general name of the Black Hundreds, played a prominent role in the organization of the pogroms. The first results of this incitement were pogroms which occurred in Kishinev during Passover 1903, in the wake of the wild agitation propagated by the anti-Semitic local newspaper Bessarabets, edited by P. Krushevan. This pogrom was accompanied by savage murders (45 dead and hundreds of injured) and mutilations of the injured and dead. About 1,500 Jewish houses and shops were looted. The pogrom angered public opinion throughout the world. Subsequently, a self-defense movement was organized among the Jewish youth. Its organizers were mainly drawn from the Zionist socialist parties and the Bund. In a pogrom which broke out in Gomel in September 1903, the self-defense group played a prominent part in saving Jewish lives and property. In the fall of 1904, a series of pogroms was perpetrated in Smela, Rovno, Aleksandriya and other places by army recruits about to be sent to the war against Japan and by the local rabble. In 1905, when the revolutionary movement gained strength, reactionary circles, with the support of the government, intensified the anti-Jewish propaganda, and an atmosphere of terror reigned in many towns of the Pale of Settlement and beyond it. Occasionally pogroms occurred in reaction to revolutionary demonstrations, which the opponents of the revolution condemned as Jewish demonstrations. In February 1905 a pogrom took place in Feodosiya, and in April of the same year in Melitopol. A pogrom which took place in the provincial capital of Zhitomir surpassed all these in scope (May 1905). However, the severest pogroms of this period took place during the first week of November 1905, immediately after the publication of the manifesto of the czar (October 1905), which promised the inhabitants of Russia civic liberties and the establishment of a state Duma (Parliament). On publication of the manifesto, spontaneous manifestations of joy broke out throughout Russia. The celebrants came from the liberal and radical elements of Russian society, while the Jews, who hoped to obtain rapid emancipation, prominently participated in this rejoicing. In response to these manifestations, the reactionary circles organized popular processions of elements loyal to the regime; these were headed by the local civil and ecclesiastical leaders. In many places these processions developed into pogroms against the Jews (on some occasions, the non-Jewish intelligentsia was also attacked).
The most serious pogrom occurred in Odessa (with over 300 dead and thousands of wounded); another severe pogrom took place in Yekaterinoslav, where 120 Jews lost their lives. Altogether, pogroms were perpetrated in 64 towns (including, in addition to Odessa and Yekaterinos lav, Kiev, Kishinev, Simferopol, Romny, Kremenchug, Nikolayev, Chernigov, Kamenets-Podolski, and Yelizavetgrad), and 626 townlets and villages. About 660 of the pogroms took place in the Ukraine and Bessarabia, 24 outside the Pale of Settlement, and only seven in Belorussia. There were no pogroms in Poland and Lithuania. The total number of dead in these pogroms was estimated at over 800. The pogroms lasted only a few days. The most prominent participants were railway workers, small shopkeepers and craftsmen, and industrial workers. The peasants mainly joined in to loot property.
From the outset, these pogroms were inspired by government circles. The local authorities received instructions to give the pogromists a free hand and to protect them from the Jewish self-defense. Commissions of inquiry were appointed after the pogroms which explicitly pointed out the criminal inactivity of the police and military forces. After a while, it became known that pamphlets calling for the pogroms had been printed on the press of the governmental secret police.
The pogroms of 1903–06 stimulated a great nationalist awakening among the Jews of Europe, they encouraged the development of organized self-defense movements among Jews, and accelerated Jewish emigration for the Second Aliyah and the formation of the Hashomer society in Erez Israel.