The Browser Review Daily Letter 147

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White Slavery In Russia


The Times,  6th July 1913

LONDON — The gratitude of all right-thinking people will go out to the Chief Rabbi for his outspoken remarks at the opening session of the International Congress for the Suppression of the White Slave Traffic. For such a gathering to be participated in by the Russian Government, whose policy is deliberately directed towards the manufacture of women of ill-fame, is an insult to the representatives of all other governments and institutions who were present.

It was well that the Congress opened with such a protest, but a mere protest alone is insufficient. Russia ought to have been formally informed that the representation of a Government which has deliberately set about the manufacture of white slaves is out of place and not welcome at a Congress for the Suppression of the White Slave Traffic.

The course pursued by the Russian Government is briefly as follows: The six million Jews of the Russian Empire are, with the exception of a few categories, confined to the very limited area of the towns of Poland and of the Pale of Settlement. One of the favoured categories is that of unfortunates who, although of Jewish race and religion, are permitted to reside and travel wherever they wish within the dominions of the Czar. To secure this privilege Jewesses must obtain a yellow ticket.

Jewish women students and teachers as such do not possess this privilege of freedom of movement and residence, and it has happened that Russian Jewesses, in order to obtain freedom to pursue their studies at some university outside of the Pale, or to earn their living by means of teaching, have applied for and obtained the yellow ticket.

In the past the Russian officials have considered it sufficient to watch any Jewish girl or woman who was suspected of obtaining the yellow ticket merely as a disguise, and of promptly depositing her to the Pale if she was found to be leading a respectable life.

Recently a new course has been adopted. Russian police, acting with the cognisance of their superiors, have tracked down Jewish girls living outside the Pale under the protection of the yellow ticket, and forcibly outraged them with the intention of bringing their actual life into line with their nominal calling.

That such a course can be pursued by the representatives of a European Government will appear inconceivable, and the foregoing will probably be read with incredulity. This statement is, however, practically a quotation from a recent speech in the Duma by M. Miliukoff, the Liberal leader. The charge he made has not been answered, for it cannot be disproved.

The representative of the Russian Government at the London Congress has, it is true, practically under compulsion, put forward a sort of explanation, but his letter in no way lessens the force of the accusation.

A year ago Professor A.V. Dicey wrote: “Jewish unfortunates are the only class to whom the whole empire is open. Jewish girls, it is said, have been driven to acquire this hideous privilege in order to acquire the domiciliary freedom necessary to their career as teachers or students, and have taken the yellow ticket, which is the badge of degradation, and Jewish girls have been cynically banished on the formal ground that instead of abandoning themselves to vice they were making a living by teaching or by attendance at lectures.”

This statement has been before the British public for a year, and no serious attempt has been made to refute it, despite challenges issued to the representatives of the Russian Government in this country. It may, therefore, be considered proved. It now rests with the British public and especially the women of England to express their abhorrence of legislation directed towards the manufacture of unfortunates and of the Government responsible for that legislation.

A moral responsibility rests upon the people of this country in this matter, on account of the close political friendship which at present subsists between the two nations, and of the moral support which he Russian Government thereby receives in all its action from the British people.

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