The Russian Revolution and Pogroms -- The Second Wave of Emigration
The Ukraine was becoming a less and less hospitable place for Jews and many Jews decided to leave. In
1919 there were massive pogroms in the Ukraine in which tens of thousands of Jews were killed. Abram
Bezbrozh, one of the sons of Meyer Bezbrozh was one such victim. He died in 1919 "from a bullet of bandits
who attacked their village", according to his grandson Igor Bezborzh.
It was this violence that inspired many of the Bezbrozh's to flee from Russia. The escape from the Soviet
Union was not easy. Government officials had to be bribed and often the escapees had to hide in small boats
or wagons when crossing the border.
Shulamit Witenoff reported that here parents Isaac and Donia "were ferried over the Dniester River, to
Kishinev, which was then Romania."
Fannie Bernstein (born Feige Bezbrozh) often told the story of how she and her husband Philip (born Pinnie)
fled to Romania. Feige brought her father Moishe with her, but at the border, Moishe was not allowed through
by the border guards. Feige had to say good-bye to her father at the border, knowing that she would never see
him again. Fannie always cried when telling that story, even fifty years later. Fannie also recalled having to hide
on a boat while she and her husband we taken across a river. This was probably the Dniester River.
Mark Goldenson, Abe Litrovnik's grandson tells the story that after Abe's parents (Rivka and Usher) were
killed in a pogrom, Abe felt that as the oldest son it was his responsibility to get his siblings out of Russia. Abe
made all the arrangements and Abe, his wife Bayla and Abe's siblings Izak (and Izak's wife Leeza), Alec,
Esther, Slava and Chaim fled from Russia. (According to Betty Goodman, Shulem Bezbrozh's wife Surka and
her children Yankel and Anna crossed into Romania with her father Izak.) When it was time to cross the
Dniester River, it was necessary to get into three separate boats. The boat carrying Esther, Slava and Chaim
was stopped by border guards and they were sent back to Russia, while the others were able to cross. One
can only imagine the anguish that they all felt at being separated. This turn of events is made even more tragic by
the fact that Chaim was killed fighting in the Soviet army during World War II. It would be move than forty
years before the remaining Litrovnik siblings would see each other again in the 1960s.
Almost all of the
members of the
Bezbrozh family who left
Russia went first to
Romania. A major
obstacle was crossing the
Dniester River, shown in
light blue. The town of
Kishinev, Romania is
shown on this map as
"Chisinau", which is the
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