The Pale of Settlement was the name of the geographical area withinImperial Russia, within which permanent residence of Jewish people was allowed, and beyond which Jewish residence was generally prohibited. It was about 1,ooo,ooo square miles. The word pale comes from the Latin word palus, meaning stake, from which we got “palissade” and “boundary”, thus the concept of a defined and enclosed geographical area.
NOTHING ELSE BUT A VERY LARGE GHETTO!
The Russian Pale of Settlement existed from 1791 until 1917. Within its borders were a miryad of shtetls (small villages), think “Fiddler on the Roof” environment!
This was where most of the governement sponsored riots or “Pogroms” against Jewish people took place (my great-grandmother escaped one to come to France).
Today, while many are trying to deconstruct the undeniable events of the Holocaust, by rewriting history and/or simply denying it, others are doing research that not only militates against such a position but also uncovers more horror.
An interesting article in the Washington Post yesterday (June 4, 2009) revealed the results of a decade long study by Holocaust Museum scholars.
The Pale of Settlement might have historically come to an end in 1917, but to my people, the reality was very different as the writer of the article stated :
“…what we are seeing in this project is that all of Europe was a camp.”
The Pale of Settlement simply became the Pale of Destruction as it appears that much of Europe was much more aware of much more implicated (20,000 camps) in the day-to-day affairs of the Nazi “Death Machine”.
As horrific as this might be for mankind to discover, this will also help us to re-validate and remember the “Catastrophe”
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