Friday, October 18, 2013

Mendel Beilis --"Ettinger and Landau"

This is the summary of day 11 of the Mendel Beilis trial, which occurred on 5 October, 1913 on the Julian calendar, 18 October, 1913 on the Gregorian calendar.

This day occupies pages 402 through 433 of Volume I of the transcript.

 See the translation of the transcript for day 11.

Today old Mr. Vyshemirsky creates trouble for the prosecution.   Called by the defense to talk about the hauling at Zaitsev’s, he gives Beilis a character reference.  He also tells a story the prosecution apparently knew nothing about.  Vera’s chums Adele Ravich and her husband got 300 rubles from Vera to skip the country in May 1911, but did so only toward September.  Adele supposedly saw Andrey’s body rolled up in Vera’s carpet in her parlor.  Ekaterina Dyakon will tell more about this on day 15.

The prosecution apparently didn’t even know that Fenenko deposed Adele in April, coincidentally on the 23rd, the same day as Vera gave her first deposition.  But on that day Adele only spoke about believing the Jews murdered Andrey.  For the prosecution not to know about this deposition suggests a combination of poor preparation, and the government withholding from its own operatives information that is inconvenient to its theory that the charge of ritual murder grew out of the evidence instead of driving the case.

Remember that on day 1 of the trial it came out that the government refused to contact the Russian embassy in the U.S. to find the Raviches.  They had two years to do that, as it turned out; meanwhile, in 1914, Margolin and Krasovsky and others managed to find them and get an affidavit from them in only six weeks. 

Today three prosecution myths get their death sentences: the “Ettinger and Landau” myth; the “milk” story; and the idea that Beilis needed Andrey’s blood in 1911 to bake matso for the Zaitsev family.  This Saturday session closed a very bad week for the prosecution, starting with Sunday, day 5, when the Shakhovskys recanted the depositions forged over their marks, and continuing with Wednesday, day 8, when the Cheberyaks’ lies were exposed.

The team of Ettinger and Landau is demolished by factual testimony and official documents, the passports of the two men concerned.  Neither was in Kiev when Andrey was murdered.  Also they were not Chassidic, and therefore not tsadiqs; and they were secularly educated, not rabbis.

Yakov Ettinger inadvertently brings out a problem with the prosecution.  They assume that the definitions and concepts they have based their theory on, are fundamental and well-known.  Ettinger, through a translator, first shows that Vipper obviously has a specific definition in mind for the term tsadiq, and finally forces Vipper to connect it with Chassidic Jews and with a specialized religious function before questioning can proceed.  Vipper gives up that line of inquiry. 

In this part of the trial the judge specifies the right of residence in Kiev. 
Jews must have a higher education, despite 5% quotas for Jews at the realgymnasium required to prepare for university and the additional 5% quota at university.  In Moscow and St. Petersburg the quotas were 3% each.  After 1888, Jews could no longer attend law school.  Oscar Gruzenberg was kicked out after his first year and had to serve as a sort of apprentice attorney for 16 years before being admitted to the bar.
Or Jews must belong to the First Guild of merchants.  This was the case with Yona Mordkovich and Mark Yonovich Zaitsev, but not for Mark’s sister who had been named a hereditary honorary citizen, on her father’s account.  Her son and Mark’s cousin did not have the right of residence.  (The  Shneerson dynasty were also hereditary honorary citizens, awarded for R. Shneur Zalman’s work in the Napoleonic War, see R. Mazeh’s day 28 testimony.)
Or Jews must have other grounds for the right.  Faivel Shneerson qualified on the grounds of being a veteran of the Russo-Japanese war, but he still had to be registered and at one point, as you remember, the city authorities messed with his registration.

Today the prosecution brings in one more of their hapless witnesses who has forgotten his testimony.  What sets this witness apart is the inadvertent evidence that he cooperated in the arson at the stables.  He did not live on the factory property at the time, he didn’t even work there, and he wasn’t on the grounds when the fire burst out – says he, and yet the prosecution insists on asking him whether it was arson.  All right, Zamyslovsky asks him, and this is a foretaste of the stupid question he will ask Pyotr Singaevsky on day 17 or 18. 

If Dikusha didn’t actually light the fire, he was supposed to suggest that it was arson.  Since he wasn’t on the spot at the time, the only way he could suspect that is if somebody told him it was.  Dikusha has been taught a story he has forgotten.  Once again, it’s these inconsiderable little witnesses whom the government didn’t train well enough, who give the jury a reasonable suspicion that perjury is going on or, at best, the evidence isn’t persuasive enough of guilt.

Another thing that happens this day is that witness Zelensky, about whom the prosecution has questioned other workers, comes to the stand where he is supposed to give evidence supporting the government timeline.  In fact this is one more illiterate person who doesn’t know from dates, only from holidays, but worse yet, he has forgotten what day of the week he was supposed to say he arrived.  Vipper has to answer all Zelensky’s questions, the way the prosecution has to do for all their false witnesses.  Except Vera who had her own way of proving the government case was false.

Judge:  Fyodor Boldyrev

            Criminal Prosecutor, Oscar Vipper
            Civil Prosecutor Georgy Zamyslovsky
            Private Civil Prosecutor Aleksey Shmakov

            Oscar Gruzenberg
            Nikolay Karabchevsky
            Dmitry Grigorevich-Barsky
            Alexandr Zarudny
            Vasily Maklakov

Blows “milk” story, Beilis had no cow
Blows milk story
Outs Raviches as knowing that Vera killed Andrey
Mark Yonovich Zaitsev
Blows Ettinger & Landau “tsadiq” team; secularly educated, not Chassidic, not devoted to prayer
Zaitsev footman
Testifies to non-observance
Samoil Izraelovich Landau
Produces passport to prove his visit was Nov. 1911
Ehduard Sharlaman
Writer, naturalist
Insubstantial testimony
Yakov Ettinger
Produces passport to prove his visit was Dec-Jan 1911
Beilis’ assistant and lodger
Testifies Grebenki workers were working March 12
Moved away from Zaitsev’s
Feb. 1911, didn’t live there March
Forgot his testimony
Zelensky, Yov (?)
First of Grebenko workers to testify
Zaitsev groom, questioned about stable fire
Contractor, prepared foundation for hospice
Testified to date
Dr. Tarnovsky
Zhenya’s doctor; testified by deposition; not fully recorded


© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

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