Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Mendel Beilis -- Vera's first testimony

This is the summary of the 8th day of the Mendel Beilis trial, which occurred on 2 October, 1913 on the Julian calendar, 15 October, 1913 on the Gregorian calendar.

This day occupies pages 272 through 320 of Volume I of the transcript.

 See the transcript translation for the eighth day. 

I call this Liars’ Day.  We hear from all the Cheberyaks, all of whom tell falsehoods on the stand, as well as more falsehoods from Polishchuk, who once worked for Krasovsky and later threw him under the bus over 75 kopecks so that the government could say Krasovsky had been tried for government corruption. 

Lyuda comes first of the Cheberyaks; her story was invented by the government in July 1912 and is a variant on her father’s story.  Zhenya’s three depositions from 1911 are read out; the last one denies what the first two admit, that Andrey was at his house in March, 1911.  Vera tells her 8th or 9th set of lies and changes her story 3 times when Vipper pushes her on why she didn’t go to the police with Zhenya’s supposed story.  Vasily tries to tell the story from his 1911 deposition, and also the story Lyuda was taught.  All of these stories have been refuted by testimony from over 80 prior witnesses. 

Lyuda testifies that Polishchuk threatened her with death if she testified against Beilis.  It was after Zhenya’s death but before Valya’s.  It’s probably the only true thing she says the whole day.

The cake is a red herring.  I discuss Zhenya’s death in my “murder mystery” The Anvil.

I included tons of notes on Polishchuk’s testimony.  I feel it is important that whoever reads this transcript knows how his testimony relates to the chronology of the case, to what other witnesses say, and even to himself because he contradicts himself.  Newspaperman Yablonsky will say on day 19 that when Vera tells the truth she lies and if she talks in her sleep, that’s probably lies too.  Meet the masculine version of that statement. Watch Gruzenberg take him apart into little tiny bits on the stand. 

One of the things that happens today is that Boldyrev seems to wake up and start coming down on hearsay and gossip.  From this point on he stops any witness who says “I heard” or “they told me” and can’t give a name for the source.   He starts with Polishchuk who conveniently blames most of his hearsay on Moishe Arendar or his wife, neither of whom is in court on this day.  Moishe wasn’t much involved in testimony and his wife not at all. 

Another thing, fairly funny when you think of it, is that after the defense rips Polishchuk to shreds, Vipper starts treating him like a hostile witness, as we would say in the U.S.  Tager’s work showed that Polishchuk was paid by Opanasenko of the Black Hundreds; he wrote Chaplinsky a letter about it in 1912.  For Polishchuk to testify, I believe, is a substitute for putting a real government spy on the stand or reading out his deposition in court – or else admitting that Vygranov never was deposed. 

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

Lived on Zaitsev property
Testified about fence
Aron Beilis
Mendel’s brother
Testified about milk cow
Adam Polishchuk
Krasovsky’s “assistant’
Agent for Black Hundreds
Lyudmila Vasilevna Cheberyak
Tells government “two rabbis” story
Evgeny Vasilevich Cheberyak
Zhenya.  Testified by deposition.  Died August 1911 of bismuth poisoning
Vera Vladimirovna Cheberyak
Liar in chief
Vasily Petrovich Cheberyak
Mr. Liar in chief

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

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