Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Mendel Beilis -- One Charge Now, A Different One Later

This is the summary of the 30th day of the Mendel Beilis trial, which occurred on 24 October, 1913 on the Julian calendar, 6 November, 1913 on the Gregorian calendar.

This day occupies pages 58 through 111 of Volume III of the transcript.

It contains Zamyslovsky’s closing speech and part of Shmakov’s.     See the translation of the transcript for day 30.
As you go along you will start wondering whether Zamyslovsky even listened to the testimony.  Zamyslovsky’s speech is about as full of errors, shall we say, as Vipper’s, although it has more energy.  But it reads almost as if he wrote it before the trial started, and didn’t change much after the evidence was presented.  Bonch-Bruevich wrote the same thing: all of this was contradicted, even the depositions said otherwise, and Zamyslovsky displayed no logic. 

Notice where Zamyslovsky is supposed to be drawing conclusions, he actually asks a lot of questions.  This is a parliamentary debate tactic.  This is a tactic of people who failed to provide factual support for what they want their audience to believe, and are trying to sway their opinions nevertheless.  He’s not trying to work the court of law, he’s trying to work the court of public opinion.

Zamyslovsky says over and over that when people give different versions of an event, it’s because they have forgotten what roles they were assigned to play in a put-up job.  By this, Zamyslovsky continues to illustrate his genius for saying things he shouldn’t because “mutato nomine de te fabula narratur,” a phrase he should have known from gymnasium, or maybe more accurately it was Freudian projection, which he may not have known about. 

Finally, toward the end of his speech there are problems.  Some of them can be assigned to the stenographer or publisher because they are clearly typos.  But other things are less likely to be typos – use of “documents” instead of “dogma” in one place – and some are simply unfortunate problems with how things are worded.  One example of the latter is Zamyslovsky saying “I am fully convinced of this” immediately after saying “is it impossible to say that Beilis is guilty of this crime,” when what he really means is that he is fully convinced that ritual murder exists – a clause preceding the one about Beilis.  It happens at right about 7 p.m. and he started talking before noon.  That’s an excuse, that’s not a justification.  Could this have been a Freudian slip?

First Vipper admits that the ritual murder charge is illegal because there’s no such crime in Russian law.
Today Shmakov says that the charges against an accused should not change between one day and the next, or between one moment and a time half an hour later.
Is the government sneaking up on changing the charge in the indictment because of the wording about ritual murder?

To "Not One Charge, Two!"

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

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved


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