Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Mendel Beilis -- Ritual Murder Not a Crime

This is the summary of the 29th day of the Mendel Beilis trial, which occurred on 23 October, 1913 on the Julian calendar, 5 November, 1913 on the Gregorian calendar.

This day occupies pages 3 through 58 of Volume III of the transcript.

 See the translation of the transcript for day 29.
Today begin the closing arguments in the trial.  The page numbering for the transcript restarts because this is in Volume III of the transcript.  Today is all Vipper, all the time.

I only footnoted language issues.  Just take for granted that Vipper is still mis-stating the facts as he did a number of times during the testimony, and you won’t be surprised at the conclusions he draws.

Vladimir Bonch-Bruevich wrote, in his article at the time of the trial, about Vipper trying to make something out of nothing.  I don’t know if I would go that far but I will say that during the evening session, he begins to sound disjointed.  He’s probably tired because it’s late, and he’s had 29 of these late-night sessions in a row, without even a Sunday break.  But I don’t think he has thought this speech out very well, and if he made notes of what he could say to make the most of his facts, they aren’t helping him very much. 

The other possibility that occurs to me is suggested by Arnold Margolin’s book.  He wrote that the defense found out after the trial, that while the jury was supposedly sequestered, members of the Black Hundreds were allowed access to them.  It’s possible Vipper wasn’t willing to waste his best effort on muzhiks who wouldn’t appreciate his rhetoric, all the more so as the Black Hundreds were doing nothing if they were not cajoling or threatening the jury into giving the verdict that the government wanted.

See statement 211 where Vipper admits that there is no law on the books specifically associated with ritual murder.  This could be a result of a conference held during a late recess on day 28 and may be a signal of what happens on day 34.  In any case, if Vipper was told 24 hours before he made this statement, that the government was throwing in its hand and going to some expedient other than a trial on the indictment, he might not feel like making his best effort. 

To "One Charge Now, Another Charge Later"

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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