Reviewer Janet Walker: Janet is the author of Colour To Die For, first of the Fee Weston Mystery Series. Janet lives in Australia and when she is not writing about P.I. Fee Weston's fight for truth, justice and a livable cash flow, she writes articles for magazines and fund raises for Australia's wildlife carers - heroes of the bush. For more about Janet and Fee visit Janet's WEBSITE
Author : Delin
ISBN : 978-1461027751
Delin Colón, author of
Rasputin And The Jews, has, by her own admission, written a small
book (110 pages); a small book with a very big aim – reverse
history by revealing the truth about the treatment of Jewish people
in Russia during the reign of Tsar Nicholas II and the part Rasputin
played in alleviating their suffering under a regime committed to
anti-semitic repression and genocidal practices.
Racial prejudice, whether because of race, creed or colour is not new to the recorded history of the world – since time immemorial, corrupt inept governments have attempted to mask greed and oppression by attributing blame to groups (most particularly Jewish communities) within their sphere of control.
The popular press depicts
the last of the Romanov Tsars, Nicholas II, as a loving family man; a
whiter than white ruler who was unfortunate enough to be reigning
over Russia at a time of great political upheaval. Conversely,
Grigory Efimovich Rasputin, spiritual advisor to the Tsar and Tsarina
and psychic healer to their haemophiliac son, is depicted as a
corrupt, blacker than black lecher, who by his evil actions and
control of Tsar Nicholas, singlehandedly caused the 1917
Russian Revolution and the subsequent execution of the royal family.
Historical truth can be distorted; bad guys are whitewashed and good guys blackened to hide the criminal activities of powerful forces. It’s a matter of importance that Delin Colón’s research on Rasputin’s life and the reign of Tsar Nicholas II is supported by page footnote references and at the back of the book, a bibliography of source material. The great, great niece of Aron Simanovitch, Jewish jeweler and secretary to Rasputin, she devotes the first chapters of the book to documenting laws governing the life of a Russian Jew under Tsar Nicholas. Restrictions ranged from petty, mean minded intimidation with regard to residence, occupation and education to twenty five years compulsory conscription in the Russian army and the extreme danger of segregation in government enforced settlements – military and para-military groups regularly ransacked Jewish communities, wholesale slaughter of the inhabitants often occurring. These pogroms were carried out either at the behest of Tsar Nicholas or with his approval.
The author presents the
facts in a clear dispassionate style. There is no attempt at
sensationalism or embellishment. The daily frustrations and
privations endured by Jewish people in Russia between the last part
of the nineteenth century and the assassination of Rasputin in 1916
makes fascinating if horrific reading and there were times when I
would have liked the author to expand on the facts by giving a
glimpse of the ‘bigger picture’ of Russian life surrounding
the historical period. Perhaps Delin Colón will draw a wider picture
of pre-revolutionary Russia in another book.
The text moves on to Rasputin’s awareness of the Jewish people’s systematic victimization at all levels of Russian society and his attempts to redress the wrongs done to them by acting as an emissary on their behalf with Tsar Nicholas. This fell on deaf ears as Nicholas II was a lifelong anti-semitic, his fervent desire being to deport or murder all Jews in Russia. Rasputin never gave up his attempts to change the Tsar’s hatred of Jews, advising him many times that the demonization of Russian Jews would eventually lead to disaster for the Romanov dynasty.
Loved by Jews and Russian
peasants, Rasputin helped overcome the injustices suffered by
those least able to help themselves – bribery, rife at all
levels of society, often saved or released a Jew from prison,
promises of audiences with aristocrats or Tsar Nicholas was another
means he used to allow Jews or peasants to enjoy basic human rights
of education, employment and a roof over their head. Whenever
possible he alerted Jewish communities to planned pogroms and was
sometimes able to halt the murderous rampages.
Reviled and feared by the upper classes, Rasputin wasn’t a saint; only a good man who believed all men were equal before god or anyone else, for that matter. You really should read Rasputin And The Jews for an insight into the life of this amazing man - born to a peasant family he became a psychic healer, political visionary and major player at the court of Tsar Nicholas II while still retaining his humble origin and love of family life.
I liked this book; it’s a significant addition to the literature written about the one of the furthest reaching events of the twentieth century – the Russian Revolution.