This article focuses on the cases of extermination of entire Jewish communities during the civil war in Ukraine. The author concludes that while anti-Bolshevik armies carried out mass-scale massacres, the most radical pogroms were perpetrated by neighbors: local non-Jews against their Jewish neighbors, foreshadowing the pogroms of summer 1941. The article emphasizes two critical aspects of these exterminations: the way a small group of young radical anti-Bolshevik insurgents would mobilize the Christian population as a whole; and the recent experiences of revolution, civil war, and brutal Soviet occupation, which together comprised the local context leading to the exterminations. These extreme cases of anti-Jewish violence are put in the broader context of ethnic cleansings perpetrated in various ways by neighbors and anti-Bolshevik partisans during the civil war in Ukraine.

issue 15 / August 2019 by Thomas Chopard