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Rescue the Surviving SoulsThe Great Jewish Refugee Crisis of the Seventeenth Century$
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Adam Teller

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691161747

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691161747.001.0001

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The Chaos of War

The Chaos of War

Violence and Flight

(p.31) Chapter Two The Chaos of War
Rescue the Surviving Souls

Adam Teller

Princeton University Press

This chapter details how the Polish nobility and the Jews fled from the Khmelnytsky uprising, which took many forms, depending on the circumstances. The uprising began in early 1648 with the fomenting of unrest in the Cossack heartland of Zaporizhia, particularly the region of the lower Dniepr River. The trouble soon spread to more northerly regions of left-bank Ukraine, causing panic among the Polish nobles settled there, who began to flee, calling for a military invasion to put an end to the unrest. This was not a very urbanized region, so formal Jewish communities were few and far between. Most of the Jews there lived as one- or two-family units in villages where they leased and ran taverns. As the violence began to take its toll, many of them decided to flee too, making for the larger and well-fortified towns to the west of the Dniepr River. The chapter then recounts the “ethnic cleansing” and religious violence the Jews faced.

Keywords:   Polish nobility, Jews, Khmelnytsky uprising, Ukraine, Jewish communities, ethnic cleansing, religious violence

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