More ritual noise for pogroms

A while back I posted a translation of a memoir of the use of sound in Jew-killing Easter celebrations in the 1940s in Torelló, about 90km north of Barcelona:

Then the monsignor left the altar and told us that we could start killing the Jews. And he had all the boys beat the planks that had been brought with the mallets and behind the girls whirling the rattles. The whole inside of the church turned into a thunderbox which, if it had lasted too long, would have left both grownups and children with a bad headache.

It was interesting, then, to read rather late last night in Dark star, a 30s spy novel by Alan Furst (buy it in the USA/UK), of the protagonist’s recollections of the 1903 Easter massacre of Jews in Kishinev,

where, as a six-year-old, he’d heard the local citizens beating their whip handles on the cobblestones, preparing their victims for a pogrom.

He has clearly used historical sources, but as far as I know none mention this detail, and this piece by Andrei Shapiro talks of the initial mobs moving silently. It would be good to know where he found it.

(I’m kind of hoping against hope that the final page of the novel will resolve the logistical conundrum introduced on the second, where the freighter Nicaea, laden with Anatolian grain bound for Odessa, makes a halfway stop in … Ostend, Belgium. But, as Furst says in discussing Stalinist killings, sometimes why has and requires no answer.)

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