Why Antony Blinken is a symbol of solidarity between US, Ukrainian Jews

While Jews in Ukraine faced near-constant persecution, in the United States, where religious freedom was greater protected, many Jews began to thrive.

FEBRUARY 15, 2021

In 1904, a 25-year-old Ukrainian Jew named Meir Blinken and his young family began settling into a new life in New York’s Lower East Side. Though they were far from home, they were by no means alone. In fact, they were just one of thousands of families who had arrived in America after fleeing Ukraine to escape antisemitic terror.

Across what was then the Russian Empire, a series of brutal pogroms were taking place. Thousands of Jews saw their businesses and homes destroyed. Thousands more were killed. The violence was so terrible that 105,000 Ukrainian Jews are thought to have entered the U.S. in 1904 alone.

This wave of mass migration marked a critical turning point in Ukrainian history. In 1900, one out of four Jews in the entire world was living in the territory of present-day Ukraine. More Jews lived in Ukraine at that time than in any other country. In the years that followed, however, a series of tragic events, which began with the pogroms, followed by the Holocaust and Soviet repression, caused the Jewish population to fall away drastically.

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