JOSEPH TRUMPELDOR – THE ROARING LION
Ehud Uval Levi
Our series “CENTURY SOLDIERS” will document the first generation of Jewish Russians following the abolishment of the Cantonist schools, and the forced enlistment of young Jewish boys into the Russian Army. The time is to turn of the 20th century, the Romanov dynasty has been overthrown, and the revolution has begun. Horrific poverty and starvation is rampant throughout the land, and Vladimir Lenin is cognizant of the frustration and dissension festering among the masses. Meanwhile, the Cantonist soldiers, who had previously returned from their tours of duty and established thriving communities throughout the former Russian Empire, were the embodiment of Lenin’s doctrines, creating collective, self-sufficient societies. Most people already had great contempt for the Jewish people, and Lenin took immediate advantage of this situation. He proclaimed that the Jews had taken all the wealth of Russia, and that they were directly to blame for their lot in life. This of course fueled their hatred and resulted in the destruction of Jewish communities throughout the region, beatings, and even murders of the Jewish people; while the authorities did nothing to prevent these unsolicited attacks. Lenin had scapegoats, blaming the Jews, as it was centuries before, and as we know, will happen half a century later during the reign of Adolf Hitler.
To illustrate the atrocities during this time, we will chronicle the life of decorated war soldier Joseph Trumpeldor. Four-time Medal of Honor recipient, prisoner of war, celebrated by the Emperors of Russia and Japan, Trumpeldor would turn on the country he valiantly risked his life for (even sacrificing a limb in battle, before returning to the front line in winning his fourth Medal of Honor) leading a mass exodus of his Jewish compatriots to Palestine, where they bravely fought warring Arabian tribes to bring sovereignty and peace to what they considered their homeland.
The producers of “JOSEPH TRUMPELDOR – THE ROARING LION” will explore and document the extreme anti-Semitism of Russia in the early years of the Soviet Union, so violent and deeply ingrained in society that one of its bravest and most honored war heroes so no other choice but to flee this nation of hate and paved the way for other afflicted Russian Jews to find a means of escape. The producers contend the appalling anti-Semitism we witness in modern day Russia is a direct result of the foundation of hate it was created during these earlier times. It is our intention, through the production of these documentaries, to help explain the hatred exhibited today, to make people throughout the world aware of the atrocities committed yesterday and ultimately to affect change tomorrow. Major historical events throughout Russia had a direct correlation with the extreme prejudices and anti-Semitic treatments of a quiet, peaceful and devout society of people. We must remember the man and soldier, Joseph Trumpeldor, and all those who were victims of Russian anti-Semitism, to honor them, to ensure their lives were not lost in vain, and to be armed with the knowledge of the past to be prepared and readied for the prevention of such inhumanities in the future.