My serial question for this course was centered on the waves of anti-Semitism that was beginning to emerge around the world. The majority of this hate, especially in 1905, was based in Russia. Possibly, were there any warning signs that could have hindered the Holocaust that resulted in later years? Throughout the course of this newspaper you can find bits and pieces of prejudice acts happening to Jews.

The Egyptian Gazette was one of the main newspapers that were in circulation during 1905. It was highly respected and sought out by a plethora of people during its time. Like most common newspapers it had current events along with local ordeals, economic information, and advertisements. At this exact point of history the biggest event going on at the time was the Russo-Jap war. Although Egypt wasn’t directly involved in the war you could get all the information you would ever want from this newspaper.

The beginning of this course required us to collect all the pages that we were assigned to. We had to use microfilm and take pictures and then convert the pictures over to text and finally xml format. At first the majority of my images were too blurry and would result in illiterate text. I had to go back and stitch together the images to make sure that the quality would suffice. After this was done I corrected all of them into text files and converted them over to xml. At this point I had to organize the text with headers, paragraphs, and divisions. This allowed my work to be easily read and interpreted. For me this part took me the longest. Having to manually enter each one of those coding messages. The most beneficial/intriguing part of this entire class is how we all contribute to the repository. I am able to view all of the information my classmates have produced and use that to analyze the entire newspaper. To me personally this is the best part of the class. I haven’t been a part of any sort of class like this and it’s new and fascinating. The querying part of this project made it easy to access all of the information I needed. For my question I queried different words like “Jewish”,”Jew”,”Russia”,”pogrom”. I was able to find different spots in the paper were these words were mentioned. The majority of these words were mentioned in news reports telling us about some sort of act of violence associated with the Jews. Often there was some sort of riot or protest that ended badly.

A pogrom is an organized attack on an ethnic group of some sort. There are several of these that happen throughout the time frame we are studying. One event that happened in Odessa, which is a city in Ukraine. Caused a lot of havoc and uproar resulting in up to 2,500 Jews being killed. The authorities would usually accelerate these gatherings and begin the violence. There wasn’t any written violence like this occurring in Alexandria. For some reason almost every act of hate was centered in Russia and the countries neighboring it. This was very easy for me to figure out due to the fact that I could look up every single article that mentioned something that had to do with Jews. This advantage allowed me to narrow in on specific information throughout the newspaper.

This class had a plethora of fantastic tools that we learned how to master throughout this course. Some of them, proved to be difficult at first but with time were somewhat easy to figure out. To my personal liking this wasn’t one of my most favorable classes. There was a lot of busy tedious work involved. I like to learning and exploring and it’s hard to do that when you have to put countless hours into this project before you can start. Once I got through the majority of this process the class did have a lot of satisfying learning experiences. In the future I would suggest lessening the workload to allow the students to work with the overall information more, while focusing less on their individual project. I think this would benefit them and make them have a greater appreciation for the process of this class. I was able to come to the conclusion that a good majority of the articles that mentioned Jewish oppression could have been used as warning signs. Almost all of these entries described the secret police of the Russians causing harm to the their citizens. Anybody could have read these and started a movement to end to hatred. This in turn may have lead to other people realizing this is wrong and changing their viewpoints as well. Who knows if enough people began to think like that maybe future anti-Semitic acts wouldn’t have concurred.

David Gressgott
David Gressgott

The author, a student at Florida State University, was enrolled in the digital microhistory lab in fall 2016.