St. Petersburg 1905: The impressions of a Polish-Jewish journalist

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During March–April 1905 and from October 1905 until February 1906, Nahum Sokolow (1859–1936), a renowned journalist, editor, Zionist and public figure who lived and was active in Warsaw, stayed in St. Petersburg. During that time he wrote almost every day in his diary about the political meetings he attended and the existence of the city during those crucial moments. Most of the diary is written in Polish, and some parts are written in Hebrew and Yiddish. His notes indicate that he was fully aware of being a witness to significant historical events and saw them as an opportunity to gain some advantages for the Jewish residents of the Russian Empire and for himself. As a result we can learn about the daily life of the city and get a sense of how the political life was conducted in the shadow of the revolution. Although Sokolow was fully aware of the significance of the 1905 events for the entire Russian Empire, he was not aware of the transition that was taking place in the Jewish public sphere. He believed that the old political methods were still relevant and did not realize that a new era in the Jewish political life in the Russian Empire had begun. Sokolow’s diary provides an opportunity to learn of the events that took place in St. Petersburg from the perspective of a journalist and political activist who knew the city quite well, but nevertheless remained an outsider.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-176
Number of pages22
JournalStudia Judaica
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, Polskie Towarzystwo Studiow Zydowskich. All rights reserved.


  • Der Telegraph
  • Ha-tsefirah
  • Jewish political life in the Russian Empire
  • Nahum Sokolow
  • Revolution of 1905
  • Sergei Yulevich Witte
  • St. Petersburg

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Religious studies


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