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Limerick Pogrom 1904 Essay

The Limerick Pogrom, sometimes known as the Limerick Boycott, was an economic boycott waged against the small Jewish community in Limerick, Ireland, for over two years in the first decade of the twentieth century. It was accompanied by violence, and caused many Jews to leave the city. It was instigated in 1904 by a Redemptorist priest, Father John Creagh. Eighty Jews were driven from their homes. Despite the support of the Protestant community, Jews were unable to withstand the boycott, and many fled to Cork, where they were welcomed by the local population.

Census returns record one Jew in Limerick in 1861. This doubled by 1871 and doubled again by 1881. Increases to 35, 90 and 130 are shown for 1888, 1892, and 1896 respectively. A small number of Lithuanian Jewish tradespeople, fleeing persecution in their homeland, began arriving in Limerick in 1878. They initially formed an accepted part of the city’s retail trade, centred on Collooney St. The community established a synagogue and a cemetery in the 1880s. Easter Sunday of 1884 saw the first of what were to be a series of sporadic violent antisemitic attacks and protests.

The wife of Lieb Siev and his child were injured by stones and her house damaged by an angry crowd for which the ringleaders were sentenced to hard labour for a month. In 1892 two families were beaten and a stoning took place on November 24, 1896. Many details about Limerick’s Jewish families are recorded in the 1901 census that shows most were peddlers, though a few were described as drapery dealers and grocers.

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