Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Tribunal of the Other Tolchinskys

My great-great grandfather Hillel had a half brother named Hirsch.  I discuss his family and some of the documentation I have on him here.  While Hillel came to America with his family in the first decade of the twentieth century, Hirsch and his children stayed in what was then the Russian Empire.  They had very different fates--and I now have a set of documents that give a bit of insight into the hardships that Hirsch's family underwent as the Russian Empire became part of the Soviet Union.
Cover Sheet - Food Provisions Session of the Chernigov Guberniya Revolutionary Tribunal, Vissarion Tolchinsky

I've been in touch with a priest named Oleg in the village of Losinovka (the village outside Nezhin in which the Tolchinsky family lived).  Priest Oleg was in the archives doing his own research when he came across a case mentioning a Tolchinsky, and he sent me copies.  Thanks to him for that as well as to Joshua Tsitlik for translating this document.

The cover sheet says that this case took place on February 24, 1922 and was from the State Archive of NKVD--the Soviet Secret Police and that "Citizen Vissarion Tolchinsky from mestechko Losinovka, Nezhinskiy Uyezd (county) is accused of nonpayment of poduction/usage taxes for the product produced by a steam hulling machine he had rented."
Information about the accused
One of the pages of this document gives information about the accused:
  1. First name, Patronymic, Last name: Vissarion Grigor’yevich Tolchinskiy
  2. Age: 19 years old
  3. Place of birth: Losinovka
  4. Residence of Registration: Losinovka
  5. Permanent residence: Losinovka
  6. Social Rank: meshchanin
  7. Education: literate
  8. Profession: metalworker
  9. Party affiliation: Not affiliated
  10. Ever been in court or under investigation: No
  11. Property owned: house, 1 cow, 1 horse
  12. Family status: mother 50 years, 5 brothers 16 y, 2y; 2 sisters ages 13 and 18, brother in service 22 y.
In 1922, Hirsch's son Israel-Isser would have been 19 years old.  As Hirsch would have been spelled/pronounced Girsch in Russian, it appears that Vissarion was a Russian version of Isser and Grigory a Russian version of Girsch/Hirsch.

So the accused was my great grandfather's half first cousin.

What happened to the family as a result of this case was quite sad:
Page 1 of the verdict

February 24, 1922

The Food-Provisions Revolutionary Tribunal of the Ukrainian Socialist Republic, Nezhitsky Yezd, Department of Food-Provisions Taxation comprised of
  • Chair: Suklasova
  • Members: Sukhorukova, Borisenko
  • with Secretary: Avramenko

examined charges of delinquency in payment of production/usage taxes by citizen Vissarion Tolchinskiy, resident of village Losinovka for the Steam Hulling Machine rented by him.

[Note by translator: Taxes were not paid in cash, but in processed product, in this case processed oilseeds]

The following was taken into consideration:
Citizen Tolchinskiy admitted that he did not pay production/usage taxes in due time. He stated that he did not pay the taxes in time because taxes were due  before the season of dehulling oilseeds started.

He stated that the oilseeds dehulling season was currently taking place and therefore he will be able to pay taxes in the near future.

He also stated that he attempted to deliver 45 pood (1,625 lbs) of oilseeds to the Losinovka oilseeds collecting/storage center [as tax payment]. However, the center refused to accept the oilseeds because they did not have storage crate.  [Note by translator: “pood” is an old Russian unit of mass (weight). It is approximately 16.3 kg or 36.1 pounds. It was used in Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine.]

The Chernigov Gubernia Revolutionary Tribunal finds Vissarion Tolchinskiy guilty of non-delivering of 113 pood (4,080 lbs) of oilseeds out of assigned production/usage taxes of 186 pood (6,716 lbs) by the due date of February 1, 1922.

The Tribunal orders Vissarion Tolchinskiy, age 19 to immediately pay the required amount of the production/usage taxes plus fines of 15% of the unpaid amount of 113 pood (4,080 lbs).

To ensure total payment of all taxes, immediate seizure of Tolchinskiy family property was ordered.

Page 2 of the verdict
The verdict can be appealed within 7 days to the Supreme Tribunal of the Ukrainian Socialist Republic

Chair: (Signature)
Members: (Signature)

February 28

Copy of the verdict was sent to the [???] Inspector and another copy was sent to the Regional Food-Provisions Committee for information.
I've found Vissarion Tolchinsky listed on several Russian-language sites as being a victim of Soviet oppression.  I'm not sure if those lists refer to this case or to something else.  But it seems clear that this 19-year-old not paying taxes likely resulted in his family's ruination.  I don't know if my (at the time) US-based Tolchinsky family knew what had happened to their family back in what had become the Soviet Union or not.

 Note:  I'm on Twitter.  Follow me (@larasgenealogy).

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  1. Too bad the White Army did not defeat the Red Army. Russia would have become a constitutional monarchy and the outcome of history in the 20th would have been far better. Unfortunately, the outcome for the Tochinsky lad wasn’t so good. He seemed like an enterprising boy. There were lots of Jewish Party members in The Soviet Union. Perhaps he could have actually come out ahead if he appealed to the good graces of the neighborhood Party cell.