It’s very sad indeed. It also reminds me of a true story of R’ Mendel Winenki and his younger brother Mordechai under the reign of the Czar (I think Nicolas I).
They were drafted into the army and taken away from their home on the day of R’ Mendel’s bar mitzvah. But the two brothers managed to escape somewhere on the way while in some base. The younger brother Mordechai, however, had been tortured by a goy and had become cripple. Because of this he couldn’t walk fast. At one point as they were close to a village he couldn’t go on. So Mendel told him he would run to the village and come back with help. But when he came back with some of the local Jews to get his brother, his brother was gone. Many years passed by and Mendel grew up to be Rabbi Mendel Winenki, a Ruv in his own right.
His brother Mordechai on the other hand also survived. But unlike his older brother he grew up as an Orthodox priest. While Mendel was getting help a countess passed by and found the boy on the side of the road. She had “mercy” on him, took him in, became his surrogate mother and sent him off to grow up in a monastery to become a priest. They told him he was crippled because of what the Jews did to him and turned him into a vicious anti-semite. An anti-semite who would incite others to pogroms and even to falsify papers claiming the Czar himself had ordered a pogrom and had granted the Jews’ possessions and money to the goyim.
To make a long story short. He was the cause of a major pogrom against the community of his own brother. In the wake of the evil decree R’ Mendel tried to reason with the governor of their district (who was being advised by Mikail the priest). Eventually R’ Mendel recognized Mikail the priest as his long lost brother and was completely heartbroken, making all other Jews present at the meeting swear not to tell his father about Mordechai’s fate. In the end R’ Mendel broke the news to Mikail the priest, who refused to believe it and did his own research. One night, not long before the set date for the pogrom, he disguised himself and slipped into a shul just before maariv. He sat there and listened to the tunes as he looked in a siddur and it all suddenly sounded and felt very familiar to him. That is… until they came to Krias Shema. Once R’ Mendel and the others’ raised their voices and said “Shema Yisroel Hashem Elokeinu Hashem Echod!” the priest couldn’t contain himself and started to weep as he fled the shul. He eventually confronted the countess who confessed and told him everything what had happened. That all she did was to “save his life and soul”. Sadly enough the priest was so indoctrinated by this hate that he was convinced he himself was indeed part of a cursed people… because he set up the destruction of his own father’s family and people.
When the time came he tried to stop the bloodthirsty Russians but they laughed at him and thought he was crazy- as he was the one who convinced them to do this and was preaching about “hating the Jew” in the first place. During the pogrom itself he went to the shtetel in a last attempt to stop it, but of course it didn’t work. His own father was murdered in the pogrom that he caused, his brother -R’ Mendel- was wounded but survived, and his niece (R’ Mendel’s daughter) was almost violated. Almost… because he -Mikail the cripple priest- intervened and fought off the attacker, who happened to be the son of the governor who had raised him, and paid for it with his own life.
It all sounds like a movie but unfortunately it really happened.