THE BALLAD OF ALEXANDER HILFERDING
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Alexander Fyodorovich Hilferding[Gilferding] (1831–1872) was the German Jew. Being almost a young man, he collected more than 300 legends of the Northern Russia. Slavonic folklore was his true passion via the whole Europe.
However, his tribute to Slavicism was not accepted favouredly by the Russian Sciences’ Academy. When Hilferding was about to be nominated to the Academy, its general board simply blackballed him from being elected.
Congratulations on the fail ,—
It’s true and brilliant success.
Believe me, it’s the real merit
To be blackballed by full regress.
These words were addressed to Hilferding by the poet Fyodor Tyutchev, who was indignant at this unfair situation. Tyutchev accused the Germans being in session at the Sciences’ Academy, i. e. Germans against their native, but interested in Slavonic culture — as if there could be the majority of foreigners amongst the whole academic staff in Russia. Meanwhile nothing is mentioned about the Jewry in Tyutchev’s poem.
In 1873 the other Tyutchev’s poem appeared with such words:
And though he was not the Slav,
The Slavs did a-crown him forever (…)
He proved with his deeds — the insight,
Will make one man win the fight.
The poem was published in 1886. Pogroms and massacres against the Jews had been rife and rampant in Russia for already 8 years. Actually the poem was written by Tyutchev on the occasion of the Hilferding Fund establishment — the fund in honour of Hilferding for to support the best composition on the Slavonian philology. What was the reason for Hilferding to serve all this hostile riff-raff?!..