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The Devil's ChainProstitution and Social Control in Partitioned Poland$
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Keely Stauter-Halsted

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780801454196

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801454196.001.0001

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Female Activism and the Shadow State

Female Activism and the Shadow State

(p.196) Chapter 7 Female Activism and the Shadow State
The Devil's Chain

Keely Stauter-Halsted

Cornell University Press

This chapter discusses the “Alfonse Pogrom” of May 1905, which gives rise to other antiprostitution initiatives that were led by female activists. During the pogrom, throngs of angry workers stormed the city's red-light district, attacking Jewish-run bordellos, smashing furniture, tearing hinges off doors, and shattering windows. The violence and destruction continued for two days and by the time police restored order forty people, including many owners of public houses, lay wounded or dying. This event marked a turning point in popular attitudes toward commercial sex, sparking increased public awareness of prostitution across Poland. In particular, female activists established philanthropic, charitable, as well as educational initiatives to combat commercial sex.

Keywords:   Alfonse Pogrom, female activists, red-light district, commercial sex, educational initiatives, antiprostitution

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