The story of the Garton Road Shul begins in Russia. Czar Alexander II of Russia was assassinated in 1881. The Russian government, in order to deflect peasant discontent and to defend itself against revolutionary criticism and attack, began increasing it accusations that Jews were responsible for the misfortunes of the nation. Soon thereafter, massacres, or pogroms (a Yiddish term) began throughout southern Russia and the area now known as Ukraine. In these riots, Jewish homes, businesses and synagogues were ransacked and burned and may Jews were killed. In order to escape this devastation, tens of thousands of Jews fled Russia for other countries, many of them to the United States.