Jews in Russia and in the USSR
© 1967 by Andrey Iv. Diky
The Jewish Question from February to October 1917
In the first month of its existence the Provisional Government abolished on March 21, 1917, all laws and orders restricting the Jews. They were treated equal in all respect with the rest of the citizens of Russia. Wide possibilities were opened to them for the most active participation in all branches of public and cultural life of the country, without exception, and to occupy any position in the government apparatus.
The Jews did not keep themselves waiting and rushed in to occupy ruling positions, inaccessible to them previously, in all sectors of the social and political life of Russia, as well as administrative posts.
Four Jews became senators: M. Vinaver, G. Blumenfeld, O. Gruzenberg and I. Gurevich. The Jew G. Shreider, became the mayor of St. Petersburg and the Jew O. Minor, that of Moscow. In Kiev in 1917 we see as deputy mayor, the Jew, Ginsburg.
In the year 1917 in the responsible post, managing the affairs of the Provisional Government, was the Jew, A. Galperi. High posts in the ministry were occupies by Jews: S. M. Schwartz, D. U. Dalin — (Levin), I. M. Liakhovsky — (Maisky), Y. S. Novakovsky — all Social-Democrats, Mensheviks and “Bundists”.
Besides the above listed persons, many Jews (up to October period) occupied high posts in institutions of local government in the "February period" of revolution.
But the senators' chairs and high positions in the government services did not attract the Jews. The instability of the Provisional Government, determined from the first days of its existence, and its dependence on arbitrarily arisen or created organizations of a purely political-revolutionary character, predetermined the unreliability and instability of posts and positions in the government services.
Revolutionary careers were made not in ministries, but at meetings and conferences of Soviet Workers’, Soldiers’ and Peasants' Deputies, quickly appropriating to themselves legislative and executive powers. It is there that the Russian Jewry rushed with the energy, persistence and conviction, peculiar to them that they "know everything and can do anything".
At that time — in the first months of the Provisional Government — the following revolutionary parties have pursued the occupation of these political areas, competing with one another on the proscenium of political life:
- The Party of "Socialist-Revolutionaries" from which its left wing soon detached itself, calling themselves the "Left Socialist-Revolutionaries".
- The Party of "Socialist-Democrats — of Mensheviks", which stood on "defensive position".
- "Bund" — exclusively Jewish Mensheviks — the Marxists, who did not admit non-Jews in their environment, but themselves quite actively participated in activities of All-Russian Social-Democratic Party — of Mensheviks.
- “Anarchists” — followers of the teachings of Kropotkin and Bakunin — demanded the abolition of any power in general.
All the mentioned parties were considered "revolutionary", in contrast to a few "bourgeois" parties which acted timidly during the revolutionary events. Here may also be included the "Constitutional-Democratic Party" which changed its name to the "Party of National Freedom".
The middle position between the "revolutionary" and "bourgeois" parties had been occupied by the "National Socialists", a large party with little influence. For some, this party was not "revolutionary" enough, for others, who judged it by its name, it was deemed "socialist".
Patriotic groupings, parties and "rightist" currents were stunned by the revolution and remained in virtual non-existence.
It is not out of place to mention here how Russian Jewry as a whole regarded the parties. At the congress of all the Jewish organizations, a decision was reached that in the forthcoming elections (general, direct, just and secret) no votes would be cast for the parties that were further to the right than the "National Socialists". The congress was held in the first months of the revolution. In such a way the organized Russian Jewry refused to support the party of "National Freedom", which as well as the central party organs was composed of many Jews. These Jews were well-educated and cultured, but they did not share revolutionary ideas and did not support revolutionary methods in internal and external politics.
Jews made up the overwhelming majority (from 60 to 80% of the central committees of all the six revolutionary parties enumerated above, while in the "Bund" there was not a single non-Jew.
Lists of names of the members of the central committees of these six parties, given in the Part II of this work, show the nationality of each individual member.
Owing to numerous pseudonyms and to changes from one faction of a party to another (for instance, Bronstein-Trotsky and Nakhamkes-Steklov – Mensheviks turned Bolsheviks), and also to the impossibility of drawing a distinction between "Bundists" and Mensheviks, these listings cannot claim to be 100% exact; therefore, some mistakes are possible in them.
But they give a quite convincing general picture of the racial composition of leaders in the revolutionary parties of Russia in 1917.
Besides their Central Committees, all these parties had a wide network in the provinces and regions, in the army and among workers, and they participated most actively in the political life of the country. These parties deliberately participated in diverse "Soviet Deputies": of workers, of soldiers, of peasants and especially in the State Deputies of Soviet Workers', Soldiers' and Peasants' which, from the first weeks of the revolution, became the second government, more authoritative than the Provisional Government which had in its composition during the first month only one socialist, Kerensky. And the Jews in this second government played a leading rôle, occupying key positions.
In the first weeks and months of the revolution, all the revolutionaries that were in exile or who had emigrated returned to Russia and began to "deepen and widen" the revolution. Among those who returned from abroad were an overwhelming majority of Jews; this can be seen from the listings' published in the spring of 1917 in Russian newspapers.
Up to the moment of the fall of the Czarist regime, the emigrant-revolutionaries were concentrated in United States of America and Switzerland.
In the USA, in New York, there were such well-known Jewish revolutionaries as Bronstein-Trotsky, Kohan-Volodarsky, Radomyslsky-Uritsky and many others. They successfully conducted propaganda against the Russian Government, watched war events closely and were getting ready to participate in the imminent revolution in Russia. Still one year before the revolution, on the fourteenth of February, 1916, a conference of emigrant-revolutionaries took place in New York. Sixty-two persons participated in this conference, fifty of whom were "veterans of the 1905 revolution", and the remainders of them were newly-admitted members. Participants of the conference were people of intellectual professions or "professional revolutionaries". Among the delegates was an enormous percentage of Jews. The material support for this group was provided by the banker Jacob Schiff, as was repeatedly said to those who were present at the conference.
During a little more than a year, two ships with emigrants departed from USA. The emigrants were returning to Russia after the February overthrow. An overwhelming majority of the passengers on these ships consisted of Jews, who in their time run away from Russia. This was not difficult to establish, as the passenger lists showed at a glance. All were returning as "political emigrants", although many of them were simply deserters, who had run away from Russia, in order to escape conscription. The circumstances now made these deserters "victims of Czarism", and they, as victors, were returning to Russia to take part in the revolution.
Upon their arrival in Russia they spread throughout the country, from St. Petersburg to Vladivostok, and at once took a most active part in its events.
Among those returning from the USA there were 265 Jews who settled in Petrograd (some of whom were real political emigrants, and some who were simply deserters, accompanying their fellow tribesmen). This was reported to the USA Senate Commission by a Methodist priest, Dr. George A. Simons, who had been the Dean of the Methodist church in Petrograd for many years. In memorandums (protocols. of Testimonies ) 439 and 469 of the sixty-fifth session of the US senate, the following is mentioned: "among the agitators were hundreds of Jews from downtown New York, and in 1918 the governing apparatus in Petrograd consisted of 16 true Russians and 371 Jews, of whom, moreover, 265 arrived from New York".
The return of emigrants from the second centre – Switzerland – happened as follows: traveling to Russia from Switzerland the usual way – through Austria or Germany – was impossible, because these countries were at war with Russia, and any Russians finding themselves on these territories were at once interned. The route through France, and then by sea, was dangerous due to the activity of German submarines and warships. Besides that, France, knowing the attitude of those who wanted to go to Russia, did not wish to help these emigrants. France also knew that a considerable number of these emigrants were active "defeatists", who without a doubt would develop their propaganda in Russia, which was France's ally in this war.
The Germans came to the rescue. They transported 224 emigrant-revolutionaries through German territory in sealed railway cars to Sweden, whence they went through Finland to Russia. Of the passengers in the “sealed” cars, 170 were Jews, almost all of whom were "defeatists".
They were met in Petrograd with a grand welcome, although the Provincial Government was well informed as to their political aims and their method of entering Russia. Newspapers were full of welcoming articles. Lists were printed of those who arrived, from which it was easy to establish the national identity of the passengers in the sealed railway cars. There is no need to enumerate them here; this would only trouble the reader. Those, however, wishing to verify this, can do so by reading Petrograd newspapers of April, 1917. Moreover, possibly they would also be surprised to find included the names both of those who soon upon their arrival took part in creating the power of the Soviets, and of those emigrants who had for several decades been enemies of “Stalinism”, e. g. the well-known Menshevik — R. Abramovich.
Having concentrated, as shown above, all their active forces, these Jewish revolutionaries very quickly occupied key positions in all the parties that were claiming and competing for power at that time in Russia. But they did not rush into the apparatus of the executive power. They preferred to play a rôle in influencing the destiny of Russia by staying outside of the government, in the positions of deputies, delegates and leaders in various soviets and committees, which, as was said above, at that time embodied the "second government" in Russia.
The only exception had been made was in the militia, which had replaced the police. Jews readily went there from the first days of the revolution; of course, not in leadership of the militia or its management, but more humbly, not aspiring leadership beyond their own quarter or town. They felt themselves to be, if not "power", then at least organs of power and guardians of the "revolutionary order". With a band on an arm and with a saber on the side, and frequently with a revolver on a belt, they fussed around, rushing about the city and, in a solemn manner, investigated petty occurrences and conflicts on streets and markets, being guided by the "revolutionary conscience and revolutionary justice". Of course, they were not on the beat, as were previous policemen, but preferred to do what police officers and district officers did. This with the exception that the officers and district officers used to give "good scolding" and "reprimands" before, upholding order without much success, whereas the new replacements rather "persuaded", appealing to the "consciousness" of citizens. The result was quick demoralization of the country and extinction of that patriotic spirit with which Russia had been seized at the beginning of the war, spirit which always used to save Russia in its time of peril.
Calles to continue the war until victory did not find any response from the masses. All dreamed about termination of the war and returning home.
There was no one to appeal to the patriotism of the Russian people: neither the Provisional Government, consisting of people for whom the word "patriotism" was synonymous with reactionary and "counter-revolutionary" against what they feared most, nor – and here much less – the Soviet of
Deputies, which was composed of people to whom the word "Russian patriotism" was itself alien, incomprehensible and even hostile. Russia was not their motherland, but only a temporary place of sojourn and the territory on which they had an opportunity to conduct their international-socialist experiments, without any resistance from the native population: the same population whose forefathers had created and defended their country with heavy sacrifices in the past and whose future was inseparably linked with the future of their country, Russia.
Since they did not meet any rebuffs, the leaders of the various former political and revolutionary parties (a majority of whom were Jews) felt themselves to be masters of the situation and started to act accordingly, without consideration of anyone or anything.
At that time (in the summer of 1917) Bronstein-Trotsky and Nakhamkes-Steklov started to influence everything. Taking up leading positions in the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies of Petrograd, these two Marxist-Mensheviks, who by this time had already turned Bolsheviks, with their peculiar tribal energy, temperament and purposefulness got busy destroying law and order and even a minimum lawfulness which the Provisional Government wanted to, but could not, preserve with all its efforts.
Trotsky had a reputation as the former vice-president of the Soviet Workers' Deputies in 1905. He was able then to implement the decision about an armed uprising, contrary to the wished of the president, Khrustalev-Nosar, who "suffered" for freedom. (He "suffered" by being in jail in New York right up to the revolution.)
Nakhamkes did not have any reputation and was unknown outside of the revolutionary circles. He was of great stature, heavy, bearded, with a thunder-like bassy voice, unpleasant, and untidy in appearance. From the very first days of the revolution Nakhamkes advanced to the front ranks of revolutionary figures and manifested exceptional impetuosity and impudence in his political activity.
The following episode expressively testifies how powerful Trotsky's reputation was and how powerless the Provisional Government was. In July, 1917, after the suppression of the Bolshevik uprising, Trotsky, along with other leaders of the uprising, was charged by the prosecutor of the Petrograd Chamber of Justice under Articles 51, 100 and 108 of the Criminal Code for the organization of an armed uprising and treason. The accusation was valid, legally irreproachable, and punishable in war time with death penalty.
Other leaders who were charged for the uprising disappeared in hideouts. But Trotsky did not run away and did not hide. Instead, he circulated ironical letters, asking when he would be arrested.
In the Soviet Deputies he knocked on the rostrum and shouted to them: "You accuse Bolsheviks of treason and of an uprising? Put them in jail? And I was with them, yet I am here! Why don't you arrest me?" Members of the Soviet Deputies kept quite. (They were opponents of the uprising, and the Bolsheviks at that time were still in the minority.)
News about the order to arrest Trotsky so agitated the Soviet Deputies that after a few hours, when the order was signed, several members of the military section of the Soviet met in the headquarters of the Petrograd Military District, where the following conversation took place between them and the Quartermaster-General:
“What? You wanted to arrest Trotsky?”, the members of the Soviet asked the Quartermaster-General this question, in which there was no reproach, yet a bit of compassion could be sensed, having the innuendo that he was not in his right mind.
“Yes! And I am still demanding!”
“You obviously forgot what happened three days ago, yet I well remember your pale faces and trembling chins, when we served our time together on the fourth of July.”
“Yes, but this is Trotsky: Do you understand – Trotsky!”
“They tried to explain their worship of him and as a visual demonstration raised their arms to the sky.” (The quotation is from the book by B. Nikitin, "The Fatal Years".)
(The representatives of Military Section of the Soviet were members of Socialist parties of the Soviet, but they were not Bolsheviks. The Provisional Government did not dare to arrest Trotsky. Judging from numerous memoirs written by participants of the events: Kerensky prevented them from arresting him.)
The episode above gives a clear picture of what sort of fellow Trotsky was at that time. He openly conducted propaganda, calling soldiers and seamen to disobedience, thereby undermining the fighting efficiency of the army.
Steklov-Nakhamkes went still further than Trotsky. He made a call to have those who supported the continuation of the war murdered. After the July uprising, he was, in the same way as Trotsky, charged under the same articles, and, also like Trotsky, was neither prosecuted nor even arrested. He was detained for a short period of time, consenting to the decision of the prosecutor's office, but, like Trotsky, he was released by the Provisional Government.
Ovshy Moiseevich Nakhamkes (Steklov), a Russian subject of military age was detained at the beginning of the war by the Germans, but was released soon and arrived in Russia. From the first days of the revolution he joined the Soviet Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies and became an important figure there. On his initiative and with his direct participation the police organization was destroyed. He also decided not to withdraw the brainwashed and demoralized garrison, where there was a large percentage of mobilized workers, from Petrograd.
In the first days of the revolution, the Soviet Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies was created. It at once occupied the position of a "second government". A commission was chosen from it; this commission consisted of five members whose task was to maintain contacts with the Provisional Government. It was named "Contacting Commission".
Nakhamkes took part in this commission and at once became one of its leaders. The task of this commission, by the definition of Nakhamkes himself, was ''by means of constant organized pressure to force the Provisional Government to fulfill the demands of the Soviet".
From the first days of the Provisional Government's existence this pressure was permanent. The pressure was carried out by Nakhamkes roughly, directly and unceremoniously. He behaved as the strict master. This led to a situation where the Provisional Government could not and dared not undertake responsible decision without the consent and approval of the “Contact Commission”. Nakhamkes spoke in the name of the commission and was not opposed by the other members.
Nakhamkes' activity was not limited to the committee. Almost every day he made speeches in the Soviet and to numerous meetings. He pounded on all those who wanted to continue the war, including the Provisional Government and the General Staff of the army.
At the beginning of June 1917, a joint conference of Bolsheviks and Anarchists was held behind closed doors in Lessner's factory. They discussed questions about co-ordination of their actions. The Bolsheviks suggested to the Anarchists to take upon themselves the task of terrorizing persons who supported the continuation of the war. They argued that to them it was improper now to commit themselves to extreme excesses, while excesses are part of the program of individual anarchist groups. However, the Anarchists were not too enthusiastic about the suggestion. The question was about to fail, if the situation had not been saved by Nakhamkes, who was present at the conference. He so passionately and resolutely called to terror, so inspired those who were present, eloquently rousing them to start murders at once, that after his speech the Bolsheviks passed their resolution without difficulty and on the spot made up a list of designated victims, at the head of which was Kerensky.
This resolution soon became known in the Petrograd Military District and in the War Ministry. The Minister of War at that time was Kerensky, and his assistants: Colonels Yakubovsky, Tumanov and Baranovsky. The Deputy of the Commander-in-Chief (on political matters) of the Petrograd Military
District, the lawyer Kuzmin, was called from reserve. He was a socialist-revolutionary, blindly carrying out all directives of the central committee of his party, one of the parties actively participating in the Soviet.
When the Quartermaster-General informed Kuzmin of all that took place in Lessner's factory, adding that there was no doubt about the information because it came from quite reliable persons, Kuzmin answered: "This cannot be! What? Nakhamkes gone to the Bolsheviks? This will never happen!" No move was made in connection with this matter.
Then the Quartermaster-General went to the War Ministry, where together with the three assistants of Kerensky above mentioned, they reviewed the situation created by Nakhamkes' speech. They looked at the situation quite differently from Kuzmin, who simply would not believe that the
Menshevik Nakhamkes could betray his party.
Indeed, was that not enough to charge Nakhamkes of working for the Germans? The order to immediately murder the persons willing to continue the war did not enter into the program of the social-democratic party or even of its defeatist wing. On what instruction then did Nakhamkes proceed? At the German Headquarters, a better conclusion could not be reached. What would have happened in France with those who began to urge the murder of Clemenceau and the corps commanders?
Thus the speech of Nakhamkes was appraised by the military people, who were far from being "black hundreders" (who could not have occupied responsible positions under Kerensky), but who were not bound by the iron discipline of socialist parties, as was the case with Kuzmin.
After a comprehensive discussion it was decided to organize special personal protection for Kerensky. It was further decided to take measures against the uncontrolled manufacture of hand grenades in factories; grenades that could be used in the activities recommended by Nakhamkes. Enlisted to organize preventive measures, the Chief of the General Artillery Administration, General Lekhachev, attempted to set up strict control of explosives. The manufacture of hand grenades was organized in such a way that percussion cups were kept separately and could be put into grenades only outside of the Capital. At this the matter rested.
No one dared to arrest and try Nakhamkes or even to question or request an explanation from him. Neither the whole provisional Government nor the military authorities took action, although Nakhamkes' speeches and recommendations were known to all. The question, however, was "ticklish"; it was quietly decided not to raise the question at all.
The heralded terrorist Nakhamkes provoked lots of trouble and much attention at that time. A guard was appointed, a commission was composed, and other preventive measures were worked out. But he thundered from a platform right up to the July uprising, continuing to exert "organized pressure on the Government".
After the failure of the Bolshevik uprising in July 1917, an order was issued to arrest leaders of this uprising, including Trotsky and Nakhamkes. (As is known, the majority of the leaders had gone into hiding and did not appear before October). However Trotsky and Nakhamkes did not hide. They did not even run away, but continued their activity, ignoring the law and the very existence of the Provisional Government, which ought to have suppressed their activity but did not dare.
The episode of Trotsky's arrest, given above, was identical with that of Nakhamkes. An attempt by lawful authorities to arrest Nakhamkes ended in failure.
On July 9, Nakhamkes was found in a cottage in Mustomiac and on the order of the Headquarters of the Petrograd Military District was, in spite of his protests" brought in to the premises of the Headquarters. Here he constantly shouted and protested, asking how they dared to arrest him, who was, in his words “a member of the Executive Committee of All-Russia” and demanded that the Chief of the Headquarters should come to him.
Upon entering, the Chief of the Headquarters found Nakhamkes sitting at the table in a sprawling position, with his back to the table and his elbows on the table. To the question of the Chief: “Do you wish to ask me something?” – Nakhamkes, without getting up from the chair, answered: “but I asked you to come almost two hours ago!”
In the room were soldiers and officers. The Chief stands, but Nakhamkes sits, sprawling, his legs crossed. Unable to contain himself, the Chief of the Headquarters said, emphatically and loud: “If you wish to speak to me, take some pain to get up!” Nakhamkes jumped up, as if a spring. “Why did you arrest me, in spite of the government’s prohibition?”, he asked. The Chief replied: “I knew that under the old régime exceptions were made only for ministers and members of State Council; but under the new conditions, as it seems, all are equal. Why should I make an exception for you?”
“What? It means you are arresting also the member of the Constituent Assembly?”, Nakhamkes asked. “I do not understand what this has to do with the Constituent Assembly?”, the Chief of the Headquarters replied. “Yes, but I am a member of the Executive Committee of the Soviet Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies of All-Russia, a member of the Legislative Chamber. At least this is how we look at ourselves.”
This interesting dispute was interrupted by an urgent telephone call to the Chief, who was informed that on orders from the government, Nakhamkes must not be detained in the District Headquarters any longer.
At the same time, the chairman of the Soviet Department himself, Chkheidze, appeared with two members to rescue Nakhamkes. The chief of the Headquarters could do nothing but let Nakhamkes go peacefully, in spite of the latter's guilt that had been established beyond a doubt.
But this was Nakhamkes-Steklov, who then, like Bronstein-Trotsky, felt himself master of the situation and behaved as such, without consideration towards anyone or anything.
But to make up for it, they were held in high esteem by the Provisional Government, and even by the Soviet Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, in which the Bolsheviks at that time did not have a majority. In fact, however, the Soviet was led by these two bully characters, daring not to take measures against its defeatist propaganda, and at the same time making resolutions about the continuation of the war to a victorious end. The absurdity of such a situation was felt by many, but no one dared to say anything. Behind Nakhamkes and Bronstein stood not only the central Committee of their party, but also the Central Committees of all “revolutionary” parties, which offered indirect support in the form of non-resistance. This was because parties that was on the political proscenium at that time consisted mainly of their fellow tribesmen for whom feeling of the Russian patriotism was alien, incomprehensible and hostile.
There was a "struggle" with the defeatist propaganda. But the struggle was conducted in such a way as not to be victorious. With outmost exactness this "struggle" was explained by one of the Menshevik leaders – the Georgian, Tsereteli – stating that the "struggle should be conducted in such a way as to give them the possibility of an honorable retreat. Otherwise a counter-revolution can triumph."
Thus it was in Petrograd, as in all Russian cities, in that short period of time when the power was held by the Provisional Government.
In Kiev, Rafes set the trend and "deepened the revolution". He was a Menshevik – a "Bundist" who afterwards joined the Bolsheviks. At the front, the whole legion of small provincial Nakhamkes and Bronsteins conducted anti-patriotic propaganda in countless Soviet Soldiers' Deputies. And they did not encounter any due hindrance from the side of their colleagues Mensheviks and socialist-revolutionaries, of whom the Soviets were composed at that time. But if there was a counteraction, then according to the methods of Tsereteli, it was equal to connivance, indulgence, assistance and promotion.
Of course, far from all "deepeners" of the revolution and orators of meetings, and even not in a majority but a relative minority, were Jews. Non-Jews who only imitated the Jewish methods of Nakhamkes and Bronstein predominated in number. They simply did this by observation of demagogic and total impunity for expressions and activities, generally intolerable, especially in war time.
What is characteristic is that in the stormy political life of the first days of the Russian Revolution Jews – members of the "Bund" – were taking a most active part. It was this very same "Bund" which not too long ago, in 1903, had stated that "generally, it would be a big delusion to think that whatever the socialist party may be, it can direct a liberation struggle of an alien nationality to which it does not itself belong".
For guidance of a political party of any nation, in the opinion of the "Bund", it is necessary to be of the origin of the given nation, to be linked with it by a thousand strings, to be inspired by its ideas and to understand its psychology. For a party of an alien nation this is impossible – The Jews from "Bund" stated this categorically in 1903.
However, already during the first revolution, in 1905, numerous Jewish revolutionaries quite actively interfered in the "affairs" of an alien nation. They were not only participants but also instigators and leaders of revolutionary actions, as for instance, Ratner, Shlikhter and Sheftel in Kiev.
And the "Bundists" as well as those who were not members of the "Bund" — in equal measure and equal energy rushed into the revolutionary movement. They considered that it was possible and accessible to them not only to participate in political life and All-Russian parties ("alien" – for them) but also to penetrate into the leadership of the non-Jewish parties, while jealously barring non-Jews from their Jewish parties. Characteristically, even those people were unacceptable to the “Bund” who were of Jewish origin and race, whose mother tongue was Yiddish, and who were convinced Marxists, but who had changed their religion.
The penetration into the political organizations and parties went on in two lines at the same time. They “delegated” or “co-opted” themselves as representatives of the parties and organizations which were purely Jewish in composition, and as representatives of All-Russian revolutionary parties and organizations. In the latter, as already stated above, if not a majority, then at least a considerable part of the Central Committees consisted of Jews. Besides this, a considerable number of Jews penetrated into the forefront of parties and organizations in a "personal" way. They were chosen and elected by the broad masses (embraced by the revolutionary feelings); the halo of "oppression" under the old regime, and an inborn Jewish energy and bullishness contributed to this.
As a result, even after several months following the February Revolution, we see not only many Jews but also "Bundists" occupying responsible positions. They were chairmen of Soviet Deputies in provinces: and at the front they quite actively and authoritatively deciding questions of a purely military nature, as well as matters concerned with approval or disapproval of these or those measures of the Provisional Government.
The Chairman of the Soviet Deputies, a "Bundist", relates in his memoirs how far-reaching were the power and possibilities of Jews who found themselves as chairmen of some kind of Soviet Deputy, and how even the Supreme command of the Russian army had to take into consideration the opinions of youth who were "Bundists".
"During the day on 31 August, the news came about the personal assumption of command by A. F. Kerensky as the Supreme Commander and about the appointment of General M. V. Alexseev as his Chief of Staff.
We, the provincial public figures, leaders of Workers’ and Soldiers' of Soviets, were completely stunned, (this was in Vitebsk) because previously we were informed that Alexseev belonged to the group having identical ideas as Kornilov. Hence, the invitation for him meant "compromising" politics, reconciliation with Kornilov. But it may have been that personally
Alexseev stood aloof from the political struggle and, being in need of a "military specialist" and an authoritative general under Kerensky, who was a civilian man, they were forced to invite him.
Just the same, this step by the Provisional Government cannot be acknowledged as the right one. It may turn out to be fatal. Our duty is to state our opinion and to pressure the government and the Central Committee of Soviets.
In the evening, at the sitting of the Military Bureau of Workers' and Soldiers' of Soviets the text of the telegram was drafted protesting the appointment of Alexseev and the tendency of reconciliation with the Kornilov movement. After this decision the Bureau got absorbed in its local work. An aviation fleet strained for action and decided to choose a detachment with machine guns to be sent to Orsha, where, according to our reports, a "force had been concentrated", for the last assault on Mogilev. We discussed the question of who of the members of the Bureau would go with this detachment: everyone wanted to participate directly in this "affair", but no one could be released for the task.
At this time we received news that General Alexseev would shortly be passing through Vitebsk, and a whole range of new questions about tactics arose before the Military Bureau. We saw the situation as quite complicated. We have just sent the protest against Alexseev's appointment; but now upon his arrival Alexseev remains for us the representative of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief, the highest military power in the country. Consequently, in all the questions of troop movements, his decision is final. But Alexseev would reconcile with Kornilov — this is obvious; yet we consider the politics of reconciliation a mistake, treason. Meanwhile Alexseev is acting in the name of the Provisional Government, which we have decided to support. Moreover, Alexseev can argue in the interest of the front, operational considerations which are shrouded by secrecy for us, the uninformed.
Such was the train of thought which worried the members of the Military Bureau of local Soviets. In the resulting exchange of views we decided:
- To state to General Alexseev the views of the Vitebsk Soviets: that the conversation with Kornilov must be such as with a state criminal, that he must be arrested;
- To report all mobilizations and troop movements carried out by us and to follow his instructions given in the capacity of Commander-in-Chief.
Afterwards the Military Bureau authorized A. Tarle and myself, as the chairman of Workers' and Soldiers' Soviets, to meet General Alexseev.
At one o'clock in the morning, standing near the direct wire at the station, we received a telegraph tape which again brought sudden changes. This tape had an order from Kerensky to Colonel Korotkov in Orsha. In this order Kerensky demanded the immediate organization of an offensive on Mogilev and to arrest Kornilov and other conspirators. For us, after reading the order, it became clear that our position justified itself, that the initially hesitating "factions" suddenly reconsidered and rejected the plan which not long before this was entrusted to Alexseev. It became clear to us further that Alexseev's mission not only was getting complicated but perhaps falling away as undesirable. What shall we, the members of the Military Bureau, do? Of course, it is necessary to acquaint Alexseev with the order from Kerensky. Maybe this will give us a chance to ruin the plan of a "rotten compromise". With deep emotion we began to await the arrival of
General Alexseev, having a presentiment, that the order of Kerensky must strongly reinforce the point of view of the Military Bureau on liquidation of the Kornilov mutiny.
At two o'clock in the morning we were informed that the train of General Alexseev had arrived. He was asleep in a saloon-car, and we were introduced to the escorts of the General, Vyrubov and Filonenko. Vyrubov wanted to know what the matter was, but we, of course, wanted to talk with the general himself and requested them to take us to him. We were taken to the saloon-car, where we were met by the sleepy general. Alexseev was about 65 years of age, of medium height, his face was well shaven and deeply wrinkled, his moustache was gray and long, and he had an attentive and sharp-sighted look. He received us standing and probably somewhat puzzled concerning such a late visit. We explained some details of military activities carried on by us in the district; we explained the attitude of the Vitebsk Soviet and the necessity of arresting Kornilov. We also added that in Orsha an offensive was organized on Mogilev and that the troops were gathered there. Alexseev got upset and said:
All these, gentlemen, are the results of deep misunderstanding, a complicated matter of mutual incomprehension. Before departing from Petrograd we fully agreed with Alexander Fedorovich. We chose a peaceful way to reconcile the question. I am convinced that the conflict has been artificially exaggerated, and that it will resolve itself. What you are doing is not required by the situation because it demoralizes our army and undermines the authority of commanders. I accepted the appointment in full agreement with the Provisional Government and I hope to succeed in reaching an agreement with General Kornilov in a peaceful way'.
Then I handed the rolled tape to Alexseev: “Here is the order by Kerensky to advance on Mogilev!”
I remember General Alexseev unrolling the telegraph tape completely and reading for a long time what Kerensky had ordered Colonel Korotkov to do.
“Ah, Alexander Fedorovich!” he exclaimed several times, as he would have considered it impossible to tell his deep thoughts with regard to Kerensky's inconstancy.”Ah, Alexander Fedorovich! It seems in Petrograd we agreed about everything. I knew that only under the conditions of a peaceful arrangement of the conflict could I accept this mission. I can go to the General Headquarters.”
Very upset, Alexseev wanted to get a direct wire to Kerensky at once, but the wire at the station was constantly busy. We recalled that at the headquarters of the Dvinsk Military District there was a wire and went there by automobile. There, in a separate room, after preliminary checking and ascertaining to whom he was talking, Alexseev had a conversation with General Lukomsky, clarifying the situation at the Headquarters and persuading Kornilov to give up.
We were sitting in the next room. With us was a third person. He was the Soviet Commissar of the district, Iakovlev, who was getting acquainted with the situation.
It was already five o'clock in the morning, when a disturbed Chief of the Military District, General Baiov, his aide-de-camp, Baron Kekhli and General Golubovsky ran into the headquarters and reproachfully turned to us: — “Why did you not inform us about the arrival of General Alexseev?” “We had enough trouble of our own”, we answered.
Alexseev spoke with the Headquarters for more than an hour and when he came out to us, he had a tired and senile look. After greetings with the representatives of the district, he requested them to excuse him for a private conversation with us. On our question of what to do with the troop movements in the area, he answered that he did not see the need of this. “However, do as you please — it's hopeless”, he added. On the question about the situation he said: “I am going to Orsha, and then we shall see. I will try my best to settle the conflict peacefully”. And at this point unexpectedly he uttered a passionate word:
“You and I, gentlemen, are different people and we will hardly understand one another. But, as an old man, I will tell you that Russia is ill and its army is deadly ill. Arbitrary organizations breed strife inside the army and it is decaying alive. We, the old people, dreamed that a powerful army would be created in free Russia; what we see is that a formidable enemy is bringing destruction upon the Motherland.
All the disturbances in the country, the separatism of the outlying districts – all this business is the work of a cunning and powerful enemy. German Headquarters has been allocating large sums since 1879 in a secret fund subsidizing the Ukrainian separatist movement. And here we still have Soldiers’ Soviets, this felonious fraternization at the front.”
If at the beginning of the speech we had sensed a politician in this general taking to heart — in his own way — the interests of Russia, then his last words, said with bitterness, stirred us up to our response:
“The only things that organize the Russian army and save it from disintegration are Soldiers' Soviets and the committees. It is time to understand and to appreciate this”.
In front of us was an already weary old man, who waved with his hand and said: “You, gentlemen, are young. Listen to the opinions of old people who love Russia and the army.”
We drove Alexseev to the train in an automobile and saw him off. The rest is known". (From the book, written by Gregory Aronson, "Russia in Its Epoch of Revolution", New York, 1966.)
* * *
The didactically instructive words, "that it is time to understand and to appreciate the rôle of savior of the Soldiers' Soviets and the committees", were said by the twenty year-old Jew, the chairman of the Soviet Deputies, to the gray-haired general. Such occurrences were characteristic for that time.
It was scarcely possible, in the late summer of 1917, to find even one "Soviet", "committee", "bureau" or a meeting where there were no Jews in a capacity, if not of "leaders", than of influential members or orators. In all spheres of life, starting with purely military affairs, they took a most lively part and with rare self-confidence used to decide how military and civilian authorities of Russia ought to behave in these stormy war years. In such a way they dominated the governing bodies of the country, within the borders of which they had appeared only a hundred years previously as alien born – a fact they themselves emphasized in every possible way with their self-isolationist strivings, on the one hand, and the rapid growth of Zionist, that is, emigrationist, feelings on the other. The natural and warranted question of how to co-ordinate the activities of Russian Jewry in political matters without ambiguous expression, yet still wanting to emigrate from Russia, was raised neither by Jews nor by All-Russian parties and organizations of that time.
Russia's insignificant Jewish minority began to exert organized and constant pressure on the whole course of government life in Russia from the first days of the Provisional Government. The minority exerted this pressure through various revolutionary organizations, without yet entering into the Provisional Government or in the highest commanding staff of the Russian army of many millions.
At the same time Russian Jewry as a whole, without preliminary permission, carried out the so-called "personal-national autonomy". In doing this it emphasized its isolation from the native population of the country in which they lived and from which they received full citizen's rights from the first days of the Provisional Government.
Splintered into many parties and groupings, purely Jewish ones, the Russian Jewry nonetheless acted in this question as a whole with rare unanimity. And not only in the question of status for Jewry living in Russia but also in the question of which of the All-Russian parties Jews were advised to vote for, "for the parties not further right than socialists". So an All-Jewish congress decided in the spring of 1917 (in Finland).
A separate examination of numerous Jewish parties and organizations that existed on the territory of Russia among the Russian Jewry of six million does not enter into our task. The Jewry examined here is as one whole, as they examine themselves in respect to the whole population of Russia previously and in the USSR now.
Nevertheless, it is appropriate here to say a few words about three main directions of Jewish ideological-theoretical thought existing at the beginning of this century throughout the Jewry of Diaspora in general, and in the Russian Jewry in particular.
- The point of view of the "World Jewish Union” was formulated by its founder Adolphe Cremieux, the former minister of the French Republic. Cremieux maintained that there cannot be Germans, Frenchmen or Englishmen of "Judaic faith", but that there was and is always only the Jew, with all the consequences attached to this. For a Jew, interests of the Jewry as a whole must always be in first place; regardless of what country he is subject. (The full text of Cremieux’s appeal is given in Part II, as a separate supplement).
- The point of view of "Zionist-Socialists", uniting the ideas of Zionism, socialism and internationalism on the basis of racial and tribal unity, but by no means religious. They are making an attempt to co-ordinate all social contradictions and differences under the banner of "Zionism, socialism and internationalism". (The full text of the appeal to the Jewish youth of these ”Z-S” men is given in Part II, in the supplement).
- Third point of view — the view of Russia as their native land, their motherland, whose fate and future are inseparably linked with the fate and future of Russian Jewry. The "Patriotic Union of Russian Jews in Foreign Countries", created abroad at the beginning of the Twenties, formulated this point of view in its appeal, “To Jews of All Countries!”, published in the collection of first issue "Russia and the Jews". (It was issued by the publishing house "Osnova" in Berlin, in 1924.) This was the first and the last issue, because the very thought of presenting objectively the rôle and the degree, of participation of the Russian Jews in the revolution, was given a hostile reception by all Jewry in general, and particularly by the Jewish emigrants from Russia, as a statement directed against Jewry.
The above appeal ended with the following words: “For Russia and against its destroyers! For Jewish people and against profaners of its name!” (The full text of the appeal is given in Part II, in the supplement.)
This last point of view did not have many advocates in pre-revolutionary Russia, and still fewer in the years of the revolution, and an entirely insignificant number among the Jewish emigrants. Traditional Jewish hushing-up of shortcomings and mistakes of their tribe turned out to be stronger than facts and objectivity. It is this traditional hushing-up that put a seal on the lips of those Jews who attempted to tell the truth in the collection "Russia and the Jews" and at numerous meetings of Jewish emigrants at the beginning of the Twenties in Berlin.
Nevertheless, Russian Jewry, numbering in the millions, gravitated either towards the first point of view, or the second. They took part in revolutionary events, but did not combine in their thoughts the future of Russian Jewry with the fate of Russia.
The Jewish bourgeoisie strove to consolidate the "February gains", bringing themselves unlimited possibilities for spreading their economic, political and cultural activities throughout Russia. The party of "People's Freedom" (the former "Constitutional-Democrats") was that party where the Jewish bourgeoisie rushed in after the February overthrow. Even before the revolution there were many Jews in this party, not only as ordinary members but also in its leadership, while the party organ "Speech", was generally in the hands of Jewish journalists and publicists.
The Jewish intelligentsia did not identify itself with the bourgeoisie. And the Jewish workers (who were politically active) carried their political activities either in the ranks of the purely Jewish "Bund" or in All-Russian revolutionary parties: social-revolutionaries, social-democrats, Mensheviks, Bolsheviks and Anarchists.
On the other hand, however, considering the interests of all Jewry as a whole, all groups of Russian Jews started with increased speed to implement the "personal-national autonomy" in life. The essence of this autonomy was that any ethnic group, regardless of its historical national territory (or absence of it) could demand from the state not only permission for but also all conceivable moral and material support of all forms towards their national-cultural activity.
Theoretically the idea of "personal-national autonomy" was applicable to any ethnic group, but its practical significance was only for the Jews who, unlike the rest of Soviet nationalities and tribes, did not have their own national territory. Jews were dispersed in large and small groups throughout Russia, especially so at the beginning of the revolution, when, in connection with the war events, the Jewish Pale practically ceased to exist. Mainly, it was at that time that the Jewish refugees evicted from the front dispersed throughout Russia.
And when afterwards hundreds thousands of Jews moved to Moscow, schools, theatres and newspapers in the Yiddish language on the basis of the "personal-national autonomy" were opened for them at the expense of the state, rather than their own. No other ethnic group enjoyed such a privilege, although there were very many Ukrainians, Georgians and Armenians in that very same city of Moscow. But no newspapers in their own language, nor theatres, or schools were opened in Moscow at the expense of the state.
Within the former Jewish Pale, especially in the Ukraine, preceding from the very same "personal-national autonomy" numerous national-cultural establishments were created at once at the expense of the state. It is true that such establishments existed before the revolution, but not as many, and they existed at the Jews' own expense, or as private enterprises.
* * *
Parallel with this, Jews, as already mentioned above, used to take a most active part in the All-Russian national cultural activity, and in the newly-created bodies of self-rule of separate provinces and national territories. Some of these provinces and territories proclaimed their secession from Russia. So, for example, from the very beginning of activity of the Ukrainian Central Rada, which soon turned into the Government of Independent Ukraine, Jews invariably participated in its work. They appeared in rôles either as representatives of the Jewish minority, or as members of the All-Russian parties.
But primarily and basically, it was the "Soviet Deputies" and the "revolutionary committees" which created prerequisites for the influence on overall politics and for pressure on the anemic Provisional Government. In the latter, Jews played leading rôles, personally participating in the work of these organizations at the time of the revolution. It was possible for them to do this also because the central committees of all revolutionary parties consisted mainly of Jews, and the central committees of all parties' directed the works of all "Soviet Deputies" and "revolutionary committees" in accordance with party discipline.
At that time, in the summer and autumn of 1917, in line and parallel with officially existing state departments, which successfully assumed the power from Czarist Government (with some personnel replacement), a far-flung network of power which arbitrarily created various "Soviet Deputies" and "Committees" also existed. These organizations were subordinate to no one, except to the Central All-Russian Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, whose headquarters was in Petrograd. It was in this organization that Nakhamkes and Bronstein-Trotsky, whose activity was mentioned above, pursued their occupation.
And even this submission was far from absolute and unconditional. The character of the activity of various small "Soviet Deputies" and "revolutionary committees" still depended on which of the revolutionary parties had majority in them because discipline purely on the party line was firmer and stronger in the "overall-revolutionary" discipline.
The only thing in which all "Soviet Deputies" and "revolutionary committees", from Petrograd to the regional "Soviet Deputies" and "revolutionary committees" down to a regiment and company, were in unanimous harmony was their attitude to legal power, both in the central (Provisional Government) and in its local representatives. All of them supported it or carried out its orders only to the extent that it was in correspondence with opinions, feelings and the "political line" of a Soviet Deputy or revolutionary committee.
This "to the extent that" literally paralyzed any activity of the whole state administrative apparatus of Russia, from the first day of the Provisional Government right to its inglorious end.
Ministers, Diplomatic Corps, generals and "governing commissars", who replaced governors by the order of Provisional Government, and militia, replacing previous police, and directors of factories and enterprises in formality still existed. But they could undertake nothing without the consent and approval of those who filled the Soviet Deputies and revolutionary committees which considered it their prerogative to interfere in all activities of legitimate authorities. They were allowed to carry out only those measures "to the extent that" these did not differ in view and opinions from the "revolutionary public"; that is, with all its far-flung network of Soviet Deputies and revolutionary committees.
The Soviet Deputies and revolutionary committees, as shown earlier, consisted exclusively of representatives of the revolutionary parties: social-democrats (Mensheviks and Bolsheviks) and socialist-revolutionaries. In the central committees of these parties, however, Jews were in the overwhelming majority, as is seen from the lists, given in Part II of this work.
By having a predominant influence on the Soviet Deputies and revolutionary committees, the Jews restricted themselves only so far as to render "constant pressure" on the government and its policies, without trying to occupy or secure important posts.
This was the situation right up to the October overthrow, when everything radically changed and the Jews formally came to power, which up to now they exercised only in an indirect way — "by means of pressure on the government".
Jews in USSR
Up to the moment of the downfall of the Provisional Government in October, 1917, Jews, as mentioned above, occupied almost all leading positions in Soviets, committees, revolutionary party organizations and in the central committees, whose authority among the broad masses of the populations surpassed that of the Provisional Government.
But they did not enter into the government, preferring to exert pressure on it without taking responsibility on themselves for its action and general political orientation. There was not a single Jew in the Provisional Government; likewise, not a single Jew was appointed as a diplomat right up to the October overthrow and proclamation of Soviet Power. And, at the same time, no single minister or all ministers together could be sure that their decisions or orders would be carried out if there was no consent for this from the all powerful Soviet Deputies and various revolutionary committees.
As a result, when the moment arrived for decisive actions to be taken to defend that law and order which the Provisional Government should have been on guard against, it turned out that the government had neither the necessary resolutions for this, nor the strength.
In a comparatively short time all the power in both capitals and in the army (in so far as it still existed as an organized power) fell into the hands of those who up to now had guided the Soviet Deputies and committees.
Armed resistance was put up only by small military units, during the days of the overthrow and many months later by the anti-communist armies of the White Russian movement. After a long stubborn struggle the White Russians, supported by the interventionists, were unable to win. Power remained in the hands of the All-Russian Soviet Deputies.
Who made up the Soviet Deputies and what rôle the Jews played in them is explained in the previous account in the Provisional Government's period.
After the proclamation of Soviet Power, the leaders of the Soviet Deputies and the members of the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party became "People's Commissars", replacing former ministers, or occupying leading posts in all spheres of Russian life.
Jews made up an overwhelming majority, occupying leading positions in the apparatus of the new power. This can be seen in the lists, given in full in Part II of this work, supplement No. 13.
Robert Wilton, an English correspondent of the London "Times", lived in Russia for seventeen years and had an opportunity to observe all that took place there during the revolution; writes that of 556 persons who occupied leading positions in all branches of the administration, 447 were Jews.
In Petrograd itself, as already mentioned above, according to the account of the Methodist priest who lived there many years, right up to year 1919, the government apparatus consisted of 16 Russians and 371 Jews, of whom, moreover, 265 had arrived from New York.
A commercial attaché at the American embassy in Petrograd, serving there from July 1916 to September 1918, confirmed on his arrival back in the USA, that two-thirds of the Bolsheviks were Russian Jews. (Evidence given before the Overman Commission.)
The London “Times” in its 5 March 1919 issue reported that 75% of the Bolsheviks were Russian Jews. (The word "Bolshevik" is understood here to mean not a member of the Bolshevik Party, but a person occupying this or that position in the administrative apparatus.)
The information given above, as well as many other similar situations, is confirmed by Jewish investigators of these questions and also by Lenin himself, who undoubtedly had a good knowledge of the rôle Jews played in the creation of the Soviet Power.
Here is what Lenin said in conversation with Diamantstein, the commissar on Jewish matters, under the "Commissariat on Matters of Nationalities", headed by Stalin in the beginning of the Soviet Power.
"Of great importance for the revolution was the circumstance that during the war years a large number of the Jewish intelligentsia settled in Russian cities. They eliminated the general sabotage which we encountered after the October Revolution...
Jewish elements were mobilized against the sabotage and thus saved the revolution in a difficult hour. We were able to seize the state apparatus owing exclusively to this reserve of intelligent and well-educated workers.
We have in the given case a clear example of an action of special sociological conformity with a law to which is subordinated changes in economic and social structure of ethnic minorities dispersed among other nations. This structure must always correspond to the requirements and necessities of the majority of people, to the requirements and aims of a state, to the politics of government, to the interests of ruling classes or groups".
The above stated opinion of Lenin was recorded in the book "Jewish Worker" p. 236, written by the Jewish communist Kirznits and published in Moscow, in 1926.
It was repeated by Solomon Goldenman in "Yiddishe Galutwirshaft", Prague, 1934-1935.
This was cited in the "Herald of the Institute of USSR Studies" No.4 p. 32, October-December 1959, Munich.
* * *
Even without Lenin's words, which at that time were read by few, the whole population of Russia saw how the change of the ruling class came about with lightning speed. The population saw how Jews turned into Soviet dignitaries, commissars and commanders, and how they took along their numerous relatives and fellow-tribesmen, filling all the government departments.
Here is what I. M. Bikerman, the well-known Russian-Jewish social and political figure writes on this question: "A Russian man never saw a Jew in power; he saw him neither as governor, nor as police officer, nor even as a postal official. There were, of course, better and worse times, but the Russian people lived, worked and got rich; the Russian name was great and menacing. Now the Jew is in every corner and on all levels of power. A Russian sees him at the head of the first capital, Moscow, and at the head of the Neva-Capital, and at the head of the Red Army, an absolutely self-destructive mechanism. He sees that avenue of St. Vladimir now bears the famous name of Nakhamkes; the historic Liteinyi Avenue has been renamed Avenue of Volodarsky, and the city Pavlovsk into Slutsk. A Russian now sees Jews as judges and executioners. He encounters Jews who are not communists, and are also as unfortunate as he himself might be, but nevertheless being involved in Soviet Power: it is everywhere, and there is nowhere one could get away from it. This power is such, that had it risen from the very depths of hell, it could not have been more wicked, nor more shameless. It is not surprising that a Russian comparing the past with the present is convinced in his mind, that the present power is Jewish and that that is precisely why it is so rabid, and that the power exists for them, and that it is doing the Jewish things which are consolidated by the power". ("Russia and the Jews". First collection pp. 22-23, published by “Osnova”, Berlin, 1924.)
Further, in the same book (pp. 11-12) Bikerman says: "A Russian repeats over and over again, "the Jews ruined Russia". In these four words resound tormenting moan, an anguishing howl and the gnashing of teeth". Take note that "waves of Judaeophobia now flood countries and nations, and ebb is not in sight yet. Precisely, Judaeophobia: fear of the Jews, as of destroyers.
How do the Jews respond to all this? Not only the Soviet Jews and those that emigrated from there but all Jews in general? Bikerman answers this with the following words: "A Jew answers to all this with the usual gesture and the usual words: it’s a known fact that we are to blame in everything; wherever misfortune occurs, a search could be made and a Jew would be found. Nine times out of ten what is written in Jewish periodicals concerning the Jews in Russia, constitutes only a retelling of this stereotype phrase. Since always and in everything we, of course, cannot be guilty, then a Jew hence makes a quite flattering and, at first glance, a quite convenient worldly conclusion, that we are always right. Not only that — still worse, he simply refuses to subject himself to his own judgment of his own behavior, to give himself an account of what he is doing, what he is not doing, and what he perhaps ought to have done. And since pretentions are presented to us from all sides, reproaches and accusations are poured at us, then our accusers are guilty, the whole world is guilty — guilty are others, but not we ourselves."
The above statements of I. M. Bikerman do not represent only his personal opinion on this question, under which lies a conspiracy of silence but also of the whole group of Russian-Jewish emigrants who found in themselves enough courage to tell the truth directly and openly on the pages of the press.
This group was not large, but consisted of highly cultured people who understood that there are questions which must not be suppressed. At the beginning of the Twenties, this group created an organization called the "Patriotic Society of Jews in Foreign Countries". It is this organization that published the book written by Bikerman, describing Jewish rôles and significance in creating that repulsion of the Jews from the whole Russian population which Bikerman defined so exactly as "Judaeophobia". The word "Judaeophobia" is replaced now by the word "anti-Semitism", which cannot be acknowledged as the right one, because it does not define exactly those feelings and attitudes of the whole population of Russia towards the Jewish ethnic group, feelings and attitudes that were provoked by the activities of this group. The negative and critical attitude of the Russian population does not exist towards all Semites, but only towards an insignificant tribal Semitic group, the Jews.
The most remarkable thing in this book is the "Appeal to Jews of All Countries" written at the beginning of the "First Collection" (and the last one), published by the above mentioned "Patriotic Society of Russian Jews in Foreign Countries".
In this appeal World Jewry (Jews of all countries) is called upon to dissociate from those Russian Jews who, with their activities, provoked the burning hatred of the whole population of the country, thereby creating psychological preconditions for active, anti-Jewish, pogromist feelings.
"And not only in Russia," — is stated further in the appeal — "all, positively all, countries and nations are flooded with waves of Judaeophobia, rushed by the storm, toppling over the Russian power. Never before have so many threatening clouds gathered over the heads of the Jewish people."
The address of the "Patriotic Society of Russian Jews" not only got no response in wide circles of Jewry but it was met with definite hostility: this question should not be touched at all: those who raised it are acting against Jewry and Jewish people.
And the voice of Jews who dared to "thrust the hand into the wound" and honestly and openly discuss this "sore question" fell silent and rose no more to the present day. The question arose neither in the USSR nor abroad, in spite of the abundance in emigration of periodicals in the Russian language that were and are controlled by the Jews.
When the "percentage quota" existed in Russia (whether or not it was justified is not touched upon here), the press was full of discussions and criticism of it, condemning it without reservation. But when the "inversely proportional" relation came, that is, when the numerously insignificant Jewish ethnic group occupied positions, inversely proportional to its number in the cultural and political life of Russia, and actually turned into a privileged "ruling class", then silence reigned, and the question was "removed from the order of the day". No one among numerous journalists, publicists and writers-Jews playing an important rôle in the periodic press in the Russian language considered it his duty to raise and comprehensively discuss this question directly and openly.
And if someone among the non-Jews attempted to touch the question of an "inversely proportional" quota actually being established in the USSR from the beginning of Soviet power, he was accused of "secret or overt anti-Semitism".
Attempts to investigate the first thirty years of Soviet power will be in vain, because nothing will be found about this "inversely proportional" quota in the newspapers of large circulation published in Russia. No explanations will be found either in thick journals or in any articles about how and what happened that representatives of an ethnic group, which make up only 2% of the population in Russia, had occupied about 80% of all key positions in all the spheres of the country's life. Such an occurrence up to now is unknown in history.
Only in folklore did this mass penetration by Jews into leading posts find its reverberation in songs and chastooshkas which could be heard at that time: "Tea by Vysotsky, sugar by Brodsky; all of Russia belongs to Trotsky" (they were all Jews). In the Ukraine the folk-song was spread: Hey, hey asses! All the Jews are bosses!
But as soon as Soviet power was consolidated, the iron hand of Cheka put an end to all kinds of anti-Jewish expressions.
Still, on 27 July, 1918, the newspaper ''Izvestia'' published a special decision by the Soviet Government about the energetic struggle with "anti-Semitism". It must be assumed that the negative response to the Jews, called "anti-Semitism" by many, took such dimensions that a special decision was needed, whereby enemies of Jews were declared "outlaws".
Guided by this decision, organs of Cheka, which had many Jews in leading posts, used to decide themselves who was a "pogromist" and ruthlessly did away with him, without an investigation and trial, and without waiting until a "pogromist" revealed something. Under the concept "pogromist" it was not too difficult to bring anyone disagreeable to the new power.
Besides that, in the very same year of 1918, a decree was issued about the "red terror", which opened wide possibilities for the physical extermination of persons disagreeable to the new regime. By the order of the "red terror" all those "who due to their social origin and standing, and also due to their previous political activity and profession, were able to join the ranks of its enemies in time of danger for the Soviet rule, were destined to extermination".
During the first years of Soviet rule, especially during the years of the civil war, ignorant and vengeful organs of the new power, using this decree as excuse, "liquidated" many of those whom they considered potential enemies of the new regime.
It would hardly be possible to establish some day the exact number of those "liquidated". But that this number is great and involved hundreds of thousands in the opinion of some, and even millions, according to others, is beyond any doubt. It is not disputed even by those who fully justify such methods of struggle with potential opponents and enemies.
The lists of those liquidated "by means of red terror" or as "hostages" (occasionally, but far from always) had been published in newspapers and contained hundreds of names. Jewish names were rarely, if at all, encountered in these lists; when they were, it was very noticeable! But, of course, no one dared to say a word about this. People have read, thought, remembered... And a thought would occur of who the executioners were and who the victims were...
In 1919, when Kiev was occupied for short time by the Volunteer Army of General Denikin, a "Special Investigative Commission of South Russia", comprising highly qualified jurists whose objectivity was indubitable, established that 75% of the Kiev Cheka were Jews. The commission also had established that among those whom the Cheka had executed there was no Jewish person. (The list of Cheka members and the list of those who were shot is given in Part II of this work.)
On the list among those who was shot is also the name of the first Chairman of Soviet Workers' Deputies Khrustalev-Nosar, who was active during the revolution of 1905. Khrustalev-Nosar severely criticized the seizure of power by the Jews, and the “squandering of Russia” by the members of Central Committee of the Bolshevik party, a squandering that took place during the conclusion of the Brest-Litovsk treaty.
When Uritsky was killed in Petrograd in August 1918, ten thousand people were shot "by the order of red terror". The lists of the ten thousand victims were attached to fences and walls of houses adjacent to No.2 Gorokhov Street, where the Cheka was. Whether they were fully published in newspapers is impossible to establish at the present time without access to the archives. But the fact that the typewritten lists, containing ten thousand names, as confirmed by witnesses, were posted is not disputed in various autobiographic literatures even now.
What struck readers about these lists was the complete absence of Jewish names although the city of Petrograd was overfilled with Jews. This without even mentioning those big capitalists and "bourgeois" Jews who had lived in the city permanently even before the revolution.
Here is what one of those who read the lists tells us about them: "I was a worker then at the Putilov plant. At that time I was an ardent advocate of Soviet rule, for which I was ready to cut the throat of anyone who spoke ill about it. After the murder of Uritsky, literally all of Petrograd was in a state of fear and uncertainty. Mass arrest ensued. No one was certain of tomorrow, or yet of the next hour, even those who were one hundred per cent proletarians and advocates of Soviet rule. Rumors about mass red terror, declared in revenge for Uritsky and to frighten all enemies of workers-peasants' power, circulated in the city.
Passing by Gorokhov Street my attention was drawn to some typed announcements posted on the front of house No.2, which was occupied by the Cheka. I stopped and started to read. As it turned out these were lists of those executed on the order of red terror for the murder of Uritsky. I stood for a long time reading these lists. Whose name was not listed: officers, landlords, proprietors, merchants, professors, scientists, priests and students, even artisans and workers! But what struck me odd was that in these listings not a single Jewish name appeared. Yet all that had happened was that one Jew, Kenigisser, killed another Jew, Uritsky.
'Jews are quarreling among themselves and our people are the ones to get shot', I thought. And I myself got frightened, fearing that I might be saying this too loudly, because in those days, and even many years thereafter, you may be sure that they would stand you up against a wall, or at least throw the book at you' for such words.
Afterwards I completed the Workers' Faculty Institute, had quite a few promotions, and visited the whole immense Soviet Union. And everywhere, right up to the war, I saw the very same thing: 'they' run everything, 'they' execute, 'they' forgive, 'they' order, whereas' ours' are slaves overexerting themselves, daring not to utter a word... Only silently, they would look distrustfully at some Frenkel, rushing by on the great trans-Siberian railroad in a brilliantly-lit saloon-car, checking the forced labor camps. The camps that were organized by the very same Frenkel did not, as a rule, have many of his tribesmen, but if there were any, they were in commanding positions. This was the situation before the war, as well as when the war broke out, and the Germans invaded and had to be expelled from Russia. There were not many Jews in the front lines. But to make up' for this; medical units and supply units were overfilled with them especially deep in the home-front, behind the Urals. They preferred 'to wage war' there. Of course, there were exceptions. But these exceptions were not many. The officers and soldiers of the Soviet army and the whole population of the country saw everything; and it is not surprising that critical thoughts began to grow and strengthen about the Jewish rôle in the life of the country. The new 'ruling class' did not prove itself worthy of the position it occupied.
That equality which they did not have under the Czar regime they got after the overthrow and no one voice was heard protesting against it. Scarcely a few years passed when these equals turned into the privileged. And how! Much more firmly than the previous princes and nobles... Previously it was possible to become a nobleman, even a count or a prince. How many there were, as Pushkin said, 'who leaped from Ukrainian peasantry to princehood.' But try to leap into being a Jew? This is impossible!
I and a few other former Soviet engineers found ourselves in one of the refugee camps in conquered Germany after the war and one evening we were discussing this question. 'Yes, they behaved like Polish lords!', said one of the interlocutors, a Ukrainian from Poltava. 'Not like Polish lords, but like Gods', corrected his countryman from Kharkov... And when I, as a Great-Russian, asked what this meant, he explained to me that 'like Gods' meant to live like Gods...
'Then what to do? How to treat them, once the people will be free to decide for themselves how to organize life in their own country?', one of us asked. 'Destroy them all, young and old alike!', angrily growled our fourth interlocutor, a gloomy and silent Mordvinian, who once studied with us at the Workers' Faculty. All of us were shocked: 'How so? Like Germans? Why, we are not beasts!' 'But I was not alone; all spoke thus, when we saw them with belongings and families in rail cars and automobiles, whereas we, Leningraders, escaped from the encirclement on foot, leaving everything behind. If we would have got them at that time, we would have torn them to shreds... My whole family perished from hunger in Leningrad.'
We all lapsed into silence. We were recollecting our encounter with the new ruling class. I also recalled, perhaps for the hundredth time, the lists on Gorokhov Street.
At this moment one of the interlocutors pulled a Bible out from his knapsack. He had received the Bible not long ago from some Baptist, Bible which he studied diligently. He turned to us and said, 'Here, listen to this, which is very similar to our times and to what we all witnessed ourselves'. And slowly, with deep feeling, he read the 'Book of Esther'. We listened holding our breath. For us, who had grown up under the Soviet rule, not knowing either the Gospel or the Bible, this was a revelation... To wipe out 75,000 men with impunity in one day just because in the opinion of the Jews, they were thinking maliciously but not doing anything, is not this the very same red terror? And still to celebrate this day from year to year! It was simply unbelievable that something like this could be in the Holy Scripture.
For a long time we sat and shared our recollections and thoughts that began from the lists on Gorokhov Street and ended with Bible reading. To act as the Bible tells us or as Hitler has done in our time ought not to be allowed; but it also impossible to reconcile this with the fact that this new 'ruling class' will forever remain what it became after the October overthrow, while we still further will continue to be in our own country citizens of second or third class."
* * *
The above narration deserves deep thought, because everything that was said is not an invention, not a malicious propaganda of those who are called "anti-Semites". These are not inventions but facts, names, a real picture of that which took place in Russia during the first three decades of the Soviet regime. This took place during the time when, as Bikerman said, "Russians see Jews as judges and executioners", when all the commanding positions and leading posts of the government, without exception, are in the hands of a foreign, alien, and insignificant minority.
To deny everything said is impossible because, in fact, it was so.
The broad people's masses saw all this, but were forced to keep quiet. They were intimidated by the severe measures of the new "ruling class" which ruthlessly suppressed all attempts of overt dissatisfaction. Not only mass demonstrations and crowds were suppressed but also any criticism or discussion of the abnormal situation created by the insignificant alien minority.
Here is what we read about this matter in the book "Russia and the Jews" (p. 63) written by I. Bikerman. "And the least of fall it (the new power) can tolerate are crowd attacks on the Jews, because it knows very well that after the destruction of the Jews there remains only one step to the destruction of the power, deeply hated and considered to be Jewish. A Jewish pogrom therefore was announced as counter-revolutionary, that is, directly against the Soviet Power". The fact these words were written by a Jew and published in a Jewish collection deserves special attention.
But whenever there was a moment when the new power was losing its strength somewhere, the feelings of the revolutionary masses and Red Guards used to pour out into severe anti-Jewish pogroms. Such an occurrence took place in Glukhov and Novgorod-Seversk in the year 1918. "These pogroms in number of victims, deliberate brutality and torture, surpassed the well-known pogrom of Kalusha in 1917, committed by the revolutionary soldiers. More than once Red troops tried to deal with the Jews, and in many cases they succeeded. Sometimes the pogroms were committed by civilians: Jews were ransacked by townspeople, by peasants and by returning soldiers from the front. Not only did pogroms occur at that time (in 1919) but they went unpunished. Soviet authorities hushed up Glukhov's and Novgorod-Seversk slaughter: they did not find anyone guilty because they did not look for anyone." (p. 64 from the collection, "Russia and the Jews", Berlin, 1924).
That is how matters stood with Jewish pogroms, which were called "counter-revolutionary", during the first years of the new rule. The new ruling class could neither curb nor avert these pogroms in spite of doubtless revolutionary inspiration by the armed forces of the country which were subordinated to it and this in spite of the fact that at the head of these forces at that time was Bronstein-Trotsky, and a great number of propagandist Jews, the commissars. The feelings of the masses were such that, as said above, authorities did not dare to undertake investigations and punish those guilty "pogromists" who were "outlaws" and were liable to be shot on the spot.
Jewish pogroms accompanied the armed forces of the Ukrainian Nationalists — the "Petlura group", "Makhno group" and various other 'Chiefs during all the time of their activity in these stormy years. Moreover, pogroms were committed by the military units and were followed by incredible brutality.
The most noted of all pogroms was the one that took place in the town of Proskurov, and which was committed by regular troops of the Ukrainian People's Republic, whose government consisted of Social Democrat-Marxists and had in its membership a minister, a Jewish lawyer from Kiev, A. Margolin.
On March 4, 1919, a "Zoporozhie Brigade" encamped near the town of Proskurov. The twenty-two year old Semesenko, who was in command of the brigade, gave the order to destroy all the Jewish population of the town. In the order he stated that there will be no peace in the country as long as even one Jew remains alive.
On the 5th of March, the whole brigade split into three groups. With officers at the head, the brigade entered the town and started the extermination of the Jews. The troops used to burst into houses and slaughter whole families. During that whole day, from the morning to evening 3,000 Jews were slaughtered, including women and children. (According to other sources 5,000 were slaughtered.) The killing was done only with side-arms — sabers and daggers. The only man who perished in Proskurov from a bullet was an Orthodox priest, who, with cross in hand, attempted to stop the "Zaporozhtsevites" and was shot by one of the officers. A few days later the “chief”, Semesenko, gave the town of Proskurov a contribution of 500 thousand rubles and, after they received it, he thanked the "Ukrainian citizens of Proskurov" for their help rendered to the "Army of the Ukrainian People's Republic".
This slaughter took place literally under the nose of the Ukrainian Government, located at that time nearby in the city of Vinnitsa. This government did not take any measures against the pogromists, neither during nor after the pogrom. The Proskurov pogromists remained unpunished.
All the other pogroms committed by the "Petlura men" at that time, pogroms in 180 settlements on the territory of the Ukraine, also remained unpunished. During these pogroms tens of thousands of Jews were exterminated. Some claim that over 25,000 Jews were slaughtered; others raise this figure up to 100,000.
To enumerate all pogroms with their corresponding numbers of victims is difficult owing to the volume of this work and the absence of strictly verified data.
In general, all of them were similar to the Proskurov pogrom and differed only in numbers of victims and in degree of organization and direct participation by the members of the Ukrainian People's Republic Army.
Pogroms committed during this time by various "chiefs" — Gregoriev, Sokolovsky, Zeleny, Angel and others not under the command of the Ukrainian Government — were also no less cruel in distinction.
The partisans of Makhno especially glorified themselves in this respect. They called themselves "anarchists" which in fact they were until the summer of 1918, when they turned all their fury towards the extermination of the Jews.
The Central Committee of the Anarchists, as is known, consisted almost exclusively of Jews. Some Jews, like Keretnik, Lemonsky, Shneider and others, were closest collaborators with Makhno.
After the February Revolution in the big commercial settlement of Gulai Pole (Ekaterinoslavskoy Province) and native village of Nestor Makhno, the anarchist-terrorist, the anarchists acquired special influence; local Soviet Deputies, as well as those in adjacent towns and villages consisted almost exclusively of anarchists.
Among them were many Jews against whom there were no hostile feelings from the rest of the anarchists: on the contrary, quite a few Jews were promoted to commanding positions. In the uneasy months before the German occupation of the Ukraine (at the beginning of 1918), the anarchists had even their own fighting units and separate companies for the struggle against the regime of the Ukrainian Central Rada and its allies, the Germans. Among these units was also a Jewish company, under the command of Taranovsky, Whose closest collaborators were Lev Shneider and Lemonsky — people who according to Makhno, were "unstable and inclined to accommodate themselves".
When the combined Ukrainian-German forces approached the Gulai Pole, "free companies" of anarchists and communists were sent to meet them with an order to stop their advance and hurl them back, while in the Gulai Pole itself, the Jewish company was left to carry the duty of garrison. This company not only did not try to defend the Gulai Pole but at once went over to the side of the Ukrainian-German forces and took a most active part in the destruction of the Revolutionary Committee and the Soviet Deputies. The company also played a major rôle in arresting individual anarchist and their sympathizers, whom the Jews from the company, being local dwellers, knew well.
This action by the Jewish company made such enormous impression on the whole surrounding population and engendered (in the words of Makhno) in Gulai Pole a previously unknown "anti-Semitism" and ferocious hate towards the Jews in general. In his memoirs (published in Paris in 1937), Nestor Makhno speaks about his attempts to struggle with this anti-Jewish feelings of peasants and workers and about little success in his attempts. The masses were burning with hate towards the Jews. They did not believe them any longer and at the first opportunity committed reprisals against the Jews, no less bloody and brutal than were once done by the Ukrainian-Petlurists.
And the word "Makhnoists" also became synonymous with pogromists who exterminate Jews, in the same way as the word "Petlurists".
Of whom were these "Makhnoists" and "Petlurists" composed?
They were composed of the very same peasant and town proletariat which followed the new Soviet power and approved its politics wholeheartedly except for one thing, the Jewish question. In this question, whenever the power relented, the population used to manifest its anti-Jewish feelings.
The Jewish population of many millions in the Ukraine, where now the "Petlurists", now the "Makhnoists" were the masters, knew these feelings very well and could not expect anything good, neither from one nor from the other. The only authority on which Jews could count for personal safety was the Soviet power. And even here they were not always safe, for we have seen events that occurred in Glukhov and Novgorod-Seversk, which formerly were under the control of Soviet power, were bloody pogroms took place in spite of this.
It is not surprising then that the Jews, choosing the lesser of many evils, gave preference to the Soviet power, which did not exterminate them physically, but only brought them material losses. However, this material loss compensated itself with redundancy, owing to the fact that the new power consisted mainly of their fellow tribesmen who widely opened all kind of possibilities for Jews. These possibilities enabled Jews to occupy all kinds of materially rewarding and morally satisfying positions.
The population saw this and, not without foundation, considered that now came "their rule", the Jewish rule. And because this new power presented demands to the population, demands that the population considered to be unjust and unbearably difficult, all the dissatisfaction was pouring out in anti-Jewish feelings, the same feelings that were restrained only by fear of severe punishment.
Such was the situation in general in that part of Russia and Ukraine, where events ran high in the civil war, during which the ruling authority in many places repeatedly changed.
It was during these changes that Jewish sympathies were evident. As a rule, their sympathies were on the side of the Reds, even in those cases when their enemies were the ones bringing with them the re-establishment of property rights and that social system under which many Jews enriched and prospered.
In 1919 Kiev was occupied by units of the Volunteer Army of General Denikin. These units fully re-established the previous social order, including the property rights of numerous Jews who lived in Kiev.
After a few months units of the Twelfth Red Army broke through into the suburbs of Kiev. The threat arose that the whole city might be occupied by the Reds. The Kievites, who had already undergone Red rule once before, rushed by the thousands over the bridge (on Dnieper) to the left shore, which was under the control of the Volunteer Army. There were many thousands of Kievites of all ages and all social positions who crossed the bridge at that time. But among them there was not a single Jew, although Kiev at that time was full of rich Jews who were quite far from being sympathetic with the communist-socialist undertakings proclaimed by the new power.
This absence of Jews among the refugees attracted general attention. And it came to mind that only two months ago the lists of those Kievites who were executed on the order of "red terror", as well as the listings of Cheka members who carried out these executions were made public. Among the former there was not a single Jew; among the latter, they were in overwhelming majority.
When in December of the same year (1919), "Whites" left Kiev "Reds" took over again, the Kiev Jews, even those that were "socially alien and hostile" quickly adapted to the new order and occupied many posts in departments and commissariats of the new power.
Episodes, analogous or similar to those described above in Gulai Pole and Kiev, were seen in different versions and degrees in many other places during changes of power, when, in the process of civil war, they were taken over by the Reds or their opponents.
With their conduct during all these changes, the Jews, who were numerous in these regions, showed clearly and unambiguously on whose side their sympathies were, or to be more precise, to which of the changing powers they behaved less negatively.
Here we have in mind the Jewish masses, and not politically active groups, both in the political and social life of Jews, and in All-Russian areas, in which Jews used to take a most active part.
Politically active Jewish groupings at once determined their attitude to the power of the "new ruling" class, in which their fellow tribesmen predominated.
The purely Jewish Marxist "Bund", where non-Jews were not admitted, always and invariably was on the side of the new power in the struggle with its opponents. It opposed the "White movement" of all shades; was against various Ukrainian nationalist-separatist movements and even against the Ukrainian Social-Democrat-Marxists, including the forces of the Ukrainian People’s Republic.
All-Russian social-democratic and socialist-revolutionary parties, at the height of the civil war in 1919, passed a resolution to cease all struggle against Soviet power and to direct all their strength against the enemies of Soviets and towards disorganization and corruption of the rear organizations of the "White movement". In the ranks of these two parties were a lot of Jewish intelligentsia, and its central organs had a Jewish majority.
The resolution of these two parties, which received an absolute majority during the election in the Constituent Assembly, deserves special attention in examination of the rôle and the importance of Russian Jewry in the creation and preservation of Soviet power in Russia. The rôle, which was noted by Lenin in his conversation with Diamantstein, pointed out that the “Jews saved Soviet power.”
That the decision of these two largest and best disciplined parties had played a significant rôle in gaining the victory by the "Reds" over the "Whites" is beyond any doubt. Party discipline pushed many undecided social-democrats and social-revolutionaries into the ranks of active defenders of this power and towards voluntarily joining the Red Army. The decision pushed not only the rank-and-file members of these parties but also those who were promoted by the parties to responsible posts still in the period of the Provisional Government.
Thus, for example, the Menshevik-"Bundist" Solomon Schwartz was appointed under the Provisional Government as director of the Ministry Department. This post was in the "generalship" rank. The director of the department, according to his occupied position, was a "personage of IV class" — "His Excellency". But when, dispersed by the Bolsheviks, the Provisional Government scattered without resistance and began the civil war, Solomon Schwartz, obeying the call of his party, voluntarily joined the Red Army. Thus Schwartz fought until demobilization on the Soviet side which dispersed the Constituent Assembly and the Provisional Government, of which Schwartz was a member. Afterwards Schwartz left Russia and became one of the active members in the Menshevik party. And his wife — "Vera Alexandrova" — was a constant collaborator of the "Socialist Vestnik" and editor of "Czechoslovak Publishing" in New York.
Schwartz and many of his fellow tribesmen — social-democrats and social-revolutionaries saved the Soviet power in the years of civil war, not in words but in deeds: Lenin himself acknowledged this.
The rescue of Soviet power, as is known, was done with measures of brutal terror; this provoked corresponding feelings in the broad masses. And when, as Lenin said, "Jews saved Soviet power", they, the Jews, made up the framework of this power and thereby provided people with a reason to identify the Soviet power with the power of Jewry. What this led to is explained by S. Maslov, founder and leader of the new party. In 1917, S. Maslov created a new party called "Krestianskaia Rossia" — the Russian peasant party. Maslov had been a member of the social-revolutionary party, which during the elections received a majority in the Constituent Assembly.
“This is a fact, that in South Russian cities, which changed hands often during the civil war, the appearance of Soviet power used to provoke the greatest joy and the greatest show of feeling in Jewish quarters, and often only in their quarters alone...” ("Russia after Four Years of Revolution", by S. Maslov, published in 1922.)
In the same book S. Maslov writes the following lines: "Judaeophobia is one of the sharpest traits on the face of contemporary Russia. Perhaps it is the sharpest. Judaeophobia is everywhere in the north, in the south, in the east, in the west. One is not protected from it, neither by a degree of intellectual development, nor by membership in a party, nor by tribe or age ... I do not know whether one is protected from it even by the level of the general moral aspect of a contemporary Russian. Pogroms are in the air. Strained hate cannot end by ignoring it in the transitional period between the fall of Soviet power and the strengthening of the power-successor..."
E. Kuskova writes more extensively in her article "Who Are They?” published in "Jewish Tribune", in the same year (1922) about the same anti-Jewish feelings throughout Russia. (The article as supplement is included in Part II of this work.) To suspect E. Kuskova, the well-known public activist and national socialist, of a negative partiality towards Jews is impossible. During her whole life she was a Judaeophile and collaborator of many Jewish periodicals. And not with malignant joy but with feelings of deep bitterness did she describe anti-Jewish attitudes in Soviet Russia, not delving, however, into examinations of causes which engendered these attitudes.
And a quarter of a century later, in the middle of the Fifties, we read the following lines in the article of David Burg: "In case of an overthrow of the Soviet regime there is the danger that in a period of unavoidable anarchy, the Jews, one and all, will be physically destroyed, as a result of the population's feelings".
A well-known investigator of the Jewish question Djude L. Teller says the very same thing in his book "Kremlin, Jews and the Middle East": "A Jew must think with trepidation about a moment which will come after overthrow of the communist power. This will be the blackest and bloodiest night in the life of Jewry..."
The above statements of four authors, of whom two were Russians of "Left" orientation and two others were Jews, writing 25 years later, speak about the very same thing about the presence and even growth of anti-Jewish feelings in USSR.
And what is peculiar is that these feelings have seized those circles of Russian intelligentsia to which they were always alien. E. Kuskova in her article, "Who Are They?” mentioned above, also points this out.
These feelings were alien to Russian students who, in the war years, almost completely replaced regular officers and from the start of the civil war formed the basic cadres of the White Russian movement. If not all, then an overwhelming majority of these "White Guards" were sons of the Russian intelligentsia.
However, in the year of the civil war the anti-Jewish feelings were characteristic among these youth and not infrequently poured out in inadmissible excesses, against which authorities were powerless to struggle.
These excesses engendered repulsion from the White Russian movement even among those Jews to whom the White Russian movement was bringing protection to their properties and law and order which had been disturbed by revolutionary events. And there were many such Jews among the Jewish bourgeoisie who were against socialistic experiments and breaking up of the social order by revolutionary methods. But they were not in the White Russian movement, neither in the ranks fighting at the front, nor among those who morally supported and justified this movement. "A Jew in the White Russian movement is just as rare as a white crow" a Jew, Pasmanik, said once with bitterness to his fellow-tribesmen. Yet this man D. Pasmanik entirely supported the armed struggle with Soviet power.
Anti-Jewish excesses in districts occupied by White Russian army took place and no one denies them. Even Denikin writes about them in his "Sketches of Russian Disturbances" (volume V, p. 145) and sharply condemns them. However, he does not give much attention to an analysis of the causes that gave rise to these excesses, although this is extremely important for a correct understanding of this question; that is, to give an explanation of anti-Jewish excesses within the White Russian movement (This does not mean justification). An explanation, establishing the causes of these excesses does not at all mean justification of the actions engendered by these causes.
Anti-Jewish attitudes among cultured and educated Russians' whose sons joined the White movement, did not appear at once, but grew gradually under the influence of events of the World War and the revolution.
At the start of the war patriotic feelings enveloped the whole of Russia, especially its youth. But these feelings were taking skeptically by Jewry as a whole, although, as mentioned in the previous account, it was generally an advocate of war against the German-Austrian monarchies in the hope that defeat of these empires would lead to a change in the internal politics of Russia, which was favorable to Jewry. Therefore Russian Jewry formally was loyal, but this does not mean at all that the Jews experienced patriotic enthusiasm.
Russia, in their understanding, was not their motherland, but only a country of temporary sojourn. Their motherland was Palestine, the "Promised Land", whither they expected from childhood to return.
If to this is added the presence of limitations for Jews in the Russian army, then striving to avoid, even by loyal Jews, joining the ranks of Russia's defenders will become understandable. And the Jews were not condemned for this; neither was anti-Jewish feeling engendered by such evasion.
Russian intellectual young people, being in the army, reacted quite differently to the defeatist propaganda in which the Jews played a notable rôle. For these young people Russia was their motherland, which they wanted to defend at the start of the war, and the defeatist propaganda, therefore, provoked in them feelings of deep indignation and resentment. Not only the young people had such feelings and attitudes but also people of older generations, regardless of their political orientation and party sympathies. Even those who were in emigration, revolutionaries — irreconcilable enemies of the Czarist Government, realized that the motherland was in danger and often came back voluntarily to Russia to declare it their duty to take part in the defense of the motherland. One of the many to have done this was Khrustalev-Nosar, the former chairman of the Soviet Workers' Deputies. For this revolutionary activities in 1905 he was sentenced to exile, but escaped to a foreign country. And now he came back, while his deputy chairman, Bronstein-Trotsky, remained in New York and conducted defeatist propaganda. The defeatist propaganda Trotsky conducted was useful only to the Germans; moreover, his numerous fellow tribesmen were helping him in spreading this propaganda. Many of these tribesmen afterwards arrived in Russia "to deepen and to widen the revolution": they were Uritsky, Volodarsky and many others.
A well-known revolutionary-terrorist, Vladimir Burtsev, did the same thing as Khrustalev-Nosar and many other emigrant-enemies of the Czarist regime. However, there were no Jews among them, neither "defeatists", which is understandable' nor Jewish "defenders". They preferred to "defend" by sitting out in emigration, undermining in all possible ways the authority of that government which led the fight to death (true, not quite successfully) against the German invaders.
And when, in the spring of 1917, all these "defenders" arrived in Russia (in sealed cars or in specially chartered ships at the expense of American Jews) they could not find even a word to condemn the defeatist propaganda which was proclaimed by Nakhamkes. The extent of this propaganda at that time reached the point of a call to have all those who stood for defense — that is for continuation of the war — killed. Nakhamkes, who at that time was not a Bolshevik, but a Menshevik, remained unpunished, although accomplices in his party and his fellow tribesmen could without difficulty at that time put a limit to his treacherous activity. By putting an end to his defeatist propaganda, the lives of many thousands of young Russian patriots, fighting with the enemy at the front, could have been saved. A whole legion of small Nakhamkeses in all corners of huge Russia, and in the active army, and in its rear started to incite the dark masses of soldiers against all those who did not wish to see defeat of their country. Officers were hounded first, and then came their supporters. Of course, not all those who spread the defeatist propaganda and condemned officers to death were Jews. But it is hardly possible to dispute that there were very many among them and that with their propaganda they assisted in demoralizing the army.
What kind of feelings and attitudes provoked all this, not only among officers but also in the whole population of Russia, sending its sons for its defense requires no explanation.
And when the work on disorganizing the army was completed in the name of Russia, four Jews went to Brest-Litovsk to conclude a shameful and humiliating peace treaty. These Jews were Trotsky, Joffe, Karakhan and Kamenev. And no one of their fellow tribesmen, who made up the majority at that time of the Soviet Deputies, noticed the somewhat peculiar composition of the delegation.
But, to make up for it, all of Russia noticed it, and it is doubtful that this would ever be forgotten. Memories of Russian people are no worse than memories of Jewish people, who even to this day "recall" their enemy, Haman, every year, and glorify Mordecai and Esther. What do they glorify them for? Because Mordecai and Esther through their efforts were able to obtain the destruction in one day of 75,000 of those who, in the opinion of Jews, were their enemies.
The whole population of the great country of Russia thus felt deep national humiliation and insult, regardless of the political views or party adherence of each individual. Especially the young people, who had sacrificially defended their motherland, had to go through this acute and bitter experience. Under the new power they became the object of mockery, humiliation, torments and mob laws of the inculcated masses, under not only the connivance but also the full approval of the new ruling class, which consisted of foreigners with an ideology and an understanding of sense of justice alien to Russian people.
It is not surprising then that all this gave rise to anti-Jewish feelings in places where they did not exist before, and demanded a revision of the attitudes of the Russian intelligentsia towards the Jews. Kuskova writes about this in detail in her article mentioned above.
Massacres committed "on the order of red terror" with countless victims shot without investigation or trial still further intensified and aggravated these anti-Jewish feelings. Because in these massacres Jews played too noticeable rôles, aggravated feelings, created conditions for an armed struggle, pouring out into the White movement.
The August days of 1918 when for the murder of one Jew by another Jew, 10,000 non-Jews were shot were firmly remembered by the whole population of Russia.
And when Steinberg, Uritsky, Volodarsky, and their like, escaped from bloody justice, the young people of Russia started to wage a struggle in the ranks of the White movement; frequently the activities of some reached excesses against which even the command was unable to do anything, because some of these young Russians were embittered by traces of reprisals encountered on their way, like that of Uritsky, and unconcealed sympathies of the Jewish population to those who committed these reprisals.
But these excesses were of somewhat different character than those committed by the Ukrainian armed forces and by the Makhnoists, who used to slaughter the complete population of individual Jewish settlements and towns. The excesses of the “Whites” were mainly intentional "requisitions", difficult to separate from ordinary robbery. Such excesses were accompanied by frequent killings of Jews, at whose places the "requisitions" were made. Besides that there were many cases of executions of collaborators of Cheka, political commissars and active communists newly discovered or designated by local dwellers. And since the above categories of enemies of the "White" abounded with Jews, then naturally the majority of those executed were Jews.
But there were no cases in the "White" movement where a whole military unit, under the command of its officers, could have systematically destroyed Jews, including old men, women and children. This can be asserted with trustworthiness, for had there been, no doubt there would have been information about it in biographical literature and in the periodical press.
However, this does not confirm that the "Whites" were not among the ranks inclined definitely towards Judaeophobia and that anti-Jewish feelings were not apparent during encounters with the Jewish population on occupied territories.
Generally speaking, at that time (during the first three years of Soviet rule) anti-Jewish feelings were predominant. And such feelings dwelled in the Petlurists, the Makhnoists, the "Whites", the greens and even the Red Army, which was commanded by Trotsky. As soon as discipline in the Red Army weakened, Red Army soldiers would at once create pogroms which equaled those of the Petlurists or Makhnoists.
These feelings enveloped then all areas of Russia and all the strata of its population, from the dark peasants and working masses to highly cultured circles. There were frequently revealed cases of Judaeophobia even among the non-Jewish members of the communist party.
Slogans such as “Soviets without Jews!” or "Communes without Jews!" were at that time quite widespread and reflected the feelings of the broad masses.
But at the very same time the Jew Sverdlov was the all-powerful leader of all internal politics, the Jew Bronstein-Trotsky was at the head of all armed forces of the country, the Jew Steinberg was in charge of justice, the Jew Goldendakh-Riazanov formulated the ideological bases of the new system, the Jew Apfelbaum-Zinoviev actually was a director of Petrograd, the Jew Goubleman-Kohan-Yaroslavsky was in charge of the struggle against religion, and both deputies of the chairman of the Cheka, Dzerzhinsky, were Jews — Trilisser and Yagoda.
For the new ruling class, overfilled with Jews, these feelings, of course, were no secret, because already in the first year of Soviet rule the struggle had started against Judaeophobia, otherwise called "anti-Semitism". The struggle was waged by means of prohibition and fright, but not by studying the causes and their elimination. The very thought that one of the causes of Judaeophobia may have been the Jewish people themselves with their peculiarities was completely inconceivable and considered as "anti-Semitic". If in those times someone dared to state that "Jews carry anti-Semitism and Judaeophobia within themselves", as Spinoza once said and as Arnold Toynbee, the well-known historian repeated not long ago, he would be considered "pogromist", with all ensuing consequences. No one wanted to risk his own freedom or even life; this is why all kept silent...
The power of the new ruling class was very sensitive to the Jewish question and used to punish ruthlessly not only open manifestations of anti-Jewish feelings but even the slightest hint of them.
Saying aloud the word "Zhid" – Yid, could have entailed serious consequences, although in the Ukrainian, Byelorussian and Polish languages Jews are called "Zhid" and even Jews call themselves "Zhidy" in reference to their own nationality. This word can be found in the works of Russian writers, who published their works before the year 1917. The word can be found, for example, in the works of Turgenev, Tolstoy and others; however, no one called them "anti-Semites". But under the new power people were afraid to pronounce this word.
At that time the populace of the whole country still firmly remembered the decree proclaimed by the new power on July 27, 1918: "the Soviet People's Commissariat prescribes to all Soviet Deputies to take resolute measures to suppress anti-Semitic movements at their outset. Pogromists and those who conduct pogrom agitation will be considered outlaws..." The population also witnessed numerous bloody reprisals committed on the basis of this decree.
Thus "anti-Semitism" was brought to silence. But it was far from "suppressing at the outset": anti-Jewish feelings remained. They were only chased inside.
Authors of books about "anti-Semitism" in the Soviet Union (for instance S. Schwartz) maintain that the decree of 27 July, 1918 "soon lost any meaning". As proof, they point at the absence in the criminal code of 1922 and in its following issues of special instructions on "anti-Semitism" and a change of qualification of this criminal offence by the general phrase: "agitation of national enmity". But this "argument" was not convincing to anyone, and everyone perfectly understood what the matter was. They understood, and this is why they kept silent.
It was this silence that gave Solomon Schwartz reason to maintain that at the beginning of the Twenties the "wave of anti-Semitism subsided".
It is quite difficult to agree with this assertion. And Schwartz himself, in the very same book, extensively writes about a "new wave of "anti-Semitism" in the Second part of the Twenties. But he writes nothing about the causes for the appearance of this wave.
Meanwhile, anti-Jewish feelings among the broad masses of the population, particularly among the workers, began to appear distinctly soon after the Jews filled the whole administrative apparatus in Russia.
In the April 28, 1918 issue of Izvestia, an extensive decision of the Executive Committee of the Moscow Soviet was published "on the question of anti-Semitic pogromist agitation in Moscow and in the Province of Moscow".
Paragraph No.2 of this decision states: "to acknowledge the necessity of not creating a special Jewish militant organizations". Special militant organizations began to spring up arbitrarily in Moscow, composed of Jews, in case of an armed struggle when, in their opinion, they would be threatened by ''black hundreders". On these grounds, relations between Jews and non-Jewish workers and white-collar workers in institutions, factories and plants were strained to the extreme. Authorities had to intervene and quickly disband the Jewish militant squads in order to avert developing bloody clashes.
The question about these Jewish militant squads is now diligently hushed up. But the presence of the paragraph No.2 in the above given decision testifies that the question of these squads had been discussed; by that point they actually existed. Yet in the decision nothing is mentioned about the disbanding of already existing squads, but only about the "necessity not to create them", Muscovites knew very well that many Jewish militant squads had been created and were disbanded only after this decision.
Subsequent measures and decrees of Soviet power on the Jewish question, and also bloody reprisals of the Cheka against "enemies of the regime", to which were added all "anti-Semites", put such a fear of God into the population of Russia that, as S. Schwartz said, "The wave of anti-Semitism subsided".
However, after the introduction of the New Economic Plan and some general indulgence that came with NEP, the population got somewhat more daring and the wave of anti-Jewish feelings started to rise again. These anti-Jewish feelings were a certain reaction against the dominant position which Jews occupied under the new system (that system that made it possible for them to become a privileged ethnic group, which, in regard to the native population of Russia, behaved far from tactful).
During the lean years of the "militant communism", when the whole population was hungry or underfed, when American help had been distributed by the ARA organization, the population of the country saw only or almost exclusively Jews working with this organization as interpreters or as assistants. And the conviction in the population grew that the help, ill the first place, goes to Jews — "to their own". Since the distribution of help to a considerable degree lay with government bodies or interpreters, in both of which the majority were Jews, corresponding feelings in regard to the latter were engendered in the population.
Besides that, in those years, Jewish charitable organizations in foreign countries developed activities to render assistance to the famished in Russia. Moreover, a quite considerable part of this assistance went only and exclusively to the Jews. The population saw this and on the basis of its observation came to a conclusion far from favorable towards the Jews although it was bound by fear and was silent.
The population of Moscow saw the irresponsible flow of Jews that rushed into Moscow as soon as the new power was established. The population also observed how, in overfilled Moscow during the acute housing shortage, houses and apartments were found for these new "Muscovites".
The new power also had the remarkable attitude that "religion is the opiate of the people", for both the Orthodox and the Jewish religions. The Jew, Goubleman-Yaroslavsky, quite zealously fought with Christians in general, and with Orthodox in particular, plundering ("confiscating") church properties and organizing all kinds of blasphemous and mocking shows of "atheists". But the synagogues remained untouched and its properties were not "confiscated". Muscovites did not see also the blasphemous parodies, shown on the days of Jewish religious holidays.
Of course, not only the Jews alone made up the army of "militant atheists". The head of this group, Goubleman, also had many able and ardent collaborators and assistants from among the Russians. Some of them made for themselves a fairly good career of the “atheistic activity” and even became members of the Union of Soviet Writers.
The demand for blasphemous literature at that time was very great. Rewards and royalties for such literature attracted many prominent workers, who made their career on literary works, written in the spirit and style of chapter 39 in the novel "Resurrection" b L. N. Tolstoy. Before revolution this chapter was banned by the censors, but it was widely spread throughout Russia illegally.
Jewish students were placed in special privileged positions when (in 1923) mass expulsion of students took place throughout the country on the basis of social origin. Even those who were on their last semester were expelled, if it was established that their origin was not proletarian. Not only the sons of nobles, landowners, officers, merchants, industrialists and dignitaries of the Czarist time, but also those of free professions, priests, deacons and even sons of sextons had been expelled without the right to enroll in any other institutions of higher learning. In connection with these expulsions, the periodical press wrote about numerous cases of suicides. But the Jews were not expelled and there were no suicides among them on these grounds.
The new ruling class introduced a clause into the government instructions about "purges" on the basis of origin to the effect that the students, being representatives of "national minorities", were not subject to them, because they had been oppressed and persecuted under the old regime. This was applied to all Jewish students.
All this recounted above did not, of course, go unnoticed by the population of the country and consequently anti-Jewish feelings arose where there had been non before and where they were least expected: among workers, among young people — students and Komsomol, even among members of the communist party and the new bureaucracy of non-Jewish origin.
This was not at all "anti-Semitism" or Judaeophobia in the old meaning of this word, that is, hostility and hatred on the basis of race and religion. This was a sense of enmity and repulsion towards the privileged class which had been identified with the Jewry. Undoubtedly the signing of the "obscene" and shameful Brest-Litovsk peace treaty with the Germans played a certain rôle, especially for the cultural part of the population. Because the treaty was signed in the name of the Russian people by four Jews who agreed to this peace with such ease. It was an insult to the national feelings of Russian people.
In the second part of the Twenties, when the "rise of the anti-Semitic wave" became noticeable, the press started to sound the alarm. Articles began to appear about the insufficiently energetic struggle with this phenomenon, about the appearance among the workers of "dangerous recidivists of nationalism".
At the beginning of May 1928, the Agitation Propaganda Board of the Central Committee of the All-Russian Communist Party discussed the question of anti-Semitism and outlined the following suggestions:
1) "To include the question about the struggle with anti-Semitism in the program of political education".
2) "To expose the class behind the scene of anti-Semitism, using for this purpose art, literature, theatre, cinema, radio and the daily press".
3) "The party must create an atmosphere of well-known contempt of anti-Semitism".
Besides these propositions of a general nature, a special commission of the Agitation Propaganda Board also worked out a number of concrete suggestions, subject to the approval of the Central Committee of the ACP.
1) "To train personnel especially for the struggle with anti-Semitism".
2) "To include a theme about the struggle with anti-Semitism in school textbooks, films, the periodical press and literature".
3) "To organize public debates and lectures about anti-Semitism".
But in spite of all these resolutions and recommendations, as the investigator of this question, Solomon Schwartz, pointed out, "for the actual struggle with anti-Semitism, the Communist party could not find in itself sufficient decisiveness". Another investigator and author of works on anti-Semitism, Lourie-Larin, writes the following about the causes of this "insufficient decisiveness": "The false shame to overemphasize the Jewish question (in order not to stimulate anti-Semitism still further) actually leads to softening of the struggle with bourgeois counter-revolutionary sabotage in this section of the ideological front".
Manifestations of anti-Jewish feelings, and also public debates on this question, were numerous at that time throughout the whole Soviet Union. Many anti-Jewish speeches and statements made at public gatherings are quoted by Solomon Schwartz in his book, "Anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union".
Because it is impossible to produce in full all that has been written on this question by Mr. Schwartz, the facts given here are considerably abridged.
Here are a few cases of feelings manifested by the population:
1) "From different parts of the country reports are coming that among students in Soviet learning institutions it has become customary to speak about Jews using the word 'Zhid' — Yid".
2) "In Kharkov student communists are contaminated by anti-Semitism and frequently ask why the percentage quota is not introduced for Jews in institutes of higher learning".
3) "The meeting of student communists in Kiev has demanded the introduction of the percentage quota for Jews at the time of enrolment in the University. This demand received preliminary discussion at the sitting of the Komsomol bureau".
All the above reports were made in the years 1928 and 1929, that is, at the time when all students were of proletarian origin, sons of workers and peasants. This deserves special attention, because these attitudes are of those who afterwards occupied various positions in the administrative, cultural and economic life of the country.
Feelings among workers were similar to that of students. So, for example:
1) ''In Leningrad at the' Lit' plant, under the leadership of the foreman-instructor, shouts were raised in the direction of Jewish workers: 'Zhidy!' Then, this slogan was drawn on the walls: 'Beat the Jews, save Russia!' After that, inspired by impunity, they beat up comrades Miller and Elashevich and a number of other Jews, with bricks".
2) "Another case, also in Leningrad: at the plant named Marti, a member of a collective bureau of this plant threatened a Jew, a member of the Komsomol, who spoke against him at a gathering: 'If you, Jewish idiot, dare once more to speak against me, I'll straighten you out.'"
3) ''In Kerch, at the canning factory 'Volia Truda', a group of workers, victimized a Jewish worker, Gootmanovitch, beating him on his back with wire. The anti-Semite, Nichugin, in the presence of the chairman of the factory committee and a crowd of workers, shouted: 'If this little Jew is not taken away from us, I will choke him.'"
4) “In Kharkov at the state distillery No.2, during a break for breakfast, an argument broke out between Jews and non-Jews. At this point one of the arguing workers, a member of the Komsomol, Dobrynin, shouted to a Jewish worker: 'You want to attend universities? This won't work!' Meanwhile, another member of the Komsomol, a candidate of the Communist party, student of the agricultural faculty, Anikeev, approached the arguing workers and began to shout: 'Look here, you Jewish punk, what do you want here? Come to take bread away from our brothers? We won't leave you, Jews, in peace. If this was 1920, I would settle accounts with you fast. You are all speculators. And still you come to work here”
5) "The chairman of the local committee, Kuzmichev, a member of Communist party, said during the discussion (in one of Moscow stores) about the dismissal of a Russian worker who beat up a Jewish worker: 'We won't allow dismissals of Russians because of a Jew'".
(All the above cases of anti-Jewish manifestations among students and workers are taken from the book written by S. Schwarts, "Anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union" pp. 21, 22, 28.)
In the same book S. Schwartz also quotes the speech made by M. Kalinin on the Jewish question in November, 1926. Here is what Kalinin said:
"Why is the Russian intelligentsia, perhaps, more anti-Semitic now than it was under Czarism? This is quite natural. During the first days of the revolution, intelligentsia and half-educated Jewish masses rushed into the channel of revolution. As an oppressed people, never being in administration, the Jews naturally rushed into the revolutionary construction, with which the task of administration is also linked. At the time when a considerable part of the Russian intelligentsia rushed-back, got frightened of the revolution, precisely at this moment, Jewish intelligentsia rushed into the channels of revolution, filled the positions of this channel with a much greater percentage in comparison to its population and started to work in administrative organs.
For the Jewish people, as nation, this phenomenon (that is, wide Jewish participation in "revolutionary organs") had immense importance, and, I must say, negative importance. When at one of the plants I was asked: 'Why are there so many Jews in Moscow?' I answered, 'If I was a rabbi, grieving about the Jewish nation, I would curse all Jews coming to Moscow in Soviet positions, because they are lost to their nation. In Moscow Jews mix their blood with Russian blood and in two or, at most, in three generation they are a loss to their nation. They turn into ordinary Russifiers. It, (pp.1617 of the above book.)
Almost coincident with Kalinin's statement, a meeting dedicated to the Jewish question was held on the second of December at the Conservatory in Moscow. At this meeting Professor U. V. Klyutchnikov said the following:
"The February Revolution of 1917 already established the equality of all citizens in Russia, including also the Jews. The October Revolution went further. The Russian nation showed self-denial. A definite disparity has been created between the quantitative composition of Jews in the USSR and in those places which Jews have occupied temporarily in cities.
You see how throughout Moscow small Jewish stalls with bread and sausages have sprung up. Here you have a primary source of this dissatisfaction. When Russians see how their women, old men and children freeze nine to eleven hours on a street and get wet in the rain at a stall in Moscow, and then they see these comparatively warm Jewish stalls with bread and sausages, a sensation of dissatisfaction rises up in them.
This phenomenon should not be ignored; it must be taken into consideration. A watchful feeling can occur in dwellers of big cities, since the proportionality is disturbed in state projection, in practical life and in other spheres, as well as between the numerical composition of the Jews and native population. We in Moscow have crisis: masses of people are cramped in lodgings where it is almost impossible to live; at the same time, you see how people come from other parts of the country and occupy living quarters. These newcomers are Jews.
The matter is not in anti-Semitism, but in the fact that national dissatisfaction, national watchfulness and watchfulness of other nationalities grow. We should not close our eyes to this. What a Russian would tell a Russian, he would not tell a Jew! The masses say that there are too many Jews in Moscow. Take this into consideration, but do not call it anti-Semitism..." (The above extract from the speech of Professor Klyutchnikov is taken from the shorthand record of Lourie-Larin, who was present at the meeting and recorded the professor's words. Eventually these words found their way to pp.124-126 in the book "Jews and Anti-Semitism in the USSR". State-publishing, 1929, Moscow-Leningrad.)
The question of constantly growing numbers of cases of sharp anti-Semitic manifestation of feelings troubled the power more and more; it threw all its forces into the struggle with this phenomenon, because it understood very well that the very existence of its power and its ruling class, consisting at that time mainly of the Jews, were threatened. Throughout the country explanatory work was started on this question. One aspect of this explanatory work was "consultation on anti-Semitism". Lourie-Larin reports, in the above book, "Jews and Anti-Semitism in the USSR", that these consultations were held in Moscow on August 23, 1928.
At the meeting ("consultation") were present a few dozen workers from various Moscow industrial enterprises. They were foremost people in the industry: "all party members", Komsomol members and a few "sympathizers", in a word, all that human material out of which are molded party members, Komsomol members and union activists.
At the "consultation", after the lecture, participants forwarded notes with questions, extremely characteristic for a definition of their feelings. In his book, Lourie-Larin gives a list of six questions in full. The questions are interesting and deserve to be presented word for word:
1) "Why do Jews not want laborious work?"
2) "Why do Jews get good positions?"
3) "Why are there so many Jews in universities: don't they forge documents?"
4) "In case of war won't the Jews betray and won't they evade military service?"
5) "Why was good land given to the Jews in Crimea, whereas the Russians received a much worse land?"
6) "Causes of anti-Semitism should be sought within the Jewish nation itself, in its moral and psychological education".
The remaining notes with questions were in about the same spirit. In none of these notes could racial-religious motives be detected, which mentioned that the Jews crucified Christ, motives that were characteristic of real anti-Semitism in the old classical understanding of pre-revolutionary antagonists of the Jews.
The economic aspect is predominant in all the questions of these notes, along with dissatisfaction with the privileged position the Jewish ethnic group occupied under the new regime.
From the speeches described above made by three notable communists — two Russians (Kalinin and Klyutchnikov) and one Jew (Lourie-Larin) — can be seen how serious and threatening the Jewish question at that time (at the end of the Twenties) was in the Soviet Union. And the authorities, not without reason, sounded the alarm.
Under the conditions of the communist regime, discussion of this question in the press was unthinkable. Only a one-sided dealing with this question was possible. It was possible to discuss from the point of view of the ruling class, which through its control of the news media, reduced the whole thing to press information, and even then it rarely took place, but when it did, the elucidation or the interpretation of this question was usually reduced to separate incidents of expressed dissatisfaction with the "inversely proportional percentage quota" which was established under the new regime. Moreover, these incidents were called "recidivism of black hundreders", "tricks of pogromists" or "a sabotage of bourgeois capitalists". And no one then could dare to substantiate anti-Jewish feelings, to argue or to refute.
When at the very end of the Twenties and the beginning of the Thirties the Five-year Plans and collectivization began, which were accompanied by sharp government measures towards all those dissatisfied or sabotaging new measures, then apparently everything quietened down and open manifestations of anti-Jewish feelings became considerably less. (Which does not mean that anti-Jewish feelings disappeared,) This apparent calming down was taken by S. Schwartz as an "abatement of the anti-Semitic wave".
What the real feelings of the broad masses were, neither S. Schwartz, nor Lourie-Larin, nor various other Jews of the ruling class could have known, the reason being that "what a Russian would tell a Russian, he would not tell a Jew", as Schwartz wrote in his book, quoting Prof. Klutchnikov's speech. It is hardly possible to doubt that "what a Jew would tell a Jew, he would not tell a Russian". In this, perhaps, lies the cause of that watchfulness, and sometimes also of repulsion, which are characteristic in Russian-Jewish relations during the whole time of the Jewish sojourn within the borders of the Russian State. Of course, in these relations there were also exceptions, but exceptions, as is known, only confirm a general rule. It is unnecessary to judge whether this is good or bad. But to deny this phenomenon (good or bad) is also impossible. It exists.
Only in private life, in the conversations of persons undoubtedly trusting one another, could silence sometimes be broken and people would express, more or less frankly, their dissatisfaction. And sometimes, in a state of excitement careless phrases and words would escape their lips, words for which some paid dearly.
In the literature of that time, the literature which one would think should have reflected national feelings concerning the "Jewish Question", or to be more precise, concerning the question of dissatisfaction with the Jewish rôle in the country was "taboo" and this question was not touched. And if any Soviet writers of the time wrote something in scenes from daily life, endeavoring to be more realistic, which could have been interpreted as a manifestation of anti-Semitism, this could have entailed consequences quite unpleasant for the author. In such cases an author had to justify himself on the pages of the press and express his "admiration for the Jewish people", as the writer Boris Pilniak had to do in 1931.
The history of this "repentance", in brief, is as follows: in his story "Floating Ice", written in 1924, Pilniak tells how a detachment of "rebels" occupied a small town in the Ukraine. A chief of the detachment is an anarchist, but its commissar is a communist. In the detachment, ''Izvestia'' is regularly received and read, and the detachment lives a life of Soviet insurgents. But they do hang Jews, and create Jewish pogroms in the town, which Boris Pilniak describes thus: "In the town the Jewish pogrom was started in the early morning. Such pogroms were always dreadful in that — gathering by the hundreds — Jews begin to howl more dreadfully than a hundred dogs howling at the moon, and perform the villainous traditional ceremony of Jewish feather-beds, covering the streets with down, under the wind... ". (Vol. 3, p. 81)
At that time, right up to the very end of the Twenties, the situation was such that, as Lourie-Larin said in the above account, there existed "the false shame to over-emphasize the Jewish question, in order not to stimulate anti-Semitism still further". It must be assumed that for this reason there were no protests or objections on the pages of the press in connection with the content of the story "Floating Ice". This story was even included in the collective works of B. Pilniak in 1929.
But he was not forgotten. He came to mind at the beginning of the Thirties, when, as the result of sharp government measures, the lips of the population had been sealed. As S. Schwartz says "there ensued an abatement of the anti-Semitic wave" and it was possible to forget about "the false shame to over-emphasize the Jewish question".
On June 24, 1931, in "Izvestia" in the article written by M. Gorky "About Anti-Semitism", Pilniak's story, "Floating Ice", was mentioned. In the article, it was stated that this story indicates a passive-tolerant attitude by the author to the extreme manifestation of "anti-Semitism". There existed at that time in Moscow the "Jewish Telegraph Agency" — JTA, which at once telegraphed this to New York and on the next day in the "New York Times" a corresponding article about Pilniak's attitude to "anti-Semitism" appeared. Boris Pilniak at that time was in the USA.
After ten days, on July 5, 1931, in the same "New York Times" a protest was published by B. Pilniak against the accusation of "anti-Semitism". In this protest, Pilniak expresses his "admiration of the Jewish people", and categorically rejects that he ever had hostile feelings towards Jews. He points out that his works were translated in "Yiddish", and reports that his grand-mother was a Jewess.
Anti-Jewish feelings of the broad people's masses arose as a result of the Jewish activities that turned them into the privileged "estate". So write many Jewish investigators of this question. These investigators write that anti-Jewish feelings were "active, massive and spontaneous". They call these feelings "anti-Semitism", although, as stated above, this has nothing in common with the real anti-Semitism.
And maybe, involuntarily and unconsciously, some talented writers and poets of that time, depicting negative characters that stir up fear and hatred, picture them as Jews, and give them Jewish names.
So, for example, the famous poet, Sergey Yesenin, wrote the following dialogue:
Have you become a foreigner?
I know that you are a Jew,
Your name is Leibman,
And to hell with you,
that you lived abroad.
It makes no difference — in Mogilev is your home.
Have you become a foreigner?
I know that you are a Jew,
Your name is Leibman,
And to hell with you,
that you lived abroad.
It makes no difference — in Mogilev is your home.
Ha – ha!
I am a citizen from Weimar.
And arrived here not as a Jew,
But as one who possesses the gift
To tame fools and beasts;
I swear and will persistently
Curse you even for a thousand years.
I am a citizen from Weimar.
And arrived here not as a Jew,
But as one who possesses the gift
To tame fools and beasts;
I swear and will persistently
Curse you even for a thousand years.
For this work, Yesenin, as much as is known, did not have any unpleasantness and he did not have to write in the "New York Times" about his "admiration of Jews". On the contrary, the Russian Jews living in New York admired him and during his stay in New York made a feast in his honor in the Bronx, at a private house. Towards the end of supper, after heavy drinking, Yesenin began to behave not quite decently and started to "bring his fists into play". Wishing to pacify him, the hosts and the rest of the guests grabbed him by his arms and intended to tie him up. Yesenin fought back and would not yield... He ran up to an open window and in a heart-rending voice started to yell: "Rescue me! Jews cut my throat. Beat the Jews, save Russia! The incident was, of course, hushed up and no action was taken against Sergey Yesenin.
Another well-known Soviet poet, Edward Bogritsky (a Jew from Odessa), wrote "Thoughts about Opanas", where the following seditious lines are found:
I fled from the provisions detachment
From Kohan, the Jew.
In ravines and on slopes
Kohan growls like a wolf,
He pokes his nose in huts,
Which are cleaner.
He glances right, and glances left,
And puffs angrily:
Rake out from the ditch
Well, but if someone kicks up a row,
Don't make noise, little brother!
With moustache into the rubbish-heap,
Shoot him — that's how to put the lid on him.
From Kohan, the Jew.
In ravines and on slopes
Kohan growls like a wolf,
He pokes his nose in huts,
Which are cleaner.
He glances right, and glances left,
And puffs angrily:
Rake out from the ditch
Well, but if someone kicks up a row,
Don't make noise, little brother!
With moustache into the rubbish-heap,
Shoot him — that's how to put the lid on him.
"Thoughts about Opanas" did not provoke any response, although there is in it the word "Zhid" — Yid, which was considered at that time a manifestation of "anti-Semitism". But then the poet himself was a Jew.
All three recounted extracts from the works of Soviet writers and poets were written and published in the first decade of the new ruling class power, during the Twenties.
In the second decade nothing of the sort could be found on the pages of the USSR press. The start of the Five-Year Plans and collectivization were accompanied by government measures which tightly sealed the lips of all dissatisfied people. And the population of the country was afraid not only to speak but also to think about the "Jewish Question". Silence' which S. Schwartz called an "abatement of anti-Semitic wave", fell. People were silent. But this does not mean that they did not see and did not think... Once Shevchenko said: "the people are silent... because they prosper". And people became silent under the power of Koganoviches' dynasty..." Whether this silence was the result of "prosperity" or of fear, was revealed only at the end of the Forties and the beginning of Fifties, when, as David Burg says, the attitude of the Soviet population is such that, in case of an overthrow of Soviet power, all the Jews "will be simply slaughtered" in this moment of inevitable anarchy. And the Government of the USSR, after the victorious war, took these attitudes in considerations, and gradually started to replace members of the ruling class, by appointing and promoting representatives of the native population of the country to responsible positions. To call this "anti-Semitism" means to distort reality intentionally and consciously.
Ought not this cause to be considered in the "inverse proportionality" of the tribal composition of the ruling class, which consisted of less than 2% of the total population and occupied more than 80% of the leading positions? And ought not this cause to be considered also in the very own behavior of the Jews, who, after the year 1918, made up the privileged part of the Russian population?
But this question, as already mentioned above, is being diligently hushed up. The cause was very well understood by all Jews, both in the USSR and in the West, but this cause did not figure in explanations of that phenomenon called "anti-Semitism"... However, by attentive reading of articles and research, written by Jews in the Russian language in emigration in various periodical issues and separate books, one clearly perceives an almost panic terror creeping before the possibility of weakening or fall of power, which restrains "anti-Semitism" and does not allow pogroms or beating of Jews to occur.
Being unable to enumerate many similar and analogous statements made by authors, Russian Jews, we will limit ourselves therefore to a few extracts from the sketch "Jews and Soviet Dictatorship", published in the yearbook "Jewish World" (1939). The sketch was written by Simon Osipovich Portugaise who wrote under the Russian pen-name (nom-deplume) "Stepan Ivanovich". (In emigration Portugaise was editor of the Social-Democratic journals "Dawn" and "Notes of Social-Democrat" and other socialist organs of the press in the Russian language.)
Here is what "Stepan Ivanovich" writes: "In foreign countries many believe that there is no anti-Semitism in Russia, and for this are well disposed to Soviet rule. But in Russia people know that this is not true and, knowing such, set great hopes for the longevity of Soviet power, which, however, does not allow pogroms to occur, as is hoped, will never allow them to happen. In foreign countries, people are well-disposed to Soviet rule, because they believe in this advertisement: 'in the USSR there is no anti-Semitism'; in Russia they are well-disposed to Soviet power and are very frightened of its death, because they do not believe this advertisement, knowing that there is 'anti-Semitism' in USSR... but Stalin does not allow pogroms to occur and hopefully will not allow them to occur".
At another point in the same article "Stepan Ivanovich" writes the following lines: "The fall of Soviet power will be catastrophic for Jews, and any friend of the Jewish people must with horror cast away such view."
Although giving the above explanations about Jewish support of Soviet power in his article, "Stepan Ivanovich" personally did not share his opinion with them, but he gives them as "typical and quite widespread opinions among the Jews in the USSR, Jews in foreign countries and also among the friends of the Jewish people in the whole world".
"Stepan Ivanovich" had written his sketch after 20 years of stay of his fellow tribesmen in positions of the ruling class in the USSR, almost on the eve of the World War II, while the yearbook "Jewish World" was printed in the same year that Stalin concluded his treaty with Hitler. What is more, this treaty was approved also by the Comintern, in which Jews played far from small rôles. Jews then played a still bigger rôle (in the years preceding this treaty) in the external politics of the USSR. An overwhelming majority of the ambassadors were Jews, as well as being among the responsible workers in the People's Commissariat of External Affairs. And only a few months before signing the treaty with Hitler, Stalin replaced the Commissar for External Affairs, the Jew, Finkelstein-Litvinov, by a Russian, Molotov (true, he was married to a Jewess who was very active politically). This was done to please Hitler, who could not agree to carry on negotiations with Finkelstein. What considerations prompted the Jews, who at that time ruled the political life in the USSR and the Comintern, to enter into agreement with Hitler has not been found out up to now. This question, it must be assumed, will occupy future historians, to whom archives and data connected with this treaty will be accessible. For us contemporaries it is difficult to understand. Opinions on this question are different and contrary. Some hold the opinion that the rulers of the USSR considered that conflict with Germany was inevitable. By concluding the treaty with Hitler, the rulers wanted to postpone the clash, and step forward only when Germany was weakened by the war in the West. It was believed that Hitler would go to war against the West only after he would secure himself with a treaty with the USSR (as actually happened).
True, calculations did not justify themselves. From September 1939 and up to June 1941, the West was unable to create a front which would have tied up Hitler's armies, thereby giving him possibilities to commit an attack on the USSR, entailing incalculable sacrifices both of human life and of material. Theoretically, however, it is possible to acknowledge this as a logical calculation, of course, in view of the inevitable clash between the two countries.
But there is also another opinion: that the leadership of the USSR did not consider a military conflict with Germany as inevitable, at least not in the near future. Taking into consideration the attitude of the broad masses, and also the tendencies of the new ally — Hitler — a sharp turn of the USSR politics in the Jewish question was possible: for the sake of preserving power, heads of the USSR would bring Jews to sacrifice, in spite of the fact it itself was composed almost entirely of Jews.
At first glance this opinion sounds paradoxical. But by attentive reading of statements expressed by Russian-Jewish emigrants in the period directly preceding the conclusion of the treaty with Hitler, we find many statements confirming this paradoxical opinion.
So, for example, in the above mentioned book "Jewish World" (1939, p.51), we read the following: "If the dictatorship, reverting now to some national traditions of Moscow Russia and Imperial Russia, will consider it useful for itself and for its power over the minds and souls of its subjects to resort to this tradition of persecuting the Jews, should it need this "opiate of the people", then neither in the past nor, especially so, at present are there absolutely any obstacles for Soviet power. A right guaranteeing something, a right not to be persecuted, not to be given away in sacrifice to the "national indignation" — such a right the Russian Jews do not have right now, and indeed never had under the Bolsheviks. There was only a great opportunity for this, but there never was the right".
This was written at the end of the Thirties, that is, in the period of maximum occupation by Jews of all key positions of the cultural, economic and political life of the USSR, when the "dynasty of the Koganoviches" dominated the ruling head of the country.
What did the author (Portugaise-Ivanovich) perceive in the above "reverting to national traditions of Moscow Russia and Imperial Russia"? He does not explain, or he attempts to substantiate his apprehensions by the following words: "As is clear from materials collected and published by G. Aronson, the Soviet power had already became shy about Judaeophilia and Judaizing ascribed to it, and in a number of facts its active and consistent desire to hush up completely the existence of the Jews in USSR is being revealed. Jews are being systematically removed from the texts of such official documents as those in which dozens of the smallest nationalities and tribes are marked, the very name of which became known only recently. The Soviet power ceases to be, so to say, 'responsible for the Jews '. They became clearly an object of inconvenience for that course of 'love towards the motherland', of 'national pride' and of easy victorious 'patriotism', which is now being implemented foolishly and crudely in the USSR".
Taken in quotation marks, the meanings of "patriotism", "national pride" and "love towards the motherland" the authors of the above statements express, by the very act, the subjective Jewish attitudes to the feelings of love towards the motherland, to national pride and to patriotism of the Russian people, the same people who created the greatest state on earth, within the borders of which many Jews made enormous material fortunes up to 1917, received an education and, after the year 1917, became magnates of this great country and masters of its destiny.
As is known, each people, and especially the Jewish, cultivate its patriotism and are proud of it. Why then does not the patriotism of the Russian people find approval by Portugaise and Aronson? They do not explain this, but simply express a quite distinctly negative attitude towards it.
Professor Solomon Lourie in his book "Anti-Semitism in the Ancient World" scientifically explained and substantiated this invariably negative attitude of the Diaspora Jews towards patriotism and nationalism of any country and any people among whom they live, as a "nation without a language and territory". Extensive excerpts from this book are given in Part II of this work.
Ardently guarding their Jewish originality and purity of race, inseparably linked with religion, Jews do not admit strangers into their midst. But they themselves, Jews of Diaspora, strive to penetrate into all branches of the life of those foreign people among whom they live, and if there is an opportunity to occupy leading positions, they will do so. In countries and states with highly developed patriotic and national feelings and populations of homogeneous tribal composition, this is much more difficult to achieve and provokes a rebuff of the native population, which regards itself as a widened family of descendents of the same forefathers. It is much easier for them to achieve their ends in countries with a multitribal population, bound only by territorial unity and supreme power, or in states in which, for some reasons, patriotic feelings are suppressed and brought into latency.
In countries with a multitribal population unlimited possibilities are open for Jews to penetrate into the ruling class, without any opposition from the native population. The awakening of patriotism in a native population, naturally, is regarded by the Jews as a possibility that the question will be raised about their rôle in the country's life, about the possibility of occupying leading posts in the political and cultural life of the country in which they live at a given time and still maintain their own ideology and sense of justice, thus remaining alien to the native population.
All Jews in all countries of their sojourn understand this circumstance very well, and this is why they regard any manifestation of national pride and patriotism as a threat to themselves and to their position in a country.
Often this threat is felt even when it does not exist, as for example, in the USSR in the second part of the Thirties, when any manifestation of Russian patriotism was qualified as "great-power chauvinism" and was brutally persecuted. And, of course, there was no "reverting to national traditions of Moscow Russia and Imperial Russia" whatsoever at that time in the USSR.
But pre-conditions by the end of Thirties were already created for the awakening of national pride and patriotism of Russian people, whom aliens, turning into the privileged class, had ruled and for whom they had spoken for two decades. The discontent created by this privileged class was already floating in the air at that time; this could not have remained unnoticed by Jews, and they sounded the alarm in advance. They sounded the alarm because they anticipated events a whole decade in advance and, with subjectivity peculiar to them, exaggerated them as in the statements by Portugaise-Ivanovich and Aronson, the mouthpieces of Jewish attitudes and apprehensions in the USSR and without.
"The Soviet power already became shy about the Judaeophilia and Judaizing ascribed to it", we read in the "Jewish World" (1939). Non-Jews have not been noticing this "shyness", observing how, precisely in this period, the "inversely proportional" percentage of Jews in the highest positions and in diplomacy has reached its maximum.
Without exception, all ambassadors in the largest European countries in 1937 were Jews: in England there was Maisky; in France, Surits; in Germany, Yourinev (Ganfman); in Italy, Stein; in Belgium, Rubin.
There was not a single Russian in the USSR delegation in the League of Nations. The delegation consisted of eight members: Finkelstein-Litvinov, Rosenberg, Stein, Markus, Brenner, Girshfeld and Svanidze. The only non-Jew was the Georgian, Svanidze. At the head of the Commissariat of Foreign Affairs was Finkelstein-Litvinov.
If in any country the ambassador of the USSR was not a Jew, then all the remaining personnel (counselors, secretaries, attaches) were Jews, as seen from the list below.
Approximately the same proportion of Jews was represented in numerous Trade Delegations of the USSR in foreign countries.
The personnel of the Diplomatic Courier Section of the Commissariat of Foreign Affairs consisted almost exclusively of Jews.
Thus the matter stood with USSR representation in foreign countries; so it stood also in all other branches of USSR life in the second part of the Thirties, that is, in the years before the Second World War.
In order to give, as fully as possible, the picture of Jewish participation in the life of the USSR, a list is given below of the USSR personnel in various branches of the state apparatus (see supplement No.2).
This list, in general, did not undergo changes right up to the beginning of the Second World War. The ruling class in the USSR consisted chiefly of the Jews, occupying key positions in all branches of the country's life.
Trials and purges in the Thirties, as a result of which many Jews were not only dismissed from their positions but also shot or exiled (Apfelbaum-Zinoviev, Sobelson-Radek and others), did not change the correlation of Jews and non-Jews in the state apparatus of the USSR. They, as before, preserved after themselves and their relatives those positions which were occupied during the first years after October 1917.
Of course, in the new ruling class there were also non-Jews, who marked the beginning of this ruling class. But they all held the common spiritual view in their negative attitude to Russia as a national state. They were all "tied with the Germany of Marx as their spiritual motherland". And they did not limit their future activity to the borders of anyone state, but presented themselves on an international scale.
Professor Felatov writes about how views were formed of that group of people into whose hands fell the control of Russia in 1917 in "Present and Future Reflections about Russia and the Revolution".
"In the decade of reaction (1907-1917) in foreign countries, a rapprochement was taking place with the Bolshevik Headquarters and the leaders of the Left International. A lull in Russia and the compelled idleness of emigration attracted their attention to European affairs. Here solid ties were set up by Lenin, Zinoviev, Menshevik Trotsky, Rosa Luxemburg,
Radek and Rakovsky with Polish-Jewish-German radicals roaming from country to country, who were, however, tied to the Germany of Marx as their spiritual motherland.
During the war, at the time of the socialist betrayal of the revolutionary cause, the Third International was born in Zimmerwald-Kental, tying the expectations of a worldwide revolution to the World War. At this time Lenin, and especially Trotsky, felt themselves the least Russian revolutionaries. Like Radek and Rokovsky, these were spirits craving to incarnate themselves in any country: it could just as easily have been Austria or Germany, had Russia not collapsed first. The only Russian that Lenin felt at that time was an antithesis of patriotism – a special hate towards Russia as the most vicious of the so-called "imperialist countries".
However, the centre of his political interest (and of the Bolsheviks in general, up to 1918) was, of course, Germany, which impressed him spiritually by having in it two extremes: Marx and Ludendorff. France and the Latin countries they despised. A Russian revolution always appeared to them as a prelude, a provincial mutiny. Only in Germany could the construction of socialism have started".
Returning to Russia, Lenin carried away with him also the intellectual nucleus of the Third International. These leaders were, as is known, almost exclusively Jews, both Russian and German-Polish Jews.
This leadership had quickly expanded at the expense of Russian Jews, reinforcing its ranks and creating that ruling class which for almost thirty years humiliated and degraded everything that was national-Russian, even Russia itself, thereby provoking antipathy in the nation. And when at the end of the Forties, the words "a cosmopolitan without kith or kin" were pronounced, the broad masses felt that this was the beginning of the end of the ruling class. And the Jews, not only in the USSR but also in the whole world, perceived in this the beginning of "government anti-Semitism".
In his time, as is known, Lenin said: "What do I care about Russia!" And the leaders of the Third International, brought by him to Russia, took into its hands the education of the Russian people and wrote the following in the government organs of the press: "We do not have national power – we have international power. We do not defend the national interests of Russia, but the international interests of workers and deprived people of all countries" ("Izvestia", February 8, 1921). "Russia! Putrefied? Collapsed? Died? What then? May your memory live forever" ("Pravda", August 13, 1925). "Writers must throw overboard their literary mysticism, indecency, national point of view" ("Pravda", January 1, 1925). Between the national point of view and the indecency had been put the equal sign.
Thus the politics of Russia and the education of the people's masses were conducted in this spirit for thirty years, masses that found themselves under the rule of that "Third International nucleus" which was brought to Russia by Lenin. Moreover, this nucleus had swelled and expanded, absorbing in itself not only the dwellers of the USSR with an international attitude but also many natives of various western countries, related in spirit and tribe. The same natives who outside of the country already acted as representatives of the USSR, "the motherland of all proletarians".
In connection with this it would be of interest to mention an excerpt from the newspaper "Novoe Russkoe Slovo" (that of February 25, 1965) with a description of the personalities acting in Spain during its civil war in the years 1936-39.
Lazar Stern from Bukovina (according to his passport he was "Emil Kleber" from Canada, but had never been in Canada) was in command of International Brigades. Another, Stern-George, Division Commander in the Rea Army, was called "Grigorivich" in Spain. Jacob Smushkevich, Corps Commander in the Red Army was called "Douglas" in Spain. General Batkin was called "Fritz". The Hungerian Jew-communist M. Zalka worked in Spain under the pseudonym "General Lukatch". Abram Slutsky, who was in charge of the foreign section in the NKVD, travelled to Madrid under the name "Chernigovsky". The chief resident of the NKVD in Spain was "General Alexander Orlov" who had even "his own jail in the city of Alcalad, but in fact at Lubianka he was called "Nickolsky" or "Katznelson".
The ambassador of the USSR in Spain was Marcel Rosenberg. The assistant to the military attaché at the embassy was Lvovich, also acting under the pseudonym "Lotti". All the named representatives of the USSR were Jews. The only non-Jew was a Latvian named Ian Berzin, who for 15 years had been in charge of the Central Intelligence of the Red Army. In Spain he worked under the pseudonym "General Grishin".
All the foreign intelligence services, of course, knew very well of which nationality all these "Russians" were, "Russians" who were representing the USSR in Spain. But nothing was written about this in the world press. The fear of being suspected of "anti-Semitism" was stronger than the wish of reporting the biographical data about these "Russians" to readers.
Jews filled the ranks in embassies and trade delegations that represented the USSR in all other countries in approximately the same proportion.
In connection with this a characteristic joke was spread on the eve of the Second World War in Europe. It was agreed to have a conference of the USSR ambassadors and trade delegates in Geneva representing the USSR in all large European countries. Of course, the English Intelligence Service wanted to know what the conversation would be about at the conference. The Englishmen installed microphones, found two Russian emigrants who spoke good English and one Englishman who spoke good Russian, and were set to take down in shorthand the whole talk of the conference. But a big confusion occurred: none of the three could write down anything, because the "Russian Diplomats" conducted their whole conference in Yiddish.
But the matter did not go any further than the joke; even at that, it was passed around only orally. Neither the émigré nor the world press touched this "ticklish" question.
The Jewish press outside of the USSR also kept silent, press which wrote so frequently earlier about the percentage quota and all kinds of discrimination of Jews in Russia.
The very same phenomenon, in the sense of overfilling by the Jews of various departments, was seen not only in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs but also in all other ministries (People's Commissariats) of the USSR.
Here are impressions of foreigners who visited Moscow in 1935 and had an opportunity to convince themselves in this "proportionality" between the Jews and non-Jews in important state departments in the USSR.
These impressions and observations are related in the book "Fair of Insanity", which was written by the Englishman Douglas Reed, who was a journalist and spent several days with Anthony Eden in Moscow. On pages 194, 199 and 200 of this book he writes the following:
"Two big British establishments, represented by Anthony Eden and myself, have never sent their representatives into Soviet Russia up to now... Not one statesman has visited Moscow… My newspaper has never sent a correspondent to Moscow because of the censorship. Thus these two visits were big events, each in its own field.
The Soviet Government repeatedly complained that the Russian news (correspondence from Moscow) was transmitted from Riga, and asked why the newspaper would not send its representative to Moscow. The answer was always 'censorship'.
Thus my visit was long awaited and desirable. I stayed there no longer than five minutes, when representatives of the government began to argue with me about insignificant things. They said that I wrote (in my correspondence) that Eden was passing the street where a 'silent crowd in worn-out clothes stood in lines'. At once a small Jewish censor appeared and demanded that I must strike out this expression (from the transmitted correspondence). To this demand I answered: 'would you like me to write that the streets are filled by bourgeoisie in top-hats?' He remained unchanged. Such was the cultural level of the censors.
The Ministry of Censorship, which consisted of the whole control machine (muzzles) for representatives of the foreign press, was packed with Jews and this surprised me more than anything else in Moscow. They were the same Jews that were also in New York, Berlin, Vienna or Prague — well fed, well made up, with a touch of dandyism in clothing.
I was told earlier that the percentage of Jews in the government was not as great. But in this ministry, which I got to know very closely, they were monopolists". Further, in the very same book, Douglas Reed writes the following: "And where are the Russians? It must be assumed they are those silent, badly dressed crowds that are standing in lines..."
We find other evidence about Jews being in the government apparatus of the USSR in the book "From Freedom to Brest-Litovsk", published in 1919, in London. The author of this book is Tyrkova-Williams, wife of Harold Williams who for many years was a correspondent for the English newspaper "Manchester Guardian". A. Tyrkova-Williams was herself a journalist by profession. She took an active part in politics and participated in the ranks of the "Constitutional Democratic Party" as a member of the Central Committee. Here is what we read in her book:
"Among Bolshevik bosses there were very few Russians, that is, very few people of the profound Russian culture and who had an interest in the Russian people. None of them in any sphere had occupied notable positions in Russian life before the revolution.
Side by side with foreigners, Bolshevism attracted many followers who lived among the emigrants that were for many years in emigration in various foreign countries. Most of them were Jews. They spoke very poor Russian. Some of them had never been in Russia before.
The nation from which they seized power was alien to them. Besides, they conducted themselves as victors in a subjugated country.
Generally, during the whole revolution, and particularly during Bolshevism, Jews occupied very influential posts everywhere. This phenomenon is very complicated and strange, however, the fact remains... For example, there was the famous trio: Leiber, Gotz and Don who were elected in First and Second Soviets 1905-1917.
In the Soviet Republic all the committees and commissariats were filled by Jews. They frequently changed their names. But this masquerade deceived no one. Rather, quite the reverse, the pseudonyms of commissars emphasized the international and even foreign character of the Bolshevik power.
Of course, among the Bolsheviks there were also Russians — workers, soldiers and peasants, and influential Bolsheviks such as Lenin, Lunacharsky, Banch-Bruevich, Kollontai and Chicherin, who were of Russian origin.
However the dominating class, which very quickly crystallized around the Bolsheviks, consisted primarily of aliens, people who were strange to Russia. This fact, perhaps, was useful to them in holding the masses in subordination, since the Bolshevik autocracy was built on their absolute contempt and disregard for the people whom they were running. (pp. 207-299 of the book, "From Freedom to Brest-Litovsk".
* * *
What was the population of the Jewish ethnic group within the boundaries of the USSR in the second part of the Thirties, the years when the Jews were in the ruling majority in all branches of the country's life? It is impossible to give an absolute figure owing to various reasons, many Jews took typical Russian pseudonyms and acted under them; still many more quite officially changed their Jewish names and surnames. In the beginning of the Twenties whole pages of "Izvestia" were filled with reports about changes of names and surnames. This was allowed by law and did not entail an expense or red tape. Besides that, it must e taken into account "that during the general census of the population the heading "religion" did not exist at all, and to answer the question about "nationality" was left to the individual. Using this opportunity, many Jews, without changing their surnames, could state that they were ''Ukrainians'', "Byelorussians" etc., which in fact they did.
In statistical reports, under the heading "Jew", were listed, without any verification, all those who, during census, called themselves and their underage children "Jews". Naturally under such methods of conducting a census, a number of real Jews did not enter their names under the heading "Jew" and thereby had reduced the actual number of Jews residing in the USSR.
Perhaps purely Jewish organizations kept their own statistical records more precisely than did the official Soviet ones: however, there is no data about these in statistical research.
This assumption is not inconceivable. In 1965, in New York, an association of purely Jewish organizations accused administrations of fifty New York banks of not admitting Jews to leading executive and administrative positions, and when they did, the percentage ratio did not correspond to the percentage of Jews living in New York. The Jewish association insisted that Jews made up 25% of the New York residents, whereas in executive positions in banks Jewish representation equaled only from 2 to 3%. In this accusation it is further stated that 82% of New York banks did not have Jews in its administrative ranks.
All the figures given above are the result of four months of secret inquiry into the nationality of 1,250 of the highest executives and members of administrations in fifty New York banks.
The chairman of the association for New York banks, Osten S. Murphy, answered that banks do not know and do not take interest in who of its executives, directors and members of administrations are Jews, and who are not. In forms and personal records of executives there is no heading about racial origin, color of skin, religion. This should have been known by Jewish organizations. It is unknown how and on the basis of what data the Jewish organizations came up with the given figures and percentages. (Published in "Herald Tribune" October 21, 1965).
After this reply the association of Jewish organizations did not raise this question again in newspapers, although this does not mean, of course, that this question was finally taken off the line.
The incident above shows how Jews are watching attentively and in an organized manner the successes and failures of their fellow tribesmen in all countries of the world.
For example, a bulletin is regularly published in London called "Jews and the Jewish People", a collection of material from the Soviet press. The bulletin is published in the Russian and English languages. In this bulletin all data is given about appointments, promotions to higher ranks, rewards and medals received by Jewish citizens of the USSR, for the current period (usually three months). The data begins with generals and ends with cow-milkers and Jewish labor-heroines. The given data is commented upon and emphasized, if, in the opinion of Jews, their fellow tribesmen were not sufficiently rewarded or promoted in the USSR.
Thus, in order to establish the number of Jews living in the USSR one has to rely on official Soviet statistics and, taking into consideration the above, make adjustments for those Jews who proclaimed themselves as ''Russians'', "Ukrainians", "Byelorussians" or as representatives of any other nationality.
According to the information published in 1939 in the year-book "Jewish World" (article by S. Pozner), the number of Jews living in the USSR in 1935 was 2,900,000, equal to 1.8% of the whole population of the country. It must be assumed, however, that actually there were more, but how much more is unknown. Supposedly there were no less than 3,000,000.
It is these three million Jews who gave, from amidst their ranks, almost the whole ruling class of the Soviet State, numbering two hundred million people. This is obvious with utmost clarity from the lists featured in this work, and also from the above statements and the evidence of foreign observers.
In the first period, in the period of the seizure of power in Russia, special knowledge, education, experience, qualifications to occupy responsible leading positions in all the spheres of the country's life were not required. To achieve this, it sufficed to be aggressive, self-assured, loyal to the party and, of course, to have a kindred and tribal closeness with those who made up the nucleus of the power.
But when the power was seized, the new ruling class encountered the necessity of having a corresponding education in order to occupy responsible posts. Lacking the required education, the various "activists" were trying with brave ignorance to solve all questions.
The pre-revolutionary intelligentsia and big specialists were ruthlessly exterminated, and those who survived were not trusted by new power. And if someone was admitted to the service, then he was assigned a "commissar", who, not having knowledge or understanding, only hindered the work.
It was necessary to create a new intelligentsia, cadres of educated people from those groups of the population in whose loyalty and trust the new power could not have been in doubt. These groups were almost the whole Soviet Jewry and those numerous activists who advanced themselves in the beginning of the revolution and were utterly devoted to the new power.
The first task of the new power, in the field of education, was to safeguard itself from the danger of infiltration by "socially alien" elements, the unreliable ones; that is, not to admit sons of former aristocratic and wealthy families in the higher learning institutions, except Jews who fell under the classification of "oppressed and persecuted" people under the old regime. When this was secured the power proceeded to create the new intelligentsia, the new elite of the country.
Theoretically it should have been created of the people "from a wooden plough and a machine-tool". It was for this purpose that the so-called "workers' faculties" were created to train these activists that they be able to go through courses in higher learning institutions.
What this turned out to be in practice is shown by the statistical information about the tribal composition of students in higher learning institutions of the USSR. According to the information given by Pozner in the "Jewish World", 1939, there were more than 20 percent (20. 4%) of Jewish students in higher learning institutions", while the Jewish ethnic group consisted of less than 2 percent (1.8 %) in relation to the whole population of the USSR.
In considering students as a rate per thousand of population, we find the following comparison:
- Per one thousand Russians there were 2.8 Russian students.
- Per one thousand Ukrainians there were 2.0 Ukrainian students.
- Per one thousand Byelorussians there were 2.4 Byelorussian students.
- Per one thousand Jews there were 20.4 Jewish students.
The above records are for the year 1935. In the next decade the percentage of Jewish students steadfastly grew. There are no exact data about the percentage of Jewish students for this decade; there is only an indirect indication concerning this. Thus, for example, the former Moscow student David Burg, in his article "The Jewish Question in the USSR", which is included in the Part IT of this work, reports that, before the World War II in one of technical faculties of Moscow, the percentage of Jewish students was 40%. And according to numerous reports from various students of that time, the percentage of Jewish students was considerably higher.
This circumstance provoked corresponding attitudes among the remaining non-Jewish masses of students. The non-Jewish students, as well as the whole population of the country, understood very well that if the percentage growth of the Jewish students would continue at the same rate as before the war then in the not too distant future a non-Jewish student would become a rarity in the higher learning institutions of the country.
To this we must add another circumstance: during exams, some Jewish students, dissatisfied with ratings received for their knowledge, accused professors of "anti-Semitism", of negative partial treatment of Jewish students. Such accusations used to send chills under the professors' skins. Of course, this was not invariably so. But it did occur, and quite frequently. While passing examinations, a Jewish student reveals his lack of knowledge and unpreparedness. An examiner expresses his opinion. In reply, the Jewish student says: "You are cutting me, because I am a Jew". The confused professor asks a few more "childish" questions, which were not too difficult to answer. Then the professor gives a satisfactory mark and the Jewish student, with an air of victory, returns to his place.
Former students of higher learning institutions of the USSR tell about similar methods of passing exams. After World War II, quite a few such students found themselves outside the USSR. Former professors also tell about this occurrence, but of course, not to foreigners (Jews), but to their own (Russians), to whom they would tell what they would not tell a Jew, as S. Schwartz writes in his book.
Knowing all the above, there is no reason for surprise about S. Schwartz's report that students demanded the introduction of the percentage quota for Jews, as was explained in more detail in the previous account.
It is also impossible not to take into account still one more circumstance. An overwhelming majority of Jewish students, in a material respect, were in a much better situation than the rest of the students, for the very simple reason that they were children or relatives of the ruling class people. These were well-off and could, if not support fully, then at least help their student children or relatives quite substantially.
All these circumstances have contributed to Jewish students so much that they were able to complete universities and institutions much easier and quicker, and, upon receiving their degree, get jobs wherever they wanted and with less difficulty than other students.
The new ruling class quickly prepared "replacements" for itself, which already filled up Soviet establishments, not on the basis of merits, but on the basis of university degrees. They filled up the establishments to such an extent that "even now" (in the middle of the Fifties, that is almost ten years after the Jews started to lose their monopolistic position in the USSR), as Furtseva said "there are ministries in which more than half of the personnel is Jewish". The minister of Public Education of the USSR, Cathrine Furtseva said this when she addressed a meeting of Moscow University students. It must be assumed that Furtseva spoke the truth, because her assertion was not refuted in the Jewish press, which published the content of her speech.
True, by that time, (that is, by the middle of the Fifties) under the pressure of the general feelings of the whole USSR population, after the Jewish-Arab war and the subsequent creation of Israel, and in the interest of state security, Jews were removed from leading posts and the previous confidence in them ceased to exist. But no one persecuted them. And the establishments, previously filled to capacity with Jews, only gradually started to get replacements from the representatives of the native population of Russia. How slowly this process went is evident from the unrefuted assertion of Furtseva.
After 30 years of ruling in Russia the Jews ceased to be the ruling class. But no one exterminated them, as they did in their time with the overthrown class of pre-revolutionary Russia, a class that was partially exterminated physically, and whose survivors were forced to deprivation.
We will see now what this ruling class did while holding its privileged position, and how it dealt with the enormous cultural heritage of the great nation within which it found itself.
* * *
Material valuables that ended up in the hands of the ruling class after its coming to power were enormous, innumerable.
"The whole 'crystallized labor' turned into capital, in all its kinds and forms. It is the fruit and the results of capitalist plunder of workers" — so various orators of all calibers and shades preached at meetings. They used to throw the fiery and rousing slogans to the dark masses: "plunder what was plundered!"
And the All-Russian plunder began: at that time it was called "socialization", "nationalization", "requisition"... Everyone plundered everything, starting from underwear, crosses worn around the neck, wedding rings and ending with treasures and priceless works of arts... You see, all these were "plundered", "all these belong to the people"...
It is impossible (and it is doubtful that it will ever be established) to calculate or to account for how much was looted.
It is only possible to judge where the loot went on the basis of indirect information and memoirs of active participants of this All-Russian plunder. So, for example, in the newspaper, "Novoe Russkoe Slovo" of 1965-1966, there is an indication of who was in charge and how he managed the "socialized" treasures. Extensive excerpts from the memoirs of participants are given in the supplement of Part II of this work. ("Socialized Treasures and their Use".)
During the first post-revolutionary years, whole freight cars and trucks loaded with silver used to arrive in Teheran, silver that was sold by weight as "scrap". At that time in Persia there were silver "tumans" (markets specializing in silver trading). On one plate of weights would be placed the silver "scrap", and on the other, Persian silver coins weighing the same amount. Thus the "scrap" went kilogram for kilogram.
This silver "scrap" had been torn off from gospels, icons set in the framework and vestries, and it also included various other articles made of silver: glass-holders, silver dishes, icon-lamps. In this "scrap" there were also many articles made by the famous Russian jewelers: Khlebnikov, Ovchinnikov and Fabergé.
More valuable and more portable "scrap" went to the large antique stores of Europe and America and was sold, of course, not by weight.
Even now, after half a century, in various antique stores and at auctions from time to time, jewels, icons and art works of doubtless Russian origin appear. However, the ways and means by which all these ended up in salesmen's hands is unknown. One can only speculate.
The capitalist world, so zealously guarding private property and severely punishing violators, shut its eyes in this case to the origin of what was sold and readily bought that which was "deliberately stolen", bought without asking immodest questions.
Was this not an indirect justification of the All-Russian plunder and the recognition of the rights of those who stood in power then to dispose of the loot in accordance with their own orders?
It would be appropriate to recall here the case of policyholders from the Insurance Company "Rossia", which also had capital in the USA. A few emigrants, with policies in their hands, appealed to the American court with a request to settle payments due them from the capital of "Rossia" that was in USA banks. These policyholders had incontestable rights to receive certain sums of money from the insurance company. The court made a decision in favor of the policyholders. But the USA Government intervened and "explained" that even in the year 1918, the Insurance Company "Rossia" was socialized by the decree of Soviet power and therefore the claims must be refused. This, however, did not prevent the frozen capital of the Insurance Company "Rossia" in USA to be used in satisfying claims analogous to those of Russian emigrants, but presented by persons, who had American citizenship at the time of the socialization decree.
* * *
Besides the treasures, precious stones, gold, silver and articles of art which were easy for the new ruling class to squander throughout the world, the innumerable national historic treasures and cultural monuments of the great nation fell into their hands. Under their charge was the culture that was created by whole generations during its thousand year history; monasteries, temples with priceless frescos, places and centers of art where Russian history and Russian culture were manifested. All these things which were cherished and were an integral part of the past were under their control.
For the new rulers of the country all this was not only strange and alien but also harmful and even dangerous. It reminded them of those times when Russia was ruled by Russians, when behind monastery walls Russians sat out from enemy raids, when in monastery cells chronicles were written, when the Russian national concept and sense of justice were forged.
This is why the new power, unable to sell or to squander this part of the All-Russian property, property of the whole Russian people, began, with exceptional ferocity, to destroy it. This task was entrusted to Goubleman, who took the pseudonym "Yaroslavsky". He occupied himself with the defamation and destruction of the temples, applying blasphemous, humiliating methods in his activity. Under his leadership, the "militant atheists" mocked and jeered everything that was sacred and dear to the people.
How many of the unique and irreplaceable monuments of Russian culture, inseparably linked with its Orthodoxy, were destroyed, sullied or profaned is impossible to account for or to enumerate. Perhaps this will be done by generations to come. We, however, not only should but must remember this. We must also remember that emerging now among the young people of the USSR there is a heightened interest in the past of their people. This heightened interest demonstrates that it is not so easy to kill in a people their national spirit, their conscience.
* * *
Russian culture (literature, art, science) at the beginning of this century occupied, if not the first, then, undoubtedly, one of the first places in the world. At the turn of the Twentieth Century, the cultural elite in Russia was raised and educated in humane and liberal traditions, equally alien to the xenophobia of the French, as to the cold and haughty utilitarian attitude of the Anglo-Saxons, and to the self-conceited and pompous Germans. These elite bore within itself the germs of cosmopolitanism and this is why it has so easily and freely admitted representatives of all tribes, races and nationalities into its environment.
Russian nationalism was in a latent state and the "national repulsion", strikingly manifested in other nations, was almost absent among the Russian cultural elite.
Such circumstances, it must be assumed, explain why alien and foreign elements at first penetrated as equals into the ranks of the Russian cultural elite with unusual ease. And after the year 1917, they almost completely captured in their hands the leading positions in all spheres of the cultural life in Russia.
Somehow this capture occurred unnoticed. When the Russian elite realized itself nationally, it was already' too late. The new ruling class, with uncommon energy and determination, rushed in to struggle with the historical past of Russia, and well succeeded in capturing the power during the first quarter of the century. Even the very words "Russia" and "Russian" were under prohibition. If anyone was caught or simply was suspected of showing the least amount of discontent with this new course of Russian culture, he could easily end up in a not so distant place.
The teaching of Russian history and subjects connected with it, both in secondary and in high schools, became quite a dangerous profession. The history of Russia had been going through changes and adjustments to the new course. Changes in this subject occurred frequently and one had to be on the alert, in order not to end up in heresy. In the Soviet press, of course, it was not mentioned. In the world press, if there was something written about it, then it had to be approved by the Jewry, because this was regarded as a struggle with Russian chauvinism and the eradication of the remnants of "red patriotism".
Only in 1966, in the book "Russia in the Years 1917-1964" written by Westwood, the American historian-investigator, can you read the following truthful lines: "communists struggled not so much with Whites, bourgeoisie, kulaks or Fascists, as they did with the historical past of Russia".
This is, perhaps, the first incident when the main aim of the ruling class was correctly noted and distinctly formulated. This aim consisted of eradicating any feelings of national belonging and converting the new generations into "Soviet people" with a psychology of "a cosmopolitan without kith or kin".
Immediately after coming to power, the new ruling class, understanding and taking into consideration the great importance of instilling their ideas in the masses: first, prohibited throughout the country all periodical issues of non-communist orientation; and secondly, at the head of all newspapers and magazines it placed its own people, who not only held the same political views but also were of the same tribal identity. (In order not to enumerate here all the editors of influential newspapers and magazines in the USSR during different periods of rule by the new class, it is recommended to look in the corresponding listings, placed at the end of this book.)
At once the new heads of the USSR press started to implement the general line of the Third International, which, with its headquarters, arriving from foreign countries and began an undeviating struggle with the historic past of Russia.
This struggle advanced on a wide front. Besides the press, which in every possible way tried to denigrate the past of the Russian people who created the great state, the literature of that time also undertook the same task. The huge state machinery of "public education" got into the same act as well, striving to educate the new generation completely ignorant of the past and its people and country...
The aim was to create the "new man", the international man, who would be unable to remember his kinship and would not know and understand what his motherland was.
Anything that could interfere with this new course of upbringing was subject to prohibition and extermination. Various stooges of buffoonery in the ruling class "were using brooms to sweep out Russian classics and other trash which cluttered the brains of the proletarians". Pushkin was under prohibition, to say nothing of Dostoevsky, Leskov and other leading figures of Russian literature. The dictator of literature was the nephew of Sverdlov, Leonid (Laiba) Averbakh, whose activity is described in the separate supplement in Part II of this work (see "Lenka and Henrikh of Iron").
The whole legion of the new Jewish "Soviet writers and journalists" appeared on the proscenium of literary life. These Jews were in addition to those who even earlier had congested the pages of Russian newspapers and magazines, for example, Bagritsky, Silvinsky, Babel, Kataev, Petrov, Scklovsky, German, Ilf, Kaverin, Lidin, Goldberg, Nickulin, Kirshon and many others.
As a result, in the second part of the Thirties it was just as difficult to find a Russian among "Russian" (Soviet) journalists and writers as among numerous "Russian" (Soviet) diplomats, trade delegates and the rest of the personnel in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The very same picture had been observed in the spheres of art, music, theatre and cinematography. The volume of this work restricts the enumeration of all the names; furthermore many Jews acted under Russian pseudonyms.
The population of Russia was silently observing everything that took place. However it was unthinkable to condemn the situation as it stood then, when the numerically insignificant minority, alien to the Russian people in their ideology and sense of justice, had captured almost all the leading positions in the country. Concerning protests, people were afraid even to think about them because this would have been deemed "anti-Semitism" and would have entailed severe punishment.
Solomon Schwartz, the investigator of "anti-Semitism in the USSR", calls this silence "subsiding of the anti-Semitic wave". A. S. Pozner reports in "Jewish World" (for the year 1939) that the "Jewish foreign press was carefully watching for any rise of anti-Semitism in Soviet Russia, and it must be stated, that it was able to note only an insignificant number of incidents. The last such incidents took place during 1935-1936. The Jewish Telegraph Agency detected two incidents in 1935, and in 1936 only one. Court actions were taken in all three incidents against the ones guilty of anti-Semitism, and they paid for it with jail terms, ranging from two to five years.
"A generation grown up during the Soviet rule, in all probability, was free of anti-Semitic feelings, because it was brought up without the influence of racial and religious ideologies." Yet on the very page S. Pozner wrote: "At the Eighth All-Russian congress of Soviets, Molotov spoke; it was possible to conclude from his words the presence of anti-Semitic feelings in the country and in the administration. He threatened to consider manifestations of such feelings as a capital crime in the name of the government".
An explanation of that phenomenon which S. Schwartz calls "subsiding of the anti-Semitic wave" should be found perhaps in this last threat of the death penalty, stated on behalf of the government, and perhaps also in the insignificant number of court cases dealing with "anti-Semitism". Was it not the fear of the death penalty that closed the lips of the population so tightly and so reliably that even such experts on "anti-Semitism" as Solomon Schwartz could not discern these feelings?
The death penalty for the show of feelings is an unheard punishment, not only in peace time but even in a war situation or an occupation.
It is no wonder that the population of Russia kept silent and did not protest the new ruling class and all the experiments this new ruling class tried on the Russia which it had seized.
At that time — during the second part of, the Thirties this new ruling class seized the power in the USSR widely and all-embracing.
The closest collaborator of Stalin (married to a Jewess) was his brother-in-law, Lazar Kaganovich. The other brother-in-law, Moishe Kaganovich, was at the head of all heavy industry in the country. The People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs (NKVD) was in the hands of Hershel-Yagoda and his deputy and assistant Agranov-Sorenzon. The criminal investigation department was in the hands of Lev Belenky. Concentration camps were run by Mendel Berman, whose closest associates were Jacob Rapoport, Lazar Kohen and Simon Firin. All the jails in the country were run by Khaym Apeter. Political administration of the Red Army was in the hands of Yankel Gamarnik and Moses Vladimirsky. Internal trade was managed by I. Veizer and co-operatives by I. Zelensky. Lev Mariazin was in charge of the State Bank and all the treasuries of the country. Light industry was in the hands of I. Lubimov (Kozlevsky). Moses Kalmanovich was in charge of all food products in the country. Transport and all modes of communication were under the authority of Stalin's brother-in-law, Lazar Kaganovich, under whom Sigal occupied the position of Chief Procurator of Transport. Samuel Ginzburg was the head of all construction materials in USSR. All the metallurgy of the country was in the hands of A. Gurevich. The head of the trust, "Ore of the USSR", was Trakhter; at the head of the trust, "Potassium of the USSR", was Tsifrinovich and the head of the trust "Leather of the USSR" was Margulis.
All the main articles for export from the USSR were also in the hands of Jews: "Export-grain" — Abram Kusin; "Export-wood" — Boris Kraevsky.
Saul Bron was chairman of the Chamber of Trade of the USSR. His closest collaborators were also Jews. The whole external trade was in the hands of Aron Rosenberg.
The struggle with religion was led, as already mentioned, by Goubleman, and atheistic literature was in the hands of L. Averbakh.
Sobelssohn-Radek managed the periodic press; he spoke poor Russian, yet gave orders to editors of newspapers and magazines.
The Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union (TASS) was in the hands of the Jews Vaisberg, Ginsburg (Koltsov), Shatsky, Tsekhar, Heifets and others.
The names of those enumerated above are also in the more detailed listings, placed in this book as "supplement". Here they are given, without fear of repeating them, clearly to demonstrate who at that time ran all the resources of the USSR as well as its cultural life.
But at the same time this ruling class zealously guarded "national-cultural" life of its fellow tribesmen who created a certain state within a state. They named this state "personal-national autonomy", without letting anyone interfere (except Jews) in the internal affairs of this state within a state, which possessed neither its own territory nor language.
Personal-National Autonomy (State within a State)
Before giving an account of the main points as to what is meant by "personal-national autonomy" and the results of putting it into practice, it is necessary to define more precisely the concept of "nation", "nationality".
The word "nation", as the very name indicates, comes from the Latin word "natio", which originates from the word "natus" — born, ("nasci" — be born). So, quite rightly, in the Russian language there existed and exists the equivalent word "nationality", which might also be called "tribal belonging".
The word "citizenship" also existed and exists in Russian, side by side with "nationality" or "tribal belonging".
In countries with a homogeneous tribal language and cultural population the meanings "nationality", "tribal belonging", "citizenship" may be substituted one for the other, without the precise definition being affected.
But not all countries have, in a sense, a monolithic tribal population. In such countries it is necessary to differentiate strictly the nation, "citizenship" from "nationality" and "tribal belonging".
A subject of Russia or a citizen of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics does not mean that the given person is a Russian or even a Slav...
A citizen of France is not necessarily a Frenchman by nationality, nor is a citizen of the State of Israel necessarily a Jew. There are also Arabs. In the USA there are blacks, red, yellow and white "Americans", or, as is frequently said, "people of American nationality".
Pre-revolutionary Russia was multi-tribal. The USSR is also a multi-tribal (multi-national) state. All tribes or nationalities that make up the population of the USSR have their territories, which are now accepted as "national territories". Only one nationality, or ethnic group, did not have its territory at the time of the creation of the USSR. These were the Jews, consisting of less than 2% of the whole population and dispersed throughout the country.
Before the revolution all the nationalities and tribes of Russia were considered Russian subjects. They were equal and did not experience any limitations. The only restrictions in respect to the Jews existed in rights, not on the basis of tribal restrictions but on the basis of religion. Jews who broke off with Judaism automatically received all rights, and were equal with other subjects of the Russian Empire.
After the year 1917, the previously centralized Russian State underwent administrative reorganization into separate federal territories, populated by different nationalities. For each nationality the right for self-determination up to separation was recognized.
And all nationalities, to a certain extent, have realized their rights of self-determination by the creation of "national republics" or "autonomous regions". Of course, they were created on the instructions of and under the leadership of the Communist Party as "national in form but socialist in content".
Only the Jews were unable to do that for the simple reason that they did not have territory and were not a "nation", but only "ethnic group".
In special demographic literature, there are quite a few definitions of the word "nation" with enumerated indications required for an ethnic group to be recognized as a "nation".
The most concise definition is the one given by the well-known English historian, Carlyle, who states that "nations consist of land and ancestors".
The Italian scholar Mancini (middle of the 19th century) gives this definition: "A nation is a natural society of people, attached to a united territory, origin, language and adapted to living intercourse and social consciousness".
A similar definition is also found in the works of communist authors, both before the revolution and after it. It goes thus: "A nation is a historically formed stable community of people that came into being on the basis of a common language, territory, economic life and psychological qualities, being manifested in common specific peculiarities of the national culture".
This last definition was published for the first time in 1913, repeated in 1929 and once more repeated in 1960; therefore, there is every reason to consider it the dogma of Marxist-communists.
It is quite obvious that the Jewish ethnic group cannot come under any of the above definition of a nation because of the absence of territory. Nevertheless, it possessed an exceptionally and distinctively expressed "stability" and "peculiarities of psychological mould" (according to the definition of Prof. Solomon Lourie that the Jews possess "spiritual aspect" that distinguishes them from all the rest of the people of the world).
Jews, however, being in dispersion and even conversing in different languages, "considered themselves as a nation, a state with their own laws, but without their own territory". (Professor Lourie's definition.)
At one time, in Poland, this situation was regulated by the "Kalisz Statute", according to which Jews who lived in Poland could abide by "their laws", in the content of which Poland did not interfere with. (See p. of this book.)
The "personal-national autonomy" was something similar to the Kalisz Statute, except that it had considerable changes in favor of the Jewish ethnic group. The idea was put forward by the Russian Jews even in the years of first revolution (1905), but it was realized only after the second revolution, in 1917.
These changes consisted in that the Jews (as distinct from the situation in Poland) acquired all civil rights, equal with the rest of population (which they did not have in Poland), but at the same time preserved the sequestered character of the Jewish ethnic group. So much so, that in the sphere of Jewish "national-cultural religious life" and in daily life they had the possibility of living according to their Jewish laws. They were even allowed to have separate cemeteries, something which was not permitted any other nationality of the USSR.
The satisfaction of cultural needs such as theatres, newspapers and schools in the "national" republics and regions was provided out of the budgets of the corresponding republics and regions. The expenses of "national-cultural" services for Jewish groups, residing on territories of various republics and regions, also fell on the budgets of these regions.
And if a considerable number of Jews arrived and settled permanently in any city, purely Jewish cultural institutions also had to be created — theatres, newspapers, if the Jews so desired, and schools in the Jewish language. All this was done at the expense of the city or the corresponding national republic or region.
In order that all this be strictly put into practice, the "Evsection" — the Jewish section of the Communist party, — watched and took care of it. There was, however, no separate communist party, as, for example with the Ukrainian communists, who formed one at the beginning of Soviet rule.
Stalin was resolutely against this, considering that the Jews were not a "nation", and therefore could not create the Jewish "national" communist party. Its absence was compensated by the presence of "Evsection", which in fact managed all the Jewish affairs in the USSR. This was similar to what once existed in Poland, where such affairs were managed by the "Jewish Seim". Of course, it was not allowed to judge and to pass sentences in synagogues. But all "affairs" and "conflicts" in planning the "personal-national-cultural" autonomy were handled and resolved by the "Evsection" in the spirit and sense of the laws of the people of Israel.
All possible assistance and contribution to the "Evsection" were secured by the government. And the personalities of this "Evsection" were old party comrades through the "Bund", with many Soviet dignitaries.
The first measure of the "Evsection" was the establishment of the "Jewish Telegraph Agency" in Moscow, abbreviated JTA.
By-passing the official agency, "TASS", the JTA used to send its reports abroad to those agencies of the press which it wanted, for instance, the "New York Times". No one other national group had such an agency and possibilities to report directly abroad, although many Ukrainians, Georgians and Armenians had permanent residence in Moscow where their fellow-tribesmen were at the top of the party and the government. Only Jews had this privilege and used it to keep in touch constantly and regularly with the rest of Jewry dispersed throughout the world.
Dealing with questions that took place in the USSR, the JTA' from its Jewish point of view, undoubtedly exerted a considerable influence on the attitudes of broad circles of the world community. The influence was directed at the non-Jewish community, who, however, read newspapers controlled by Jews. And it is impossible not to acknowledge that the rôle of the JTA was enormous in the matter of forming world opinion about the USSR and everything that took place there.
But at the same time, the responsibility in presenting one-sided and partial reporting (which used to occur frequently) — was also enormous. The politics of many states concerning the so-called "Russian question" were and are directly dependent on these opinions about the situation of the Jews in the USSR and the government's attitude towards them.
During the first thirty years of Soviet rule the main informant to the whole world about Jewish conditions in the USSR was the JTA. Afterwards, after the closing of the JTA and facilitated possibilities of visiting the USSR, and correspondence with relatives and friends, the numerous "specialists on the Russian question" became the informants. They were almost exclusively Russian Jews, who filled various institutions in different countries.
Besides the links that were maintained with the rest of Jewry of Diaspora by means of the JTA, the "Evsection" developed its activity also in other directions. First of all, it took charge and care to develop a prospering Jewish national culture within the limits of the USSR. It also facilitated to a maximum the lot of its Judaic religion by giving it an easy time in the conditions of the communist regime while holding to the general course of atheism and militant godlessness.
It must be taken into account that among the active figures of the "Evsection" there were a lot of former Jewish "socialist-Zionists" and "Bundists". A considerable number of these, if not all, were, according to M. Slonim, "frequently found to be, in reality, types of Jew-communists, fanatically believing in Lenin's teaching and in strangely combined precepts of the Bible or Talmud with the doctrine and requirements of the communist church".
Knowing this, it will become clear that over almost twenty years, after the start of godless activity by Goubleman-Yaroslavsky, it was possible to observe occurrences in Moscow of Jewish religious life-scenes which did not confirm at all the official course of eradicating religion from daily life.
In the collection "Jewish World" for the year 1939 one can read the following: ''In Moscow three synagogues are open: the Bolshaia, the former Poliakovskaia and the one in Marinoy grove. In Drogomilov the special Jewish cemetery which is managed by "khevre-kaddish" at the Bolshaia synagogue also remained intact. At the synagogue there is also "beh-hamidrash", where, behind volumes of the Talmud, one can see elders, gray with age, and a few youths, dreaming of going to Palestine.
As in the good old days, a struggle goes on between the parties in the administration of synagogues. Election campaigns are being conducted, and sometimes its whole business ends up in slanders between opponents, so much so, that even authorities have to intervene. So, in Moscow, not long ago, the "opposition" of the administration in Bolshaia synagogue turned to the Moscow Soviet with a complaint about the method of baking matzos, pointing to irregularities of their bosses. The result was that the Moscow Soviet got interested in the matter and decided that the baking of matzos was quite a profitable business and took to banking the matzos itself.
There is no need to doubt the accuracy of the above description. To a non-Jewish reader, however, a question naturally occurs: "but what happened to the Easter Cakes during the same years in Moscow?"
As is well-known to all, in those years (at the end of the Thirties) not only did the Moscow Soviet not engage in the production of Easter Cakes but even separate families in Moscow and throughout the whole USSR did not dare to engage in this.
In the bulletin issued by the JTA on September 9, 1938, one can read: "On the eve of the last Jewish holidays of 1938, the newspaper 'Der Emes', (published in Moscow in Jewish) complained on its front page that 'the Jewish clericals' exert a big influence on the religious life of the population. They pay special attention to the accurate observance of religious instructions and holiday customs. "Rabbis and their followers", wrote the communist organ, "spare no efforts agitating for circumcision of newborns, observance of the Sabbath and kosher food. They do good deeds with their obsequial brotherhoods. These brotherhoods, not being recognized by law, do exist in many cities and are harmful to Soviet citizens. Attempts to organize 'khederas' and 'eshibots' were mentioned by the press many times".
In "Jewish World", for the year 1939, this can also be read: "Der Emes" wrote that, in some places, things go so far that on Jewish holidays Jewish children do not go to school, and are not persecuted for it. For example, in the Stalingrad region, Jews freely perform ceremony of circumcision. The first such example was given by Radun, the shock worker on the collective farm of "Ozet", and after him followed the shock worker of "Trudovik", and after him followed others. At Easter time, Jews everywhere bake matzos. What is more, in the said region, an example of that was given by the First Secretary of Communist Party comrade Rabinovich".
The above excerpts from Jewish sources testify that there was not much pressure on the Jews from Soviet authorities. What pressure was there if, at the end of the Thirties, they had their own separate cemeteries, which the rest of the USSR citizens were not allowed to have, if they could keep their children at home on Jewish holidays with impunity, if they could perform circumcision, bake matzos, have special obsequial brotherhoods and do good deeds which have not been recognized by law?
Neither were there any obstacles from new rulers to the most intensive development of the Jewish culture in all its manifestations: literature, theatre, periodical press in Jewish language. On the contrary, all these were supported and encouraged. As a result, a whole number of writers, poets, journalists appeared who wrote and published their works in the Jewish spoken language — "Yiddish".
In 1939, Pozner, the investigator of this question, gives the following facts in the collection "Jewish World": "Of the Jewish writers in former times, only Mendel, Mokher, Sforim and Sholom Alaikhem enjoy indisputable acknowledgement and respect as classics, and their works are being published with comments and revisions... In the years of the Soviet regime there appeared many new writers in the Jewish language, among whom were some very gifted people. Some of these were Peretz Markish, David Hofstein, Itzik Fefer, Kvitko, Noakh Lourie, Ezru Fininberg, M. Taitza, S. Godiner and S. Khalkin".
Besides the Jewish authors, writing in "Yiddish", works of world literature: Shakespeare, Goethe, Byron, Balzac, Hugo, Dickens, Anatole France and even Homer were also translated and published into the same language at the state expense.
The above facts, obviously, testify to the utmost encouragements given by the Government of the USSR in the development of Jewish culture, and not at all to its suppression or discrimination as is frequently written by unconscientious investigators of Jewish conditions in the USSR.
Never, during the whole time of its dispersion, in no one country did any government render such assistance and encouragement to the development of Jewish culture as did the USSR during the first thirty years of Soviet rule.
The circumstance that, spending people's money on translations and publications in "Yiddish" of the works of Homer and Shakespeare and other foreign writers" the government did not support "khederas" and "eshibots", in which the Talmud was studied, has no relation to the Jewish culture whatsoever. Yet Jews, even up to now, do not agree with this and do not separate their, the Jewish, culture from the Hebrew religion.
The Hebrew religion, as all other religions, was proclaimed "opiate of people" and a struggle was waged against it, but with much softer and delicate measures than were once used against other religions.
The USSR ruling class, which mainly consisted of Jews, did not spare state funds on the development of education in "Yiddish", as well as on all kinds of scientific institutions functioning in this language. Beginning from the school network (including secondary schools) and ending with the "Jewish departments" at the Academy of Science (in Byelorussia and the Ukraine), the teaching was conducted in the "Yiddish" language.
But, as the Jews themselves state, "cares about preserving and developing the national culture are alien to the Jewish intelligentsia of Soviet Russia. It is little grieved by the fact that the Jewish masses do not have the necessary trust in the Jewish school and in many cases prefer to send their children to Russian, Byelorussian and Ukrainian schools: therefore the Jewish school has been developing slowly". (Jewish World, 1939).
In 1939, Mr. Shulman, a contributor to the Jewish newspaper "Der Tog", visited the USSR in order to be convinced of how the Jewish culture had developed in that country. In Minsk he became interested in the work of the Jewish department at the Byelorussian Academy of Science. In all the other departments life was in full swing, but in the Jewish, a deadly silence astonished Shulman. A secretary of the Academy explained to him that the Jewish department was having a very poor success, owing to the absence of those who might have wished to work in it. "Jewish scientists prefer to work in Russian or Byelorussian scientific departments".
In Kiev, where there was an extensively planned Jewish institution of higher learning, the "Institute of Jewish Proletarian Culture", things were no better. In 1936, the institute had been closed "for reorganization" and had not been open for a long time. Part of its library was sent over to Birobidzhan. So, besides the building, Shulman could not see anything else there.
And when, upon his arrival in Moscow, he expressed his astonishment to Litakov, the editor of the Moscow newspaper "Der Emes", published in "Yiddish", about the poor interest in the development of Jewish national culture and the absence of corresponding propaganda, Litakov answered: "So do you think that the Jewish school is just as important a matter as building socialism?"
Neither did the Soviet Jews show any interest in the history of the Jewish people, as it was in the years of pre-revolutionary Russia. In spite of enormous material possibilities, made available by the state for the people of science, scientific works in "Yiddish" are almost non-existent. "It is necessary to state", writes a Jewish observer, "that in Soviet Russia very few people devote themselves to study of Judaism – Jewish history, philosophy, philology, ethnography, economy".
What is the reason they are so few? All the possibilities are present, but those wishing to become students of Judaism are not, in spite of the fact that the government assisted and encouraged its study.
The answer to this natural question was given affirmatively by a Jewish journalist, who stated that "cares about preserving and developing the national culture are alien to the Jewish intelligentsia of Soviet Russia", and that "the masses have lost their trust in the Jewish school."
Hence a logical and psychological conclusion: a striving to join the Russian culture. This indeed takes place, engendering and nourishing assimilationist attitudes. The process of assimilation goes on regardless of counteraction to these attitudes from rabbis as well as from numerous representatives of the Jewish intelligentsia, intelligentsia which did not free itself from the Zionist-Socialist aims of the previous Jewish parties, the "Bund", "Poale-Zion" and the "socialist-Zionist-internationalists", to which belonged the majority of the Jewish intelligentsia in Russia before the revolution.
An atavistic fear of disturbing the purity of race by means of mixed marriages was stronger than all international and socialist programs. The programs of which Jews were its followers and propagandists.
It was not less difficult for non-Jews to rid themselves of the purely irrational feelings of the well-known "repulsion" against Jews. This was especially so for inhabitants of those Russian territories which were once part of the "Jewish Pale", where the native population had many contacts with Jews, for instance, in the Ukraine.
It was this repulsion that hindered the process of quick assimilation. If it was not for this repulsion the "Jewish question" would have been eliminated within the borders of the USSR by intermarriages.
Here are demonstrative statistical facts about the percentage of mixed marriages in different parts of Russia. These statistics deal with marriages after the revolution when all obstacles of religious nature no longer existed for such marriages and when the institution of civil marriage was introduced in the USSR.
The data for the years 1924-26 show that in the regions of the former "Jewish Pale" in the Ukraine and Byelorussia where a large percentage of the Jewish population lived, there were registered only 3.6% mixed marriages (Jews with non-Jews whereas deep in the country the percentage of such marriages was 16.8%.)
Giving these figures in the "Jewish World" for 1939, the author makes no attempt to investigate the cause of this disparity, but briefly states that "this is understandable". Actually it is not quite so understandable, that where the percentage of Jews was larger the percentage of mixed marriages was smaller, and the vice versa. This disparity becomes understandable only when we take into account that deep in the interior of Russia its native population had almost no contact with Jews before the revolution and did not know them. In the "Jewish Pale", however, the native population was constantly in touch with Jews, knew them very well, and had “repulsion” in regard to them. Besides that, undoubtedly, the Jewish social structure within the "Jewish Pale" and outside of it also played a big rôle. The Jews who lived deeper inside Russia belonged mainly to the Jewish intelligentsia or bourgeoisie and in their daily lives did not adhere much to the old, strict Jewish customs and eagerly associated with Russian families.
However cases of mixed marriages were rare exceptions not only among the Jewish bourgeoisie and intelligentsia but even among Jewish revolutionaries. All of them, as a rule, married Jewesses, except Trotsky, who was married to a Russian woman. The exceptions occurred among revolutionary leaders — Russians, such as Avksentiev, Sukhomlin, Kerensky, who married Jewesses (Kerensky got married in emigration).
Jews in general, not only in Russia, view mixed marriages as the beginning of the end for the Jews and oppose them in every possible way.
In connection with this, one incident that took place in 1960 in the USA deserves attention. In Philadelphia, at the big meeting dedicated to the struggle against anti-Semitism, there appeared a well-known English historian Arnold Toynbee, invited by the Jewish organizations to make a speech. Toynbee recommended an end to anti-Semitism by means of intermarriage.
Toynbee's advice provoked burst of indignations by the numerous Jews gathered there, who were offended by the suggestion as a wish to destroy Jewry. Eight hundred rabbis wrote in the press, protesting such methods of eradicating anti-Semitism in USA.
In the USSR, as already mentioned above, the struggle against anti-Semitic sentiments was conducted by other methods – prohibition and severe punishments.
The question of mixed marriages did not interest the Soviet Government, although a great many Jews were in it. On the contrary, mixed marriages were viewed with approval and important Soviet personages themselves led the way: Stalin, Molotov and Voroshilov, the diplomats Krestinsky, Troianovs and many others were married to Jewesses.
Life goes on. The secluded Jewish life, destroyed by the revolution, was already impossible to re-establish even by the means of "personal-national autonomy". To an old man's horror, Jewish young people started to eat all food, including pork, and to ride in streetcars on Saturdays, stopped attending synagogues and began to associate with "goyim". The post-revolutionary Jewish generation was irretrievably departing from Jewry and was rushing to join the All-Russian culture.
And no efforts of the "Evsection" could prevent this process. Every interest was lost to study the Jewish language, one that was more and more ceasing to be the spoken language of the Jews in the USSR. According to data provided by the last census, 80% of Jews in the USSR do not know how to read and write "Yiddish", to say nothing of the ancient Hebrew language.
The Jewish "national culture" in pre-revolutionary Russia, in spite of all "limitations" (or owing to it) reached a golden age which it never had in any other country during the whole Jewish sojourn in their dispersion. With great knowledge of this question I. Zisman writes in detail about this in his review of the "Book about Russian Jewry". (This review is given in full in Part II of this work as a "supplement").
However, as life has shown, this golden age was possible only under the conditions of Jewish self-isolation, in their distinctive voluntary ghetto, which the Jewish culture of Russian Jews was up to the year 1917. The culture was inseparably linked with the Hebrew religion and impregnated with racial mysticism and scholastic points. In its time, this culture gave rise to a whole number of political figures who created Jewish parties — "Bund" and "Zionist-socialists", combining in themselves positivism and Marxist materialism with elements of Judaic racial mysticism.
And when, with the advent of communist power, all political parties were prohibited, including the Jewish, former members of "Bund", "Z-S" and also partially of "Poale-Zion" rushed to join the "Evsection" of All-Russian Communist Party. It was through the official channels offered by the Evsection that they started to put into practice the "personal-national-cultural autonomy" across Russia. They did it, sparing neither the material resources of the whole country nor considering the wishes and feelings of the native Russians.
"A Jewish Department of the Proletarian University" is being created in Moscow. And Maria Livshits-Frumkina, a former member of the "Bund", is being appointed its president. In Kiev a huge building is set aside for the "Institute of Jewish Proletarian Culture" (which as mentioned above, was closed in 1936, because Jewish students did not want to study in it). In Minsk, the Jewish department of the Byelorussian Academy of Science is standing empty, although it was opened and is maintained at the state's expense. Schools (including secondary schools) teaching in the Jewish language, are being opened and maintained in cities and towns with a considerable Jewish population. The Jewish language is being recognized by the state on an equal basis with all other languages of the country and legal procedures are conducted in settlements with a considerable percentage of Jews, for example, in Byelorussia.
In the national republics, not only is the creation of separate Jewish professional organizations being permitted but it is even encouraged. Members of these organizations could only be Jews who at the same time are members of parallel professional organizations of all-state or republican formations. Thus, for instance, in Kiev, side by side and parallel with the "Union of Ukrainian Writers", there also existed the "Ukrainian Union of Jewish Writers".
A great many similar examples of this "dualism" could be cited.
The "Evsecs" — members of the Jewish section of All-Russian Communist Party — used to show unusual activity in the matter of introducing and putting into practice the Jewish "personal-national-cultural autonomy" wherever an opportunity presented itself. This ranged from legal procedures in "Yiddish" in Byelorussia to issues of newspapers in the distant Birobidzhan or in the Jewish theatres of the Crimea.
However, "Evsecs" were getting old, their ardor was petering out, yet there were no replacements for the simple reason that the new Jewish generation had lost interest in their culture because of gravitation towards joining the cultural life of All-Russia.
Furthermore, they started to quarrel among themselves and to display unattractive traits — internal squabble, intrigues informing.
A bulletin issued by the JTA on June 19, and August 7, 1938, reports: "the Kharkov newspaper "Der Stern" attacked the most prominent Evsecs of Moscow. And the Moscow "Der Emes" replied by attacking the "Ukrainian Union of Jewish Writers". The general meeting of the Gezerd in Moscow, in December, 1939, showed a shameful picture of the public informing on prominent Jewish communists, who had the misfortune of once having been members of the "Bund", "Poale-Zion", "Zionist-socialist", etc. "In Kiev and in Kharkov, as a consequence of similar intrigues, many prominent Jewish writers were "cleaned out" — expelled. These were Marx Eric, Mikhail Levitan, Haim Gilden and others".
Summing up the conditions of the Jewish culture in the USSR, the observers (Jewish emigrants) stated that "we are witnessing not the strengthening and development of Jewish culture in Soviet Russia but the extermination of some of the few bearers of it who still remain" (S. Pozner). And the well-known Jewish historian, Dubnov, writes: "There is a generation growing which does not know its origin and its century-old past".
It is not proper, of course, to dispute the opinions of experts on this question. They are quite right, giving such a pessimistic picture of the success of the Jewish culture after twenty years of its propagation in the USSR.
Later on, this deviation from the Jewish culture by Jewry itself still further gained strength at the expense of quite voluntary assimilationist sentiments.
Those specific peculiarities called "Jewish culture" were the main and basic causes of the deviation: Jewish culture is the only culture in the world organically and inseparably linked with religion. "Evsecs", the communists, generally did not recognize religion and used to reproach displays of Jewish religious feelings, or at best, only tolerated them.
And it is not surprising that the whole expensive venture of spreading the Jewish culture in the communist state ended in complete failure.
The religious life of Jews in the USSR withers away, and along with it withers the Jewish culture.
Organization of Land Use (Jewish national districts and regions.)
During their century-old sojourn in dispersion, the Jews had never and nowhere engaged in agricultural labor. This used to provoke a critical attitude towards them by the native population.
Still in the Eighteenth Century, before the Jews became Russian subjects, an attempt was made in Poland to work out a law enabling the Jews to engage in agricultural labor; however, nothing concrete was done in this regard.
In Russia, in the first part of the Nineteenth Century, the government itself started to organize Jewish agricultural settlements on the fertile, rich and at that time only partially settled lands of South Russia. The new settlers were promised various favorable terms, and corresponding sums of money were allocated to build houses and other farm buildings. Supervision for all these was entrusted to the "New Russian Guardianship (migrating) Bureau". Eight hundred and ten thousand acres of land were placed at the disposal of this Bureau.
Here it should be noted, that the migrants were directed to the new lands only when houses had already been built for them. (The houses were built not by Jewish hands, but by hired workers). Monetary grants were also given to the new settlers for the organization of farms in these new places.
As a result of this arrangement, 8 Jewish agricultural colonies which accounted for 600 families with 3,640 persons were created in the province of Kherson by the year 1810. The government spent 145,000 rubles, which at that time this was a huge sum of money, on the construction of these colonies.
Later on the migrating activity was curtailed, owing to poor results produced by these migrant agriculturalists, and consequently the credits were also curtailed.
But arbitrary sporadic migration of small Jewish groups still continued. Under trying material conditions in resettled small Jewish towns of the Western region and Volhyn, and hoping to receive various favorable terms including exemption from military duties (decree of 1827), Jews embarked on this arbitrary migration.
But, of course, the results of the whole migratory movement and the government attempts to "attract Jews to agriculture" turned out to be insignificant. And up to the moment of the 1917 revolution Jewish farmers comprised a "microscopic" section. Owing to such numbers these Jewish farmers had no importance in the whole body of the Jewish masses of six million and played no rôle in the "Jewish question" of Russia.
The volume of this work makes it impossible to allot sufficient space and to describe in more detail this attempt to create Jewish farmers.
Jewish agricultural settlements — "colonies" — did exist in a few places before the revolution. Such settlements presented a sad and dismal picture: sloppily cultivated fields, and pitiful farm buildings.
Moreover, these settlements were scattered about and nowhere occupied any considerable part of the territory which could have been proclaimed as Jewish "national territory", if not as a region, at least as a district.
It is for this reason that during the first post-revolutionary years the question of the creation of any territorial Jewish unit was not raised. Jews limited themselves with the "personal-national autonomy" and by spreading Jewish cultural institutions throughout all Russia to serve Jews wishing to settle anywhere.
Only in 1924, when the civil war had ended and calm ensued, was a special committee created for the exploitation of land by Jewish workers (COMZET). The COMZET was created by a decision of the presidium of the Central Committee of the USSR and placed under the jurisdiction of Soviet Nationalities. A special organization for the dissemination among Jews of the idea of turning to agricultural works also came into being. This organization was called the "society of OZET" and it united hundreds of thousands of members.
COMZET and OZET attracted not only citizens of the USSR but also Jewish organizations outside of the USSR. For example, in the USA the Jewish charitable organization "Agrojoint" collected and directed to the USSR large sums of money for the help of land exploitation by COMZET and OZET.
The Soviet Government allotted large areas of prime land for the settling of Jewish farmers. The biggest part of the land was in the Crimea — over 342,000 hectares; 175, 000 hectares in the Ukraine; 28,000 hectares in Byelorussia. Besides that the creation of a separate Jewish "national region", Birobidzhan, was formed in the Far East. For this purpose a whole province of 4,000,000 hectares of land was allotted. The territory borders on China and has a moderate climate, and enormous natural resources. There are huge deposits of iron (Hingan), magnesium and coal, to say nothing of the great extents of valuable forest.
The creation of the Jewish national region of Birobidzhan was planned in 1933, whereas the organization of agricultural settlements and separate Jewish districts in the European part of the USSR had already started in the second part of the Twenties.
The Jewish press in the USSR as well as abroad regarded these measures by the USSR Government not only with approval but even with delight. D. Zaslavsky treats this subject more thoroughly and in detail in his book, "Jews in the USSR", published in Russia in 1932 by the Jewish publishing house "Der Emes" in Moscow.
S. Pozner also writes about this in the collection "Jewish World", published in Paris in 1939: "In the interest of the Jewish population, six autonomous Jewish districts have been organized, in which all administrative institutions, courts and learning institutions have "Yiddish" as their official language. All Jewish public and pedagogical institutions are maintained at the expense of the state. Here is some data about these districts:
Jewish population (persons)
The Jewish autonomous districts have existed for ten years. During this time, as L. Zinger points out (in his "Die Soziale Aufrichtung"), in these districts 17 collective farms had been created, 8 machine-tractor stations had been built, and 113 schools had been established, of which 42 were high schools and 4 technical schools. Two daily newspapers and one monthly magazine are published there. There is also one musical-ballet school, two theatres, a library, a movie theatre, etc."
Mark Slonim, well-known in Russian-Jewish émigré circles' also writes as enthusiastically about the activity of COMZET and its results. In his sketch "Jewish Writers in Soviet Literature", published in the collection II "Jewish
World" (New York), Slonim writes:
"In some cases Jews recognized themselves as a national minority, having the right to cultural autonomy. In literature, little is said about the life of the Birobidzhan Republic, in which, as in some collective farms of the Ukraine, the official language is Jewish (school instructions are also conducted in it). In these districts before the war a kind of special form of existence and daily living had been created for those who, by force of organic gravity or conscious decision, did not want to submit to assimilation and desired to preserve their national peculiarities. With a special love Jewish writers depicted Birobidzhan, where young people, overcoming all difficulties and struggling with severe natural conditions, are building the "Jewish-Soviet home" with enthusiasm. The poet, N. Fefer, ardently believes in a bright future for this endeavor:
I walk on marble boulders,
Whisper in Jewish forgetfully,
While mountain brook, slowing down
Its run makes a noise in amazement…
A future city is shining for me,
Structures of marble appear to me…
And upon the marble slabs I read
There is a wonderful time coming…
Whisper in Jewish forgetfully,
While mountain brook, slowing down
Its run makes a noise in amazement…
A future city is shining for me,
Structures of marble appear to me…
And upon the marble slabs I read
There is a wonderful time coming…
From the very beginning of COMZET activities the Jewish attitude to the creation of their "national territories" was invariably positive. It was so positive that it used to turn all Jews frequently into exaltation, both the Soviet ones, as well as Jewish emigrants, and even those who had no links with the history of the history of Russia whatsoever. All approved and supported it, and foreign Jews generously sacrificed for this affair.
The creation of the "Jewish Republic of Birobidzhan" provoked special enthusiasm. Because there the Jews were complete masters and could create life according to their own discretion. In the widely distributed "Illustrated History of Jewish People", written by Natan Auzubell, a separate chapter has been dedicated to Birobidzhan, giving many illustrations. The book has sustained nine editions. From the illustrations in the book, the reader can see that towns and settlements with good houses and roads and even established bus communications were built for the settlers.
The persistent and relentless propaganda of OZET was conducted not only within the limits of the USSR — both in Yiddish and in other languages of USSR — but also abroad, and especially in the USA, where it had great success. Through AGROJOINT large sums of money were collected. Furthermore about one thousand Jews from USA went to Birobidzhan to take part in the creation of the Jewish national region.
In the Soviet Union special propaganda films were screened, with the aim of attracting settlers to Birobidzhan. For instance, the film "Way to Happiness" pictured the journey to Birobidzhan and success of the Jewish settlers there. At that time, the most popular song in the USSR was from this film: "Wind blows, rain pours... Pinia carries gold..."
(Due to overdoing and exaggeration of characters portrayed in the film, it was soon banned as a bearer of "anti-Semitic after-taste"). But the propaganda activity of OZET was not stopped.
However, the results of this whole campaign were less than modest. The prospect of turning into farmers or pioneers in the Far East little tempted the Jews. Now that they had become citizens of the USSR, with equal and full rights, they have reached their main objective, which is to be part of that body which made up the ruling class of the USSR. There was hardly any increase in the Jewish population of Birobidzhan.
At the First Zionist Congress in Basel in 1897, the founder of Zionism, Theodor Herzl, said: "We do not want to turn Jews into peasants... ". He foresaw and understood that the future of Jewry lies not in transforming Jews to peasants. His followers in the USSR who created OZET did not understand this; this is why they did not meet with success, in spite of enormous means and energy spent on "turning Jews into peasants", and what is more, not in the "Promised Land", but in dispersion.
The exact figures as to what the total cost was to the State of the USSR and to donors are unknown. The total expenses of this "fancy" of creating Jewish national districts and the region of Birobidzhan cannot be given because they were not published, in spite of the love of communist rulers for all kinds of statistics, figures and plans.
Nevertheless, one can get some idea about the whole venture on the basis of indirect data that was published.
First of all, a start can be made with the quantity of hectares of fertile land allotted the Jewish settlers. Excluding Birobidzhan, 420,000 hectares of land were allotted to 105,000 Jewish settlers, in the five agricultural national districts, named above. This amounts to more than 4 hectares of land per person. And if we take an average family as consisting of 5 persons, then it comes to 20 hectares of land per family. The overwhelming majority of peasant-farmers did not have such a quantity of land in those districts which bordered on the newly-created Jewish districts. All the necessary elements to make these agricultural settlements prosper were present. But in reality, not only was there no prosperity but after a period everything was neglected. And by the beginning of the war the "Blooming Jewish agricultural settlements and districts" existed only in the imaginations of those who themselves never saw them, but only wished them to be "blooming".
How this happened is described in detail by one agronomist who, on orders from the government, took part in the organization of these districts and was witness to the results (see the supplement in the Part II of this work).
The description refers only to the Freidorfsky district, but same thing happened in all the other districts.
As for Birobidzhan, well, the conditions there were quite different. The vast territory was only sparsely settled by Jews in spite of all the propaganda and material help. And, although this was the Jewish national region, in which everything was in Yiddish, there were not many Jews. The majority of the population of the Jewish Birobidzhan was not Jewish, but consisted of the Great-Russians, Ukrainians and others. True, there were newspapers published in Yiddish, books printed in Yiddish, learning institutions created, buildings erected (by non-Jewish labor), radio programs broadcasted in Yiddish… But it is impossible to understand, for whom this all was, because the proportion of non-Jewish population there was considerably higher than of Jewish.
The unsuccessful attempt to create for the Jews their own Jewish national republic, with every possible assistance from the state apparatus of the country, merits lengthier consideration.
After the revolution, Soviet power guaranteed "national autonomy" to ethnic minorities. This guarantee, however, had the condition that the group claiming national autonomy had to be in the majority on that territory on which a national autonomous district, region or a republic was to be created.
The Jews of the USSR were dispersed throughout the country and in no place did they have a sufficient amount of territory (other than some settlements and small towns) on which they could make up a majority of the population. It was decided, therefore, to create such a territory by means of migration. The choice of such territory fell on Birobidzhan, in Far East.
This vast almost unpopulated territory of about four million hectares borders on China, across the river Amur. The territory with enormous natural resources, a moderate climate, an abundance of forests and rivers plentiful with fish, was projected to be, at first, the Jewish national region, and then a republic.
Initiator s of this venture estimated that in a very short time there would be a Jewish population of at least half a million in Birobidzhan. This would create the prerequisite to proclaim Birobidzhan as the "Jewish Soviet Socialist Republic". For a while, however, in 1928, Birobidzhan was declared as only a Jewish National Region, and 6 years later, in 1934, it was renamed a province.
In consideration of half a million population and more, all the necessary facilities for the new settlers were planned and created. The capital of Birobidzhan was built with comfortable houses, installed electricity and good newly-built roads. A theatre was built and named "Kaganovich", a library was built and named "Sholom Alaichem", with 110,000 books in the Yiddish and Russian languages. Besides that, 44 library reading halls were built throughout the Birobidzhan. Throughout the region, 132 schools were opened, with instructions mainly in Yiddish, including four secondary schools, pedagogical and medical technicums, a railway school, and a music school. Also opened were the museum of Regional Studies, and the museum of Jewish Culture.
All the institutions of self-governing were organized to work in Yiddish, as well as the courts, the daily newspapers and many other periodical issues.
No resources were spared for all this, neither the government ones nor those that were coming from the USA through AGROJOINT.
The new settlers, for whom all this was created, were arriving very slowly and in small parties. Because they did not have qualifications as building workers and in general were people not used to physical labor. It was necessary to use non-Jewish labor for the realization of the plan. And, in fact, all that was envisaged in the plan of creating the "Jewish Republic" was built by non-Jewish hands.
Jewish pioneers who might have wished to build their own "Jewish home" with their own hands were nowhere or almost nowhere to be found. Neither were many of the pioneers found who wished to go to Birobidzhan to settle in houses already built for them. They preferred to go to Moscow, where, at the end of the Thirties, according to the "Jewish World" numbers steadily increasing.
According to the very same "Jewish World" (p. 381), there was only a total of 20,000 Jews altogether in Birobidzhan at the end of the thirties. Any further influx had ceased, in spite of all the propaganda and the great possibilities for development of national-cultural activity.
The failure of the undertaking was obvious. In 1938, the Government of the USSR decided to liquidate COMZET, and at the same time informed AGROJOINT of the USA that there was no further need of their money for the Jewish farmers of the USSR.
According to data given in the “Illustrated History of Jewish People” (by Nathan Auzubell, New York, 1960), in 1941 the whole population of Birobidzhan was 113,930 among whom less than one-third were Jews. But nothing is said about how much less. The only mention is that "a tendency has been detected in the reduction of the number of settlers in Birobidzhan".
In reality, however, the problem was not only in reduction of the number of new arrivals but in Jews leaving the Birobidzhan altogether. This is supported by the official statistics data, published in 1965, in the reference book, "Popu1ation of the Globe" (p. 59).
The following is given about Birobidzhan: "Jewish autonomous region (part of Khabarovsk territory). Area – 36 thousand square kilometers. Population, according to the 1959 census, is 162.9 thousand. (At the beginning of 1965 it was 172 thousand.) The main nationalities (in thousands) were: Russian — 127.3; Ukrainian — 4.4; Jewish — 4.3".
As these figures show, the Jews in the Jewish Birobidzhan at the present time make up not only "less than one-third" but an altogether insignificant minority.
What this Jewish minority of four thousand is doing in the specially created "Jewish National Region" cannot be said precisely. There is a conviction, in wide circles of the USSR that those Jews who remain in Birobidzhan are all in commanding posts, but not at all in labor positions.
How much of this is true is impossible to verify at the present time. The official statistics of the USSR, as well as Jewish emigrants who watch the life of their fellow tribesmen in the USSR from day to day, maintain silence about this.
During their whole sojourn of two thousand years in dispersion, the Jews have always provoked a well-known repulsion in all the nations in which they lived, considering themselves to be "the state without territory, but with its own laws". This repulsion frequently manifested itself in direct limitations and hampered opportunities the Jews had for advancement in most of the diverse spheres of the life of the state or people among whom they lived.
To overcome these limitations and difficulties, the Jews had to spend a lot of strength and energy, much more than would the native population of a country. The Jews however did not have fewer aspirations to occupy the well-known positions in a country, but much more than the native population, because from infancy they had been brought up with the consciousness that Jews are "God's Chosen People".
There were times when the Jews were forced by circumstances to restrain and not to reveal these aspirations. Enormous reserves of potential energy would be accumulated, but because of the prevailing situation of Judaeophobia they could not find an outlet for its use. Judaeophobia was characteristic to most countries in which the Jewish groups lived.
But whenever Judaeophobic feelings were relaxed in a country and a favorable regard for Jews began to appear, those aspirations for power which were previously restrained and concealed would wildly manifest themselves and the Jews quickly occupied leading positions in a country.
According to Professor Solomon Lourie, the author of the book "Anti-Semitism in the Ancient World", "then the Jews had so much of that free energy left which they previously spent on a struggle with special anti-Semitic obstacles that frequently the inertia gained from their previous efforts in the continuing struggle caused them to go beyond the point that they themselves, perhaps, anticipated. So when, for a short period of time in Egypt, a party that renounced its traditional politics of Judaeophobia came to power, the most prominent positions were occupied by Jews. (Here he has in mind the Ptolemaic Dynasty in the First Century A.D. For a detailed account, see Part II of this work.)
Something like this happened in Russia in the year 1917, when previously existing limitations for Jews were abolished. The Jews immediately rushed to occupy those positions in the country's life which were previously inaccessible to them. Only this time they succeeded much more than they did in Egypt under Ptolemy IV. Hardly a year had passed before they had practically turned themselves into the ruling class, occupying an overwhelming majority of the key positions in all the branches of the country's life and the state apparatus.
They preserved this privileged position of theirs right up to the beginning of the Second World War.
We will try now to sum up what heights the Russian Jewry, on the whole, reached in this period, lasting thirty years from 1917-1947, and what damage it suffered as an isolated ethnic group (for this they were) during their whole sojourn on Russian territory, right up to 1917.
Their achievements were enormous, far beyond that which the Jews had ever before achieved.
As indicated above, they became the ruling, privileged class, with all the ensuing consequences. It can be said without exaggeration that their influence on the entire life of the country and its population and on the internal and external politics of the state was decisive.
In previous times, in other countries and among other nations the attainment of power was an opportunity for the Jews to accumulate material wealth, which they handed down to their descendants or relatives. The inheritors, thus, were provided with secure positions in a social and political system of the future.
Such opportunity did not exist in the Socialist Soviet Union, where private property was abolished. Under the new system the basic prerequisite for success in life was education. It was education plus relative and tribal connections with the ruling class that ensured corresponding positions and a life-long career for the descendants of this class.
Understanding this, the Russian Jewry poured in a great stream into the highest learning institutions and filled them in a proportion that in no way corresponded with the proportion that the Jews constituted of the total population. During their first thirty years in power as a ruling class, the Jews were able to give the highest education to so many of their fellow tribesmen that even now the percentage of Jews who are citizens of USSR with a higher education outnumbers the non-Jewish percentage many times.
The achievements in this sphere were enormous and impossible to ignore. The ruling class, however, ignored the opinions and feelings of the native population.
The achievements mentioned entailed many consequences, however, which caused great harm to Jewry and its daily life and unity, and it is doubtful whether they can be remedied.
This damage, first of all, manifested itself in the deviation of all the Jewry of the USSR, and its young people in particular, from the Hebrew religion, religion which was and still is inseparably linked with the Jewish origin and peculiarities of their daily life. The religion, which served throughout centuries as a reliable faithful safeguard against the dissolution of Jews in the surrounding environment, was being deserted. It is this dissolution that the Jews of the world fear the most, and against which they carry on a fierce struggle.
Life turned out to be stronger than the decaying scholastic-mystic lines. As a result all the attempts of the Jewish political parties, such as the "Bund", the "Pale-Zion" and the "Zionist-Socialists", to combine the faithfulness of the Hebrew religion with the faithfulness of atheistic Marxism-communism, came to nothing.
The attempts by the "Evsecs" to establish the Jewish national region, learning institutions, as well as the Jewish "personal-national" autonomy with the cultural establishments, turned out to be a very expensive venture for the whole population of the USSR. The venture, which was explained above, suffered complete failure. Furthermore, the cause of this failure was by no means a counteraction by the native population, but by the Jews themselves.
The numerous Jews at the beginning of the revolution who combined faithfulness to the Talmud with the faithfulness to the communist dogmas (for instance, Isaac Babel) quickly began to vanish. The "Evsecs" and their followers were leaving the scene without being able to create replacements for themselves from among their own young generation.
The assimilationist attitudes of the Jewry inseparably linked with the deviation from the Talmud and the secluded daily life began to grow and to get stronger. Mixed marriages, substitution of the spoken "Yiddish" language by Russian in daily life, indeed a reluctance to even study "Yiddish" in which, according to the last census (1959) only twenty per cent of the Jews, citizens of USSR, could read or write, all these are signs without a doubt of the assimilation process, which was quite voluntary.
The process, however, did not work too quickly, owing to the presence of the irrational repulsion, preserved even now in Jews, of those whom their ancestors called "goyim". It is this repulsion that hinders mixed marriages and full assimilation into a culture with a surrounded environment. Subconsciously, the Jews themselves, not realizing this, continue to divide all people into "ours" and "not ours". The continuation of this division goes on at a much slower pace, than the deviation from the religion and language. When this situation will be overcome is impossible to predict.
The damage to Russian Jewry, as a result of its turning into the ruling class, was not limited to the sphere of the religious and cultural life of Jews in USSR. The attitude of the whole population of the USSR towards Jewry as a whole had sharply changed. It had changed not only among the broad national masses but also among the Russian intelligentsia, which traditionally was inclined to be friendly towards the Jews. During the introduction of measures by the new power, the excessive, very striking Jewish activity engendered a sharply negative attitude among the population. The measures and those who affected them radically changed the attitude of the population towards the Jews, even those individuals who were always Judaeophiles. This came to light as early as the first years of Soviet power. It is about this that E. Kuskova wrote in her article entitled "Who are they?” published in the Jewish émigré newspaper. This article is given in Part II of this work. Later on, the causes which engendered negative feeling towards the Jews grew. The causes were: the enormous percentage of Jews in the organs of Cheka, their atheistic activities, the humiliation of the national feelings of people and of the monuments of its culture, the eradication of the very word "Russian" and all the activities of the power directed towards the destruction of much of what for the people was sacred.
At the same time, the very striking relative Jewish material well-being contrasted against the background of general famine and the shortage of all necessities, from which the whole population of the country suffered, could not, of course, contribute to favorable feelings toward the Jews. Thus the consolidated anti-Jewish feelings had brought forth their fruits: feelings which revealed themselves only in the face of fear of severe punishment.
These anti-Jewish feelings had nothing in common with that feeling which is called "anti-Semitism". Its causes were not at all in the religio-racial sphere, but were solely and exclusively in the material sphere, resulting from the discontent of the hungry and the poor, in observing the life of the well-nourished and the rich, who moreover were strangers. These strangers disregarded and scorned the national past and the national culture of the people among whom they lived and whom they ruled.
The people were aware and noticed all these occurrences. The ruling class alone did not notice these occurrences and treated them as "counter-revolutionary" activities and "remnants of the past".
However, Russian Jewry as a whole suffered such moral damage as a result that restoration would be virtually impossible. Jewry, if not forever, then for a long time, lost hope in the possibility of good relations with that people, in whose land they lived and are still living.
The ruling class caused further damage to themselves and to the Russian people. This damage resulted from their very existence and from their unpunished destructive work wrought on the historical past of the great nation. By doing this the new ruling class gave Hitler and his followers an enticing example of how an insignificant alien minority can control and rule a huge country, disregarding everyone and everything.
This argument was often used by the German National Socialists in their propaganda. "Replace three million Jews, who are rulers of Russia, by three million Germans, and everything will be in order". Such thoughts were not once expressed by German propagandists in their psychological preparation to master Russia. These thoughts, 0f course, were addressed to Germans.
The propaganda that poured from Germany into the USSR tirelessly repeated again and again that the "Jews rule Russia", and gave a great many names and facts. It is impossible not to acknowledge that this propaganda found attentive listeners in the USSR and had a definite influence on the attitudes of the national masses.
The ruling class of the USSR, however, in its propaganda, operated more with proletarian, international slogans, which quite sufficiently set people's teeth on edge during the last quarter century and did not have much effect on the masses. This is exactly what came to light during the first months of the war.
The "war for the proletariat" and the "Third International" did not inspire anyone, and bragging of the ruling class about the "complete military readiness" of the USSR was not convincing.
Moreover, what should not be lost sight of is that fresh memories were still alive and harbored within the people about those periods, when the whole population was starving and experiencing acute need in everything, while at the same time the Jews were receiving help from their fellow tribesmen abroad, and were in an immeasurably better situation than all the non-Jews. If the people did not protest and did not commit mutiny, it does not mean that they did nor see, or did not understand, or did not take notice of what was happening.
Millions of those who were "repressed" and dispossessed as kulaks were still alive while members of their families, relatives, and even friends, were interned in camps, which, as was well known to all, were managed almost exclusively by the Jews.
True, these "unreliable" elements, from a political point of view, were not in the regular units of the Red Army, but in case of war and general mobilization it was impossible to prevent their penetration into the ranks of the army. This without any doubt could well have affected the spirit and moral of the army in the case of a big war.
It must be assumed that, taking this into account, the USSR tried in every possible way to avoid a clash with Germany or even to postpone it as long as possible.
The agreement with Germany in the summer of 1939 was accepted by all the ruling class of USSR without protest and objection, even though this agreement was with the most wicked enemy of Jewry, with German anti-Semites, although the ruling class of USSR was entirely under the influence of Jews who comprised its most sizeable and influential part. This agreement was also approved by the Comintern, also consisting mainly of Jews.
Huge trains, loaded with raw materials needed to conduct the war, started to roll from USSR into Germany. The ruling class was buying time with this from the aggressive German Nazism, if not finally, at least for the time being. This calculation, it must be acknowledged, was right, if the Germans had stuck in the West. But an unforeseen and unprovided for event occurred. The bloodless German victory over all its enemies in Europe freed the powerful German war machine, and it rushed on Russia and the Second World War began.
Still, before it began, for almost two years the Germans were in command in Poland. There, the Germans showed with the utmost clarity what sort of treatment the Jewish citizens of the USSR could expect in case of war with Germany and occupation by its army, even temporarily, of the Soviet territory where the Jews lived.
The Government of USSR and its whole ruling class knew this very well, and nevertheless, when the war started, it turned out that no necessary measures were taken in time to save the Jews. At that time, if they so desired, the Jews could have taken the necessary measures in advance. It is, therefore, not the fault of the Russian people that a certain number of Jews, citizens of the USSR, were destroyed by the Germans. The blame for this lies on that ruling class that is the Jews, who did not take the necessary measures in time.
It is difficult to understand the indifference that Soviet diplomats showed toward Jewish destiny in Poland during the conclusion of the agreement with the Germans in August 1939, when the destiny of the Polish Jews was actually predetermined. Yet, had the Soviet diplomats shown during the talks even the slightest desire to accept, as immigrants into USSR, all the Jews from that part of Poland occupied by the Germans, the Germans would not have protested against it, but would have welcomed it in every possible way. It is also logical, because the three million Polish Jews were neither needed nor useful to the Germans, but were considered only unnecessary ballast.
During the talks, before signing the agreement, repatriation of the Ukrainians and the Byelorussians was discussed. The question was solved by mutual agreement, allowing those who would wish to repatriate themselves on the Soviet side to cross the USSR-German demarcation line. The Germans were not against this repatriation, if they so desired, of insignificant Ukrainian and Byelorussian groups from the territories falling under their administration.
After the question dealing with Ukrainians and Byelorussians was settled, Ribbentrop proposed to Molotov: "Would you like to take three million Jews?" In reply there was dead silence from the Soviet delegation. The question about the Jews was "isolated" for discussion afterwards, but was never discussed. Neither the Germans, who stood by their proposal, nor the Soviet Government raised this question again.
After the capitulation of Germany, when numerous diplomatic documents became publicly known, it was impossible to find a trace or indication anywhere that this question was discussed at all or that the Germans had proposed to the USSR to accept all the Jews from Poland.
The fact that such an important question was not entered anywhere into protocols is unlikely. It would be nearer to the truth to assume that this German proposal, and the USSR's reaction to it, was omitted when details of the agreement between Hitler and Stalin were announced. Perhaps this was done in order not to give a basis to the accusations that the USSR, albeit indirectly, contributed to the destruction of the Polish Jews.
To clear up this question will be a matter for future historians and investigators of this epoch. It is impossible for us, as contemporaries, to do this. A great deal is still inaccessible for study and impossible to publish. Nevertheless, to remain true to historical facts that took place, we not only can but must indicate what subjects should be studied in the future.
We must ensure that not only the still inaccessible documents should be left for future research, and facts pointed out, but also opinions expressed, suppositions and hypotheses stated, which although were not printed anywhere, nevertheless existed, were discussed and talked about. Because these can easily fall out from a field of observation of future historians.
During the war I had an opportunity to hear about Ribbentrop's proposal from different well-informed Germans, close to the ruling circles of that time, and also from prominent members of the Soviet Communist Party. The latter were in Moscow at the time of the German-Soviet talks, and according to them, they heard about this from people occupying high posts in the Ministry.
For example, Zhelenkov, who was chairman of the Moscow Soviet (Mayor of Moscow) in 1939 and, later, in 1944, chief editor of the newspaper "Volia Noroda" (organ of the Vlasov Movement), told about Ribbentrop's proposal, and about how Stalin reacted to it. When Molotov reported the proposal to Stalin, Stalin said: "we must think it over", but he did not give any immediate answer. Only on the next day, upon summoning Molotov, he told him briefly: "the proposal of Ribbentrop is not suitable... It is not worth it... Don't say a word about it…” and the question of three million Polish Jews during the talks was not raised again.
With the Stalin's brief phrase: "it is not worth it" the destiny of Polish Jews was decided.
Stalin, without a doubt, was well-informed about the anti-Jewish feelings of the broad national masses of USSR. He took into account that an appearance of three million Jews, accustomed to the Polish conditions of life, quite different from those of the USSR, inevitably would lead to many conflicts, which would not bring any benefits either to the country or to the regime. On the other hand, leaving them in the grace or disgrace of the Germans (at that time the shooting and burning had not yet taken place) more than probably would provoke intensification of anti-German sentiments in the USA, which in fact did happen. This was due to the fact that there was hardly any Jew in Poland that did not have relatives in USA. It is impossible to deny that Stalin was capable of grasping the situation. Indeed, for him personally, and for the whole Government of USSR "it was not worth it" to show humanity and to save the Polish Jews. Regardless of this fact, already indicated above, at that time the Jews in the USSR occupied leading positions in all the spheres of life, and especially in diplomatic circles. But in this case they were compelled to subordinate their pro-Jewish sympathies to the pitiless dogma of the Communist International and silently follow Stalin's instructions in this matter without question.
Being unwilling to turn the USSR into a refuge for Jews fleeing from Hitler Stalin did not limit his refusal to Ribbentrop’s proposal about the three million Jews. They were not "admitted into the USSR" even when they attempted one by one or by small groups to cross the border of the USSR after the liquidation of Poland and establishment of the demarcation line between the USSR and Germany.
In his book "Jews in the Soviet Union" (New York, 1966), Solomon Schwartz describes in detail numerous incidents when the Soviet frontier authorities not only did not allow the Jews to pass into Soviet territory but also forcefully returned them to the Germans. At that time there was a flood of Jews who tried to get into the Soviet Union without visas or similar documents.
No one disputes the fact that this was actually so. Everyone knows that these events took place in October of 1939, immediately after the Polish capitulation and the establishment of the frontier line between the USSR and Germany, as a result of the "friendship" agreement signed a couple of weeks before. It is natural and normal that the countries, having agreed to friendly relations, must observe the existing worldwide rules about the entrance into a country by subjects of another country, even if they are from a friendly country. It is to these rules that Soviet authorities adhered, preventing the penetration into its territory of anyone without corresponding permission. Therefore, no exceptions were made for the Jews.
This circumstance, that there were no exceptions made for the Jews, makes Mr. Schwartz indignant. Mr. Schwartz, who as a lawyer by education, should have known that no country in the world makes exceptions for anyone, including the Jews. He also should know the other circumstance that, according to the law, a permit to cross the border is necessary' whoever it may be, even a Jew, and the severest punishment, immeasurably more severe than in non-socialist countries, existed for the violation of this law.
Enumeration of all the cases of non-admission without a permit into the USSR only testifies to the vigilance of the Red Army, which was entrusted by the government to guard the borders. Mr. Schwartz ought to know this and, with his indignation, should not demonstrate his utter lack of comprehension of elementary norms of law.
There is no doubt that had there been corresponding instructions from the government, all the Jews would have been admitted without hindrance to the territory of the USSR, without any kind of visa or permit. Moreover, in the past there were cases when the Russian Government used to admit thousands of people whose lives were threatened in the country of which they were subjects without any visas. These cases are well-known to all Armenians and Balkan Christians, who, escaping from the Turkish slaughter, were admitted to Russia in unlimited numbers. But in October of 1939 nobody slaughtered and shot the Jews, simply because they were Jews. This began much later, in 1941.
Why the ruling class of the USSR did not obtain instructions about the passing of the Jews into the USSR is a special question. The Jews of the USSR undoubtedly wished to help their own fellow tribesmen. What held them back from pressing for an easy admission of the Jews into USSR?
We find the answer to this question in one of the articles in the "Socialist Herald" which gave the account of Krushchov's purported statement made at the beginning of 1944, in Kiev, after its liberation by the Soviet Army: "They (the Jews) were unwilling to help, because the population would identify Soviet power with the Jews". One Jewess, Ruzha Godes, who succeeded in camouflaging herself under the Russian nationality and survived the occupation in Kiev, complained to Krushchov that she was refused employment in a government department just because she was Jewess. To this Krushchov said the following: "I understand that you, as a Jewess, look at this question from a subjective point of view, but we are objective. Jews in the past have committed many sins against the Ukrainian people. The people hate them for this. In our Ukraine we do not need the Jews. And, I think that for the Ukrainian Jews who survived Hitler's attempts to destroy them, it would be better if they did not try to return here. It would be better for them to go to the Birobidzhan. You see, here we are in the Ukraine. Do you understand? This is the Ukraine. And we are not interested that the Ukrainian people would interpret the return of Soviet power as the return of the Jews". He stated this with the utmost clarity and precision. (See the article in Part II of L this work.)
And without any doubt, what Krushchov said in 1944, Stalin knew perfectly well in 1939, when he turned down the German suggestion that the USSR take all the Polish Jews. Although he was a dictator, he could not ignore the feeling of the population, and if to the three million Soviet Jews were added three million Polish Jews, this could provoke consequences undesirable not only to Stalin himself but also to the Jewish ruling class as well. This probably was the cause of the indifferent attitude to the fate of the Polish Jews.
A few years before 1939, this possibility was foreseen by the writers Aronson and Portugaise, as is mentioned in the previous account. They, as we recall, regarded it possible and probable that, for those in whose hands was the power of the USSR, it would be advantageous not only to disavow themselves from any kind of defense of the Jews but also even to become their persecutors. This will be carried out, they prophesized.
As the subsequent events have shown, the pessimistic predictions of Aronson and Portugaise partly, but to a significant degree, came true.
True, no "persecution" against the Jews had ever occurred in the USSR, but the feeling of the population was taken into account and to avoid the possibility of the occurrence of great disturbances and dissatisfaction, that were especially dangerous in view of possible war, the Jews were thus "quietly" removed from the most obvious and responsible positions and replaced with representatives of the other nationalities of the country.
This was done without loud trials or the noise of newspapers, but it was firmly and steadfastly achieved nonetheless.
The population, of course, noticed this. And it is impossible not to acknowledge that these measures of the ruling power did not provoke dissatisfaction.
So it went during the war, especially when the dissatisfaction of the population with the Jewish privileged position in the USSR became so clear.
The War Years
Was the war with Germany unexpected for the ruling class of the USSR or was it foreseen and expected? Up to now it is still not established with certainty.
Several well-informed investigators of this question and authors of memoirs hold the opinion that Stalin expected either to avoid the war completely or to enter into it at a moment most suitable to him.
In support of the latter supposition we find the circumstance that, as the events have shown, the armed forces of the USSR, of course, could not have happened, if Stalin had anticipated the possibility of sudden German attack.
The war put the question pointblank before the Russian Jewry, subjects of the USSR, regarding their total physical extermination if the Germans were not defeated or repulsed.
For the ruling class, in which the Jews played such an enormous rôle, the war was a verification and examination of the attitude of the whole Soviet population toward the Jews. This attitude was to take definite and predetermined form by the end of the war.
Participation in a war, it is known, is not limited only to immediate participation in battles and fights and a show of personal bravery, sacrifice and talents of military leadership. The home front, in its broadest meaning, is an organization of whole country's resources and corresponding propaganda. As it is in the country so it is outside, the home front plays an enormous rôle, and on a well organized home front also depends the final victory.
Understanding this, the Jews of the USSR had shown from the very beginning of the war their feverish activity, aiming at the ultimate victory over the Germans, while underlining Jewish active participation in the war activities at the front. For example, at the first Jewish meeting in Moscow, as the sole non-Jewish speaker, a Red Army soldier named Kuznetsov spoke, praising "the sons of the Jewish people" for their heroic deeds at the front. Several months after the beginning of the war, Soviet Jews held a congress in Moscow. The congress published an appeal to the "whole of Jewry", calling for support of the USSR, in every possible way, in the war with Germany. In Moscow the "Jewish anti-Fascist Committee" was created to develop propaganda activity, and this consisted almost exclusively of Jews.
The world press, outside of Germany, was full of reports about active Jewish participation in the war and their military bravery and sacrifices.
True to character the atheistic Soviet power permitted what would have been unthinkable earlier in conducting the propaganda. So, for example, in the "Jewish World" (the Collection 11 of 1944, New York) we read the following: "During the big Jewish holidays in 1941, the synagogues of Moscow, Leningrad and Kharkov were filled with the praying, not only with people of the old generation but also with the young Jewish soldiers fighting in the ranks of the Red Army. During Easter Week of 1942, for the first time since the October Revolution, big public Seders were arranged" (p. 237).
What impression this report could have made on the conservative Jewish circles, which had a well known "repulsion" for the USSR and the cause of official atheism proclaimed there, hardly merits comment.
And on the 20th December, 1941, the Moscow radio station, broadcasted in Polish, and repeated on the next day five times in German, "comparing the successful Russian winter offensive with the miracle of Maccabeus. The Germans were reminded that the 134th Nuremberg Division, named after that city in which the racial legislation came into being, was annihilated exactly in Hanukkah Week when the Jews celebrate the victory over the oppressors of the Jewish people" (quot. from the book "Jewish World", p. 238).
Side by side with this in the foreign press the courage of individual Jews at the front was regularly reported, as well as reports of the number of rewards received by Jews for brave deeds. So, for example, only in the first fifteen months of the war, five thousand one hundred and sixty three Jews received decorations for bravery. The Soviet Army had one hundred generals who were Jews, and besides that, it was possible to find in each new list records of decorations and promotions of many Jewish generals...
E. Stalinsky, a Jewish emigrant, in his article "Jews in the Red Army", published in 1944 in the USA, enumerates a great number of Jews distinguished in the war, and also those with the Gold Star on their chests — Hero of the Soviet Union (the highest award). He ends his enumeration with the words: "their list is too long to include in the frame of this small article".
Neither will we enumerate them. We can add only one comment that, to establish who among the generals or the heroes is Jewish and who is not does not appear possible, for when promotions and decorations are made neither tribal nor national origin is mentioned. How Jews establish this is unknown. Moreover, many Jews have pure Russian names and surnames, such as General Karponosov, Barinov and Zlatotzvetov, for example.
No one disputes the presence of the Jews in the Red Army in different ranks, up to and including the rank of general. It is true, that, at the beginning of the revolution, a Jew, Bronstein, known as Trotsky, commanded the whole armed forces of the country, and the political part was also in the hands of the Jew named Gamarnik, but this was not during the Second World War, Neither were there Jews among the commanders of the fronts nor army groups, individual armies or even corps commanders. The Jewish generals were more in the home front departments, military technical units and military medical units, to name only few. But there were Jews, of course, in combat units, some of whom were also killed and wounded. There were even generals in the engineer-technical service, for example, General Naftaly Aronovich Frenkel, or General Iakov Danilovich Rapoport, who were preoccupied with concentration camps and maintaining order in them.
But all of them, on the front as well as behind, on the home front, made every effort not to fall into German hands, which was for them certain death.
For a Jew, regardless of his rank, if he fell prisoner, there was no possibility of surviving and ending the war alive. That kind of possibility existed and was used by the Jews in the First World War, but not in the Second World War. Owing to this, Jews who were in the ranks of the Red Army did not display any defeatist feelings and fought for conscience and for fear, if they could not obtain their release from the front. (This was a reserved warrant against the military draft, given to those whose profession was deemed necessary to the war industry).
A great number of the Soviet Jews had such reserved warrants. This was noticed by the whole country and provoked feelings far from friendly toward the Jews.
The reserved warrants were given to executives in the different sectors of important industries and, at the time of evacuation, these specialists were evacuated first, of course, with their families and possessions. And because an overwhelming majority of these executives were Jews, who during the evacuation saved also their families, it appeared that only the Jews were evacuating, occupying rail and auto transport.
The Government of the USSR, taking into consideration the danger for the Jews of falling into German hands, endeavored on its own part to evacuate the Jews first.
This last circumstance, of every possible assistance by the Government of the USSR in undertaking to save the Jews in the face of the German offensive, is hushed up by the world Jewry or even denied altogether by some Jewish investigators of this question. To acknowledge this means to acknowledge also something positive done for the Jews by the Government of the USSR, Government which from the end of Forties is in great disgrace in the eyes of the world Jewry, who accuse it of "anti-Semitism" and "persecution" of Jews.
But during the war years, the Jews used to speak of the Soviet Union quite differently. Mark Vishniak, one of the initiators in the creation of the central organ for the struggle with anti-Semitism, at the meeting of the Jewish Federation in Cleveland in 1943, in published article in the collection "Jewish World" in 1944, is writing the following (p. 98): "The most convinced enemies of the USSR cannot say that the USSR is cultivating anti-Semitism…" Mark Vishniak, the former Secretary of the All-Russian Constituent Assembly and for many years editor of the Tolstoy émigré journal in the Russian language is a highly informed man.
In another place, in the same "Jewish World", we read the confession that "the Soviet Government delivered the necessary transport to save the Jews, even to detriment of the conduct of the war efforts".
An evacuation of the Jews in the face of the attacking Germans went not only by railroad, trucks and automobiles, overloaded by the Jews and their moveable possessions, (frequently including furniture and even pianos) but also on horses harnessed to carriages and carts. The Germans bombed railway lines and big highways, but it was comparatively safe to travel on the country roads. This is why many Jews preferred this method of evacuation: although it was slow, it was safe. The Jews, when evacuating, received written directions from city councils to the chairmen of collective farms and state farms, and upon presentation of the directions, they got a pair of horses with a buggy and required fodder. With such directions the Soviet Jews travelled during their evacuation by the country roads changing their horses and replenishing fodder on the way until they could reach a railway station safe from German bombers, to embark on trains to go on further to the land behind the Ural Mountains. At such railway stations the escaping Jews left their horses and buggies to the mercy of fate.
The German army, during its offensive, discovered, a few miles from the provincial city of Sumy, not far from Kharkov, many thousands of abandoned horses with wrung withers and hurt shoulders that were therefore unfit to be harnessed. These horses had been abandoned by the evacuating Jews who were lucky enough to escape further east. The authorities of Sumy, shortly before the Germans came, organized a veterinary hospital, with the aim of giving the horses treatment and making them suitable for harnessing.
So, by all ways and means possible, a wave of Jewish evacuees was moving toward the east ahead of the advancing Germans.
According to a statement made by the Soviet Jewish writer Bergelson, 80% of the Jews who resided in the regions occupied by the Germans were evacuated. Only in the cities, like Kiev, for example, where there was no time to evacuate all the Jews, the Germans, because of their quick advance, were able to trap and destroy certain number of them.
The exact number of Jews destroyed by the Germans in the occupied regions of the USSR has not been established for certain even today, in 1966. For example, even the figure concerning the largest mass destruction of Jews in Kiev (Baby Yar — 1941) cannot be considered absolutely exact. At different times, different authors and investigators quote different numbers. At first it was said that seventy or eighty thousand were destroyed; now this number has fallen to thirty four thousand. To establish the exact number is the task of future objective investigators of this question, if it is at all feasible. It is necessary to take into consideration that the Germans used to destroy not only the Jews, by mass shooting, as it was at the Baby Yar. They also destroyed many other nationalities by mass starvation in the prisoner of war camps, as happened in the Darnitz, only a few kilometers from the Baby Yar. In the prisoner of war camps at Darnitz tens of thousands of those six hundred and sixty five thousand Soviet soldiers and officers who were trapped in the Kiev encirclement in September of 1941 perished from starvation and deprivation. The exact number of these prisoners who perished is also unknown; however, it is beyond doubt that their number was definitely not less than, but larger than the number of Jews shot at the Baby Yar.
Generally speaking, each objective investigator of the question concerning the evacuation of the Jews at the time of the German advance cannot fail to recognize that those in those hands the power of the USSR at that time was did everything possible to save the Jews. They often did it to the detriment of even native population, toward whom there was immeasurably less concern (or none whatsoever) than to the representatives of the Jewish ethnic group. The people saw this, but, chained by fear, they kept silent, not daring to raise their voice in protest.
Only rarely, in a moment of panic, these feelings broke through and it was possible to hear from a crowd "of second class citizens", that is, the non-Jews, words of indignation and threats, but the representatives of the ruling class, who were in charge of the evacuation, put forward the appearance that they did not hear it or attempted affectionately to persuade and reassure the protestors.
In the war years, and also in the first years after the end of the war, the fact that the Soviet power helped to save the Jews in all possible ways was considered beyond any doubt. Much of this was written in the periodical press, both Jewish and non-Jewish, outside of the USSR.
Thus Eugene M. Kulisher in the bulletin "Khaiasa" wrote in 1946: "No doubt can be raised that the Soviet authorities undertook special measures for the evacuation of the Jewish population or to alleviate their spontaneous flight. Side by side with government personnel and industrial workers and executives, the priority was given to all the Jews during the evacuation. The Soviet authorities offered thousands of trains especially for the evacuation of the Jews, recognizing that they were the most threatened part of the population".
Later in his extensive work about the migration of the Jewish population, published in 1948 by Columbia University, Kulisher writes: "The whole factory equipment were taken out and, together with trained personnel and other skilled workers' removed from the urban centers. In addition the government employees and broad masses of the Jews were evacuated".
Moshe Kaganovich, the former partisan, published two books of memoirs (one in 1948 in Italy, the other in 1956 in Argentina), in which he categorically confirms that according to the instructions of the Soviet authorities all the available means of transportation were given for the evacuation of the Jews; furthermore, an order was given to evacuate the Jews first.
In the winter of 1946-47, in order to verify everything on the spot, the New York correspondent of the Jewish newspaper "Der Tog" B. Z. Goldberg visited the USSR, and in particular Kiev, and wrote about his impressions and investigations in his article "How Soviet Russia Evacuated the Jews During the War" ("Der Tog" — February 21, 1947).
The author, as he writes, set for himself the task to clear up: "what kind of Soviet policy was used in dealing with the Jewish evacuation". He questioned many about this, both Jews and Christians, military men and those who had been evacuated' and all answered that "the policy of the Soviet authorities was to give priority to the Jews during the evacuation, and to their utmost to pull out as many of them as possible so that the Nazis would not be able to destroy them". Among the persons Goldberg talked to, he also names the Kiev's Rabbi Shekhtman.
The statements given above of several Jewish emigrants completely coincide with numerous eye-witness accounts of those USSR citizens who themselves were in the midst of the events when the evacuation of the Jews was taking place.
And up to the year 1948, when the sharp turnabout came in Jewish relations with the USSR, no one raised this question again. But as soon as it became known that the Jews in the USSR had begun to lose their monopolistic right in ruling the country, everything sharply changed and became subject to reappraisal. Everything was studied, including the question of whether the Soviet Government helped to save the Jews during the war or was indifferent to their fate.
In 1966, a book was written by S. Schwartz entitled "Jews in the USSR from the Beginning of the Second World War", published in New York. In this book the author refutes all the previous statements of different people regarding the Soviet help given in saving the Jews from the Germans and their' timely evacuation. S. Schwartz doubts all that was previously stated and printed about this question, even the evidence of Rabbi Shekhtman, for the simple reason that nowhere in the Soviet press and the Government orders could he find written confirmations that the Jews had to be evacuated in the first place, or that priority had to be given to them. "And if it is not found to documented, it means such a thing did not take place", concludes Solomon Schwartz, forgetting that in this world many events and actions of different governments take place without written orders or confirmations. Nevertheless they in fact did and do take place every day. Nowhere, for example, was the overcrowding by the Jews of the Russian revolutionary parties and its central committees printed, of overcrowding of all kinds Soviet departments, diplomatic and trade missions in foreign countries, of overcrowding of the organs of Cheka and departments of propaganda in the first quarter of this century after the October Revolution. But all this took place and Solomon Schwartz himself cannot even deny this. Nowhere, for example, was it printed that a diplomatic representative of the State of Israel cannot be a person of a non-Jewish tribe or non-Judaic faith. But this rule, though printed nowhere is implemented and strictly carried out in real life in the democratic State of Israel, whose population is more than ten per cent non-Jewish.
That, which S. Schwartz was looking for in the Soviet press and could not find, was not printed for a reason obvious to each objective investigator. This reason was the unwillingness to aggravate the sharply negative attitude of the whole population of the country on account of the privileged position which the Jews occupied in the USSR up to the moment when the war began. To print something akin to which S. Schwartz was looking for and could not find would have been a provocation toward the whole population of the country and could have easily escalated to a consequence undesirable for the whole ruling class. The feelings of the broad masses of the USSR were very well known to those who, at that time, guided the politics and the propaganda of the country. Therefore, nothing was printed, in the interest of the Jews themselves.
But to make up for it, those undertakings were strictly carried out and due to this fact hundreds of thousands of Jews were able to escape German massacre and were able to safely and happily sit out the war behind the Ural Mountains. The Soviet power can be reproached for other things, but not for its unwillingness to save the Jews.
One does not have to possess a great imagination in order to have an idea of what would have happened, for example in Kiev, during the month of August of 1941 if an order was printed and proclaimed by the authorities concerning the giving of means of transportation for the evacuation of the Jews "to be sent before others". How would the non-Jewish Kievites have reacted to this edict once it was proclaimed? Would they not have had grounds for a mutiny, the reason for which they had already been ripening for two decades?
“Why was it not printed? Why was it not underlined? Why was it not mentioned? Why was it not noted? Why did they not erect a monument for the Jews at the Baby Yar?” S. Schwartz repeats these questions in all manners in his bulky book of four hundred and twenty five pages entitled "Jews in the Soviet Union from the Beginning of the Second World War". The whole population of the USSR, and any investigator who is able to be objective without examining everything from the exclusively subjective Jewish point of view, can give the answer at once to all these questions.
There can be only one answer: "in order not to provoke the irritation and the indignation of the whole population of the country by making out the Jews as the only ones who suffered from Germans, while at the same time immeasurably more non-Jews perished than Jews. In order not to arouse memories of the many million non-Jews who perished in the years of terror and artificial famine, when the country was ruled by the Jews. In order not to resurrect in the people memories of that time when the Jews were ruling Russia, and humiliated its historic past by abolishing and destroying the monuments of its past."
If that is not clear to Mr. Schwartz, who throws the accusation at the whole population of the USSR that they are lacking respect for the perished Jews, it is quite clear to those who now hold the power of the USSR. It is clear and understandable to them and this is why they do not erect SPECIAL monuments for the Jews.
The demand to erect such monuments, which is presented not solely by Mr. Schwartz, only provokes the reverse reaction throughout the whole of the USSR.
This reaction might easily pour out into a demand for the exact calculation of how many lives it cost the whole population of the USSR during the thirty years of oppression when the Jewish class ruled the USSR. This calculation will hardly be profitable for the Jews.
If the Jews are constantly occupied in calculating and recalculating the number of Jews that perished at the hands of the Germans, then it is quite possible that some day the Russian people will take to calculation also. The living memories of the millions who perished from the artificially created famine, when Kaganovich ruled everything in the Ukraine, and the millions who perished in the concentration camps will never disappear from the memories of the nation!
Considering the conditions and the national feelings, it is possible to state with conviction that the return of the Jewish ethnic group to the position of the ruling class in Russia or in the USSR, as long as this name chooses to remain, is impossible.
These feelings by the end of the war were such that they could easily have ended in an outburst, during which even the government probably would not have survived. Only by taking measures at the proper time and by the gradual removal, without any commotion or newspaper publicity, of the Jews from the ruling posts was this explosion averted.
Outbreaks of the people's indignation pouring out in pogroms were characteristic of the mood of the first post-war years and were far from unique, although the Soviet press did not print anything about this. One such outbreak took place in Kiev, and is described in the "socialist Herald": One Jew killed a Ukrainian. "The crowd rushed to the house, in which this Jew lived. They dragged his wife and child into the street and killed them on the spot; then they rushed to raid further, and the agitation very quickly TOOK A SHARP ANTI-SOVIET CHARACTER" (this incident is given in detail in Part II of this work). Characteristically, the author of the article, the editor of the "Socialist Herald" Mr. Abramovich, had labeled this not "anti-Semitic" but "anti-Soviet" character, thereby confirming that in the mind of the masses Soviet power was identified with Jewish power.
All these separate outbreaks could easily have fused together into one vast riot, during which the Soviet power itself would have had difficulty surviving. The government took this situation into account and took corresponding measures, unwilling to risk irritating the population.
"The descent on the breaks" and quiet liquidation of the most important status of the Jews in the USSR during the first post-war years continued in this manner. These "purges" were not widely announced to the population, but were carried out quietly, without unnecessary publicity and public discussion.
So it was until 1947, the year of the creation of the State of Israel. This was the state to which the Soviet Jews, subjects of the USSR, had shown special interest and had revealed their feelings. This event placed their loyalty as citizens of the Soviet Union under question.
The Post-War Period (1946-1966)
If it were possible to describe the period of pre-war years and the war years with sufficient objectivity, even though it may not be an exhaustive description owing to the unavailability of many sources for research, which are inaccessible to us, the contemporaries of the events, the description of the events that occurred in the post-war years are still far more difficult to achieve for a number of reasons.
The first and basic reason involves the circumstance that all, or almost all, information and data about the condition of the Jewish ethnic group in the USSR were given in the light of the Cold War. This information, of course, left much to be desired in the sense of its objectivity.
The Soviet press endeavored not to touch the Jewish question in its whole extent, limiting itself only to rare indirect indications that some people committed improper acts, or inflicted harm on the USSR. The meaning "some people", of course, refers to the Jews. The phrase "indirect indications" is the precise description of the method used by which surnames, names and patronymics of such people were printed such that it was clear to the reader that the people in question were Jews.
The foreign press interpreted this as setting the masses against the Jews and diligently registered all such cases, calculating, of course, the percentage of the offended cases against the Jews perpetrated by the Soviet authorities.
The free exchange of opinions on this question in the pages of the press with the aim of establishing knowledge of the true conditions was impossible both in the Soviet Union and in the West, due to the atmosphere of the Cold War. It was during the stirring up of the Cold War that the question of the "persecution" and of "discrimination" against the Jews in the USSR became one of the main trumps in the propaganda against the USSR. This was called "anti-communist" propaganda, but in fact, was considerably more anti-Russian than "anti-communist".
Taking into consideration the situation, perhaps it would be safer and better not to touch this period at all and to end my sketch with the year that the war ended.
But, on the other hand, it is precisely during this twenty-year post-war period that the Jewish question in the USSR underwent such changes that not to mention them, even though in a brief condensed form, is impossible.
Therefore we will make an attempt, in the most general outlines to describe the events of this post-war period.
* * *
Since the war the feelings of the broad Soviet masses have changed. Many revelations which had been seen during the war years were endured silently by the masses, as they endured the Jewish dominance before in their own country. The broad masses were no longer inclined to accept what was revealed more than twice in the war years, and especially after the end of the war. The government took these feelings into consideration and, as said above, more and more non-Jews gradually began to appear in the leading administrative positions. These positions were occupied now by the representatives of the native population of the country: the Great-Russians, the Byelorussians, the Ukrainians and the representatives of the other national minorities, who had their own national territories. The same occurrence was also observed among the Soviet Ambassadorial and Trade Delegation positions, which in the pre-war years were almost completely filled by the Jews.
In these years, the first post-war years, the question in its broadest sense of the meaning arose before the country and before its political leaders, in particular about the actual Jewish "double citizenship". These Jewish subjects of the USSR divided their sympathies and loyalties between the USSR and the State of Israel, which was created in 1947. The creation was preceded by an endless and tireless propaganda throughout the whole world in the first days after the war. This propaganda ended with the decision of the United Nations to create the sovereign Jewish State of Israel.
The psychology of this "double citizenship", peculiar to each Jew of the Diaspora, is thoroughly discussed in the research of Professor Solomon Lourie, printed in Part II of this work. The essence of this psychology lies in the fact that at the time of the decision of any question, a Jew, regardless of the country he resided in and to which he owed his citizenship, must, first of all, explain to himself whether this or that decision or measure of a government in power, or of a political party, whether in power or in opposition, is useful or harmful to Jewry as a whole. Only then is the decision made to support those which are useful to Jewry as a whole, regardless of whether they coincided with the interest of the country or the nation in which a Jew at that time may be residing.
That which Professor Solomon Lourie so distinctly formulated in his book, published in 1922 in Petersburg, began to make itself felt in the USSR during the post-war period. The political direction of the country ceased to coincide with the interests and longings of all the Jewry of the Diaspora, as it was before, during the thirty-year period. In the USSR itself the Jewish ethnic group started gradually to lose its privi1eged position and to get equal rights and opportunities with the rest of the population. This was interpreted by the Jewry of whole Diaspora as "discrimination". The awakening of the national self-consciousness of the Russian people and, if not the cessation then the considerable curtailment of the ridiculing of its historic past, was interpreted by the Jewry as a revival of, if not "anti-Semitism" and "blackhundredism", then, in any case, of "Russian patriotism". This occurrence from the point of view of Jewry was undesirable and dangerous. And the larger part of the world's Jewry changed from advocates of the USSR to its opponents. The striving of all the Jewry, including those who were the citizens of USSR, in every possible way to support the demands concerning the creation of the State of Israel, regardless of whether these demands met the requirements and the interests of the State of the USSR, brought internal conflict between the Jews and the non-Jews of the Soviet Union. This conflict raised, not without reason, the question of their loyalty to the country, in which for thirty years they had occupied privileged positions.
In the critical months of the war the USSR propaganda machinery, which was almost entirely in Jewish hands, served to raise the army's spirit, an army on which international slogans and appeals used at that time did not have much effect. This propaganda machinery turned then to Russia's past. The medals of Alexander Nevsky, Suvorov and Kutuzov were instituted, and, soon after, titles that were known in pre-revolutionary Russia and golden shoulder straps which were so much hated by those who created the USSR, were also introduced.
The spirit of the past, against which various Goublemans, Apfelbaums, Suritzmans and their fellow tribesmen had fought to their utmost to eradicate it from the memory of the nation during quarter of a century and to deprecate it in every possible way, was let out from the bottle. As soon as this spirit got loose it found such response among those who had staunchly, with their blood, defended their Motherland, the land and the heritage of their ancestors, it was impossible to drive it back.
The international-cosmopolitan mist had disappeared and in its place life had returned to the seemingly dead patriotism of the Russian people and the patriotism of the whole population of the USSR, people who realized their own strength and their right to rule their own country.
From the self-consciousness, naturally, emerged the question of in whose hands the leadership of the whole cultural life of the country should rest. To be more precise, could this leadership be in the hands of the one ethnic group whose concept and sense of justice was alien to the spirit of the nation they sought to control? This is not a theoretically abstract question but one of the very existence of a national culture, of its essence, its manifestation.
This question is not new. It already hovered in the air for a long time, but was not voiced and, moreover, was not discussed in the press, because this inevitably would have been interpreted as "anti-Semitism", the accusation or even suspicion of which could have cost the people their social or literary careers.
This question hovered not only in the air of the USSR or of pre-revolutionary Russia. The question existed and was of concern to the elite of many nations, but remained unvoiced. Perhaps only in diaries, where concealed thoughts are expressed, and then only in some, did they venture to touch this "ticklish question" and place it under examination to the full extent of its implications.
Mark Vishniak, the former Secretary of the All-Russian Constituent Assembly, on his arrival in the USA devoted himself to the struggle with anti-Semitism throughout the world.
Dealing with this question, he made an interesting discovery which was published in the "Jewish World", New York, 1944. The discovery was widely received among all those who were interested in this question.
Here is what we read on pp. 95-97 of Collection II of this issue:
"The most extreme radicalism does not insure one against anti-Semitism, just as a revolution either in the past or in the present by no means guarantees that the discrimination and defamation of minorities' religion, race and skin color will not be finally and irrevocably swept away.
It is possible to give much evidence to the fact of how the outstanding and foremost minds found themselves at the mercy of anti-Semitism. Let us limit ourselves to one little known illustration taken from practical activity of the new time.
André Gide, in all fairness, was considered one of the leading figures in French fiction of the Twentieth century, one of its luminaries. You foreigners, take for instance the recently published biography of Gide, written by Claus Mann, the son of Thomas Mann. In this biography Gide is called 'the most prominent contemporary author', the 'moralist with the artistic genius', 'whose immortality is assured'. Gide was known for his extreme radicalism in many spheres of life and politically was connected with 'all the extreme Left' which developed in France only in the Twentieth Century. At one time he even became an adherent and follower of Bolshevism. He was on friendly terms with Leon Blum an frequently, from his younger years right up to the French catastrophe, visited Blum's house, was his confidant, and at one time was co-editor.
At the beginning of 1940, Gide published his diary, covering forty years, a huge volume of over a thousand pages. Here Gide turns out to have not only a personal hate for Blum, but also to be a 'cultural anti-Semite. He denies the Jewish writers who immigrated to France the right to consider themselves French writers, Porto-Riche, Blum and other authors who made their way in French literature, criticism and theatre, by writing in no other language but French, are, in the opinion of Gide, not French writers and cannot claim to be such. 'It is of no significance to me that the literature of my country enriches, if this enrichment will be detrimental to the importance of the literature. It is better to disappear, when a Frenchman cannot find strength to create, than to offer an ignoramus the opportunity to play the rôle of a Frenchman in his place and in his name'" — (Gide's record of January 24, 1914 p. 237).
It is necessary to remember the importance of Gide to France an its literature as he was the ruler of men’s minds and souls for two generations in France, in order to estimate the true worth of the tragic demonstration of this "case". This is an individual case, but not an insignificant one.
So writes Mark Vishniak who in the same book writes the following words on the next page: "even the most convinced enemy of the USSR, cannot say that anti-Semitism is cultivated by the government".
At that time, we suppose, the prosaic eye of Mr. Vishniak had not yet discovered the beginning of the equalization of Jewish rights, equalization which is now called "anti-Semitism".
And a few lines later in the same book and on the same page M. Vishniak writes: " The timid and double faced Jews and non-Jews, having an apprehension that discussions about discrimination and defamation on grounds of religion, race, or skin color only aggravate and promote defamation and discrimination by themselves, recommend avoiding such discussions of the subject".
Vishniak himself, however, not only speaks but also writes, addresses the public and organizes the struggle against anti-Semites on a world scale, struggle, which in his opinion, must be conducted " beginning with the information about the hotbeds of the infection and ending it with direct warning and suppression ... "
Addressing the general meeting of the Jewish Federation in Cleveland, in January of 1943, and rejecting the presence of even a hint of "anti-Semitism" in the USSR Government, Vishniak hardly could have supposed that in only three years the very same Government of the USSR would approve and support the statement made by Zhdanov, who raised the problem of "cosmopolitan without kith or kin" and started the struggle against their dominance in the cultural life of the country.
It is impossible to establish whether Zhdanov hit upon this idea himself or whether M. Vishniak helped him with his wide notification of the concealed thoughts of Andre Gide, who had written them in his diary. It is unimportant and insignificant. What is important is how it was welcomed by the men of culture in the USSR and that it was the beginning of the new policy of the government in dealing with the Jewish question, policy that was directed to the actual equalization, in word and deed, of the Jews with the rest of the population. This equalization inevitably led to the loss by the Jews of that privileged position which they had in the USSR for thirty years. It is not surprising then that this new political course of the government was interpreted by the whole Jewry of Diaspora as 'anti-Semitic'. It invariably averted a favorable Jewish attitude to everything which took place in the USSR and put Jewry on the way toward the active support of the powers and movements hostile not only to the system but also to the social order of the USSR. This course also put the Jewry on the side of those who aimed to liquidate, by means of dismemberment, the united country that was previously called Russia, and renamed the USSR during the rule of the Jewish ethnic group.
It is precisely in this change in the politics of the USSR Government, it is to be supposed, that one must look for the causes of the special sympathies shown by the Jewish Diaspora towards all kinds of separatist groupings of the individual nationalities of the USSR, which were not noticeable in the pre-war years.
The new course in the Jewish question, however, was interpreted quite differently by those cultural personalities who were not Jewish. Nothing was written about this in the newspapers, nor was it discussed at gatherings and meetings, but it definitely was felt that this new course showed the approval and gave hope to Russians that they actually would get equal rights and opportunities with Jews who up to that time had the monopoly in the sphere of culture in the USSR in general, and in propaganda in particular.
Zhdanov's statement and its support by the government did not result in an immediate removal of Jews from literary and propaganda activities. Very many, even disproportionately many Jews remained at their posts in literature, art, critics and propaganda and no one displaced or removed them. Erenburg, Zaslavsky, Vera Inber, Pasternak, Marshak and a great many others remained on the literary Olympus. Their number has not declined even now in the year 1967. Jews, for example Nickulin, Kozakov and many others, belong to the Union of Writers of the USSR. To speak about the complete dismissal of the Jews from participation in the cultural life of the USSR, of course, is impossible.
The fact that they had lost their previous monopolistic position and the leading rôle is obvious. It is precisely this circumstance that irritates the world Jewry.
Characteristic and deserving of special attention are the words that were said by Zhdanov, who laid the foundation of the recognition that the culture must be national in its own very essence and that its roots must be firmly implanted in the far past of the nation. And when Zhdanov, the communist and follower of the Third International, said, "Cosmopolitans without kith or kin", no one, besides the foreign Jews, protested against these words.
Is this not a proof of the realization by the people of the full value and depth of its national culture? And at the same time, is this not a proof of the unvoiced protest to those who speak and act in the name of the people whose national culture is alien, incomprehensible and hostile to them?
What Andre Gide wrote in his diary before the First World War, was repeated by Zhdanov after the Second World War in different words.
"Culture is a heritage of fathers and grandfathers and it must be handed down to their descendants". Thus teach the spiritual leaders and the elite of each nation. In the USSR this heritage of fathers and grandfathers was under prohibition for thirty years and if there was any mention at all, it was painted in black colors.
And when the words “cosmopolitans without kith or kin” were pronounced, people interpreted them as the recognition by the power itself that the loyalty of those who spoke and acted in their name was taken under doubt. This corresponded exactly to what people thought and wanted, and whose national feelings after the victorious war were aggravated in the light of all of what they had seen and had suffered during the war.
Stalin, who was well-informed about these feelings, took this circumstance into consideration and in every possible way always underlined the sacrifices and merits of the "Russian" people during the war, recalling nowhere either the Jewish people or its sacrifices and merits, the presence of which were doubted by the population of the whole country.
All the population of the country still well remembered the millions of sacrifices during the collectivization, famine and camps in which no Jews were seen. Moreover, these sacrifices were not the result of brutality inflicted by some invading enemy, but were inflicted by the ruling class which consisted mainly of the Jewish ethnic group.
In such a psychological circumstance, in circles of the "Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee", and among Jews in general, a thought occurred to turn the whole Crimea, which had been devastated during the war, into a Jewish national province or republic.
This venture, the so-called "Crimean Affair", entailed serious consequences. 'The "Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee" was disbanded and its organizers, the numerous Soviet personalities of Jewish origin, were repressed, among them Solomon Lozovsky (Drizdo), who was the head of the committee.
The population of the country new nothing of this plan, and it was not discussed anywhere, neither in the press nor at gatherings. But the Central Committee of the party intercepted and suppressed the plan because it realized the potential of it.
The details of the "Crimean Affair" are still awaiting the objective investigator, because the time has not yet come for such historical investigation. There is still too much that is dark and unknown about this "Affair". But the Soviet Government's lightning reaction to the plan shows what importance was attached to it.
Turning the whole Crimea, with its natural wealth, harbors and sea fortress, Sevastopol, into a Jewish province or even a republic, would have been a "military risk" for the Soviet Union, in the opinion of the Government of the USSR. Krushchov was also in agreement with this government’s opinion, as he confirmed in August 1956, calling this thought "monstrous". This was reported by P. Abramovich in the "Socialist Herald", in May 1957.
We will not judge how "monstrous" the thought is. But if we can conceive really how the realization of the "Crimean Plan" would have ended, then it is not so incredible that there was apprehension of the "military risk", expressed by Stalin and repeated by Krushchov.
In the atmosphere of the Cold War, with whole of Jewry on side of the Soviet enemies, the presence of a "Jewish state" in Crimea was indeed a "military risk".
And if this military risk was envisaged and prevented in the proper time, then from the point of view of the Soviet State it is difficult not to approve of the fact that such an "Affair" did not come about.
Even if P. Abramovich and his fellow tribesmen do not approve of this, the whole population of Russia-USSR adheres to the contrary opinion to make up for it. There can be no doubt whatsoever about this. It is also doubtful that the whole population of the USSR would be in grief if every last representative of the Jewish ethnic group abandoned the country forever. That is my opinion; there was no debate about that.
Furthermore, one more fact must also be taken into consideration that at that time, when the plan concerning the creation of the Jewish national republic in Crimea was in its fostering stage, there already existed in the Constitution of the USSR the provision for the Union and the autonomous republics of the Soviet Union to "enter into direct relationship with foreign countries, concluding with them agreements and exchanging with them diplomatic and consular representatives...", "to have its own republic military formations". And "for each union republic the right is reserved to leave the USSR freely", (Articles 18, 18-a, and 18-b).
And if the plan of creating the Jewish republic in the Crimea was realized, what guarantee was there that, with help and support from the whole Jewish Diaspora, the Crimea would not have seceded? It is also unknown whether this state would have been friendly or hostile to the USSR. And how would the rest of the two hundred million people of the USSR have regarded this venture?
It must be assumed that what has been stated above was well considered and taken into account when the attempt of actual separation of the Crimea from the rest of the country was averted, Crimea for which so much Russian blood was spilled.
The State of Israel and the Problem of Double Citizenship
Soon after the painless liquidation of the "Crimean republic" (if the execution of several men is not counted), there occurred one more event in the life of the Jewish ethnic group in the USSR. This event placed the loyalty to the State of the USSR of all Soviet Jews under doubt.
In the first two post-war years (1945-1947), a strenuous and intense propaganda for the creation of the separate sovereign State of "Israel" went on in the whole camp of victors in the Second World War. The creation of Israel was to take place in Palestine, where the majority of the population was Arab. The fact that in territory contemplated for the creation of the Jewish State, Jews were only a minority was not taken into consideration, and without voting or plebiscite, part of Palestine was given to the Jews, who at the beginning of 1948 proclaimed the creation of the "State of Israel".
The Jewish ethnic group of the USSR was entirely on the side of those Zionists who conducted propaganda in the whole world for the creation of "Israel". The Zionists based their claim for the "Promised Land" on the "promise given to Jews on the Mount of Zion" (The words of the Israeli Premier Ben-Gurion, November 1956, during the "Suez Crisis".
The Government of the USSR also did not protest the creation of the new state in this manner. The representative of the USSR at the United Nations voted for the creation of this state as well as for its admission to the United Nations.
What considerations and motives the USSR had for taking such a position is, for us contemporaries, difficult to judge because too much is still in the archives, inaccessible to researchers. At present, however, it is possible to raise only two questions for consideration in the future. In the first place, is it compatible with the principles of democracy prescribed in the fundamentals of the UN to create a state by such an obviously undemocratic way? Secondly, how could the USSR, standing on the position of atheism, recognize the mystical-religious Jewish "rights" to Palestine?
These two questions, up to now, have not been persuasively or convincingly answered, nor any one attempted to answer them. The political personalities of the whole world prefer to keep silent and generally do not touch these questions.
It is hardly possible to explain the USSR's position in this question as "pressure of public opinion" or as pressure of the Jewish ethnic group in the USSR. Public opinion, or to be precise, the unexpressed feelings of the whole population of the USSR were not on the side of the Zionists. And the Jewish influence on the external politics of the USSR was diminishing quickly and sharply, owing to their dubious loyalty. There is only one possible explanation to the obscure stand of the USSR in this question. How precise it may be is difficult to say. The essence of this explanation is as follows. The position of the Government of the USSR in the Jewish question was the result of the far-reaching plan to bring about "confusion'' in Eastern Affairs, by which the USSR would stand to gain in any event. In case the pro-communist elements had won in Israel, it would have automatically became the champion of the USSR's politics in the Middle East, the former stronghold of the still powerful colonial Empires of Britain and France at that time. In case, however, of Israel taking a pro-Western position, as indeed happened, the USSR would get the strongest propaganda means for the inclusion of the whole Arab world in its orbit, by offering them help against Israel. In such a way the hundred million people of the Arab world would be broken off from the influence of the West.
It may be that all that has been said are the idle thoughts of journalists and commentators; nevertheless, they deserve the attention of the future investigators.
Besides the above explanations, there is one more thing, namely, the wish of the Government of the USSR to verify the loyalty of its citizens, the Jews, on the basis of their reaction to the recognition of Israel. This was precisely what happened in 1948, several months after the proclamation of the sovereign state of Israel and its admission to the UN.
In October 1948 Golda Myrson (now Golda Meir) arrived in Moscow as the appointed ambassador of Israel to the USSR.
At that time more than half a million Jews lived in Moscow. Upon her arrival in Moscow, the Israeli Ambassador went to the synagogue where she was enthusiastically welcomed, and at once many thousands of Muscovite Jews applied to emigrate to Israel.
Iossif Vissarionovitch Stalin and the government drew a conclusion from this. After the welcoming demonstration of the Jews given to Golda Myrson there immediately followed a whole range of limitations ordered by the government, concerning the "personal-national" cultural activity of the Jewish ethnic group dispersed throughout the country. The Jewish newspaper "Der Emes" in Moscow was closed, as well as the Jewish theatres. Also in Moscow the teachings of ‘Yiddish’ were stopped. Quite a few of Jewish activists in the sphere of their national culture were forced to leave Moscow, and some were even arrested. All the "Muscovites" that applied to leave the USSR and settle in Israel were deported into far-off provinces of the USSR.
"The government sensed the unreliability of the Jews" writes the Muscovite, David Burg, who left USSR in 1956, and published an extensive article, "The Jewish Question in Soviet in the German language in the Magazine "Anti communist" (No. 12, 1957). (The article is given in full in Part II of this work.)
This sensation of the "unreliability of the Jews" corresponded to the same sensation of the whole population of the country, which, in general, looked at Jews as an element "newly arrived, strange and alien".
However, it must be acknowledged that there were no mass dismissals from work nor were other repressive measures taken against the Jews just because they were Jews. They held their positions, which were neither the best nor the worst, and were not dismissed or deprived of the possibilities of work.
But the previous confidence they held disappeared. The previous positions of the mighty ruling class were shaken, and possibilities of attaining the leading roles in all spheres of life were considerably shortened and hampered. This especially pertained to those positions and professions in which complete reliance in loyalty was required, such as diplomatic affairs, external politics and the defense of the country.
Although the word "Jew" was never written and mentioned in these new measures the whole population of the USSR, and the Jews above all, distinctly sensed the new course of the government in the Jewish question.
The population met this new course with their full approval, however silent, because in the USSR the Government does not tolerate either approvals or disapprovals.
All the same, the Jewry in the USSR, as well as in other countries, saw in this new course "discrimination and persecution" toward Jews in the USSR, and the whole force of their indignation and resentment was directed in the first place at the dictator Stalin. Of course, there were many Soviet Jews who were aware of many valid reasons for the government to doubt Jewish reliability in the case of conflict with Israel, or its protectors and allies. But the fear of being accused of acting "against Jewry" in breaking the thousand-year tradition of racial-religious solidarity forced them to be silent. It forced even the staunch advocates of the communist theory and of Stalin's tactics and practice to keep silent.
Among the Jews, dispersed throughout a huge country, dissatisfaction with the new course in the Jewish question grew. The main culprit was considered to be Stalin who without nise and publicity steadfastly implemented his line.
The feelings of the Jewish ethnic group in the USSR were shared by the Jewry of the whole world and were reflected in the hostile attitude not only to Stalin and his regime but also to the entire Russian populace, considering them to be the culprits in the "persecution" of the Jews.
So it went on until the second half of 1952 when a group of doctors were accuse of an attempt to poison Stalin by means of improper treatment. The doctors, closest to the Kremlin heads, were, in the majority, Jews. How and why the care of Stalin and his collaborators was entrusted to the Jews scarcely requires explanation. They had remained there from those times when the Jews high and low occupied responsible positions. And they were not replaced by anyone, even after the sudden change in the year 1948.
The accusation brought forward against the Jews, and the corresponding campaign in the Soviet press was interpreted in a widely spread way by the population, especially the Jewish section, as sympathy to those who were confronted with the accusation, Moscow was full of rumors about approaching repressions against the Jews and about their exile to the Far East.
"They started to pack suitcases, to sell furniture cheaply and went to bed with thoughts that probably at night they will be arrested..." In this manner David Burg, in his article mentioned above, described the feeling of the Moscow Jews.
From October 1952 until the death of Stalin, the feeling of more than half a million Moscow Jews was characterized by panic. No one was in doubt that, as at the beginning of the war whole nationalities were exiled from the Crimea, Caucasus and Volga region, so too the Jews would be exiled, and not only from Moscow but also from the rest of the places where they lived.
Stalin's sudden death changed everything. The "doctors' plot" was declared to be a forgery. A calm ensued among the Jews.
However, there was no use even considering the return of the Jewish ethnic group to its previous position as the ruling class.
The politics of the USSR Government in the Jewish question progressed steadfastly toward the bringing about, on a percentage basis, the number of the intellectual professions and the responsible positions occupied by the Jews to the corresponding number of such professions and positions occupied by the representatives of the rest of the population. These policies were carried out without haste and without noise and shocks, arousing the approval of the whole population of the USSR and the resentment and indignation of its Jewish minority which consisted of one percent, minority which labeled this as discrimination.
Not even the whole Jewish minority can be included in the one per cent figure. In the USSR there are quite a few Jews who consciously chose the way of free assimilation and became unconditionally loyal to the USSR. They chose not only full entry and inclusion into the Russian culture and mode of living but also their assimilation. Such disappearance considerably facilitated their departure from the Jewish religion which jealously guards the purity of race, race which is inseparably linked with its religion. The mixed marriages, about which rabbis speak with terror, considerably contributed to this process. The loss by the Jews of their spoken language, "Yiddish", and its substitution by the Russian language contributed to this process also. More than 80% of the Jews in the USSR cannot read or write in "Yiddish" today.
The Jewish ethnic group in the USSR experienced the same occurrence which happened to the Jews in Western Europe during the middle ages. They forgot their language in their everyday life and accepted without any compulsion the German language in its place, naming it "Yiddish".
At that time only the presence of the "ghetto" helped Jewry to preserve its tribal peculiarities and religion, and to prevent its full disappearance in the sea of Germany. Now, however, there is neither "ghetto" nor absolute subordination to the authority of rabbis. Therefore the process of assimilation, in spite of all kinds of protests and the existence of the Israeli State, goes on unflinchingly. It is impossible not to take this into consideration, but to prevent it is also impossible.
This inevitable and unavoidable process of assimilation on one hand, and the loss of the privileged position by the Jews on the other, engenders and nourishes anti-Russian feelings in the whole Jewry of the Diaspora. These feelings are also widespread among a considerable, probably overwhelming, majority of the USSR Jewry, unabling them to reconcile with the loss of their privileged position.
Julius Margolin also writes about these anti-Russian feelings which are interwoven with anti-Soviet feelings, as mentioned by David Burg in his article above. Margolin substantiates and justifies these feelings.
In his article "Tel-Aviv Note-book" which was featured on November 15, 1960 in the newspaper "Russkaia Mysl" No. 1604, published in Russian in Paris, Julius Margolin writes:
"In the special position, under the sceptre of Nikita, Jewish people are the only ones who are condemned to the loss of their nationality and the gradual liquidation of their historical and cultural individuality. Of course, Nikita is kind and humane; he is far from Hitler's cannibalism; the question is not physical extermination once and for all but it is the "EVTANAZIA": painless, as far as possible, suffocation and spiritual dying of the whole people from whom the right to decide its own fate is taken away. The right is also taken away from the other people of the Soviet Empire, but to these people, at least, within the next few centuries, there is no threat of danger of denationalization. Russians will remain Russians, Ukrainians will remain Ukrainians and Georgians remain Georgians. Only the Jews are "atomized" and subjected under "special regime". And as a consequence, those who hail national suicide, they show an exceptional zeal... but others hate this regime with unparalleled strength, because only in this hate can their national identity assert itself. I dare to affirm that even the most "irreconcilable" emigrants, peacefully living the rest of their days in different corners of the West, do not have the imagination about the depth and the quality of this bottomless hate".
Margolin’s acknowledgement that the Jews hate the regime which they created themselves in their own time, it seems, should have engendered the urgency to overthrow this regime, as was Czarism.
However, Margolin does not mention this urgency to the USSR Jewry...
To make up for it, David Bur speaks about it in great detail and quite convincingly. He was born and grew up in Moscow where he received his higher education and after this he emigrated to the West in 1956. Burg, of course, knows much better than Margolin the Jewish feelings in the USSR in general, and that of many thousands of Muscovite Jews in particular, and therefore he writes distinctly about these Jewish feelings, aspirations and apprehensions in the USSR.
In his article, which was mentioned above, Burg uses the "anti-Soviet" and "anti-Russian" as synonyms. Of course, this is not accidental, because the Jews, dissatisfied with the new political course of the government in the Jewish question, themselves interlace these two meanings, as their fellow tribesmen outside of the USSR are doing. Here is what David Burg writes on this question.
”The discrimination (He calls equalization discrimination) strengthens Jewish nationalism and the Jews' aspiration for Israel. At the time, when the generation of the Thirties had an indifferent attitude to the question of its identity, the overwhelming majority of the young Jews at present feel quite nationalistical. However, this nationalism is not in the least conditioned by the religion. In the majority, especially among the young Jews, this nationalism, resulting from the hostile politics of the government toward the Jews, combines with the sharp anti-Soviet line. However, this is not always so. To some the danger of the anti-Semitism "from below" seems greater than the danger of the anti–Semitism "from above". The reasoning is as follows: although the government puts pressure on us, it nevertheless allows us to exist. If, however, a revolutionary change comes, then during the inevitable anarchy of the transitional period we will simply be slaughtered. Therefore, it is better to hold on with the government, however badly it may be treating us. Among the people of these lines the anti-Russian feelings and striving toward Israel are especially strong".
The two statements of the Jewish authors given above deserve special attention. This is because they are of the latter years (of 1957 and 1960), and also because the two authors write frequently about the "Jewish question" in Russian in the periodical press. The two authors are unanimous in their appraisal and understanding of the Jewish feelings in the USSR, and of the attitudes of the whole population to its fellow citizens, the Jews.
At the same time, these two authors hush up the real cause that provoked these feelings and extensively speak about the "limitations" and about "discrimination", when in fact, as is seen from their own account, the conversation is about the equalization in rights and opportunities of non-Jewish population with the Jews, who for thirty years occupied privileged positions in the USSR.
Neither Margolin nor Burg writes anything regarding the time when discrimination actually was practiced with respect to the native population, when one per cent of Jewish minority used to make up 80% and even 90% of the diplomats and other Soviet dignitaries. Yet, they as Jews, ought to write about, try to explain, and, if possible, justify the "inverse proportionality" of the Jews who occupied the leading positions in the country in which they appeared a little less than a hundred and fifty years ago, and made up little more than one per cent of the population they controlled.
Both authors speak about the Jewish attitude in the USSR. Margolin did not live in the USSR as a free man, but as a Polish war prisoner who lived there from 1939 and associated in camps only with his fellow tribesmen who were primarily from Poland. He speaks about the "bottomless hate" they had toward the regime. However, he does not write about the feelings of the non-Jewish population toward the Jews.
To make up for it, David Burg speaks about it unambiguously: "if a revolutionary change comes, then during the inevitable anarchy of the transitional period WE WILL SIMPLY BE SLAUGHTERED". It is said quite clear. It is to be supposed that Burg knows well the feelings of the population of the USSR, although, it is hardly possible to agree with his assertion that all the Jews in the USSR WOULD BE SLAUGHTERED. But in the case of anarchy there will undoubtedly be quite a few anti-Jewish excesses.
Absence of any certain information about the attitudes of the population of the USSR with respect to Jews permits us neither to confirm nor to refute the gloomy forecasting of Burg. Therefore, we have to limit ourselves to citing only these statements in our short account of the twenty-year post-war period.
In telling about "bottomless hate" the Jews have for the REGIME, Margolin silently bypasses the attitude of the rest of the population of the USSR toward the regime, as well as toward the Jews. But Margolin does not touch upon the question of whether this Jewish hate goes so far as to wish the overthrow of the hated regime or is limited only to hatred without a possibility of manifesting itself, nor does he mention the question of whether this hate spreads to all Russian people.
Burg, on the other hand, speaks about the attitude, not only of the Russian people but also of the rest of the popu1ation of the USSR, not toward the REGIME, but toward the Jews. He reports that the Jews, regardless of their negative attitude to the regime, are apprehensive of its overthrow, and therefore support it.
The press of the whole world writes often and much about the hostile attitudes of the government of the USSR and its whole population toward the Jews. As a rule the government is identified for some reason mainly with the Russian people (meaning the Great-Russians), without including the other nationalities of the country, for example, even the Ukrainians who have an age-old account to settle with Jewry. Frequently reporting about the anti-Jewish feelings of the population, the foreign Jewish press explains that all incidents and excesses result from government initiatives, and hushes up the feelings of the population itself with respect to the Jews.
For example, in the journal "Socialist Herald" (an organ of the Jewish "Bund" and the "Russian Mensheviks"), published in Russian in the issue of December 1959 (p. 241), we read the following. "Upon entering stores and shops of the "Second Jerusalem" (Malakhovka — Moscow suburb), you can see their (Jewish) tallow and arrogant ugly faces everywhere, disdainfully looking at the Russian. And where is this? In our Russian land the Judaic stock, risen so high, throws dirt at the Russian people, calls them "fools" and "Ivans", and we tolerate everything... How long is this going to last? We saved them from the Germans, who are more rational concerning this nation, and sheltered them. But they so quickly became impudent; they do not even understand the Russian people. Who is in whose land anyway? The people are grumbling (theoretically), but they are not too far from practice either. To speak frankly, the Bolsheviks for no reason made haste to equalize this nation. This nation can be sent down to the lower classes, but it will come out like couch-grass, chocking up the pure and kind souls of the Russian people. So it happened. Our people are not the same now. From the Jews they became infected with bureaucracy, greed, the desire for personal gain and inhospitality. There is not an open sincere Russian soul except those which exist in villages".
The above quoted was supposed to be a leaflet which was signed thusly: "B. J. S. R. and L. R. P. ", which the "Socialist Herald" deciphers as: "Beat the Jews, Save Russia" and "Liberation for the Russian People".
The leaflet was circulated in the Malakhovka, a Moscow suburb, where before the revolution Jews were not allowed to settle, but there are now many Jews, even with two synagogues. The editor of the "Socialist Herald", P. Abramovich, published this leaflet in full in his journal, adding that, in his opinion, it was fabricated by the USSR Government itself, at the head of which at that time was N. Krushchov. It is unknown how precise this assertion is. Abramovich gives nothing in support of this claim, not even indirectly.
In the opinion of the former Soviet citizens who are non-Jews, now in emigration, the content of the leaflet (without considering style) corresponds in general with the opinion of the whole population in the country about the Jews and their rôle in the USSR. Under the restraints of Soviet censorship this opinion cannot be expressed publicly, yet it exists without doubt. Burg's statement about the threat of annihilation of all Jews not by the government, but by the population, confirms the presence of the corresponding feelings in the whole population.
One more thing is noteworthy in this leaflet: it is the absence of any indications of the religio-racial causes of the negative attitudes to Jews, that is, to what precisely causes "anti-Semitism". The causes given here are quite different and are purely of a materialistic character, namely, dissatisfaction and resentment against the privileged position of the Jewish ethnic group due to their capture of all the best positions in the country, and against the scornful and contemptuous attitude of this new ruling class to the native population.
The unsubstantiated assertion by the "Socialist Herald", that the leaflet was fabricated by the government itself, cannot be accepted seriously.
At one time the Jews used to repeat, and the press of the whole world echoed it, that the pogroms in pre-revolutionary Russia were the result of government orders. After the revolution, when all the police archives became accessible to the Jews who came into power, not one of such or even similar orders were discovered. The practice of resorting to unsubstantiated assertions or accusations, or even expressions such as, "it is commonly known" or "as it is known" does not give credit to those who resort to their use, unable to confirm their accusation with facts or documents. One case, well known to the "accusers" of Russia and its Governments in the organization of Jewish pogroms, is worth mentioning here. After the biggest pogrom, in terms of number of victims, which took place in Odessa in 1905 (see p. 122 of this book), the Jewish party "Poale-Zion" sent to Odessa its representative, who, after a thorough study of all the circumstances of the affair, wrote as follows: "I went to Odessa to find a purely provocative pogrom, but, alas!, I did not find it".
* * *
On this note ends the description of the last twenty-year post-war period, which as stated above, does not pretend that it includes documented proof and all the thoroughly elucidated events of this period.
The reason is the absence of the necessary facts and the impossibility of verifying opinions and statements of various people. A lot more has to be verified in the future, which, I hope, will be done by those who will engage in this question.
Here also ends the whole sketch "Jews in Russia and in USSR", which, as its name implies, is limited in time and territory: it is limited in time only by those comparatively short periods when the Jewish ethnic group lived in the Russian land, the territory of the State of Russia, now renamed the USSR.
The questions connected with the Jewish sojourn outside of this territory and its mutual relationship with those nations among whom they lived or live during their dispersion, we have not touched, because this is outside of the framework presented here.
* * *
In conclusion, we have the opportunity to show statistical data, giving a clear picture of the degree of the Jewish participation in the cultural life of the Soviet Union, where they make up 1.1% of the population.
According to the 1959 census the population of the USSR was 208,828,000; of these, 2,268,000 were Jews, which equals approximately to 1.1%.
The percentage of Jews in individual intellectual professions is as follows: doctors — 14.7%; scientific workers — 11%; jurists — 10%; writers and journalists — 8.5%; art workers — 7%.
Knowing all these facts, the accuracy of which is not disputed by anyone, one can only wonder at the assertions of "discrimination" and "persecution" about which so much has been spoken and written in all the languages of the world.
On the question of persecution of the Judaic religion in the USSR, the State, where every religion is proclaimed to be "opium for the people", and against which a struggle is carried on, it can be asserted that the Judaic religion is in better condition than any other religion. As already has been mentioned in a previous account, even the Moscow city council was engaged in baking matzos in the prewar years, while at the same time the city council not only disengaged itself in making Kulitch and Paskhas (Easter Cakes) for Orthodox Christians but it even forbade all bake and pastry shops to make such things. In the USSR such enterprises are state owned. Jews in Moscow have their own separate Jewish cemeteries, which is not permitted to any other faith.
On the days of the big Jewish holidays the celebrations are unhindered in Moscow, even under the watchful eyes of the militia, and many thousands of Jews conduct their religious demonstrations accompanied by songs and dances.
The most-circulated American newspapers, the "Daily News" of October 18, 1965, and the "New York Times" of October 19 of the same year, reported details of these festivities. The "Daily News" writes: "half a million Moscow Jews were drinking and dancing on the streets adjacent to the synagogue", and reports that this demonstration lasted from six o'clock in the evening until midnight.
The "New York Times" writes about this at greater length, but speaks not about "half a million" but about "tens of thousands young and old Jews" who took part in these festivities, and the whole block of streets adjacent to the synagogue were closed to traffic. Arkhipov by-street, on which a big hospital is located, was filled by the dancing and singing Jews who kept on merry-making until midnight. And the militia did not prevent them.
The facts above, whose reliability is beyond doubt, testify silently to how much the Judaic religion is "oppressed" in Moscow.
And at the same time, it is unthinkable for Christians to have religious processions in Moscow where tens of thousands could take part, even under the watchful eye of the militia.
In view of the above, it is difficult to agree with all those who in most newspapers of the world write about religious persecutions of the Jews in the USSR, forgetting that all the other religious in the USSR, with regard to the freedom to perform their religious holidays and ceremonies, are constrained immeasurably more.
* * *
An impartial history, having at its disposal strictly verified facts, which to us contemporaries is still inaccessible, cannot fail to recognize that in no one country, in no one nation during the whole of its two thousand year sojourn in dispersion, did the Jews have such opportunities. Never have they reached such a position as in Russia or the USSR, especially in the thirty-year period from 1917 to 1947, when they actually were the ruling class of the country.
If they were unable to hold this position and lost it irretrievably, then it is not the Russian people and not the population of the State of two-hundred million that bears the guilt for it. The guilt must be placed upon the peculiarities of the Jewish people themselves, who brought the negative attitude upon themselves. With their activities the Jews created against themselves that negative attitude, which used to be called "Judaeophobia" and is now called "anti-Semitism". This is confirmed by many Jews themselves, from Spinoza to Professor Solomon Lourie. Professor Solomon Lourie expressed this opinion in 1922 in his well-researched book, "Anti-Semitism in the Ancient World".
But this question, first, is too controversial, and, secondly, is outside the framework of this sketch; therefore, it is not subject to our examination.
The task of this work is limited — to tell the truth about the Jewish life and conditions only and exclusively during their sojourn on the territory of Russia and the USSR. How this has been accomplished is for the reader to decide.