Marx, Lenin and Stalin On
the Jewish Question:
PART 4; For
Other Parts: Go to Table
[NOTE THIS EDITION IS AMENDED SLIGHTLY FROM THE FIRST
a FULL EXPLANATION WILL BE GIVEN IN A SEPERATE ISSUE
OF ALLIANCE. October 2001]
THE CHANGING LEADERSHIP OF
THE SECRET SERVICE
It is accepted
by most if not all Marxist-Leninists, that at various times, revisionists
within the USSR Bolshevik party took control of the secret services.
is the case, determining whether particular campaigns undertaken by the
secret services - were really in the interests of the Marxist-Leninists,
or the interests of the revisionists - needs to take into account several
specific facts of the campaign as well as the personality of the chiefs
of the secret service at the particular time in question.
the evidence regarding the alleged Zionist Plot, it is therefore necessary
to understand those who made the allegations and effected the arrests.
The Case of Ezhov And the
Appointment of Beria To The Secret Services
attempts at creating a trusted and close network of Marxist-Leninists around
him in foreign policy (See Part Two of this article), matched a similar
strategy in the secret service. In previous Alliance issues, we have discussed
how, Stalin attempted to either root out, or at worst, to contain the counter-revolutionary
terror, that was striking at the best of the Bolsheviks, as intended and
organised by the hidden revisionists.
Yagoda was removed from heading the secret service after his Trotskyite
affiliations became clear. His substitute was Nikolai Ivanovich Ezhov,
who became the head of the Secret Police the NKVD. But again it appears
that this office had been infiltrated by hidden revisionists.
has shown how Stalin obstructed Ezhov in
his "mass" arrests and expulsions from
the party. For example, this exchange shows the antagonism between the
"Ezhov: Comrades as a
result of the verification of party documents we expelled more
than 200,000 members of the party.
(a close comrade-in-arms of Stalin) tried to place further brakes upon
Ezhov, as shown when:
"In a highly publicized attack
Zhdanov accused the Saratov kraikom (party leadership-Ed) of "dictatorship"
and "repression".. At the Feb 1937 Central Committee Plenum, Zhdanov gave
the keynote speech on democratizing party organisations, ending bureaucratic
repression of Alittle people," and replacing the co-option of party leaders
with grass roots elections. Indeed under pressure of this line, contested
secret ballot party elections were held in 1937."
Cited from Stenographic Records.
Cited In AStalinist Terror, New
Perspectives."Ed. J.Arch Getty & Roberta T. Manning. Cambridge University
Press, 1993. p.51).
In the case of
then Secretary of the Central Executive Committee of Soviets, Ezhov had
wanted to expel him. But Stalin and Molotov defended Enukidze.
Ezhov: Yes very many.
I will speak about this..
we explained 30,000..(inaudible remark) and 600 former Trotskyites and
Zinoviev-ists it would be a bigger victory.
Ezhov: More than 200,000
members were expelled. Part of this number.. were arrested."
Cited from Stenographic Records.
Cited In AStalinist Terror, New
Perspectives."Ed. J.Arch Getty & Roberta T. Manning. Cambridge University
Press, 1993. p.51).
pressure from Ezhov, he was expelled.
But then Molotov
and Stalin moved for him to be re-admitted. Though the plenum agreed with
Stalin and Molotov, this re-admission never happened - having been arrested,
he was shot in 1937. The record shows a clear pattern here - where Stalin
was set versus Ezhov. (Arch Getty & Manning; Ibid; p.54).
in the case of the arch-Right revisionist Bukharin,
(a leading ex-Bolshevik whose prominence and past service made him especially
controversial - yet especially important to deal with. Precisely just in
case he did become the focus of further organised opposition) - even his
execution was controversial. Stalin wanted him expelled,
and not even put on trial, let alone executed.
to Stalin on this matter were: Ezhov, Budennyi,
Manuilskii, Shvernik, Kosarev and Iakir
(who voted to shoot Bukharin without trial); and Litvinov, Postyshev, Shiriatov,
and Petrovskii (Who voted to send Bukharin to an open trial).
voted for Stalinís line by a majority. But
the documents of agreement were altered (in Mikoianís
handwriting) and Stalinís advice was simply
ignored. (Arch Getty & Manning; Ibid; p.58).
Even a very hostile Sudoplatov, records that Stalinís attitude was surprisingly
of the conventional portrait painted of a vindictive dictatorial individual.
According to Sudoplatov, Stalin preferred private
rebukes rather than prosecution
, for example when dealing with instances of "corruption":
learnt from Malenkovís deputy- Anna Tsukanova.. That the Central Committee
did not always prosecute corruption reported by the Party Control Commission
and security organs. Stalin & Malenkov preferred to reproach an errant
high-ranking official rather than to prosecute him, but if the man landed
in the wrong power group, then the incriminating evidence was used to demote
or purge him."
Ibid; p. 319
can only be reasonably concluded, that Stalin was trying hard to limit
the damage being done by a revisionist taking cover behind a Left-ist and
In this situation, Lavrentii Beria was put in this sensitive and critical
job. Stalin himself put Beria into this job, after Ezhov had tried to prepare
a case against Beria. Beria appealed to Stalin, who appointed Beria initially
as Ezhovís Aassistant". Beria became first deputy chairman of the USSR
NKVD at the end of August 1938, having been relieved of his prior position
as first secretary of the Georgian party organisation. (Amy Knight: "Beria-Stalinís
First Lieutenant"; Princeton New Jersey 1993; p. 87-88). On 17 November
and the Central Committee adopted a report issued by Beriaís investigation
Arrests - Supervision By the Procuracy And the Conduct of Investigations",
which passed a resolution. This was a:
"Strongly worded, lengthy resolution..
(it) Completely renounced the purges. Directed at party, Procuracy and
NKVD officials in the republic it was highly critical of the "gross violations
of legal norms" that
had been committed during arrests and investigations in particular the
reliance on confessions extracted from the accused and the failure to keep
in the words of Amy Knight, his biographer, Beria "cleansed" the
NKVD. As far as he could, he tried to only place trusted Bolsheviks in
the key positions. As he had personal knowledge from Georgia of who was
reliable or not, many of the appointees were from Georgia. This has been
labelled as a "Georgian mafia" controlled by Beria. But since the
objective was to place trusted comrades in key positions, and Beria knew
these people best - this derogatory term is un-justified. As Knight puts
Furthermore the resolutions
"The NKVD has gone so far in
distorting the norms of the judicial process that very recently questions
have arisen about giving it so called limits on the process of mass arrests".
According to the resolution, Aenemies of the people" who had penetrated
the NKVD and the Procuracy were falsifying documents and arresting innocent
people". The resolution forbade these organs from continuing their policy
of mass arrests and exile. Henceforth arrests were to be made only with
the consent of the court or the Procurator; the noxious NKVD troikas which
decided cases of the spot were to be abolished."
Amy Knight: ABeria-Stalin's
First Lieutenant"; Princeton New Jersey 1993; p. 89.
"Set about "cleansing" the NKVD
of undesirable elements, in other words he initiated a full-scale purge
of the Ezhovites, executing or imprisoning hundreds of officials.... By
early 1939 Beria had succeeded in arresting most of the top and middle
level hierarchy of Ezhovís apparatus, replacing these men with members
of his Georgian group. It is possible to identify at least 12 Beria men....
appointed to key NKVD posts... Vsevold Merkulov.., Vladimir Dekanozov,...
Bogdan Kobulov... Solomon Milíshtein... Iuvelian Sumbatov-Topuridze.. Sardeon
It is accepted
by even hostile and anti-Marxist-Leninist writers, that following Beriaís
changes, thousands of prisoners in the camps were released:
"There was a general feeling
that the NKVD would eschew the excesses of the Ezhov period and people
began to talk about a "Beria thaw"."
Amy Knight: ABeria-Stalinís
First Lieutenant"; Princeton New Jersey 1993; p. 92
reports and Khruschevite revisionists have labelled Beria as a man who
was both a political evil and a sexual debauchee given to raping young
girls. But these are dubious, as Knight herself acknowledges:
"It should be noted that the
stories have been disputed by some who knew Beria. One former NKVD employee
expressed strong doubts that Beria was raping young girls, noting that
he was known in police circles as a man with exceptional self-control who
worked extremely hard".
Amy Knight: ABeria-Stalinís
First Lieutenant"; Princeton New Jersey 1993; p. 97.
As an enemy of
both bourgeois and Khruschevite revisionists, Beria is bound to attract
negative and libellous comments. But Marxist-Leninists are aware that Beria
effectively cleared the NKVD of revisionist practices and revisionist personnel.
His later treatment at the hands of the revisionists led by Khrushchev,
who were now in power, after the death of Stalin - lends credence to the
view that Beria was a Marxist-Leninist. That case has been well summarised
by W.B. Bland
in an article published by the Stalin Society
of London UK." (Bland: "The Doctors Case & The Death Of Stalin"; Stalin
Society; London nd ca 1992. NB:
soon to be placed on the web site of Alliance).
Amy Knight: ABeria-Stalinís
First Lieutenant"; Princeton New Jersey 1993; p. 90-91
The Post-War Reshuffle That
Removed Beria From Sole Control of the Secret Services- The Atomic Threat
proven himself capable of running the necessarily vigilant, but controlled
secret service that a socialist state must have, faced by an imperialist
the war, a new danger arose - the atomic
bomb monopoly by the USA. It was essential
to have in charge of the Russian Atomic Bomb project, someone who was an
utterly reliable Bolshevik. Stalin ensured that Lavrentii Beria was given
this mandate. This very serious and onerous task could not be done well
with divided attention.
safety of the USSR critically depended upon its success. Therefore, Beria
was duly relieved of his post as the sole Commissar of Internal Affairs
which he had held from 1938 to December 1945. He ceased to be solely in
charge of security and intelligence in the USSR and overseas - excepting
for all security problems directly connected with his job as manager
of the Special State Committee on Problem Number One - the creation of
the atomic bomb. (Sudoplatov P, Ibid;
The secret services had already
been divided into three arms in April 1943.
was likely to be because the work load was already too great to enable
only one agency to entirely cover the work. Thus the former Peopleís
Commissariat of Internal Affairs (NKVD) was split into three arms:
1) The NKVD
- still under Beria
but who was now no longer responsible for state security but only for economic
"The NKVD under the leadership
of Beria, was thereby relieved of the heavy problems of state security
and became more and more an "economicí organisation".
B.Levytsky:"The Uses Of Terror:
The Soviet State Security: 1917-1970"; London; 1971;
2) The Peoples
Commissariat of State Security (NKGB)
headed by Vsevolod Merkulov.
He was known to be a close ally of Beriaís:
"He was one of Beriaís closest
and trusted collaborators."
B.Levytsky:"The Uses Of Terror:
The Soviet State Security: 1917-1970"; London; 1971;
3) The Counter-Espionage
Department of the Peopleís Commissariat for Defence (SMERSH) headed by
Marxist-Leninists are in agreement on the class affiliations of Beria,
Kruglov, and Merkulov.
After the war in 1946, SMERSH
was abolished, and the NKVD was re-named the Ministry of Internal Affairs
(MVD) and was headed by Sergey Kruglov
who was later openly revisionist. The NKGB
was renamed the Ministry of State Security
(MGB) and remained under Abakumov.
It is true
that some Indian Marxist-Leninists (of Revolutionary Democracy) have recently
raised questions about Beria, but these have not been to date, substantiated
We therefore will not
deal with these purely verbal allegations.
But there still remains some
significant queries about whether Abakumov was a Marxist-Leninist, or whether
he was a revisionist.
We are forced
to consider this matter for the correct interpretation of several later
events - including the matter of Stalin's death. Also, at least in part,
the correct interpretation of the alleged Zionist Plot - hinges on this
matter. We msut examine the question:
Was Victor Abakumov A Marxist-Leninist?
The Case for
Abakumov Being a Marxist-Leninist:
Essentially as far as Alliance
can discern, the case on behalf of Abakumov rests on two matters as follows:
i) An Alleged Friendship
As the British Marxist-Leninist
views it, Beria and Abakumov were associated as close comrades. By this
reasoning, Abakumov must have been a Marxist-Leninist. Bland cites the
following views of historians of the Soviet secret services- Levytsky
and Wolin & Slusser:
"Beriaís adversaries in
the Party (i.e. the opponents of M-L-ism-Ed).. Achieved a notable victory
in late 1951, with the replacement of V.S.Abakumov, an associate of Beriaís
by S.P.Ignatiev a Party official, as head of the MVD".
of Blandís point of view, it is also alleged by Sudoplatov that Abakumov
was an ally of Beria ( Sudoplatov; Ibid; p.324). However this view is contested
by Amy Knight- who is undoubtedly the most extensive biographer of Beria
(albeit a bourgeois historian), available in the English language. Knight
S.Wolin & R.Slusser :"The
Soviet Secret Police"; London; 1957; p.20.
"Abakumov, Beriaís intimate friend
was removed from his post and replaced by S.D.Ignatiev.."
Levytsky op cit p.204
"Beriaís loyal deputy Merkulov
was replaced by Victor Abakumov as head of the MGB late in the summer of
1946. This change was not instigated by Beria who was distressed to lose
that Stalin placed Abakumov in charge of the MGB. This is very possible
as the pressures on Beria had to be relieved somehow. But it is most unlikely
that it was done for the purpose, as Knight maintains, that Stalin wanted
Knight Ibid; p.141.
"Limit Beriaís pervasive influence
on the security organs."
dictating that Beria should be freed for the work on the nuclear bomb,
meant that several loop-holes had opened, for the revisionists to squeeze
themselves back into the security apparatus with a view to renewing disruption.
As the changes took place, several opportunities arose:
(Knight Ibid; p.141).
"The following months witnessed
numerous changes in both the MVD and MGB as several new deputies arrived,
apparently under the auspices of Abakumov and Kruglov. These changes may
also have been influenced by the arrival of a new CC secretary A.A.Kuznetsov,
who took over party supervision of the police. With the exception of Stepan
Mamulov, a longtime Beria crony who became
a deputy minister in the MVD, none of the new men were part of Beriaís
"Georgian Mafia", although most had been in the security or internal affairs
organs for a long time."
arrested while Stalin was still alive.
(Knight Ibid; p.141).
ii) Khrushchev ordered the execution
It is thus highly plausible
that the arrest itself, coming under Stalinís life time, might have
been a part of the revisionist strategy or
the Marxist-Leninist strategy.
there is no doubt that Abakumov was tried, after Stalinís death,
in Leningrad before the Military Collegium of the USSR Supreme Court presided
over by Lieutenant-Colonel E.L. Zeidin.
He was charged with "committing the same
crimes as Beria", and also with having:
"Fabricated the so-called
Leningrad Caseí, in which many Party and Soviet officials were arrested
without grounds and falsely accused of very grave state crimes".
was then sentenced to death by shooting, by the revisionists. This pro-Abakumov
evidence seems to Alliance fragmentary at best.
"The Doctors Case & The Death Of Stalin"; Stalin Society; London
nd ca 1992; p.66.
was still alive while Abakumov was imprisoned, it suggests that Stalin
did not try to obtain his release. One suspects that were Beria to be imprisoned,
Stalin would have moved heaven and earth to get him out.
is there against Abakumov?
i) Abakumovís other Allegiances
In 1947, Abakumov
revealed the responsibility of Malenkov
for some defects in aviation production that were apparently concealed
from the state. (Sudoplatov;
was given a party reprimand, demotion & a temporary exile to Kazakhstan
and removed from the CC secretariat. However Malenkovís duties were then
taken by Aleksei A. Kuznetsov.
Sudoplatov claims that: "Kuznetsov & Abakumov soon became friends".
But if this
is truly so, this must shed some doubt and suspicion upon Abakumovís identity
as a Marxist-Leninist, since Kuznetsov was well known to be a close ally
of the revisionists Vosnosenky and Khrushchev. As Bland has pointed out
in the Marxist-Leninist Research Bureau
Report no 2 (reprinted as Alliance Number 17)
the Politburo of the CC of the CPSU(B):
"adopted a resolution
"On the Anti-Party Actions of the Comrades Aleksey A. Kuznetsov, Mikhail
I Rodionov and Pyotr S Popkov".
Also, as W.B.Bland
had previously made clear in the now classic "Restoration of Capitalism
in the USSR", Kuznetsov was an ally of the arch-revisionists Vosnosenky
Bland ML Research Bureau; Report
No.2; London; nd circa 1992; p. 25
"Party leaders confide
that ... Vosnosensky and Kuznetsov ... (were) in 1949... trying to establish
a separate Communist organisation in the Russian Soviet Republic .. With
headquarters in Leningrad instead of Moscow".
But Stalin is
said to have fought for Malenkovís reinstatement from Sudoplatovís testimony:
C.L.Sulzberger:"The Big Thaw";
New York; 1956;
Also See Bland In "Restoration";
Wembley 1988; reprinted Alliance Number 14; p.342.
This was originally on the Alliance web-site; & currently is still
available at a mirror site at: http://www.virtue.nu/allianceml/
We are in the process of re-loading
all our documents at this current site i.e. at Brinkster.].
Also find Appendix 3 "The Leningrad
Plot" at: http://www.virtue.nu/allianceml/
"Stalin however allowed
Malenkov to return to Moscow after two months & appointed him deputy
prime minster. Beria in this period strongly supported Malenkov." (Ibid).
was a later vacillator and not a firm Marxist-Leninist. But Stalin had
clearly recognised the anti-Marxist-Leninist behaviurs of Kuznetsov.
(ii) The General Zhukov Affair
apparently behind various attempts to destroy the career of General
Zhukov, and his efforts resulted in the
dismissal of Zhukov from the Bolshevik party CC. Using evidence from the
imprisoned General Nivikov,
Zhukov was charged with conspiracy. In these charges, Novikov had described
Zhukov as being of a man of:
and.. A man "namoured with himself", who loved glory and honour. He was
officious and would not tolerate opposition."
Zhukovís biographer makes clear, Stalin only
reluctantly agreed to an enforced and temporary retreat for Zhukov,
pending full investigation saying:
Chaney, Preston: "Zhukov"; 1976;
Norman Oklahoma; p. 371.
"Nonetheless Comrade Zhukov,
you will have to leave Moscow for a while."
Zhukov was sent
to Odessa to run the Military District from June 13th to December 1947.
Chaney Ibid; p. 373.
He was reprimanded
in June 1947 for the only single objective
negative fact that had emerged on him.
What was this? Zhukov had in peacetime awarded an actress with a medal.
He was therefore reprimanded then for:
artists in his district. The right to reward reverted in peacetime to the
Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR".
In December 1947
Zhukov was summoned to the Central committee Plenum where he heard his
charges read out. Upon hearing that no new facts were stated he refused
to argue, and when he saw that the ensuing vote had expelled him from the
Central Committee, he simply marched out. All other allegations, against
Zhukov remained un-proven. But as Chaney says, Stalin
remained unconvinced of Zhukovís "error":
Chaney Ibid; p. 374.
"Despite their relentless
effort to have Zhukov arrested, Beria and Abakumov failed to convince Stalin
of the Marshallís guilt. As Khrushchev told Zhukov later, Stalin said to
Thus it was Stalin
who resisted the attacks on Zhukov, in which to a large extent Abakumov
was involved. Naturally, others were also involved in the complex battles,
and the inter-relationships become important, to attempt to systematically
"I donít believe anyone that
Zhukov would agree to this. I know him well. He is a straightforward person;
he is sharp and can say unpleasant things to anyone bluntly, but he will
never be against the Central Committee".
Another version was that Stalin
"No, I wonít arrest Zhukov.
I know him well. For four years of war, I knew him better that my own self."
Chaney Ibid; p. 375.
was placed in the Ministership of state security of Georgia, having been
in the war years, the head of SMERSH in the Caucasus. According to Sudoplatov
his anti-Beria inclinations were well known. (Sudoplatov; Ibid; p.321.)
He was assisted
who later becomes a key figure in the subsequent anti-Marxist-Leninist
plots, that became known to the world at large as the "Anti-Zionist
Plot" and the "Doctorsí
We will return to Abakumov below,
when we examine his testimony on the murder of Mikhoels and the Doctorís
Plot (See below).
But at least some evidence cited
to this point in this report, continues to identify Abakumov as an honest
Given the obvious truth that
the revisionists were responsible for his death, it is difficult to avoid
the conclusion that as Bland has it, Abakumov was an honest Marxist-Leninist.
THE JEWISH ANTI-FASCIST COMMITTEE
AND THE ANTI-JEWISH PLOT
As the Nazis
entered the USSR in their war of aggression, they organised killing squads
against the Jews of the former Pale of Settlement, within the USSR:
The Effects of The War Upon
the Jews of the Soviet Union
"The former "Pale of Settlement"
- fell under German occupation. In the territories annexed by the Soviet
Union after September 1939 - the Baltic, eastern Poland, Bessarabia and
the Bukovina - live 1,910,000 Jews; in the Ukraine, Byelorussia, the Crimea
and other areas of the RSFSR overrun by the German forces are 2,160,000
Jews. Of these, 1.5 million manage to flee before the German troops arrive.
More than 2.5 million are trapped, 90 percent of which live concentrated
in less than 50 towns. In the months before the attack, the Nazi leadership
has designed a method for these particular circumstances: the mobile killing
units.. "Einsatzgruppen,"..of SS men, German police and local helpers...
Outside cities with large Jewish populations, mass killings of unprecedented
scope and speed take place - in Babi Yar outside Kiev, in Ponar outside
Vilna, in the VII.Fort outside Kaunas. In the first five months of operation,
the "Einsatzgruppen" shoot 100,000 Jews per month... about 2 million Jews
are still alive after the first sweep in November 1941.. Jews are forced
into "ghettos" and the population Aselected" for immediate killing, deportation
or for forced labor. From 1942 onward, these ghettos are Aliquidated" and
the remaining population shot. By the end of 1943, another 900,000 Jews
During the war
anti-Semitic chauvinism continued to be expressed against the Jews despite
high involvement of the Soviet Jews in the resistance:
WWW Site: "Beyond the Pale"; Op
"The Jews of the Soviet Union
took an active part in the fight against Nazi Germany. About half a million
served in the Red Army, and many volunteered for service at the front.
Jewish soldiers ran an extra risk: when taken prisoner, they were bound
to be shot immediately. An estimated 200,000 Soviet Jews died on the battlefield.
During the war, the old anti-Semitic stereotype of Jews as cowardly soldiers
was resurrected. Rumours circulated that Jews are "draft dodgers.."
The Soviet state
took action to organise the Jewish partisans and fighters, and to publicise
their actions in the West. This took the concrete from within the Soviet
Union of the Jewish
Anti-Fascist Committee (JAFC). Itsí
organisation was approved of, and supported by both Stalin and Beria.
"The Soviet authorities
in April 1942 allow the establishment of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee.
Its aim is to organize political and material support for the Soviet struggle
against Nazi Germany from the Jewish communities in the West." (See Web
site at "Beyond the Pale"; Op Cit p.61: http://www.friends-partners.org/partners/beyond-the-pale/english/61.html
There is some
dispute as to the origin of the idea of
the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee.
"One should bear in mind that attempts
to organise an international Jewish committee in the Soviet Union during
the first months of the War were sponsored by Beria, head of the Soviet
Security Police. Individuals connected with the security apparatus also
preformed a significant role within the Soviet Antifascist Committee which
emerged in Spring 1942."
Redlich Shimon:"Propaganda and
Nationalism in Wartime Russia-The Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee in the
USSR, 1941-1948"; 1982; USA; p.11.
of the "Bund", from Poland, were imprisoned by the Soviets after the annexation
of Eastern Poland under the terms of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, in 1939.
These two men were Henrych Erlich and Wiktor
to set up an international Jewish Committee in the USSR. Upon the arrest
of the two, international pressure mounted to release them. This included
Polish socialists such as Wanda Wasilwska
and the American Federation of Labor,
and the British government. As a letter written from the Foreign Office
explained, this would strengthen the hand of the "moderate
Poles" led by General Sikorski:
"A letter from the British
Foreign Office to the British Embassy in Moscow listed Erlich and Alter
among eight outstanding Polish specialists whose release was sought by
the British "to strengthen General Sikorskiís hand with his people", ie
to bolster the moderate Poles."
But when Beria
became involved in their case, the previously announced death sentences
were lifted and
they were released. They were then allowed to assist in the formation of
the Committee. As Redlich points out, the Soviet Government was actively
thinking about such steps, and a parallel Slav
Committee, had already been created "within
a few weeks after Hitlerís attack". (Redlich Ibid; p. 11. )
Redlich Shimon: "Propaganda
and Nationalism in Wartime Russia-The Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee in
the USSR, 1941-1948"; 1982; USA; p.14.
Alter and Erlych were primarily responsible for a similar idea in respect
of the Jews, are impossible to verify. It is however, certainly the case
that both were then later executed.
gain from their executions?
both of them were Bundists, and thus anti-Bolshevik, both were working
towards the ridding of Poland from Nazi rule and the establishment of a
democratic and social-democratic state in Poland. Their contacts with the
Polish ambassador in
Moscow, Professor Stanlsilaw Kot had
assured their allegiance to:
"The New Plan.. Which will shape
the fate of the future Europe in the spirit of political freedom social
justice and national equality... Kot subsequently reported to his superiors
in London that the "Bund delegates told me that the Soviet Government (NKVD)
asked their assistance in spreading propaganda especially in America. They
promised their help on condition that they would conduct the propaganda
themselves, not as figure heads, and that it would be under the control
of the (Polish) ambassador."
that is acknowledged, that they had established links with visiting social
democrats such as Water Citrine
of the British Trades Union Congress and members of the Soviet - British
Trade Union Committee, it appears that Alter and Erlych were genuinely
interested in the liberation of Poland.
Redlich Ibid; p. 24,
They therefore objectively
assisted the Soviet struggle.
It is clear then,
that their murder did not objectively help the USSR.
were suddenly re-arrested on December 4th 1941.
Redlich, the anti-Marxist-Leninist historian of the JAFC, finds the arrests
inexplicable, from the point of view of both Stalin and the desperate struggle
of the USSR state against Hitlerism.
In the absence of further
data, Alliance is forced to interpret this as another attempted sabotage
(See above for other documented war time sabotage).
decision had been taken, somehow the fact of their executions; had subsequently
to be explained to the world.
accused them of : "working on behalf of Germany". Redlich Ibid; p. 30.
seemed to many to be a rather un-convincing allegation.
was considerable negative international response to their re-arrest. Workers
circles in the USA especially, were split by the news of these two executions.
However, the executions were indeed confirmed by Litvinov in early
1943, who stated that both of them had argued for a Peace with Germany.
(Redlich Ibid; p. 33).
documentary data on this matter is still awaited.
by the time the arrests of the Bund-ists, had occurred, a Jewish
Anti-fascist Committee had been established.
provided in an internal party document, "Pursuant to the inquiry of Comrade
Shumeiko" upon the JAFC, confirms that the Jewish
Anti-fascist Committee in the USSR (JAFC)
was formed soon after a rally organised in Moscow of the representatives
of Athe Jewish people" Vaksberg
A, Ibid, p. 107. It occurred after the:
"First antifascist radio
broadcast political rally of representatives of the Jewish people, which
was held in Moscow in August 1941. The Committee consists of 70 members
.. and its executive committee has 19 members.."
In a memo of
21 June 1946: "To Comrade M.A.Suslov"; the members were itemised. The leading
elements were in the main, long standing party members:
From Library of Congress site
WWW: "The Jewish
Antifascist Committee Jewish in the USSR"; Find at: http://lcweb.loc.gov/exhibits/archives/jewi.html
"1. Secretary of the Committee,
whose duties (following the death of Comrade Shakhno Epshtein) are carried
out by the writer I. Fefer,
member of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) [VKP(b)] since 1919.
But, as a leading
representative of the politburo, Solomon
Lozovsky was the political representative.
He was then Deputy Commissar of Political
Affairs, and deputy chief of Sovinformburo.
It was he who officially announced the formation of the committee, talking
to foreign correspondents in Kuibyshev in April 1942:
"All the anti-fascist committees
arose in connection with Hitlerís treacherous attack on the USSR.. The
Jews have created an anti-fascist committee to help the Soviet Union, Great
Britain and the USA."
Redlich Op Cit; p. 40.
The JAFC published
a paper- "Eynikayt",
from the summer of 1942, until late 1948. The key members of the JAFC included,
(the Jewish actor, and Director of the Moscow Jewish State Art Theatre),
the executive secretary, and Itzik Feffer
was a poet as well as a Red Army Colonel; Ilya
Ehrenburg the noted writer; David
Bergelson the writer; Perets
Markish the Soviet-Yiddish poet.
2. Deputy Secretary of
the Committee, Comrade S.M. Shpigeíglias,
VKP(b) member since 1919 and formerly a party worker."
Memorandum of JAFC ; 21
June 1946; To "Comrade M. A. SUSLOV, Director Section For Foreign Policy
of the Central Committee Of the Communist Party"; At Library of Congress
site on web: http://lcweb.loc.gov/exhibits/archives/m2antfac.html
Of all these,
undoubtedly the most popular figure in the JAFC was Solomon Mikhoels, famous
for his stage roles and this Theatre. It is said that Stalin had nick-named
him as "The Wise Solomon", (Teller, Judd L: "The Kremlin, The Jews
& The Middle East"; New York;
1957; p.41.") though this is specifically repudiated by other sources.
victory of Stalingrad,
in 1943, a tension erupted over a dual
potential role for the JAFC:
to defend Jewish refugees and provide assistance and rehabilitation to
Jewish expatriates; and
to "activate" foreign Jewry for the defence of the USSR. (Redlich Ibid;
view predominated, and Mikhoels and Feffer were sent on a speaking tour
of the West. They succeeded in convincing Jewish people in the West to
support and donate to the Russian anti-war efforts:
"The Jewish Anti-fascist Committee
in the USSR has sent during its entire existence one delegation, composed
of Comrades Mikhoels and Fefer, to the United States, England, Canada,
and Mexico. This delegationsís trip report has been published in the book:
"The Jewish People against Fascism."
The leading lights
of the Western Jewish intelligentsia met them such as those of the American
Committee of Jewish Writers & Scientists, with Albert Einstein, Sholom
Asch, Lion Feuchtwangler, Howard Fast, Lilian Hellmann
and others. The trip succeeded in raising funds for at Aleast one thousand
aeroplanes and five hundred tanks and uniforms and food etc.
Vaksberg Ibid; p.118
Memorandum to Comrade Suslov;
There is little
doubt that Mikhoels and Feffer made a significant impact upon world Jewry,
and garnered respect and enthusiasm for the USSR.
"In 1943 Solomon Mikhoels and
the writer Itzik Feffer embark on a seven-month official tour to the USA,
Mexico, Canada and Great Britain. They are received everywhere with great
enthusiasm: for a long time, no official contact with one of the largest
Jewish communities of the world had been possible. Especially in the United
States, where many Jews have not forgotten their ties with Russia, the
tour is a great success, and many millions of dollars are raised for the
Russian war effort. The JAFC becomes the focal point of a national awakening
for Soviet Jewry at a time when its very survival is in danger. Many Jews
turn to the JAFC with requests for help, among them survivors from the
Nazi camps who find their houses occupied upon their return." WWW Site
Beyond the pale:
achievement of the JAFC was that several prominent Jews from all over the
world came to the USSR as guests of the committee:
"Over two years, representatives
of a series of foreign Jewish antifascist organizations have visited the
Committee: Deputy Chairman of the Jewish Antifascist Committee of
Bulgaria, Mr. Zhak Vradzhali; one
of the leaders of the Union of Jews of Czechoslovakia, Mr. Rozenberg; representatives
of Jewish organizations of France, Poland, et al. Recently Mr. Ben Zion
Goldberg (Waife), the son-in-law of Sholem Aleichem, visited the Soviet
Union. He is a prominent public figure in the United States, a member of
the executive committee of the Soviet-American Friendship Society (headed
by Lamont), chairman of the Committee of Jewish Scientists, Writers, and
Artists of the United States (Albert Einstein is president of the Committee),
vice-president of Ambidjan, the All-American Society for Aid to Birobidzhan
(president of Ambidzhan-- Steffenson). Mr. Goldberg is also a major American
journalist.. Mr. Goldberg was received in Moscow by M. I. Kalinin and S.
A. Lozovskii.. Met Soviet writers .. representatives of the Soviet Jewish
community (at the Jewish Antifascist Committee in the USSR headquarters),
with leaders of the State Jewish Theatre, with the chief rabbi of the Moscow
Jewish congregation, Shliffer, and with leaders of the Red Cross, among
others... During his stay in the Soviet Union, Mr. Goldberg dispatched
via the Soviet Information Bureau 33 articles to the American, Canadian,
English, Palestinian, Polish, and Yiddish press. The articles were extremely
friendly toward the Soviet Union. Before his departure, Mr. Goldberg began
to write a book in English entitled England, the Opponent of Peace, and
a book in Yiddish entitled Jewish Culture in the Soviet Union."
Memorandum to Comrade Suslov;
were being received by the USSR from prominent Jews in "several countries":
"Such requests were received
from: N. Goldman, the chairman of the executive committee of the World
Jewish Congress; Dr. Stephen Wise, chairman of the American Jewish Congress;
Louis Levine, chairman of the Jewish Union for Soviet Aid under Russian
War Relief; Mr. Raiskii, the editor-in-chief of the newspaper Presse Nouvelle
in Paris; et al."
Memorandum to Comrade Suslov;
At this stage, the Jewish AFC
proposed a detailed plan to make the Crimea the site of a Homeland for
oppressed Jewish people from all over the world, including all the refugees
from the war.
This was proposed by the
JAFC in a letter to Stalin dated February 15, 1944.
It seems that only part of this
letter has been made public to date. That fragment reads:
"The creation of a Jewish Soviet
Republic will once and forever, in a Bolshevik manner, within the spirit
of Leninist -Stalinists national policy, settle the problem of the state
legal position of the Jewish people and further development of their multi
century culture. This is a problem that no one has been capable of settling
in the course of many centuries. It can be solved only in our great socialist
Cited From Literatunaya Gazeta
July 7th; 1933.; By Sudoplatov Ibid; p. 286.
above, Stalin had approved
the formation of the committee. Even the virulently anti-Stalin figure
Vaksberg notes that Stalin had written to the JAFC the following note:
"Please convey to the working
Jews of the Soviet Union who collected an additional 33,294,823 rubles
for the construction of air force squadron Stalinís Friendship of the Peoples
and tank column Soviet Birobidzhan my fraternal greetings and the gratitude
of the Red Army J.Stalin".
as various Zionists state, should Stalin have turned against the JAFC?
They allege "anti-Semitism".
Vaksberg A; AStalin
Against the Jews"; New York; 1994; p. 116.
Was Stalin himself known
to hold anti-Semitic views?
The major allegations
made on a personal level about this charge are frankly ludicrous. Thus
for instance, reliance upon Khrushchev and moreover upon an unclear source
"The first symptoms of Stalinís
anti-Semitic policy are rooted in his personality and may be traced to
the pre-revolutionary period. Many people who knew him well, such as Khrushchev,
suggested that his Judaeophobia was pathological. Stalin's struggle against
Trotsky and his numerous Jewish supporters fuelled the anti-Semitic trends
in the Kremlin dictatorís policy. ĎAnti-Semitism and anti-Trotskyism reared
their heads simultaneouslyí, Trotsky wrote."
Doctors' Plot: Stalin's Solution to the Jewish Question"; in Editor: Yaacov
Ro'i:"Jews & Jewish Life in Russia & the Soviet Union"; Ibid; p.103.
It is remarkable
that Trotsky then, himself a Jew never commented that this was the reason
for his "persecutions" in a more visible and public forum. Nor indeed do
Trotskyís followers including Isaac Deutscher
his primary biographer use this charge.
What else does Professor I. Etinger have for us?
"Stalinís secretary, Boris
Bazhanov, recollects that Stalin made
crude anti-Semitic outbursts even when Lenin was still alive. In 1907 Stalin
wrote a letter in which he referred to the Mensheviks as a ĎJewish factioní
and to the Bolsheviks as a Ďtruly Russianí one.í It would do no harm to
us Bolsheviks if we staged a pogrom inside the partyí, he suggested."
from Vaksberg, indicate the same source for other various anecdotes. But
interestingly, the most virulent anti-Stalin Vaksberg records other facts
that show Stalin was not anti-Semitic. So Vaksberg, although interspersed
with sly digs and innuendoes throughout, must note that Stalin was vociferous
"The composer Dmitri Rogal-Levitsky...
was in 1944 commissioned to orchestrate the new state anthem.. His notebooks
.. Record the conversation (of a banquet)...
"Stalin asked how many conductors
there were at the Bolshoi Theatre. They told him seven of whom three were
"Do you have Nikolai Golovanov
there? Stalin asked....
Doctors' Plot: Ibid; p. 104; citing V.Solov'ev, E. Klepikov, op cit p.216.
"We were planning to entrust
two or three productions to him began Tsazoksky.... "And?" Interrupted
"Good thing!" Stalin said, striking
"I donít like him... Heís an
anti-Semite. Yes a real anti-Semite. A crude anti-Semite. He should not
be allowed into the Bolshoi Theatre.. Itís like letting a goat into the
cabbage patch," he said laughing"..
Then the conversation turned. But
a while later without any obvious connection, Stalin returned to the first
"But that Golovanov is an anti-Semite"..
"Iíve not dealt with him in
"Donít worry you will, if you
let him into the Bolshoi Theatre... Golovanov is a real anti-Semite, a
dangerous, principled anti-Semite.. You cannot let Golovanov into the Bolshoi
Theatre. That anti-Semite will turn everything upside down."
Vaksberg A; "Stalin Against
the Jews"; New York; 1994; p. 29-30.
Vasberg dismisses this all, as an elaborate facade behind which Stalinís
own "anti-Semitism" could be hidden. Vaksberg refers to Stalinís daughter
having "destroyed" Svetlana Alliluyevaís
first marriage because it had been to a Jew - Grigory
Morozov (Moroz). Such personal testimony
is liable to selective "filtering". But even Svetlanaís own words are somewhat
self-contradictory. She states that Stalin did not
stand in her way regarding her marriage, but he refused to allow her husband
to visit him. Perhaps the real reason that Stalin disliked him, was not
that he was a Jew, but lies in what he told her:
"Heís too calculating, that
young man of yours.. Just think itís terrible at the front. People are
getting shot. And look at him. Heís sitting it out at home."
It is true that
Svetlana says later on, that Stalin told her that the "Zionists had thrown
the first husband" into her way. (Alliluyeva,
Svetlana, "Twenty Letters to a Friend"; Ibid; p.196).
Alliluyeva, Svetlana, "Twenty
Letters to a Friend"; New York; 1967; p.187.
marriage appears to have failed of itsí own accord, Svetlana is quite clear
The net definite "evidence"
to prove the racism of Stalin must be in doubt by an open mind.
The real "proof" for the accusers,
who convict Stalin of "anti-Semitism"- appears to lie in the matter of
the so called "Zionistsí Plot" and the "Doctorís Plot".
Was Beria Personally an anti-Semite?
The same general
problem is faced by Zionists, who although they accuse Beria of being
an anti-Semite, confront and cannot explain data that in reality shows
"There is also the mystery of
Beriaís comportment towards Jews in Georgia. The New York Times correspondent
Salisbury discovered in Tiflis Georgia in 1951, a Jewish ethnological Museum
which featured painting depicting Jewish religious rites reconstructions
of early Georgian synagogues, and a record of Jewish Soviet heroes in World
War II. That the museum should have survived the liquidation of Jewish
culture everywhere else in the USSR was curious; the information that Beria
had inspired it was even more curious". He had also sponsored in the 1920's
an occupational rehabilitation programme for Georgian Jewry. This programme
included Jewish trade schools and farms."
"There is also reason to believe
that (Beria) was helpful to Jews in Georgia. The American journalist Harrison
Salisbury who visited Georgia after the war, discovered that Beria as Georgian
party leader, had instigated the establishment of a program for rehabilitating
Georgian Jews. The program included a Jewish charitable society and a Jewish
ethnological museum in Tbilisi. It might be added that Beriaís sistersí
husband was a Jew and that Beria had several Jews in his retinue: Milístein,
Raikhmna, Mamulov, Sumbatov-Topuridze and N.I.Eitington to name a few.
Although many Jews lost their jobs in the late 1940's as a result of the
anti-Semitic campaign, these men survived." Knight
A; Ibid; p.147
Furthermore, it must be noted
firstly that it was Beria, who after Stalinís death - first repudiated
the "Doctorís Plot", as being a sham :
"Beriaís position as chief
of the security services and the police place him in an invidious position
as the likeliest candidate for indictment and castigation for all persecutions
that has taken place .. Stalinís successors have fingered him as the author
of the so-called Doctorís Plot... Yet after Stalinís death it was Beria
who exposed the indictment which in itself, disputes his executionersí
contention that he was its author. The Minister of State Security the real
boss of the secret police at the time that this evidence was manufactured,
was Semyon D.Ignatiev,
Beriaís political enemy. Although publicly pilloried for his central role
in concocting the indictment, Ignatiev
was restored to favour at the Kremlin immediately after Beri had been purged.
The post-Beria Kremlin significantly had maintained that there was not
anti-Semitic intent behind the doctorís indictment.. Which in turn invites
speculation that the charge might not have been dismissed had not Beria
exposed them in his life time."
Teller Ibid; p. 90-91.
"Not only did Beria denounce the
Doctorís Plot was a hoax after Stalinís death, he also took it upon himself
to attempt a revival of Jewish culture immediately after Stalin died."
Knight A; Ibid; p.148.
Following this Pravda ran an editorial
"Every Soviet worker kolkhoz
members and intellectual is under the protection of Soviet law. The citizens
of the great Soviet state may be certain that all the rights guaranteed
them by the Soviet Constitution are sacred and will be guarded by the Soviet
Government.... Careful investigation had ascertained the fact that members
clique (responsible for the doctors libel -ed) had slandered the Peopleís
Artist Mikhoels who was an upright communal worker."
several accounts, was well known to be an anti-Semite. Amy Knight puts
it as follows:
Data does not support that
the Marxist-Leninists Stalin and Beria were personally anti-Semitic. What
of the revisionist politicans?
Khrushchevís Attitude to the
"Khrushchev... first secretary
in the Ukraine, favoured the dissolution of the Union of Jewish Writers
Kiev, and the closure of Jewish literary journal."
ensured that Khrushchev was in effect repudiated
upon the issue of anti-Semitic pogromists was clear, when Malenkov
was sent to the Ukraine to correct the "blindness" of Khrushchev to anti-Semitic
"Khrushchevís case is different.
Even before his name was generally known outside the USSR, he had acquired
notoriety in the Jewish press... for an episode in Kiev when the war ended.
He was then boss of the Ukraine. Jewish wartime refugees, braving the local
populations; anti-Jewish animus and the Kremlinís bruited displeasure,
trickled back to their devastated homes in the Ukraine. One day in a scuffle
over an anti-Semitic remark, two Red Army officers one Jewish and the other
Ukrainian, fired their guns at each other. The Ukrainian died, and the
result was a pogrom in Kiev. The Ukrainian was buried with military honours
and Khrushchev marched in the funeral procession. The pogromists went unpunished
until Malenkov arrived to restore order."
Teller Ibid; p. 92.
This view is substantiated more
recently by Knightís biography of Beria:
"In May 1944 Mikhoels wrote
a letter to Molotov complaining about discrimination against Jews in liberated
Ukraine. On receiving a copy of the letter, Beria issued instructions to
Ukrainian Party Chief Khrushchev to "take the necessary measures to improve
the living and working conditions of Jews in the newly liberated areas."
pay a price for his request for intervention, addressed to the Marxist-Leninist
Molotov. But who was it that wrote his bill?
The Murder of Solomon Mikhoels
above, Stalin had supported the JAFC and
sent it congratulatory telegrams.
though, that the general attitude inside the USSR to the JAFC changed after
One of the
signs of this change was that the previous plan to publish a book - the
so called "Black Book"
- cataloguing the Nazi genocide of the Jews, and the Jewish partisan struggles,
was only brought to fruition in the USA but not in Russia:
"The contacts with American-Jewish
organizations result in the plan to publish a Black Book simultaneously
in the USA and the Soviet Union, documenting the anti-Jewish crimes of
the Nazis and the Jewish part in the fighting and resistance. In 1944,
the writer Ilya Ehrenburg sends a collection of letters, diaries, photos
and witness accounts to the USA to be used in the book. The Black Book
is published in New York in 1946. But no Russian edition appears. The typefaces
are finally broken up in the printing press in 1948, a year in which the
situation of Soviet Jews has once more deteriorated sharply."
But the death
of Mikhoels - allegedly in a murder committed at the direct order of Stalin,
is the event that is usually cited as the beginning of the alleged anti-Semitic
campaigns of the Soviet USSR.
See WWW site: "Beyond the Pale";
page 61 at:
It is alleged
by many, including Sudoplatov, that Stalin feared the potential power that
Mikhoels would have, and had him assassinated in January 1948:
"Mikhoels .. had been at the
heart of the discussions to establish a Jewish Crimean republic. Stalin
feared that Mikhoels would unleash forces that could not be controlled
and would lead to unpredictable political consequences. Stalin feared a
truly independent Jewish homeland. Mikhoels had the stature of a leader
with world recognition, and Stalin could not risk his developing his own
power base. Mikhoels was murdered in January 1948, under the direct order
But as noted
in the foreword, Sudoplatovís memoirs have been seriously
Pavel & A Sudoplatov; with
JL &LP Schecter:"Special Tasks"; Boston; 1995; p. 296.
It is true
that other sources also refer to the death of Mikhoels and all assume that
Stalin "ordered the murder of Mikhoels".
In fact, the
mysterious death of Solomon Mikhoels in Minsk on January 13, 1948, served
to rob the USSR of a valuable and respected figure. For all these other
sources, this contradiction, is not apparently a difficult issue - since
they all pre-judge Stalin as variously, mad, irrational, capricious.. etc.
However this line of reasoning
is countered by the facts previously adduced.
issues of Alliance on Personality Cult :(1) The Cult of
(Talk at The Stalin Society (UK) May 1991) AT: http://ml-review.ca/aml/STALIN-TXT/WBBPERSONALITY1991.html2)
Stalin - Myths and Reality: Talk intended for the Third ISML Conference
Paris October 1999: http://ml-review.ca/aml/STALIN-TXT/WBBSTALINMYTHSPARIS1999.html
The most detailed
source, of the actual last days of Mikhoels life, is found in Arkady Vaksberg.
(ibid pp159-170). As Amy Knight points out, the assumption is usually made
that Beria performed the killing:
"Many had assumed that Beria
as responsible for the murder, since he oversaw the police apparatus."
However it seems
that Beria related the facts of the case, in a letter to Malenkov,
after the death of Stalin.
Knight A; Ibid; p.147.
to this letter, Beria questioned Abakumov
in prison, where Abakumov had remained
following Stalin's death. Beria learnt that the key players were Ogolítsev
Knight insists that Stalin "ordered" the killing:
"Stalin had ordered Abakumov
to have Mikhoels killed, a task carried out by Deputy Minister of State
Security S.I.Ogolítsev and Belorussian MGB chief Tsanava. Mikhoels and
his companion were lured into a car and taken to Tsanavaís dacha outside
Minsk, where they were murdered. Their bodies were then dumped on the side
of the road. When Beria learned of Tsanavaís complicity, he ordered his
arrest along with that of Ogolítsev."
In fact Knight
reminds us that Beria had:
Knight A; Ibid; p.147.
"Supported the idea in 1942
of creating the Jewish Anti-fascist Committee in order to harness the war
efforts of Soviet Jews at home and abroad and had maintained direct contacts
with JAFC leaders after that. Indeed he seems to be have been sympathetic
to their cause."
But, she fails to remind us that
Stalin had also supported Mikhoels and the JAFC.
Knight A; Ibid; p.147.
So was ultimately responsible
for the murder of Mikhoels?
It seems that the revisionist
S.D.Ignatíev (or Ignatiev)
was heavily involved:
"It may not be a coincidence
that in addition to First Secretary Gusarov... who was in the Belorussian
CC Secretariat at the time of the Mikhoels murder: S.D.Ignatiev, who was
to replace Abakumov as USSR MBG chief in mid-1951. Ignatiev later helped
to fabricate the case against the doctors."
Who was pushing for action on
the "anti-Zionist plot"?
Knight A; Ibid; p.148.
Vaksberg claims that Abakumov
was supported by Malenkov and Mikhail Suslov. We would argue that of these,
Suslov was an out and out revisionist and at best, Malenkov was a vacillator.
12, 1946 Abakumov (after having taken over from Vsevolod Merkulov, the
Ministry of State Security) wrote a memorandum entitled: "On Nationalistic
Manifestations of Some Workers of the Jewish Anti-fascist Committee", accusing
them of :
"Forgetting the class approach
which has been replaced by an approach on national lines," and of "establishing
foreign contacts on the same national principles". Also in foreign editions
about the life of the Soviet Jews, it "exaggerated their contribution to
the achievements of the Soviet Union in science, technology, and culture."
And finally a special section of the memo.. Noted that the committee "has
taken on the function of the chief representative of the affairs of the
Jewish population and intermediary between that populations and the Party-Soviet
organs. The summary conclusion to the memo was that the Afurther activity
of this committee is politically harmful and intolerable".. The Minister
was supported by one of the new members of the hierarchy.. Mikhail Suslov.
In his appeal to Stalin on November 26th 1946, he also called for liquidation
of the committee".
It was finally
on March 1948 that Abakumov forwarded a report to the Central Committee
arguing that JAFC leaders and Mikhoels had:
Vaksberg; Op Cit; p.195
"conducted anti-Soviet nationalist
This report went to the Central
Committee and was copied to Stalin, Molotov, Zhdanov, and Kuznetsov.
Knight A; Ibid; p.148.
By 20 November 1948, the Politburo
adopted the resolution approving a decision of the Council Of Ministers
to disband the JAFC.
This resolution was adopted
after the sudden death of Zhdanov in August 1948, and thereafter the correct
anti-cosmopolitanism campaign, was crudely
transformed into the incorrect anti-Semitic
(For Bland's article on the anti-cosmopolitanism
article see: http://ml-review.ca/aml/CommunistLeague/COSMOPOLITANISM-COMPASS131-1998.HTM
to send memos to Stalin over this issue, calling the JAFC a "hot-bed of
Zionism" in a memo of the March 1, 1948. (Vaksberg;
Op Cit; p.196. )
It was after
September 3rd, 1948 that action was finally taken against the JAFC. On
that date, it is alleged by Vaksberg and other bourgeois commentators that
the "mass rallies" greeting Golda Myerson
(later to be known as Golda Meir)
in her post as the first Israeli ambassador, "frightened"
Yet as Vaksberg himself states,
in the spring of 1945 Stalin had allowed open and massive Jewish rallies
to commemorate the Jewish dead of the war:
"On the recommendation of the
World Council of Rabbis meeting in Jerusalem, Stalin permitted Moscow Jews
to organise a memorial service for the six million Jewish victims of the
Nazis.... Major governmental figures marshals, and generals and celebrated
artists attended Ė over 20,000 people.. Raising over half a million rubles
for the postwar restoration of the country. The solemn Kadish was
repeated in 1946. In 1947 it was banned."
Vaksberg; Op Cit; p.185.
By March 26th
1948, Abakumov had sent a memo to Stalin, Molotov and CC Secretaries Zhdanov
and Kuznetsov entitled "On the Espionage and Nationalistic Activity of
the Jewish Anti-fascist Committee", stating that Mikhoels was:
"Known long before the war as
an active nationalist, he was a kind of banner for nationalistic Jewish
On November 20th
1948, item no.81 on the agenda of the Politburo of the CC stated:
Vaksberg; Op Cit; p.197-198.
"On the Jewish Anti-Fascist
Committee: Confirm the following resolution of the Bureau of the Council
of Ministers of the SSR: "The Bureau of the Council of ministers of the
USSR instructs the MGB USSR to disband the JAFC immediately, because as
the facts show, this Committee is the center of anti-Soviet propaganda
and regularly provides anti-Soviet information to organs of foreign intelligence.
In conjunction with this, the publishing organs of the Committee are to
be shut down and the Committeeís files confiscated. For the time being
no one is to be arrested."
Thus far at any
rate, the "facts" are not quite so obvious as made out by the Zionists
who attack Stalin as anti-Semitic. There is a clear implication from Vaksberg,
that a compromise decision had been made, with the final statement just
cited, regarding an explicit counter-manding of further arrests.
Vaksberg; Op Cit; p.198-199.
David Goldstein had already been arrested in September, and on December
24th Fefer was arrested. Vaksberg; Op Cit;
p.200-201. Lozovsky was arrested on January
16th. Vaksberg; Op Cit; p.202.
A little complicating,
but true, is that Salmon Lozovsky
was also a hidden revisionist (partially discussed previously by Alliance
- See Alliance issue Number 15); who had subverted correct trade union
tactics in the Comintern and the trade union international Profintern
(led by Lozovsky).
argues, until further evidence can be adduced, that the net effect of these
arrests, was once more to alienate the Marxist-Leninist wing of the Bolsheviks
Party from a section of the working class.
served to strengthen the hand of international support for Israel, and
to serve as an instrument of propaganda against the USSR.
It was the
Writers Union under Alexander Fadeyev
who pushed for a resolution that called for closing associations of Jewish
writers and closing Yiddish almanacs. That the hand of the revisionists
was heavy in making these decisions is made clear by Shimon Redlich in
his history of the JAFC. He points out that another key revisionist involved
was Boris Ponomorarev:
"Sources suggest that Boris
N. Ponomorarev was personally active in the liquidation of the Committee.
Ponomorarev, an ex-functionary of the Comintern, and Deputy Director of
the prestigious Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute after the War, was appointed
Deputy Director of the Sovinformuro in late 1948 or early 19489. When Lozovskii
was arrested in late 1948 to early 1949, Ponomorarev became Head of the
Bureau for a short while."
As Redlich points
out, various hypotheses linking the affair with an alleged Malenkov-Zhdanov
hostility; or to an attempt to discredit Beria; simply do not
make any sense.
Redlich Shimon: "Propaganda
and Nationalism in Wartime Russia-The Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee in
the USSR, 1941-1948"; 1982; USA; p.167-8.
He is left
only to explain it as Stalinís fear of the international contacts that
Soviet Jewry had built with overseas Jews. He himself acknowledges Stalin's
previous support of these contacts:
"Although encouraged and supported
by Stalin at the time, these contacts were regarded in retrospect as dangerous
"reason" leading Stalin to take this step, is cited by Redlich as the following:
"It is well known to Soviet
official circles and to Stalin himself that the Committee had attempted
to perform functions and took upon itself responsibilities far beyond the
initial purpose of its establishment. Mikhoels and other top personalities
of the JAFC approached various Soviet authorities both on matters concerning
individual Jews and on Jewish cultural and national issues.... The JAFC
was apparently regarded by Stalin as a structure which organised and expressed
Jewish national interests and since he viewed such interests as a security
risk to the regime, and to himself it seemed to him a matter of prime importance
to wipe out this potentially dangerous organisation."
Alliance finds that the evidence
to date, suggests that Mikhoels was murdered, and was not the victim of
Redlich S; Ibid; p.169-70.
This is dealt
with directly below, in a citation from Beria.
As to who was responsible,
there continues to be disagreement.
Only one piece of evidence
links Stalin to this directly.
That is evidence provided
by the cross examination of Abakumov while he was imprisoned.
This was referred
to above, from the biography of Beria by Knight (see page above). The full
cited is the following, and is drawn from a document upon Abakumov, available
in Russian only. Significant sections are cited from the English text of
a piece by Iakov Ettinger,
based on reports in Russian cited by Stoliarov:
"Col.-Gen. V. S. Abakumov, Minister
of State Security from 1945-1...Russian researcher Kirill
Stoliarov summed up the results of his painstaking
and profound study of the materials in the case of State Security Minister
Abakumov in his book "Golgofa" (Calvary)."
death, Beria investigated the Mikhoels events further. It emerged again
from Abakumovís testimony, still being in jail, that Abakumov had asserted
not only that Mikhoels had been killed, but that Stalin had ordered him
to perform this murder :
Iakov Etinger:"The Doctors'
Plot: Stalin's Solution to the Jewish Question"; in Editor: Yaacov Ro'i:
"Jews & Jewish Life in Russia & the Soviet Union"; citing Storilaov;
"Meanwhile Beria made another
move. On 2 April 1953 he sent a letter to the party Presidium addressed
to Malenkov stating:
then outlines that the murder of Mikhoels was disguised by crudely staging
a motor vehicle accident:
"The letter goes on to describe
in detail how Mikhoels was "liquidated". There were several options for
eliminating Mikhoels: a) a car accident, b) running him over with a lorry
in a deserted street. Since neither gave a 100 per cent guarantee the following
course was decided upon: to invite Mikhoels, through one of our agents,
to visit an acquaintance of his late at night, provide a car from the hotel
he was staying in, allegedly to drive him there, take him to Tsanava's
dacha and liquidate him. Then the body was to be put in an out-of-the-way
deserted street and run over by a lorry. And that is how it was done. To
keep the matter secret, agent Golubov, who accompanied Mikhoels on this
fatal visit, was also done away with (they were run over by a lorry near
the dacha). At the end of the letter Beria declared:
"An examination of the materials
in the Mikhoels case has revealed that in February 1948, in Minsk, former
USSR MGB Deputy Minister Ogolítsov and former Belorussian MGB Minister
Tsanava carried out an illegal operation to liquidate Mikhoels on orders
from USSR MGB Minister Abakumov.. In this connection Abakumov has been
interrogated at the MVD and explanations have been received from Ogolítsov
and Tsanava. Abakumov gave the following evidence...
"As far as I can remember, in
1948, the head of the Soviet government I. V. Stalin gave me an urgent
assignment - to promptly organize the liquidation of Mikhoels by MGB personnel
and charge specially selected people with the task. Then it came to our
knowledge that Mikhoels and his friend, whose name I do not remember, had
gone to Minsk. When this was reported to Stalin he immediately ordered
us to carry out the liquidation in Minsk...After Mikhoels was liquidated
Stalin highly praised the operation and ordered that the people who had
performed it be decorated, which was carried out."
Etinger I: Ibid; p. 120-121;
Citing :'Argumenty i Fakty 2'; 1992.
The MVD deems it necessary:
a) to arrest and initiate proceedings
against former USSR Deputy MGB Minister S. I. Ogolí'tsov and former State
Security Minister of Belorussia L. F. Tsanava,
b) to repeal the Supreme Soviet
decree conferring honours on the participants in the murder of Mikhoels
Etinger I: Ibid; p. 120-121;
Citing: 'Argumenty i Fakty 2'; 1992.
In Conclusion: Alliance argues
1. If it is agreed that Beria
was a Marxist-Leninist, his letter indicates the primary responsibility
for the attacks on the JAFC are laid on the door of low level operatives
S. I. Ogol'tsov and L. F.
2. Backing up these individuals
but at a higher level were the revisionists Malenkov
and Suslov and Ponomoranev. Of these the
first, was possibly a "vacillator" but the other two were definitely revisionists.
3. There remains the matter of
We argue that Stalin had nothing to gain by the
murder of Mikhoels, that his "ego"
definitely did not require this as bourgeois sources claim; and that it
was not in his interests. However Abakumovís testimony "fingers" Stalin.
What then? Barring a "mistake" upon Stalinís part, we suggest the following
i)Abakumovís testimony cannot
be simply discounted. We argue, that his testimony on the so called "Doctorís
Plots" shows him to be a basically honest individual (see below);
We believe the data thus far
shows that Beria was a consistent Marxist-Leninist.
We further argue that if this
is the case, then on the earlier issue of the JAFC, he was mis-led on the
matter of Stalinís orders;
Beria's 'testimony' was 'extracted' by Khrushchev who
of course went on to kill Beria.
ii) Another possibility exists:
That Beria for some reason lied about Abakumovís testimony. If so two possible
reasons for this can be adduced:
Either Beria was NOT a Marxist-Leninist;
OR Beria decided that
as a Marxist-Leninist - what was critical was that as far as possible the
security apparatus be purged of revisionists in order to fight on for Marxism-Leninism.
He may have reasoned that Stalin was dead and Abakumov was virtually dead
We believe therefore that
the most likely conclusion is that Abakhumov was tricked by the revisionists
into effecting Mikhoels murder.
It is very remarkable
that the newer generation of revisionist leaders of the USSR - those who
actually dissolved the state- held a Politburo Commission and declared
the direct responsibility to lie with Malenkov.
It is pretty inconceivable
that these individuals who hated Stalin, would not publicise evidence linking
Stalin with this issue if it in truth existed:
"A Politburo Commission created
by Mikhail Gorbachev and chaired by Alexander Yakovlev came to the conclusion
on late 1988 that the "direct responsibility for the illegal repression
of people arrested in the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee case was borne
who was directly involved in the investigation and trial." Vaksberg;
Op Cit; p.202-3.
The Case of Polinya
The wife of Molotov - Polina
Zhemchuzhina - was Jewish. She had held
high ranking posts for the Bolsheviks such as Peopleís Commissar of the
Fish Industry, head of the State Perfume Trust, as well as being on the
Bolshevik Central Committee. It is alleged that she incurred Stalinísí
wrath as she had been the last person to see Nadezdha Allilueva alive before
she committed suicide. This according to Vaksberg was the reason for her
removal from the Central Committee for "failure in work". Previously she
had received a reprimand for neglect and, for allowing in 1939, some German
spies to penetrate her area. According to Golda Meirís testimony, Polinya
"wished the Zionists in Palestine well" saying:
"If things go well for you,
then things will be good for the Jews the whole world over".
was monitored and the Central Committee was informed. According to Vaksberg,
Stalin reportedly told Molotov:
Vaksberg; Op Cit; p.188.
"It is time for you to divorce
It is important to recognise
that as so often, the primary source for this conversational tit-bit of
information is the revisionist Khrushchev.
In late 1948
the Molotovs were divorced, and in February 1949 Zhemchuzhina was arrested.
this, some bizzare personal charges including one of an extraordinary adultery
involving a juniro employee, and espionage were laid at a meeting of the
Vaksberg, is in agreement that various documents were indeed missing, from
the Ministry of Light Industry textile branch, then being run by Zhemchuzhina.
the various charges against Zhemchuzhina also included:
"Being present at the memorial
service at the synagogue on March 14th, 1945; enjoying the nationalistic
play Freileks produced by the Jewish bourgeois nationalists Mikhoels at
the Jewish Theatre; and of attending the funeral of Mikhoels."
Vaksberg; Op Cit; p.192.
It is likely
that some of these latter minor charges are true. Whether
that made her an enemy of the state is debateable in the view of Alliance
currently. But it is notable that Zhemchuzhina never
repudiated Stalin, even after years in prison (Vaksberg;
Op Cit; p.192).
It seems most
likely that both she and Molotov were aware that there were inner-party
battles going on that explained the turn of events.
In fact although
Stalin is blamed for these events, it is most unclear why Molotov should
have been targeted. For not only did his wife suffer imprisonment, but
observers agree that he himself was demoted in rank although he remained
within the Politburo. (Knight M; Ibid; p.147).
Alliance argues then, that
the general aim of the revisionists to take over leading positions of state
power was assisted by the direct and in-direct attack upon Molotov - as
far as we know a reliable Marxist-Leninist, while Stalin was alive.
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