Search This Blog

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Solzhenitsyn and the Jews

Posted on August 2, 2017
“At the first foreign conferences where Soviet diplomats participated, in Genoa and at The Hague (1922), it could not remain hidden from Europe that the Soviet diplomats and their assistants consisted to a large extent of Jews.”
–Alexander Solzhenitsyn
August 3rd marks the ninth anniversary of the death of famed Russian author Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Among his many books, perhaps the most famous is The Gulag Archipelago, published in 1973. It provides a close-up look at the old Soviet system of forced labor camps and  includes the author’s own firsthand observations.
Solzhenitsyn was arrested in 1945. Though he had served in the Red Army during World War II, he would end up spending  the next eight years of his life in the Soviet Gulag. Making comments critical of Joseph Stalin in a letter to a friend–this was the crime that got him seized by the secret police.
A quote from the book offers some insight into the totalitarian nature of the Soviet government and the collective punishments it imposed on huge numbers of people:
The river [of political prisoners] that flowed in the years 1937-38 was neither the only one, nor even the main one— perhaps only one of the three large rivers that brought the dark stinking pipes of our prison channels almost to bursting. The river of the years 1920-30 had preceded it. . . . It had sloshed a good 15 million muzhiks [Russian peasants] into the taiga and the tundra. . . . And afterward there was the inmate river of 1944-46. . . . Whole nations were pumped through the discharge pipes [such as Cossacks, Tatars, ethnic German Russians, Poles, Balts, Hungarians etc] and in addition there were millions and millions of [Soviet] returnees [from German wartime labor camps and factories], German POWs and new forced labor hordes. . . . The prison pipeline
never remained empty.
One of Solzhenitsyn’s lesser known works is a two-volume set entitled Two Hundred Years Together. It is a history of Jews in Russia, and was published relatively late in his life. The first volume, which came out in 2001, is entitled Russian-Jewish History 1795-1916. The following year–2002–saw the publication of the second volume, The Jews in the Soviet Union. The entire work has been criticized as being “anti-Semitic,” and for some strange reason it has never been fully translated into English.
However, in 2008–the same year of Solzhenitsyn’s death at the age of 89–a magazine, The Barnes Review, published a whole entire issue devoted to the second of the two volumes, The Jews in the Soviet Union. That issue, in its entirety, is available online and makes for some fascinating reading. You can go here to access it in PDF form.
A word about the Barnes Review. Its former publisher, the late Willis Carto, was branded an anti-Semite by the ADL, but you could kind of look upon that as a product endorsement. Truth-telling and being labeled an anti-Semite seem increasingly to go hand in hand these days. Indeed, it doesn’t take too much imagination to envision a future in which Americans who oppose a congressional bill which seeks to destroy our First Amendment rights will be accused of anti-Semitism as well. So if the ADL thinks the Barnes Review is an anti-Semitic publication, that’s really not a bad thing. In fact, you could just as easily view it as a feather in their cap.
Also, I think it’s important for Americans (as well as people in other countries) to gain some historical perspective on the issue of Jewish power–and that’s what Solzhenitsyn gives us in his book, The Jews in the Soviet Union. The Russian revolution was largely a Jewish operation. Yes, there were non-Jews involved as well, but much like the situation we have today in America, Jews were disproportionately represented. As the author puts it:
One finds them at the top of the Comintern with Zinoviev, Radek and Manuilsky; the International of trade unions, the Profintern with Dridso-Losovsky; and the Komsomol [the communist youth organization] with Oscar Rivkin, then after him Lazarus Shatskin, who presided over the communist Youth International as well.
And he also states:
Why was it that anyone who had the misfortune to fall into the hands of the Cheka [the early Soviet secret police] could count with high probability on standing before a Jewish investigator or being shot by a Jew?
And also this:
Not a few Jewish names would have been found by any author in the 1920s at the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, as well as in the attorney general’s office and in the inspection agencies dealing with workers and farmers.
The translation from Russian was provided by the author of the Barnes Reviewarticle, a German scholar by the name of Udo Walendy. One thing that should be mentioned about Walendy is that he is a revisionist historian who has been imprisoned for transgressing Germany’s “holocaust denial” law. Commenting on the Bolsheviks who seized power in 1917, he writes:
In the early party congresses after the October Revolution, 15-20% of the delegates were Jewish (Jews being 1.7% of the population).19 “In the first executive committee of the Comintern there were more Jewish than non-Jewish members” [by July 1930 the 25-member presidium of the CPSU [Communist Party of the Soviet Union] consisted of 11 Jews, eight Russians, three Caucasians and three Latvians.20 The high portion of Jewish functionaries in the Cheka, GPU, the NKVD and KGB remained a constant topic of conversation.
While Walendy’s main focus is on Solzhenitsyn, he does occasionally quote other sources. For instance, he writes:
With all his research, Solzhenitsyn had still not concerned himself at the time of his writing with recent Israeli authors, who went through sealed documents in Soviet secret archives and unanimously discovered “that Lenin’s grandparents were of Jewish descent. Lenin’s grandfather, Alexander [before the baptism = Srul Moishevich] Blank, was the son of Jewish parents.” Stalin forbade Lenin’s sister from revealing this information. “The appropriate correspondence was found in the Muscovite CP archives.”
Among many other Jewish media reports on Lenin from the beginning of the 1990s22 there was The London Jewish Chronicle article of February 25, 1992. The article concludes:
Lenin praised Jews in extravagant terms—just as he spoke with contempt of Russians. Possibly alluding to himself, he expressed to the writer Maxim Gorky that “an intelligent Russian is always a Jew or has Jewish blood.”In addition, he favorably contrasted the Jews as revolutionaries with Russians.
We also learn that very early on, the Bolsheviks banned anti-Semitism:
As early as July 27, 1918, Lenin decreed a law privileging Jews; making all “active anti-Semites” outlaws, to be shot—in plain language, to be exterminated like vermin because of mere “agitation,” without having actually deprived anyone of his human rights.41
Solzhenitsyn remembers, “The law encouraged every Jew who had been insulted as a Jew to request prosecution.”42
This fact is something that Solzhenitsyn brings up in a rather reserved way. In reality, however, one specific group of citizens was authorized to arbitrarily request the arrest and trial of anyone for all kinds of trivial or predatory reasons, and their liquidation.  The general population had no possibility even to defend itself, for that would be death bringing “agitation.”
Subsequent articles of penal law provided that propaganda or agitation promoters who “stir up national and religious enmity or ethnic hatred”—which could include any critical word about the party, government or administration—receive banishment for many years or a firing squad.
Merely the possession of “agitational” literature or the suspicion of an anti-Semitic attitude could be equated with political crimes. Even a presumption sufficed for punishment. Here is an example of the effect of this law:
In 1929 a certain I. Silberman deplored in the weekly newspaper of the Soviet legal system (issue no. 4) that in the People’s Courts of the Moscow city government too few trials had occurred over anti-Semitism, and in fact only 34 in all of Moscow. (This means that every 10 days a trial took place somewhere in Moscow because of antiSemitism.)
The articles in this magazine of the People’s Commissariat had the effect of an official order for its readers, which must be kept in mind.
Also discussed is what came to be known as the “Red Terror,” a reign of terror which emerged during the Russian Civil war (the years 1918-1922):
This terror was a system of rule by approved mass murder. It took on dimensions never before seen. Referring to various Jewish and Russian authors, Solzhenitsyn states with respect to September 1918:
Among the national minorities, it is completely clear that in an organization containing many Latvians, and a considerable number of Poles, the Jews stand out very distinctly, particularly among the responsible persons and active collaborators in the Cheka, among the commissars and the investigators.
For example, of the lead investigators in the commissariat for fighting counter-revolution, the most important structure in the whole Cheka, half were Jews.48
Solzhenitsyn describes some details:
A bloody track of vengeful terror—exclusively vengeful!—went through the land. It was no longer about civil war, but instead about the destruction of the beaten opponent. In waves the country was hit by raids, searches, new raids and arrests. Prison inmates were taken out, cell by cell, and shot from the first to the last man with machine gun salvos, since there were too many victims to execute with single rifle shots. . . . Fifteen- or 16-year-olds were executed, just as were 60-year-old men.49
With the infamous decree “On the Red Terror” of September 5, 1918, the Bolshevik regime demanded the reinforcement of the Cheka and legalized the Terror officially—for example, the arbitrary banishing into concentration camps, or shooting, of all “class enemies.” In that month of September alone, hundreds of executions occurred in each of Petrograd, Kronstadt and Moscow. In the autumn of 1918 the newspapers of the country reported thousands of arrests and between 10,000 and 15,000 executions.50
Even in the CC [Central Committee] of the Bolsheviks, protests were heard against the self-willed actions of the over-zealous Cheka, as Solzhenitsyn puts it, “an organization full of criminals, sadists and the degenerate scum of society.”51
We could also actually apply the “g” word–genocide.
On January 24, 1919 the Bolshevik CC decided “to exterminate” as a “class enemy” an entire group of people: the Cossacks of the Don Valley and Kuban area near the Black Sea.
In the now accessible text of the secret resolution we read:
After the experiences in the civil war against the Cossacks one must grant that the merciless fight and massive terror against the rich Cossacks, who are to be exterminated to the last man and be physically destroyed, is the only politically correct [Note use of term.—Ed.] measure. In fact, as admitted in July of 1919 by Rheingold, who was tasked as chairman of the Revolutionary Committee with the implementation of the “Bolshevik Command” in the Cossack region, “we tended toward a policy of wanting to completely exterminate the Cossacks without any differentiation. In the few weeks between mid-February and the end of March 1919, Bolshevik special units executed more than 8,000 Cossacks. In each Cossack area, “Revolutionary Tribunals” operating under martial law passed out capital sentences on long lists of suspects after deliberations of a few minutes each—usually for counterrevolutionary behavior.53
Cheka chairman Dzerzhinsky set up special task forces for military security and, on March 16, 1919, he was named People’s Commissar of the Interior. Revolts by workers, soldiers and farmers—a result of rural food confiscations—were smashed with the most brutal measures. Just in March-April 1919 between 3,000 and 5,000 humans were executed in Tula and the city of Astrakhan near the Volga. Here Solzhenitsyn describes it:
Hundreds [of victims] with stones hung around their necks were marched onto barges and thrown into the Volga. Between the 12th and 14th of March, 1919 [the Cheka] shot and drowned between 2,000 and 4,000 workers and “mutineers.” Starting on the 15th, repression also hit the bourgeoisie of the city. They supposedly had inspired the resistance by the “White Guard”
Perhaps not surprisingly, all this led to an outbreak of “Jew hatred” among the local population. Solzhenitsyn quotes a passage from a Jewish publication:
It is no invention to say that there is anti-Semitism in the USSR; nowadays in Russia one throws Jewry and Bolshevism into the same pot; of that there is no doubt.
A Jewish woman doctor complained: “The Jewish Bolsheviks in the administration have ruined my excellent relationship with the local population.”
A teacher complained: “The children yell that I am teaching in a ‘Jew school,’ because Orthodox [Christian] religious education is no longer permitted and because the priest has been driven out. In the People’s Commissariat for Education only Jews are sitting there.”
There were also explosions of violence, particularly in Ukraine, where a series of pogroms, known as the Petlyura pogroms, took place:
Solzhenitsyn adds, “the Jews were blamed for all the victories of the Bolsheviks.”109 The excesses against Ukrainian Jews under the Petlyura government (Solzhenitsyn mentions an abundance of place names and dates)110 caused not only terror and mass flight, but also a stronger movement toward the Bolsheviks…
The White Guardists who served under the generals Peter Wrangel and Anthony Denikin had volunteered to help free Russia from the Bolsheviks; they quickly developed a fundamentally anti-Semitic attitude after they realized that Red forces had been commanded by Jewish commissars,112 although their generals endeavored—often in vain—to prevent excesses by their troops.
And a direct quote from Solzhenitsyn’s text:
Between December 1918 and August 1919 combat forces led by Petlyura organized dozens of pogroms, during which, according to data compiled by a commission of the International Red Cross, about 50,000 persons were killed. The largest pogrom took place on February 15, 1919 in Proskurov . . . after a failed Bolshevik attempt to overthrow the local government.
Interestingly, pogroms were also carried out by the Bolsheviks, including against other Jews.
In the vast spaces of Russia, in the beginning the Reds had no idea who were the virtuous poor and the evil rich. The Zionist Arno Lustiger noted that the Jewish Bolsheviks did not spare their non-Bolshevik brothers in the faith, who had not crossed over, and inflicted bloody and cruel persecution on them.11
Later on when Stalin came to power, Jews began to suffer in even greater numbers, many being purged from the ranks of the Communist Party.
The magazine issue is also packed with photos from the era, including photos of the forced labor camps, which are described in the text as “death camps.” In fact, the caption under one of the photos reads: “Make no mistake about the gulags: they were not ‘work forever’ camps. They were ‘work to death’ camps, designed to liquidate the occupants. Millions were sent to die in them.”
The article, as you can tell from the sections quoted above, is extensively footnoted, and as I say it is well worth the read. The Soviet Union, at least in its earlier years, seems very much to have been an example of Jewish power gone berserk. Walendy provides a valuable historical perspective on it, and best of all, he offers a rich helping of quotes from Solzhenitsyn’s book. Again, you can access piece in its entirety here.
Below are some videos on the great Russian writer:
Solzhenitsyn received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1970. Yet despite having achieved this international recognition, he was expelled from the Soviet Union in 1974. At that time he came to America, taking up residence in Vermont, where he stayed until 1994. In 1978 he gave a commencement address at Harvard University.
Upon having his Russian citizenship reinstated by former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, Solzhenitsyn returned to his homeland in 1994.

No comments: