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Karl Radl
The Epitome of Evil
 
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Karl Radl
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Part VIII


‘A by-product of these general migration schemes was a project for the settlement of Jews on the land. A committee for this purpose was set up in 1923, but apparently achieved no results till, in the following year, an American Jewish organization established an American Jewish Join Agricultural Corporation (“Agro-Joint”) to promote “the mass transfer to productive occupations” of as many as possible of the 2,700,000 Jews living in the Soviet Union. An agreement was reached by which funds for this enterprise would be provided in equal proportions by Agro-Joint and by the Soviet authorities. In the autumn of 1924 a “committee for the settlement on the land of Jewish toilers” (Komzet) was established by the presidium of the Soviet of Nationalities, and drew up a programme for the settlement of 100,000 Jewish families. Land was put at the disposal of the committee in the southern Ukraine and in the Crimea, with the promise of further allocations in the Volga region and in the North Caucasus. In 1925, in spite of some local resistance, 100,000 Jews were in fact settled, and the number had risen to 250,000 by 1928, mainly in the Ukraine and in the Crimea. Settlement was almost exclusively in the form of kolkhozy; individual Jewish settlers were rare. The scheme had no political implications, though Petrovsky, the president of the Ukrainian Sovnarkom, went so far as to suggest to the ninth Congress of Soviets in May 1925 the creation of “separate Jewish districts or even a Jewish region”, and hopes were expressed elsewhere that the project might one day lead to the foundation of a Jewish Soviet republic.’ (141)

‘According to Gleb Struve (Soviet Russian Literature), who considers Bagritsky ‘one of the most talented and original of the young Soviet poets’, the Lay is ‘the story of a Ukrainian peasant who flies from the Communist food-detachment commanded by the Jew Kogan, encounters on his way the “Green” anarchist bands of Makhno and is forced to joined them. Then Kogan is taken prisoner by the Makhno bands and Opanas is despatched to shoot him. On the way to the execution he changes his mind and proposes to Kogan to let him escape, but Kogan chooses death. Later on the Makhno bands are defeated by the Reds and Opanas in his turn taken prisoner. Questioned by the Red commanded Kotovsky he confesses to having killed Kogan and submits docilely to the execution. It is a typical revolutionary heroic poem.’’ (142) [J]

‘Now I again knew somebody who was in possession of stolen wealth, and felt no scruples about taking it from him. He was a Polish Jew who had been a lieutenant in the International Brigades in Spain. When I left Moscow in 1941 I let him have the use of my room. After my return I had been there several times. I had seen that he had plenty of blankets, suits, and shoes, all rarities in Russia, and that he also had a great deal of cash. The origin of his wealth was no secret to me; he had held an important job at the International Red Aid for three years.’ (143)[*]

‘Politically, the Social-Revolutionaries always advocated a federative Russian republic. The composition of the party was extremely varied. School teachers and small intelligentsia became affiliated with it. The more prominent leaders numbered several important Moscow Jewish merchants.’ (144)

‘Besides obvious foreigners, Bolshevism recruited many adherents from among émigrés, who had spent many years abroad. Some of them had never been to Russia before. They especially numbered a great many Jews. They spoke Russian badly. The nation over which they had seized power was a stranger to them, and besides, they behaved as invaders in a conquered country. Throughout the Revolution generally and Bolshevism in particular the Jews occupied a very influential position. This phenomenon is both curious and complex. But the fact remains that such was the case in the primarily elected Soviet (the famous trio – Lieber, Dahn, Gotz), and all the more so in the second one.

In the Tsarist Government the Jews were excluded from all posts. Schools or Government service were closed to them. In the Soviet Republic all the committees and commissaries were filled with Jews. They often changed their Jewish name for a Russian one – Trotsky-Bronstein, Kameneff-Rozenfeld, Zinovieff-Apfelbaum, Stekloff-Nakhmakes, and so on.’
(145) [-]

‘There was a head (president) of the soldiers and officers deputies association of the Twelfth Army who was a Jew from Riga, an attorney. He came to see me, and when I showed him this document he said, “The document that these soldiers gave you would entitle you to become almost a commander-in-chief, but these people write to you and say that you can’t be even a company commander because you don’t fit the Revolution.”’ (146) [+]

‘At this point I would like to call to your attention a comment of Lenin’s. He was not Jewish. Lenin once said, “If it had not been for the enthusiastic support of Jews and their genius for organization, I would never have been able to make a revolution and make it triumph.”

During the period of civil war most leaders on the Red side, the most important leaders as well as the lesser ones, were Jewish. They were called “political commissars.” The top man was Leon Trotsky Bronstein.’
(147) [+]

‘Shortly after I left my mother, a Revolutionary Committee arrived. Three men, a Jew, a sailor with a rifle, and a soldier comprised the committee. They demanded that all wages paid to the workers on the estate be raised one hundred percent.’ (148) [+]

‘At that time, most of the Jewish population was very much pro-Bolshevik and pro-Communist for a reason I will speak about in much detail later; by no means all of them (I do not want to make any kind of generalization), but very many of them were, especially the younger ones propagandized the German occupation troops little by little.’ (149) [+]

‘Obviously you want to unburden something that weighs heavily on your mind.” Rudin said, “Yes, it does, Sir. As a young artillery officer, back in 1917, I came home on leave. My father had a modest estate in the vicinity of St. Petersburg. We belonged to the Russian nobility but not to the very wealthy top-notch aristocracy of Russia. We are of an impoverished but very ancient and noble family. My father served all his life in the army and was a retired general, too old to participate in the war of 1914. He lived in that home of ours with my mother, my sister, and my fiancée, who was visiting them when I came on leave. And the, out of the blue, came the Revolution. I know that you were somewhere out in the provinces with the regiment. You were not in Petersburg and the horrors of the Revolution reached you gradually. But to us who were there it came as a big blow out of nowhere. A few trucks full of drunk sailors, led by several Jewish youths of St. Petersburg, seized my father and shot him outright. They tied me to a tree with ropes so that I could not move at all. They put a gag in my mouth and then in front of me that gang raped my sister and fiancée and then they shot them both, as well as my mother. They looted and smashed everything in the house but for some reason that I do not understand, they forgot all about me. Finally that gang drive off, probably to do the same thing to our neighbors.’ (150) [+]

‘Arcadi Berdichevsky, who became my husband in 1928, had worked from 1920 until 1927 at Arcos or at the Soviet Trade Representation in London. He was a Russian Jew, who had studied at Zurich University and emigrated to the United States in 1914. In 1920 he had thrown up a very good job in New York to work for the Soviet government in London. He was not a Bolshevik, but had been a member of the Jewish Social Democratic party in Poland (the Bund), where had had lived until he went to study in Switzerland about 1910. He knew less about Soviet Russia than I did, since he spent his whole time in England since 1920. He was a sincere Socialist, and although he was too much of a Jew and knew the old Russia too well not to perceive the naivete of the picture I painted of the U.S.S.R., he believed as I did that a new and better world was being created in Russia. He, like me, wanted to take part in the building of that new socialist world.’ (151) [#]

‘While awaiting Arcadi’s arrival from the Far East I lived with his sister and her two sons in their tiny two-roomed apartment in the Dom Politkatajan on Pokrovka. This was the House of the “Political Hard-Labor Prisoners” – i.e., of those who had done hard labor in Siberia under the Tsar. Vera, my sister-in-law, had been sent to a Siberian prison from Lodz in Poland while still in her teens. First, like Arcadi, a member of the Bund (Jewish Social Democrats) she had become a Social Revolutionary in Siberia but had joined the Bolsheviks in 1917, and had herself fought against the Japanese in the Intervention. She had been imprisoned by them but had escaped. Her whole life had been one of adventure, hardship, and sacrifice; but now she had a good job and was full of confidence in the future. She radiated happiness. Her first child had died as a baby on the long trek in the snow across Siberia to the prison camp. Trying to shield it from the cold, she had suffocated it in her arms. Her second son, Shura, had somehow survived the rigors of prison and exile, and was now a youth of eighteen studying engineering at the Moscow University.’ (152)[*]

‘The greatest source of revenue of the Torgsin shops was remittances from abroad. Jews, in particular, often had relatives abroad – in Poland, in Germany, and above all in the United States – who would sent them a few dollars a month to save them from starvation. The percentage of Jewish people standing in Torgsin queues –there were queues even at these shops since there were never enough shop assistants – was very high. Anti-Semitism, although officially condemned, took a new lease on life when the Russians saw their Jewish neighbors in the apartment kitchens cooking good food which they never had a chance to buy.’ (153)[*]

‘A far more unpleasant type of blatmeister was a certain V, the titular head of one department at Promexport, who acted as general factotum and toady to Kalmanofsky, the chairman. He attended to the letting of the chairman’s datcha (“country house”) and other personal affairs, and was always at this side, fetched and carried for him, flattered him, and made himself useful in innumerable ways. Quite useless at his office, he was invaluable to the chairman for securing whatever he personally required and in general in attending to his private affairs. V had no dignity at all. The chairman often treated him like a dog, stormed at him and vented his temper on him. This chairman was not stupid; he was in fact an able and intelligent man, an educated Jew who could appreciate merit and liked me like my husband who stood their ground and were never subservient.’ (154)[*]

‘The straight Russian part of the party is in complete command of the situation, since over 71 per cent are straight Russian. Of the rest, 6.3 per cent are Ukrainian, 5.3 per cent Caucasian, while the Jews, who in many parts of Europe are considered to have commanding influence, only number 4.9 per cent.’ (155)

‘As the Germans advanced deeper into Russia, theatre companies in provincial cities folded up and hurried eastward. This was not organized evacuation but the movement of small individual groups. A large percentage of actors stayed to wait for the Germans. Only a few theatres in the larger provincial cities were evacuated completely and in an organized fashion, but the local Soviet authorities could claim no credit for these successes. They were du to the personal enterprise of individual theatre directors who public-spirited enough to think about saving their theatres as well as themselves. In the majority of cases, the leading Soviet administration personnel, including heads of Party committees, executives of state enterprises and officials of the NKVD, loaded their belongings onto government trucks and fled to safety at the first opportunity. Needless to say, they washed their hands of responsibility for what would happen to the population they left behind – a population which included artists and large groups of Jews.’ (156)

‘Our party attended a meeting at Novo-Nikolaievsk of the Siberian Revolutionary Committee, the highest governing body in Siberia at the present time, which had been called to discuss a scheme for development of an important mining region with the help of foreign immigrant workmen. We watched the proceedings with keen interest, for we felt that we were witnessing a part of the Soviet apparatus at work. There were about thirty-five men and women in the room, mostly workers and peasants, with a sprinkling of intellectuals and professional men. A number of old Siberian revolutionary exiles now sat as rulers of the country where they had once been confined as prisoners. The average age of the gathering I should estimate at about forty. The Committee included few university graduates, perhaps a dozen, certainly no more; there were eight or ten Jews among them.’ (157) [+]

‘As in Russian literature, the two chief themes in the Ukraine are also the new order in agriculture and industry. Successful authors are I. Kirilenko and V. Kuzmich, Ivan Le and G. Kozyuba. Nathan Lurye, a young Jewish writer, wrote one of the most noteworthy works on the Socialist organization of village life in his novel The Call of the Steppe. But all these are names which mean little to us. Not one of them, with the exception perhaps of Mikitenko, has hitherto attained the importance of a Sholokhov or Gladkov.’ (158)

‘What happens to the other faiths? We were several times surprised to discover that Jews in the U.S.S.R. are considered not as members of a religious persuasion, but as a “national minority”, in the same was Armenians, Georgians, Tartars, etc…. (An official, telling us about national minorities represented in the government, said, “Kaganovitch is a Jew, Mikoyan is an Armenian”) and when they introduced themselves to us, several Soviets specifically announced that they were Jews.’ (159)[*]

‘We met several Russian Jews who occupied responsible positions, the director, for instance, of Pravda’s printing works, the most important Soviet newspaper press.’ (160)[*]

‘The Jewish theatre, which even under the former regime and at the beginning of the revolutionary period played an important part in Russian life, has completely disappeared.’ (161)[*]

‘M. J. Olgin, member of the central committee of the Communist Party, and editor of the Jewish Communist organ, “Freiheit,” has written a pamphlet since recognition of Russia by the United States, entitled “Why Communism,” which is even clearer in its open advocacy of violent destruction of the United States government.’ (162)

‘The problem of the large number of revolutionary Russian Jews in Germany doubtless contributed toward making Fascist Germany anti-Semitic.’ (163)

‘Camps Nitgedaiget

Communist camps near N.Y., Chicago, Lumberville, Pa., Wash., D.C., Detroit, Birmingham, etc.’ run by the communist Jewish “United Workers Cooperative Assn.” The camp near Chicago for example is located on Paddock Lake 14 miles west of Kenosha, Wis. And occupies about 205 acres; accommodates 500 to 600 people from July 4, to Nov. 1; a Young Pioneer Camp has been held here for the past two years (under direction, 1933, of Comrade Levine of the Young Communist League);’
(164)

‘Communist League of America

American adherents of the expelled Trotsky faction in the Communist International; organized 1928; while not affiliated with the Communist Part of the U.S.A. it supports the Communist T.U.U.L. strikes and participates in other “united front” activities; is more violently revolutionary in theory than even the parent Communist Party. In 1930 the national committee included Martin Abern, James P. Cannon, Vincent Dunne, Hugo Oehler, Max Schactman, Carl Skoglund, Maurice Spector, Arne Swabeck, issues Youth and Jewish papers besides the English weekly “Militant”;’
(165)

‘Debs Memorial Radio Station

Radio station WEVD named after Eugene V. Debs, “started and continued by Socialists and radicals,” was according to 1932 Am. Labor Year Book, “finally allowed to keep its license after a hard fight, and was heavily endowed by the Jewish Daily Forward” (Socialist newspaper).’
(166)

‘“Potted Biographies” says: “In June 1917, MacDonald, assisted by Snowden, Smillie, Ammon, Anderson, Roden Buxton, Mrs. Despard, Mrs. Snowden, and many East End Jews, held a conference at Leeds and agreed to the formation of Workmen’s and Soldiers’ Councils, on Russian lines, to end the war by outbreak of a revolution which would paralyse our military operations.’ (167)

‘Freiheits

Communist Jewish “Foreign Language Groups” (see) conducting Freiheit Singing Societies, Freiheit Workers Clubs, etc., etc., in N.Y., Chicago and other cities. The official Jewish Communist newspaper (published in Yiddish) is the Jewish Daily Freiheit; Moissaye J. Olgin is editor. The building of this newspaper, which in 1930 had a daily N.Y. sworn circulation of 64,067 copies, adjoins the building of the official communist Daily Worker (published in English). They use the same presses. Communist banners, recently decorated the front of both buildings,’
(168)

‘International Workers Order
I.W.O.

Communist fraternal and agitational insurance society formed in 1930 by 7,000, mainly Jewish members of the left of the Workmen’s Circle. Now, after three years, it claims 34,000 members including branches of Hungarians, Slovaks, Ukrainians, Italians, Polish, Russians, Armenians, Spanish, Bulgarians, Greeks, Negroes and Americas; conducts Russian, Slovak, Ukrainian and Jewish Communist language schools and about 130 elementary and higher schools for children in order to counteract “capitalistic” and “nationalistic” public school tendencies.’
(169)

‘After another offering of a shilling, I queried the Demuth woman regarding Marx’s religious inclinations. She said “’e was a God-fearing man.”

I gathered that Marx had often gone on Saturdays to a Jewish temple in the Maidenhead section of London. Sometimes, when his ailment had bothered him too severely (using the exact words of the Demuth woman), “he prayed alone in his room, before a row of lit candles, tying sort of a tape measure around his forehead.”’
(170) [-]

References


(141) Edward Hallett Carr, 1958, ‘A History of Soviet Russia: Socialism in One Country 1924-1926’, Vol. I, 1st Edition, MacMillan: New York, pp. 528-529
(142) Gerald Abraham, 1943, ‘Eight Soviet Composers’, 1st Edition, Oxford University Press: New York, p. 61, n. 1
(143) Valentin Gonzalez, Julian Gorkin, Trans: Ilsa Barea, 1952, ‘El Campesino: Life and Death in Soviet Russia’, 1st Edition, G. P. Putnam’s Sons: New York, pp. 111-112
(144) Ariadna Tyrkova-Williams, 1919, ‘From Liberty to Brest-Litovsk: The First Year of the Russian Revolution’, 1st Edition, MacMillan: London, p. 43. It should be once again noted that the Social-Revolutionaries, or SRs, were a different and competing socialist party to the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks.
(145) Ibid, pp. 298-299. I have marked this quotation as unreliable, because it seems to reference the ‘Commissar Lists’, which were widely believed at the time the work was written and published, but which subsequently have been debunked by scholars as being without value.
(146) Victorin Moltchanoff, 1972, ‘The Last White General’, Regional Oral History Office: The University of California at Berkeley, p. 37
(147) Ivan Stenbock-Fermor, 1986, ‘Memoirs of Life in Old Russia, World War I, Revolution, and in Emigration’, Regional Oral History Office: The University of California at Berkeley, p. 97. I have not been able to find this comment of Lenin’s in a brief review of Lenin’s published work, but I have decided to let it stand on the grounds that it doesn’t sound uncharacteristic of Lenin’s writings but we should remember that it is not an authenticated quote and could very well be something attributed to Lenin that he did not say or write. On p. 182 we also read Stenbock-Fermor recalling something similar, but this time suggesting that Trotsky is the one who had a genius for organization: hence it may just be that Stenbock-Fermor is transliterating the meaning of Lenin’s comment regard Trotsky to jewish Bolsheviks in general. We should also note that Stenbock-Fermor is generally pro-jewish in the transcript of his oral memoirs and even suggests at one point that the Virgin Mary was a ‘jew girl’ (and hence jews should be accepted).
(148) Ibid, p. 192
(149) Ibid, pp. 256-257
(150) Ibid, pp. 381-282
(151) Freda Utley, 1940, ‘The Dream We Lost: Soviet Russia Then and Now’, 1st Edition, John Day: New York, p. 16
(152) Ibid, p. 62
(153) Ibid, p. 102
(154) Ibid, p. 229
(155) Stuart Chase, Robert Dunn, Rexford Guy Tugwell (Eds.), 1928, ‘Soviet Russia in the Second Decade: A Joint Survey by the Technical Staff of the First American Trade Union Delegation’, 1st Edition, John Day: New York, p. 151
(156) Martha Bradshaw (Ed.), 1954, ‘Soviet Theaters 1917 – 1941’, 1st Edition, Research Program on the U.S.S.R.: New York, p. 174
(157) Abraham Heller, 1922, ‘The Industrial Revival in Soviet Russia’, 1st Edition, Thomas Seltzer: New York, p. 41
(158) Kurt London, Eric Bensinger (Trans.), 1938, ‘The Seven Soviet Arts’, 1st Edition, Yale University Press: New Haven, p. 149
(159) Helen Lazareff, Pierre Lazareff, 1956, 'The Soviet Union after Stalin’, 1st Edition, Philosophical Library: New York, pp. 209-210
(160) Ibid, p. 210
(161) Ibid, p. 211
(162) Elizabeth Dilling, 1934, ‘The Red Network: A “Who’s Who” and Handbook of Radicalism for Patriots’, 1st Edition, Self-Published: Chicago, p. 16
(163) Ibid, p. 99
(164) Ibid, p. 130
(165) Ibid, p. 140. Out of those Dilling mentions as being members of the national committee two are certainly jewish: Martin Abern (formerly Martin Abramowitz) and Max Schachtman. While one, Maurice Spector, was probably jewish given that he later worked for the Labour Zionist movement. So three out of eight members (or 37.5%) of the national committee as outlined by Dilling were/was jewish at the time she wrote.
(166) Ibid, p. 145
(167) Ibid, p. 148
(168) Ibid, p. 161
(169) Ibid, p. 178
(170) S. M. Riis, 1962, ‘Karl Marx: Master of Fraud’, 1st Edition, Robert Speller & Sons: New York, p. 11. When Riis speaks of the ‘Demuth woman’ he is speaking of Helene Demuth: Karl Marx’s long time maid and mistress who was gifted to Marx’s wife, Jenny von Westphalen, by her mother. I have marked this quote as potentially unreliable as Riis’ testimony, although rather obscure, has not been used or credited by any biographer of Marx of whom I am aware. Also Riis doesn’t provide any evidence that the woman he talked to was really Helene Demuth (who had died in 1890 although Riis originally published ‘Karl Marx’ in the 1920s, which still stretches the timeline quite a bit).
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