18 February, 2000
Author: George Irbe
Back to George's Views
THE NEW JEWISH QUESTION
Fifty-five years have passed since the end of World War II. In its aftermath and mainly due to the sort of outcome it had, the world has experienced many smaller conflicts in the second half of the 20th century; many of these were just as nasty as the big one, albeit with fewer victims. There was also one welcome event towards the end of the century. What's more, this event was also largely unanticipated -- at least not expected as suddenly as it came about. It is, of course, the collapse, in 1991, of the "evil empire" of the Soviet Union, which had been the only clear victor in WW II.
At last it can now be said that the nations of eastern Europe, liberated from Soviet enslavement, have the opportunity to embark on a slow mend toward a democratic culture. These nations must, as part of the healing process, wean themselves of several bad old "habits", or at least diminish the influence of such habits on the social ethos. The worst of the bad habits is, to put it succinctly, excessive national and religious chauvinism.
One widely-shared component of the national-religious chauvinism of the various peoples of eastern Europe is seemingly inborn and centuries-old. It is called anti-Semitism, although I prefer to describe it as anti-Judaism, since it is rooted in the historical -- basically religious and cultural -- antagonism between Christendom and Judaism. However, in the 20th century that antagonism became immensely more complex and irascible when it was further enriched with the totalitarian ideological poisons that we got to know so well.
Considering the democratization of geopolitical attitudes and the waning of religious dogmatism in Europe in general at the beginning of this, the 21st century, one would expect that anti-Judaism is a dying fire that should fast run out of fuel. That, however, is not the case.
For what I am about to say next, I expect that I, too, will be branded as an anti-Judaist in some quarters. I will endeavor to refute the charge later on. In my opinion we have a "New Jewish question". No, it is not that dreadful Nazi excreta -- Judenfrage. It is not even the "Jewish question" addressed by dear old Karl Marx (Marx, Commentary on two essays by Bruno Bauer, 1843). The new question -- i.e. problem -- is being created by the Jews themselves. They seem hell-bent on fanning the old flames of anti-Judaism back to life. This they do by unceasingly pointing an accusatory finger at all the eastern European peoples for their alleged complicity in the Holocaust. That by itself is enough to kindle old hates. But the Jews further exacerbate hostility towards themselves by rubbing salt into a deep emotional wound of these people; they blandly deny any complicity by their own kind in the larger and longer-lasting holocaust in the Soviet Union, which claimed untold millions of victims from the very same eastern European nations that the Jews keep on accusing.
The way it looks to me, most of the Nazi criminals, dead or living, have been publicly identified. Many have been tried and punished. What is more, the Germans as well as the eastern European nations have officially and formally acknowledged that, indeed, there were criminals among them who took part in the extermination of Jews. The Jews, however, remain in complete denial of having any individuals (dead or living) in their midst who are guilty of crimes against humanity of similar wickedness which were committed in the Soviet Union.
During the past 50 years it has been easy and fashionable to deny that such crimes were ever perpetrated. Some quotes from "The Black Book of Communism"  will address this point:
p. 16 Communism may have a worldwide purpose, but like Nazism it deems a part of humanity unworthy of existence. The difference is that the Communist model is based on the class system, the Nazi model on race and territory.
p. 17 . . . scholars have neglected the crimes committed by the Communists. While names such as Himmler and Eichmann are recognized around the world as bywords for twentieth-century barbarism, the names of Feliks Dzerzhinsky, Genrikh Yagoda, and Nikolai Ezhov languish in obscurity. . . . the revelations concerning Communist crimes cause barely a stir. . . . [There is] widespread reluctance to make such a crucial factor as crime -- mass crime, systematic crime, and crime against humanity -- a central factor in the analysis of Communism.
p. 18 Not satisfied with the concealment of their misdeeds, the tyrants systematically attacked all who dared to expose their crimes.
p. 19 The Communist assassins set out to incapacitate, discredit, and intimidate their adversaries. . . . In the face of such incessant intimidation and cover-ups, the victims [of Communism] grew reluctant to speak out and were effectively prevented from reentering mainstream society, where their accusers and executioners were ever-present. . . . In contrast to the Jewish Holocaust, which the international Jewish community has actively commemorated, it has been impossible for victims of Communism and their legal advocates to keep the memory of the tragedy alive, and any requests for commemoration or demands for reparation are brushed aside.
p. 20 . . . the West has long labored under an extraordinary self-deception, simultaneously fueled by na´vetÚ in the face of a particularly devious system, by the fear of Soviet power, and by the cynicism of politicians.
p. 22 Whether intentional or not, when dealing with this ignorance of the criminal dimension of Communism, our contemporaries' indifference to their fellow humans can never be forgotten.
Let me try to put the "New Jewish Question" as an allegory. Suppose that my brother has killed your parents and your brother has killed mine. You insist that I bear the guilt and do eternal penance, because my brother killed your parents simply because for who they were: the parents of you and your brother. I acknowledge the evil deed of my brother and ask that you, in turn, acknowledge the evil deed of your brother who was first to kill my parents simply because they owned property and wanted to live in freedom. I propose to you that we both jointly deplore all the crimes of the past for the last time and then go into the future respecting each other, without any more recriminations or hate. To this you answer that there can be no reconciliation between us on a quid-pro-quo basis, because the actions of my brother and yours are not really comparable. You say that my brother's cold-blooded crimes stand fully exposed, whereas no one has been successful in proving your brother's crimes beyond a reasonable doubt. And even if true, your brother's killing of my parents is not really a crime, because he killed in the service of a glorious revolution for the betterment of mankind.
After your callous answer, pardon me if I look on you with anger and consider you to be a contemptible and thoroughly self-centered character without moral fiber. You do, indeed, show indifference to your fellow humans, and so long as you do, I can not forget it. Yet, you and I have to live in the same world. My concern is that, given the prevailing Jewish attitudes, Christians and Jews cannot co-exist for long before they once again jump at each other's throats. For me, then, the "New Jewish Question" is really a question not for Christendom but for Jews to answer. Are they capable of an honest admission that they also had their share of despicable individuals guilty of crimes against humanity?
Reiterating what I see as the main requirement for the potential solution of the impasse in the "New Jewish Question": the Jews should officially acknowledge the active participation of individuals of Jewish lineage in what can collectively be called the Red Terror. In some measure, as will become evident from the Jewish sources referred to in this undertaking, they have already admitted their culpability, in a guarded manner and basically only within the purview of their own scholars, but not to the world at large.
By now I must already be labeled by many as an anti-Judaist of the highest order. I will try to change the sentiments of at least some who see me as such by providing a short background of my attitude towards Jews and Israelis.
I was born in Riga, Latvia, in 1935. My mother, my younger sister, and I arrived in the United States as DPs in 1950, and moved to Canada in 1951. I assimilated quickly, developing the thought processes and attitudes in the Anglo-American tradition. All my life I have felt an uncompromising abhorrence of anything Left, or Right, or totalitarian. Another strong sentiment of mine, no doubt because of my own origins from a small and, it seems, eternally abused nation, is the sacred belief in the right of all nations, however small, to autonomy and self-government, and the right of ownership of land to which they hold a natural title by having been there longer than any other people. After all, Latvians have sought to have these rights restored to them for centuries, so how could a person with Latvian roots do anything else but support like aspirations by other small nations.
These two bedrock beliefs of mine have always made for a dichotomous relationship with the older generation of the Latvian exile community in Canada. On the one hand, we share a deep hatred of communism and communists; on the other hand, I have had heated arguments and have been called a "Jew lover" by some Latvians because I have consistently, and with enthusiasm, taken the Israeli side in their fight with the Arabs. In my view, Israel was always deserving of support on both counts: it was fighting the Arab clients of the Soviet Union, and it was fighting for national self-preservation on lands historically Jewish.
So it is that I started to cheer for the Israeli side at the time of the "Suez Canal crisis" in 1956. I recall how I was very much in the minority in my unqualified support of Israel in 1967. At that time the Left in the West in general was reaching its peak ascendancy in public popularity. The Canadian left-leaning elite was doing a creditable job in shaping public opinion to support the Soviet side in every conflict -- in this case the Arabs.
I have read, with genuine relish, many accounts of the brilliant and exceptionally brave Israeli military exploits in their many battles with Arab armies that out-weighed them ten-fold, and more, in numbers and materiel. I have read -- twice! -- Chaim Herzog's "War of Atonement", and Avigdor Kahalani's "The Heights of Courage." I shouted, "Right on!", when Menachem Begin declared that the so-called West Bank is actually the ancient Jewish provinces of Judea and Samaria.
As for the Holocaust, I have always supported and defended the right of Jewish organizations to continue, for as long as it takes, to pursue and try in courts of law those individuals who are guilty of crimes against humanity, to which the statute of limitation does not apply. But I, along with some Jews, object to the unabashed exploitation of a "Holocaust industry" by some opportunists; and to the crass, and very hurting, indifference of the Holocaust-boosters towards the terrible suffering of other people under the Red Terror. This sort of attitude can only be described as despicable.
THE VICTIMS OF TOTALITARIAN HOLOCAUSTS
Can it be said that the victims of the Nazi Holocaust somehow have a higher claim to victimhood than, say, the Cambodian victims of the Pol Pot reign of terror? I think not. Neither does Stephane Courtois, senior author of "The Black Book of Communism" , who says in the Introduction, on p. 23:
. . . a single-minded focus on the Jewish genocide in an attempt to characterize the Holocaust as a unique atrocity has also prevented an assessment of other episodes of comparable magnitude in the Communist world. After all, it seems scarcely plausible that the victors who had helped bring about the destruction of a genocidal apparatus might themselves have put the very same methods into practice. When faced with this paradox, people generally preferred to bury their heads in the sand.
Consider the following, from the stand-point of the victim:
-- does it matter to the victim whether he is selected for capture because of his ethnicity, or because of his socio-political status?
-- does it matter to the victim whether he is dragged off for "interrogation" in the offices of the Gestapo, or the NKVD?
-- does the victim feel different degrees of pain and terror, depending on whether the instruments of torture are wielded by persons bearing the swastika insignia, or the hammer-and-sickle? Does it matter if the portrait on the wall of the interrogation room is of one "maximum leader," or another?
-- does it matter to the victim as he stands, hands tied, on the edge of the burial trench, whether the bullet he awaits is fired by a Sonderkommando, a Chekist, a Red Guard, etc.?
-- does it matter to the victim if he is starved and worked to death in Buchenwald, or Kolyma, or in a Red Chinese "Laogai", or a Viet Minh "re-education camp"?
Most people will agree that, as far as the victim is concerned, the answer to each of the questions is "No". Pain is pain, hunger is hunger, dead is dead -- no matter where, no matter at whose hands. And as for the sorrow of the survivors for their lost family members, it is also the same for all human beings.
Another aspect to look at is how the totalitarian henchmen regarded their victims. Everyone knows very well that the Nazis did not regard the Jews as at all human, but rather as undesirable biological creatures which had to be exterminated in order to protect the Aryan race from inter-breeding with the vermin. But did the Red fascists -- the Communists of various stripes -- view their victims as human beings? The answer can be found in numerous stories by those who survived the prisons and extermination camps. The following quote from "Basic Communism" , p. 212, is quite comprehensive:
The forced labor camps stripped away every remnant of support to human dignity, except such as the most resolute could store in their hearts. . . . Solzhenitsyn has called the camps "Our Sewage Disposal System." This human garbage, these pitiful human beings, squeezed dry by torture and confession, were shipped off to remote areas . . . Everything in the camps confirmed that the prisoners were garbage: the language of the guards, the tattered rags that the prisoners wore, the absence of amenities, and the cheapness of life. Tales abound of prisoners being shot merely because they stepped out of line in a formation or could not keep up.
Does this description not bring back horrid memories, as well, to someone who survived a Nazi concentration camp? It very likely does.
This same kind of attitude by the jailers towards the prisoners, of seeing them merely as biological matter in human form (and of worthless garbage quality, at that), is reported in  again and again, from Soviet Russia, to eastern Europe, to Red China, to North Korea, and so on. Perhaps we can agree, then, that it mattered not at all to the victims which holocaust they were being consumed by.
The writings of several reputable Jewish authors have been consulted in order to ascertain how they understand, and interpret, the participation of their own people in the acting out of a grotesque play scripted by a malcontent without equal -- Karl Marx -- and directed by diabolical minds of exceptional wickedness. The title of this play is the Red Holocaust. Here we are concerned mainly with the early acts of the nightmarish drama, encompassing roughly the first 40 years of its run, from 1917 to the end of WW II.
I have drawn heavily on two Jewish sources in particular. Due to my Latvian roots, "Latvians and Jews Between Germany and Russia" , by Frank Gordon has a special affinity for me and is my first source. Frank (Efrayim) Gordon deserves special mention for his short (only 60 pages) but exceptionally informative and insightful book. Gordon's book is the most candid account yet, from a Jewish perspective, that I have come across about the history of the Jewish people in eastern Europe. The Israeli Institute of Research on the Holocaust and Heroism, Yad Vashem, in Jerusalem, recognizes with special awards non-Jewish individuals who helped Jews during the Nazi Holocaust . The awards are made to "Righteous Gentiles." It would be a great idea for Gentiles in eastern Europe to reciprocate the gesture by recognizing "Righteous Jews" who "tell it like it was." Frank Gordon would be a strong candidate for such an award. It must be mentioned, however, that even Frank Gordon does not go so far as to name individual Jews who participated in the torture, killing, and deportation of Latvians under the Soviet occupation of Latvia. But then, seldom does a Latvian author name Latvians who killed Jews for the Nazis.
Other Jewish sources quoted here are much more reticent and vague when they deal with active Jewish participation in the practical work of the Bolshevik Revolution, or in the killing and deportation of citizens of the small countries which were occupied by the Soviet Union before WW II, in what is collectively termed the Red Holocaust. My second major Jewish source is "The Lesser of Two Evils", by Dov Levin. Levin is a reputable historian of note. His natural pro-Jewish bias is somewhat counterbalanced by inadvertent (so it seems) admissions, about which later.
The core of the "New Jewish Question" is Jewish involvement in the Red Terror against the eastern European nations subjugated by the Soviet Union since the Hitler-Stalin pact of 1939. But in order to understand the motivation of the Jews in acting as they did, one must also look at the beginning of the Bolshevik regime in Russia, and its development from 1917 to 1939. Several sources have been used to substantiate key events in the history of Bolshevism.
BIRTH OF THE EVIL EMPIRE: OF BAYONETS AND BRAINS
A supremely ironical twist of history confronts the Latvian nation. The 50 years of smothering Soviet rule have reduced its numbers in its own territory to a level barely adequate for ethnic survivability. Yet, it is quite likely that the Soviet Union would not have come about, because Lenin's Bolshevik government would not have survived past the incubatory stage, but for the decisive role of Latvian military units who were the only loyal and effective forces that Lenin could rely on at critical periods in 1917 and 1918. Gordon [ 3], p.3 provides a one-liner popular at the time:
"What destroyed Russia? Jewish brains, Latvian bayonets, and Russian stupidity."
The important role of the "Latvian bayonets" is stated by Gordon . Of the Latvian Riflemen [Strelnieki] he says on p. 8:
Not only the Riflemen themselves but also most of their officers embraced the Bolshevik cause, among them the highly talented Jukums Vacietis. Vacietis became commander-in-chief of all Soviet Russian military forces after the Bolshevik coup in St.Petersburg (the so-called Great Socialist October Revolution). . . . Indeed, the Latvian Red Riflemen were in fact the strongest pillar supporting the Bolsheviks. They were the Bolsheviks' Praetorian guard. As the Latvian historian Uldis Germanis, who lives in Stockholm, points out (in Oberst Vacietis und die Lettischen Schuetzen im Weltkrieg und in der Oktoberrevolution, Stockholm, Amqvist & Wiksell, 1974), Lenin could rely on neither the disorganized Russian troops in St. Petersburg, nor the famous sailors at Kronstadt with their growing anarchistic tendencies, nor the militarily weak Red Guard, composed of workers. The Bolshevik headquarters in St. Petersburg, the Smolny Institute building, which contained Lenin's office, were guarded by a special company of Latvian Riflemen (officially called Svodnoya rota Latyshskich Strelkov pri VCIK i Sovnarkome). When the Soviet government moved to Moscow in March of 1918, these faithful bodyguards of the Bolshevik leadership, now known as the United Latvian Riflemen's Battalion, were assigned to guard the Kremlin.
and on p. 10:
The Red Army's victories are unthinkable without the Latvian Riflemen. . . . It is a proven fact that the Riflemen saved the Bolshevik regime in July 1918, when the Left SR [Left wing of the Social-Revolutionists] revolt broke out and the lives of Lenin, Trotsky, and Dzerzhinsky were hanging by a thread.
Selections from "The Russian Revolution" , by Richard Pipes tell the same story:
p. 611 -- [In January, 1918] ... the Bolsheviks had only one reliable military force, the Latvian Rifles, whom we have encountered in connection with the dispersal of the Constituent Assembly and the security of the Kremlin. The Russian army formed the first separate Latvian units in the summer of 1915. In 1915-16, the Latvian Rifles were an all-volunteer force of 8,000 men, strongly nationalistic and with a sizable Social-Democratic contingent. Reinforced with Latvian nationals from the regular Russian units, by the end of 1916 they had eight regiments totaling 32,000 to 35,000 men. ...
The Bolsheviks treated the Latvians differently from all other units of the Russian army, keeping them intact and entrusting to them vital security operations. They gradually turned into a combination of the French Foreign Legion and the Nazi SS, a force to protect the regime from internal as well as foreign enemies, partly an army, partly a security police. Lenin trusted them much more than Russians. (Emphasis added)
p. 633 -- A [German] Foreign Office memorandum drafted in May , formulated an argument for continued collaboration with the Bolsheviks: ... [Chief of German Foreign Office] Kuhlmann advocated a strict hands-off policy in Russia. In response to what apparently was a Bolshevik inquiry, he wanted to assure Moscow that neither Germans nor the Finns had any designs on Petrograd: such assurances would make it possible to shift Latvian troops from west to east, where they were desperately needed to fight the Czech Legion. ... on [June 28, 1918] the Kaiser, with one impulsive decision, saved the Bolshevik regime from the sentence of death which it was in his power to pass.(Emphasis added)
p. 634 -- [On June 28,1918] the Kaiser ... stated in particular that the Germans were to undertake no military operations in Russia . . . The immediate effect of the Kaiser's decision was to enable Trotsky to transfer Latvian regiments from the western border to the Volga-Ural front. Since they were the only pro-Bolshevik military units capable of combat, this action saved the Bolshevik regime in the east from total collapse. At the end of July, the 5th Latvian Regiment and elements of the 4th engaged the Czechslovaks near Kazan, the 6th attacked from Ekaterinburg, and the 7th suppressed anti-Bolshevik uprising of armed workers at Izhevsk-Botkin. Those operations turned the tide of battle in the Bolshevik's favor. (Emphasis added)
p. 643 -- [On July 6, 1918] The city [Moscow] had fallen into the hands of the rebels [the Left Social Revolutionaries], except for the Kremlin ... When he arrived at the headquarters of the Latvian Division, his chief of staff told Vacietis that "the entire Moscow garrison" had turned against the Bolsheviks. The so-called People's Army ... had decided to remain neutral. Another regiment had declared itself in favor of the Left SRs. The Latvians were all that was left: one battalion of the 1st Regiment, one battalion of the 2nd, and the 9th Regiment. There was also the 3rd Latvian Regiment, but its loyalty was in doubt. Vacietis could also count on a Latvian artillery battery and a few smaller units, including a company of pro-Communist Hungarian POWs, commanded by Bela Kun.
p. 644 -- When he started his counterattack at 5 a.m. [July 7, 1918], Vacietis had under his command 3,300 men, of whom fewer than 500 were Russians. The Left SRs fought back ferociously, and it took the Latvians nearly seven hours to reduce the rebel centers and release, unharmed, Dzerzhinskii, Lacis [a Latvian henchman of Lenin's], and the remaining hostages. Vacietis received from Trotsky [who was Jewish] a bonus of 10,000 rubles for a job well done.
Many other writings, including the memoirs of several Latvian Riflemen (Strelnieki), confirm the fact that it was their cohesive and disciplined units which first intimidated and then destroyed the political parties which opposed Lenin, parties that could have, absent the Latvian forces, formed a government that would have taken Russia down a different, conceivably democratic, road. Pipes states unequivocally that the "Kaiser . . . saved the Bolshevik regime from a sentence of death" by assuring Trotsky that he could shift Latvian units to the south-eastern front without fear of German attack. The Latvians stopped the advance of the White forces on Moscow, thus saving Lenin's regime also in the military sense.
The Latvians can not deny these facts, nor do they. In addition, murderous Latvian rogues, who toiled in the name of the Revolution in the Cheka, have been known as Latvians to the world for decades. Gordon  remarks, on p.10:
Latvians played a role in forming that fearsome instrument of Red terror, the Cheka. George Leggett notes this in his book The Cheka, Lenin's Political Police 1917-1922 (Oxford 1981). He quotes Trotsky as saying at a Politburo meeting on April 18, 1918, that Latvians and Jews comprised the largest percentages of the Cheka's employees at the front, in the rear, and in Soviet institutions in the center. Jekabs Peterss, who was a close associate of the founder of the Cheka, Dzerzhinsky, and Martins Lacis-Sudrabs, who was the theoretician of the Red terror, were the most monstrous of the Latvian Chekists. The British journalist Reginald 0. G. Urch, who was well-versed in Baltic and Soviet affairs, mentions Lacis-Sudrabs in his book The Rabbit King of Russia (London 1939). Urch cites an article by Lacis-Sudrabs in which he wrote: "The Central Executive Committee has abolished the Cheka, but it has created and placed on duty a new sentinel -- the GPU. The Cheka has done its work.... And you, the new sentinel, be alert"
In the twenties and thirties, Latvians continued to be active in the Soviet Union's political police and intelligence service. The creator of Soviet spy networks in the West was Berzins, who was also the supervisor and mentor of the famous spy Richard Sorge. Another Berzins supervised the slave labor camp system at Kolyma, the Dal'stroy, which was the Soviet predecessor to and equivalent of Auschwitz.
In the above, Gordon refers to an observation by Trotsky that both Latvians and Jews were devoted employees of the Cheka. Latvians have no alternative but to acknowledge the truth of Latvian involvement in the Red Terror at the most basic, murderous level, just as they must rue the fact that their own renowned fighting men were instrumental in its preservation. Some satisfaction can be had knowing that the natural process known since the French Revolution as "a revolution consuming its own spawn" did its work in this one also. In the words of Gordon , p. 11
Unfortunately, Stalin's Great Purge started to affect this community at the end of 1936. In two years all Latvian organizations -- cooperatives and presses, schools and theaters, newspapers and journals -- were closed. Thousands of Latvians were shot, from Chekists and high Red Army commanders to teachers and writers. Thousands were imprisoned in the Gulag. Many changed their Latvian surnames, for even to be Latvian was suspect. Stalin considered all Latvians in Russia to be spies for independent Latvia. The persecution of Latvians, especially Latvian communists, was almost genocidal in nature.
So much for the "Latvian bayonets." I would delete the "Unfortunately" at the start of the above quote. Those Latvians received punishment commensurate with their crimes, even though the punishment was administered by an exo-judicial process. Incidentally, in the second-last quote, Gordon makes an interesting comparison of the Kolyma concentration camp with Auschwitz. Another seldom-acknowledged fact is that during the 1930s the Nazis expressed considerable interest in the Soviet concentration-extermination camp system. The Nazis were astute learners; they copied the camp idea from the Soviets and then improved on it.
THE BRAINS . . . AND THE BUTCHERS
In the 19th century, discrimination against the Jews was commonplace in Europe and the United States. Keeping Jews out of the top levels of public institutions continued, even in the US, well into the 20th century. The Jews had to fight their way into the prestigious top echelons of society in the face of thinly-disguised hostility. In Russia the Orthodox Christian environment had been particularly hostile, with periodic massacres ("pogroms") of the Jewish population which lived in smaller provincial towns called "stetl." So it was obvious that the Jews had no sympathy for the Tsarist regime, as stated in , p.7:
Jews did not care for the deeply anti-Semitic ruling classes in Russia, which had carried out vicious pogroms, prevented Jews from settling freely within the empire (restricting them to the sort of giant ghetto, the Pale of Settlement), kept a numerus clausus against Jews in higher education, and so on. Jews understandably felt no respect or affection, much less patriotism, toward Nicholas II and his court.
As the ideas of Karl Marx and a spirited Socialist movement spread throughout Europe and Russia, the Jewish intelligentsia were particularly caught up in the socialist ideology, because it offered to them a new, supra-national, non-discriminatory form of government. The rationalist, even anti-religionist, message of socialism tended to estrange them from orthodox Judaism, as well. In "Jewish Nationality and Soviet Politics: The Jewish Sections of the CPSU, 1917 - 1930", by Zvi Y. Gitelman , we read on p. 109 that
. . . because of the official and social barriers erected by the tsarist system against the Jews they could never really be fully integrated into the mainstream of Russian society, though they clearly regarded Russian culture as "higher" than Jewish culture. These "doubly alienated" people, shunning Jewish society and shunned by the Gentile world, resolved the dilemma and their role strain by creating an alternative society, the revolutionary movement ... which aimed to remake the entire world over in its own image. Undoubtedly, the social democratic movement's conscious down-playing of ethnicity appealed to those "non-Jewish Jews". . .
By the time of the 1917 Revolution, the Russian Jews had had decades of involvement in several socialist movements. Since 1897, Jewish socialist activities had been concentrated largely in the Jewish Bund, which saw itself also as an autonomous Jewish socialist entity. The Bund worked closely with the All-Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, founded in 1898 with Bund support, until the ascendance of Lenin in the Russian party. According to Leonard Shapiro , p. 310,
The break between the Russian party and the Bund came in 1903, at the famous Second Congress, which was the origin of the division of the social democratic party into Bolsheviks and Mensheviks. It had to come, if Lenin was to remain master of the Russian party, if only because of the complete incompatibility of views between Lenin and the Bund on what should be the nature of the party.
and further in , p. 313,
This first, and fatal, quarrel between the Bund and Bolshevism was important because the factors which kept the two apart in 1903 were the same in many respects as those which in the years after the congress of 1903 kept so many social democrats apart from Lenin . . . the Bund and . . . the Mensheviks . . . [were] trying to assert and uphold the . . . principles of social democracy which . . . were in danger of being destroyed by Lenin. . . . The preponderance of Jews in the Menshevik faction was certainly very great. For example, of all the delegates to the party congress in1907 (at that date the party was nominally reunited) Jewish delegates numbered nearly 100, or about a third of all the delegates, if the 57 delegates of the Bund are included. Over a fifth of the delegates who followed the Menshevik line were Jews, as against about a tenth of pro-Bolshevik delegates.
The events of 1917 and 1918 compelled many Jewish socialists to make decisions that would serve their self-interest at the expense of principle. The normal human inclination to look after "number one" was decisive. That meant abandoning the social democrats and rushing to the winning side -- the resolute and ruthless Bolsheviks. Various motivations and reasons are given by Jewish authors why there was a rush to Bolshevism by the Jews, although the only obvious reasons -- personal gain, power, and self-aggrandizement -- are rarely mentioned. Shapiro says in :
p. 308 ... conflict ... could and did arise when the Jewish revolutionary was required as part of his duty to sever completely all links with his Jewish past and tradition by embracing a nationalistic, Russian movement. ... Marxism was from the outset an internationalist doctrine, and the Russian Jew, although he was capable of entering a purely Russian movement, and of sinking his national interest in what he believed was the more important general aim, nevertheless often retained sufficient sense of contact with his coreligionists outside Russia to feel rather more at home in social democracy. ... It is therefore not surprising that Jews should have figured as pioneers in bringing the light of Marxism from Western Europe into Russia.
p. 317 ... in Russia ... the semi-constitutional regime was always liable to relapse into police rule ... It was not therefore surprising that many Jews should have been drawn into the Bolshevik party, which certainly put revolution very much more in the forefront of its utterances, and which also provided the strong attraction which ruthlessness of methods holds for the impatient. And so it is not to be wondered at that we should find quite a large number of Jews in the Bolshevik ranks ... Among Lenin's lieutenants there were certainly a few Jews who mattered: Zinov'yev and Kamanev ... were the two most important.
p. 318 Thousands of Jews thronged to the Bolsheviks, seeing in them the most ... reliable internationalists. By the time the Bolsheviks seized power ... Five of the twenty-one full members of the Central Committee were Jews - among them Trotsky and Sverdlov ...
... Jews abounded at the lower levels of the party machinery - especially in the Cheka, and its successors the GPU, the OGPU and the NKVD. (In the issue of Pravda for 20 December 1937 there is a list of 407 officials of the NKVD, decorated on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the Cheka. Forty-two of the names, or about 11 percent, are Jews, and the actual total of Jews may well have been higher, since many of them may be supposed to have adopted Russian names.
In the main the Jewish revolutionary flung himself into the Russian movement fully convinced that in the brotherhood of international social democracy he could not possibly be anything other than an equal of the Russian ... Once inside the Bolshevik fold he readily jettisoned any claim to his national rights ...
and from Gitelman in , on p. 105 and 106, we find:
Within the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party [RSDLP] the Jews were concentrated in the Bund and in the Menshevik faction. For example, there were almost one hundred Jewish delegates, one third of the total, to the RSDLP congress in 1907; . . . the assimilated Jews who joined the RSDLP were in the main "intellectuals", rather than workers at the bench, and . . . they gravitated toward the Menshevik faction which attracted an intellectual, European-oriented type, whereas the Bolsheviks attracted more ethnic Russians and more genuine proletarians. . . . By 1917, however, there were some prominent Bolshevik leaders who were of Jewish origin. Of the twenty-one Central Committee members in August 1917, six were of Jewish origin: Kamenev, Sokolnikov, Sverdlov, Trotsky, Uritskii, and Zinoviev. These Bolsheviks were Jewish by family background only.
Further on in , Gitelman provides the most candid reasons (with only a few evasions) why Jews hastened to become "good" Bolskeviks.
p. 114 The idea that the Bolshevik regime was a Jewish one gained popularity probably because of the relatively large numbers of Jews who in 1917 suddenly rushed into governmental posts from which they had been barred under the tsars. So striking was the presence of Jews in high places that when it was proposed that a Jewish ticket be put forth in the elections to the Constituent Assembly, Maxim Vinaver commented, "Why do we Jews need a separate ticket? Whichever party wins, we will still be the winners."
p. 116 This rush into official posts meant simply that government employment was one of the few sure ways to avoid starvation and to hold a decent, dignified job. Then, too, Jews were fascinated with the wholly new possibility of being rulers as well as ruled. There can be little doubt that the thirst for power had been exacerbated by centuries of drought and that Jews were determined to drink deeply of the sweet waters of power.
p. 117 The high visibility of Jews in the Bolshevik regime was dramatized by the large numbers of Jews in the Cheka. The reasons for the popularity of Cheka service among Jews are not altogether clear but since Jews could hardly be suspected of devotion to the tsarist regime, they would be considered reliable opponents of the Whites. From the Jewish point of view it was no doubt the lure of immediate physical power which attracted many Jewish youths, desirous of avenging the crimes perpetrated against their people by anti-Soviet forces of all sorts. Whatever the reasons, Jews were heavily represented in the secret police. "Anyone who had the misfortune to fall into the hands of the Cheka stood a very good chance of finding himself confronted with, and very possibly shot by, a Jewish investigator. Since the Cheka was the most hated and feared organ of the Bolshevik government, anti-Jewish feelings increased in direct proportion to Cheka terror."
Winning, being the rulers, thirst for power are the real reasons. And surely, Gitelman should not find it all that difficult to figure out the 'reasons for the popularity of Cheka service among Jews'. He is reluctant to give the reasons, just as Shapiro on p. 304 of  "... could cite the extensive Jewish participation in the savageries of the Red Terror of the Cheka ...", but of course, he does not. The fact is that Jews were ubiquitous participants in the near-orgiastic butchery of human beings in celebration of Leninism, and later Stalinism. Gitelman confesses Jewish complicity in that satanic orgy when he says that one could be "very possibly shot by a Jewish investigator" and that "anti-Jewish feelings increased in direct proportion to Cheka terror."
However, the Jews definitely also provided the brains for the evil regime, attested to by Lenin himself in , p. 115:
Jews were especially welcomed by the Bolshevik government because a large part of the old bureaucracy and intelligentsia refused to serve it. Lenin was aware ... that the wartime migration of the Jewish "middle intelligentsia" to the big cities had "great significance for the revolution." This Jewish intelligentsia had neutralized the boycott of the Bolshevik regime by the Russian intelligentsia. In Lenin's words, they had "sabotaged the saboteurs."
Gordon, too, while listing the wrongs inflicted on the Jews, in , p. 9, mentions only their desire for vengeance, but not what form that vengeance took:
In the interests of historical accuracy one must acknowledge that Jews, like Latvians, played a major role in the early years of Bolshevism's "Great Experiment," that is, between 1917 and 1937. This is indicated graphically in the memoirs, published abroad, of the well-known Russian poet Marina Zvetayeva, who remembers how amazed she was that in 1918 in Moscow, everywhere, in every institution, there were "only Yids and Latvians." All Moscow, she complained, was swarming with them.
... the role of Jewish revolutionaries among the Bolsheviks during the civil war and the twenties was very large. One has only to name a few names to make that clear: Lev Trotsky; Grigori Zinoviev, first president of the Communist International; Yagoda, head of the secret police; Kamenev, Radek, Sverdlov, Joffe, Yakir. Thousands of young Jews joined the Bolsheviks after they became convinced that White Russian forces, Cossacks, Ukrainian insurgents, and other armed opponents of Bolshevism were organizing pogroms in the finest tradition of Orthodox Mother Russia's anti-Semitism. This persecution, looting, and killing drove Jews over to the Bolshevik side. An additional factor, to be sure, was the hunger for power and respect, the possibility of at long last holding positions of authority and responsibility in revolutionary power bodies. There was also a desire for vengeance against "reactionaries" for earlier injustices against Jews, and last but not least, the aforementioned romantic dream of the dawning "world commune," the Utopian "new world order."
George Leggett (to whom Gordon refers to in , above) has much more to say on the matter in his excellent work -- "The Cheka: Lenin's Political Police"; for instance, the following on the preponderance of non-Russians in the Cheka:
p. 262-263 . . . the remarkable racial mix of the top twenty Chekists . . . also characterized the leadership of the Russian socialist parties, though the pronounced Jewish element evident at the apex of the Bolshevik Party (Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Krestinskii, Sverdlov, Sokolnikov, etc.) and, even more, of the Menshevik Party (Martov, Liber, Dan, Abramovich, etc.) and the Socialist Revolutionary Party (Gotz, Gershuni, Kamkov, Natanson, Steinberg, etc.), was perhaps not quite so manifest at the Vecheka [Cheka for short] summit. This ethnic heterogeneity of the Old Chekists was therefore not an isolated phenomenon; furthermore, it applied also to the Vecheka's middle and lower strata, where we constantly find a foreign strain: Poles, Hungarians and Estonians, Armenians and Georgians, Finns, even Chinese, but above all Latvians and Jews in abundance. (Emphasis added).
A striking imbalance manifested itself particularly in the Ukraine, where in early 1919 the Chekas contained an extraordinarily high proportion of Jews: 75 percent of the personnel of the Kiev Cheka, and seven out of its ten collegium members, were Jews. For reasons of race and religion numerous Jews living in the Pale of Settlement in the Ukraine had long been treated as second-class citizens, with bitter experience of pogroms at Ukrainian hands. During the period following the assassination of Alexander II in 1881, as a direct result of the official anti-Semitic discrimination, and with the rapid development of the social democratic revolutionary movement, Jews -- especially those with education -- became revolutionaries in numbers out of all proportion to the relative size of the Jewish population in Russia. . . . The guards and gaolers in the Lubianka offices and prisons were mostly Letts: the politician and historian, S.P. Melgunov, who himself spent many months in the Lubianka cells, affirmed that in 1919 three-quarters of the Vecheka's HQ staff of 2,000 were Letts.
p. 265 It does not seem that any special qualifications were required of Chekists . . . Indeed there is clear evidence that Chekists were sometimes illiterate, or aged well under twenty-one, . . . many of them . . . [were] foreigners . . . as is evident from . . . Chekist behavior during the Red Terror [proved that] Cheka personnel regarded themselves as a class apart, the very incarnation of the Party's will, with power of life and death over lesser mortals, and acted accordingly.
That surely must have been the ultimate of "power trips" that the Chekists were on, on par with the orgasmic highs experienced by zealous Gestapo men as they tortured and killed in the name of the Reich. What has since been verified by documentation from different sources, i.e. that both the Jews and the Latvians were running things and doing the dirty work, first for Lenin, and later for Stalin, was quite apparent at the time to the average Russian on the street, in the interrogation room, and in the Gulag camps.
Adolf Hitler, from the outset of his campaign, had more than a passing interest in Communist activities in Russia, as well as in Germany where he was in direct competition with them. Not surprisingly, he, too, was cognizant of the dominant role of Jews in the Russian revolution. He put his own spin on it, early on, when he wrote Mein Kampf in 1924. The following comment is by George Watson , p. 122:
At a mid point in [Mein Kampf], in a chapter entitled 'People and Race' (Ch. 11), Hitler attacks Lenin's Russia on the interesting ground that the Bolshevik Jews who (as he believed) governed the infant USSR had already begun their own programme of racial extermination, 'the great and final revolution'. In Russia the Jew had already shown his true nature: 'In the course of a few years he endeavours to exterminate all those who represent the national intelligence. And by thus depriving the peoples of their natural intellectual leaders, he fits them for their fate as slaves under a lasting despotism.' That is a very exact account of what the Nazis were to attempt in occupied Poland and elsewhere after 1939, systematically deporting and killing leaders of intellectual elites like priests and professors. It is remarkable that as early as Mein Kampf Hitler believed Lenin had already done just that in Russia itself: "Russia furnishes the most terrible example of such slavery. In that country, the Jew has killed or starved thirty million people in a bout of savage fanaticism, partly by the use of inhuman torture.'
Hitler was also aware of the bloody role of the many Latvians chekists. Gordon , p. 3, quotes from Hitler's Secret Conversations 1941-1944: "The Estonians are the elite of the Baltic peoples. Then come the Lithuanians, and lastly the Latvians. Stalin used Latvians for the executions which the Russians found disgusting. They are the same people who used to have the job of executioners in the old empire of the Tsars." Indeed, Hitler himself did not hesitate to recruit Latvians for the execution of Jews, nor (a la Lenin) to entrust his personal safety to them in a most critical moment: the last cohesive unit to guard Hitler's bunker in Berlin was Latvian , p. 3.
Of course, Stalin very wisely silenced permanently most of the enthusiastic torturers and killers after they had out-lived their usefulness. As stated before, one can take some satisfaction in that, given the absence of genuine justice. What happened to most of the Jewish and Latvian chekists has been corroborated by many different sources. Among the Jewish ones, Leonard Shapiro writes in , p. 319:
. . . take the elimination of Trotsky, Zinov'yev, Kamenev, and the countless Jewish Bolsheviks who fell with them during the 1920s, and the great holocaust of Jewish Bolsheviks which took place in 1937 and 1938. It is often said that these Jewish Bolsheviks were Jews in name only, . . .
and Frank Gordon in , p. 11 states that: "The dream ended also for thousands of Jewish communists who were shot in Stalin's Great Purge, which lasted from 1934 to 1939. "; "Basic Communism" , p. 188, also states that: "Most of the Jews in high places were purged, though not all of them. They had been more numerous in Lenin's original government than any other ethnic group; under Stalin they were decimated." Could it be that because Stalin was seen to purge his own regime of Jews with such thoroughness, Hitler was content to be friends with him for a time. We know that from the time the two carved up eastern Europe, until Hitler's attack on 22 June, 1941, the NKVD and Gestapo co-operated when dealing with "undesirable" elements of the indigenous populations of the conquered territories.
Of course, no one has brought, or is ever likely to bring -- in a court of law -- evidence and testimony against individual Chekists, whatever their ethnicity, for their crimes against humanity in the service of the "evil empire." In practical terms, there is not much left to try. Survivors of the Red Terror as well as the criminals who perpetrated it have nearly all died by now. But it surely would be conducive to extinguishing old hatreds and clearing the slate for the future, if such individuals were tried in a historical -- if need be, in absentia -- manner. Russian, European, and Jewish state institutions should open all their relevant archives for public inspection.
WAS THERE BUT ONE CHOICE FOR THE JEWS?
The early history of the "evil empire", otherwise known as the Soviet Union, and the characteristics of the players involved in making that history, is important to know and appreciate, because they foretold unfailingly -- step by repressive step -- the calamity that rolled into the countries of eastern Europe along with the invading Soviet armed forces. The reaction of the subjugated nations to the Soviet invasion was, for obvious reasons, overwhelmingly hostile. The response of the Jewish community to the invasion is distressing; it lies at the heart of the "New Jewish Question" today.
As will be seen further on, from the Jewish perspective all their actions can be rationalized and excused by the fact that they were forced to choose the lesser of two evils: namely, Soviet Communism over German Nazism. Life under the former was precarious, but at least it offered a chance for survival; under the latter, the Jew faced a certain, and most horrid, death. However, the bothersome fact of it is that many of the Jews of eastern Europe did not simply choose to submit to Soviet Communism, they embraced it enthusiastically -- just like their fellow Jews had done twenty years before in Russia. They betrayed, in the most abject manner, the people among whom they had lived for generations, and incurred the understandable hatred and mistrust of the people of eastern Europe that is with us still today as we enter a new century. Yes, the Jews had to choose the Soviet side over the Nazis; most people understand that they had to flee east with the retreating Soviet forces in 1941 in order to escape the Nazis. But, at least they could have taken a neutral stance in the Soviet-occupied countries during the year or two before June 22, 1941. Once a state of war existed between the two former allies -- Hitler and Stalin -- the Jews would be fully justified by the natural law of self-preservation to take up arms on the Soviet side. No one could fault them if they had done so.
Therefore, the question can be put: Was there more to the embrace by Jews of the Soviet invaders than merely celebration of deliverance from the scourge of the Nazis? In other words, was there Jewish malice aforethought toward the governments and people of the countries in which they had resided for generations? Would they have reacted to the Soviet invasion with less enthusiasm, perhaps even hostility, if Germany had been a non-aggressive democracy and, thus, not part of the equation? Some answers to some of the questions, from a few Jewish and non-Jewish sources, will be found below.
EASTERN EUROPE BEFORE THE TWIN HOLOCAUSTS
What was life like for the Jews in eastern Europe in the independent small countries before they were swallowed up by Hitler and Stalin? Quoting from the Foreword, by Mordechai Altshuler in , p. xi:
While Soviet Jewry was eroding as a result of assimilation (intermarriage and estrangement from Jewish culture and customs), the Jews in the annexed territories [eastern Poland, the Baltic countries, Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina] thrived on their Jewish heritage, both religious and secular, and were only marginally affected by assimilation. While the Jews of the Soviet Union had no public organizations of their own, those in the annexed territories had their own congregations, political parties, and philanthropic and cultural institutions. While most Soviet Jews learned the Russian language, either voluntarily or by force of circumstances, most Jews in the annexed territories used Yiddish in their daily lives. While many Soviet Jewish youngsters were educated in the Communist youth movement, most of their counterparts in the annexed territories were brought up in Jewish youth movements, especially Zionist ones.
From the above statement by Altshuler one may conclude that the Jews of eastern Europe enjoyed as much cultural and religious autonomy as could reasonably be expected anywhere in those times. Indeed, as mentioned before, the large Western democracies were hardly more liberal or less discriminatory against Jews. Further on in , p. 18 and 19, Levin writes:
p. 18 The Jewish communities in the territories annexed by the USSR in 1939-1941 had been there for generations and were entrenched in the local economy. ... The status of the Jews in all these areas was intimately connected with a larger issue: the existence of national minorities in countries with fanatically nationalistic majorities.
p. 19 The national identity of the Jews was explicit and pronounced in all these locations. In 1937, 98 percent of the Jews of Lithuania defined themselves as Jewish by nationality. In Poland, where language was a reliable measure of the degree of national identity, 84.3 percent of Jews polled in the 1931 census stated that Hebrew or Yiddish was their mother tongue; ... Jewish national identification was even stronger in the eastern areas. Among the Jews of Vilna, for example, 99.2 percent marked Yiddish as their national language, compared with 55 percent of Jews in Poznan. ... Even among the Jews in Estonia ... the question of national identity was not in doubt. In February, 1925, 75 percent of the Jews in Estonia affiliated themselves with the Jewish minority ... Nor were the Jews in these area inclined to assimilate. Mitigating against assimilation were the backwardness of the non-Jewish society, the rapid growth of the exceedingly religious population, the centrality of Yiddish and Hebrew among the Jews, and the size of the Jewish community.
One could say that Dov Levin protests too much. Those "fanatically nationalistic majorities" are the stuff of all small nations protecting their independence. Israel is a prime example of that. But it looks like the "fanatically nationalistic majorities" tolerated, nevertheless, in their midst, the presence of a religious-ethnic minority which openly professed non-allegiance to the host country and its government. Levin also flaunts an elitist attitude towards the "backward" non-Jewish society. Even if Jews felt, as did the white colonists of old, intellectually superior to most of the "natives," displaying such elitism is not conducive to a friendly co-existence. And what Levin has to say further, on p. 24 and 25 of , is simply whining of the first order:
p. 24 In the Baltic countries [before Soviet annexation], Jews were the victims of a government program to elevate the backward peasant class to a position of social and economic influence.
p. 25 Throughout these areas -- the Baltic countries and Romania -- the majority peoples agreed that Jewish national autonomy must never be realized. Liberal and leftist groups favored assimilation as the solution to the "Jewish problem" in these countries. Nationalist and rightist circles sought to force Jews to emigrate; to promote this goal, they vitiated Jewish political influence and practiced economic harassment.
It really reflects badly on Levin that he should begrudge the fact that the governments of the Baltic states created programs that helped their people to obtain an education and improve their productivity, which was mostly in agriculture, and which sphere of economic activity the Jews did not find particularly inviting. Furthermore, it would be nonsensical to expect the government of any nation to grant autonomy to a group which denies owing any loyalty to that government. And it is entirely reasonable to pressure such disloyal groups to go elsewhere.
Frank (Efrayim) Gordon is an exceptional Jew (but hopefully, not the only one) who tells a much more complete and truthful story with respect to Jewish life in Latvia. He was born in Riga in 1928. Except for the war years, he lived and worked in Latvia until he was allowed to emigrate to Israel in 1972. He has an amazingly broad knowledge of the history of Latvia and a very sincere appreciation of Latvian culture. Frank Efrayim Gordon is the perfect example of how an individual of a cultural minority can develop loyalty to a country without assimilating. Gordon is a welcome guest at Latvian organizations, except for the few hate-consumed, fascistic ultra-nationalists. It must be left to interested parties themselves to read "Latvians and Jews Between Germany and Russia" , in order to digest all of Gordon's widely-ranging story. A few quotes from the book will have to suffice here.
p. 3 To be persecuted and subjugated, banished and slaughtered, has been the fate of both Jews and Latvians.
p. 15 . . . who succeeded in gaining his country's recognition [in 1918], despite the fact that the state had not yet declared its independence? It was Zigfrids A. Meierovics, the son of a Jewish physician from Durbe, a little town in Kurland, and a Latvian mother . . .
p. 15 The two decades [1920s and 1930s] of independent Latvia's existence are remembered by both Latvians and Jews as the "good years." . . . in retrospect an objective observer has to admit that in these two decades Latvians were masters in their own land and governed well, and that Jews and other minorities were guaranteed all the rights envisioned by the League of Nations for ethnic groups in Eastern Europe. Jewish religion, culture, and national aspirations were not hampered or fettered in these years.
p. 18 [quote of Max Laserson's comments in Jews in Latvia] 'The most important achievement of the minorities in Latvia was the Law of Cultural Autonomy, an exceedingly democratic piece of legislation which served as a model for its period. It is doubtful whether there was any other parliamentary institution to be found in Europe or elsewhere which at any time dedicated so much attention to the autonomous administration of Jewish schools. Between the two world wars Latvia was the only country where the Bund had a parliamentary representative of its own.'
It must be remembered that the capital of Latvia was the cradle of the world-wide Zionist-revisionist movement: a lecture in Russian by Vladimir (Ze'ev) Jabotinsky led to the formation of Brit Tumpeldor (Betar) in Riga in 1923. Betar was the nucleus of a whole new Zionist stream, and one of this radical Zionist youth organization's leaders in Poland, Menachem Begin, was Israel's prime minister from 1977 to 1983.
Gordon also writes about the many Jews who took part in Latvia's government, starting with Zigfrids A. Meierovics, who was a very able foreign minister and in 1921-1923 head of the Latvian government.
In 1934, democracy ended in Latvia, when Karlis Ulmanis, the popular leader of the Farmers' Union party, dissolved parliament by a coup. Ulmanis was in truth a benevolent autocrat. Gordon writes about conditions under his rule, , p. 18 and 19:
It is true that Ulmanis banned the Jewish Zionist parties and the Bund, but he also banned all other political parties in Latvia, including his own party, the Farmers' Union. Other organizations continued to function: the religious society Agudas-Isroel, headed by Ulmanis' personal friend Mordechai Dubin; the nationalist youth organization Betar . . . ; the Zionist workers' youth organization Olim . . .
. . . Ulmanis . . . in no way hindered any initiatives that aimed to further Jewish emigration to Eretz Israel. . . . Karlis Ulmanis can be said to have directly contributed to strengthening Jewish national identity. He encouraged Jewish parents to send their children not to German or Russian schools, but to schools in which the language of instruction was Yiddish or Hebrew. . . . During the entire independence period Latvia gave asylum to a large number of Jews seeking refuge from both the Bolsheviks and the Nazis.
Karlis Ulmanis has been painted as a fascist dictator by the leftist totalitarians. Of course, that is a lie. In addition to providing a haven for Jewish refugees from totalitarian countries, Ulmanis also banned extremist organizations of the right and the left in Latvia , p. 19.
THE FEAST OF THE RED DEMON:
PICKING THE MENU, RECRUITING THE STAFF
Before the "official" start of WW II on September 1st, 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union had enjoyed several years of mutually beneficial agreements on trade and military co-operation. Among other things, the Soviets provided -- away from the prying eyes of the West -- the facilities for the clandestine training of the Luftwaffe. In August of 1939 the two totalitarians concluded the final agreement on how they would split up the pie of the several independent states which were situated between them. Thus, what happened from September 1st, 1939 onward did not happen without premeditation.
I want to compare the situation of the several nations of eastern Europe, which were caught between the two hungry totalitarian giants, as being on the menu of the feast of twin demons -- one Red, the other Black. To carry the allegory further: Each had his own recipe, but both were intent on feasting sumptuously. Both spent considerable time and effort in selecting the ingredients and assembling the chefs and waiters for the feast. The Black demon staffed his crew mostly with his own home-grown minions, the Red demon liked to engage more local talent. Here we are concerned with the local talent in the service of the Red demon.
It has been proven repeatedly in the 20th century that only those who have personally experienced Communist rule harbor no illusions about its nature, and those who have not had such experience seem unable to ever completely shake off the utopian illusion. Thus, in spite of some evidence about the Red Terror seeping out of the Soviet Union, the great majority of intellectuals in the Western countries remained besotted by the allure of coercive utopianism, egalitarian envy, and collectivism. They were also able to persuade the average citizen to think likewise. That, however, was not the case in eastern Europe. Most of the people there had had direct experience of Bolshevik atrocities during the tumultuous period from 1918 to the mid-1920s. And those who had not usually knew a person or family who had. Therefore, Communism had no heady allure and no illusions in the minds of most of the people of eastern Europe. Those who longed for the over-throw of the national government and the imposition of a Soviet-style regime did so out of personal ambition and lust for power.
In the countries of Eastern Europe, the Red demon therefore had to rely on clandestine, subversive organizations to prepare for the feast. And, having the nature that it does, the Red demon was particularly good at illegal underground activities, and the spreading of disinformation via public propaganda outlets. It was never much of an impediment to the Soviets if the formal Communist Party was banned in any country. All the important subversive work was always carried out clandestinely, or under the camouflage of various front organizations.
WITH MALICE AFORETHOUGHT?
Knowing how the Red demon marshaled his forces, the above question inevitably arises regarding the motivation of those who greeted the Soviet invaders with great joy. Some sense of who the enthusiastic greeters were can be had from our Jewish sources. The following is from Dov Levin :
p. 28 Despite the ban on Communist activity in Romania, Poland, and the Baltic countries, the Communist Party continued to exist in the underground. Jews were strongly over-represented in this movement.
p. 33 The diary of a visitor from Palestine who spent the period in Vilna expresses ... a reaction of tremendous release from relentless tension and fear:
'The people were relieved of such a sense of melancholy. ... It is hard to describe the emotion that swept me as I saw in the street, across from our gate, a Russian tank bearing grinning young men with a blazing red star on their berets. As the machines came to a halt, the people crowded around. Somebody shouted, "Long live the Soviet government!" and everyone cheered. ... You could hardly find a gentile in that crowd.'
Various accounts attest to the joyous welcome that the Red Army received almost everywhere.
p. 35 For local Communists, a majority of whom were Jewish, the arrival of the Red Army spelled an end to perilous underground existence. It was also the fulfillment of a dream: the imposition of Communist rule in their country. Thus the local Communists hastened to find favor in the eyes of the new regime. ... During the preparations for the arrival of the Red Army, and immediately after its advent, young Jews in many locations formed semi-military groupings with names like "People's Militia," "Workers' Guard," and so on. ... These youngsters often armed themselves with light weapons left behind by the Polish police.
p. 36 ... the Baltic countries were politically stable and militarily calm when the Red Army marched in on June 15-17, 1940. Throughout Lithuania ... Jews, particularly young Jews, were conspicuously present in the masses of on-lookers that roared their approval as the Red Army columns approached the cities. ... Especially joyous were members of the Communist Party and other leftist organizations, in which the share of Jews, as stated, was relatively large. Non-Jewish Lithuanians in the crowd, many furious about the Soviet invasion and grieving for their lost national independence, noted the Jews' behavior.
Meir Kantarowitz, an activist in section B of the General Zionist Party and a teacher at the Hebrew Gymnasium in Kovno, disclosed his feelings to his students, voice choking and eyes weeping. "Now," he said, "a difficult period has begun for the Jews in general and Zionists in particular." Kantarowitz preferred the advent of the Germans, who killed only bodies, than the Russians, who killed souls.
Although Latvia did not share a border with Germany, the Jewish response to the arrival of the Red Army in this country, also, was essentially favorable. As evidence, the Jews turned out en masse in the streets of the capital and the peripheral cities, profusely kissing the Red Army tank crew members. Some Jews helped to protect Red Army units and thwart acts of resistance and provocation by Latvian military and nationalist organizations such as Aizsargs and Perkonkrust ("Thundercross").
p. 37 [In Estonia] young Jews with leftist inclinations greeted the Red Army with special alacrity and pronounced delight. One of these, Aaron Gutkin, son of a wealthy industrialist and noted public figure, was the individual who hauled down the Estonian national flag from the top of Pik Herman in Tallin.
p. 42 In the very first days of the Red Army presence in eastern Poland, parts of Romania, and the Baltic countries -- and, in certain cases, even preceding the takeover -- Jews were active in setting up the institutions of the new government. They were prominent in guard formations of the militia, bodies known as revolutionary or provisional "committees," and so on. The presence of Jews in these organizations was conspicuous in the towns and cities.
p. 43 Some participants belonged to Jewish leftist circles; and some were young adults who identified with the Soviet regime despite the lack of a defined ideological background. Most, however, were Communist Party members who, having just emerged from prison or the underground, regarded themselves as natural partners in laying the foundations of the new regime. In the Soviet military administration it was widely (and correctly) believed at the time that the Jewish minority was one of the most reliable elements in existence at that stage.
The remark about Meir Kantarowitz is telling indeed. Obviously, Kantarowitz understood that the Russians, i.e. Soviet Communists, killed the souls of men. No matter how insistently Levin keeps claiming that the Jews who greeted the Soviet forces were merely celebrating deliverance from the Nazis, there is much evidence that the motives of most of the greeters were base and self-serving. Why would the son of a wealthy industrialist, Aaron Gutkin, demonstrate such hate for a country which had been rather good to his family? The statement that the Soviet military regarded the Jewish minority as "one of the most reliable elements in existence at that stage" shows that this minority was able and ready to serve the Red demon in the upcoming feast. Levin blandly makes the meanest of all misrepresentations of the collaborators when he says , p. 59:
The indigenous peoples of the area regarded the Soviet regime as an enemy, and the Red Army as an intruder who had come to stamp out Baltic independence and conspire to dismember Poland from the east. In the eyes of these peoples, the Soviet annexation was both a political and social disaster. The Jews, in contrast -- although they were loyal citizens of their respective countries -- hardly shared these sentiments.
Levin first implies (again) that the Jews were, like colonizers, somehow a cut above the "indigenous peoples of the area". The different nationalities of these people are not worthy of recognition, just like the nations of Africa and the Americas were not important to the European colonist in any specific sense. Then Levin has the gall to say that these same Jews, who scorned the national aspirations of the people who had provided them with home and livelihood, were "loyal citizens of their respective countries". Sheer nonsense, that. But Levin ends with a bit of truth: the pro-Soviet Jews did not in fact "share these sentiments", these sentiments being love of freedom and love of one's country.
Frank Gordon  describes how still in the time of Latvia's independence 'young, energetic communist agitators like J. Eidus, M. Vulfson, V. Lifschitz, and P. Krupnikov . . . held "social evenings" in the homes of rich relatives and friends . . . [and proclaimed] that only the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics could guarantee protection from the horrors of fascism.' In the following passages from , p. 23 and 24, Gordon strains, at times quite painfully, to make excuses for those who eagerly awaited the feast of the Red demon.
On that fateful day [June 17, 1940, day of Soviet invasion] my father returned from Riga earlier than usual, and his first words were, "Frankie, listen, who would have thought! You know who's greeting Soviet tanks by the railroad station? Jewish yingelech (lads) from the Moscow suburb!"
. . . the communists had sympathizers, and unfortunately Jews were conspicuously present in their ranks. Dov Levin wrote about "the abundant enthusiasm and sympathy with which the Red Army was welcomed in many areas by the Jews --principally by communists but also by 'ordinary Jews'" (Soviet Jewish Affairs, Vol. 5, No. 1, 1975, p. 40). In his book With Their Backs to the Wall (pp. 22-23), he recounts, for example, Baruch Minkiewitz's testimony that in Riga Jewish communists "covered Soviet tanks with flowers, and there were those who jumped up on the tanks and kissed the Red tank drivers."
In the Soviet Jewish Affairs article, Levin writes that
'there were instances where Jews took part in the safeguarding of Red Army units and the prevention of hostile acts against them by Lettish military organizations. According to eyewitness accounts, in the town of Vilani, in Latgalia (Eastern Latvia), Jewish youths forcibly prevented members of the Aizsargi organization from firing upon Red Army tanks which entered the town.... The participation of many Jews in armed clashes with the Aizsargi in Libau (Liepaja) on June 19, 1940, is described by one of the participants, a Jewish dock worker in Libau.'
The correspondent for the Chicago Tribune in Riga, Donald Day, was a witness to these dramatic hours: "On June 17 there was a mob at the railway station, waving red rags and screaming in hysterical joy about the arrival of the Russians. The Latvian language could not be heard. The speeches, the shouts, the screams were all in Russian or Yiddish."
Latvia's Jews were, after all, on the whole loyal to the country of which they were citizens, . . . And yet . . . Some months before the Red Army entered Latvia, police uniforms had been changed, and the French-Austrian "kepi" was replaced by a cap somewhat resembling that of a Russian officer. When the first Latvian policeman in the new uniform and cap assumed his post in the Daugavpils central square, eyewitnesses reported that some Jewish youths ran up to him, exclaiming in Russian, "Finally! How we've waited for you!" Strange indeed . . .
. . . one can also understand the Latvians, who, to say the least, were surprised by the actions of many, but not all, Jews on that fateful day. That was the day that their nation ceased to exist, a day of national tragedy. . . in Latvia, Lithuania, and even Estonia, where Jews were few in number, where anti-Semitism was absent, and where this ethnic minority was guaranteed unheard-of cultural autonomy . . . What led so many Baltic Jews to welcome the hordes of Soviet militarism, of Bolshevik totalitarianism, of, one might even say, Red fascism? . . . Compared with Hitler's Germans, Stalin's Russians were, quite understandably, the lesser evil in the eyes of the Baltic Jews, but there was also the inclination to please the new masters, hoping for their favor, not considering the emotions of the Latvians, Lithuanians, and Estonians.
Note particularly the paragraph that ends with "Strange indeed . . .". To someone who understands that to a Communist the first duty is to overthrow the 'liberal bourgeois democracy', the eager anticipation for the chance to do so is not at all strange. Gordon asks: "What led so many Baltic Jews to welcome . . . Red fascism?" Gordon goes so far as admitting that there was "the inclination to please the new masters." Yes, indeed, they were ready to please the Red demon. Gordon, too, sounds abjectly false when all he can do is admonish the worshippers of the Red demon for "not considering the emotions of the Latvians, Lithuanians, and Estonians." Pardon me, but there was a hell of a lot more than just emotions at stake here! There was personal and national destruction, there was being on the menu of the feast of the Red demon. And there was malice aforethought on the part of many, but by no means all, Jews.
We have already heard from Meir Kantarowitz who knew that the Nazis brought physical death, but the Soviets demanded one's soul. We have also read Mordechai Altshuler's summary,  p. xi, on all the Jewish national and cultural activities that were not allowed in the Soviet Union. The Jewish community leaders in eastern Europe were well aware of that before the invasion. Thus, most religious leaders and leaders of Jewish nationalistic organizations, as well as the prosperous merchants (but not so their children) showed their antipathy to the Red demon by not participating in the welcoming ceremonies. However, as Gordon reasons , p. 24, the Jewish Diaspora has always tended to be pragmatic and side with the winner in power struggles among the Gentiles. That proved to be so also when Lenin destroyed the Mensheviks and Social Revolutionaries in 1918; there was a rush by Jews in large numbers from backing the SRs and Mensheviks to the Bolshevik side. A similarly motivated rush by ordinary Jews -- undeniably, accelerated by legitimate dread of the Nazis -- to become sympathetic collaborators with the Soviet regime took place once more. Levin makes a surprisingly candid statement regarding this in , p. 57:
... many Jews (and non-Jews) made strenuous efforts to gain admission to the Party ranks, some for reasons of ideological identification and others in view of the benefits of affiliation with the ruling party -- prestige, personal convenience, and the sense of having "made it" in economic and social terms.
To quote Altshuler again, from the Foreword of , p. xii:
The annexation [by the Soviet Union] was especially distressing for the Zionist movements in the territories. Their activities, like those of other political and public agencies were banned and many of their prominent activists were interned or exiled to remote areas of the country. ... By liquidating independent Jewish frameworks and arresting, exiling, and deporting the community's intellectual and economic elite, the Soviet regime gave individual Jews far-reaching opportunities to advance their education and become part of the state and Party establishment -- on condition that they were prepared to adapt themselves to the new demands.
Altshuler also knows how not to utter the truth by cloaking it in ambiguous expressions. So, the Soviet regime gave Jews far-reaching opportunities if they were "prepared to adapt themselves to the new demands." One can imagine what the "new demands" were. They necessitated the selling of one's soul to the Red demon, who ordered the new hirelings to start setting the table for the feast.
THE FEAST OF THE RED DEMON: SETTING THE TABLE
In the Baltic countries, during the twelve months from mid-1940 to mid-1941, one could really say that a weird and dreadful feeling pervaded the land, as if a Red demon was on the prowl, at times snatching, at times only spotting his prey now here, now there. The Red demon's minions toiled diligently at setting the table for the main feast. Most people have a few certain memories from childhood which they have retained in their mind's eye with exceptional clarity after all the others have faded. One of mine is from a beautiful morning in May, 1941. I was five at the time. I am on the street in front of my grandmother's house -- a smallish two-storey apartment building, in Riga. The green of the new foliage on the trees is particularly striking. I am being teased by an older boy -- about eight, always a bit of a bully, the son of the hired janitor. The other boy is telling me with great relish that soon "they" will take me and my mother and other members of my family to the abattoir and process us into meat. Then I start to cry and run back to the house filled with terror, pursued by the janitor son's laughter. The boy no doubt had heard his father talking this way. A young boy would not dream up a macabre tale like that on his own. His father was of the "working class", another minion who was eager to participate in the feast of the Red demon. No, it definitely was not just the Jews. The Red demon's appeal is to a basic vice present in every man on earth.
However, the Soviets could with all confidence rely, first and foremost, on the Jews: for them the Jews were "the most reliable elements in existence at that stage", p. 43. Immediately after the Soviet invasion, began the process of what I call "setting the table" and in our main Jewish references  and  is called "Sovietization". It involved the dismantling or corrupting of the old institutions, both private and public and the creation of new, uniquely Soviet ones. Jewish participation was welcomed. Gordon writes (often referring to Dov Levin's writings) in , p. 25-27:
During the summer and fall of 1940 the sovietization of Latvia progressed rapidly. In the article published in Soviet Jewish Affairs (vol. 5, no. 1, 1975), Dov Levin writes: " Jews who had taken an active part in the Communist Party, in the Komsomol, and in peripheral organizations during the underground period (some of them only recently freed from prison) were appointed to responsible positions in the Party, in the trade unions, and other organizations, especially in Riga. Particularly noticeable were those who had been active in the spheres of information and journalism (among them K. Berkovits, director of the propaganda section of the Central Committee of the Latvian Communist Party). . . . Other Jews filled other high civic positions in Riga and the provincial cities. . . . comparatively large number of Jews serv[ed] in the police force, including the senior ranks. The custom in the armed forces was that Jewish soldiers who were promoted were given duties in the political apparatus."
Levin further points out a very significant fact: "Almost unlimited opportunities were offered to young Jewish men and women to participate in security and military activities upon the establishment of the militant formation "Workers' Guard." The Guard, set up by a decision of the Central Committee of the Latvian Communist Party on July 2, 1940, was initially intended to serve as a kind of police auxiliary and support force for the government "in its struggle against counterrevolutionary groups." The organization, stationed in Riga and other large cities, was constituted on a military basis and comprised about 10,000 men and women.... Its members included not only Jewish communists and Komsomol members, but also former members of the Bund, the left Poale Zion, and former members of the Zionist Socialist "hakhsharot." The organization's clubs and centers served also to promote ideological activities and social events. In some areas, most of the members were Jews, so their activities were conducted in Yiddish, at least for part of the time."
Stalin and Beria crowned all that with a Machiavellian decree, appointing a Russian Jew, Semion Shustin, as people's commissar (minister) for state security in the Latvian SSR. Many of his assistants, especially in the KGB, were local Jews, who knew both Russian and Latvian.
Latvian Jews soon came to feel the effect of this bulldozer, and not just in the nationalization of industrial and commercial enterprises, which affected all inhabitants. All noncommunist Jewish organizations were banned, all "reactionary" Jewish books in public libraries, reading rooms, and clubs were confiscated, all Jewish schools had to change from Hebrew to Yiddish, and Max Schatz-Anin's newspaper Kamf and journal Ufboj carried out a vicious and slanderous campaign against rabbis and the Jewish faith. If such blasphemy had appeared in gentile papers, it would have been immediately labeled blatant anti-Semitism.
It is appropriate at this point to reproduce a cartoon from . The description of it reads: "A political cartoon from the Riga Jewish daily newspaper Kampf (July 1, 1940), showing a Latvian worker pushing a wheelbarrow containing a mikve in which three Jewish clerics, a Jewish businessman, and a drunken Latvian army officer are bathing. The worker is dumping them into the garbage. ..."
In this cartoon there is perhaps an unintended admission of what was in store for these "socially undesirable elements." They are garbage which was to be disposed of by methods just like those employed in Nazi Germany and in the Soviet Gulag. In this case the Latvian "socialist worker" with musculature commonly seen in totalitarian "works of art" is the good guy, because he is "liquidating" Jewish clerics and businessmen, and Latvian army officers (could it be that the Latvian officers were seen as protectors of this class of Jews?) for the greater glory of the Soviet state. This cartoon indicates what Altshuler's cryptic expression "adjust to new demands" and Kantarowitz's reference to the killing of one's soul meant. That is what the Red demon demanded of all his servants -- the renunciation of one's conscience and soul.
Levin in  describes the course of the systematic Soviet take-over and repression in all of the invaded countries. Here are a few glimpses of it:
p. 11 The new national government was unveiled in Kovno on June 17 . A well-known leftist Lithuanian journalist, Justas Paleckis, was installed as premier and acting president. Within a few days, hundreds of political prisoners, most of them Jews, were released. Many of them, like their counterparts in Latvia and Estonia, went on to fill important if not central positions in the government and party apparatus.
p. 13 ... there were manifestations of public resistance to the symbols, rituals, "socialist competitions," and myriad public events and festivities with which the new regime constantly embellished itself. Some of the army and police officers who had been dismissed, and members of parties and organizations that had been dissolved, began to take sporadic hostile action. Nevertheless, the juggernaut continued to roll. In the autumn of 1940, the struggle against the "church enemy" intensified in all the Baltic countries. For the first time in the history of these countries, official celebration of Christmas was banned.
p. 51 In Latvia, too, Jewish Communists, newly surfaced from the underground, took part in the People's Sejm elections (which were supposed to decide on annexation to the Soviet Union). Two examples were K. Berkovitz, a member of the Central Committee, and G. Leibovitz, a member of the Riga Municipal Committee. One of the most active figures in the election campaign was the well-known leftist, Max Shatz-Anin, whose civil rights and licence to practice law, both revoked after the fascist coup in 1934, had recently been restored. ... Among the Jewish groups that rushed to the side of the new regime and declared their support for the Latvian Workers' Bloc was the Progressive Jewish Teachers' Association.
The next passage, appropriate for the "Setting the Table" theme, comes from "These Names Accuse" , p. xxiv. It describes what took place in Riga, but institutions for the same purpose were established in scores of cities and towns throughout eastern Europe where the Red dragon feasted:
. . . a conspicuous building in the central part of Riga, was turned into the NKVD main headquarters. In November 1940 the ground floor and cellars of this building were remodeled into a special prison for interrogation, and provided with cells measuring 80x80 cm . . . where the prisoners could neither stand nor lie. After all kinds of devilishly subtle methods of torture the prisoners were put into these cells to "recover" until they could be summoned for interrogation which usually began late in the evening and lasted the night through with the purpose of extorting a confession from the prisoner. The NKVD had at its command an extensive net of agents whose reports were worked out by specialists. All prisons were under the control of the NKVD which had at its disposal special military units. Even the militia, Worker's Guard, the members and candidates of the Bolshevik party, members of the Communist Youth and the rest of the ancillary party organizations had to obey NKVD orders and instructions.
More could be said about the organizational and preparatory work that took place, but the main event -- the feast -- is nigh. The Black demon has already had his first course, of which the Red demon has also had a bite.
THE FEAST OF THE RED DEMON
It is no surprise that the Jewish sources become taciturn when it gets down to naming individual indigenous Jews who "did the dirty work" for the NKVD in the arrest, torture, killing, and deportation of people. No one is eager to talk publicly about his or her own nation's criminals against humanity. Both Gordon  and Levin  describe how the Soviet regime also focused on the eradication of the Jewish nationalistic and religious institutions and organizations. Jews of the capitalist-bourgeoisie class were also targeted along with Gentiles. Altshuler writes in the Foreword of , p. xii:
The annexation [by the Soviet Union] was especially distressing for the Zionist movements in the territories. Their activities, like those of other political and public agencies were banned and many of their prominent activists were interned or exiled to remote areas of the country.
As for admitting that Jews were directly implicated in the crimes against humanity, Gordon states on p. 26 of  that "The conspicuous position of the Jews in the new regime and its political and administrative apparatus caused the Letts to identify the whole of the Jewish Community with the hated Soviet regime, which had been imposed upon them by the Red Army." He then names the Russian Jew Semion Shustin as the chief executioner in Latvia and that "Many of his assistants were local Jews." Later Gordon quotes Dov Levin: "Even 40 years later, many of the Jews who played a public role in the short-lived occupation regimes were reticent about revealing their cooperation with the Russian authorities, for fear of being cast as collaborators."
Now surely, at least some of these Jews may wish to preserve anonymity because they really did collaborate in crimes against humanity, in the same way that many Nazi criminals are hiding from exposure. Gordon goes on to propose a lame excuse which is that because Stalin had killed off all the Latvian chekists beforehand, now "the dirty work was entrusted to Jews." That, nevertheless, is quite an admission of serious Jewish complicity in crimes against humanity. Later on Gordon reiterates the point on p. 35: "Stalin and Beria cynically used the Jews to carry out purges in Latvia, and in the same way Hitler and Himmler used Latvians to initiate the process of exterminating Jews." The best that Levin can do in , on p. 63 is to declare: "Labeling of the Soviet administration as a 'Jewish regime' became widespread when Jewish militiamen helped NKVD agents send local Poles into exile."
The NKVD began its bloody work soon after the Soviet take-over. Its first task was to arrest, interrogate, torture, and then murder or deport socially prominent persons and leaders in the occupied countries. "These Names Accuse"  recounts what happened in Latvia, but the same could be said for all the other countries of eastern Europe:
p. xxvii . . . interrogation . . . was combined with psychical and physical torture. . . . let us mention the ordinary equipment of the working cabinet for interrogation of the NKVD, or NKGB: instruments to break the bones of shins and arms, to squeeze testicles, to pierce the soles of feet and to pull off nails and skin from hands, to squeeze the main nose ligament until the victim bleeds profusely, electrical appliances, etc. The corpses which were left in the courtyards of the NKVD prison and exhumed from mass graves show that before being shot the "enemies of the people" were mutilated to an extent which in many cases made it quite impossible for relatives to identify the NKVD victims.
Yes indeed, the Red demon was feasting in style. The mass deportations came later, when the Black demon was knocking on the doors of the banquet hall, demanding his turn at the feast. We know that Shustin ordered the torturing and murders, and we know that "many of his assistants were local Jews." What other conclusion can one reach but that many of the torturers and murderers were local Jews? In truth, the Shustins and their pack of sadistic vermin had their exact counterparts in every other country invaded by the Soviets. Even Levin has to acknowledge this in :
p. 266 When the intention was mere interrogation, the authorities camouflaged their activities in various ways in order to prevent unwanted reverberations in the immediate vicinity. ... Public figures and activists in various political parties were summoned to the security services and interrogated at length, mainly at night ... A few people succeeded in evading continued interrogation by taking flight. Others committed suicide. Most of the prisoners were kept in separate cells. Interrogations, usually conducted at night, began long before the subject was incarcerated. The interrogations were sometimes accompanied by abusive language, beatings, and other humiliations, arousing fear and repugnance. Horror stories abounded about what went on between the walls of "the four-letter word" (as the NKVD or NKBG was called), and most of them proved to be true.
p. 271 Had the war with Germany not broken out, the waves of arrests and expulsions would probably have spread to additional sectors of ... the population.
Of course, all the horror stories were substantiated by evidence when the Red demon had to leave the feast hurriedly, without a chance to clean up. However, before departing, he snatched thousands of victims and carried them off to the depths of his lair, where they were to be consumed at a leisurely pace. "These Names Accuse"  gives the known number (many others are simply 'missing') of Latvians who were imprisoned at 7,161. Of these 979 were tortured and murdered. In the big action, 35,000 Latvians were deported to the Gulag in 1940-1941. According to figures from official Soviet archives (published by Baltic organizations in Canada, c. 1956) the numbers of deported persons from the Baltic states are: Latvia - 34,250; Estonia - 60,000; Lithuania - 30,400. The losses are of similar proportional magnitude for the other countries invaded by the Soviets. The statistics have been compiled in many publications. Most people will agree that the exact numbers are not as relevant as the horrid criminal act itself. Hardly any of the criminals responsible for this atrocity have ever been brought to justice.
The great deportation action started on June 13, 1941. It had been planned out in great detail already months before. The NKVD teams that carried out the capture, caging, and shipping of the "human garbage" were issued an "instruction manual" which described the manner in which the teams were to proceed. Levin refers briefly to the plan in , p. 265:
The operational team [carrying out the arrest of the deportees] usually was composed of three people, at least one of whom was a local resident. Some of these local residents were Jews. ... the operations were carried out in a similar fashion in all localities. ... the deportations in certain localities continued even after the German-Russian war broke out.
Levin concedes cautiously that "some" of the NKVD team members were Jews. Afterwards he hastens to add: "In Latvia, some 6000 Jews were deported, including quite a few belonging to the sociopolitical elite." It looks suspiciously like Levin is trying to counter-weigh Jewish complicity with Jewish victims. In my opinion, this colossal crime against humanity, carried out by vile creatures in human form -- whether Jewish or otherwise, they were so much like their counterparts, the SS men -- deserves to be cited here in detail; the source is , p. xxviii and xxix.
The large deportation scheme, carried out in all three Baltic countries on the night from June 13 to June 14, 1941, had a purely administrative character and had been carefully prepared during the whole previous year according to Serov's Order No. 001223 . . . This measure was conceived not for liquidation of individual leading persons, but with the view of exterminating a whole class, the so-called "bourgeoisie." Several days before it was implemented, all available lorries were mobilized and ordered to wait at the police, NKVD, and Party offices. Before this scheme was put into effect, the drivers, among themselves, had already been hinting that a "hunt for the bourgeois" was under preparation. These lorries, manned with armed chekists, militia-men and members of the Communist Party who were provided with special lists approved in Moscow, raided, in the dead of night, town flats and country farms, carrying out domiciliary searches, reading their warrants of deportation and telling the people to be ready for departure in an hour's time or even less. According to the instructions, the deportees from the towns were allowed to take with them their belongings not exceeding 100 kg in weight (all personal cash, a whole family's food ration for a month, cooking appliances, footwear, clothes and linen). . . . Persons to be arrested who offered armed resistance, were separated from the rest and handed over to the NKVD. After these formalities were settled the arrested families were taken to railway stations where trains, composed of [freight cars] with grated window openings and -- as the only convenience -- a hole sawn in the floor of the [car], were already waiting.
While preparing for departure, the families of the deportees were made to believe that they would be all sent together to one place. However, this was a cunning trick, because Order No. 001223 provided that "in view of the fact a large number of deportees must be arrested and distributed in special camps and that their families must proceed to special settlements in distant regions, it is essential that the operation of removal of both the members of the deportee's family and its head shall be carried out simultaneously, without notifying them of the separation confronting them. . . . The convoy of the entire family to the station shall be effected in one vehicle and only at the station of departure shall the head of the family be placed separately from his family in a car specially intended for heads of families." These trains were escorted by a NKVD officer, specially appointed for this task, and by a military convoy. Since the deportation took place in the hottest season, deportees in the crammed wagons suffered horribly from thirst and diseases caused by the unsanitary conditions on the trains.
If one reads the instructions in Order No. 001223 attentively, one notes how closely they resemble directives that would be given for transporting a herd of animals, including the separation of the dominant male from the female and the calves; except that animals usually get better treatment. But after all, these NKVD, like the SS on their transports of the Jews, were handling only "garbage". The irony of it is that many of the NKVD were Jews. The greater irony of it is that they are getting away with it, whereas the SS did not.
I have said as much as I felt I should in what is only an essay. The actual drama which was played out in eastern Europe from 1939 to 1941, as anyone interested in the ages-old Jewish vs.Gentile conflict knows, is laden with literally millions of stories and mountains of victims. Will any of the stories and evidence survive, will any of the criminals who were in the service of the Red demon be called to account. The "New Jewish Question" is rooted in those by now distant times and the many unacknowledged harsh facts. The "New Jewish Question" waits to be answered by no one else but by Jews themselves. The ball is in their court.
 "The Black Book of Communism", by Stephane Courtois, Nocolas Werth, Jean-Louis Panne, Andrzej Paczkowski, Karel Bartosec, and Jean-Louis Margolin; translated by Jonathan Murphy and Mark Kramer; Harvard University Press, 1999.
 "Basic Communism", by Clarence B. Carson; American Textbook Committee, Wadley, Alabama, 1990.
 "Latvians and Jews Between Germany and Russia", by Frank Gordon; translated by Vaiva Pukite and Janis Straubergs; Memenot, Stockholm, 1990.
 "The Lesser of Two Evils", by Dov Levin (1989); The Abraham Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem-Tel Aviv; translated by Naftali Greenwood, published by The Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia, PA, 1995.
 "The Russian Revolution", by Richard Pipes; Knopf, New York, 1990.
 "Jewish Nationality and Soviet Politics: The Jewish Sections of the CPSU, 1917 - 1930"; by Zvi Y. Gitelman; Princeton University Press, 1972.
 "The Role of the Jews in the Russian Revolutionary Movement"; by Leonard Shapiro; in Slavonic and East European Review 40 (1961-62): 148 - 167; Reprinted as Ch. 11, p. 300-321 in Essential Papers on Jews and the Left/ edited by Ezra Mendelsohn; New York University Press, 1997.
 "The Cheka: Lenin's Political Police"; by George Leggett; Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1981.
 "The Idea of Liberalism", by George Watson; the Macmillan Press Ltd, 1985.
 "These Names Accuse"; Latvian National Foundation, Stockholm, Sweden; technical editor Ieva Graufelds; printed by AB Duvbo Tryckeri, 1982.
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