9/10th's of Bolsheviks were Jewish, and together they orchestrated a mega death of one hundred million Russian White Gentiles, a mass-murdering prelude that led to the death of tens of millions of Asian, Oriental peoples. This historic destruction would not have happened if tyrants listed on this web page had not been placed into influential positions of power.
The Holodomor “to kill by starvation” was a man-made famine in Soviet Ukraine in 1932 and 1933 that starved to death twelve million ethnic Ukrainians. The Holodomor has been recognised by the Ukraine and fifteen countries as genocide carried out by the Soviet government.
Mao and Communist International
Communist International, abbreviated as Comintern, was an international communist organisation that advocated world communism. Comintern was founded in 1915 and held seven World Congresses in Moscow between 1919/35.
Transcript from the online documentary Hellstorm; an alternative, fact-based account of events both before and after World War Two based on the best-selling book Hellstorm by revisionist historian Thomas Goodrich.
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Isaac Emmanuilovich Babel
Isaac Emmanuilovich Babel was a Russian writer, journalist, playwright, and literary translator. He is best known as the author of Red Cavalry, Story of My Dovecote and The Odessa Tales—stories from the life of Jewish gangsters from Odessa led by Benya Krik (prototype – Mishka Yaponchik). He has been acclaimed as "the greatest prose writer of Russian Jewry". Babel was arrested by the NKVD on 15 May 1939 on fabricated charges of terrorism and espionage, and executed on 27 January 1940.
In 1930, Babel travelled in Ukraine and witnessed the brutality of forced collectivisation and dekulakisation. Although he never made a public statement about this, he privately confided in Antonina,
"The bounty of the past is gone—it is due to the famine in Ukraine and the destruction of the village across our land."
As Stalin tightened his grip on the Soviet intelligentsia and decreed that all writers and artists must conform to socialist realism, Babel increasingly withdrew from public life. During the campaign against "Formalism", Babel was publicly denounced for low productivity. At the time, many other Soviet writers were terrified and frantically rewrote their past work to conform to Stalin's wishes. However, Babel was unimpressed and confided in his protégé, the writer Ilya Ehrenburg, "In six months, they'll leave the formalists in peace and start some other campaign.
After his return to Russia, Babel decided to move in with Pirozhkova, beginning a common law marriage which would ultimately produce a daughter, Lidya Babel. He also collaborated with Sergei Eisenstein on the film Bezhin Meadow, about Pavlik Morozov, a child informant for the Soviet secret police. Babel also worked on the screenplays for several other Stalinist propaganda films. According to Nathalie Babel Brown, "Babel came to Paris in the summer of 1935, as part of the delegation of Soviet writers to the International Congress of Writers for the Defense of Culture and Peace.
He probably knew this would have been his last chance to remain in Europe. As he had done numerous times during the last ten years, he asked my mother to return with him to Moscow. Although he knew the general situation was bad, he nevertheless described to her the comfortable life that the family could have there together. It was the last opportunity my mother had to give a negative answer, and she never forgot it. Perhaps it helped her, later on, to be proven completely right in her fears and her total lack of confidence in the Soviet Union. My mother described to me these last conversations with my father many times."
Born Joyel Barr in New York City, to immigrant parents of Ukrainian Jewish origin. He attended City College of New York with Julius Rosenberg and later worked with Rosenberg and Alfred Sarant at the United States Army Signal Corps laboratories at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey during World War II. The Army Signal Corps Engineering Laboratories at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, hired Barr as an electrical engineer in July 1940. Julius Rosenberg signed on with the corps as a junior engineer two months later.
In 1941 they were recruited as Soviet spies by Jacob Golos. Barr's code name was Meter. They, in turn, persuaded Alfred Sarant to join the network. However, he was at first reluctant to become a spy but was eventually convinced to join the network by Barr. Barr was recruited into espionage by Rosenberg. In turn, he recruited Sarant and the two shared an apartment and were allowed to function as a team by their KGB Case Officer, Alexander Feklisov. A.Feklisov regarded the pair as the most productive members of the group.
Both Barr and Sarant were trained and employed as electrical engineers and worked on military radar. Barr was discovered by counterintelligence to be a Communist and was fired. He and Sarant then found employment with Western Electric and worked on a highly secret radar bombsight. Barr and Sarant gave the USSR over 9,000 pages of documents detailing over 100 weapons systems. When the war ended the two founded Sarant Laboratories and sought defence contracts, but the company soon failed, after which the two split up. Barr worked for a while in late 1946 with Sperry Gyroscope Company on secret military radar systems but was fired in 1947 after the United States Air Force refused him a security clearance.
Barr then moved to Europe, studying engineering in Sweden and music composition in Paris with Olivier Messiaen. Barr disappeared from his Paris apartment the day after David Greenglass was arrested, and fled to Czechoslovakia without taking his belongings. The KGB gave him a new identity; for the rest of his life, Barr was known as Joseph Berg. In the summer of 1951, Barr met up with Sarant and the woman Sarant ran away with, Carol Dayton. Barr and Sarant, living under the name Philip Staros, settled in Prague, where they headed a successful effort to design the first automated anti-aircraft weapon created in the Soviet bloc, a weapon that was used with minor modifications through the 1980s.
In 1956, the two transferred to Leningrad and were put at the head of a military electronics research institute, and enjoyed the benefits of the Soviet Nomenklatura. In May 1962, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev toured their institute and agreed to their plan to establish a new city dedicated entirely to microelectronics. The city, Zelenograd, was built on the outskirts of Moscow and Sarant was named deputy director, with authority over more than 20,000 engineers and scientists. Barr and Sarant lost their positions at Zelenograd when Khrushchev was deposed, but they continued to work on military projects, including the Uzel fire-control computer that was installed in Tango and Kilo-class submarines.
Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria
Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria (29 March 1899 – 23 December 1953) was a Soviet politician, Marshal of the Soviet Union and state security administrator, chief of the Soviet security, and chief of the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD) under Joseph Stalin during World War II, and promoted to deputy premier under Stalin from 1941. He later officially joined the Politburo in 1946. Beria was the longest-lived and most influential of Stalin's secret police chiefs, wielding his most substantial influence during and after World War II. Following the Soviet invasion of Poland in 1939, he was responsible for organising the Katyn massacre.
He simultaneously administered vast sections of the Soviet state, and acted as the de facto Marshal of the Soviet Union in command of NKVD field units responsible for barrier troops and Soviet partisan intelligence and sabotage operations on the Eastern Front during World War II. Beria administered the vast expansion of the Gulag labour camps and was primarily responsible for overseeing the secret detention facilities for scientists and engineers known as sharashkas. Beria attended the Yalta Conference with Stalin, who introduced him to U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt as "our Himmler". After the war, he organised the communist takeover of the state institutions in central and eastern Europe and political repressions in these countries.
Beria's uncompromising ruthlessness in his duties and skill at producing results culminated in his success in overseeing the Soviet atomic bomb project. Stalin gave it an absolute priority, and the project was completed in under five years. After Stalin's death in March 1953, Beria became First Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers and head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. In this dual capacity, he formed a troika, alongside Georgy Malenkov and Vyacheslav Molotov, that briefly led the country in Stalin's place.
A coup d'état by Nikita Khrushchev, with help from Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgy Zhukov in June 1953, removed Beria from power. He was arrested on charges of 357 counts of rape and treason. He was sentenced to death and was executed on 23 December 1953.
In August 1938, Stalin brought Beria to Moscow as deputy head of the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD), the ministry which oversaw the state security and police forces. Under Nikolai Yezhov, the NKVD carried out the Great Purge: the imprisonment or execution of millions of people throughout the Soviet Union as alleged "enemies of the people". By 1938, however, the oppression had become so extensive that it was damaging the infrastructure, economy and even the armed forces of the Soviet state, prompting Stalin to wind the purge down.
Stalin had voted to appoint Georgy Malenkov as head of the NKVD, but he was over-ruled. In September, Beria was appointed head of the Main Administration of State Security (GUGB) of the NKVD, and in November he succeeded Yezhov as NKVD head. Yezhov was executed in 1940, and one account says he was personally strangled by Beria. The NKVD was purged next, with half of its personnel replaced by Beria loyalists, many of them from the Caucasus. Although Beria's name is closely identified with the Great Purge because of his activities while deputy head of the NKVD, his leadership of the organisation marked an easing of the repression begun under Yezhov. Over 100,000 people were released from the labour camps.
The government officially admitted that there had been some injustice and "excesses" during the purges, which were blamed entirely on Yezhov. The liberalisation was only relative: arrests and executions continued, and in 1940, as war approached, the pace of the purges again accelerated. During this period, Beria supervised deportations of people identified as political enemies from Poland and the Baltic states after the Soviet occupation of those regions. In March 1939, Beria became a candidate member of the Communist Party's Politburo. Although he did not become a full member until 1946, he was already one of the senior leaders of the Soviet state. In 1941, Beria was made a Commissar General of State Security, the highest quasi-military rank within the Soviet police system of that time, effectively comparable to a Marshal of the Soviet Union.
On 5 March 1940, after the Gestapo–NKVD Third Conference was held in Zakopane, Beria sent a note (no. 794/B) to Stalin in which he stated that the Polish prisoners of war kept at camps and prisons in western Belarus and Ukraine were enemies of the Soviet Union, and recommended their execution. Most of them were military officers, but there were also intelligentsia, doctors, priests, and others in a total of 22,000 people. With Stalin's approval, Beria's NKVD executed them in what became known as the Katyn massacre.
From October 1940 to February 1942, the NKVD under Beria carried out a new purge of the Red Army and related industries. In February 1941, Beria became Deputy Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars, and in June, following Nazi Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union, he became a member of the State Defense Committee (GKO). During World War II, he took on major domestic responsibilities and mobilised the millions of people imprisoned in NKVD Gulag camps into wartime production. He took control of the manufacture of armaments, and (with Georgy Malenkov) aircraft and aircraft engines. This was the beginning of Beria's alliance with Malenkov, which later became of central importance.
In 1944, as the Germans were driven from Soviet soil, Beria was in charge of dealing with the various ethnic minorities accused of anti-sovietism and/or collaboration with the invaders, including the Balkars, Karachays, Chechens, Ingush, Crimean Tatars, Kalmyks, Pontic Greeks, and Volga Germans. All these groups were deported to Soviet Central Asia (see "Population transfer in the Soviet Union"). In December 1944, Beria's NKVD was assigned to supervise the Soviet atomic bomb project ("Task No. 1"), which built and tested a bomb by 29 August 1949. The project was extremely labour-intensive. At least 330,000 people, including 10,000 technicians, were involved.
As head of NKVD, he would do anything to get a confession. Wherever he went, people went missing. Beria personally oversaw many of Stalin’s political purges and used this as an opportunity to satisfy his desire for mass murder. The infamous Gulag work camps all operated under his supervision.
The Gulag system provided tens of thousands of people for work in uranium mines and the construction and operation of uranium processing plants. They also constructed test facilities, such as those at Semipalatinsk and in the Novaya Zemlya archipelago. The NKVD also ensured the necessary security for the project. In July 1945, as Soviet police ranks were converted to a military uniform system, Beria's rank was officially converted to that of Marshal of the Soviet Union. Although he had never held a traditional military command, Beria made a significant contribution to the victory of the Soviet Union in World War II through his organisation of wartime production and his use of partisans.
Abroad, Beria had met with Kim Il-sung, the future leader of North Korea, several times when the Soviet troops had declared war on Japan and occupied the northern half of Korea from August 1945. Beria recommended that Stalin install a communist leader in the occupied territories.
At Beria's trial in 1953, it became known that he had committed numerous rapes during the years he was NKVD chief. Simon Sebag-Montefiore, a biographer of Stalin, concluded the information "reveals a sexual predator who used his power to indulge himself in obsessive depravity".
According to official testimony, in Soviet archives, of Colonel Rafael Semyonovich Sarkisov and Colonel Sardion Nikolaevich Nadaraia – two of Beria's bodyguards – on warm nights during the war Beria was often driven around Moscow in his limousine. He would point out young women to be taken to his mansion, where wine and a feast awaited them. After dining, Beria would take the women into his soundproofed office and rape them. Beria's bodyguards reported that their duties included handing each victim a flower bouquet as she left the house. Accepting it implied that the sex had been consensual; refusal would mean arrest. Sarkisov reported that after one woman rejected Beria's advances and ran out of his office, Sarkisov mistakenly handed her the flowers anyway. The enraged Beria declared, "Now it's not a bouquet, it's a wreath! May it rot on your grave!" The NKVD arrested the woman the next day.
"Show me the man and I'll find you the crime"
Women also submitted to Beria's sexual advances in exchange for the promise of freedom for imprisoned relatives. In one case, Beria picked up Tatiana Okunevskaya, a well-known Soviet actress, under the pretence of bringing her to perform for the Politburo. Instead, he took her to his dacha, where he offered to free her father and grandmother from prison if she submitted. He then raped her, telling her: "Scream or not, it doesn't matter." Beria knew that Okunevskaya's relatives had been executed months earlier. Okunevskaya was arrested shortly afterwards and sentenced to solitary confinement in the Gulag, which she survived.
Before and during the war, Beria directed Sarkisov to keep a list of the names and phone numbers of his sexual encounters. Eventually, he ordered Sarkisov to destroy the list as a security risk, but Sarkisov retained a secret copy. When Beria's fall from power began, Sarkisov passed the list to Viktor Abakumov, the former wartime head of SMERSH and now chief of the MGB – the successor to the NKVD. Abakumov was already aggressively building a case against Beria. Stalin, who was also seeking to undermine Beria, was thrilled by the detailed records kept by Sarkisov, demanding: "Send me everything this asshole writes down!" Sarkisov reported that Beria had contracted syphilis during the war, for which he was secretly treated (a fact Beria later admitted during his interrogation). The Russian government acknowledged Sarkisov's handwritten list of Beria's victims in 2003; the victims' names will be released in 2028.
Evidence suggests that Beria murdered some of these women. In the mid-1990s, the skeletal remains of several young women were discovered in the garden of his Moscow villa (now the Tunisian Embassy). According to Martin Sixsmith, in a BBC documentary, "Beria spent his nights having teenagers abducted from the streets and brought here for him to rape. Those who resisted were strangled and buried in his wife's rose garden." The testimony of Sarkisov and Nadaraia has been partially corroborated by Edward Ellis Smith, an American who served in the U.S. embassy in Moscow after the war. According to historian Amy Knight, "Smith noted that Beria's escapades were common knowledge among embassy personnel because his house was on the same street as a residence for Americans, and those who lived there saw girls brought to Beria's house late at night in a limousine."
Jakub Berman (23 December 1901 – 10 April 1984) was a Polish communist politician. An early activist during the Second Polish Republic, in post-war communist Poland he was a member of the Politburo of the Polish Workers' Party (PPR) and then of the Polish United Workers' Party (PZPR). Alongside President Bolesław Bierut, Berman was responsible for party oversight of the Stalinist Ministry of Public Security, commonly known as the "UB". From 1948, he was considered the second most powerful politician in Poland after Bierut, until removed from power in 1956, following Bierut's death.
Jakub Berman was born into a middle-class Jewish family in Warsaw on 23 December 1901. His younger brother was Adolf Berman. Jakub became a member of the Communist Youth Union and in 1928 joined the Communist Party of Poland (KPP). He was arrested a few times, but unlike many other activists, had not been imprisoned for a prolonged period. He received a law degree in 1925 from the University of Warsaw. Berman's social contacts in Warsaw included many communism-sympathizing members of Polish intelligentsia; Janina and Władysław Broniewski, as well as Wanda Wasilewska, were among his associates. In 1935–36, he worked with Aleksander Wat (as his tutor on behalf of the KPP) in an attempt to establish a leftist periodical, intended to result from the cooperation of the communists with other leftist forces in Poland (mostly the Polish Socialist Party (PPS)) within the Popular Front.
On 6 September 1939, after the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany, Berman followed government directions for "able-bodied men" and took a train going in the eastern direction. He went to Białystok, by that time occupied by the Soviet Union. With his friend Alfred Lampe, Berman was active in Polish-communist circles there and became a Soviet citizen. After the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, Berman escaped to Moscow. Later he became an instructor at the Comintern school in Kushnarenkovo near Ufa, where he trained displaced Polish communists, activists for the new Soviet-sponsored Polish Workers' Party (PPR).
In December 1943, Berman met Joseph Stalin at a Kremlin reception for activists of the Union of Polish Patriots (ZPP). He gained Stalin's trust and became a prominent figure among the Polish communists in the Soviet Union (according to Berman, Stalin hated him). In the summer of 1944, Berman joined the Politburo of the Polish Workers' Party (PPR) and returned to Poland. In Lublin, at the Polish Committee of National Liberation (PKWN), Berman practically led the foreign affairs department; it was concerned primarily with securing international recognition for the new communist-led governing entity.
In post-war Poland Berman organized state censorship, supervised the development of and permissions for political parties and organizations, and was the main liaison between the PPR and the PKWN. Berman's decisions had to be consulted with and could be vetoed by two resident Soviet advisers, who remained in Poland until 1953 and 1954. From 1948, together with Bolesław Bierut, general secretary of the Polish United Workers' Party (PZPR), a successor of the PPR, and economist Hilary Minc, Berman formed a triumvirate of Stalinist leaders of Poland.
According to Lucyna Tych, Berman's daughter, all three "Stalinist" leaders sought to implement communism in Poland in ways different from how it was done earlier in the Soviet Union (while remaining entirely loyal to the Soviet leadership). Berman and Minc were close friends and partners. They successfully cooperated in protecting Poland's economic interests. For example, after their repeated interventions with the Soviets, the practice of dismantling industrial equipment in Poland and taking it to the Soviet Union was discontinued. They were somehow able to fend off Soviet attempts to introduce broader (Soviet-like) railroad tracks in Poland, which would cut-off Poland's transportation links with Germany and the West.
In late 1949, Stalin attempted to remove Berman from his position of power, accusing him of participation in an international anti-communist conspiracy and illicit foreign contacts, but the effort somehow did not succeed. In August 1951, Gomułka was arrested, probably on Stalin's and Lavrentiy Beria's orders; they demanded his quick trial. Berman and Bierut, however, were able to keep delaying the proceedings, to the point that the trial never took place. Berman became a member of the Politburo of the PZPR and remained in that capacity until 1956. He was responsible for science, literature and cultural affairs, propaganda and ideology.
Berman was born in Andiranovka, Chita, Transbaikal Oblast, the son of a Jewish brickyard owner. He joined the Russian army and entered the military school in Irkutsk. He then became a cadet of the 25th Reserve infantry regiment. Berman joined the Bolsheviks in June 1917. In 1918 he joined the Red Army and was stationed in Tomsk and in June was working in a propaganda unit. In August 1918, Berman joined the Cheka and was named chief of uyezd-level Cheka in the city of Glazov. From 1923 to 1924, he was the People's Commissar for State Security in the Buryat-Mongol Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. He then led the OGPU in Central Asia. From February 1927 to October 1927 he was the chairman of the OGPU in the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic.
n November 1929 he helped develop the Gulag system of camps and became deputy chief of the Gulag in 1930. From June 9, 1932 to August 17, 1937 he was head of the Gulag. He was awarded the Order of Lenin on August 4, 1933, soon after the completion of the White Sea – Baltic Canal. By 1935, by his own count, Berman was in charge of over 740,000 prisoners working on 15 major projects in the Gulag. Naftaly Frenkel (far right) at the White Sea–Baltic Canal works in July 1932 during the visit of Matvei Davidovich Berman (front, second from right), head of the Gulag system. After the fall of Genrikh Yagoda, Berman continued to rise in the hierarchy of the NKVD and he held the offices of head construction of the Moscow-Volga Canal and deputy head of the NKVD in 1936-1937.
In August 1937, Berman's fall began in the time of the Great Terror. On August 17, 1937, he lost his position as head of the Gulag and was appointed People's Commissar of Posts and Telecommunications (Russian: Наркомпочтель). On December 23, 1938, he was expelled from the Soviet Communist Party, arrested the next day in the office of Georgi Malenkov, and sent to prison at Lubyanka. He was found guilty by the Military Collegiate of the Supreme Court of the USSR of belonging to a "terrorist and sabotage organization" and shot on March 7, 1939, at Kommunarka.
Borejsza was born as Beniamin Goldberg to a Polish Jewish family. He was an older brother of Józef Różański – later a member of the Soviet NKVD and high-ranking interrogator in the Ministry of Public Security of Poland. As a youth, Borejsza sympathized with the Zionist radical left and anarchic political factions. After he got in trouble with the Polish authorities, his father sponsored his residence in France. Borejsza studied engineering, then Hispanic culture at the Sorbonne, and remained deeply involved with the politics and activism of anarchism.
After his studies, Borejsza returned home and was briefly enlisted in the Polish Army in the late 1920s. In 1929, he joined the Communist Party of Poland (KPP). In the Second Polish Republic, he was imprisoned several times in the years 1933–1935 for agitation and political propaganda. After the Soviet invasion of Poland of 1939, Borejsza became a vocal supporter of the Soviet communist regime, publishing Polish language translations of Soviet propaganda. He served as director of the Ossolineum Institute in Lwów (Lviv) in 1939–1940. After the war, as Lviv was transferred to the Ukrainian SSR, he aided the transport of most of Ossolineum archives to Wrocław. He was one of the founders of the Union of Polish Patriots – an organization from which the communist government of post-war Poland in part originated.
Borejsza served with the rank of major in the Red Army, and then in the Polish First Army. He joined the new pro-Soviet Polish communist party, the Polish Workers' Party, and became a deputy to the State National Council. He organized much of communist propaganda in post-war Poland and was a leading figure in the implementation of state control and censorship in the area of culture. He created the giant publishing house Czytelnik ('The Reader'). Borejsza favored a moderate approach to culture control, which he called a "gentle revolution".
He supported establishing cultural relations with the West, and himself traveled to United States and the United Kingdom. In 1948, he was one of the main organizers of the World Congress of Intellectuals in Defense of Peace in Wrocław. He fell out of favor with the Stalinist hardliners who saw him as too independent, too hard to influence, and not radical enough. His political role diminished in the late 1940s, particularly after the disabling injuries he suffered in a car accident in 1949. Borejsza received the Order of Polonia Restituta. He was buried at the Powązki Cemetery in Warsaw.
He was a cousin of Oscar Deutsch, the proprietor of the Odeon Cinemas chain. Though he claimed to be an observant Jew to disguise his role as a Communist agent, Deutsch was in fact lapsed in his religious beliefs. At the age of 24, Deutsch received with distinction his PhD in chemistry from the University of Vienna. He was also a follower of Wilhelm Reich and his "sex-pol" movement. His remarkable academic record opened opportunities to penetrate the highest institutions in many Western countries.
At the same time, Deutsch embarked on his lifelong involvement with Communism and the Soviet Union. In the 1920s he was working for the OMS, the International Liaison Department of the Comintern. A co-worker of his there was Edith Suschitzky, whom he met at 1926 in Vienna and who would be instrumental in his later espionage career. Soon after leaving university, he married an Austrian woman, Josefine. The couple were both recruited by Comintern and worked for OMS, its international liaison department. Over the next couple of years, they travelled around the world working as couriers.
In 1933, Deutsch was arrested by the NSDAP authorities in Germany but was freed from custody with the help of Willi Lehmann, the highly placed Soviet agent within the Gestapo. Deutsch then travelled to Britain under his real name, so that his university credentials would be valid. Upon arriving in England, Deutsch studied psychology at the graduate level at the University of London, as his cover for espionage work in England. In the mid-1930s Deutsch occupied Flat 7 of the Isokon building in Lawn Road, Hampstead, north London.
The writer Nigel West (Rupert Allason) asserts, based on the information provided in 1940 by Soviet defector Walter Krivitsky, that Deutsch had been an assistant of the Latvian-born senior Soviet spy Adam Purpis, who according to the same source was between 1931 and 1934 the NKVD Illegal Rezident (i.e. agent operating outside the embassy) in the UK.
Deutsch's legacy from his time in the UK is to have come up with a highly successful agent recruitment strategy. Deutsch observed that the high quantity of Communist students and constant turnover due to matriculation and graduation provided an excellent recruiting ground. The idea was to select capable, idealistic students and have them publicly distance themselves from Communism so that they could penetrate the British government and intelligence spheres. The students' former involvement in Communism would be overlooked by the British as a mere youthful mistake. This strategy produced many well-placed agents, especially the Cambridge Five, the first of which was Kim Philby, whom Deutsch recruited directly.
Deutsch then went on to recruit Donald Maclean and Guy Burgess in 1934. Using the code name Otto, Deutsch was the controller for the Cambridge Five spy ring from 1933 to 1937, when he was replaced by Theodore Maly. Whilst in London, Deutsch also acted as handler for Percy Glading, who was operating a spy ring within Woolwich Arsenal, which obtained blueprints of Britain's brand new—and highly secret—naval gun.
During his time in the United Kingdom, Deutsch was given the task of evaluating an American recruit, Michael Straight, who did not impress him. Deutsch's evaluation of Straight was to be borne out almost thirty years later, in 1963, when Straight decided to voluntarily inform Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., a family friend, about his communist connections from his student days at Cambridge University, a confession which led directly to the exposure of Anthony Blunt as a recruiter and member of the Cambridge Five spy ring.
In September 1937, amid Joseph Stalin's fatal purges in the Moscow "show" trials, Deutsch was recalled to Moscow. At that time, Deutsch was at great risk of being discovered in western Europe, because of the defections of the highly placed Soviet operatives Ignace Reiss and Walter Krivitsky; he had been familiar with some elements of their operations. Back in Moscow, Deutsch was extensively debriefed and managed to escape execution – which, at the time, was the fate of many completely loyal Communists. He was employed as an expert on forgery and handwriting and was not allowed to go abroad again until the early 1940s.
Ilya Grigoryevich Ehrenburg
Jewish Soviet writer, Bolshevik revolutionary, journalist and historian. Ehrenburg's WW2 propaganda efforts incited genocide upon the German People. After the collapse of the Soviet, Union Ehernburg fed to Israel.
Ehrenburg was a prolific writer, celebrated author of various novels and other works of fiction. A top Soviet propagandist during the WW2, a notorious liar and a pathological monster. As a leading member of the Soviet-sponsored Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee, Ilya Ehrenburg appeared at many fund-raising rallies in the United States, raising support for the Communist cause while displaying fake bars of soap; allegedly manufactured by the Germans from the corpses of dead Jews. Ehrenburg was also responsible for the "lampshades made from human skin" story that circulated widely throughout the west after WW2.
But Ehrenburg was perhaps most notorious for his viciously anti-German hate propaganda in World War II. In it, he exhorted Soviet troops to kill all Germans they encountered without pity.
In one leaflet entitled "Kill," Ehrenburg incited the simple Russian soldier to treat the Germans as subhuman. The final paragraph concludes:
then in another published and distributed leaflet:
The above quotation is typical of the steady diet of pathological hatred fed to millions of Soviet troops whilst Ehrenburg was safely ensconced far from the front lines.
But it wasn't only the ordinary German soldier Ehrenburg was talking about, whom he accused of the very atrocities the Communists were themselves committing. Ehrenburg's incendiary writings were, in fact, a prime motivating factor in the orgy of murder and rape against the civilian population that took place as Soviet troops rampaged into the heart of Europe. Appealing to the lowest, most subhuman instincts of this Bolshevik horde, he reiterated his genocidal message:
The crowning achievement of Ehrenburg's career came on December 22, 1944, when he became the first person to mention the kabbalistic figure of Six Million in connection with the alleged Jewish victims of National Socialism, and then proceeded to introduce that six million figure into Soviet propaganda.
After the war he joined with co-racial and fellow propagandist Vasily (Iosif Solomonovich) Grossman to produce a fictitious "Black Book" and lay the foundation for what has come to be known as "The Holocaust."
Commander of the Stalinist political police at the Ministry of Public Security of Poland in charge of its notorious Special Bureau (the 10th Department). During the Polish October revolution of 1956, his name – along with some others including his colleague Col. Józef Różański, and Minister Jakub Berman – came to symbolize communist terror in postwar Poland.
Fejgin was born into a middle-class Jewish family, and in 1927 began medical studies in Warsaw, which he never finished. In 1928, he joined the Communist Party of Poland and in 1929 was arrested and sentenced to two years in prison for communist agitation. Released, Fejgin was arrested again in 1932 and incarcerated for four years.
After the outbreak of World War II in 1939, Fejgin escaped to Lwów in the Soviet military zone, got in touch with the NKVD and began working for the Soviet authorities. In May 1943 he joined the Soviet-sponsored Polish 1st Tadeusz Kosciuszko Infantry Division, where he became a propaganda officer, a paramilitary rank commonly feared. In January 1945, Fejgin took the post of the director of the personal department of the political bureau of the pro-Soviet Ludowe Wojsko Polskie.
In October 1949, Fejgin was moved to the Ministry of Public Security of Poland (MBP and UB), where he was appointed director of the Special Bureau (renamed in 1951 as the 10th Department), which was formed for protecting the Party from provocateurs (in reality, the murderous persecution of political opponents and army officers from Polish Underground State).
Suspended after the 1953 defection of deputy director Józef Światło (Izaak Fleischfarb) who incriminated him and other Stalinists, Fejgin was fired from UB during the Polish political thaw and arrested on April 23, 1956, along with his boss, vice-minister Roman Romkowski (born Natan Grünspau [Grinszpan]-Kikiel. He was brought to trial at the end of the Stalinist period, and on November 11, 1957, sentenced to 12 years in prison for violations of human rights law and abuse of power.
Charged along with co-defendants, Romkowski and Józef Różański, Fejgin was found guilty of torturing 28 named victims during interrogations, including innocent women and Polish United Workers' Party members. His sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court in 1958. Fejgin was kept in Racibórz. He was released from prison after the 1964 amnesty, serving seven years. At the time of his death in 2002, Fejgin was still the subject of an investigation by the Institute of National Remembrance for the crimes he committed as an interrogator.
Yakov Naumovich Reizen was born April 24, 1889, in Ekaterinoslav, Russian Empire, since 2016 known as Dnipro in Ukraine, to a Jewish family. Yakov's father worked as a shop assistant. In addition to Yakov, the Reizen family included two more sons and three daughters. Yakov was registered as Jacob Naumovich Golosenko (the entry in the register, Holy Trinity Church in the city of Ekaterinoslav). A revolutionary from a young age, Reizen joined the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party (RSDLP) in 1904, becoming active in the group's Bolshevik wing headed by V.I. Lenin. He participated in the 1905 Revolution, serving as a member of the first soviet of Ekaterinoslav, the city known today as Dnipro. In 1906 Reizen organized an illegal revolutionary printing press, for which he was arrested in the last days of that year. He was subsequently convicted and sentenced to eight years of hard labour, a term ultimately commuted by the government of Tsar Nikolai II to lifetime exile to Yakutia in northern Siberia.
Reizen escaped by fleeing to the east, travelling to the United States by way of China and via a ship from Japan. In the United States at some point, he adopted the surname "Golos," by which he will subsequently be known here. In 1909 Golos reached San Francisco, California, where he obtained work in a print shop as a pressman. By 1912, Golos had found his way to New York City, where he helped to raise funds for political prisoners in Russia. Golos was active in the Russian Socialist Federation in May 1915 he gained membership in the Socialist Party of America when the Russian Federation joined that party. Golos returned to California in 1917, where he supported himself by working for fruit picking and packing firms. He also worked as an organizer for the Socialist Party of California. He remained in California until 1919.
Toward the end of August 1919, Golos was elected to the Central Executive Committee of the Russian Federation by the organization's 5th Convention, held in Detroit, Michigan. Immediately after the close of the Detroit gathering, Golos and a number of his comrades in the Russian Federation, including Alexander Stoklitsky and Nicholas Hourwich, travelled to Chicago to attend another convention. This one established the Communist Party of America, the forerunner of the Communist Party, USA. In his personal history and personnel forms written in Moscow in 1926, Golos dated his work as a member of the Central Committee of the Russian Section (New York) as from 1919-1925. In December 1922, Golos was elected to the nine-member Bureau of the Russian Federation of the Workers Party of America, the "legal" public face of the then-underground Communist Party of America.
In 1921-1922, Golos worked as an organizer at the Communist Party HQ in Chicago. In 1922-1923 he was an organizer for the organization in its Detroit district. In 1923 Golos became head of the Society for Technical Aid to Soviet Russia, one of the party's technological aid initiatives; he worked in that capacity until 1926. In 1926 Golos travelled to the Soviet Union as a participant in the American "Kuzbas" (Kuzbass Autonomous Industrial Colony), located near the Russian city of Kemerovo. His membership was transferred to the All-Union Communist Party (bolsheviks), the VKP(b), in this interval. When the Kuzbas project was essentially terminated in 1927, Golos was transferred to Moscow. There he was offered a job in a book publishing house.
In 1927 a Communist Party-sponsored travel agency, called World Tourists, Inc.s, was established. Golos would later become closely connected to it in the United States. Originally started as an economic venture intended to help subsidize the Communist Party's press, the firm ultimately served not only as of the coordinator of propaganda tours to the Soviet Union but also as a means to facilitate the travel of party officials and Soviet agents between the USSR and the USA, sometimes under the cover of falsified documentation.
In September 1928, American Communist Party leader Jay Lovestone, noting Golos' "significant influence among the Russian working masses in the United States," sent an appeal to the Central Committee of the VKP(b) to have Golos be returned to the United States for work. He made a second appeal along these lines in December 1928, and Golos returned to the United States around January 1929.
Golos settled again in New York City, this time in the borough of the Bronx. He worked as the business manager of Novyi Mir (New World), the Communist Party's Russian-language newspaper, based in New York. Included in Golos' activities was the coordination of the CPUSA's operation to produce false passports for party members wanting to travel abroad. Golos remained in charge of the passport operation until turning the job over to Hungarian party functionary J. Peters, who also served as a link with the Soviet intelligence in the 1930s. According to Peters' biographer, the transfer took place in 1932.
In the spring of 1930, Golos became involved in the Communist Party's "machinery of investigations," charged with keeping tabs with the activities of some labour unions and party-affiliated mass organizations. He appears to have begun working for the secret intelligence apparatus of the Soviet Union by this time, as it was in 1930 that he is first referred to in archival documents as a "reliable man." According to archival notes taken in the early 1990s by Alexander Vassiliev, a former KGB foreign intelligence officer and journalist, Golos' initial contact seems to have been with the GPU's New York station chief, Chivin ("Smith"). Another interpretation of the documents, favoured by historian Svetlana Chervonnaya, argues that first contact was made by Abram Einhorn ("Taras"), a Soviet intelligence agent who worked in the United States from 1930 to 1934. It is clear that by the early 1930s, Golos was in the employ of Soviet intelligence.
By the start of 1933, Golos was heading the Communist Party's World Tourists venture, an operation that generated revenue and provided funds for various CPUSA activities. Golos was active in the acquisition and supply of American naturalization papers and birth certificates, which were used to obtain American passports to "legalize" Soviet intelligence agents around the world — initially in Europe and Asia, but later in the Americas as well. To convert these fraudulent application papers into authentic passports, Golos worked closely with a clerk in the Brooklyn passport office. That person had been recruited because of his vulnerability of gambling addiction.
During this period Golos was identified by his Soviet intelligence handlers with the code name "Sound" — a pun on his adopted surname of Golos, the Russian word for "voice." Throughout the 1930s Golos was a member of the CPUSA's Central Control Commission, a body in charge of party discipline, background investigations, and audits. He could assist in the recruitment and verification of potential agents on behalf of Soviet intelligence. As head of World Tourists, Golos visited the Soviet Union every year from 1932 onward to attend the celebrations of the Bolshevik revolution of 1917. This coincidentally allowed him to bring his Russian-born wife and American-born son there in 1936, so that his son could receive "a Soviet education." In 1937, the pair gained Soviet citizenship.
The last of these visits took place in 1937, during the height of the Ezhovshchina (or the Great Purge)— the mass campaign by Stalin of secret police terror in which millions of Soviet citizens suspected of political disloyalty, espionage, or economic crime were arrested, and hundreds of thousands executed. Millions more were sent to the brutal labour camps of the Gulag. Upon his return to the United States in January 1938, Golos confirmed at a session of the governing Political Committee of the American Communist Party that there was indeed a mass secret police operation in effect in the USSR. Golos' faith in the communist cause seems to have remained unshaken in the aftermath.
Vassiliev's notes revealed that in late 1940, Golos recruited author Ernest Hemingway, assigning him the code name: "Argo"; the author had offered to work covertly for the Soviets. From 1940 onward Golos was subject to the Foreign Agent Registration Act. While he did not curtail his NKVD activities, he had to assume he was under FBI surveillance. Moscow became nervous at the risk of him being arrested and made attempts to convince him to return to Russia. Worried that if he returned to the Soviet Union he would be jailed or killed, Golos not only refused to share his sources with other NKVD officers, but he also told them that he had hidden a sealed envelope containing details of Russia's spy operations in America.
In 1941, Golos had set up a commercial forwarding enterprise, called the U.S. Shipping and Service Corporation. He assigned Elizabeth Bentley, his assistant, courier and lover, as one of its officers. The pair occupied a suite in the Commodore Hotel, in New York City, across the street from Amtorg. In 1942, Golos transferred a Communist cell of engineers headed by Julius Rosenberg into direct contact with Soviet intelligence operatives in New York. The cell provided information on the newest developments in electrical and radio engineering to the XY Line of the NKGB foreign intelligence. The XY Line began efforts to penetrate the Manhattan Project, code-named ENORMOUS (ENORMOZ).
Sometime in November 1943, Golos met in New York with key figures of one of the so-called "information groups" of the CPUSA, which would come to be known as the Perlo group. Its members worked in several government departments and agencies in Washington, D.C. and provided information to the CPUSA leader, Browder, the General Secretary of the Communist Party USA.
Golos suffered a series of heart attacks during the first years of the 1940s. On November 27, 1943, a fatal heart attack ended his life while he was sleeping with Elizabeth Bentley. Immediately Bentley began a search for a secret file that Golos had kept to protect himself from being recalled to Russia; she destroyed it. Following his death, Bentley took over Golos's espionage operations. The code name Zvuk (Sound) appears in the Venona decryptions as a Soviet source; this has been identified as Jacob Golos. In these decrypts, Golos is identified as an "illegal colleague," generally meaning a Soviet officer or professional agent who operated without the protection of diplomatic or official status with a Soviet embassy or consulate. Soviet officers with the latter status were said to be "legal."
Adolf Abramovich Joffe
Adolf Abramovich Joffe was born in Simferopol, Crimea, Russian Empire in a wealthy Karaite family. He became a social democrat in 1900 while still in high school, formally joining the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party in 1903. In 1904 Joffe was sent to Baku, which he had to flee to avoid arrest. He was then sent to Moscow, but had to flee again, this time abroad. After the events of Bloody Sunday on January 9, 1905, Joffe returned to Russia and took an active part in the Russian Revolution of 1905. In early 1906 he was forced to emigrate and lived in Berlin until his expulsion from Germany in May 1906.
In Russia, Joffe was close to the Menshevik faction within the Russian Social Democratic Party. However, after moving to Vienna in May 1906, he became close to Leon Trotsky's position and helped Trotsky edit Pravda from 1908 to 1912 while studying medicine and psychoanalysis with Alfred Adler. He also used his family's fortune to support Pravda financially. During the course of his underground revolutionary activity Joffe adopted the party name "V. Krymsky," the surname meaning "The Crimean." In 1912 Joffe was arrested while visiting Odessa, imprisoned for 10 months and then exiled to Siberia.
In 1917, Joffe, freed from the Siberian exile by the February Revolution, returned to the Crimea. Crimean social democrats sent him to the capital, Petrograd, to represent them, but he soon moved to an internationalist revolutionary position, which made it impossible for him to remain in an organization dominated by less radical Mensheviks. Instead, he joined forces with Trotsky, who had just returned from abroad. In May 1917, Joffe and Trotsky temporarily joined Mezhraiontsy who merged with the Bolsheviks at the VI Bolshevik Party Congress held between 26 July and 3 August 1917 (all dates are Old Style until February 1918).
At the Congress, Joffe was elected a candidate (non-voting) member of the Central Committee, but two days later, on August 5, the Central Committee, some of whose members were in prison, in hiding or lived far from Petrograd and could not attend its meetings, made Joffe a member of its permanent ("narrow") bureau. On August 6, Joffe was made an alternate member of the Central Committee Secretariat and on August 20 made a member of the editorial board of the Bolshevik newspaper Pravda which was then temporarily called Proletary (Proletarian) for legal reasons.
Joffe headed the Bolshevik faction in the Petrograd Duma (city government) in the fall of 1917 and was one of the Duma's delegates to the Democratic Conference between September 14 and 22. Although Joffe, along with Lenin and Trotsky, opposed the Bolsheviks' participation in the consultative Pre-parliament created by the Democratic Conference, the motion was carried by the majority of Bolshevik deputies at the Democratic Conference and Joffe was made a Bolshevik member of the Pre-parliament. Two weeks later, on October 7, once the more radical Bolshevik faction gained the upper hand, Joffe and other Bolsheviks walked out of the Pre-parliament.
In October 1917, Joffe supported Lenin's and Trotsky's revolutionary position against Grigory Zinoviev's and Lev Kamenev's more moderate position, demanding that the latter be expelled from the Central Committee after an apparent breach of party discipline. Joffe served as the Chairman of the Petrograd Military Revolutionary Committee which overthrew the Russian Provisional Government on October 25–26, 1917. Immediately after the revolution, he supported Lenin and Trotsky against Zinoviev, Kamenev, Alexei Rykov and other Bolshevik Central Committee members who would have shared power with other socialist parties.
From November 30, 1917, until January 1918, Joffe was the head of the Soviet delegation that was sent to Brest-Litovsk to negotiate an end to the hostilities with Germany. On December 22, 1917, Joffe announced the following Bolshevik pre-conditions for a peace treaty:
No forcible annexation of territories seized in the war
Restore national independence where it was terminated during war
National groups independent before the war should be allowed by referendum to decide question of independence
Multi-cultural regions should be administered so as to allow all possible cultural independence and self-regulation
No indemnities. Personal losses should be compensated out of international fund
Colonial question should be decided according to points 1–4
Although Joffe had signed a ceasefire agreement with the Central Powers on December 2, 1917, he supported Trotsky in the latter's refusal to sign a permanent peace treaty in February. Once the Bolshevik Central Committee decided to sign the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk on February 23, 1918, Joffe remained a member of the Soviet delegation only under protest and in a purely consultative capacity. Grigori Yakovlovich Sokolnikov, leader of the signatory team, signed on behalf of Russia.
Remembering Joffe's presence with the Bolshevik delegation at Brest-Litovsk, Count Ottokar Czernin, the Austro-Hungarians' representative would later write:
"The leader of the Russian delegation is a Jew, named Joffe, who has recently been released from Siberia [...] after the meal I had a first conversation with Mr. Joffe. His whole theory is simply based on the universal application of the right of self-governance of nations in the broadest form. The thus liberated nations then have to be brought to love each other [...] I advised him that we would not attempt to imitate the Russian example and that we likewise would not tolerate a meddling in our internal affairs. If he continued to hold on his utopic viewpoints the peace would not be possible and then he would be well advised just to take the journey back with the next train. Mr. Joffe looked astonishedly at me with his gentle eyes and was silent for a while. Then he continued in a – for me, ever unforgettable – friendly, or I would even nearly say suppliant, tone: 'I very much hope that we will also be able to raise the revolution in your country..."
At the VII Extraordinary Congress of the Bolshevik Party between March 6 and March 8, 1918, Joffe was re-elected to the Central Committee, but only as a candidate (non-voting) member. He remained in Petrograd when the Soviet government moved to Moscow later in March and worked as a member of the Petrograd Bureau of the Central Committee until he was appointed Soviet representative to Germany in April. He signed the Soviet-German Supplementary Treaty on August 27, 1918. On November 6, 1918, literally days before the Armistice and the German Revolution, the Soviet delegation in Berlin headed by Joffe was expelled from the country on charges of preparing a Communist uprising in Germany. Straight before Joffe left Berlin he rendered Oskar Cohn about 1 million Mark and a 10.5 million Russian ruble mandate for a bank account at Mendelssohn & Co. After the delegation returned to Russia Joffe claimed to have paid this money to the Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany (USPD) to support the revolutionary activities and to purchase weapons. These payments led to the demission of Wilhelm Solf as German minister of Foreign affairs, who refused a further cooperation with the USPD.
Joffe remained a friend and loyal supporter of Leon Trotsky through the 1920s, joining him in the Left Opposition. By late 1927, he was gravely ill, in extreme pain and confined to his bed. After a refusal by the Stalinist leadership of the Communist Party to send him abroad for treatment and Trotsky's expulsion from the Communist Party on November 12, 1927, he committed suicide on November 16. He left a farewell letter addressed to Trotsky, but the letter was seized by Soviet secret police agents and later quoted by Stalinists to discredit both Joffe and Trotsky. Trotsky's eulogy at Joffe's funeral was his last public speech in the Soviet Union.
Idel Jakobson was a Jewish NKVD Officer. He participated in the activities of the Jewish cultural society Licht. In 1931 he was arrested in Tallinn, being accused of subversive activities directed against the Republic of Estonia. In 1938, together with many other communists, he was granted amnesty and deported to Latvia. He returned to Estonia after the June 1940 communist coup and became an investigator of the NKVD, since September 1940 leading the investigations' department of the NKVD of the Estonian SSR.
According to the materials of Kaitsepolitsei, Jakobson took part in sentencing around 1,200 people to death and persecuting and torturing at least 1,800 people. Idel Jakobson was notorious for his sadistic methods (beatings, other methods of torture) during interrogations. Jakobson fled Estonia in July, 1941, and worked as a chief investigator in Russia and Ukraine. His 'investigations' were carried out in the framework of the so-called 'Vyshinsky doctrine', in effect presumption of guilt: without a trial, he arranged a death sentence to 621 people. Most of his victims were ethnic Estonians, including well-known politicians like Ado Birk and Jaan Hünerson
Ironically Jakobson was eventually expelled from CPSU in 1953 for having visited a private Jewish canteen and concealing that fact.
Lazar Moiseyevich Kaganovich
Lazar Moiseyevich Kaganovich (22 November 1893 – 25 July 1991) was a Soviet politician and administrator and one of the main associates of Joseph Stalin. He is known for helping Stalin seize power, for his role in organizing, planning and supervising the Holodomor, and for his harsh treatment and execution of those deemed threats to Stalin's regime. He was project manager and led the original design team of the Moscow Metro, and Moscow's Metro was named after him until 1955. At his death in 1991, he was the last surviving Old Bolshevik. The Soviet Union itself outlived him by a mere five months before it finally disintegrated.
Kaganovich was born in 1893 to Jewish parents in the village of Kabany, Radomyshl uyezd, Kiev Governorate, Russian Empire (now named Dibrova, Poliske Raion, Kiev Oblast, Ukraine). Around 1911, he joined the Bolshevik party (his older brother Mikhail Kaganovich had become a member in 1905). Early in his political career, in 1915, Kaganovich became a Communist organizer at a shoe factory where he worked. During the same year he was arrested and sent back to Kabany.
In 1918 Kaganovich acted as Commissar of the propaganda department of the Red Army. From May 1918 to August 1919 he was the Chairman of the Ispolkom (Committee) of the Nizhny Novgorod gubernia. In 1919–1920, he served as governor of the Voronezh gubernia. The years 1920 to 1922 he spent in Turkmenistan as one of the leaders of the Bolshevik struggle against local Muslim rebels (basmachi), and also commanding the succeeding punitive expeditions against local opposition.
In May 1922, Stalin became the General Secretary of the Communist Party and immediately transferred Kaganovich to his apparatus to head the Organizational Bureau or Orgburo of the Secretariat. This department was responsible for all assignments within the apparatus of the Communist Party. Working there, Kaganovich helped to place Stalin's supporters in important jobs within the Communist Party bureaucracy. In this position he became noted for his great work capacity and for his personal loyalty to Stalin. He stated publicly that he would execute absolutely any order from Stalin, which at that time was a novelty.
In 1924, Kaganovich became a full member of the Central Committee, after having first been elected as a candidate one year earlier. From 1925 to 1928, Kaganovich was the First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Ukrainian SSR. He was given the task of "ukrainizatsiya" – meaning at that time the building up of Ukrainian communist popular cadres. He also had the duty of implementing collectivization and the policy of economic suppression of the kulaks (wealthier peasants).
He opposed the more moderate policy of Nikolai Bukharin, who argued in favor of the "peaceful integration of kulaks into socialism". In 1928, due to numerous protests against Kaganovich's management, Stalin was forced to transfer Kaganovich from Ukraine to Moscow, where he returned to his position as a Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, a job he held until 1939. As Secretary, he endorsed Stalin's struggle against the so-called Left and Right Oppositions within the Communist Party, in the hope that Stalin would become the sole leader of the country.
In 1933 and 1934, he served as the Chairman of the Commission for the Vetting of the Party Membership (Tsentralnaya komissiya po proverke partiynykh ryadov) and ensured personally that nobody associated with anti-Stalin opposition would be permitted to remain a Communist Party member. In 1934, at the XVII Congress of the Communist Party, Kaganovich chaired the Counting Committee. He falsified voting for positions in the Central Committee, deleting 290 votes opposing the Stalin candidacy.
His actions resulted in Stalin's being re-elected as the General Secretary instead of Sergey Kirov. By the rules, the candidate receiving fewer opposing votes should become the General Secretary. Before Kaganovich's falsification, Stalin received 292 opposing votes and Kirov only three. However, the "official" result (due to the interference of Kaganovich) saw Stalin with just two opposing votes (Radzinsky, 1996).
In 1930, Kaganovich became a member of the Soviet Politburo and the First Secretary of the Moscow Obkom of the Communist Party (1930–1935). He later headed the Moscow Gorkom of the Communist Party (1931–1934). He also supervised the implementation of many of Stalin's economic policies, including the collectivization of agriculture and rapid industrialization. During this period, he also supervised the destruction of many of the city's oldest monuments, including the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. In 1932, he led the suppression of the workers' strike in Ivanovo-Voznesensk.
Kaganovich (together with Vyacheslav Molotov) participated with the All-Ukrainian Party Conference of 1930 and were given the task of implementation of the collectivization policy that caused a catastrophic 1932–33 famine (known as the Holodomor in Ukraine). Similar policies also inflicted enormous suffering on the Soviet Central Asian republic of Kazakhstan, the Kuban region, Crimea, the lower Volga region, and other parts of the Soviet Union. As an emissary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, Kaganovich traveled to Ukraine, the central regions of the USSR, the Northern Caucasus, and Siberia demanding the acceleration of collectivization and repressions against the Kulaks, who were generally blamed for the slow progress of collectivization. Attorney Rafael Lemkin in his work The Soviet Genocide in Ukraine tried to present the fact of Holodomor to the Nuremberg trials as a genocide of a totalitarian regime.
On 13 January 2010, Kiev Appellate Court posthumously found Kaganovich, Postyshev, Kosior, Chubar and other Soviet Communist Party functionaries guilty of genocide against Ukrainians during the catastrophic Holodomor famine. Though they were pronounced guilty as criminals, the case was ended immediately according to paragraph 8 of Article 6 of the Criminal Procedural Code of Ukraine.
By New Year's Day, the Security Service of Ukraine had finished pre-court investigation and transferred its materials to the Prosecutor General of Ukraine. The materials consist of over 250 volumes of archive documents (from within Ukraine as well as from abroad), interviews with witnesses, and expert analysis of several institutes of National Academies of Sciences. Oleksandr Medvedko, the Prosecutor General, stated that the material proves that a genocide occurred in Ukraine.
Lev Borisovich Kamenev
Lev Borisovich Kamenev (born Leo Rosenfeld or Lev Borisovich Rozenfeld;[b] 18 July [O.S. 6 July] 1883 – 25 August 1936) was a Bolshevik revolutionary and a prominent Soviet politician. He was one of the seven members of the first Politburo, founded in 1917 to manage the Bolshevik Revolution: Lenin, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Trotsky, Stalin, Sokolnikov and Bubnov.
Kamenev was the brother-in-law of Leon Trotsky. He served briefly as the equivalent of the first head of state of Soviet Russia in 1917, and from 1923-24 as acting Premier in the last year of Vladimir Lenin's life. Joseph Stalin viewed him as a cause of discontent and opposition to his own leadership. Kamenev was executed on 25 August 1936 after a show trial during the period of the Great Purges.
Kamenev was born as Leo Rosenfeld in Moscow, the son of a Jewish railway worker and a Russian Orthodox Christian mother. Both of his parents were active in radical politics. His father used the capital he earned in the construction of the Baku-Batumi railway to pay for Lev's education. His arrest in 1902 interrupted his formal education. From that point on, he worked as a professional revolutionary, and was active in the capital St. Petersburg, Moscow and Tiflis. He adopted the surname Kamenev during this period. In the early 1900s, he married Olga Bronstein, a fellow Marxist (and younger sister of Leon Trotsky, who had also adopted a different surname).
Kamenev joined the Social Democrats in 1901. He took a brief trip abroad in 1902, meeting Russian social democratic leaders living in exile, including Vladimir Lenin, whose adherent and close associate he became. He also visited Paris and met the Iskra group who published the newspaper. After attending the 3rd Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP) in London in March 1905, Kamenev returned to Russia to participate in the Russian Revolution of 1905 in St. Petersburg in October–December.
He went back to London to attend the 5th RSDLP Party Congress, where he was elected to the party's Central Committee and the Bolshevik Center, in May 1907, but was arrested upon his return to Russia. After Kamenev was released from prison in 1908, he and his family went abroad later in the year to help Lenin edit the Bolshevik magazine Proletariy. After Lenin's split with another senior Bolshevik leader, Alexander Bogdanov, in mid-1908, Kamenev and Grigory Zinoviev became Lenin's main assistants abroad. They helped him expel Bogdanov and his Otzovist (Recallist) followers from the Bolshevik faction of the RSDLP in mid-1909.
San Francisco KGB station chief, or Rezident, from December 1941 until July 1944. Involved in a financial attempt to fund the creation of a new Bolshevik Jewish Soviet Republic.
In 1943 a world-famous actor of the Moscow Yiddish State Art Theater, Solomon Mikhoels, together with well-known poet Itzik Feffer, toured the United States on behalf of the Jewish Antifascist Committee. Before their departure, KGB Chief Lavrenti Beria instructed Mikhoels and Feffer to emphasize the great contribution of Jews to science and culture in the Soviet Union. Their assignment was to raise money and convince American public opinion that Soviet anti-Semitism had been crushed as a result of Joseph Stalin's policies.
In 1944 and the first half of 1945, Stalin's strategic motivation was to use the Jewish issue as a bargaining chip to bring in international investment to rebuild the war-torn Soviet Union and to influence the postwar realignment of power in the Middle East. Stalin planned to use Jewish aspirations for a homeland to attract Western credits. Intentions to form a Jewish republic actually existed, based on a letter addressed to Stalin from the Jewish Antifascist Committee. Part of the letter, published for the first time in 1993, stated:
"The creation of a Jewish Soviet republic will once and forever, in a Bolshevik manner, within the spirit of Leninist-Stalinist national policy, settle the problem of the state legal position of the Jewish people and further development of their multicentury culture. This is a problem that no one has been capable of settling in the course of many centuries. It can be solved only in our great socialist country."
The letter, the existence of which is officially admitted in the journals of the Communist party, is still not declassified. Kheifetz said the letter was a proposal with details for a plan to make the Crimean Socialist Republic a homeland for Jewish people from all over the world. The co-ordination and execution of Stalin's plans to lure foreign investors was entrusted to Kheifetz. The Soviet plan was for him to lay the groundwork for American investment in the metal and coal mining industries in the Soviet Union.
It was rumoured that Mikhoels might be offered the post of chairman of the Supreme Soviet in the proposed new republic. Apart from Molotov, Lozovsky, and other high-ranking officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mikhoels was the only one aware of Stalin's plans to establish another Soviet republic. Stalin hoped to receive $10 billion in credits from the U.S. for the restoration of the Soviet economy after the war. The plan to lure American capital was associated with the idea of a Jewish state in the Crimea was called California in the Crimea. Kheifetz widely discussed the plan in America.
Lazar Iosifovich Kogan
Lazar Iosifovich Kogan (Russian: Ла́зарь Ио́сифович Ко́ган) (1889—March 3, 1939) was a Soviet secret police (Cheka, OGPU, NKVD) high functionary. He was the son of a wealthy Jewish merchant. His father was a fur trader. An active participant in the revolutionary movement, anarcho-communist. In 1908, a Kiev military district court sentenced him to death for participating in looting with a gun in his hand. This punishment was then converted into a life sentence. Kogan joined the Communist Party in 1918. His major positions include chief of the GULAG (1930-1932), deputy chief of the GULAG (1932-1936), deputy Narkom of Forest Industry (1936-1937).
Until August 1936, the head of the construction of the Belomorsk Baltic Canal measuring 227 kilometers and connecting the Baltic Sea with the White Sea built in 20 months by 170,000 Gulag prisoners. Member of the CEC of the USSR in 1935-1937. He is mentioned from this period by Alexander Solzhenitsyn in the "Gulag Archipelago": "It is time to put six names on the slopes of this channel - the main helpers of Stalin and Yagoda, the main supervisors of Belomor canal, six mercenary killers, after each of them thirty thousand deaths victims: Firin - Berman - Frenkel - Kogan - Rappaport - Zhuk ".
Bela Kun's (surname changed from Koln to Kun in 1904) father, Samu Kohn was a lapsed Jewish village notary, while his mother - also from Jewish heritage - was Róza Goldberger who converted to Protestantism. Kun became interested in Communism whilst interned inside a POW camp in the Urals in 1916; travelling Russia to Moscow in 1917.
In the Russian Civil War in 1918, Kun fought for the Bolsheviks. During this time, he first started to make detailed plans for a communist revolution in Hungary. In November 1918, with at least several hundred other Hungarian Communists and with a large sum of money provided by the Soviets, he returned to Hungary. Kun founded the Hungarian Group of the Russian Communist Party (the predecessor to the Hungarian Communist Party) in Budapest on 4 November 1918.
The Hungarian Soviet Republic, the second Communist government in Europe after Russia itself, was established on 21 March 1919. On 24 June, anti-Communists attempted a coup d'état. The government retaliated with secret police, revolutionary tribunals and semiregular detachments such as Tibor Szamuely's bodyguards, the Lenin Boys; this campaign became known as the Red Terror. Of those arrested, an estimated 370 to about 600 were killed; some place the number at 590.
The Soviet government lasted for 133 days, ending on 1 August 1919. The Soviet Republic had been formed to resist the Vix Note, and created the Hungarian Red Army to do so. The Soviets promised to invade Romania and link up with Kun and were on the verge of doing so, but military reversals suffered by the Red Army in Ukraine halted the invasion of Romania before it began.
Béla Kun then went into exile in Vienna, then controlled by the Social Democratic Party of Austria. He was captured and interned in Austria, but was released in exchange for Austrian prisoners in Russia in July 1920. He never returned to Hungary. Once in Russia, he rejoined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
Kun was put in charge of the regional Revolutionary Committee in Crimea, which during the Russian Civil War changed hands numerous times and was for a time a stronghold for the anti-Bolshevik White Army. It was in Crimea that the White Russians led by General Wrangel fell to the Red Army in 1920.
About 50,000 prisoners of war and anti-Bolshevik civilians subsequently were executed, on Kun and Rosalia Zemlyachka's order, with Lenin's approval. After having been promised amnesty, they had surrendered. Mass arrests and executions occurred while Kun was in control of the Crimea. Between 60,000 and 70,000 inhabitants of the Crimea were executed in the process. This is one of the largest massacres in the Civil War.
Kun became a leading figure in the Comintern as an ally of Grigory Zinoviev. In March 1921, he was sent to Germany to advise the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) and encouraged the KPD to follow the "Theory of the Offensive" as supported by Zinoviev. On 27 March, leaders of the Communist Party of Germany decided to launch a revolutionary offensive in support of miners in central Germany.
Kun along with Thallheimer were among the driving force behind the attempted revolutionary campaign known as "Märzaktion" ("March Action"), which ultimately ended in failure. Throughout the 1920s Kun was a prominent Comintern operative, serving mostly in Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia, but his notoriety ultimately stopped him being useful for undercover work.
After WW2 the Soviets inaugurated a Communist puppet regime in Hungary under the leadership of Mátyás Rákosi, one of Kun's few surviving colleagues from the 1919 coup.
Izrail Moiseyevich Leplevsky
Izrail Moiseyevich Leplevsky (1894 - July 28, 1938) was the head of the GPU. He was part of the Intelligence Service and Secret police apparatus in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, then People's Commissar of Internal Affairs of the Ukrainian SSR from June 14, 1937 to January 25, 1938. His brother Gregory Leplevsky also worked in senior positions in the Soviet Union, including as Prosecutor of the USSR.
Born into a Jewish family in Brest-Litovsk, Grodno Governorate, Leplevsky received a home education and worked afterwards in a hat shop, and in a pharmacy warehouse. In 1914 he was enrolled as a conscript in the Russian army and served on the Turkish front from October 1914 till June 1917.
In March 1917, Leplevsky became active in the Bolshevik party in Tbilisi. From June 1917 he was a member of the military organization of the RSDLP (Bolshevik) in Yekaterinoslav. Afterwards he made a career in the Soviet secret service, the GPU, in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, culminating in his appointment as People's Commissar of Internal Affairs of the Ukrainian SSR from June 14, 1937 to January 25, 1938 during this period he was in charge of mass repressions in Ukraine. established the plan for the elimination of the enemies of the people was responsible for the death of more than 63.950 people.
Evsei Grigorievich Liberman
Evsei Grigorievich Liberman (2 October 1897, Slavuta, Russian empire – 11 November 1981, Kharkiv) was a Soviet economist who lived in Kharkiv, Ukraine. Вorn in Slavuta in a wealthy Jewish family. Graduate of Kiev University, Faculty of Law, 1920, and Kharkiv Institute of Engineering and Economics, Machine-Building Faculty, 1933. He taught at the Kharkov Institute of Engineering and Economics, the Kharkiv V.I. Lenin Polytechnic Institute, and the University of Kharkiv.
He proposed new methods of economic planning based on the principles of new democratic centralism. His dissertation took form in "Plan, benefit and prisms" published in Pravda (1962). This became a basis for the Soviet reforms of 1965. His most notable works were "Structure of the balance of an industrial company" (1948), "Means to raise the profitability of the socialist companies" (1956), "Analysis of the use of resources" (1963), "Plan and benefits for the Soviet economy" (1965) and "Planning of the socialism" (1967). Reforms inspired by Liberman unsuccessfully attempted to revitalize the Soviet economy during the 1960s. Liberman's reform proposals were also implemented in East Germany.
Lev Zakharovich Mekhlis
Mekhlis, born in Odessa, completed six classes of Jewish commercial school. He worked as a schoolteacher from 1904 to 1911. In 1907–1910 he was a member of the Zionist workers' movement Poale Zion.
In 1911 he joined the Imperial Russian Army, where he served in the second grenadier artillery brigade. In 1912 he obtained the rank of bombardier. He served in the artillery in the First World War of 1914-1918. In 1918 he joined the Communist Party and until 1920 he did political work in the Red Army (commissioner of brigade, then 46th division, group of forces). In 1921–1922 he managed administrative inspection in the People's Commissariat of Worker-Peasant Inspection (under People's Commissar (Narkom) Joseph Stalin). In 1922–1926 he served as the assistant to the secretary and the manager of the bureau of the Secretariat of the Central Committee - in effect Stalin's personal secretary.
In 1926–1930 he took courses at the Communist Academy and in the Institute of Red Professors. From 1930 he was the head of the press corps Central Committee, and simultaneously a member of the editorial board, and then the editor in chief of the newspaper Pravda. In 1937–1940 he was the Commissar of Defense and the chief of the main political administration of the Red Army. From 1939 he was a member of the Central Committee of the CPSU (he had been a candidate since 1934), in 1938–1952 he was a member of the Orgburo of the Central Committee, in 1940–1941 People's Commissar of State Control (Goskontrolya).
In June 1941 he was newly assigned by the chief of main political administration and the deputy of the Peoples Commissar of Defense. Nicknamed "the Shark" and the "Gloomy Demon", Mekhlis was named army commissar of the 1st rank, which corresponded to the title of General of the red Army. In 1942 he was the representative of the Stavka (headquarters) of supreme commander-in-chief at the Crimean Front, where he constantly disputed with General Dmitry Timofeyevich Kozlov. The leaders of the staff of the Front did not know whose orders to carry out – the commander's or Mekhlis’s.
The commander of the North-Caucasian Front, Marshal Semyon Budyonny, also could not control Mekhlis, who had no desire to be subordinated, only recognising orders which came directly from the Stavka. Mekhlis, during a stay at the post of the representative of Stavka, was occupied by the fact that he wrote sufficiently critical reports to senior officers.
After one such report Major General Tolbukhin was taken off the post of chief of staff of the front, which had carelessness in contrast the instruction of Stalin to express opinion about the need for the front considering the need for being defended. So he attempted through the Stavka to replace the front commander, Kozlov, with Konstantin Rokossovsky or Klykov. At the same time in reports to Stalin he attempted to distance himself from the failures which the Crimean Front suffered, and to lay the entire responsibility on the front commander.
Communist politician in Stalinist Poland and a pro-Soviet Marxist economist. Member of the PWP/PUWP Politburo of the Polish Workers Party 1944-1956.
Minc was born into a middle class Jewish family; his parents were Oskar Minc and Stefania née Fajersztajn. Minc joined the Communist Party of Poland, which was eliminated by the Comintern before World War II. He spent the wartime in the Soviet Union, where he participated in the founding and activities of the Union of Polish Patriots. As an officer in the Polish People's Army, he fought on the Eastern Front and received military decorations, including the Virtuti Militari.
Between 1944 and 1956, he was a member of the Politburo of the Polish Workers' Party (PPR) and then the Polish United Workers' Party (PZPR). Minc was a top-ranking member of Bolesław Bierut's political apparatus from 1948, together with Jakub Berman. He served as minister of industry and commerce and deputy prime minister for economic affairs during the Stalinist period in the Polish People's Republic (until 1956). Minc participated in Władysław Gomułka's meetings with Joseph Stalin at the Kremlin.
Stalin personally assigned Minc first to the Ministry of Industry and then to the Ministry of Transportation of Poland in 1949. Minc was one of the main architects of Poland's Six-Year Plan, implemented in 1950. His wife, Julia, was editor-in-chief of the Polish Press Agency until 1954. At a celebration at Wrocław for the so-called Recovered Territories, Minc acclaimed the gaining of the completely equipped previously German land with its residue of German population which and proclaimed his government's right to liquidate the remaining Germans by appropriate methods. In 1956, Minc was removed from the Politburo and in 1959 forced to leave the PZPR altogether.
Alexander Mikhailovich Orlov
Alexander Mikhailovich Orlov was a colonel in the Soviet secret police and NKVD Rezident in the Second Spanish Republic. In 1938, Orlov refused to return to the Soviet Union due to the fears of execution, and instead fled with his family to the United States. He is mostly known for secretly transporting the entire Spanish gold reserves to the USSR and for his book, The Secret History of Stalin's Crimes.
Orlov was born Lev Lazarevich Feldbin in the Belarusian town of Babruysk on August 21, 1895, to an Orthodox Jewish family. He attended the Lazarevsky Institute in Moscow but left it after two semesters to enroll at Moscow University to study law. His study, however, was cut short when he was drafted into the Imperial Russian Army. was born Lev Lazarevich Feldbin in the Belarusian town of Babruysk on August 21, 1895, to an Orthodox Jewish family. He attended the Lazarevsky Institute in Moscow but left it after two semesters to enroll at Moscow University to study law. His study, however, was cut short when he was drafted into the Imperial Russian Army.
Throughout his career, Orlov was also known under the names of Lev Lazarevich Nikolsky, Lev Leonidovich Nikolaev, SCHWED (his OGPU/NKVD code name), Leo Feldbiene (as in his Austrian passport), William Goldin (as in his US passport), Koornick (the name of his Jewish relatives living in the US). Travelling in the United States, he often registered under the names of Alexander L. Berg and Igor Berg. In 1921, he retired from the Red Army and returned to Moscow to resume his study of law at the Law School at Moscow University. Orlov worked for several years at the Bolshevik High Tribunal under the tutelage of Nikolai Krylenko. In May 1924, his cousin, Zinoviy Katznelson, who was chief of the OGPU Economic Department (EKU), invited Lev Nikolsky (his official name since 1920) to join the Soviet secret police as an officer of Financial Section 6.
Therefore, in 1926, he was transferred to the Inostranny Otdel (Foreign Department), the branch of the OGPU responsible for overseas intelligence operations, now headed by Artuzov. He was sent to Paris under a legal cover of a Soviet Trade Delegation official. After one year in France, Nikolsky, who operated on a fraudulent Soviet passport in the name of Léon Nikolaeff, was transferred to a similar position to Berlin. He returned to Moscow in late 1930. Two years later, he was sent to the United States to establish relations with his relatives there and to obtain a genuine American passport that would allow free travel in Europe. "Leon L. Nikolaev" (Nikolsky-Orlov) arrived in the US aboard the SS Europa on 22 September 1932 and sailed from Bremen. After being identified as a spy by the US Office of Naval Intelligence, Orlov obtained a passport in the name of William Goldin and departed on 30 November 1932 on the SS Bremen back to Weimar Germany.
In Moscow, he successfully again asked for a foreign assignment, as he wanted his sick daughter to be treated by Dr. Karl Noorden in Vienna. Together with his wife and daughter he arrived in Vienna in May 1933 (as Nikolaev) and settled in Hinterbrühl only 30 km away from the capital. After three months, he went to Prague, changed his Soviet passport for the American one, and left for Geneva. Nikolsky's group, which operated against the French Deuxième Bureau, included Alexander Korotkov, a young Illegal Rezident (spy without official cover); Korotkov's wife, Maria; and a courier, Arnold Finkelberg. Their operation, codenamed EXPRESS, was unsuccessful, and in May 1934, he joined his family in Vienna and was ordered to go to Copenhagen to serve as assistant to rezidents Theodore Maly (Paris) and Ignace Reiss (Copenhagen).
In June 1935, under William Goldin, he himself became a rezident in London. His cover in London, as Goldin, was as a director of an American refrigerator company. Despite Orlov's later claims, he had nothing to do with the recruitment of Kim Philby or any other member of the Cambridge Five and deserted his post in October 1935, coming back to Moscow. Here he was dismissed from the Foreign Service and put into a lowly position of deputy chief of the Transport Department (TO) of the NKVD, the successor secret service organization to the OGPU.
In early September 1936, Orlov was appointed NKVD liaison to the Spanish Republican Ministry of Interior, arriving in Madrid on September 16. Author Donald Rayfield reports:
Stalin, Yezhov and Beria distrusted Soviet participants in the Spanish war. Military advisors like Vladimir Antonov-Ovseenko, journalists like Mikhail Koltsov were open to infection by the heresies, especially Leon Trotsky's, prevalent among the Republic's supporters. NKVD agents sent to Spain were therefore keener on abducting and murdering anti-Stalinists among Republican leaders and International Brigade commanders than on fighting Francisco Franco. The defeat of the Republic, in Stalin's eyes, was caused not by the NKVD's diversionary efforts but by the treachery of the heretics.
Orlov arrived in Madrid on 15 September 1936. He organized guerrilla warfare behind Nationalist lines, as he had done in Ukraine during the Russian Civil War, but after his defection to the West the work was later credited to his deputy, Grigory Syroezhkin, to avoid mention of the defected general. In October 1936, Orlov, according to his own disputed testimony, was placed in command of the operation which moved the Spanish gold reserves from Madrid to Moscow. The Republican government had agreed to use this hoard of bullion as an advance payment for Soviet military supplies. Orlov undertook the logistics of this transfer. It took four nights for truck convoys, driven by Soviet tankmen, to bring the 510 tonnes of gold from its hiding place in the mountains to the port of Cartagena.
There, under threat of German bombing raids, it was loaded on four different Russian steamers bound for Odessa. For his service, Orlov received the Order of Lenin. According to Boris Volodarsky's research, Orlov greatly exaggerated his role in this operation (e.g., by claiming he made it possible by negotiating the matter with the Spanish republican government), his mission being mostly logistical and a security one.
However, Orlov's main task in Spain remained arresting and executing Trotskyites, Anarchists, Roman Catholic supporters of Franco's Nationalists, and other suspected foes of the Spanish Republic. Documents released from the NKVD archives detail a number of Orlov's crimes in Spain. He was responsible for orchestrating the arrest and summary execution of members of the Workers' Party of Marxist Unification (POUM). He also directed the kidnapping and killing of the POUM leader Andreu Nin.
Orlov was promoted to NKVD chief for Spain about February 1937. Soon, Stalin and the new NKVD head Nikolai Yezhov started the Great Purge, which spread to people operating for NKVD outside the USSR. In Spain, "[a]ll liquidations were planned and executed under Orlov's direction. After an apparent failure to mount some sort of intelligence-gathering operations, it seems that Orlov's main preoccupation was now witch-hunting. In other words, he became primarily engaged in the persecution of those who, for different reasons, were declared enemies by Stalin and Yezhov".
Pauker was born into Jewish family in Lviv, which was then part of Austria-Hungary. Prior to the war he was a hairdresser working in the Budapest Opera, according to Simon Sebag Montefiore. He served in the Austro-Hungarian army in World War I and was taken as a prisoner of war by the Russians in 1916. Pauker elected to stay in Russia after the revolution and joined the Communist Party in 1918.
Pauker joined the Cheka and became Stalin's bodyguard in 1924. Pauker took an active part in the purges, including the executions of Grigory Zinoviev and Lev Kamenev. He was dismissed in April 1937, according to Simon Sebag Montefiore, because he "knew too much and lived too well". He was arrested and executed quietly without trial in August 1937 and was not posthumously rehabilitated.
David Petrovsky (Lipetz) (also known as Max Goldfarb, Bennett, Humboldt and Brown) born September 24, 1886, in Berdychiv, Russian Empire — September 10, 1937, Moscow, Soviet Union) — a member of the Central Committee of the Jewish Socialist Federation of America, a member of the Socialist Party of America, the editor of the Jewish Daily Forward newspaper, journalist, political and economic scientist, a member of the Central Committee of the General Jewish Labour Bund in Lithuania, Poland and Russia (Bund) until 1919, a member of the Central Council of Ukraine (1917-1918), the statesman of the Soviet Union.
David Lipetz was born in 1886 in Berdychiv in a family of a wealthy textile merchant Efraim Lipetz. He studied in a Jewish school and at home with private tutors where he finished the Russian classical gymnasium (school) course. He was the chairman of the literary and theatrical society of Berdychiv. He soon became interested in revolutionary activities, and in 1902 he joined the General Jewish Labour Bund in Lithuania, Poland and Russia (Bund). In 1903 he moved to Paris and enrolled in the Russian Higher School of Social Sciences, where he became acquainted with many of the famous revolutionaries: Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky, Anatoly Lunacharsky.
In the beginning of the 1905 Russian revolution he returned to Russia. He worked among workers of Dvinsk, Bialystok, Gomel, was one of the leaders of the strike at Libava-Romny railroad. At the 7-th Congress of the Bund, where he first used the pseudonym Max Goldfarb, he was elected a candidate for the Central Committee. At the end of 1906 he was arrested by police and spent three months in prison. After that he left Russia - first to England where he participated at the London 5th Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, and then to Brussels, where in 1912 he graduated from the Free University of Brussels with a Ph.D in Economic Sciences (his supervisor was Emile Vandervelde - the future Minister of State of Belgium).
Along with his studies he lectured (as a member of the Bund) in the cities of Belgium and France. Back in Russia he was actively engaged in party work. At the end of 1912, he was arrested in Odessa and sentenced to exile to Siberia which was then replaced with exile from Russia.
By agreement between the Central Committee of the Bund and the Jewish Socialist Federation (JSF) of the Socialist Party of America, in 1913 David Lipetz came to New York City to conduct work among the Jewish workers and to raise funds for the Bund. In America Lipetz worked and published as Max Goldfarb, and under this name he was elected to the Central Committee of the JSF. He was sent on a national speaking tour under the auspices of the JSF in early 1914. During the tour he addressed more than 15,000 in about 40 engagements according to the report of JSF Secretary Jacob Salutsky. In addition to his role as a functionary of the JSF, Goldfarb worked as labor editor of Abraham Cahan's Yiddish-language daily, Forverts (The Forward).
In the summer 1917 after the bourgeois-democratic February revolution in Russia, he returned to Russia with a passport in the name of David Lipetz, on the way he stopped in Stockholm at the International Socialist Congress.
Upon arrival, David Lipetz was actively involved in the political life of Russia and Ukraine: ran for Russian Constituent Assembly election in 1917, wrote political articles in Bund magazines. He was elected the member of the Central Council of Ukraine, was the member of its Central Executive Committee (Mala Rada). He was elected the mayor of the city and chairman of the Jewish community of Berdichev - the city with the largest share of Jewish population in Ukraine and the Russian Empire.
In January 1919, David Lipetz survived the pogrom of haidamaks (from the "kuren of death" passing through Berdichev). As a mayor of the city at that time he also managed to prevent a planned multi-day pogrom in Berdichev that saved thousands of lives. He was bitterly disappointed in the policy of the Ukrainian People's Republic Government, that encouraged Jewish pogroms.
In April 1919, David Lipetz moved to Kiev, where he met with M.V. Frunze. David Lipetz started working in the Red Army, and first became a lecturing instructor in the Red Army. At the end of 1919 David Lipetz joined the Bolsheviks. From the book of David Petrovsky "Military education in the years of the revolution (1917-1924)": "I was appointed the head of Speakers bureau in the General Directorate of military education (GUVUZ) in fall of 1919. Since the end of 1919 I'm starting to come into contact with the general operational activity of the military educational institutions, first as the head of the political department of GUVUZ (1919 - early 1920), and then as the chief of the General Directorate of military education, from March 1920 to April 1924."
David Lipetz became David Petrovsky, or just General Petrovsky. He was responsible for all Soviet military education from 1920 till 1924. Military education in the Russian Empire was destroyed by the Russian Revolution and Russian Civil War. He had a difficult task of rebuilding it during ongoing civil war and unrest, and preparing a young generation in military academies, colleges, and training centers. Some of Petrovsky’s ideas were met with resistance, including his idea for the establishment of Soviet military schools for boys.
The time for them came only twenty years later, when the Suvorov Military Schools and the Nakhimov Naval Schools were first opened. His point of view on the problems of a single military doctrine caused a sharp controversy between him and Mikhail Frunze. Yet in 1924 Mikhail Frunze expresses gratitude to him for "the fruitful work done over the matter of raising the military power of the Soviet Union."
In 1924, David Petrovsky was sent to work in the Communist International as a Communist International representative in the communist parties of Great Britain, France and United States. Petrovsky came to England under the name of Bennett, and everyone - even the British Communists and his future wife Rose Cohen considered him American - a Yankee from the East Coast of the United States. He managed to avoid the British police for five years - a remarkable feat, which no subsequent Comintern representative ever equalled. His influence on the British Communist party was huge. Western intelligence agencies didn’t manage to declassify him.
In France he was known as Humboldt, and he had passports in other names as well. He led the Anglo-American Secretariat and controlled the communist movements in Great Britain, Ireland, US, India, South Africa, Canada, Japan, Korea and Dutch Indonesia. He was concerned about the situation of black people in the US and South Africa. In 1928, Petrovsky was elected and served as a member of the presidium of the Executive Committee of the Communist International . "God Goldfarb" - called him old friends in US.
Radek was born in Lemberg, Austria-Hungary (now Lviv in Ukraine), as Karol Sobelsohn, to a Jewish Litvak family; his father, Bernhard, worked in the post office and died whilst Karl was young. He took the name Radek from a favourite character, Andrzej Radek, in Syzyfowe prace ('The Labors of Sisyphus', 1897) by Stefan Żeromski. Radek joined the Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania (SDKPiL) in 1904 and participated in the 1905 Revolution in Warsaw, where he had responsibility for the party's newspaper Czerwony Sztandar.
In 1907, after his arrest in Poland and his escape from custody, Radek moved to Leipzig in Germany and joined the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), working on the Party's Leipziger Volkszeitung. He re-located to Bremen, where he worked for Bremer Bürgerzeitung, in 1911, and was one of several who attacked Karl Kautsky's analysis of imperialism in Die Neue Zeit in May 1912.
In September 1910, Radek was accused by members of the Polish Socialist Party of stealing books, clothes and money from party comrades, as part of an anti-semitic campaign against the SDKPiL. On this occasion, he was vigorously defended by the SDKPiL leaders, Rosa Luxemburg and Leo Jogiches. The following year, however, the SDKPiL changed course, partly because of a personality clash between Jogiches and Vladimir Lenin, during which younger members of the party, led by Yakov Hanecki, and including Radek, had sided with Lenin.
Wanting to make an example of Radek, Jogiches revived the charges of theft, and convened a party commission in December 1911 to investigate. He dissolved the commission in July 1912, after it had failed to come to any conclusion, and in August pushed a decision through the party court expelling Radek. In their written finding, they broke his alias, making it — he claimed —dangerous for him to stay in Russian occupied Poland. In 1912 August Thalheimer invited Radek to go to Göppingen (near Stuttgart) to temporarily replace him in control of the local SPD party newspaper Freie Volkszeitung, which had financial difficulties. Radek accused the local party leadership in Württemberg of assisting the revisionists to strangle the newspaper due to the paper's hostility to them.
The 1913 SPD Congress noted Radek's expulsion and then went on to decide in principle that no-one who had been expelled from a sister-party could join another party within the Second International and retrospectively applied this rule to Radek. Within the SPD Anton Pannekoek and Karl Liebknecht opposed this move, as did others in the International such as Leon Trotsky and Vladimir Lenin, some of whom participated in the "Paris Commission" set up by the International.
After the outbreak of World War I Radek moved to Switzerland where he worked as a liaison between Lenin and the Bremen Left, with which he had close links from his time in Germany, introducing him to Paul Levi at this time. He took part in the Zimmerwald Conference in 1915, siding with the left. During World War One, Radek engaged in polemics with Vladimir Lenin over the subject of the Irish Easter Rising of 1916; while Lenin was strongly enthusiastic about the Rising, seeing it as a blow to English imperialism, Radek disagreed. Basing his view on Theodore Rothstein (a Jewish emigre from the Russian Empire, living in London), he claimed that, what he called the "Sinn Féin movement" was petit-bourgeois and that the backbone of earlier rebellions in Ireland, the peasant farmer, had been placated at the start of the century by England. In his article The End of a Song, Radek claimed efforts to restore the Irish language to official status were flawed because it was "medieval". Leon Trotsky held a view halfway between Radek and Lenin.
In 1917 Radek was one of the passengers on the sealed train that carried Lenin and other Russian revolutionaries through Germany after the February Revolution in Russia. However, he was refused entry to Russia and went on to Stockholm, where he produced German-language versions of Bolshevik documents and other information translated from Russian, which he published in the journals Russische Korrespondenz-Pravda and Bote der Russischen Revolution. After the October Revolution and the onset of the Russian Civil War, Radek arrived in Petrograd and became Vice-Commissar for Foreign Affairs, taking part in the Brest-Litovsk treaty negotiations, as well as being responsible for the distribution of Bolshevik propaganda amongst German troops and prisoners of war. During the discussions around signing the treaty, Radek was one of the advocates of a revolutionary war.
After being refused recognition as official representative of the Bolshevik regime,Radek and other delegates — Adolph Joffe, Nikolai Bukharin, Christian Rakovsky and Ignatov — traveled to the German Congress of Soviets. After they were turned back at the border, Radek alone crossed the German border illegally in December 1918, arriving in Berlin on 19 or 20 December, where he participated in the discussions and conferences leading to the foundation of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD).
Radek was arrested after the Spartacist uprising on 12 February 1919 and held in Moabit prison until his release in January 1920. While he was in Moabit, the attitude of the German authorities towards the Bolsheviks changed. The idea of creating an alliance of nations that had suffered from the Versailles treaty — principally Germany, Russia and Turkey — gained currency in Berlin, as a result of which Radek was allowed to receive a stream of visitors in his prison cell, including Walter Rathenau, Arthur Holitscher, Enver Pasha, and Ruth Fischer.
On his return to Russia Radek became the Secretary of the Comintern, taking the main responsibility for German issues. He was removed from this position after he supported the KPD in opposing inviting representatives of the Communist Workers' Party of Germany to attend the 2nd Congress of the Comintern, pitting him against the Comintern's executive and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. It was Radek who took up the slogan of Stuttgart communists of fighting for a United Front with other working class organisations, that later formed the basis for the strategy developed by the Comintern.
In mid-1923, Radek made his controversial speech 'Leo Schlageter: The Wanderer into the Void' at an open session of the Executive Committee of the Communist International (ECCI). In the speech he praised the actions of the German Freikorps officer and Nazi collaborator Leo Schlageter who had been shot whilst engaging in sabotage against French troops occupying the Ruhr area; in doing so Radek sought to explain the reasons why men like Schlageter were drawn towards the far right, and attempted to channel national grievances away from chauvinism and towards the support of the working movement and the Communists.
Although Radek was not at Chemnitz when the decision to cancel the uprising in November 1923 took place at the KPD Zentrale, he subsequently approved the decision and defended it. At subsequent congresses of the Russian Communist Party and meetings of the ECCI, Radek and Brandler were made the scapegoats for the defeat of the revolution by Zinoviev, with Radek being removed from the ECCI at the Fifth Congress of the Comintern.
Reiss was born Nathan Markovich Poreckij in 1899 in Podwołoczyska (today Pidvolochysk), then in Galicia, Austria-Hungary, just across the river from Volochysk, then in Podolia, Tsarist Russia (now both in Ukraine). His mother was a Lithuanian Jew from across the river and his father non-Jewish. His father had his elder brother and him educated in Lwow (modern Lviv), the provincial capital. There, he formed lifelong friendships with several other boys, all of whom would become committed Communist spies.
In early 1919, Reiss joined the newly formed Polish Communist Party (the Communist Workers' Party of Poland or KPRP), since his hometown had become part of the Second Polish Republic. The KPRP adhered closely to the policies of Rosa Luxemburg. Julian Marchlewski (a.k.a. "Karski") represented the KPRP at the 1st Congress of the Comintern in March 1919. By the summer of 1919, he had received a summons to Vienna, Austria, where he moved quickly from work with agencies of the newly formed Comintern to "Fourth Department of the General Staff"—which became the Soviet GRU. He then conducted party work in Poland. There he met Joseph Krasny-Rotstadt, a friend of both Rosa Luxemburg (already dead) and (more importantly) of fellow Pole Felix Dzerzhinsky. Having fought in the Bolshevik Revolution, Krasny was already directing propaganda for Eastern Europe. During this time, Reiss published a few articles as "Ludwig" in one of Krasny's publications, called The Civil War.
In early 1920, Reiss was in Moscow, where he met and married his wife, Elisabeth (also "Elsa"). During the Russian-Polish War in 1920, Willy Stahl and he received their first assignment, Lwow, where they distributed illegal Bolshevik literature. By 1921, as he took on the alias "Ludwig" (or "Ludwik" in his wife's memoirs), Reiss had become a Soviet spy, originally for the GPU/OGPU, and later the NKVD. In 1922, he was again working in Lwow, this time with another friend of Fedia and Krusnia's from Vienna, Jacob Locker. Elisabeth was in Lwow, too. Reiss was arrested and charged with espionage, which carried a maximum five-year sentence. En route to prison, Reiss escaped his train in Cracow, never to return to Poland.
From 1921 to 1929, Reiss served in Western Europe, particularly Berlin and Vienna. In Berlin, their house guests included Karl Radek and Larissa Reisner, ex- wife of Fedor Raskolnikov (a Naval officer who chronicled the Kronstadt rebellion). In Vienna, friends included Yuriy Kotsiubynsky, Alexander Schlichter, Angelica Balabanov, Paul Ruegg, Ivan Zaporozhets, Alexander Lykov, and Emil Maurer. In Amsterdam, Reiss and his wife knew Henriette Roland-Holst, Hildo Krop, Princess Juliana of the Netherlands, "Professor Carvalho", "H. C. Pieck" (Henri Pieck), and most importantly "Henricus" or "Henryk Sneevliet" (Henk Sneevliet). In this same period, Richard Sorge brought Hede Massing to Reiss for training.
In 1927, he returned briefly to Moscow, where he received the Order of the Red Banner. From 1929 to 1932, Reiss served in Moscow, where he worked in a nominal post of the Polish section of the Comintern—already sidelined as "foreign" (non-Russian). Among the people whom Reiss and wife knew at that time were Richard Sorge (a.k.a. "Ika"), Sorge's superior, Alexander Borovich, Felix Gorski, Otto Braun, Max Maximov-Friedman, Franz Fischer, Pavlo Ladan, and Theodore Maly. Valentin Markin reported to Reiss in Moscow, who in turn reported to Abram Slutsky.
Joined the Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social-Democratic Workers' Party (RSDRP) in 1905, Leading officer in Russian Red Army and close confident of Leon Trotsky.
A.P. Rosengolts was born in Vitebsk on November 4, 1889. He was the son of a Jewish merchant. He joined the Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social-Democratic Workers' Party (RSDRP) in 1905, the year of the first, abortive Russian Revolution. He worked as an insurance agent and carried out work for the Bolshevik party in Vitebsk, Kiev, Ekaterinoslav and Moscow. Rosengolts played an active role in the Revolution of 1917.
He was a member of the Executive Committee of the Moscow City Council, the Moscow Military-Revolutionary Committee and the All-Russian Military-Revolutionary Committee. He was a leading officer in the Red Army and, during the Russian Civil War, worked closely with L.D. Trotsky. After the Civil War, Rosengolts worked successively for the Commissariats of Transportation and Finance and the Directorate of the Red Army Air Force. He served as ambassador to Britain from 1925 to 1927 and oversaw Soviet espionage in Britain.
He became a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1927 and held various high positions in the Communist Party and the Soviet government. He witnessed the assassination of Pyotr Voykov in Warsaw in 1927 at the hands of Boris Kowerda while returning from the United Kingdom. In 1930 he was appointed People's Commissar of Foreign Trade. On June 14, 1937, Rosengolts was dismissed from this office and on October 7, 1937, he was arrested.
He was one of the defendants of the third Moscow Trial, along with Nikolai Bukharin, Alexey Rykov and other prominent Soviet officials. The accused faced a long list of capital charges, including plotting to assassinate Lenin and Stalin, espionage and sabotage. Like most of his co-defendants, Rosengolts confessed. He was convicted, sentenced to death and shot on March 15, 1938 in Moscow. He was rehabilitated in 1988.
Józef Różański (Polish pronunciation: born Josef Goldberg; 13 July 1907, in Warsaw – 21 August 1981, in Warsaw) was an officer in the Soviet NKVD Secret Police and later, a Colonel in the Polish Ministry of Public Security (UB), a communist secret police. Born into a Polish-Jewish family in Warsaw, Różański became very active in the Communist Party of Poland before World War II. He joined the NKVD following the Soviet invasion of Poland and after the war, adopting the name Różański, served as an agent with the Polish Communist Security apparatus (Urząd Bezpieczeństwa).
Różański was personally involved in torturing and killing dozens of opponents of the Polish People's Republic (PRL), including anti-communists. and "Cursed soldiers". He gained notoriety as one of the most brutal secret police Officers in Warsaw. Różański personally administered torture to Witold Pilecki, one of the most famous "Cursed soldiers" and the only individual who willingly went to Auschwitz Camp. Pilecki revealed no sensitive information and was executed on May 25, 1948 at Mokotów Prison by Sergeant Smietanski, the "Butcher".
Józef Różański was arrested in 1953 – at the end of the Stalinist period in Poland – and charged with torturing innocent prisoners, including Polish United Workers' Party members. He was sentenced to 5 years in prison on 23 December 1955. In July 1956, the Supreme Court reopened his case due to improprieties discovered in the original investigation. On 11 November 1957 (charged along with co-defendant Anatol Fejgin), he was again sentenced by the lower court this time to 15 years in prison. He was released in 1964, having served seven years. Różański died of cancer on 21 August 1981, and was buried at the Jewish Cemetery in Warsaw.
Julius Martov or L. Martov (born Yuliy Osipovich Tsederbaum/Zederbaum; 24 November 1873 – 4 April 1923) was a politician and revolutionary who became the leader of the Mensheviks in early 20th-century Russia. He was an old friend and mentor of Leon Trotsky, who described him as the "Hamlet of Democratic Socialism". Vladimir Lenin, his longtime political opponent, confessed in 1921 that his single greatest regret was "that Martov is not with us. What an amazing comrade he is, what a pure man!"
Martov was born to a Jewish middle-class family in Constantinople, Turkey (modern day Istanbul). His sister was fellow Menshevik leader Lydia Dan. He was arrested as a teenager, and his grandfather paid 300 roubles to bail him out. Instead of accepting his grandfather's suggestion of emigrating to the United States of America, he chose to be exiled for two years in Vilna (now Vilnius). He recounted that the famine crisis of 1891 made him a Marxist: "It suddenly became clear to me how superficial and groundless the whole of my revolutionism had been until then, and how my subjective political romanticism was dwarfed before the philosophical and sociological heights of Marxism".
In Russia, Martov was originally a close colleague of Vladimir Lenin and with him, and small group of Marxist intellectuals, founded the League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class in 1895. The founders were arrested almost immediately after its establishment; it could however claim some success when local activists of the union organised the textile strike of 30,000 workers in 1896. Both Martov and Lenin were exiled to Siberia for this: Martov was sent to the village of Turukhansk in the Arctic, while Lenin was sent to Shushenskoye in the comparatively warm "Siberian Italy".
Forced to leave Russia and with other radical political figures living in exile, Martov joined the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP). Martov and Lenin were both founding members of the party journal Iskra in 1900. In Munich, Martov was on the editorial board alongside Lenin and Potresov. Martov was one of the Marxists who wanted Nikolay Bauman expelled from the party after an incident where he drove a party member to suicide after drawing a vicious cartoon of her.
Martov was initially on good terms with the Jewish Bund. However, Martov would eventually have a critical parallel role with Lenin in the opposition to the Bund from the positions of the RSDLP. At the Second Congress of the RSDLP in London in 1903, there was a dispute between Martov and Lenin over who was to be considered a 'member' of the RSDLP. Lenin had published his ideas for moving the party forward in his pamphlet What Is to Be Done?, which was a document putting forward the views of the entire Iskra group led by Lenin and Martov. However, in the London Congress of the party, differing definitions of party membership were put forward by the two men.
Lenin argued for a restricted membership of fully committed cadre while Martov argued for a looser interpretation of membership. Martov later refused to participate in the editorial board of Iskra with Lenin and Georgi Plekhanov, after Lenin had removed the three Menshevik veterans Axelrod, Potresov and Zasulich.
Martov was one of the Jewish Marxist leaders (alongside Trotsky), who rejected the demands for Jewish national autonomy, with the Iskra group favouring class interests over nationalism; he was therefore deeply opposed to the Bundists' Jewish nationalism. Together with fellow Wilno Social Democrat, Arkady Kremer, Martov explained the strategy involving mass agitation and participating in Jewish strikes, by also sometimes learning Yiddish to win over their support, in the work On Agitation (1895). The plan detailed that workers were to see a need for broader political campaigning through participating in strikes, led by the Social Democrats as trade unions were banned under the Tsarist regime.
Martov was the designer of the idea of exchanging Russian Marxist exiles for German citizens interned in Russia. This way, the Russian Marxists revolutionary leaders, including Lenin, would manage to return to Russia following the revolution of 1917. The Provisional Government was however unwilling to agree to the exchange, and Martov agreed to wait. At the onset of the 1917 Revolution, Martov was in Zurich with Lenin. After the February Revolution in 1917, Martov returned to Russia but was too late to stop some Mensheviks joining the Provisional Government. He strongly criticized those Mensheviks such as Irakli Tsereteli and Fedor Dan who, now part of Russia's government, supported the war effort. However, at a conference held on 18 June 1917, he failed to gain the support of the delegates for a policy of immediate peace negotiations with the Central Powers. He was unable to enter in an alliance with his rival Lenin to form a coalition in 1917, despite it being the 'logical outcome' according to the majority of his left wing supporters in the Menshevik faction.
Jacob Heinrich Schiff
Schiff was born in 1847 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, to Moses and Clara (née Niederhofheim) Schiff, members of a distinguished Ashkenazi Jewish rabbinical family that traced its lineage in Frankfurt back to 1370. One ancestor, David Tevele Schiff, became lead rabbi in Great Britain and from 1765 until his death was acting head of the London Synagogue. Meir Ben Jacob Schiff, another relative, had become renowned as a Talmudic scholar and commentator in the 14th century. Jacob's father, Moses Schiff, was a broker for the Rothschilds.
After the American Civil War had ended in April 1865, Schiff came to the United States, arriving in New York City on August 6. He became a broker on November 21, 1866, and joined the firm of Budge, Schiff & Company in 1867. He became a naturalized citizen of the United States in September 1870. Upon the dissolution of Budge, Schiff & Company in 1872, Schiff decided to return to Germany. In 1873 he became manager of the Hamburg branch of the London & Hanseatic Bank. He returned to Frankfurt, however, upon the death of his father later that year. In 1874 Abraham Kuhn of the banking firm of Kuhn, Loeb & Company invited him to return to New York and enter the firm.
"Mr.Schiff has always used his wealth and his influence in the best interests of his people. He financed the enemies of the autocratic Russia and used his financial influence to keep Russia away from the money market of the United States".
In 1885 Schiff became head of Kuhn, Loeb & Company. Besides financing such Eastern railroads as the Pennsylvania and the Louisville & Nashville, he took part in the reorganization of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad in 1896–99, and at various times aided the American Smelting & Refining Company (ASARCO), the Westinghouse Electric Company, and the Western Union Telegraph Company. Less fortunate was his share in the reorganization in 1902 of the Metropolitan Street Railway of New York.
He became associated with E. H. Harriman in notable contests with James J. Hill and J.P. Morgan & Company for control of several Western railroads. Schiff served as a director of the Equitable Life Assurance Society, National City Bank of New York, Central Trust Company, Western Union Telegraph Company, Union Pacific Railroad, Bond & Mortgage Guarantee Company, and Wells Fargo & Company. He was elected a director of Wells Fargo in September 1914 to succeed his brother-in-law, Paul Warburg, who had resigned to accept appointment to the original Federal Reserve Board.
What was perhaps Schiff's most famous financial action was during the Russo-Japanese War, in 1904 and 1905. Schiff met Takahashi Korekiyo, deputy governor of the Bank of Japan, in Paris in April 1904. He subsequently extended loans to the Empire of Japan in the amount of $200 million (equivalent to $4.5 billion in 2018), through Kuhn, Loeb & Co. These loans were the first major flotation of Japanese bonds on Wall Street, and provided approximately half the funds needed for Japan's war effort.
Schiff made this loan partly because he believed that gold was not as important as national effort and desire in winning a war, and due to the apparent underdog status of Japan at the time; no European nation had yet been defeated by a non-European nation in a modern, full-scale war. It is quite likely Schiff also saw this loan as a means of answering, on behalf of the Jewish people, the anti-Semitic actions of the Russian Empire, specifically the then-recent Kishinev pogrom of 1903.
This loan attracted worldwide attention, and had major consequences. Japan won the war, thanks in large part to the purchase of munitions made possible by Schiff's loan.In 1905, Japan awarded Schiff the Order of the Sacred Treasure; and in 1907, the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star, the second highest of the eight classes of that Order. Schiff was the first foreigner to receive the Order in person from Emperor Meiji in the Imperial Palace. Schiff also had a private audience with King Edward VII of the United Kingdom in 1904.
In addition to his famous loan to Japan, Schiff financed loans to many other nations, including those that would come to comprise the Central Powers. During World War I, Schiff urged U.S. President Woodrow Wilson and other Allied statesmen to end the war as quickly as possible, even without an Allied victory. He feared for the lives of his family, back in Germany, but also for the future of his adopted land. He arranged loans to France and other nations for humanitarian purposes, and spoke out against submarine warfare. Schiff made sure none of the funds from his loans ever went to the Russian Empire, which he felt oppressed Jewish people. When the Russian Empire fell in 1917, Schiff believed that the oppression of Jews would end. He formally repealed the impediments within his firm against lending to Russia.
A practitioner of Reform Judaism, Schiff supported political, secular Zionism. Despite not agreeing fully with the ideas of Theodore Herzl, and in fact believing that Zionism would cause Americans to question his loyalty, he donated to many Jewish projects in Israel, including the Technical Institute of Haifa. As the situation for Eastern European Jews grew more dire, with the Russian Revolution and subsequent Russian Civil War, and pogroms in Ukraine, Schiff made more considerable contributions to the Zionist effort; he even offered to join the Zionist organization, provided he could publish a statement he'd prepared. This offer was denied, and so he never formally joined the Zionist camp.
Abram Aronovich Slutsky
Headed the Soviet foreign intelligence service (INO), then part of the NKVD, from May 1935 to February 1938.
Slutsky was born in 1898 into the family of a Jewish railroad worker in a Ukrainian village, Parafievka, in the Chernihiv region. In the First World War he served in the Imperial Russian Army as a volunteer in the 7th Siberian rifle regiment. In 1917, he joined the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (bolsheviks). During the Civil War he fought for the Red Army and afterward, in 1920, moved to the organs of the GPU/OGPU, where by dint of his affable personality he rose rapidly through the ranks.
Originally, Slutsky worked in the OGPU's Economic Department engaged in industrial espionage. He received the first of two Orders of the Red Banner for his role in directing the apparatus which stole the process for making ball-bearings from the Swedes. In another clandestine operation, he extorted $300,000 from Ivar Kreuger, the Swedish Match King, by threatening to flood world markets with cheap matches made in the Soviet Union. In 1929, he was appointed as the assistant to Artur Artuzov, head of the Foreign Department. In May 1935, Genrikh Yagoda, chief of the secret police, replaced Artuzov with Slutsky.
During Slutsky's tenure, the Foreign Department was principally engaged in tracking down and eliminating the opponents of Stalin's regime, essentially emigre White Russians and Trotskyists. Major operations included the kidnapping of General Evgenii Miller, the burglary of the Trotsky archive in Paris, the assassination of Ignace Reiss, and the liquidation of numerous Trotskyists and anti-Stalinists in Spain during the Civil War. Slutsky's illegals in Great Britain, Arnold Deutsch and Theodore Maly, were responsible for recruiting and developing the infamous Cambridge Five.
In August 1936, he participated in concocting the evidence used in the first Moscow Trial, the so-called "Trotskyite-Zinovievite Terrorist Centre." The task of extracting false confessions from Sergei Mrachkovsky and Ivan Smirnov fell to him. The voluble Slutsky described his methods for "breaking-down" these Old Bolsheviks to his subordinates, Alexander Orlov and Walter Krivitsky, who subsequently recounted these episodes in their memoirs.
When Nikolai Yezhov assumed control of the NKVD in 1937, he began to arrest and liquidate the department heads whom he knew were close to his deposed predecessor, Yagoda. Slutsky was spared, even though he was implicated in confessions as a "participant in Yagoda's conspiracy," because Yezhov feared that Slutky's arrest would cause Soviet agents who were operating abroad to defect. Nevertheless, Slutsky's days were numbered, and his end came on 17 February 1938. Two months after his death, Slutsky was posthumously stripped of his All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) membership and declared an enemy of the people. Although he has been rehabilitated, the Russian government's official position is that Slutsky died while working in his office.
Steinberg was born in Dvinsk, Russian Empire (today Daugavpils, Latvia), into a family of Jewish merchants. He was raised in a traditional religious home. In 1906, Steinberg entered Moscow University, where he studied law. He joined the Socialist Revolutionary Party (also known as SRs). He was arrested in 1908 and sent to Tobolsk province for 2 years. After exile he left for Germany and studied at the University of Heidelberg, graduating with a master's degree.
In 1910, Steinberg returned to Russia and worked as a lawyer. During the First World War, he conducted anti-war and revolutionary work, was arrested in 1915 and exiled to the Ufa province. He continued his work as a lawyer in Ufa, where he led the Left Socialist Revolutionaries of the Ufa province. He was elected a delegate of the City Duma, was a member of the Executive Committee of the Ufa Council of Workers and Soldiers and the All-Russian Council of Peasant Deputies; participant in the All-Russian Democratic Conference; Member of the Provisional Council of the Russian Republic.
From December 10, 1917 to March 1918, he was People's Commissar (Narkom) of Justice in Vladimir Lenin's government during the Bolsheviks' short-lived coalition with the left wing of the SRs. On December 18, 1917, some members of the Constituent Assembly by Dzerzhinsky, but Steinberg released them . On December 19, 1917, he signed an “Instruction” to the Revolutionary Tribunal on the termination of systematic repressions against individuals, institutions and the press and sent a corresponding telegram to the Soviets at all levels. From December 1917 - January 1918, the Council of People's Commissars examined Steinberg’s claims against the Cheka several times. On December 31, 1917, the Sovnarkom, on his initiative, decided to delimit the functions of the Cheka under the Petrograd Soviet.
In 1923, having been warned that he was in danger of assassination, Steinberg again moved to Germany and took his young family to live with him in Berlin. Here he joined the International Working Union of Socialist Parties (Vienna International), after which the All-Russian Central Executive Committee deprived him of Soviet citizenship. After the NSDAP came to power in 1933, Steinberg, his wife and three children settled in London. There, he was one of the co-founders of the Freeland League, which attempted to find a safe haven for European Jews fleeing NSDAP purges.
The League selected the Kimberley region of Western Australia as a place to purchase agricultural land where 75,000 Jewish refugees from Europe could be resettled. This effort became known as the Kimberley Plan, or Kimberley Scheme. Steinberg based his campaign on the officially declared need to populate northern Australia. On 23 May 1939 he arrived in Perth and by early 1940 gained substantial public support, but also encountered opposition. Steinberg left Australia in June 1943 to rejoin his family in Canada. On 15 July 1944 he was informed by the Australian Prime Minister John Curtin that the Australian government would not "depart from the long-established policy in regard to alien settlement in Australia" and could not "entertain the proposal for a group settlement of the exclusive type contemplated by the Freeland League".
Steinberg continued his efforts in spite of setbacks. In 1946, the Freeland League started negotiations with the Surinamese and Netherlands governments about the possible resettlement of 30,000 Jewish displaced persons from Europe in the Saramacca district of Surinam. A delegation of the League headed by Steinberg, accompanied by Henri B. van Leeuwen and N. Fruchtbaum, visited Surinam in April 1947. In August 1948, the Surinamese parliament decided 'to suspend the discussions until the complete clarification of the international situation'. The negotiations were never resumed.
Born Davidovich Bronstein Leon Trotsky joined the Bolsheviks just before 1917 October Revolution, immediately becoming a Communist Party leader. One of seven members of the first Politburo, founded in 1917.
Trotsky spent ten weeks in New York before heading back to Russia to lead the Military / Revolutionary Committee which overthrew the Provisional Government of Russia in the October Revolution. Trotsky helped create Russia's infamous secret police, the Cheka
Bolshevik Revolutionary activist of Polish-Jewish extraction from the Masovian region, co-founder of the Cheka, and Soviet government official. Involved in mass murders of political opponents. Member of Provisional Polish Revolutionary Committee, the Bolshevist puppet government of Poland in Białystok 1920. Unszlicht was a predecessor of the infamous Genrikh Yagoda who continued and amplified Unszlicht's previous policies.
Torture methods of the Cheka were notorious, each local Cheka had its speciality. In Kharkov they went in for the 'glove trick' - burning the victim's hands in boiling water until the blistered skin could be peeled off. In Kiev they affixed a cage with rats to the victim's torso and heated it so that the enraged rats ate their way through the victim's body in an effort to escape.
Under Lenin, not Stalin, that the Cheka grew into a vast police state within the state. By 1920, it employed more than a quarter of a million officials. Terror was an integral element of the Bolshevik regime from the start. Nobody will ever know the number of people repressed by the Cheka in these years, but it may have been as many of those killed in the battles of the civil war.
Józef Unszlicht was arrested in 1937, during the Great Purge, and executed in 1938 on a shooting range in Moscow Oblast. He was rehabilitated in 1956.
Comintern agent directly responsible for managing the establishment of a Communist party in China. Considered one of the founders of Soviet Sinology.
Voitinsky was born on 17 April 1893 in Nevel to a Russian Jewish Family. In 1918, he joined the Bolshevik Party. He took an active part in the Far Eastern Front in the Russian Civil War. In 1920, the Soviet Union established the Far Eastern Bureau in Siberia, a branch of the Third Communist International, or the Comintern. He was directly responsible for managing the establishment of a Communist party in China and other far east countries.
Soon after its establishment, the bureau's deputy manager Voitinsky arrived in Beijing and contacted the Communist vanguard Li Dazhao. Li arranged for Voitinsky to meet with another Communist leader, Chen Duxiu, in Shanghai. In August 1920, Voitinsky, Chen Duxiu, Li Hanjun, Shen Xuanlu, Yu Xiusong, Shi Cuntong, and others began to establish the Comintern China Branch.
The Shanghai Chronicle was set up in 1919 in Shanghai by Shemeshko and other Russians with socialist leanings, and received financial aid from the Soviet Russian government in early 1920. In the spring of 1920, Voitinsky and his colleagues came to China on a mission to establish the Communist Party in China.
They not only came to China in the guise of editors and reporters for the newspaper, but also set up the Comintern's East Asia Secretariat in the newspaper office. From then on, the Shanghai Chronicle became both a propaganda vehicle for the East Asia Secretariat and a cover for Bolshevik activity in China.
Because the newspaper staff assisted Soviet Russian and Comintern personnel stationed under cover at the newspaper in activities to establish a communist organization in China, the newspaper as a whole played a special role in the early communist movement in China. Although the Shanghai Chronicle stopped publication at the end of 1922 because Russian aid came to an end, many staff members continued to work for Bolshevism.
He worked as Comintern representative until 1926. Then worked in the Siberian government in Irkutsk until 1929, when he moved to Moscow, where he worked in various Orientalist institutions. In 1934 he became a professor in Moscow State University. He is considered one of the founders of Soviet Sinology. He wrote several books about contemporary China politics. He died in 1953 during an unsuccessful surgical operation.
Adolf Warski, born Jerzy Warszawski (April 20, 1868, Warsaw, Russian Partition - August 21, 1937, Moscow), was a Polish communist leader, journalist and theoretician of the communist movement in Poland. Warski was born into an assimilated Polish Jewish family. His father Saul, a commercial clerk, changed the name to Stanisław.
Warski was active in the communist movement from 1889, becoming a member of the executive of the Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania (SDKPiL), and participated in the 1905 Russian Revolution. From 1918 he was a member of the Communist Party of Poland (KPP) and in 1926 was elected as a member of the Polish Parliament (Sejm).
Warski held positions in the KPP's Central Committee (1919–29) and Politburo (1923-29, with an interruption), but then left Poland for the Soviet Union where he lived from 1929 until his death. An opponent of the Stalinisation of the KPP and of the Communist International, Warski was arrested during the Great Purge, in early 1937, and executed.
Joined the ranks of the Austrian Communist Party 1923. Dubbed as "one of the most successful operators in stealing atomic bomb secrets from the United States".
Elizaveta "Zoya" Yulyevna Zarubina (Russian: Елизавета Юлиевна Зарубина; 1 January 1900 – 14 May 1987), born Ester Yoelevna Rosentsveig (Эстер Иоэльевна Розенцвейг), was a Soviet spy, podpolkovnik of the MGB. She was known as Elizabeth Zubilin while serving in the United States, and also known as Elizaveta Gorskaya.
Born in Rzhaventsy, Zastavna Raion in Ukraine (former Imperial Bessarabia) to a Jewish family (father Yoel, mother Ita). She studied history and philology at universities in Romania, France, and Austria, and spoke in English, French, German, Romanian, Russian and Yiddish. She was one of the most successful agent recruiters, establishing her own illegal network of Jewish migrants from Poland, and recruiting one of Leó Szilárd's secretaries, who provided technical data. She was the wife of Soviet Intelligence Resident Vasily Zarubin.
Zarubina was an active participant in the revolutionary movement in Bessarabia after World War I. In 1919, she became a member of the Komsomol of Bessarabia. Elizabeth became part of the Soviet intelligence system in 1924. In 1923, she joined the ranks of the Austrian Communist Party. From 1924 through 1925, she worked in the embassy and trade delegation of the USSR. From 1925 to 1928, she worked in the Vienna Rezidentura. In 1929, Elizabeth and Yakov Blumkin were posted as illegals in Turkey, where he sold Hasidic manuscripts from the Central Library in Moscow to support illegal operations in Turkey and the Middle East. Soviet intelligence officer Pavel Sudoplatov, who later organized Leon Trotsky's murder, claims in his autobiography that Blumkin gave part of the sale proceeds to Trotsky, who was then in exile in Turkey.
According to his account, Elizabeth denounced Blumkin for this and that was the reason why he was recalled to Moscow and executed. Shortly thereafter (1929), Eizabeth married Vasily Zarubin, and they traveled and spied together for many years, using the cover of a Czechoslovakian and USA business couple for work in Denmark, Germany, France and the United States.
In August 1942, Paul Massing notified NKVD that his friend, Franz Neumann, had recently joined the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Massing reported to Moscow that Neumann had told him that he had produced a study of the Soviet economy for the OSS's Russian Department. In April 1943, Elizabeth Zarubina met with Neumann: "(Zarubina) met for the first time with (Neumann) who promised to pass us all the data coming through his hands. According to (Neumann), he is getting many copies of reports from American ambassadors... and has access to materials referring to Germany".
"Zarubina, at the peak of the operations, handled at least 18 agents."
According to Jerrold L. Schecter and Leona Schecter, Zarubina was "one of the most successful operators in stealing atomic bomb secrets from the United States". Together with Gregory Kheifetz (the Soviet vice-consul in San Francisco from 1941 to 1944), she supposedly set up a ring of young communist physicists around Robert Oppenheimer at Los Alamos to transmit nuclear weapon plans to Moscow. This part of Zarubina’s life as a spy is told in the 2015 video, “Cold War Secrets: Stealing the Atomic Bomb,” directed by Gerard Puechmorel.
Isaak Abramovich Zelennsky
Isaak Zelensky was born in 1890 in Saratov as the son of a craftsman's Jewish family. There he completed his schooling, and in 1906 he joined the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, which later became the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Zelensky soon rose in the hierarchy of the party and after some time, he was responsible for the party propaganda in several Russian cities, including Orenburg, Penza and Samara. Because of his work for the party, he was arrested and exiled in 1915 to the vicinity of Irkutsk in Siberia. However, he managed to escape a year later. During the Russian Revolution of 1917, he fought for the Bolsheviks in Moscow.
He was elected a full member of the Central Committee in 1922 by the 11th Party Congress. As First Secretary of the Moscow City Committee, Zelensky served on the commission that arranged the burial of Lenin in 1924. That year, Zelensky was sent to Tashkent to participate in building up the party structures. In 1929 he was briefly the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Uzbekistan, but in December Akmal Ikramov replaced him as the first ethnic Uzbek in this position. The next year Zelensky tried to depose him, but since the Central Committee supported Ikramov, this attempt failed. Zelensky was recalled to Moscow in 1931 to run the state consumer distribution network.
In 1937, during the Great Purge, he was excluded from the party. Zelensky was arrested. During the Trial of the Twenty-One, Public Prosecutor Andrey Vyshinsky accused Zelensky of having been a tsarist police agent since 1911. He was said to have used his position as head of the state distribution network to sabotage the distribution of food by "spoiling" fifty truckloads of eggs, as well as "throwing nails and broken glass into the masses' butter with a view to undermining Soviet health." Zelensky was sentenced to death and executed on 15 March 1938.
Bolshevik revolutionary and a Soviet Communist politician. One of the seven members of the first Politburo, founded in 1917 in order to manage the Bolshevik Revolution.
"To overcome our enemies we must have our own socialist militarism. We must carry along with us 90 million out of the 100 million of Soviet Russia's population. As for the rest, we have nothing to say to them. They must be annihilated."
Gregory Zinoviev was born in Yelizavetgrad, Russian Empire (now Kropyvnytskyi, Ukraine), to Jewish dairy farmers, who educated him at home. Between 1903 and the fall of the Russian Empire in February 1917, he was a leading Bolshevik and one of Vladimir Lenin's closest associates, working both within Russia and abroad as circumstances permitted.
Longtime head of the Communist International and the architect of several failed attempts to transform Germany into a communist country during the early 1920s.
Angelica Balabanoff (or Balabanov, Balabanova; Russian: Анжелика Балабанова – Anzhelika Balabanova) was a Russian Jewish-Italian Communist and social democratic activist. She served as secretary of the Comintern and later became a political party leader in Italy.
Marcel Rosenberg (1896 — 5 March 1938) was a Soviet diplomat. Rosenberg was born into the family of a Jewish trader who in 1906 emigrated from Poland with his family to Königsberg in Prussia and later to Berlin. Rosenberg was the first Soviet ambassador to Spain, he served during the Spanish Civil War. Recalled to the Soviet Union in 1937, he was soon executed during the Great Purge. He was succeeded in office by Leon Gaikis, who faced a similar fate.
Nikolai Ivanovich Yezhov
Nikolai Ivanovich Yezhov was a Soviet secret police official under Joseph Stalin who was head of the NKVD from 1936 to 1938, during the height of the Great Purge. Having presided over mass arrests and executions during the Great Purge, Yezhov eventually fell from Stalin's favour and power. He was arrested, confessed to a range of anti-Soviet activity, later claiming he was tortured into confessing, and eventually executed in 1940 along with most others responsible for the Purge.
From 1909 to 1915, he worked as a tailor's assistant and factory worker. From 1915 until 1917, Yezhov served in the Imperial Russian Army. He joined the Bolsheviks on 5 May 1917, in Vitebsk, six months before the October Revolution. During the Russian Civil War (1917–1922), he fought in the Red Army. After February 1922, he worked in the political system, mostly as a secretary of various regional committees of the Communist Party.
In 1927, he was transferred to the Accounting and Distribution Department of the Party where he worked as an instructor and acting head of the department. From 1929 to 1930, he was the Deputy People's Commissar for Agriculture. In November 1930, he was appointed to the Head of several departments of the Communist Party: department of special affairs, department of personnel and department of industry.
In 1934, he was elected to the Central Committee of the Communist Party; in the next year he became a secretary of the Central Committee. From February 1935 to March 1939, he was also the Chairman of the Central Commission for Party Control.
In the "Letter of an Old Bolshevik" (1936), written by Boris Nicolaevsky, there is Bukharin's description of Yezhov:
"In the whole of my—now, alas, already long—life, I had to meet few people who, by their nature, were as repellent as Yezhov. Watching him, I am frequently reminded of those evil boys from Rasteryayeva Street workshops, whose favorite form of entertainment was to light a piece of paper tied to the tail of a cat drenched with kerosene, and relish in watching the cat scamper down the street in maddening horror, unable to rid itself of the flames that are getting closer and closer. I have no doubt that Yezhov, in fact, utilized this type of entertainment in his childhood, and he continues to do that in a different form in a different field at present".
Yezhov was short, standing 151 centimetres (4 ft 11 1⁄2 in), and that, combined with his perceived sadistic personality, led to his nickname "The Poison Dwarf" or "The Bloody Dwarf". A turning point for Yezhov came with Stalin's response to the 1934 murder of the Bolshevik chief of Leningrad, Sergey Kirov. Stalin used the murder as a pretext for further purges and he chose Yezhov to carry out the task. Yezhov oversaw falsified accusations in the Kirov murder case against opposition leaders Kamenev, Zinoviev and their supporters. Yezhov's success in this task led to his further promotion and ultimately to his appointment as head of the NKVD.
He became People's Commissar for Internal Affairs (head of the NKVD) and a member of the Central Committee on 26 September 1936, following the dismissal of Genrikh Yagoda. This appointment did not at first seem to suggest an intensification of the purge: "Unlike Yagoda, Yezhov did not come out of the 'organs', which was considered an advantage". Party leadership revocation and executions of those found guilty during the Moscow Trials was not a problem for Yezhov. Seeming to be a devout admirer of Stalin and not a member of the organs of state security, Yezhov was just the man Stalin needed to lead the NKVD and rid the government of potential opponents.
Yezhov's first task from Stalin was to personally investigate and conduct the prosecution of his long-time Chekist mentor Yagoda, which he did with remorseless zeal. Ordered by Stalin to create a suitably grandiose plot for Yagoda's show trial, Yezhov ordered the NKVD to sprinkle mercury on the curtains of his office so that the physical evidence could be collected and used to support the charge that Yagoda was a German spy, sent to assassinate Yezhov and Stalin with poison and restore capitalism. It is also claimed that he personally tortured both Yagoda and Marshal Mikhail Tukhachevsky to extract their confessions.
Yagoda was but the first of many to die by Yezhov's orders. Under Yezhov, the Great Purge reached its height during 1937–1938. 50–75% of the members of the Supreme Soviet and officers of the Soviet military were stripped of their positions and imprisoned, exiled to the Gulag's camps in Siberia or executed. In addition, a much greater number of ordinary Soviet citizens were accused (usually on flimsy or nonexistent evidence) of disloyalty or "wrecking" by local Chekist troikas and similarly punished to fill Stalin and Yezhov's arbitrary quotas for arrests and executions.
Yezhov also conducted a thorough purge of the security organs, both NKVD and GRU, removing and executing not only many officials who had been appointed by his predecessors Yagoda and Menzhinsky, but even his own appointees as well. He admitted that innocents were being falsely accused, but dismissed their lives as unimportant so long as the purge was successful:
"There will be some innocent victims in this fight against Fascist agents. We are launching a major attack on the Enemy; let there be no resentment if we bump someone with an elbow. Better that ten innocent people should suffer than one spy get away. When you chop wood, chips fly".
In 1937 and 1938 alone, at least 1.3 million were arrested and 681,692 were shot for 'crimes against the state'. The Gulag population swelled by 685,201 under Yezhov, nearly tripling in size in just two years, with at least 140,000 of these prisoners (and likely many more) dying of malnutrition, exhaustion and the elements in the camps (or during transport to them).
During the Great Purge, acting on the orders from Stalin, he had accomplished the liquidation of Old Bolsheviks and other potentially "disloyal elements" or "fifth columnists" within the Soviet military and government prior to the onset of war with Germany. From Stalin's perspective, Yezhov (like Yagoda) had served his purpose but had seen too much and wielded too much power to be allowed to live. The defection to Japan of the Far Eastern NKVD chief, Genrikh Lyushkov on 13 June 1938, rightly worried Yezhov, who had protected Lyushkov from the purges and feared he would be blamed
On 22 August 1938, NKVD leader Lavrenty Beria was named as Yezhov's deputy. Beria had managed to survive the Great Purge and the "Yezhovshchina" during the years 1936–1938, even though he had almost become one of its victims. Earlier in 1938, Yezhov had even ordered the arrest of Beria, who was party chief in Georgia. However, Georgian NKVD chief Sergei Goglidze warned Beria, who immediately flew to Moscow to see Stalin personally. Beria convinced Stalin to spare his life and reminded Stalin how efficiently he had carried out party orders in Georgia and Transcaucasia. In a twist of fate, it was Yezhov who eventually fell in the struggle for power, and Beria who became the new NKVD chief.
Over the following months, Beria (with Stalin's approval) began increasingly to usurp Yezhov's governance of the Commissariat for Internal Affairs. As early as 8 September, Mikhail Frinovsky, Yezhov's first deputy, was relocated from under his command into the Navy. Stalin's penchant for periodically executing and replacing his primary lieutenants was well known to Yezhov, as he had previously been the man most directly responsible for orchestrating such actions.
At his own request, Yezhov was officially relieved of his post as the People's Commissar for Internal Affairs on 25 November, succeeded by Beria, who had been in complete control of the NKVD since the departure of Frinovsky on 8 September. He attended his last Politburo meeting on 29 January 1939. Stalin was evidently content to ignore Yezhov for several months, finally ordering Beria to denounce him at the annual Presidium of the Supreme Soviet. On 3 March 1939, Yezhov was relieved of all his posts in the Central Committee, but retained his post as People's Commissar of Water Transportation. His last working day was 9 April at which time the "People’s Commissariat was simply abolished by splitting it into two, the People’s Commissariats of the River Fleet and the Sea Fleet, with two new People’s Commissars, Z. A. Shashkov and S. S. Dukel’skii."
On 10 April, Yezhov was arrested and imprisoned at the Sukhanovka prison; the "arrest was painstakingly concealed, not only from the general public but also from most NKVD officers... It would not do to make a fuss about the arrest of 'the leader’s favourite,' and Stalin had no desire to arouse public interest in NKVD activity and the circumstances of the conduct of the Great Terror." Yezhov confessed to the standard litany of state crimes necessary to mark him as an "enemy of the people" prior to execution, including "wrecking", official incompetence, theft of government funds, and treasonous collaboration with German spies and saboteurs, none of which were likely or supported by evidence. Apart from these political crimes, he was also accused of and confessed to a humiliating history of sexual promiscuity, including homosexuality, that was later corroborated by witness reports and deemed true in some post-Soviet examinations of the case.
On 2 February 1940, Yezhov was tried by the Military Collegium chaired by Soviet judge Vasili Ulrikh behind closed doors. Yezhov, like his predecessor Yagoda, maintained to the end his love for Stalin. Yezhov denied being a spy, a terrorist, or a conspirator, stating that he preferred "death to telling lies". He maintained that his previous confession had been obtained under torture, admitted that he purged 14,000 of his fellow Chekists, but said that he was surrounded by "enemies of the people". He also said that he would die with the name of Stalin on his lips.
After the secret trial, Yezhov was allowed to return to his cell; half an hour later, he was called back and told that he had been condemned to death. On hearing the verdict, Yezhov became faint and began to collapse, but the guards caught him and removed him from the room. An immediate appeal for clemency was denied, and Yezhov became hysterical and wept. He soon had to be dragged out of the room, struggling with the guards and screaming.
On 4 February 1940, Yezhov was shot by the future KGB chairman Ivan Serov (or by Blokhin, in the presence of N. P. Afanasev, according to one book source) in the basement of a small NKVD station on Varsonofevskii Lane (Varsonofyevskiy pereulok) in Moscow. The basement had a sloping floor so that it could be hosed down after executions, and had been built according to Yezhov's own specifications near the Lubyanka. The main NKVD execution chamber in the basement of the Lubyanka was deliberately avoided to ensure total secrecy.
Yezhov's body was immediately cremated and his ashes dumped in a common grave at Moscow's Donskoi Cemetery. The execution remained secret and as late as 1948, Time reported: "Some think he is still in an insane asylum". In Russia, Yezhov remains mostly known as the person who was responsible for atrocities of the Great Purge that he conducted on Stalin's orders. Among art historians, he also has the nickname "The Vanishing Commissar" because after his execution, his likeness was retouched out of an official press photo; he is among the best-known examples of the Soviet press making someone who had fallen out of favor "disappear".
Nahum Isaakovich Eitingon
Nahum Isaakovich Eitingon, also known as Leonid Aleksandrovich Eitingon, was a Soviet intelligence officer, who has been described by Yevgeny Kiselyov as one of the organisers and managers of the state terrorism system under Joseph Stalin and later a victim thereof. He is the brother of Max Eitingon.
Eitingon, a Belarusian Jew, joined the Cheka in 1920, shortly before his 21st birthday. Along with other Chekists, he took part in numerous operations during the Russian civil war, including the "liquidation" of a number of the more prosperous citizens of the Belarusian town of Gomel. At the end of the 1920s, Eitingon, a polyglot, organized and led an operation producing fake documents which persuaded the Japanese that 20 Russian agents who were working for them had secretly applied to have their Soviet citizenship restored. This ruse resulted in the Japanese executing their anti-Soviet allies
In 1930, Eitingon was appointed deputy director of the Administration for Special Tasks under Yakov Serebryansky, but due to his poor personal relations with Serebryansky, in April 1933 he was shifted to chief of section charged with coordinating the operation of "illegals" in the INO (Foreign Department of the OGPU) under Artur Artuzov and later (from May 1935) Abram Slutsky.
According to Gen Pavel Sudoplatov, Eitingon was sent to the U.S. as an "illegal" in the beginning of the 1930s, prior to the establishment of U.S.–USSR diplomatic relations in November 1933, to recruit Japanese and Chinese emigrants with a view to possible using them in military and sabotage operations against Japan (the U.S. itself was not deemed a high priority for intelligence operations by the Centre then).
One of the agents recruited by Eitingon in the U.S. was Japanese painter Yotoku Miyagi, who in 1933 returned to Japan and became a member of Richard Sorge's spy ring in that country. Eitingon was also tasked to assess the intelligence potential of Americans involved in Communist activities.
The illegal espionage network, which included Jews with ancestry in the Russian Empire, established by Eitingon in the United States in the early 1930s helped Pavel Sudoplatov in the 1940s run a wide network of Soviet moles in the scientific community in the U.S. and beyond, to conduct atomic espionage.
Leon Trotsky, the Soviet revolutionary, had been banished from the USSR by Joseph Stalin and had found refuge in Mexico. Stalin assigned the organisation and execution of a plan to assassinate Trotsky to Eitingon. Eitingon, while in Spain during the Spanish Civil War, was able to recruit a young Spaniard communist ideologue, Ramón Mercader, as executioner. Trotsky was living in Mexico at the time and, soon after Mercader worked his way into Trotsky's group of friends, Eitingon had also arrived in Mexico.
On 20 August 1940, Mercader attacked and fatally wounded Trotsky with an ice axe while the exiled Russian was in the study of his house in Coyoacán (then a village on the southern fringes of Mexico City). Eitingon and another collaborator (Caridad Mercader, Ramon Mercader's mother) in the assassination plot were waiting outside Trotsky's residence, in separate cars, to provide a getaway for Mercader. When Mercader failed to return (having been detained by Trotsky's bodyguards), they both left and fled the country.
In October 1951, Major-General of State Security Eitingon, along with three other high-ranking members of the government (all Russian Jewish), were accused of "a Zionist plot to seize power" (the Doctors' Plot). Eitingon's sister Sofia was also arrested. As a doctor, she was considered to be the "link" to the plotting doctors who were allegedly planning to poison high-ranking Soviet leaders. The officers were all imprisoned in cold, dark cells and tortured.
Beria was arrested in June 1953 and executed. Eitingon, considered a supporter of Beria, was arrested again and held in jail without trial at the Butyrka prison in Moscow for four years. In November 1957 he was put on trial, in which he was accused (again) of conspiracy against the regime (but this time without any Zionist connotations). The court sentenced him to 12 years in prison, and his rank and all his medals were taken from him.
Nahum Eitingon died in 1981. In 1992 the Russian Supreme Court annulled the conviction and cleared his name. Eitingon had persistently sought his official rehabilitation, but this was granted only posthumously.
Mark Andreyevich Natanson
Mark Andreyevich Natanson (Russian: Марк Андре́евич Натансо́н; Party name: Bobrov) (25 December 1850 (N.S. 6 January 1851) – 29 July 1919) was a Lithuanian-Jewish revolutionary and one of the founders of the Circle of Tchaikovsky, Land and Liberty, and the Socialist-Revolutionary Party. In 1917, he was a leader of the Left Socialist-Revolutionaries, supporting the Bolsheviks in the October Revolution. He was the uncle of Alexander Berkman. Mark Natanson was born in 1850 in Švenčionys, Lithuania to a Lithuanian Jewish family. His parents died while he was still young, so he was brought up by his uncle. He graduated from the Kaunas men's grammar school in 1868, studied in St Petersburg at the Medical and Surgical Academy (1868–71) and then at the Institute of Agriculture (1871). During this time, he became involved in radical student politics.
Together with his first wife, he was one of the organizers of the populist Circle of Tchaikovsky. They opposed the 'nihilistic' tendency of Sergei Nechaev, who believed that any means were acceptable for achieving revolutionary goals. The Circle of Tchaikovsky, on the contrary, preached high morality and self-improvement . In 1869-71 he was arrested and imprisoned in the Peter and Paul Fortress, and in 1872 he was exiled to the Arkhangelsk province. In the same 1872 he converted to Orthodoxy in order to formally marry the noblewoman Olga Alexandrovna Shleisner who followed him into exile
Naftaly Aronovich Frenkel
Naftaly Aronovich Frenkel was a Bolshevik and member of the Cheka Soviet secret police. Frenkel is best known for his role in the organisation of work in the Gulag, starting from the forced labor camp of the Solovetsky Islands, which is recognised as one of the earliest sites of the Gulag. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn called him a "Turkish Jew born in Constantinople". Another described him as a "Hungarian manufacturer". Yet another claimed that Frenkel came from Odessa. Yet more said he was from Austria, or Palestine.
In 1923 he was arrested for "illegally crossing borders", a label which covered smuggling as well as being a merchant who was too successful for the Soviet Union to tolerate. He was sentenced to 10 years' hard labor at Solovki. The Solovetsky Islands, in the White Sea, came to be known as the "first camp of the Gulag".
He rose rapidly from prisoner to staff member on the strength of his proposal to the camp administration that they link inmates' food rations to their rate of production, the proposal known as nourishment scale. How exactly Frenkel transformed himself from prisoner to camp commander is also mysterious. What is clear is that Frenkel was promoted from prisoner to guard in a surprisingly short period, even by the chaotic standards of SLON: by November 1924, having been resident at the camp for less than a year, Frenkel's early release was requested by the SLON administration; the request was finally granted in 1927. Meanwhile, the camp administration submitted regular reports to the OGPU about Frenkel in glowing terms.
Frenkel emerged as one of the most influential Solovetsky commanders. His reputation is, however, controversial: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn claims that Frenkel personally invented the notorious you-eat-as-you-work system, also known as the nourishment scale, which destroyed weaker prisoners in weeks and would later cause uncounted casualties; on the other hand, a wide range of Russian and Western historians dismiss the many stories of Frenkel's omnipotence as legend. Frenkel presided over the development of the nourishment scale, or the "you-eat-as-you-work system", from a careless arrangement by which workers were sometimes 'paid' with food into a very precise method of food distribution and prisoner organisation: he divided the SLON prisoners into (1) those deemed capable of heavy work, (2) those capable of light work and (3) invalids; each group received a different set of tasks and quotas to meet and were fed accordingly, with drastic differences between the prisoners' rations and their fate. Those deemed capable of heavy work were allotted 800 grams of bread and 80 grams of meat; invalids received half those amounts. In practice the system divided prisoners very rapidly into those who would survive and those who would perish
Frenkel ensured that everything that did not contribute to the camp's economic productivity was discarded: all pretence of re-education was dropped; the camp's journals and newspapers were closed; the distinction between those with criminal convictions and those convicted of counter-revolutionary crimes was dropped as both groups were set to work alongside one another simply as labourers. Some remembered him as a dandy who had a good head for figures and, according to Maxim Gorky (who visited and approved Solovetsky Islands in June 1929) and others, a perfect memory. Others hated and feared him: in 1927 the year of his early release, in one of the first foreign publications about the Solovetsky Islands, it was written by the French anti-communist Raymond Duguet that,
"thanks to his horribly insensitive initiatives, millions of unhappy people are overwhelmed by terrible labour, by atrocious suffering."
He was accused in 1928 by his comrades in the Solovetsky Islands Communist Party cell of organising a personal network of spies "so he knows everything about everybody earlier than everyone else".
In his later career, Frenkel was protected from arrest and possible execution by intervention at the very highest level. It is noteworthy that despite the deaths of nearly all of his former colleagues, Frenkel managed to remain alive. By 1937 Frenkel was head of BAMlag, the Baikal Amur Mainline railway camp, one of the most chaotic and lethal camps in the [Soviet] Far East, yet when 48 Trotskyites were arrested in BAMlag in 1938 he was not among them, although the camp newspaper openly accused him of sabotage. Frenkel's case was mysteriously delayed in Moscow, seemingly by Stalin, leading the local BAMlag prosecutor to write to Soviet chief prosecutor Andrei Vyshinsky:
"I don't understand why this investigation [into Frenkel] was placed under 'special decree', or from whom this 'special decree' has come. If we don't arrest Trotskyite-diversionist-spies, then whom should we be arresting?"
During 1937-1947 Frenkel was the head of Chief Directorate of Railroad Construction (ГУЖДС) as a protégé of Lavrentiy Beria. He was awarded the Order of Lenin three times (August 4, 1933, July 22, 1940, September 16, 1943) and the title Hero of Socialist Labor.
Zborowski was one of four children born into a Jewish family in Uman, near Cherkasy, in 1908. According to the story Zborowski told friends, his conservative parents moved to Poland in 1921 to escape the October Revolution in Russia. While he was a student, Zborowski disobeyed his parents and joined the Polish Communist Party. His political activity led to imprisonment and he fled to Berlin where he was unsuccessful in finding employment.
In 1933, the penniless Zborowski turned up in Paris with his wife and was recruited as an NKVD agent by the Leningrad émigré Alexander Adler. He provided the NKVD with a written background and revealed that his sister and two brothers lived in the Soviet Union. According to historian John J. Dziak, the NKVD had recruited him into a special group who murdered special enemies of Joseph Stalin. Those assassinated included Ignace Reiss (1937), Andrés Nin (1937), and Walter Krivitsky (1941). Members of the group are said to have included Leonid Eitingon, Nikolai Vasilyevich Skoblin, Sergei Efron, and David Alfaro Siqueiros, and perhaps the psychoanalyst Max Eitingon.
Zborowski fled to the United States following the German invasion of France. The American Trotskyists David and Lilia Dallin assisted in his emigration and helped him obtain employment at a screw factory in Brooklyn. With money from an unknown source, he rented a fashionable Manhattan apartment in the Dallins' building and once again resumed his former occupation, spying on Trotskyists. His codenames TULIP and KANT appear in nearly two dozen Venona decrypts. He reported to the Soviet controller Jack Soble. Zborowski spied on the Dallins and helped the NKVD search for Victor Kravchenko, a Soviet engineer and mid-level bureaucrat who defected from a trade mission in 1944. Kravchenko published a book, I Chose Freedom (1946), which described the repressions in the Soviet Union, the purges, the collectivizations, and the slave labour camps.
By 1945, Zborowski's usefulness as an agent had come to an end. He turned his attention to his academic career and found employment, with the aid of Margaret Mead, as a research assistant at Harvard University. In 1952, he published Life is with People (co-authored with Elizabeth Herzog), a groundbreaking study of Jewish life in the shtetls of Eastern Europe before the Second World War. The book received critical acclaim and has been reprinted numerous times. From 1951-1954 he researched at Cornell University. He became an American citizen in 1947.
"I came to tell you that it is all true. I have been an N.K.V.D. agent for more than twenty years" ... He did not wait for me to ask him anything, however, but began to tell me how he had been recruited by a fellow worker, a Russian, in Grenoble, who had suggested he go to Paris, where he could find friends and "be useful to the Soviet Union." The story of how Etienne had infiltrated the Trotskyite organization—where, in fact, very little that was of interest to the N.K.V.D. was going on—contained nothing unexpected"
The defector Alexander Orlov unmasked Zborowski before a hearing of the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee in September 1955. The FBI already knew that Zborowski was an NKVD agent from information they had obtained from their double-agent Boris Morros. Zborowski appeared before the Senate Subcommittee in February 1956. Since he was free from prosecution for his activities in France, Zborowski admitted to being an NKVD agent in Paris but he denied working as an agent in America.
Mikhail Efimovich Koltsov
Born at Kiev, Koltsov was the son of a Jewish shoemaker Haim Movshevich Fridlyand and the brother of Boris Efimov. Koltsov participated in the Russian Revolution of 1917, became a member of the Bolshevik party in 1918, and took part in the civil war. A convinced communist, he soon became a key figure of the Soviet intellectual elite and arguably the most famous journalist in the USSR, chiefly due to his well-written satirical essays and articles, where he criticised bureaucracy and other negative phenomena in the Soviet Union.
Koltsov founded popular journals such as Krokodil, Chudak, Sovetskoe Foto and Ogonyok and was a member of the editorial board of Pravda. As a Pravda correspondent, he travelled to Spain to cover the Spanish Civil War, while at the same time he was working for the NKVD. He also acted as military advisor to Loyalist forces on occasion. Koltsov is widely regarded as having been Joseph Stalin's chief reporter in the Spanish war, with speculation suggesting he had a direct line from his hotel to the Kremlin.
The British communist journalist, Claud Cockburn, who met Koltsov in Spain, described him as "a stocky little Jew with a huge head and one of the most expressive faces of any man I ever met.... He unquestionably and positively enjoyed the sense of danger and sometime – by his political indiscretions, for instance, or still more wildly indiscreet love affairs – deliberately created dangers which need not have existed." George Orwell in Homage to Catalonia (1938) accused Cockburn of cooperating with Koltsov to produce false stories that favored Soviet objectives in Spain.
Koltsov returned to the USSR in November 1937, and became a close friend of Yevgenia Yezhova, wife of the head of the NKVD, Nikolai Yezhov. On 19 December 1937, Mikhail Koltsov published an article criticizing some aspects of the purges. Koltsov claimed that to protect themselves, some people had smeared the innocent and called on the party, the government, the courts and public opinion to put a stop to such "heartless liars who violated the rights of Soviet citizens".
He was arrested on 14 December 1938, four weeks after Yevgenia Yezhova had committed suicide, and nine days after Yezhov was removed from the chairmanship of the NKVD and replaced by Lavrentiy Beria. After Yezhov's arrest in 1939, he told his interrogators in May that Koltsov and Yezhova had been lovers and that "Yezhova was connected with Koltsov with respect to espionage work on behalf of England."
He was included on a list of 346 "enemies of the people" marked for execution, submitted by Beria to the Politburo, on 16 January 1940. The list included Yezhov, at least 60 other former NKVD officers, and at least two more of Yezhova's former lovers, one of whom was the writer Isaac Babel. Koltsov was shot on 2 February 1940. His third wife Maria Osten was also sentenced and shot.
Moisei Solomonovich Uritsky
Moisei Solomonovich Uritsky was a Bolshevik revolutionary leader in Russia. After the October Revolution, he was Chief of Cheka of Petrograd City. Uritsky was assassinated by Leonid Kannegisser, a military cadet, who was executed shortly afterwards. Uritsky was born in the city of Cherkasy, Kiev Governorate, to a Jewish Litvak family. His father, a merchant, died when Moisei was little and his mother raised her son by herself. He attended the Bila Tserkva Gymnasium, supporting himself through teaching and became an active social democrat.
In 1914 he emigrated to France and contributed to the Party newspaper Our Word. Back in Russia in 1917 Uritsky became a member of the Mezhraiontsy group. A few months before the October Revolution of 1917, he joined the Bolsheviks and was elected to their Central Committee in July 1917. Uritsky played a leading part in the Bolsheviks' armed take-over in October and later was made head of the Petrograd Cheka. In this position Uritsky coordinated the pursuit and prosecution of members of the nobility, military officers and ranking Russian Orthodox Church clerics who opposed the Bolsheviks.
Leonid Kannegisser, a young military cadet of the Imperial Russian Army, assassinated Uritsky on August 17, 1918, outside the Petrograd Cheka headquarters in retaliation for the execution of his friend and other officers. Following this event, along with the assassination attempt on Lenin by Fanny Kaplan on August 30, the Bolsheviks began a wave of persecution known as the Red Terror. Palace Square in Petrograd was known as Uritsky Square from 1918 to 1944.
Olof Aschberg (July 22, 1877 – April 21, 1960) - Swedish banker of Jewish descent, head of Stockholm bank Nya Banken (Nya Banken). From August 18, 1922 - Director-General of Roscombank, which was later transformed into Vnesheconombank. Aschberg was a leftist sympathizer and helped finance the Bolsheviks in Russia. In gratitude, the Bolshevik government allowed Aschberg to do business with the Soviet Union during the 1920s. His codirectors included prominent Swedish cooperatives and Swedish socialists, including G. W. Dahl, K. G. Rosling, and C. Gerhard Magnusson.
Olof founded in Stockholm the first Swedish bank for trade unions and cooperatives (Nya Banken) in 1912 and became a friend of Hjalmar Branting. When financial operations in favour of the Germans in 1918 caused him trouble with the Allies of World War I, the bank was renamed Svensk Ekonomiebolaget. He was already a successful banker and businessman when he met first Willi Münzenberg who visited the Stockholm Youth Socialist Congress of 1917. Later, during the Bolsheviks aspirations to rebuild the Russian economy, it was Münzenberg's task to expand their modest pool of capital by floating a so-called "workers' loan" using his "Workers International Relief" (WIR).
By means of this subterfuge the money used for buying machines and goods in the West looked like being the outcome of proletarian support, in reality it came directly from the Kremlin, confiscated from Russia's rich and the Church. Established in Berlin in the 1920s, Aschberg's Guarantee and Credit Bank for the East was charged with repayment of the WIR workers' loan, although he had not been very fond of it from its very beginning on and had even contributed to deep six it soon after the launch.
Aschberg had already gained the Soviet leaders' esteem by being one of the main connections in the early years after 1917 in evading the international boycott on gold robbed by the Bolsheviks, which he offered on the Stockholm market after having the bullions melted down and given new markings. At the end of the 1920s Aschberg moved to France, where he bought Château du Bois du Rocher at Jouy-en-Josas (in 1950 offered to the Unesco and subsequently sold to the Yvelines department. There is in the State Dept. files a Green Cipher message from the U.S. embassy in Christiania (named Oslo, 1925), Norway, dated February 21, 1918: "Am informed that Bolshevik funds are deposited in Nya Banken, Stockholm, Legation Stockholm advised. Schmedeman".
Osip Aaronovitch Piatnitsky (1882 – 1938), born Iosif Aronovich Tarshis, was a Russian revolutionary. Piatnitsky is best remembered as head of the International Department of the Communist International during the 1920s and early 1930s, a position which made him one of the leading public faces of the international Communist movement. Iosif Aronovich Tarshis was born January 17, 1882, the son of an ethnic Jewish carpenter in the town of Vilkomir (today known as Ukmergė), in the Kovno Governorate of the Russian Empire (present-day Lithuania).
Tarshis became a convert to Marxism and joined the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party (RSDLP) in 1899, moving that same year to Lithuania's largest city, Vilna (today's Vilnius). There Tashis became involved in the Vilna organization of ladies' tailors. As a member of the underground movement, Tarshis adopted the pseudonym "Piatnitsa" (translation: "Friday") as a means of avoiding detection by the Okhrana, the Tsar's secret police. In 1901 Piatnitsky became associated with the Internationalist wing of the RSDLP, a group prominently including Vladimir Ul'ianov (N. Lenin), which was at the time publishing the revolutionary newspaper Iskra from emigration in Germany. Piatnitsky became involved in the smuggling of this newspaper across the German frontier into Russia, also helping to organize the transportation of party members to and from the country. This dangerous work placed Piatnitsky in harm's way, and arrest by the secret police followed in 1902.
Although jailed in 1902, Piatnitsky managed to make his escape and he returned to Germany to continue his work as a courier for the Iskra group. He was a delegate to the 2nd Congress of the RSDLP in London in the Summer of 1903 — a gathering which split the RSDLP into rival Bolshevik and Menshevik wings. Piatnitsky sided with Lenin and the Bolsheviks at that gathering and he remained a loyal member of that faction throughout the pre-revolutionary years. In the spring of 1905 Piatnitsky attended the 3rd Congress of the RSDLP in London. He returned to Russia later in that same year, going to Odessa in the Ukraine, where he worked as a Bolshevik organizer primarily among the tobacco workers there. Piatnitsky was an active participant in the Revolution of 1905, helping to organize a general strike in Odessa. Unsurprisingly, this activity again drew the scrutiny of the secret police and in January 1906 Piatnitsky was arrested again by the Okhrana
Following this second arrest, Piatnitsky remained in jail until 1908. Following his release, Piatnitsky returned to Germany where he once again took up work for the Bolshevik Party, coordinating secret communications from the party center abroad to its network of activists inside Russia. In January 1912 Piatnitsky was again chosen as a delegate to a Bolshevik conclave in Prague, remembered as the 6th All-Russian Conference of the RSDLP. As he sought to return to Russia to work in industry, Piatnitsky went to Paris following the Prague party conference, where he trained as an electrician.
He returned to Russia in 1913, taking a job as an electrician in the town of Volsk in Saratov Oblast, located on the banks of the Volga River. There Piatnitsky led a strike before being transferred to Samara. His political and union activities drew the attention of the secret police and Piatnitsky was arrested for a third time in June 1914. This time Piatnitsky was sentenced to Siberian exile, which removed him from revolutionary politics until after the February Revolution of 1917.
Freed by the February Revolution, Piatnitsky relocated to Moscow, where he became a member of the Bolshevik Party's Moscow Committee. Following the Bolshevik Revolution of November 1917, Piatnitsky became a government functionary. From 1919 to 1920 he served as head of the Railroad Workers' Trade Union. Piatnitsky was chosen as head of the Moscow Committee in 1920 and elected an alternate member of the governing Central Committee of the Russian Communist Party (bolsheviks) at the party's 9th Congress that same spring.
Piatnitsky moved from work in the Soviet trade unions and the Russian Communist Party to work in the Communist International in 1921, when he was elected by Executive Committee of the Communist International to the post of treasurer of the Comintern and head of the Comintern's International Liaison Department (OMS). Following the 4th World Congress of the Comintern in November 1922, Piatnitsky was chosen as a member of the Comintern's Organization Buro and budget commission. In June 1923 the 3rd Plenum of the Comintern elected Piatnitsky as of four top leaders of the organization to sit on the body's governing Secretariat. Piatnitsky was joined as a member of the Comintern Secretariat by the Bulgarian Vasil Kolarov, the Finn Otto Kuusinen, and Mátyás Rákosi of Hungary.
Piatnitsky remained a top official of the Comintern throughout the 1920s and the first half of the 1930s. The 5th World Congress of 1924 returned him as a member of the Secretariat, Orgburo, budget commission, and ECCI. Following the fall of Grigory Zinoviev in 1926, the post he formerly held as "President" of the Comintern was eliminated, to be replaced by a new Political Secretariat, to which Piatnitsky was elected. Piatnitsky's role was subsequently confirmed by the 6th World Congress of 1928 and the 11th Plenum of 1931.
In addition to his leading role in the Comintern, Piatnitsky held several positions of high importance in the hierarchy of the Russian Communist Party. In 1924, he was elected a member of the Communist Party's Central Control Committee, a body in charge of matters of party discipline, remaining in that position through 1927. In that year, Piatnitsky was made a full member of the governing Central Committee of the RKP(b) in which he continued until the time of his arrest in 1937.Piatnitsky seems to have fallen from grace towards the middle of the 1930s. While he addressed the 7th World Congress in 1935, he was pointed not re-elected to any of the positions in the organization which he had held previously. Thereafter he returned briefly to work in the All-Union Communist Party (bolsheviks).
Born in a wealthy family of merchants of the 1st Guild, she got an excellent education in Kiev and later at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Lyon. From age of 17 was involved in revolutionary activities and never worked in any paid job until the October Revolution.
She is best known for her involvement in the organization of the First Russian revolution, and along with Béla Kun, as one of the organizers of the Red Terror in the Crimea in 1920–1921, against former soldiers of the White Army. It was in Crimea that the White Russians led by General Pyotr Nikolayevich Wrangel fell to the Red Army in 1920. About 50,000 prisoners of war and anti-Bolshevik civilians who had surrendered after they had been promised amnesty, were subsequently executed, on orders from Kun and Zemlyachka, with Vladimir Lenin's approval.
She then continued her career in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, escaping all purges and became vice-president of the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR, the highest governmental authority of the regime. She is the only woman to have served at this level in the Stalinist period, and the first woman to be decorated with the Order of the Red Banner.
Polish-Jewish born Stalinist official, NKVD officer, concentration camp commander and accused war criminal. Fled from Poland to Israel and acquired Israeli citizenship. Immediately after the end of World War II, Morel became the chief commander of the Soviet NKVD Zgoda concentration camp in Świętochłowice, Soviet-occupied Poland. He was accused of personally torturing and executing dozens of detainees, and of causing the death of more than one thousand five hundred people imprisoned there through the systematic mistreatment; all in all resulting in an average one hundred inmate deaths a day.
After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Morel was investigated by Poland's Institute of National Remembrance for war crimes and crimes against humanity, including the "revenge killings" of more than one thousand five hundred prisoners from Upper Silesia, a majority of them were German Citizens. Solomon Morel's preferred method of torture was the ice water tank where prisoners would be put in with freezing water up to their necks until they died. After his case was publicised by the Polish, German, British, and American media, Morel fled to Israel and was granted citizenship under the Law of Return. Poland twice requested his extradition, once in 1998 and once in 2005, but Israel refused to comply and rejected the more serious charges as being false and again rejected extradition on the grounds that the statute of limitations against Morel had run out, and that Morel was in poor health; Israel also cited Morel's Jewish background as a specific reason not to extradite him.
In 2004 Morel was charged with communist crimes against the population, a specific crime under Polish criminal law, in addition to the existing charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes. The main charge against Salomon Morel was that, as commandant of the Zgoda camp at Świętochłowice, he created for the prisoners in this camp, out of ethnic and political considerations, conditions that jeopardised their lives, including starvation and torture. The charges against Morel were based primarily on the evidence of over 100 witnesses, including 58 former inmates of the Zgoda camp. In July 2005 a Poland extradition request was again formally refused by the Israeli government. However, until his death in 2007 Morel continued to received his state pension from Poland whilst living in Israel.
Dimanstein was born in Sebezh, Vitebsk Governorate (today Pskov Oblast) in a Litvak family of a trader. He studied in a Chabad yeshiva where eighteen-year Semyon was ordained as a rabbi. In 1904 Dimanstein became a member of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party in Vilnius. In political debates, he often clashed with Jewish Socialist Party, Bund and Zionist parties. After the range of the government repression in 1908, he was sentenced to life settlement in the Irkutsk region. Dimanstein escaped and left the Russian Empire for France until the March Revolution 1917.
At that time Russia was at war and Dimanstein was a propagandist of a peace treaty. He was one of the editors of Trench Truth (Окопной правды). Dimanstein played a significant role during the Bolshevik October Revolution in 1917. He was appointed a head of Yevsektsiya in January 1918. In 1920 Dimanstein was sent to Bukhara People's Soviet Republic where he established Soviet institutions and supported creation of a local Party-approved elite. In 1922-1924 Dimanstein worked in the Agitation Department of Ukraine.
In 1924 he returned to Moscow where he headed different propaganda departments which aimed to spread Soviet ideology among non-Russian peoples. Dimanstein was an editor of New East and Revolution and Nationality. He was a steady supporter of Stalin's policies. His last appointment was as head of the Central Committee of OZET. He was also editor of the Yiddish language newspaper Der Emes (The Truth). Semyon Dimanstein advocated the establishment of the Jewish Autonomous Oblast the Russian Far East. In 1930 he published in media against the collectivization of Jewish settlements in Jewish national districts of Southern Ukraine and Northern Crimea. In 1935 Dimanstein was an editor of a propaganda book entitled Yidn in FSSR (Jews in the Soviet Union). From October 1936, Dimanstein was one of the editors of Forpost, a newspaper in the Jewish Autonomous Oblast's capital city of Birobidzhan.
Of Jewish ancestry, Semyonov joined the KGB in 1937 and was sent quickly to the United States as an intelligence officer. He enrolled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, from which he graduated in June 1940 and shortly thereafter began working for Amtorg. Semyonov had a mastery of French and English. Semyonov worked first as a purchasing agent for the Soviet agency Machinoimport and then as head of the engineering department of the Soviet Purchasing Commission during World War II, with offices both at the commission and at Amtorg while specializing in scientific and technical espionage. A Russian Foreign Intelligence Service history quotes his KGB personnel files as stating, "While working from 1938 through 1944 in the United States, Major Semyonov showed himself to be one of the most active workers in the rezidentura [station] and credits him with connecting to 20 agents along the scientific and technical line".
In 1942 Semyonov persuaded Vasily Zarubin to transfer Julius Rosenberg and his contacts from the CPUSA-Jacob Golos channel to the direct control of the Rezidentura, with himself as the assigned case officer. The actual transfer occurred on Labor Day weekend, 7 September 1942, at a meeting in Central Park. Bernard Schuster brought Rosenberg to the meeting. Rosenberg was then subjected to a thorough vetting and recruitment process to include training in tradecraft and a probationary period. Alexander Feklisov was assigned to assist in managing Rosenberg. Once the formal recruitment of Rosenberg was completed Semyonov used Rosenberg to conduct formal recruitments of two of Rosenberg's friends from City College of New York, Joel Barr and William Perl.
Semyonov persuaded into collaboration a large group of young scientists and specialists, through whom was obtained a significant quantity of valuable materials on "ENORMOZ" (Manhattan Project), radio electronics, jet aviation, chemistry, medicine. Semyonov received from Bruno Pontecorvo in January 1943 an extensive report on the first nuclear chain reaction. Pontecorvo also relayed to Semyonov in early 1943 that "Fermi was prepared to provide information". In 1943 the active intelligence operation of Semyonov drew the attention of American counter espionage, and Semyonov was recalled to the Soviet Union. Later he had assignments in France and in Moscow and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel.
In 1950, in association with the Doctors' plot, the foreign intelligence agency began dismissing persons of Jewish ethnicity (Stalin sussed which started the Cold War). In spite of significant positive results in his record, Semyonov was discharged. He worked as translator in the publishing house Progress. Semyonov was rehabilitated in the 1970s. For the successful completion of special missions concerning scientific and technical intelligence, including on the atomic programs, Semyonov was awarded the Order of the Red Star and awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labour.
Bughici was born in Iași to a Jewish family of klezmer musicians; his father and two brothers perished during the June 1941 Iași pogrom. He joined the banned Communist Party of Romania in 1933. During World War II, Bughici was imprisoned at Vapniarka concentration camp in Transnistria. He served as an Ambassador of Romania to Soviet Union in 1949–1952. In July 1952, he was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs of Romania, replacing Ana Pauker, who was sacked by the communist leadership aided by Joseph Stalin. The appointment of Bughici disassociated Pauker's downfall from the anti-Semitism widely seen in Eastern Europe at the time. Bughici served as minister until October 1955. During his political career, he also served as the Vice Prime Minister of Romania.
Solomon Lozovsky (Russian: Соломон Абрамович Лозовский, family birth name: Dridzo Russian: Дридзо, 1878–1952) was a prominent Communist and Bolshevik revolutionary, a high-ranking official in the Soviet government, including as a Presidium member of the All-Union Central Council of Soviet Trade Unions, a Central Committee member of the Communist Party, a member of the Supreme Soviet, a deputy people's commissar for foreign affairs and the head of the Soviet Information Bureau (Sovinformburo). He was also the chair of the department of International Relations at the Higher Party School.
Born in 1878 in the Yekaterinoslav Governorate of Ukraine in Russian Empire to a Jewish Family (of possibly Sephardic lineage) he said at his trial near the end of his life that "my father was a Hebrew teacher. He knew Talmud ... and wrote poetry in Hebrew. My mother was illiterate. My father taught me to read Hebrew, to pray, and to read Russian." Having left school at 11, he went back to complete his education when he was 20, served two years in the army, then joined the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP) in Yekaterinoslav in 1901, and spent two years organising railway workers.
As was common for members of the underground movements of the time, he adopted a pseudonym, Lozovsky (from the town Lozovaya, near Kharkov, Ukraine). He moved to St Petersburg in August 1903, but was arrested soon after his arrival, and held in prison without trial for a year, before being exiled to Kazan. While in exile, in November 1904, he learnt about the split in the RSDLP, and joined the Bolsheviks. e was arrested in October 1905 for taking part in a raid on Kazan police station, released after three weeks, rearrested in St Petersburg in December, then arrested twice in quick succession after escaping to Kharkov.
He was in prison from July 1906 to May 1908, then was deported to Irkutsk, but escaped while he was in transit. He spent 1908-17, in Paris, where at different times he ran an employment bureau for Russian emigres, an adult schools for electricians, a bakers' co-operative, and a garage. During this time, he was a prominent Bolshevik 'conciliator', who wanted to reunite all factions of the RSDLP, including the Mensheviks, with brought him into conflict with Lenin. By 1914, he had either left or been expelled by the Bolsheviks, and his closest political links were with the left wing of the French Socialist Party. He rejoined the Bolsheviks in June 1917, after his return to Russia.
When, in July 1920, the communist authorities in Moscow decided to create the Red International Labour Union (Profintern), Lozovsky's experience in the French trade union movement made him the obvious choice for general secretary, even if he cut an incongruous figure among the trade union representatives from the west. Victor Serge remembered him as having "the air of a slightly fastidious schoolmaster amidst his world-wide assortment of trade union militants whose political horizons did not extend very far beyond their own working-class districts at home".
He also held ex officio positions on the Central Council of the Russian trade unions and the executive of Comintern. When Mikhail Tomsky and other union leaders came out in opposition to the forced industrialisation drive inaugurated by Josif Stalin, Lozovsky was the only member of the council to support Stalin uncritically. He was equally loyal to the party line after the rise of Adolf Hitler, when the communists were denouncing the social democrats as 'social fascists'. Profintern was wound up in 1937, when the communist policy changed to advocating a United Front against fascism, and Lozovsky was appointed Deputy People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, tasked with handling the Far East and Scandinavia.
In 1943, the actor Solomon Mikhoels and others began pushing for the creation of a Jewish homeland within the borders of the USSR. Lozovsky advised that the best location would be Crimea, and helped Mikhoels draft a written appeal to the Kremlin in February 1944. After the creation of the state of Israel, Stalin interpreted this talk as a Jewish conspiracy, and ordered the police to organise a show trial with Lozovsky as the main defendant. He was arrested on 26 January 1949, and tortured.
The closed trial lasted for two and one-half months and Lozovsky was executed on 12 August 1952, together with thirteen other members of Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee, an event known as the Night of the Murdered Poets. He was the last and oldest Old Bolshevik to be murdered on Stalin's orders.
Born to a Jewish family in Ukraine, then a part of the Russian Empire, Grossman trained as a chemical engineer at Moscow State University, earning the nickname Vasya-khimik (Vasya the Chemist) because of his diligence as a student. At the outbreak of the Second World War, he was engaged as a war correspondent by the Red Army newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda; he wrote first-hand accounts of the battles of Moscow, Stalingrad, Kursk and Berlin. Grossman's "eyewitness reports" of a NSDAP extermination camp, following the discovery of Treblinka, were among the earliest falsefied accounts of a NSDAP death camp by a reporter.
"Treblinka near Warsaw. The extermination camp for Jews. There was a chamber with moving kinives, it was in a basement, under a banya. The bodies were cut into pieces and then burned. There were mountains of ashes, twenty to twenty-five metres high. In one place Jews had been chased intoa pond full of acid. Their screams were so terrible that local peasants abandoned their homes".".
Most of the Fritsche decided to return to Russia and spread socialist propaganda among the Russian peasantry, but Figner decided to remain in Switzerland to finish her studies. In 1875, Mark Natanson told her that the Fritsche desperately needed her help in Russia. She returned to Russia that year without getting her degree, but found herself unable to help the circle and so got a license as a paramedic and divorced her husband, where she became active with other revolutionary intellectuals in the Zemlya i Volya (Land and Liberty) organization. Figner took part in the Kazan demonstration in St. Petersburg in 1876. From 1877 through 1879, working as a doctor's assistant, she conducted revolutionary propaganda in the villages around Samara and Saratov.
In the spring of 1879 the Zemlya i Volya organization was deeply divided over the question of terrorism, with one wing of the party advocating revolutionary propaganda in the villages and the other in favor of creating a revolutionary situation through the assassination of key figures in the Tsarist government and monarchy. In June of that year party activists gathered at the Voronezh Congress in a final effort to settle these differences. No permanent solution was reached and by the fall the Zemlya i Volya organization has split into two independently functioning groups: an anti-terror faction led by proto-Marxist Georgy Plekhanov called Cherny Peredel (Black Repartition), which included Pavel Akselrod, Lev Deich, Vera Zasulich, and others; and a pro-terror faction called Narodnaya Volya (People's Will).
Vera Figner aligned herself with the latter, terrorist wing, becoming a member of the group's Executive Committee, which in a proclamation later in 1879 called for the execution of Tsar Alexander II for crimes committed against the people of the Russian Empire. The Narodnovoltsy (Narodnaya Volya members) established study circles of workers in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Odessa, Kiev, and Kharkov, and coordinated propaganda efforts among students at the country's universities. It also established printing presses for the production of leaflets and issued a magazine and a newspaper in an effort to build support for its revolutionary program.
As a member of the Executive Committee, Figner also took part in the creation of the paramilitary wing of Narodnaya Volya and coordinated its activities. Figner participated in planning the assassination of the Tsar, including a failed attempt in 1880 in Odessa and a successful effort in March 1881 in St. Petersburg. The State secret police were relentless in tracking down members of the terrorist organization responsible for the killing of the Tsar and by the spring of 1882 only Vera Figner remained at large in Russia out of Narodnaya Volya's Executive Committee of 1879-80. This status made Figner the focal point and leader of the group's depleted forces.
One assassination was carried out on her watch, the shooting of a member of the secret police in Odessa in March 1882. Figner's main activity as the de facto head of the Narodnaya Volya organization in 1882 related to the restoration of the underground apparatus, which was devastated by secret police arrests and seizures of equipment. The Narodnovoltsy managed to set up a new underground press in the period and conducted propaganda work among university students. Originally based in Odessa, Figner later moved to Kharkov, where she was ultimately betrayed by fellow Executive Committee member Sergey Degayev, who turned police informer in order to lessen his punishment after his December 20, 1882 arrest. On February 10, 1883, Figner, characterized by police as "one of the most dangerous of the Central Committee of terrorists," was herself arrested at her Kharkov apartment. The event moved new Tsar Alexander III to write in his diary, "She was finally caught." The next chapter of Figner's life, that of a political prisoner, had begun.
Following her arrest, Vera Figner spent the next 20 months before her trial in solitary confinement at the Peter and Paul Fortress. In 1884 Figner was sentenced to death, during the Trial of the Fourteen. This sentence was commuted through the intercession of Niko Nikoladze to perpetual penal servitude in Siberia. She was instead imprisoned for 20 years in the fortress at Schlüsselburg. In 1904, Figner was sent into internal exile to the Arkhangelsk guberniya, then Kazan guberniya, and finally Nizhny Novgorod. In 1906 she was allowed to go abroad, where she organized a campaign for political prisoners in Russia. She spoke in European cities, collected money, published a brochure on Russian prisons translated into many languages. In 1907 Figner joined the Socialist Revolutionary Party (PSR), but left the organization in 1909 after the Azef scandal. In 1915 she returned to Russia.
Walter Krivitsky was born on June 28, 1899, to Jewish parents as Samuel Ginsberg in Podwołoczyska, Galicia, Austria-Hungary (now Pidvolochysk, Ukraine), he adopted the name "Krivitsky," which was based on the Slavic root for "crooked, twisted". It was a revolutionary nom de guerre when he entered the Cheka, Bolshevik intelligence, in around 1917.
Krivitsky operated as an illegal resident spy, with false name and papers, in Germany, Poland, Austria, Italy, and Hungary. He rose to the rank of control officer. He is credited with stealing plans for submarines and planes, intercepting Nazi-Japanese correspondence, and recruiting many agents, including Magda Lupescu ("Madame Lepescu") and Noel Field. In May 1937, Krivitsky was sent to The Hague, Netherlands, to operate as the rezident (regional control officer), operating under the cover of an antiquarian. It appears that he co-ordinated intelligence operations throughout Western Europe.
At the time, the General Staff of the Red Army was undergoing the Great Purge in Moscow, which Krivitsky and close friend, Ignace Reiss, both abroad, found deeply disturbing. Reiss wanted to defect, but Krivitsky repeatedly held back. Finally, Reiss defected, as he announced in a defiant letter to Moscow. His assassination, in Switzerland, in September 1937 prompted Krivitsky to defect the following month. In Paris, Krivitsky began to write articles and made contact with Lev Sedov, Trotsky's son, and the Trotskyists. There, he also met undercover Soviet spy Mark Zborowski, known as "Etienne," whom Sedov had sent to protect him. Sedov died mysteriously in February 1938, but Krivitsky eluded attempts to kill or kidnap him in France, including flight to Hyères.
As a result of Krivitsky's debriefing, the British were able to arrest John King, a cypher clerk in the Foreign Office. He also gave a vague description of two other Soviet spies, Donald Maclean and John Cairncross but without enough detail to enable their arrest. Soviet intelligence operation in the United Kingdom was thrown into disarray for a time. At the end of 1938, anticipating the Nazi conquest of Europe, Krivitsky sailed from France to the United States. Krivitsky did not stop with defection; he went on to become an anti-Stalinist.
With the help of journalist Isaac Don Levine and literary agent Paul Wohl, Krivitsky produced an inside account of Stalin's underhanded methods. It appeared in book form as In Stalin's Secret Service (UK title: I Was Stalin's Agent), published on November 15, 1939, after appearing first in sensational serial form in April 1939 in the top magazine of the time, the Saturday Evening Post. (The title had appeared as a phrase in an article written by Reiss's wife on the first anniversary of her husband's assassination: "Reiss... had been in Stalin's secret service for many years and knew what fate to expect."
Caught between dedication to socialist ideals and detesting Stalin's methods, Krivitsky believed that it was his duty to inform. That decision caused him much mental anguish, as he impressed on American defector Whittaker Chambers, as he told Chambers, "In our time, informing is a duty" (recounted by Chambers in his autobiography, Witness). Krivitsky testified before the Dies Committee (later to become the House Un-American Activities Committee) in October 1939, and sailed as "Walter Thomas" to London in January 1940 to be debriefed by Jane Archer of British Military Intelligence, MI5. In doing so, he revealed much about Soviet espionage. It is a matter of controversy whether he gave MI5 clues to the identity of Soviet agents Donald Maclean and Kim Philby. It is certain, however, that the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs, Narodnyy Komissariat Vnutrennikh Del, abbreviated NKVD, learned of his testimony and initiated operations to silence him.
Krivitsky soon returned to North America, landing in Canada. Always in trouble with the US Immigration and Naturalization Service, Krivitsky was not able to return there until November 1940. Krivitsky retained Louis Waldman to represent him on legal matters. (Waldman was a long-time friend of Isaac Don Levine.) Meanwhile, the assassination of Trotsky in Mexico on August 21, 1940, convinced him that he was now at the top of the NKVD hit list. His last two months in New York were filled with plans to settle in Virginia and to write but also with doubts and dread. On February 10, 1941, at 9:30 a.m., he was found dead in the Bellevue Hotel (now Kimpton George Hotel) in Washington, DC, by a chambermaid, with three suicide notes by the bed. His body was lying in a pool of blood, caused by a single bullet wound to the right temple from a .38-caliber revolver found grasped in Krivitsky's right hand. A report dated June 10, 1941, indicates he had been dead for approximately 6 hours. According to many sources, (including Krivitsky himself) he was murdered by Soviet intelligence, but the official investigation, unaware of the NKVD manhunt, concluded that Krivitsky committed suicide.
Speculation persists into the 21st century. For example, in 2017, Anthony Percy's book Misdefending the Realm (Buckingham: University of Buckingham Press, 2017) argued that Krivitsky was the UK's most important source on Soviet plan, did not receive action from MI5 on the intelligence that he supplied, and was assassinated by Soviet intelligence after Guy Burgess informed Soviet superiors about him. The assassination, Percy argues, cleared the threat of exposure of the Cambridge Five and other moles.
Yakov Grigoryevich Blumkin
Blumkin was born into a Jewish shopkeepers' family, was orphaned early in his life, and was raised in Odessa. After four years in a Jewish school, he was sent to work running errands for shops and offices. In 1914 he joined the Socialist-Revolutionary Party. After the October Revolution in 1917, he became head of the Cheka's counter-espionage department working for Felix Dzerzhinsky. Like many Cheka employees at the time, Blumkin was, politically, a Left Socialist-Revolutionary rather than a Bolshevik. Since this party was opposed to the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, Blumkin was ordered by its executive committee to assassinate Wilhelm von Mirbach, the German ambassador to Russia; they hoped by this action to incite a war with Germany.
This event was timed to occur at the opening of the Fifth All-Russian Congress of Soviets at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow. On the afternoon of 6 July 1918, Blumkin – along with an aide, Nikolai Andreyev – went to the residence of the German Ambassador on Denezhny Lane. Blumkin gained entrance to the embassy by presenting forged documents. When Mirbach entered the drawing room, Blumkin pulled a gun from his case and shot the ambassador at point blank range, killing him. At the same time, the Left SRs launched a coup attempt in Moscow, which was quickly quelled. The members of the Left SR party at the Bolshoi Theater were arrested and the party was forcibly suppressed. Blumkin, however, escaped and went into hiding.
He fled to Petrograd and then to Ukraine where he joined the LSR Cheka. In Kiev he organized an assassination attempt against the Hetman Pavlo Skoropadskyi and fought in the LSR insurrection against the government of Symon Petliura. In April 1919 Blumkin surrendered to the Bolsheviks, who still had a warrant for his arrest. Dzerzhinsky pardoned Blumkin, due to his voluntary surrender, and ordered him to return to Ukraine to assassinate Admiral Kolchak. While forming a combat group,
Blumkin survived three assassination attempts made by his former LSR comrades. He joined the 13th Red Army as director of counter-espionage and worked under Georgy Pyatakov.
Blumkin was a lover of poetry. There was an extraordinary incident in July 1921, when Nikolay Gumilyov - a monarchist, who was shot soon afterwards - was giving a poetry recital in a cafe in Petrograd, when "a man in a leather jacket", described as having "bold features, framed by a black beard, and his face looked biblical", began reciting as if "drunk on Gumilyov's verses." Gumilyov was astonished when the man introduced as the notorious Yakov Blyumkin, and remarked: "I'm happy when my poems are read by warriors and people of great strength." Gumilyov later wrote that "The man amidst crowd who shot the Imperial Ambassador came up to shake me by the hand and thank me for my verses".
In 1923, the diplomat Alexander Barmine travelled by train from Moscow to Baku with Blumkin, and the poet Sergei Yesenin, who was on a downward slide and committed suicide months later. Barmine recalled that "They got on well together and never went to bed sober. Blumkin, whose soldierly temperament always saved him from excesses, had saddled himself with the job of 'pulling Sergei together'. It was more than anyone could do." Blumkin was often seen maundering about in Moscow with poets as an adherent of the Imaginism literary movement to which Esenin belonged, boasting a gun and a notorious reputation.
Blumkin also knew Osip Mandelstam. There is a story told by Mandelstam's biographer Clarence Brown:
"One evening early in the Revolution he was sitting in a cafe and there was the notorious Socialist Revolutionary terrorist Blumkin… at that time an official of the Cheka… drunkenly copying the names of men and women to be executed on to blank forms already signed by the head of the secret police. Mandelstam suddenly threw himself at him, seized the lists, tore them to pieces before the stupefied onlookers, then ran out and disappeared. On this occasion he was saved by Trotsky's sister.".
Mandelstam's widow told a different, and probably more accurate version of the story. She said that Blumkin tried to persuade Mandelstam to work for Cheka, soon after it was founded and before the Mirbach assassination. Blumkin was also a regular and "welcome" guest in the Poets' Cafe, in Moscow, where Mandelstam overheard him boasting that he was going to have an art historian shot. Mandelstam, who did not know the intended victim, was so angry that he persuaded the poetry-loving Bolshevik Larissa Reissner to join him in a direct approach to the head of Cheka, Felix Dzerzhinsky, and saved the man's life. In 1919, Mandelstam and his wife were on a balcony in Kiev, when Blumkin rode past at the head of a cavalcade, dressed in a black coat, and when he saw Mandelstam, drew a pistol pointed it at him, but did not fire. He threatened Mandelstam with a gun several times, but never fired, and probably had no intention of killing him.
When Blumkin returned from Persia, the French writer Victor Serge heard him declaim lines written by the Persian epic poet Ferdowsi. At that time Blumkin was "more poised and virile than ever, his face solid and smooth-shaven, the haughty profile of an Israelite warrior. He stayed in a small apartment in the Arbat quarter, bare except for a rug and a splendid stool, a gift from some Mongol prince; and crooked sabres hung over his bottles of excellent wine."
After his adventure in the Caucasus, Blumkin returned to Moscow and became a student at the military college. He befriended Leon Trotsky, becoming a secretary, and helped over the next two years with the "selection, critical checking, arrangement and correction of the material" in Trotsky's Military Writings (1923). Trotsky noted in particular the irony of a former Left SR conspirator editing the volume describing the Left SR conspiracy. Blumkin introduced Yesenin to Trotsky, hoping that Trotsky would sponsor and promote a literary journal. This sharing of friendship, scholarship, and political ideas with Trotsky would later cost Blumkin his life.
In 1924 the OGPU made Blumkin an illegal resident in the Arab peninsula. From the summer of 1924 until the fall of 1925 he worked for the OGPU in Tiflis and was the Assistant Chairman of the Soviet delegation in the mixed Soviet-Persian Border commission and a member of the Soviet delegation in the mixed Soviet-Turkish Border commission. It is claimed that in 1924, he travelled secretly to Afghanistan or Pamir in order to contact the Ismailites and the local representative of the Aga Khan for the purposes of "anti-imperialist struggle" against the British, after which he disguised himself as a dervish and travelled with an Ismailite caravan, exploring the British military positions in India as far south as Ceylon.
In 1926, Blumkin was supposedly the secret representative of the GPU in Mongolia, where he ruled for some time as a virtual dictator (and occasionally travelled on missions in China, Tibet and India) until he was recalled to Moscow because the local Communist leadership had tired of his reign of terror.
It is known that during his work in Turkey, Blumkin met with Trotsky, who was living there after his expulsion from the Soviet Union. Trotsky gave Blumkin a secret message to transmit to Karl Radek, Trotsky's former supporter and friend in Moscow, which was seen by Stalin as an attempt to set up lines of communication with "co-thinkers" and "oppositionists" in the Soviet Union. Information about the meeting reached the OGPU. Trotsky later claimed that Radek had betrayed Blumkin to Stalin, and Radek would later acknowledge his complicity, but it is also likely that the information was passed along by an OGPU informer within Trotsky's entourage.
fter Blumkin met with Radek in Moscow, Mikhail Trilisser, head of the OGPU Foreign Section, ordered an attractive agent named Lisa Gorskaya (aka Elizabeth Zubilin) to "abandon bourgeois prejudice" and seduce Blumkin. The couple carried on an affair lasting several weeks and Gorskaya revealed their pillow-talk to Trilisser. When agents sent to arrest Blumkin arrived at his apartment, he was getting into a car with Gorskaya. A chase ensued and shots were fired. Blumkin stopped the car, turned to Gorskaya and said: "Lisa, you have betrayed me!". Following his arrest, Blumkin was brought before an OGPU tribunal consisting of Yagoda, Menzhinsky, and Trilisser.
The defector Georges Agabekov claims: "Yagoda pronounced for the death penalty. Trilliser was against it. Menzhinsky was undecided." The matter was referred to the Politburo where Stalin, ending the deadlock, declared himself in favor of the death penalty. In his Memoirs of a Revolutionary (1941), Victor Serge relates that Blumkin was given a two-week reprieve so that he could write his autobiography. This manuscript, if indeed it ever existed, remains undiscovered. Alexander Orlov (Soviet defector) writes that Blumkin stood before a firing squad and shouted, "Long live Trotsky!". The Russian Government has never rehabilitated Blumkin.
Yakov Saulovich Agranov
Yakov Saulovich Agranov (Russian: Я́ков Сау́лович Агра́нов) (born Yankel Samuilovich Sorenson; 1893 – 1938) was the first chief of Soviet Main Directorate of State Security and a deputy of NKVD chief Genrikh Yagoda. He is known as one of the main organizers of Soviet political repressions and Stalinist show trials in the 1920s and 1930s. He fabricated the "Tagantsev conspiracy" case and Moscow trials, including the Trial of the Twenty One and Industrial Party Trial, as well as mass arrests and executions in Saint Petersburg during Stalin's Great Purge.
Agranov was born in a Jewish shopkeeper's family in Checherskaya, a village in the Mogilev Governorate of the Russian Empire. In 1912, he joined the Socialist-Revolutionary Party while working as a clerk, and in 1915 joined the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party. He was arrested by the tsarist police in 1915 and exiled to Yenesei province. In 1918, Agranov became secretary of Sovnarkom. At this time, he was taking orders directly from Vladimir Lenin and Felix Dzerzhinsky. During this period, Agranov was put in charge of compiling the lists of intellectuals for the forced exile of leading figures of Russian sciences and culture that were seen as the anti-Soviet element. Among those expelled were Nikolai Berdyaev and Nikolai Lossky.
In 1921, Agranov was the chief investigator who conducted the "Petrograd military organization", allegedly headed by Vladimir Tagantsev. Tagantsev was arrested and then tricked into giving the names of 300 "conspirators", who, he was told, would not be executed. In exchange for leniency for himself. The investigation ended with more than 85 persons being sentenced to death, including Tagantsev himself and the poet Nikolay Gumilyov. All concerned were promptly executed. When asked why he was so merciless, Agranov responded: "Seventy percent of Petrograd intellectuals were standing by one leg in the camp of our enemies? We had to burn that leg off".
Agranov also investigated the Kronstadt rebellion and the peasant uprising in Tambov region. At the end of his career he led the Trial of the Twenty One against the Trotskyist Anti-Soviet Military Organization, the “Promparty” and "Working Peasant Party" cases. Agranov was also implicated in the suspicious suicide of Vladimir Mayakovsky in 1930. The poet shot himself from the gun given to him as a gift by Agranov who had an affair with Lilya Brik, a woman known as the muse of Mayakovsky. Immediately after the assassination of Sergey Kirov in Leningrad on 1 December 1934, Agranov was entrusted with the organization of mass reprisals in the city. Stalin ordered him to fabricate a story that Lev Kamenev, Grigory Zinoviev and other leaders of the opposition were responsible for the murder, but seems to have resisted, whereupon Stalin entrusted Nikolai Yezhov to do it instead.
In 1935, he was ordered by Yezhov to track down and liquidate "an undiscovered centre of Trotskyists" in Moscow, as a preparatory step for the great purge that Stalin was planning. When Yezhov took over as head of the NKVD, Agranov remained his First Deputy, and in December 1936 was appointed Head of the Chief Directorate of State Security, which seemingly meant that he was to be trusted to purge the NKVD of officers Yezhov did not trust. In February 1937, he circulated regional NKVD heads demanding names of Trotskyists and other oppositionists employed with the state security apparatus.
In April, he was demoted to the post of regional NKVD chief in Saratov. He was arrested on 20 July 1937, and appeared on the execution list of 1 November 1937, in which his name was crossed out. He was executed by firing squad as an "enemy of the people" on 1 August 1938.
Sverdlov was born in Nizhny Novgorod as Solomon Mikhailovich Sverdlov to Jewish parents, Mikhail Izrailevich Sverdlov and Elizaveta Solomonova. His father was a politically active engraver who produced forged documents and stored arms for the revolutionary underground. Herman and Alexander. Sverdlov's father was sympathetic to his children's socialist tendencies and 5 out of his 6 children would become involved in revolutionary politics at some point. Mikhail watched as his household slowly became a revolutionary hotspot, where the Novgorod Social Democrats would meet, write pamphlets, and even forge stamps for false passports. Yakov's eldest brother Zinovy was adopted by Maxim Gorky, who was a frequent guest at the house. Zinovy was the only Sverdlov to reject revolutionary politics and had little to no contact with Yakov after the revolution.
Yakov excelled at school, and after 4 years in gymnasium left to become a pharmacist's apprentice and a "professional revolutionary," Sverdlov joined the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party in 1902, and then later the Bolshevik faction, supporting Vladimir Lenin. In his youth, Sverdlov became friends with fellow revolutionary Vladimir Lubotsky (later known as Zagorsky). He was involved in the 1905 revolution while living in the Ural Mountains. Sverdlov became a major activist and speaker in Nizhny Novgorod. In 1906, Sverdlov was arrested and held in the Yekaterinburg prison until his release.
During his time in prison, Sverdlov continued to educate himself and others, reading Lenin, Marx, Kautsky, Heine, and more. Sverdlov attempted to live by the motto: "I put books to the test of life, and life to the test of books." For most of the time from his arrest in June 1906 until 1917 he was either imprisoned or exiled. In March of 1911, Sverdlov was held in the St. Petersburg House of Pretrial Detention. Sverdlov married a Bolshevik party member and meteorologist named Klavdia Novgorodtseva. In 1911, their first child, Andrei Yakovlevich Sverdlov, was born. In 1913, their second child, Vera, was born and in 1915 Klavdia joined Yakov in exile in the village of Monastyrskoe.
Sverdlov and his wife ran a Bolshevik reading circle in the town, which though illegal, escaped the notice of the local authorities. During the period 1914–1916 he was in internal exile in Turukhansk, Siberia, along with Joseph Stalin (then known as Dzhugashvili). Both had been betrayed by the Okhrana agent Roman Malinovsky. Of Stalin, Sverdlov wrote "The comrade I was with turned out to be such a person, socially, that we didn't talk or see each other. It was terrible." Like Stalin, he was co-opted in absentia to the 1912 Prague Conference.
After the 1917 February Revolution Sverdlov returned to Petrograd from exile as head of the Urals Delegation and found his way into Lenin's inner circle. He first met Lenin in April 1917 and subsequently usurped Elena Stasova as the chairman of the Central Committee Secretariat, and became the secretary of the Central Committee of the Party. According to Podvoisky, the chairperson of the Military Revolutionary Committee, "The person who did more than anyone to help Lenin with the practicalities of translating convictions into votes was Sverdlov."
As chairman of the Central Committee, Yakov played an important role in planning the October Revolution and helped make the decision to stage an armed uprising. In November as the Bolsheviks debated whether to postpone or hold elections, Sverdlov advocated for immediate elections as promised. When the results came back showing that the Socialist Revolutionaries had won, Sverdlov, Lenin, and Bukharin dissolved the assembly leading to a civil war. Sverdlov is sometimes regarded as the first head of state of the Soviet Union although it was not established until 1922, three years after his death. Sverdlov had a prodigious memory and was able to retain the names and details of fellow revolutionaries in exile. He often gave positions to those he knew personally without much regard for their qualifications.
He promoted his friend and suite-mate Varlam Avanesov to second-in-command at the Central Executive Committee, and would later become a top official of the secret police. He also installed Vladimir Volodarsky as commissar of print, propaganda, and agitation until his assassination in 1918. His organizational capability was well-regarded, and during his chairmanship, thousands of local party committees were initiated. One of his comrades recalled that,
"[He] could tell you everything you needed to know about a comrade: where he was working, what kind of person he was, what he was good at, and what job he should be assigned to in the interests of the cause and for his benefit. Moreover, Sverdlov had a very precise impression of all the comrades: they were so firmly stamped in his memory that he could tell you all about the company each one kept. It is hard to believe, but true."
Sverdlov was elected chairman of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee in November 1917, of which his wife was also a part, becoming thereby de jure head of state of the Russian SFSR until his death. He played important roles in the decision in January 1918 to end the Russian Constituent Assembly and the subsequent signing on 3 March of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. In March 1918 Sverdlov along with most prominent Bolsheviks fled Petrograd and moved the government headquarters to Moscow–the Sverdlov's moved into a room in the Kremlin.
In March 1918 Sverdlov and the Central Executive Committee discussed how to best remove the "ulcers that socialism has inherited from capitalism" and Yakov advocated for a concentrated effort to turn the poorest peasants in the villages against their kulak brethren. Alongside Bukharin, the party began a campaign of "concentrated violence" against many members of the landowning, capitalist, and tradesman classes of Russian society.
number of sources claim that Sverdlov, alongside Lenin and Goloshchyokin, played a major role in the execution of Tsar Nicholas II and his family on 17 July 1918. A book written in 1990 by the Moscow playwright Edvard Radzinsky claims that Sverdlov ordered their execution on 16 July 1918. This book and other Radzinsky books were characterized as "folk history" by journalists and academic historians. However Yuri Slezkine in his book The Jewish Century expressed a slightly different opinion: "Early in the Civil War, in June 1918, Lenin ordered the killing of Nicholas II and his family. Among the men entrusted with carrying out the orders were Sverdlov, Filipp Goloshchyokin and Yakov Yurovsky".
Following the assassination of Moisei Uritsky and the assassination attempt on Lenin in August of 1918, Sverdlov drafted a document that called for "merciless mass terror against all the enemies of the revolution." Under his and Lenin's leadership, the Central Executive Committee adopted Sverdlov's resolution calling for "mass red terror against the bourgeoisie and its agents." During Lenin's recovery Sverdlov moved into Lenin's office in the Kremlin and took over some of Lenin's official obligations. He oversaw the interrogation of Lenin's would-be assassin, Fanny Kaplan, and even moved Kaplan from the Cheka headquarters to be held in a basement room underneath Sverdlov's apartment. Sverdlov's deputy Avanesov gave the order for Kaplan's execution and Sverdlov himself personally ordered that the body be "destroyed without a trace."
Sverdlov supported the Red Terror campaign, specifically when it came to the policy of decossackization that was started in 1917 as a part of the Russian Civil War. This policy resulted in the deaths of thousands of Cossacks, while the Soviet government confiscated land and food produced by the Cossack population. Sverdlov wrote that "not a single crime against the revolutionary military spirit will remain unpunished," and that the release of Cossack prisoners was unacceptable. Sverdlov even directed local officials to set up concentration camps in order to use Cossack labor before their extermination. This policy was temporarily suspended in March of 1919 while Sverdlov was in Ukraine overseeing the election of the Ukrainian Communist Party's central committee.
Yakov Mikhailovich Yurovsky
Yakov Mikhailovich Yurovsky was the eighth of ten children born to Mikhail Yurovsky, a glazier, and his wife Ester Moiseevna (1848–1919), a seamstress. He was born on 19 June 1878 in the Siberian city of Tomsk, Russia. The Yurovsky family were Jewish. The historian Helen Rappaport writes that the young Yurovsky studied the Talmud in his early youth, while the family seems to have later attempted to distance themselves from their Jewish roots; this may have been prompted by the prejudice toward Jews frequently exhibited in Russia at the time. Shortly before fully devoting himself to the cause of revolution, in the early twentieth century, Yurovsky converted to Lutheranism.
A watchmaker by trade, he lived for a short time in the German Empire in 1904. After returning to Russia during the Russian Revolution of 1905, he joined the Bolsheviks. He received the party ticket no.1500 in Krasnopresnenskaya organization. Arrested several times over the years, he became a devoted Marxist. He was a Chekist for a short period of time in 1917.
On the night of 16/17 July 1918, a squad of Bolshevik secret police (Cheka), led by Yurovsky, executed Russia's last emperor, Nicholas II, along with his wife Alexandra, their four daughters–Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia–and son Alexei. Along with the family, four members of the imperial household (court physician Eugene Botkin, chambermaid Anna Demidova, cook Ivan Kharitonov and footman Alexei Trupp) were also killed. All were shot in a half-cellar room (measured to be 25 feet x 21 feet) of the Ipatiev House in Yekaterinburg, a city in the Ural Mountains region, where they were being held prisoner.
The firing squad comprised three local Bolsheviks and seven soldiers. It has been documented that the order to assassinate the imperial family came from Yakov Sverdlov in Moscow and had been initiated by Lenin himself. It is also well documented that Yurovsky had visited the Bolshevik leadership in Moscow, and notably Sverdlov, only a few weeks before the killing took place.
To prevent the development of a personality cult of the former imperial family, the corpses were stripped and dismembered; then taken to the countryside, where they were initially thrown into an abandoned mineshaft. The following morning, when rumours spread in Yekaterinburg regarding the disposal site, Yurovsky removed the bodies. When the vehicle carrying the bodies broke down on the way to the next chosen site, he made new arrangements and threw the bodies into a pit on Koptyaki Road, a since-abandoned cart track 12 miles north of Yekaterinburg, and doused the dismembered remains with sulfuric acid then burned them with gasoline before finally sealing the pit with concrete.
During and after the Russian Civil War, Yurovsky worked as a head of local Cheka in Moscow, then member of Vyatka Cheka, head of Yekaterinburg Cheka (1919). In 1921, he worked in the Rabkrin and became Chief of the Gold Department of the Soviet State Treasury. Yurovsky achieved a solid reputation by combating corruption and theft. He also worked in management at the Polytechnical Museum starting in 1928 and became its director in 1930.
Genrikh Grigoryevich Yagoda, born Yenokh Gershevich Iyeguda was a Soviet secret police official who served as director of the NKVD, the Soviet Union's security and intelligence agency, from 1934 to 1936. Appointed by Joseph Stalin, Yagoda supervised the arrest, show trials, and executions of the Old Bolsheviks Lev Kamenev and Grigory Zinoviev, climactic events of the Great Purge. Yagoda also supervised the construction of the White Sea–Baltic Canal with Naftaly Frenkel, using penal labor from the GULAG system, during which 12,000–25,000 laborers died.
Like many Soviet NKVD officers who conducted political repression, Yagoda himself ultimately became a victim of the Purge. He was demoted from the directorship of the NKVD in favor of Nikolai Yezhov in 1936 and arrested in 1937. Charged with the crimes of wrecking, espionage, Trotskyism and conspiracy, Yagoda was a defendant at the Trial of the Twenty-One, the last of the major Soviet show trials of the 1930s. Following his confession at the trial, Yagoda was found guilty and shot.
Yagoda was born in Rybinsk into a Jewish family. The son of a jeweller, trained as a statistician, who worked as a pharmacist's assistant, he claimed that he was an active revolutionary from the age of 14, when he worked as a compositor on an underground printing press in Nizhni-Novgorod, and that at the age of 15 he was a member of a fighting squad in the Sormovo district of Nizhni-Novgorod, during the violent suppression of the 1905 revolution. He said he joined the Bolsheviks in Nizhni-Novgorod at the age of 16 or 17, and was arrested and sent into exile in 1911. In 1913, he moved to St Petersburg to work at the Putilov steel works. After the outbreak of war, he joined the army, and was wounded in action.
After the October Revolution of 1917, Yagoda rose rapidly through the ranks of the Cheka (the predecessor of the OGPU and NKVD) to become the second deputy of Felix Dzerzhinsky, the head of the Cheka, in September 1923. After Dzerzhinsky's appointment as chairman of the Supreme Council of National Economy in January 1924, Yagoda became the deputy chief and the real manager of the State Political Directorate (OGPU), as the chairman Vyacheslav Menzhinsky had little authority because of his serious illness.
In 1924, he joined the USSR's head of government, Alexei Rykov on a ship tour of the Volga. An American journalist who was allowed to join them on the trip described Yagoda as "a spare, slightly-tanned, trim looking, youngish officer" adding that it was "difficult to associate terror with the affable and modest person". By contrast, the chemist Vladimir Ipatieff met Yagoda briefly in Moscow in 1918 and later recorded that he had thought that "it was unusual for a young man in his early twenties to be so unpleasant.
I felt then that it would be unlucky for me or anyone else ever to fall into his hands." When he saw him again in 1927, "his appearance had changed considerably: he had grown fatter and looked much older and very dignified and important." Though Yagoda appears to have known Joseph Stalin since 1918, when they were both stationed in Tsaritsyn during the civil war, "he was never Stalin's man" When Stalin ordered that the Soviet Union's entire rural population were to be forced onto collective farms, Yagoda is reputed to have sympathised with Bukharin and Rykov, his opponents on the right of the communist party.
Nikolai Bukharin claimed in a leaked private conversation in July 1928 that "Yagoda and Trilisser are with us", but once it became apparent that the right was losing the power struggle, Yagoda switched allegiance. In the contemptuous opinion of Bukharin's widow, Anna Larina, Yagoda "traded his personal views for the sake of his career" and degenerated into a "criminal" and a "miserable coward". Yagoda continued to be effective head of the OGPU until July 1931, when the little known Old Bolshevik Ivan Akulov was appointed First Deputy Chairman, and Yagoda was demoted to the post of Second Deputy. Akulov was dismissed and Yagoda reinstated in October 1932.
After Yagoda's fall, one of his former colleagues confessed: "We met Akulov with violent hostility...the entire party organisation in the OGPU was devoted to sabotaging Akulov." Stalin must have agreed to his reinstatement with ill grace, because four years later he accused the OGPU/NKVD of being "four years behind" in rooting out the supposed Trotskyite anti-Soviet conspiracy, although Yagoda had been complicit in the execution of one of Trotsky's sympathisers, Yakov Blumkin, and in sending others to the GULAG, the system of forced labour created under his supervision.
As deputy head of the OGPU, Yagoda organized the building of the White Sea–Baltic Canal using forced labor at breakneck speed between 1931 and 1933 at the cost of huge casualties. For his contribution to the canal's construction he was later awarded the Order of Lenin. The construction of the Moscow-Volga Canal was started under his watch, but only completed after his fall by his successor Nikolai Yezhov. Yagoda had founded a secret poison laboratory of OGPU that was at disposal of Stalin. One of the victims became his own NKVD boss, Vyacheslav Menzhinsky. He was slowly poisoned during two weeks by two assistants of Yagoda. Menzhinsky's death was followed one day later by death of Max Peshkov, the son of Maxim Gorky, the doyen of Soviet literature. Yagoda had been cultivating Gorky as a potentially useful contact since 1928, and employed Gorky's secretary, Pyotr Kryuchkov, as a spy. "Whenever Gorky met Stalin or other members of the Politburo, Yagoda would visit Kryuchkov's flat afterward, demanding a full account of what had been said. He took to visiting public baths with Kryuchkov.
One day in 1932, Yagoda handed his valuable spy $4,000 to buy a car." He had developed an obsession with Max Peshkov's wife, Timoshka, and visited her daily when she was newly widowed, though her mother denied that they were ever lovers. According to Arkady Vaksberg and other researchers, Yagoda poisoned Maxim Gorky and his son on the orders from Joseph Stalin. On 10 July 1934, two months after Menzhinsky's death, Joseph Stalin appointed Yagoda People's Commissar for Internal Affairs, a position that included the oversight of both the regular and the secret police, the NKVD. Yagoda worked closely with Andrei Vyshinsky in organizing the first Moscow Show Trial, which resulted in the prosecution and subsequent execution of former Soviet politicians Grigory Zinoviev and Lev Kamenev in August 1936 as part of Stalin's Great Purge.
The Red Army high command was not spared and its ranks were thinned by Yagoda, as a precursor to the later and more extensive purge in the Russian military. More than a quarter of a million people were arrested during the 1934–1935 period; the GULAG system was vastly expanded under his stewardship, and penal labor became a major developmental resource in the Soviet economy. talin became increasingly disillusioned with Yagoda's performance. In the middle of 1936, Stalin received a report from Yagoda detailing the unfavorable public reaction abroad to the show trials and the growing sympathy among the Soviet population for the executed defendants. The report enraged Stalin, interpreting it as Yagoda's advice to stop the show trials and in particular to abandon the planned purge of Mikhail Tukhachevsky, Marshal of the Soviet Union and the former commander in chief of the Red Army.
Stalin was already unhappy with Yagoda's services, mostly due to the mismanagement of Kirov's assassination and his failure to fabricate "proofs" of ties between Kamenev and Zinoviev and the Okhrana (the tsarist security organization). As one Soviet official put it, "The Boss forgets nothing." On 5 September 1936, Stalin sent a telegram (co-signed by Andrei Zhdanov) to the members of the Politburo. The telegram read:
"We consider it absolutely necessary and urgent that Comrade Yezhov be appointed to head the People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs. Yagoda has obviously proved unequal to the task of exposing the Trotskyite-Zinovievite bloc. The GPU was four years late in this matter. All party heads and the most of the NKVD agents in the region are talking about this."
A day later, he was replaced by Yezhov, who managed the main purges during 1937–1938. Yagoda was demoted to the post of People's Commissar for Post and Telegraph.
John Pepper, also known as József Pogány and Joseph Pogany (born József Schwartz; November 8, 1886 – February 8, 1938), was a Hungarian Communist politician of Jewish heritage. He later served as a Revolutionary in the Communist International (Comintern) in Moscow, before being cashiered in 1929. Despite lack of military credentials aside from war reportage, at the time of the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian empire in 1918, Pogány found himself as the leader of the Budapest Soldiers' Soviet. While Pogány dedicated himself to promotion of what one historian has called "the often impossible demands of the soldiers," he nonetheless remained for a time supportive of the policies of the left-wing government of Count Mihály Károlyi.
At the time of the March 1919 uprising which proclaimed a Hungarian Soviet Republic with Béla Kun as de facto leader, Pogány cast his lot decisively with the revolution. The Communist Party of Hungary (KMP) first merged with radical members of the Social Democratic Party to form a single organization. Pogány was one of five party leaders signing the unity document on behalf of the Left Socialists. While the two parties were formally ratifying the agreement, Pogány's Soldiers' Soviet assumed control of the Budapest police, occupied the collector jail, and dispatched armed bands throughout the capital to intimidate political opponents.
A Revolutionary Governing Council was established on 21 March 1919, with Pogány named People's Commissar of War. The first two decrees of the Revolutionary Governing Council instituted the death penalty for armed resistance to the new regime and a total prohibition of alcohol consumption in Hungary. The next day, newspapers appeared carrying the proclamation drafted by Kun and Pogány proclaiming the establishment of a Hungarian Soviet Republic. Pogány also joined Tibor Szamuely as an adherent of "Red Terror" — proposing that the Soviet government take as hostages 200 prominent citizens as a means of forcing an end to counter-revolutionary resistance. Although himself of mixed mind on the issue, Kun signed on to the plan. The hostages, many of them elderly and of no significant threat to the regime, were taken before ultimately being liberated as a goodwill gesture in an effort to bring about a negotiated settlement.
Pogány's leading position in the Soviet government made him a target for anti-communist forces. When the Red government was overthrown by Admiral Horthy and his allies, Pogány fled to Austria and later to Soviet Russia to avoid being killed in the reprisals known as the "White Terror." Pogány was accused by the new regime of complicity in the murder of former Hungarian Prime Minister Count István Tisza by a group of soldiers during the Chrysanthemum Revolution of October 1918. He was tried in absentia and convicted along with five others in October 1921, but never extradited for enforcement of the sentence.
In March 1921, Pogány was sent to Germany along with Béla Kun to help organize a revolutionary uprising there with the Communist Party of Germany. According to scholar Thomas L. Sakmyster:
Despite the pressure from Moscow on the GCP leadership, Kun and Pogány encountered stiff resistance to their plans from the more moderate faction of the GCP leadership, especially from Klara Zetkin and Paul Levi. They regarded the Comintern agents as obnoxious and unscrupulous outsiders who knew little about conditions in Germany and were proposing a highly unrealistic and potentially disastrous policy... The message either did not reach Pogány or he chose to ignore it, for the action proceeded in Hamburg as planned... The plan to spark a major revolution had failed.. Pogány... made his way back to Berlin.
Following the defeat of this so-called "March Action," Pogány and Kun returned to Moscow, where they attended the 3rd World Congress of the Comintern from 22 June to 12 July.
Along with other émigré Hungarian radicals in Soviet Russia, Pogány was set to work in the apparatus of the Communist International (Comintern), which was at the time attempting to foment general socialist revolution across Europe. The Hungarian Communists in exile were bitterly divided along factional lines. Pogány, as a member of the governing Central Committee of the Hungarian Communist Party, was closely allied to Béla Kun in the factional turmoil which ensued. The Comintern disapproved of the disorganizing impact of this intra-party war among the Hungarian Communists and ordered the feuding groups to disband in January 1922.
Pogány was dispatched by the Comintern to the United States in July 1922 to assist with the Hungarian Federation of the Communist Party of America (CPA). Upon arrival Pogány adopted a new Americanized name as his own, "John Pepper" — the name by which he was known for the rest of his life — and immediately set about learning the English language. Along with the Comintern's official representative to the CPA, Genrik Valetski, and its representative to the Communist Party's trade union movement, Boris Reinstein, Pepper attended the ill-fated August 1922 convention of the CPA, held in Bridgman, Michigan, narrowly escaping from the clutches of the police who raided the gathering.
Mikhail Borodin was born Mikhail Markovich Gruzenberg to a Jewish family in Yanovichi, Russian Empire, now part of Vitebsk Region, Belarus, on 9 July 1884. Borodin joined the General Jewish Labour Bund at age sixteen, switching allegiance to Vladimir Lenin's Bolsheviks in 1903. He became a close associate of Lenin, making use of his knowledge of the Yiddish, German, and Latvian languages in work as a Bolshevik agent in the empire's northwest region. In mid-1904, he was ordered to travel to Switzerland to meet Lenin, who had gone into exile. Following the "Bloody Sunday" massacre of unarmed protesters by Tsarist troops in Saint Petersburg on 9 January 1905, Borodin returned to Russia, organised revolutionary activity in Riga, and was later selected to attend the Bolshevik conference at Tampere, where he met Joseph Stalin.
In 1906, he attended the 4th Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party in Stockholm. Later that year, he was picked up by the Tsarist police in Saint Petersburg, and given the choice of either being sent to Siberia or exile in Europe. Borodin chose exile, and by October, he had arrived in London, where police took notice of his activities and promptly ordered him out of the country. In 1907, he arrived in America, first to Boston, and then on to Chicago. While there, he attended classes at Valparaiso University in Indiana, taught English to immigrant children at Jane Addams' Hull House, and then opened his own school for Russian Jewish immigrants, which later grew into a successful business venture. During his time in the United States, Borodin associated nominally with the Socialist Party of America, whilst simultaneously promoting the Russian revolutionary cause in the immigrant community.
Following the October Revolution of 1917, he returned to Russia in July 1918, and began working in the People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Soviet Republic. Some months later, he returned to America to relay Lenin's "Letter to American Workers", a propaganda message intended to counteract negative views of the Russian communists following the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. He also proposed a joint propaganda campaign with George Creel's Committee on Public Information, though this never came to fruition. Having become disillusioned by the intensity of American criticism of the new Soviet government, Borodin gave up hope of co-operation with the Americans, and returned to Russia. He then moved on to Stockholm, where he met American writer Carl Sandburg, with whom he discussed the Bolshevik revolution.
In March 1919, Borodin participated in the first congress of the Communist International (Comintern) in Moscow. After the congress, he embarked on his first Comintern assignment, travelling with a falsified Mexican diplomatic passport. Borodin travelled through a variety of European countries, deposited Soviet funds in a Swiss bank account, and otherwise tried to raise money to finance the establishment of communist parties in the Americas. He then travelled to Santo Domingo, from which he booked passage to New York, where he arrived in August 1919. His mission was known to the American authorities, and as such he was briefly detained by the Bureau of Investigation upon arrival. After his release, he went on to his former home, Chicago, where the Socialist Party of America was embroiled in a dispute between its left wing, who wanted to establish a communist party and join the Comintern, and the "regulars", who were opposed. Borodin, conscious of the fact that his activities were being monitored, kept a low profile while in America, and on 4 October 1919, he slipped across the border into Mexico.
In Mexico, he met Indian revolutionary M. N. Roy, the American writers Carleton Beals and Michael Gold, and American communist Charles Phillips. Borodin taught Roy about the Russian Revolution and communism, and it was under Borodin's influence that he took up communist beliefs. Together with the newly emboldened Roy, he helped establish the Mexican Communist Party. During his time in Mexico, Borodin sent reports of Roy's exploits to Lenin, who subsequently invited him to attend the 2nd World Congress of the Comintern in Moscow, which would take place in July–August 1920.
Leaving Mexico in December 1919, Borodin, Roy, and Phillips travelled to western Europe, where they intended to spread the communist cause in the lead up to the congress, specifically hoping to establish a communist party in Spain. Arriving in Moscow in the weeks before the congress, Borodin introduced Roy to Lenin, after which he went on to become a major figure in the Comintern.
Borodin later returned to Britain, where he was tasked with ascertaining the cause of the revolution's failure there, and reorganising the British Communist Party. After several months of covert activities, he was jailed for six months on 29 August 1922 in Glasgow, ostensibly for breaking immigration regulations, though his political mission was known. He was then deported to Russia. Upon his arrival in Moscow, Lenin informed him that he had been chosen as the leader of a Comintern mission to China. He reached Beijing in the latter part of 1923, and arrived in Guangzhou, the seat of Sun Yat-sen's revolutionary government, on 6 October.
Following Sun Yat-sen's request for help from the Comintern, Borodin was ordered to lead a contingent of Soviet advisors to Guangzhou, where Sun had established a revolutionary government in the aftermath of the Constitutional Protection Movement. Borodin understood no Chinese; English was to be the medium of discussion between the two. He was known for speaking with a clear midwestern American accent that offered no indication of his Russian origin, allowing him to easily communicate with the largely anglophone and American-educated leadership of the Kuomintang (KMT).
Greeted upon his arrival in Guangzhou by Eugene Chen, with whom he later became close, Borodin found that Sun's government was teetering on the brink of collapse. Faced with rampant corruption, anti-Bolshevik feeling in parts of the KMT, and the ever-present threat of the warlords and the Beijing-based Beiyang government, Borodin was tasked with reforming the Kuomintang into a potent revolutionary force. He negotiated the First United Front between Sun's KMT and the nascent Communist Party of China (CPC), convincing that party, which consisted of only about 300 members at that time, that the alliance was in its long-term interest, as it would facilitate the organisation of both urban and rural workers.
Under Borodin's tutelage, both parties were reorganised on the Leninist principle of democratic centralism, and training institutes for mass organisation were established, such as the Peasant Training Institute, where the young Mao Zedong served, and the Whampoa Military Academy, which trained officers for the National Revolutionary Army (NRA) under the leadership of Chiang Kai-shek. He arranged shipments of Soviet arms and shrewdly kept a balance between the middle-class elements of the KMT and the more radical CPC.
When the forces of rebel general Chen Jiongming threatened Sun's base in Guangzhou in November 1923, Borodin proposed a mobilisation of the masses in defence of the city. To accomplish this, he suggested a promise of redistribution of landlord property to the local peasantry, an eight-hour working day for urban labourers, and a minimum wage. Sun rejected land reform because of strong opposition from some of his allies, though agreed to the proposals in principle, and offered a 25% rent reduction instead. In the event, Sun's military forces were able to drive the rebels away, and the rent reduction proposal was never implemented.
In 1924, KMT leaders gradually grew weary of the influence of the Communist Party. When Borodin was confronted on this subject, he stated that continued Soviet aid was linked to co-operation with the communists. Leading figures in the CPC, including Mao Zedong, however, came to advocate an end to co-operation. Borodin made clear to them that their continued participation in the United Front was both necessary and expected. When a group of American supporters of the KMT attempted to warn Sun of the danger of the growing Soviet influence in his party, asking, in a subtle anti-semitic attack, whether Sun knew Borodin's real name, Sun replied that it was "Lafayette". In the latter part of 1924, Borodin travelled to meet the "Christian General" Feng Yuxiang, whom he attempted to bring into the Kuomintang fold. Feng and Borodin got along well, and although Feng did not join the KMT at this juncture, he did allow KMT propagandists and agitators to embed with his army, bolstering its cause.
After Sun's death in 1925, the growth of a radical peasant and worker movement continued to be encouraged by the CPC, but was opposed by many in the KMT. The leftist wing of the KMT was strengthened by the Canton–Hong Kong strike, which broke out amidst anti-imperialist fervour after the British-run police force of the Shanghai International Settlement opened fire on Chinese protestors on 30 May 1925. Borodin wrote that: "[the Canton–Hong Kong strike] was really not an economic strike. It was the quintessence of the anti-imperialist movement and the most militant expression of that movement. That it concentrated on Great Britain was not a matter of specific policy. Had it been Formosa or the Philippines it would have been directed against Japan or America. It was a political strike pure and simple". Against this backdrop of rising leftist influence, in November 1925, a faction of anti-communist KMT members called the "Western Hills Group" met near Beijing, where they issued a declaration terminating Borodin's relationship with the KMT, and expelling all communists from the party. This pronouncement had no effect, and Chiang Kai-shek wrote an open letter defending Borodin, the communists, and the KMT's relationship with the Soviet Union.
At a Comintern conference in November 1926, Stalin explained his continued support for the KMT, saying that "The exit of Chinese communists from the Kuomintang would be the gravest error", going on to argue that the CPC needed to work through the new government, forming a bridge between the state and the peasantry. Borodin agreed, noting that the purpose of the Northern Expedition was "not the establishment of a proletarian state, but the creation of conditions which would give an impetus to the mass movement". In Borodin's view, the goal of the China mission was to facilitate a bourgeois-democratic revolution led by an alliance of workers, peasants, petite bourgeoisie and bourgeoisie, so as to create the conditions necessary for a future proletarian revolution. With tensions between the left and right threatening to break into armed conflict in Guangzhou, Borodin became convinced that it was necessary to expand the base of the anti-imperialist movement, providing adequate space for both factions. For this reason, he had agreed to support the Northern Expedition.
In a startling turn of events, Borodin's wife Fanya was captured by White Russian mercenaries employed by warlord Zhang Zongchang whilst travelling on board the ship Pamyat Lenina between Shanghai and Wuhan on 28 February 1927, after which she was held hostage in Jinan, Shandong. Borodin's anxieties heightened even further in April 1927, when Chiang initiated a new purge of KMT leftists and communists, known as the "Shanghai Massacre". Borodin and the communists then sided with the left-wing KMT government in Wuhan led by Wang Jingwei and Eugene Chen against Chiang's rival Nanjing government. KMT attacks on communists and peasant leaders would continue, however, and even Wuhan army leader Tang Shengzhi's forces harassed local communist groups, preventing their access to Wuhan's armouries.
Borodin and Roy were blamed for the failure of Stalin's China strategy. Upon their arrival in Moscow, Roy was refused an audience with Stalin, and later fled the USSR with Borodin's help. Borodin, on the other hand, was protected by Stalin, and worked a variety of jobs, including deputy director of the Soviet paper and lumber trust, factory inspector, and as a specialist dealing with immigrants from America at the People's Commissariat for Labour. In 1931, he reconnected with Anna Louise Strong, with whom he had travelled during his trek out of China. Strong had earlier expressed the desire to start an English-language Soviet newspaper. With Borodin's help, she founded the Moscow News in 1930. In 1932, Borodin became editor-in-chief of the newspaper. From 1941, he concurrently served as editor-in-chief of the Soviet Information Bureau. In early 1949, following Strong's attempts to publish a manuscript about the success of Maoism in China, and amidst an antisemitic fervour that had gripped the country following Israel's turn away from the Soviet Union, Borodin and Strong were arrested and the paper shut down. Borodin died two years later on 29 May 1951 at a prison camp near Yakutsk.
Gamarnik was born in Zhytomyr into a Jewish family as Jakov Tzudikovich Gamarnik. He attended the St Petersburg Psychoneurological Institute and the Law School of Kiev University. In 1917 he became a member and the secretary of the Kiev committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. From 1921 to 1923 Gamarnik was a chairman of the Kiev city council (see Mayor of Kiev). During his administration Kiev was divided into five districts. He went through many Communist Party positions, both civil and military, e.g. a First Secretary of the Belarusian Communist Party of Belorussia from December 1928 to October 1929.
He was instrumental in preparing the 10-year development plan for the Far-Eastern region of the USSR. He was a member of the Central Committee elected by the 17th Congress of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks). He attended the Plenum of February 23, 1937. An idealist, Gamarnik was a staunch supporter of Marshal Tukhachevsky's drive to make USSR a military superpower. In 1937 Gamarnik was accused of participating in an anti-Soviet conspiracy after the Case of Trotskyist Anti-Soviet Military Organization; however, shortly before the trial he had actually been called upon by the Soviet government to be one of the judges for the accused. He insisted on Tukhachevsky's innocence and later committed suicide before he could be punished for his actions. Only after this was he added to the list of conspirators.
Martin Gray (born Mieczysław Grajewski) is an alledged Holocaust survivor who emigrated to the West, and published books in French about his purported experiences during World War II in which his family were claimed to have perished in Poland.
Grajewski (pseudonym "Zamojski") joined the Red Army during the Soviet counter-offensive and became an officer of the NKVD secret police in August 1944. He was tasked with breaking up Polish anti-communist underground in the area of Zambrów. By his own admission, Gray slept at the local NKVD headquarters with a pistol in his hand for security.
Holocaust historian Gitta Sereny dismissed Gray's book as a forgery in a 1979 article in New Statesman magazine, writing that "Gray's For Those I Loved was the work of Max Gallo the ghostwriter: "During the research for a Sunday Times inquiry into Gray's work, M. Gallo informed me coolly that he 'needed' a long chapter on Treblinka because the book required something strong for pulling in readers. When I myself told Gray, the 'author', that he had manifestly never been to, nor escaped from Treblinka, he finally asked, despairingly, 'But does it matter? Wasn't the only thing that Treblinka did happen, that it should be written about, and that some Jews should be shown to have been heroic?'" Pierre Vidal-Naquet, a French historian who first followed the idea of Gitta Sereny, has been persuaded by certificates provided by Martin Gray and withdrew his accusations against him. Nevertheless, he continued to blame Max Gallo for taking liberties with the truth.
A UK government effort to monitor civilian morale during the second world war had links to one of the most successful Soviet spies to operate in the country, according to a warning contained in newly-released intelligence files. The alarm is raised in a letter declassified with other files from MI5, the domestic security service, on Tuesday by the National Archives. The document pointed out the close relationship between Oscar Deutsch, founder of the Odeon cinema chain — whose managers were surveyed to gauge public opinion during the war, and his relative Arnold Deutsch, a clandestine Soviet intelligence officer.
Operating for just three years in the UK between 1934 and 1937, Arnold Deutsch obtained significant intelligence about the capabilities of the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force and recruited British foreign intelligence officer Kim Philby and other members of the Cambridge spy ring. Oscar Deutsch twice tried to employ Arnold, an Austrian who was in the UK on a student visa to study psychology, as an “industrial psychologist” to work for the cinema chain, the files show. The Home Office rejected the applications on the grounds a UK citizen could do the job. Some papers say Arnold and Oscar were cousins while others describe Oscar as Arnold’s uncle.
The letter was written in 1940 when Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union still had a “non-aggression pact” with Adolf Hitler’s Germany, meaning it was in effect in the opposing camp in the war. An anonymous intelligence officer wrote the letter to Kenneth Younger, a military intelligence officer, to accompany a note received from a Mrs Longhurst of Worthing. She had raised concern about the “unpatriotic views” of a Hedley Morton who, the letter suggests, managed an Odeon.
The officer revealed the Ministry of Information was gathering information about morale from managers at the more than 200 Odeons. They were being asked how people in their area were coping with their “anxieties in general”, what local feeling was towards refugees and aliens and how the morale of local children was being affected by the war, the letter said. It went on: “I took this up as I have for some time suspected Oscar Deutsch, not perhaps of himself carrying out Soviet military espionage activity, but deliberately obtaining permits for this country for persons who were with or without his knowledge engaged on that work.”