…by Jonas E. Alexis
Israel Shamir has been wandering outside the historical scholarship by positing things like the number of people killed by the Bolshevik regime has been exaggerated. Here is Shamir at his best:
“Two best and most reliable documents regarding numbers of imprisoned and killed in Stalin’s days are (1) The Attorney General et al report to Nikita Khrushchev in 1954, saying 2.5 million were imprisoned for all Soviet period, and 600 thousand sentenced to death, and (2) Dr Victor Zemskov painstaking research, well known for its thoroughness.
“Zemskov had studied activities of the state security bodies from 1921 to 1954, and he discovered that in this period 650 thousand persons have been sentenced to death (not all of them were actually executed) and 2.3 million were sentenced to prison terms. That’s for 33 difficult years of Stalin’s rule. That’s all, folks.”
He’s got to be kidding. As E. Michael Jones has told me yesterday: “This is another example of Shamir’s nostalgia for the Soviet Union. It’s an attempt to rehabilitate by saying that Stalin didn’t kill that many people and that the Bolsheviks weren’t dominated by Jews. This flies in the face of the evidence provided by Erich Haberer, Johannes Rogalla von Bieberstein, and Salo Baron, just to name three sources.”
Shamir is obviously ignoring serious archival documents. By 1937, two years before Hitler came to power, Stalin had already starved and executed as many as ten million peasants. This period in history—from 1929-1937—is known as the Red Holocaust. By 1938, a total of 9.7 million perished, and from 1939 until 1953, another 9 million lost their lives. From 1937-1939, Stalin executed 50,000 clergymen alone.
Stalin’s terrorism began as early as 1918, when “he ordered the execution of all suspected counter-revolutionaries. Stalin burned villages in the countryside to intimidate the peasants and discourage bandit raids on food supplies a decade before he became Red tsar.” Even after World War II, Stalin did not stop terrorizing the peasants. Minority groups such as the Greeks, Germans, Turks, Orthodox Christians, Lithuanians, and Vlasovites also fell prey to Stalin’s ethnic cleansing.
Historian Robert Conquest details the same thing in nearly most of his studies, most particularly in The Harvest of Sorrow and The Great Terror. Norman M. Nairmark of Princeton declared in his study Stalin’s Genocide that Stalin did “the great terror” deliberately and systematically, calling the peasants “enemies of the people,” “swine,” “dogs,” “cockroaches,” “scum,” “vermin,” “filth,” and even “garbage.”
Lenin also persecuted the Russian Orthodox Church. He passionately declared in 1922,
“Now and only now, when there is cannibalism in the famine areas and hundreds, if not thousands, of corpses are lying on the roads, we can (and therefore must) carry out the confiscation of Church valuables with the most furious and merciless energy, not stopping at the crushing of any resistance…Therefore I come to the inevitable conclusion that it is now that we must give the most decisive and merciless battle to the obscurantist clergy and crush its resistance with such cruelty that they won’t forget it for several decades.”
Historian Donald Rayfield of the University of London, who is not even a church sympathizer, noted, “In the parishes some 2,700 priests and 5,000 monks and nuns perished. Across Russia there were 1,400 bloody confrontations between Cheka or Red Army and parishioners, and over 200 trials. On March 20, 1922, the Cheka ‘indicted’ Patriarch Tikhon for counterrevolutionary activity despite the latter’s eagerness to compromise; Trotsky wanted to arrest the entire Holy Synod.” Senior clerics were arrested in Moscow and some were shot and sentenced to death.
Rosefielde notes, “Communism is indelibly stained by the Red Holocaust. Nonetheless, the will to deny, blur, soften, mitigate and pardon communist high crimes against humanity persists for complex personal, partisan, academic, cultural, political and pragmatic reasons.” According to Rosefielde, Stalin was involved in the ethnic cleansing of the peasants by violent means, including executions, terror, and starvation, beginning with an attempt in 1917.
We see the same pattern in Communist China, where Mao “forcibly collectivized the peasantry.” In the end, Communist China was responsible for the death of at least forty million—and this is straight for the Chinese archives.
So Shamir is certainly out of his depth here. But he then went on to make this vacuous move: Jews were never “the leading force of the [Bolshevik] Revolution.” According to Shamir, the notion that Jews played a leading role in the Revolution is a complete myth. “This particular fib had been invented in 1920s; it was popular in 1930s; it had been forgotten to such an extent that nowadays the Communists are supposed to be anti-Semites in modern discourse.”
Shamir agrees that “many did, for Jews are active people, and many of them supported the revolution for the best of reasons.” They are just “active people” and “supported the revolution for the best of reasons”? Well, Shamir provided no serious documentation for this vacuous statement. Shamir makes similar claims throughout his article and leaves the scene without serious historical backup.
According to Shamir, “the standard narrative history” in the West produces fantastic figures about the Soviet Union. Why? Well, “The main reason,” Shamir tells us, “is fear of communism, a very reasonable and justifiable (for rich guys) fear of losing their millions and billions. It makes sense for them to spend some of their capital persuading you that Communism is bad for you, while it is only bad for them.”
This again flies in the face of what we know about the Soviet Union. Shamir seems to forget that there was a pro-Bolshevik attitude in the West. In fact, much of the Western media did not want to publish the atrocities that were taking place in the Soviet Union.
The pro-Bolshevik attitude even reached America. Bennett Cerf, Jewish founder of Random House, “suggested withdrawing books critical of the Soviet Union” during World War II. When the Soviet Union was starving its people, Walter Duranty, an Anglo-American journalist who served as the Moscow Bureau Chief of the New York Times for fourteen years, wrote, “There is no famine or actual starvation, nor is there likely to be,” a statement that was met with praise.”
Duranty “He received a Pulitzer Prize, the Pulitzer panel commending him for his reports, ‘marked by scholarship, profundity, impartiality, sound judgment and exceptional charity.’ Meanwhile, British writer Malcolm Muggeridge reported from the Ukraine that peasants there were in fact starving: ‘I mean starving in its absolute sense; not undernourished as, for instance, most Oriental peasants…and some unemployed workers in Europe, but having had for weeks next to nothing to eat.’ Muggeridge was vilified and was unable to get work as a writer, after his dispatches from the Soviet Union, and was so financially strapped that he, his wife and two small children had to move in with friends.” Scholars such as Robert Conquest would later prove Muggeridge right.
Since the Soviet Union was largely controlled by Jewish revolutionaries, many Jewish-run publishers, newspapers, and magazines at the time did not want to portray the Soviet Union in a negative light. And Muggeridge was not the only one who was speaking out. Despite intense Communist leanings during the early years of the nineteenth century, and marriage to Russian Communist Arcadi Berdichevsky, Freda Utley changed her mind when faced with the consequences of Stalinism:
“In Moscow she speedily became disillusioned with the Soviet regime but managed to keep control of her tongue throughout her years in ‘the Hell of Communist tyranny.’ Then on 11 April 1936 her husband was arrested and was sentenced to five years in prison. Freda never saw her husband again and left the USSR ten years later ‘with my political beliefs and my personal happiness shattered.’”
When Soviet ambassador Konstantin Umanskii landed in the United States, “he declined forcefully even to see Freda in Washington (‘That bitch! Never!’).”
Many pro-Communist publishers in the United States and England flatly refused to publish her works, particularly her anti-Communist book The Dream We Lost: Soviet Russia Then and Now. When her book finally made it into print in 1940, it
“gave deep offence to the ‘totalitarian liberal cohorts’ of the Western intelligentsia. Freda had…become ‘a premature anti-Communist,’ and paid a heavy price for her conversion. Friends of the Soviet Union began to campaign for her deportation, creating a threat which hung over her head for four years. Congressman Jerry Voorhis introduced in March 1941 a private bill ‘for the relief of Freda Utley’ from the provisions of Alien Registration Act of 1941, a bill which was not finally passed until October 1944…
“For some years Freda found it difficult to secure contracts with publishers. She was also refused engagements as a lecturer. She did indeed become a member of the department of politics advisory council at Princeton University but she never secured a full-time academic appointment, much as she would have liked to secure such a niche.”
In order to support his thesis, Shamir showed a picture of the first Soviet government which indicated that only Trotsky was Jewish among the revolutionaries. Once again Shamir has to dump history in order to support this theory. In other words, showing a simple picture disproves just about everything we know about the Bolshevik Revolution and the leading figures in the movement! Shamir made no attempt to interact with people who have produced scholarly and archival documents on this very issue. This is really embarrassing.
For example, Erich Haberer produces names after names in his scholarly study Jews and Revolution in Nineteenth-Century Russia, which was published by Cambridge University Press. Bolshevism was clearly a Jewish movement. In 1919, the Jewish Chronicle boasted that “the ideals of Bolshevism at many points are consonant with the finest ideals of Judaism.” Jewish historian Yuri Slezkine himself agrees with the thesis that Jews played a disproportionate role in the Bolshevik Revolution.
Slezkine notes in his widely read study The Jewish Century that a number of Russian Jewish intellectuals wrote a collection of essays in 1923 entitled Russia and the Jews, in which they argued throughout that Jews committed a “bitter sin” in the Revolution. I. M. Berkerman, one of the contributors, lamented that “it goes without saying that not all Jews are Bolsheviks and not all Bolsheviks are Jews, but what is equally obvious is that disproportionate and immeasurably fervent Jewish participation in the torment of half-dead Russia by the Bolsheviks.”
To cite all the scholarly sources which unequivocally show that Bolshevism was an essentially Jewish movement is unnecessary here. Let us finish with this point by citing “Stalin’s Jews,” an article which was published by Jewish writer Sever Plocker. Plocker writes:
“An Israeli student finishes high school without ever hearing the name ‘Genrikh Yagoda,’ the greatest Jewish murderer of the 20th Century, the GPU’s deputy commander and the founder and commander of the NKVD. Yagoda diligently implemented Stalin’s collectivization orders and is responsible for the deaths of at least 10 million people.
“His Jewish deputies established and managed the Gulag system. After Stalin no longer viewed him favorably, Yagoda was demoted and executed, and was replaced as chief hangman in 1936 by Yezhov, the ‘bloodthirsty dwarf.’
“Yezhov was not Jewish but was blessed with an active Jewish wife. In his Book ‘Stalin: Court of the Red Star,’ Jewish historian Sebag Montefiore writes that during the darkest period of terror, when the Communist killing machine worked in full force, Stalin was surrounded by beautiful, young Jewish women.
“Stalin’s close associates and loyalists included member of the Central Committee and Politburo Lazar Kaganovich. Montefiore characterizes him as the ‘first Stalinist’ and adds that those starving to death in Ukraine, an unparalleled tragedy in the history of human kind aside from the Nazi horrors and Mao’s terror in China, did not move Kaganovich.
“Many Jews sold their soul to the devil of the Communist revolution and have blood on their hands for eternity. We’ll mention just one more: Leonid Reichman, head of the NKVD’s special department and the organization’s chief interrogator, who was a particularly cruel sadist.
“In 1934, according to published statistics, 38.5 percent of those holding the most senior posts in the Soviet security apparatuses were of Jewish origin. They too, of course, were gradually eliminated in the next purges. In a fascinating lecture at a Tel Aviv University convention this week, Dr. Halfin described the waves of soviet terror as a ‘carnival of mass murder,’ ‘fantasy of purges,’ and ‘essianism [sic] of evil.’ Turns out that Jews too, when they become captivated by messianic ideology, can become great murderers, among the greatest known by modern history.
“The Jews active in official communist terror apparatuses (In the Soviet Union and abroad) and who at times led them, did not do this, obviously, as Jews, but rather, as Stalinists, communists, and ‘Soviet people.’ Therefore, we find it easy to ignore their origin and ‘play dumb.’”
Shamir cannot just wiggle out of all of this by presenting a picture or a few statements here and there without any meaningful interaction with serious historical data and then declare victory by saying, “That’s all folks.” That’s just plain silly.
-  Steven Rosefielde, Red Holocaust (New York: Routledge, 2010), 50.
-  Ibid., 20.
-  Ibid., 44.
-  Ibid., 42.
-  Ibid., 46.
-  Ibid., 79-80.
-  Robert Conquest, The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987); The Great Terror: A Reassessment (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990).
-  Norman M. Naimark, Stalin’s Genocides (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010).
-  Donald Rayfield, Stalin and His Hangmen: The Tyrant and Those Who Killed for Him (New York: Random House, 2005), 126.
-  Ibid., 126.
-  Ibid, 126-127.
-  Rosefielde, Red Holocaust, 7.
-  Ibid., 35.
-  Ibid., 103.
-  Frank Dikotter, Mao’s Great Famine: The History of China’s Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958-62 (London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2010).
-  Daniel J. Flynn, A Conservative History of the American Left (New York: Crown Forum, 2008), 214
-  Thomas Sowell, Intellectuals and Society (New York: Basic Books, 2009), 122-123
-  Hugh Cortazzi, Britain and Japan: Biographical Portraits, Vol IV (London: Taylor & Francis, 2002), 364.
-  Ibid., 366.
-  Ibid., 367-368.
-  Cortazzi, Britain and Japan, 368.
-  Erich Haberer, Jews and Revolution in Nineteenth-Century Russia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995).
-  Timothy P. Weber, On the Road to Armageddon: How Evangelicals Became Israel’s Best Friend (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2005), 135.
-  Yuri Slezkine, The Jewish Century (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004), chapter 3.
-  Slezkine, The Jewish Century, 183.
-  Sever Plocker, “Stalin’s Jews,” Y-Net News, December 21, 2006.