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Perfect Symmetries and Self-Absolution: Stalin’s Anti-Semitism?


Domenico Losurdo

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5. The Distortion of History and the Construction of a Mythology: Stalin and Hitler as Twin Monsters

Perfect Symmetries and Self-Absolution: Stalin’s Anti-Semitism?

For however sophisticated the game of analogies may be, the construction of the myth of the two twin monsters doesn’t appear to be completed quite yet. Despite the efforts to make the Ukrainian Holodomor correspond to the Jewish Holocaust, in the consciousness of our time the name Auschwitz causes an entirely unique horror. Maybe the association of Stalin to Hitler could be considered definitive if the former was affected by the madness that led to the Judeocide carried out by the latter.

Khrushchev recalls that, towards the end of his life, Stalin had suspicions that the doctors who treated the country’s leaders were in fact participants in an imperialist conspiracy that aimed at decapitating the Soviet Union. The Secret Report doesn’t mention it, but there was no small number  of Jews among the doctors under suspicion.635 And from there one can begin adding some depth to the portrait of the Soviet monster with a new and decisive detail: “the deep antisemitism of Stalin and his followers”, Medvedev declares, “was not a secret to anyone." 

634. Losurdo (2007), ch. 1, § 5.

635. Khrushchev (1958), pp. 198-202.

On the “official antisemitism of the Soviet State”, Hobsbawm specifies, “there are undeniable vestiges since the foundation of the State of Israel in 1948." The American historian on ethnic cleansing and racial hatred that we’ve already encountered goes a bit further back: “By the end of the war, Stalin had shared many aspects of Hitler’s antisemitism." Furet goes even further: “Since the start of Hitlerism, Stalin never showed the most minimal compassion for the Jews."636 Naturally, Conquest is the most radical of them all: “always latent in Stalin’s spirit”, the antisemitism began to show in full force “starting from 1942-1943” till becoming “generalized” in 1948.637 It’s at this point that the construction of the  myth of the two twin monsters can be considered completed.

Before analyzing the extreme fragility of that construction, it ought to be noted that it’s simultaneously useful in repressing the West’s serious responsibility in the tragedy that the Jews suffer in the twentieth century. It’s a tragedy with three acts and a prologue. In 1911 Chamberlain’s book (The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century) is translated into English, entirely dedicated to reading world history from a racial perspective (Aryan and antisemitic). Now it can be truly understood the leading role played by the Anglo-German author as the maítre à penser of Nazism. Especially exalted in tone is Goebbels who, upon seeing him sick and bedridden, offers a prayer of sorts: “Good  health to you, father of our spirit. Precursor, pioneer!”638 In no less inspired terms, Chamberlain, in turn, sees in Hitler a type of savior, and not just for Germany.639 After seizing power, and while passionately absorbed in the task of leading the war that he has unleashed, the Führer warmly recalls the encouragement that Chamberlain offered to him during his time in prison.640

So, how was this work which was crucial to the Nazi worldview and racial ideology received in the West? In Britain, the reaction from the press is enthusiastic, beginning with The Times, which endlessly applauds the masterpiece and praises it as “one of the rare books that has some importance." On the other side of the Atlantic, the review by an authoritative statesman like Theodore Roosevelt is overwhelmingly positive.641 On the opposing side, it’s Kautsky who expresses his full disdain for Chamberlain and other “racial theorists”; at that time (before the start of the war) Kautsky is venerated as a maestro to the workers movement and the socialist movement as a whole, including by Stalin. 

636. Medvedev (1977), p.  629; Hobsbawm (1991(, p.  204; Nairmark (2002), p.  108; Furet (1995), p.


637. Conquest (1992), p. 290.

638. Goebbels (1992), p. 247 (diary entry from May 8th, 1926).

639. Fest (1973), p. 259.

640. Hitler (1980), p. 224 (conversation from 24-25 of January, 1942).

641. Poliakov (1987), p. 365.

 The later in 1907 defines the German author as a “distinguished theorist of social  democracy”,  due  in  part  to  his  contribution  to  the  analysis  and  the  denunciation  of antisemitism and the “pogroms against Jews” in Tsarist Russia.642

Let’s now turn to the first act of the tragedy. It unfolds in pre-revolutionary Russia, an ally of the Entente during World War I. Discriminated against and oppressed, the Jews are suspected of sympathizing with the enemy and the German invader. The Russian general-staff warns of their espionage activities. Some are kept as hostages and threatened with execution should the “Jewish community” show a lack of patriotic loyalty; alleged spies are executed.643 That’s not all. At the start of 1915, in the areas attacked by the German army, a mass deportation is ordered. A representative in the Duma describes the details of the operation as follows: in Radom, at 11pm, the population is informed that it must leave the city, under the threat that anyone found by dawn will be hanged [...]. Due to the lack of means of transportation, the elderly and the disabled must be carried out by hand. Police and soldiers treat the Jews as criminals. In one case, a train was completely sealed shut, and when it's finally reopened, most of those inside were dying. Of the half a million Jews subjected to deportation measures, one hundred thousand didn’t survive.644

The October Revolution breaks out in the wake of the struggle against the war and the horrors that accompany it. It’s inspired by Marx and Engels, who had written in the middle of the nineteenth century: “the times of superstition have passed, when revolution was blamed on the subversion of a handful of agitators."645 Unfortunately, it’s a prediction that was catastrophically mistaken. The rise to power in Russia of a movement that’s inspired by “Marx, the Jew”, and has a strong Jewish presence in its leadership, inaugurates the age in which the conspiracy theory celebrates its triumph. In a Russia torn apart by civil war, pogroms and massacres against Jews―considered to be those controlling Bolshevism―are the order of the day. The new Soviet power is committed to stopping this horror: tough new laws are issued and Lenin demands the elimination “of hostility against Jews and the hatred of other nations” during a speech that’s recorded so that it can reach millions of illiterate people.646 

642. Kautsky (1972), pp. 473-74; cf. Stalin (1971-1973), vol. 2, p. 1 (=Stalin, 1962-1956, vol. 2, pp. 13 onwards).

643. Lincoln (1994), p. 141.

644. Levin (1990), vol. 1, pp. 28-29.

645.646. Lenin (1955-1970): vol. 29, pp. 229-30.

 Britain, France, and the United States remained on the side of the Whites, and at times they actively participated in the bloody antisemitic agitation. In the summer of 1918, the British forces that land in Northern Russia distributed antisemitic flyers by air on a massive scale.647 Some months later pogroms of a tremendous dimension take place in which around seventy- thousand Jews lost their lives. “They say that the allies, then concentrated on their invasion of Russia, had secretly supported the pogroms."648 It’s a preview, authoritative historians observe, to the “crimes of Nazism” and the “extermination during World War II”,649 and it’s a preview that sees active British participation, leading the anti-Bolshevik crusade at that time.

We thus arrive at the third act. Despite Western aid, the Whites are defeated by the Bolsheviks and emigrate to the West, bringing with them the denunciation of the October Revolution as a Judeo- Bolshevik conspiracy, and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion confirm that understanding beyond any doubt.

All of this doesn’t come without consequences. In England, the “official publishers of His Majesty” print the English edition of The Protocols, soon after cited by The Times as the proof of a secret plot that was threatening the West.650 It then develops into a campaign to which Winston Churchill is no stranger, who takes part in denouncing the role of Judaism not only in Russia, but in the whole cycle of subversion that, starting in the eighteenth century, had shaken the West:

This movement among Jews is not new. It has grown since the days of Spartakus Weishaupt [the Bavarian Illuminati] until the days of Karl Marx, and later Trotsky (Russia), Bela Kun (Hungary), Rosa Luxemburg (Germany) and Emma Goldman (United States), this world conspiracy for the overthrow of civilization and for the transformation of society into one based on restricted development, on a wicked jealousy and on an impossible equality. As has been wisely demonstrated by a contemporary author, Mr. Webster, [this movement] had a leading role in the tragedy of the French Revolution. It constituted the motor behind all subversive tendencies in the nineteenth century, and now that band of extraordinary personalities, coming from out of the slums of the major European and American cities, have grabbed the Russian people by the neck, and in practice, have become the undeniable masters of a powerful state.651

647. Poliakov (1974-1990), vol. 4, p. 233.

648. Mosse (1990), p. 176.

649. Cohn (1967), p. 128; Mayer (1990), p. 7.

650. Poliakov (1974-1990), vol. 4, pp. 234 and 240-41.

651. Schmid (1974), p. 313.

 As late as 1937, while expressing a positive opinion on Hitler, Churchill incessantly stresses the Jewish origins of a central leader of Bolshevik Russia, that is, “Trotsky, also known as Lev Bronstein." Yes, “he had always been a Jew. Nothing could wipe out that characteristic."652

On the other side of the Atlantic, It’s Henry Ford who encourages the promotion of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Ford declares: “The Russian Revolution has a racial origin, not a political one”, and it, in making use of humanitarian and socialist slogans, in reality expresses a “racial aspiration for world domination."653 Aside from the American auto-industry tycoon, it’s the champions of white supremacy who stands out the most for their denunciation of the hidden Jewish control of the revolutionary movement that’s―after having overthrown the Tsarist regime―undermining the foundations of the West. Madison Grant warns of the “Semitic leadership” over “Bolshevism”, and Lothrop Stoddard classifies the “Bolshevik regime of Soviet Russia” as “largely Jewish."654 Stoddard becomes the author of reference to two American presidents. (infra, ch. 8, § 3).

In this climate, voices arise in North American republic that call for radical measures with the aim  of confronting “Jewish Imperialism, and its ultimate objective of establishing Jewish domination over the world." A hard fate―even more threatening voices rage―awaits the people responsible for this vile project: they suggest “massacres of Jews [...] such that were considered unthinkable until now”, therefore, “of an unprecedented scale in modern times."655

Reading these recurring convictions in Churchill, Ford, and the other American authors cited above, we are led to think of the antisemitic agitation carried in even more inflammatory tones by the Nazis. From the anti-Bolshevik emigration they find not only ideas, but also the financial means, as well as an important number of militants and personnel656 One only has to think of Rosenberg, one of the major figures who defines the October Revolution as a Jewish conspiracy.

As one can see, from its start, the tragedy of the Jewish people in the twentieth century has the active participation of the liberal West and both pre-revolutionary and counter-revolutionary Russia. All of that is wiped out by the accusation of antisemitism directed at the person who had for more time than any other led the country that emerged from the October Revolution, or the “Judeo- Bolshevik conspiracy.”

652. Baker (2008), pp. 70-71.

653. Ford (1933), pp. 128 and 145.

654. Grant (1971), p. Xxxxi; Stoddard (1984), p. 152.

655. Bendersky (2000), pp. 58, 54, and 96.

656. Fest (1973), p. 201; Poliakov (1974-1990), vol. 4, p. 362.

 Antisemitism and Colonial Racism: The Churchill-Stalin Polemic

The black legend that we are analyzing also allows them to hide the colonial racism and the racism of colonial origin that still raged in the West during the twentieth century. In regards to that, the significance of the historic rupture represented by Lenin is summarized in these terms by Stalin:

Before, the colonial question was usually limited to a restricted group of problems that had to do with “civilized” nations: the Irish, Hungarians, Polish, Finnish, Serbs, and some other European nationalities. That was the group of peoples, deprived of equal rights, whose fate interested the heroes of the Second International. Dozens and hundreds of millions of men belonging to the peoples of Asia and Africa, who suffered national oppression in its most brutal and ferocious forms, were generally not taken into consideration. It was decided not to put whites and blacks on the same level, “civilized” and “uncivilized” [...]. Leninism has exposed this scandalous injustice; he toppled the wall that separated whites and blacks, Europeans and Asians, “civilized” and “uncivilized” slaves of imperialism, in that way linking the national question with the colonial question.657

This is in 1924. These are in years in which an American author, Stoddard, enjoys great success on both sides of the Atlantic in denouncing the mortal threat to the West and the white race represented by the agitation of the colonial peoples (stimulated and encouraged by Bolsheviks), or the “growing tide of colored peoples."658 This tendency celebrating white supremacy continues to be vibrant in the following decades.

While Stalin also condemns the process of racialization put in place by the West at the expense of the peoples of Asia, it’s interesting to analyze the ideology that manifests itself in the United States during the war against Japan. The press and the ever present propaganda warns against the “racial threat”: we are facing “a holy war, a racial war”, “an unending war between Eastern and Western ideas." There’s a recurring dehumanization of the enemy, reduced to subhumans or actual animals.

657. Stalin (1971-1973), vol. 6, pp. 122-23 (=Stalin, 1952, pp. 59-60).

658. Stoddard (1971).

And it's an ideology with which the leadership in the Roosevelt administration is not unfamiliar.659

Moreover, colonial racism in some ways continues to manifest itself in the capitals of the West even after the collapse of the Empire of the Rising Sun and the Third Reich. In Fulton, in March of  1946, Churchill inaugurates the propaganda campaign for the Cold War, condemning not only an “Iron Curtain” and the “totalitarian control” imposed by the Soviet Union on Eastern Europe, but also celebrating, in opposition to all that, the “English speaking peoples” and the “English speaking world” as the champions of freedom and “Christian Civilization” that will lead the world.660 It’s understandable then the angry response from Stalin: the British statesman is accused of having formulated a “racial theory” no different to the one embraced by Hitler; “only English speaking nations are authentic nations, called upon to decide the destiny of the whole world."661 The simplifications of the Cold War are evident in that response. However, there’s no lack of similarities between the celebration of the English speaking peoples and Aryan mythology. From a linguistic community it’s implied the unity of the race that speaks the language; and as evidence for the excellence of that race, they cite the cultural products of the Aryan languages or the English language. In his correspondence with Eisenhower, the language used by Churchill is even more unsettling: the “English speaking world” is synonymous with the “white English-speaking people." Its “unity” is absolutely necessary.662 The “differences between the races closely bound to Europe” must be liquidated once and for all, differences which have caused two world wars.663 The threat arising from the colonial world and outside the West can be confronted only in that way. Thus, it’s understood the appeal made in 1953 by Churchill, primarily to the United States: It’s necessary to support Britain in its conflict with Egypt “with the aim of preventing a massacre of  white people."664

It’s not only Arabs who are alien to the white race. The communist world, that encourages the revolt of the colonial peoples against the white man, is the expression of “an aggressive semi-Asiatic totalitarianism."665 Clearly, the Cold War tends to be interpreted as a clash between the West, “Christian civilization”, and the white race―led by the “English speaking world” or by the “white

659. Dower (1986), pp. 6-11; Losurdo (1997), ch. IV, section 4.

660. Churchill (1974), pp. 7285-93.

661. Stalin (1971-1973), vol. 15, pp. 30-31 (= Stalin, 1953, p. 36).

662. Boyle (1990), p. 34 (letter to American president Eisenhower from April 5th, 1953). 663. Churchill (1974), p. 7291.

664. Boyle (1990), p. 25 (letter from Churchill to Eisenhower from February 18th, 1953). 665. Churchill (1974), p. 7835 (speech from July 23rd, 1949; my italics.

English-speaking people”―on the one hand, and the barbarians of the colonial and communist world on the other. In this context, the celebration of both the “British Empire” as well as the “British race” fits perfectly.666 And given that there will be no reference to the fact that the extermination of the Jews occurred in the heart of the West and the white world, and was perpetuated by one of the “races most closely related to Europe”, so nothing will be said of the continued oppression suffered by African Americans in the United States of white supremacy.

In Eisenhower, the celebration of the “Western world” and ”Western morality”667 also tends to assume racial connotations at times. Speaking with Hoover and Dulles in July of 1956, he observes that, with the nationalization of the Suez canal, Nasser aims to “topple the white man."668 Still fresh is the memory of the Korean War, carried out by Washington―an American historian recognizes―with a disdainful attitude toward “an inferior nation” (the Chinese).669

Trotsky and the Accusation of Anti-Semitism against Stalin

Let’s return, however, to the accusation of antisemitism made against Stalin. Endorsed by no small number of historians, it would seem irrefutable. Yet, despite the incontestable tone, the condemnations are difficult to square with one another, given they proceed from different and opposing reconstructions of the crimes whose origin is increasingly located further back in time: 1948, 1945, 1933, or in the years before the October Revolution.

666.  Churchill  (1974),  pp.  7288,  7293  (speech  from  March  5th,  1946)  and  7902  (speech from

December 1st, 1949).

667. Boyle (1990), pp. 53-54.

668. Frieberger (1992), p. 164/

669. Chen Yang (1994), pp. 50 and 170.

 In attempting to orient ourselves, let’s ask a different question, that in any case is a preliminary one: when was the first time Stalin was accused or suspected of antisemitism? In that case, rather than Khrushchev, we must go back to Trotsky who, in 1937, together with the “Betrayal of the Revolution”, denounces the reemergence of the barbarism of antisemitism in the Soviet Union  itself: “Until this point of history, there’s been no example of a reaction that has followed a revolutionary advance that’s not been accompanied by the most foul and chauvinistic passions, including antisemitism!”670 Rather than an empirical investigation, we are dealing with a syllogism constructed a priori: reaction, whose result is necessarily antisemitism, has unfortunately triumphed in the country ruled by Stalin, so therefore… In liquidating the Bolshevik conquests, Thermidor was reopening the doors to the horrors of the old regime: together with religious superstition, the cult to private property, inheritance, and the family; unavoidable was the reappearance of animosity between nations, and especially the hatred of Jews. It’s not by chance that this denunciation is found in a work that in its very title directly and tightly links Thermidor and Anti-Semitism:

The October Revolution put an end to the outcast status of Jews. But that doesn’t in any way mean that it has forever wiped out antisemitism. The long and continuous struggle against religion doesn’t prevent thousands and thousands of the faithful from filling the churches, mosques, and synagogues. The same situation dominates the field of national prejudices. Legislation alone doesn’t change men. Their thoughts, their sentiments, their visions depend on tradition, the material conditions of life, their cultural level, etc. The Soviet regime isn’t yet twenty years old. Half the population, the oldest, were education under Tsarism. The other half, the youngest, inherited much from the older half.

Nevertheless, these general and historical conditions ought to allow each thinking man to recognize this fact: despite the exemplary legislation of the October Revolution, it’s impossible that national and chauvinistic prejudices, especially antisemitism, have not stubbornly survived among the most backward segments of the population.671

Arguing in that way, Trotsky shifted his attention from the state to civil society, from the subjective level to the objective level, from the momentary character of political action to the long duration of historical processes. By definition, the weight of a secular tradition couldn’t miraculously disappear in the segments of the population that had not yet fully adopted modern and revolutionary culture. But what sense was there, then, in accusing a regime or leadership group, who had in no way altered the “exemplary legislation” approved by the Bolsheviks, and who, in committing to a colossal process of industrialization, expanding literacy and access to culture, had continuously restricted the social and geographic areas in which “national and chauvinistic prejudices, particularly antisemitism”, were deeply rooted? Was it not Trotsky himself who spoke of the unprecedented speed with which the USSR developed the economy, industry, urbanization and culture, and verified the rise of a “new Soviet patriotism”, a sentiment “certainly deep, sincere and dynamic”, shared by the various nationalities previously oppressed or incited against one another? (Supra, ch. 4, § 4).

670. Trotsky (1988), p. 1050.

671. Trotsky (1988), pp. 1042-43.

 In the same year that Trotsky publishes his work on Thermidor and Antisemitism, a “travel report” was published in Moscow, written by a German writer who was fleeing the Third Reich because he was Jewish. The picture that he draws is eloquent in itself: finally resolved was “the old and apparently unsolvable Jewish question”, “there's a moving consensus in support for the new State among the Jews I've met.." And yet more: “Like all national languages, Yiddish is lovingly cared for in the Union. There’s schools and newspapers in that language, there’s literature, and congresses are held for the supervision of Yiddish, and the performances in this language enjoy the highest consideration."672 Even more significant is the reaction of the American Jewish community. An authoritative representative responds to Trotsky as follows: “If his other accusations are as baseless as his complaint against antisemitism, then he has absolutely nothing to say." Another leader states: “In relation to antisemitism, we are used to seeing in the Soviet Union our only glimmer of light [...]. Therefore, it’s unforgivable that Trotsky launches such baseless accusations against Stalin."673

There's evident disappointment and unease in this reaction to that ridiculous effort by Trotsky, understood as an attempt to involve the international Jewish community in the power struggle that was underway in the CPSU. While in Germany the denunciation of the “Judeo-Bolshevism” that ravaged the Soviet Union became more frantic than ever, and the process that would lead to the “final solution” was quickly advancing, a strange campaign of insinuations was launched against the country that, as we shall see, more courageously than any other, classified Hitler’s antisemitism as “cannibalistic”; against the country that very often inspired those who in German territory resisted the wave of hatred against the Jews. Victor Klemperer emotionally described the insults and humiliations that wearing the Star of David meant. And yet:

A porter who has grown fond of me since the first two relocations [...] suddenly stands in front of me on Freiberger street, puts his arms around me and whispers, but in a way so that they can even hear him on the other side of the street: “so professor, don’t let them walk over you! Soon those damn Nazis will be finished!”

The Jewish philologist with affectionate irony adds that those who defied the regime in such a way “were good people whose membership in the German Communist Party could be smelled from a mile away."674 They were members or sympathizers of a party that, at the international level, had Stalin as their essential point of reference.

672. Feuchtwanger (1946), pp. 72 and 74.

673. Referred to in Rogowin (1998), p. 198.

674. Klemperer (2005), p. 214.

 On the other hand, if we move on from Germany to the United States, we see that communists are sometimes branded as (and persecuted both by state authorities as well as by civil society) Jews, who take advantage of the ignorance of blacks to turn them against the regime of white supremacy, tarnishing the idea of racial hierarchy and purity, and promoting the madness of equality and racial intermixing.675 Therefore, on the other side of the Atlantic as well, anti-communism is fused with antisemitism (in addition to colonial racism), and that relation is even closer due the fact that in the (“Stalinist”) Communist Party of the United States there’s a strong Jewish presence.676

Yet, aside from disappointment and annoyance, in the American Jewish community’s reaction there’s also an element of profound concern. To understand it, let’s see how Trotsky’s line of argument develops:

More than any other regime in the world, the Soviet regime needs a high number of state employees. The state employees come from the educated urban population. Naturally, Jews represent a very large percentage of the bureaucracy, especially at the lower and middle levels [...]. Now with this reflection as starting point, one must reach the conclusion that the hatred against the bureaucracy will have an antisemitic tone, at least where Jews constitute a significant percentage of the population and clearly stand out from the rural surroundings.

In 1923, at the Bolshevik Party Conference, it was proposed that employees be obligated to speak and write the language of the local population where they worked. How many ironic observations came, especially from the Jewish intelligentsia, who spoke Russian and didn’t want to learn the Ukrainian language! Of course, on this aspect, the situation improved considerably. But the national composition of the bureaucracy has barely changed, and―what is immeasurably more important―the antagonism between the people and the bureaucracy has grown enormously in the last ten or twelve years.677

As can be seen, he calls for the struggle against the bureaucracy, and at the same time stresses that Jewish people are widely represented in it, and who are often characterized by arrogance in relation to the language and culture of the people they govern. Of course, the analysis and the denunciation operate at both the political and social level; it remains clear that they, at least from the point of view of the Jewish community, run the risk of evoking and revitalizing the specter of antisemitism that they sought to exorcise.

675. Kelley (1990), pp. 16 and 29.

676. Hertzstein (1989), p. 123.

677. Trotsky (1988), pp. 1043-44.

 Stalin and the Condemnation of Tsarist and Nazi Anti-Semitism

The accusation of antisemitism directed at Stalin is all the more unique for the fact that he is committed to denouncing that scourge during practically his entire political evolution. As early as 1901, when he is still a young twenty year old Georgian revolutionary, we see him, in one of his very first written works, indicate that the struggle against the oppression of “nationalities and religious confessions” in Russia is among the most important tasks of the “social democratic party." Particularly targeted were “the Jews, continually persecuted and insulted, deprived of those miserable rights that other Russian subjects enjoyed: the right to move freely, the right to attend school, the right to occupy public job positions, etc."678 A few years after the outbreak of the 1905 revolution, he writes: the Tsarist regime reacts by encouraging or unleashing pogroms. Stalin doesn’t waste any time in calling for the struggle against a policy that seeks to reinforce the autocracy “with the blood and corpses of its citizens." The conclusion is clear: “The only way to eradicate the pogroms is through the destruction of the Tsarist autocracy."679 As one can see, the anti-Jewish persecution is one of the most important accusations made in the charges directed at the old regime, which the revolution is called upon to overthrow.

It’s a theme developed in the following years. On the eve of the First World War, Tsarist Russia’s “semi-Asiatic” character is demonstrated by the particularly vile persecution unleashed against the Jews; unfortunately, the recourse to pogroms is favored by the “general inclination to antisemitism by the common people."680 The collapse of Tsarist rule and the old “landed aristocracy”―Stalin later observes―between February and October of 1917, finally allows the elimination of a program of “national oppression” that “could assume, and effectively assumed, the most monstrous forms of massacres and pogroms."681

678. Stalin (1971-1973), vol. 1, p. 19 (= Stalin, 1952-1956, vol. 1, p. 41).

679. Stalin (1971-1973), vol. 1, p. 71 and 75 (= Stalin, 1952-1956, vol. 1, pp. 106-111).

680. Stalin (1971-1973), vol. 2, pp 307 and 267 (= Stalin, 1952-1956, vol. 2, pp. 363 and 315).

681. Stalin 1971-1973), vol. 3, pp. 46-47 (= Stalin, 1952-1956, vol. 3, pp. 63-64).

 Defeated in Russia, antisemitism becomes an ever more frightening threat in Germany. In raising the alarm, Stalin doesn’t wait for Hitler’s rise to power: in a declaration made on January 12th, 1931, to the American Jewish Telegraph Agency, he classifies “racial chauvinism” and antisemitism as a type of “cannibalism”, and the return to “the jungle”; it’s a stance that is republished in Russia, in Pravda on November 30th, 1936, at a time when it was a matter of warning governments and world opinion against the terrible threat that loomed over Europe and the world.682

In that same context, one can put the stance taken by Kirov (whose wife is of Jewish origin) soon after Hitler’s rise to power: he denounces “German fascism, with its ideology of pogroms, its antisemitism, its vision of superior and inferior races”, as the successor to the Russian Black Hundreds.683 That last observation is particularly significant. By now there’s a climate of war, the approaching clash increasingly led Soviet leaders to appeal to the history of the Russian people and its struggle against aggressors and invaders. It’s a tendency that is obviously strengthened with the beginning of Operation Barbarossa. However, on November 6th of 1941, Stalin doesn’t just put the emphasis on the “pogromist and reactionary nature” of Nazi Germany; he goes on to characterize the enemy then pressing at the gates of Moscow as follows:

In its essence, Hitler’s regime is a copy of that reactionary regime that existed under Tsarism. It’s well known that the Nazis trampled on the rights of workers, the rights of intellectuals, and the rights of peoples, just as the Tsarist regime trampled over them, and that it unleashed medieval pogroms against the Jews, just as the Tsarist regime unleashed them.

The Nazi party is a party of the enemies of democratic freedoms, a party of medieval reaction and the most sinister pogroms.684

In other words, although he is launching an impassioned appeal for national unity against the invaders in the Great Patriotic War, just like Kirov, Stalin classifies the Nazi regime as the successor, in some essential aspects, to the Tsarism that was toppled by the October Revolution. That attitude deserves all the more attention, especially when compared to the position taken by the United States president and by his advisors, who “hesitated in publicly criticizing the German dictator’s antisemitic policies."685 Moreover, in 1922, F. D. Roosevelt himself declared his support for a reduction in  Jewish attendance at Harvard and in American universities in general.686

682. Stalin (1971-1973), vol. 13, p. 26.

683. Tucker (1990), p. 257.

684. Stalin 1971-1973), vol. 14, p. 252.

685. Zinn (2002), p. 464.

686. Baker (2008), p. 9.

 A statesman like Churchill would be even less able to make a public condemnation of the Third Reich’s persecution of Jews, as we saw him as late as 1937 stress the nefarious role of Judaism in Bolshevik agitation. In that same year the English statesman writes an article (that remained unpublished) that considers the Jews at least partly responsible for the hostility directed at them.687 Stalin’s position is the complete opposite; the Nazis continued to be classified, in the speech from November 6th of 1943, as the “champions of pogroms."688 But especially significant is the speech delivered in the following year, again on the occasion of the anniversary of the October Revolution. In this case, the usual denunciation of the “fascist champions of pogroms”, from whose barbarity the Soviet people had the credit of saving “European civilization”, is inserted in a more general context that stresses the centrality of “racial theory” and “racial hatred” in the doctrine and practices of Nazism, that led to a “cannibalistic program."689 The speech at the end of  1944, on the eve of  the collapse of the Third Reich, again took up the theme already present in the interview given to the Jewish Telegraph Agency two years before Hitler’s rise to power.

Hitler in turn, beginning with the attack on the Soviet Union, not only more obsessively takes up the slogan against the Judeo-Bolshevik threat, but it appears as if he seeks to directly respond to the public denouncement, coming from Moscow, of the “pogromist and reactionary nature” of the Third Reich. There’s Stalin speech, which we’ve already encountered, from November 6th of 1941, the anniversary of the October Revolution; and two days later, in Munich, at an equally solemn occasion for the Nazi regime (the commemoration of the coup attempt of 1923), Hitler makes an equally public denunciation of the Soviet Union:

The man that has, for the time being, become head of that state is nothing more than an instrument in the hands of the all powerful Jews; while Stalin stands on stage before the curtain, behind him are Kaganovich and that expansive network of Jews who control that enormous empire.690

It’s a theory that’s repeated at a tableside conversation some time later: “The Jews are behind Stalin."691 

687. De Carolis (2007).

688. Stalin 1971-1973), vol. 14, p. 330.

689. Stalin (1971-1973), vol. 14, pp. 363-64.

690. Hitler (1965), p. 1773.

691. Hitler (1989), p. 448 (conservation from July 21st, 1942).

 We are faced with what is a constant theme in Nazi propaganda: by 1938 Goebbels had praised a book (Juden hinter Stalin [the Jews behind Stalin]), that aimed at revealing the infamy of Judaism.692 On that basis, the war for the enslavement of the Soviet Union is, at the same time, the war for the annihilation of the Jews. The infamous Kommissarbefehl, that orders the immediate elimination of political commissars of the Red Army and the cadre of the party and the communist state, would inevitably strike with particular cruelty against the ethnic group suspected of providing the bulk of the cadre and commissars. In his speech from November 8th, 1941, Hitler speaks of power in the Soviet Union as “an enormous organization of Jewish commissars."693 That is also the conviction of the German soldiers who, on the front, speak of the “Jewish and Bolshevik cruelty”, and constantly refer to the “cursed Jews” and the “damned Bolsheviks." Indeed, the “struggle against Bolshevism” is simultaneously the “struggle against Judaism”; it’s a matter of annihilating once and for all “the Jewish regime in Russia”, “the base for Judeo-Bolshevik agitators determined to make the world ‘happy’." Considered carefully, it’s a country where “internal leadership of all institutions” is in the hands of Jews and where the people are “under the whip of Judaism." The so- called “Soviet paradise” is, in reality, “a paradise for the Jews”, it’s a “Jewish system”, and, to be precise, it’s “the most satanic and criminal system of all time."694 It’s very understandable, then, that the ethnic group especially targeted by the Third Reich’s genocidal fury had distinguished itself in  the fight against their tormentors: “During the war, in relation to its population, Jews earned more medals than any other Soviet nationality."695 But is that solemn and official recognition compatible with the theory of Stalin’s antisemitism?

We already saw the American Jewish community take a clear stance against this legend in 1937. Five years later, Arendt goes further: she attributed to the Soviet Union the merit of having “simply eliminated antisemitism” through “a just and very modern solution to the national question."696 This positive evaluation is even more significant for the fact that it’s precisely this exemplary resolution of the Jewish and national question in the country governed by Stalin which is cited by Arendt to refute the thesis by Jewish publications that tend to agitate against the specter of an internal antisemitism. Three years later, the eminent Jewish thinker argues that it’s to the Soviet Union’s merit that it knew how to “organize diverse populations [including the Jewish one] on the basis of national equality."

692. Goebbels (1996), diary entry from April 21st, 1938).

693. Hitler (1965), p. 1773.

694. Manoschek (1995), pp. 31, 46, 59-61, 65 and 51.

695. Ignatieff (1997), p. 33.

696. Arendt (198b), p. 193.

 At least until 1945, there doesn’t appear to be traces of antisemitism in the Soviet Union, in a country that, in the eyes of Hitler―especially after Operation Barbarossa―has proven itself to be “the greatest servant of Judaism."697

Stalin and the Support to the Foundation and Consolidation of Israel

If the assertive claim by Furet―according to which Stalin since 1933 had shown indifference with respect to the tragedy of the Jews, or an antisemitism in its most explicit form―clearly lacks any basis, will the timeline proposed by an American historian previously cited, who identifies that madness in Stalin following the Second World War, prove to be more convincing? We’ve already encountered the irritated reaction by the American Jewish community to the accusation of antisemitism directed at Stalin by Trotsky in 1937. Eight years later and the situation still hadn’t changed. Rather, there are prominent social circles and figures in the American military hierarchy who are a cause for concern. Take the example of general George S. Patton. He dreams of an immediate war against the Soviets: “We will have to fight them sooner or later [...]. Why not now while our army is still intact and while we can push all those damn Russians all the way back to Moscow in three months? We could easily do it with the German troops that we have, just arm them and take them with us. They hate those bastards."698 Unfortunately, according to the American general, it’s the Jews who oppose this project. Full of resentment toward Germany, they harbor sympathy for the USSR: the “evident Semitic influence in the press” aims “to promote communism." There clearly emerges a line of continuity with the Nazi understanding of communism as a subversive Judeo-Bolshevik conspiracy: the enemies continue to be the communists, the Soviets and the Jews, the latter being “lower than animals." After particularly imprudent statements, general Patton was relieved of his command, but he was not alone in that line of thinking.699

While being accused of having links to Judaism, the Soviet Union does, in fact, follow a largely sympathetic policy in relation to the people that survived a horrible persecution. In reconstructing this chapter in history, I will mostly use one book, despite it being dedicated in denouncing the “antisemitism” of the socialist camp led by the USSR. We start in Hungary. The structure of the communist regime that was established following the arrival of the Red Army is made up of “cadres who had lived for some time in Moscow, nearly all of them Jews." 

697. Hitler (1965), p. 1773.

698. Pauwels (2003), p. 128.

699. Bendersky (2000), pp. 356-58.

 The fact of the matter is that“Stalin had no other choice, as he only trusted” them. “When the first elections to the central committee are held, a third of its members are Jews." The highest leadership also proves to be from the same ethnic background, starting with Rákosi, “the first Jewish king of Hungary." The author of that flattering description is one of Stalin’s closest collaborators, namely Beria (probably of Jewish background as well).700 The situation in the rest of the socialist camp is not very different. We will limit ourselves to another pair of examples. In Poland, the “presence of Jews in the communist ranks, especially at the highest levels of the regime”, was significant. And that’s not all. “The branch of communist authority in which the appearance of Jews was greatest is noteworthy: the security apparatus."701 In Czechoslovakia, it’s not only Jews, but Zionists themselves who are “favored by the post-war government” and are present within it.702

A similar consideration could be made for Germany: “In the Russian zone, Jews usually receive the best positions." Moreover, the man who leads cultural activity in the Soviet Zone is a brilliant art historian, colonel Alexander Dymshitz, also of Jewish origin. And the presence of the Jewish- German intelligentsia in Gotha is easily noticed in the cultural rebirth that begins to emerge amid  the grief and ruins.703 The situation certainly doesn’t change with the foundation of the German Democratic Republic:

In communist Germany, officially born on October 7th of 1949, Jews initially enjoy favorable treatment, if not privileged treatment. As victims of persecution they have a right to special pensions for the elderly and for the sick or disabled; and the constitution guarantees them religious freedom. Peter Kirchner explains: “Pensions for Jews were much higher than for others. It had varied between 1,400 and 1,700 marks, when the average wasn’t more than 350” [...]. Jews therefore felt at ease with the policies of the new communist Germany in relation to them, especially because they were widely represented in its institutions. In the elections of 1950, fifteen Jews were elected to parliament in the lists of nearly all the parties, not counting the communist party. In addition, the minister of propaganda and information, Gerhart Eisler, the director of state information radio, Leo Bauer, the director of the communist paper “Neues Deutschland”, Rudolf Herrnstadt, and the person in charge of a branch of the health ministry, Leo Mandel, were all Jews.704

700. Esquenazi, Nassim (1995), p. 50; Thomas (1988), p. 112 (on Beria).

701. Esquenazi, Nissim (1995), p. 150.

702. Esquenazi, Nissim (1995), p. 366.

703. Macdonogh (2007), pp. 332 and 215-24.

704. Esquenazi, Nissim (1995), p. 442.

 It’s also for that reason that the Soviet Union enjoys great sympathy among “Zionists all over the world." They go as far as “admiring everything that is Russian." It’s Arendt who observes this, and who in 1948 expresses her disappointment toward the “pro-Soviet and anti-Western orientation” of the Zionist movement, inclined to condemn Great Britain as “antisemitic”, and the United States as “imperialist."705

The attitude that’s being condemned here is very understandable. In Nuremberg, it was primarily the Soviet representatives in the prosecution who called attention to the horrors of the Judeocide and called attention to it with rhetorical emphasis, formulating a solidly intentionalist theory: “The fascist conspirators planned the extermination of the Jewish people throughout the world, to the last man, and they put it in action during the entire period of their plot, from 1933 onward” (in reality, the “final solution” begins to take form only with the deterioration of Operation Barbarossa). One of the most dramatic moments of the trial was the testimony, again promoted by the Soviet representatives in the prosecution, by four Jews, among whom one mother expressed herself as follows: “In the name of all the mothers of Europe who became mothers in the concentration camps, I ask German mothers: ‘where are our children now?’”706

Overall, these are the years in which the USSR strongly supports Zionism and the creation of Israel. Stalin plays a frontline role, and perhaps even a decisive role. Without him “the emergence of the Jewish state in Palestine would have been difficult”―a Russian historian goes as far as saying, using documents recently made public in his country.707 In any case, as another author (this time a Western one) observes, the speech in May of 1948 before the UN by the Soviet minister of foreign affairs, Andrei A. Gromyko, appears “like something out of a Zionist propaganda manual”: the foundation of Israel is necessary for the fact that “in the territories occupied by the Nazis, the Jews suffered an almost complete annihilation”, while “no state of Western Europe was able to provide adequate assistance to the Jewish people in defense of their rights and their very existence."708

705. Arendt (1989c), pp. 88-90.

706. Taylor (1993), pp. 336 and 346.

707. Mlecin (2008), p. 9.

708. Roberts (2006), p. 339.

 Moreover, in supporting Zionism, Stalin at times clashes with Great Britain. The latter makes use of the military forces of the former Republic of Salò and the Tenth Assault Vehicle Flotilla to bomb “a ship (perhaps it had been two ships) that, after the end of military operations, transported weapons from Yugoslavia to the Jews in Palestine."709 At this time, it’s the government in London that is considered to be “the principal enemy of the Jews”;710 the suspicion and accusation of antisemitism certainly weren’t thrust upon the Soviet Union, committed to militarily and diplomatically  supporting the foundation of the State of Israel, but upon Great Britain, which in its effort to obstruct those plans, doesn’t hesitate to use political and military circles that, even within the Republic of Salò, had played an important role in the “final solution”!

Yet a more general consideration can be made. After the end of the war, Stalin pursues “a fundamentally pro-Jewish policy on Palestine." Political and geopolitical calculations had, of course, contributed to pushing it: the desire to undermine British positions in the Middle East (an objective also pursued by Truman, whose support to the foundation of the State of Israel is no coincidence) and to gain the support or at least the sympathy of the American and European Jewish communities during the Cold War; with the added hope that the new state, founded with the decisive contribution of immigration coming from Eastern Europe and often of a left political orientation, would take a pro-Soviet attitude. It’s true that the military aid in 1945 offered to the Zionist movement through Yugoslavia was not an isolated gesture. Three years later, this time using the collaboration of Czechoslovakia, the Soviet Union supplied new arms to Israel, and in violating the UN Security Council Resolution of March 29th of 1948, it even organizes the influx of young Jews from Eastern Europe who reinforce the army of the Jewish State in the war with the neighboring Arab countries. Thanks as well to Moscow, in action is what was defined as the “Prague-Jerusalem axis." Indeed, “the weapons wielded by the soldiers of the newly born State of Israel to fight their war of independence are made in Czechoslovakia [...]. Precisely when other governments refuse to sell weapons to the Jewish State, Czechoslovakia decided to continue selling them openly, even at preferential rates [...]. Thus in Czechoslovakian territory the Israeli air force was founded: the training of paratroopers was organized there."711 A true air-bridge is established, which supplies the Zionist army with weapons, instructors and even volunteers.712 In October of the same year, the Israeli minister of foreign affairs, in Paris at the time, happily tells prime minister Ben Gurion that the Soviet delegates at the UN conference on the question of Palestine had behaved like Israel’s lawyers.713

709. De Felice (1995), p. 133.

710. MacDonogh (2007), p. 330.

711. Berner (1976), pp. 625-26; Esquenazi, Nassim (1995), pp. 376-78.

712. Mlecin (2008), pp. 130-38.

713. Berner (1975), p. 626.

 At the very least, it can be said that Stalin’s Soviet Union contributed in a decisive way to the foundation and consolidation of the Jewish State. There are also some interesting aspects with respect to relations with Judaism and Jewish culture in general. In the middle of what was called the “campaign against antisemitism”, a “residential suburb of Moscow” took on the name “New Jerusalem." There Ilya Ehrenburg has his dacha; Ehrenburg is a Jewish intellectual who plays a grand and leading cultural and political role in the Soviet Union at that time, and who, not by chance, is offered the Stalin prize, a recognition achieved by other Jewish writers as well, and by “some Jewish musicians of international fame."714

So, what sense is there to speak of “antisemitism” with regard to Stalin? The support given by him to the foundation and consolidation of the Jewish State is at the same time a contribution given to the Nakbah, that is the national “catastrophe” for the Palestinian people, who for decades continue to languish in refugee camps and in the territories subjected to a ruthless military occupation and a rampant process of colonization. If, for the purposes of being absurd, Stalin must be accused of “antisemitism”, he should be accused of “antisemitism” toward Arabs. With regard to that, it’s necessary to specify that the Soviet Union’s preference was for “a multi-national and independent state that respected the interests of both Jews as well as Arabs."715

The Cold War Turning Point and the Blackmail of the Rosenbergs

On the eve of Stalin’s death, Kerensky, at that time in the United States, in a conversation with an Israeli historian, points out that the accusation of antisemitism directed at the Soviet Union in those years is just an invention of the Cold War.716 Yes, this is the turning point, and to understand it, we ought to return to the atmosphere of those years. It's a Cold War that can turn into a nuclear holocaust at any moment, and that knows no limits in the ideological sphere. From both sides they exclaim that the other side is plagued by antisemitism. The trial and death sentences in the United States of the Rosenbergs, communists and Jews accused of treason and espionage in service to Moscow, happen almost simultaneously to the trials and death sentences that in the socialist camp strike against “Zionist” figures accused of treason and espionage in service to Tel Aviv and Washington. Suspected of disloyalty and called upon to provide clear proof of patriotism, in both cases the Jewish community is subjected to more or less explicit pressure and blackmail.

714. Rapoport (1991), p. 193 (on “New Jerusalem”); Conquest (1996), p. 48.

715. Roberts (2006), p. 339.

716. Rogowin (1998), pp. 198-99.

 The climate of suspicion was no less oppressive in the United States than in the USSR. It’s not easy to imagine that time nowadays, when everyone is aware of the special relationship between Washington and Tel Aviv, but at the start of the Cold War the situation was quite different: often the “whites only” or “Caucasian only” urban centers continued to exclude Jews as well, considered just as “stupid” as blacks. As late as 1959, the Anti-Defamation League felt it necessary to denounce the harassment suffered by Jews because of the persistence of that practice.717 Overall, “the years of the 1940s and 1950s constituted a politically traumatic era for the Jewish minority."718 Still active were the political circles that linked Judaism and communism, that considered Jews as foreigners on American soil and collaborators with the mortal Soviet enemy and that, alongside the writings by Henry Ford, even republished The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.719 Certainly after Auschwitz, that is after the revelation of the horrors that antisemitism would lead to, this could no longer continue to enjoy the same sympathy as before. Nevertheless, “the threat represented by anti-Jewish prejudice was far from disappearing. In 1953, Jews constituted the majority of the laid-off employees, or those transferred to other positions, in the radar laboratories in Fort Monmouth, New Jersey."720

According to the French communist leader Jacques Duclos, active in denouncing the persecution endured by the Rosenbergs in the United States, antisemitism didn’t play any role in the trials that in Czechoslovakia accurately target “Zionist traitors” in service to the war policies of Washington.721 Dramatically opposed is the version that the enemies of the Soviet Union are determined to spread. In rejecting the accusation of antisemitism launched by Duclos at the United States, the American Jewish Committee unhesitatingly pronounces itself in favor of the execution of the Rosenbergs and opposes any degree of clemency: everyone in the United States must know that “the American Jewish ranks feel only horror at the sight” of the spies and communist agitators (whether they be gentiles or Jews);722 it’s not by chance that among McCarthy’s collaborators are two Jews, committed not just to fighting communism, but also in demonstrating the patriotic loyalty of their community.723

717. Loewen (2006), pp. 125-27.

718. Sachar (1993), p. 640.

719. Dinnerstein (1994), pp. 163-65.

720. Sachar (1993), p. 639.

721. Sachar (1993), p. 635.

722. Sachar (1993), p. 636.

723. Handlin, Handlin (1994), p. 198.

 It’s not just a matter of defending the United States from the accusation of antisemitism. The FBI elaborates a plan that is turned over to a Jewish lawyer; he is entrusted with a very specific task:

Win over the confidence of the Rosenbergs in prison and try to persuade them that, in truth, the USSR is an antisemitic power with intentions of exterminating the Jews. Once dispelled of their illusions toward the Soviet Union, the Rosenbergs could take advantage of clemency in exchange for an “appeal to Jews of all countries to quit the communist movement and seek to destroy it."724

Ineffective in the case of the two communist militants who courageously faced the electric chair on June 19th, 1953, the blackmail achieves the desired result on other occasions: “in the intimidating atmosphere of the Cold War, it isn’t that surprising that some of the most respected Jewish intellectuals in the nation, including some of those previously on the left, felt obligated to seek protection or even change sides”;725 no small number of them agreed to denounce Stalin’s and the Soviet Union’s “antisemitism."

However, before this black legend takes hold, it comes across a number of difficulties. Still in 1949, we see one of the Cold War paladins, Churchill, repeatedly make a remarkable comparison between Nazism and communism: the first was less dangerous, given that it could rely “only on Herrenvolk pride and antisemitic hatred”; that’s not the case with the second, which can count on “a church of communist faithful, whose missionaries are in every country” and in every people. Therefore, on  one side we have the stoking of national and racial hatred, from which there’s the hatred directed at the Jewish people; on the other side, a denunciation of universalism, although it’s instrumentally exploited by an “expansionist, imperialist” design.726 Maybe even more significant is the speech by Adorno in 1950. In publishing his research about the “authoritarian personality”, he highlights the “correlation between antisemitism and anti-communism” and then adds: “in recent years all propaganda organs in America were dedicated to developing anti-communism in the sense of an irrational ‘terror’, and probably few people―apart from the followers of the ‘party line’―are able to resist the incessant ideological pressure."727 At this time, far from being directed at Stalin and his followers, the accusation of antisemitism continues to target the anti-communists.

724. Sachar (1993), pp. 636-37.

725. Sachar (1993), p. 640.

726. Churchill (1974), pp. 7800 and 7809 (speeches from the 25th and 31st of March, 1949).

727. Adorno (1997), p. 324

 Unbalanced from the start, the balance of forces between the two sides of the Cold War increasingly sees the West prevail both at the military level, as well as with respect to the ideological offensive and its multimedia firepower. Nowadays, only one of the two opposing accusations of antisemitism remains standing: the other has been lost even in memory. It must be added that, aside from Stalin, that accusation reaches his successors, starting with Khrushchev, who is also said to have shown signs―it’s not really known why―of “evident antisemitism."728 Nevertheless:

In 1973 Jews, who constituted 0.9% of the Soviet population, represented 1.9% of all university students in the country, 6.1% of all scientific personnel, and 8.8% of all scientists.729

Moreover, a British historian who’s also determined to label Stalin as antisemitic, starting from at least the 1930s, not only recognized that the people frequented by the Soviet leader―and even “many” of his “most intimate associates”―were of “Jewish origin”, but adds that in 1937, “Jews formed the majority in the government” (or in the governmental apparatus).730 It’s very hard for these figures and this empirical research to be cited in support of the thesis of Stalin’s and Soviet antisemitism!

Stalin, Israel, and the Jewish Community of Eastern Europe

Certainly, the Jewish community was not exempt from the conflicts that marked the history of the Soviet Union and the socialist camp overall. Let’s first focus on the situation created in Eastern Europe with the end of World War II and Israel’s establishment. We have seen the strong presence  of Jews in the state apparatus and the government. Aside from the composition of the institutions, it’s necessary to have in mind the sense of gratitude shown by Jews, for example in Hungary, because―an authoritative witness states―”it was the Soviet soldiers who freed us from certain death and no anyone else."731 

728. Knight (1997), p. 209.

729. Roccucci (2001), p. 32.

730. 731. Esquenazi, Nissim (1995), p. 43.

However, the honeymoon that appeared to last for some time proved to be short lived. The conflict doesn’t take long in manifesting itself: for the Jews who had returned to Hungary, and who had been able to escape the genocidal program of the Third Reich and its henchmen, should they to commit to the reconstruction of a destroyed country, or emigrate to the Jewish state that was taking shape in the Middle East? Initially, the supporters of that second option operate undisturbed:

Zionist staff [...] led the Hungarian branch of the American Jewish Joint Committee that in the post-war period donated enormous sums of money to the reconstruction of Jewish communities. That was the most important economic lifeline for the survivors. A Zionist supporter, doctor Fabbian Herkovitz, became the rabbi of the most prestigious synagogue in Budapest, on Dohány street; and there every week he offered speeches in favor of emigration to Israel [...]. It was said that the Zionists made use of a more extensive and effective organization than that of the Hungarian communists [...]. It’s calculated that nearly a fifth of the Jewish population picked the path of emigration.732

That mass emigration, an authentic brain-drain especially in qualitative terms, that deprived the country of the personnel it desperately needed to recover from the ruins of war, could not be ignored by the government and the party (including the Jews who had rejected the Zionist option):

The communists [...] in 1948 not only blocked the exodus of Jews, but were also able to assert their very hegemony within the Jewish world. The Zionist leader Arie Yaari recalls: “For us it was very difficult to convince people to relocate to Palestine. Especially the oldest, who feared starting a whole new life, with a new language. The regime, for its part, offered them political positions that Jews had never had before. They could become judges, officials, enter the government. The communist movement was very weak and needed a lot of personnel. How could Jews resist the temptation?”733

As one can see, it makes no sense to speak of antisemitism. Not only are there no vestiges of negative discrimination at the expense of Jews, but they eventually enjoy preferential treatment when they decide to stay in Hungary. It must be added that, before it pits the Jewish community and the communist community against one another, the battle that’s being discussed divides the Jewish community itself. 

732. Esquenazi, Nissim (1995), p. 46.

733. Ibidem

 Defeated by the Jews who decided to integrate themselves in the country in which they are citizens, the Zionists, despite all their efforts, are unable to plant among Jews the idea of ethnic separation. When at the end of the 1940s the Zionist movement is declared illegal, the overwhelming majority of Jews showed they had in no way internalized the discourse around Jewish national identity. The idea that the Jewish community should define itself as a national minority was the last thing that passed through the minds of Jews, who once again orient themselves toward seeking a new level of assimilation.734

A similar crisis is witnessed in the Soviet Union; and in this case as well the conflict ends up taking place within the Jewish community. It’s Ilya Ehrenburg, a writer of Jewish origin, who warns against the danger posed by Zionism (blamed for impeding the reconstruction of a country devastated and martyred by the Nazi army, and reopening the Jewish question already happily resolved in the Soviet Union) in Pravda’s columns from September 21st, 1948;735 the position taken against Zionism is linked to the condemnation of antisemitism, crucially described, according to the words of Stalin, as the expression of “racial chauvinism” and “cannibalism."736

The conversation that takes place in Moscow in 1948 between Golda Meir and Ilya Ehrenburg is remarkable. The former expresses her displeasure over assimilated Jews (“it disgusts me to see Jews who don’t speak Hebrew or at least Yiddish”), the latter responds angrily: “you’re a servant of the United States."737 In speaking with another interlocutor the Soviet writer states:

The State of Israel must understand that in this country the Jewish question no longer exists, that the Jews of the USSR must be left in peace and that all attempts to induce them to Zionism and to repatriation must stop. It will be met with resistance not only by the [Soviet] authorities, but by Jews themselves.738

734. Esquenazi Nissim (1995), p. 47.

735. Berner (1976), pp. 626-27.

736. Rapaport (1991), p. 117.

737. Ibidem

738. Rapaport (1991), p. 120

 It’s beyond any doubt, the colossal brain-drain that approached would open another point of contention in addition to the Cold War, especially for the fact that to achieve their objective, Israeli diplomatic representatives in Moscow went behind the backs of Soviet authorities and established direct contact with the Soviet Jewish community.739 In any case, the point of contention had become more serious to the degree that Israel aligned more clearly with the West: numerous and valued Soviet scientists of Jewish origin were encouraged by Zionist propaganda to emigrate and join a bloc committed to crushing the country that made possible their emancipation and social promotion. However, “despite the growing fiction, authoritative representatives from the USSR had repeatedly guaranteed Soviet support to Israel, but they had made it dependent on the neutrality of the Israeli government within the confrontation between the West and the East."740 Nevertheless, the last of Moscow’s illusions quickly vanish. The rupture with the Jewish state is also a frontal clash with Zionist circles still very active in the socialist camp and which would be ruthlessly repressed. In Czechoslovakia, Slánsky is imprisoned and sentenced to death because, according to the testimony of his daughter, “he had favored emigration to Israel."741

In Romania, Ana Pauker had better luck, she gets off with a few months in prison. However, we are faced with a similar situation: “For some time Zionism had been an ideology condemned by the regime, but this hadn’t impeded the flow of Romanian Jews to Israel until the expulsion of  Pauker  in 1952, who had discreetly kept open the path to the Promised Land”; thanks to her, “no less than one hundred thousand Jews left Romania to settle down in Israel."742

It’s then understandable Stalin’s growing distrust, to whom is attributed the statement according to which “every Jew that is a nationalist is an agent of American espionage."743 The change that happened in the behavior of Jewish communities in Eastern Europe must have made many communists recall the “betrayal” the German Social Democratic Party was criticized for at the start of World War I. Must we read the conflict that breaks out as “Stalin’s war against the Jews”? That’s what’s suggested in the very title of a book dedicated to the subject by a Jerusalem Post journalist. But will this reading be truly more convincing than that given by Stalin, who denounced “the war by Zionists against the Soviet Union and the socialist camp”? One historian (Conquest), despite being determined to reduce Bolshevism and communism to a criminal phenomenon, recognizes that in  the Soviet Union “antisemitism as such was never an official doctrine”, that “the open persecution of Jews as Jews was prohibited” and that there hadn’t been any reference to “racial theory."744

739. Berner (1976), pp. 626-27.

740. Berner (1976), p. 627.

741. Esquenazi, Nissim (1995), p. 399.

742. Esquenazi, Nissim (1995), p. 311.

743. Medvedev, Medvedev (2006), p. 374.

744. Conquest (1996), pp. 46-47.

 Then what sense is there in comparing Stalin with Hitler? The historian just cited adds that the first “had hoped to use Israel against the West and had continued to accuse the West of antisemitism."745 But it doesn’t appear that the Nazi leader classified his enemies as anti-Semites! Conquest works off the assumption that the accusations of antisemitism made by Stalin about the West are totally ridiculous, but he doesn’t even raise the question of the validity of Western accusations of antisemitism directed at Stalin. In the end, why should it be instrumentalized by only one side? And why the country that had been described by Hitler (but also by other important segments of  Western public opinion) as the incarnation of the “Judeo-Bolshevik plot” and the definitive confirmation of the validity and seriousness of the conspiracy revealed by the publication of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion? In any case, numerous and prominent Israelis didn’t believe in the myth of “Stalin’s war against the Jews”; at the news of the Soviet leader’s death, they mourn him and pay tribute to him as the “sun” that “has set." (supra, intro, § 1).

However, Israel’s victory in the Six Day War and the worsening of the Palestinian tragedy further widens that gap that in Eastern Europe divides communist authorities from the Jewish community and the pro-Israeli and pro-Western circles that are organized with it. But must we speak of antisemitism? Trusting in the account by two historians of Jewish origin previously cited, we see what happens in Prague in 1967: “The sympathy of Czech students for Israel has [...] a very trivial motivation: the antipathy they nurture toward the thousands of Arab students enrolled there in university." Something similar happens in Warsaw: “Suddenly people remembered that many Jews that lived in Palestine had come from Poland." A taxi driver exclaims: “Our brave Polish Jews are teaching a lesson to those fucking Russian Arabs."746 In the clash that takes place with communist authorities, aligned with the Arab countries, who shows signs of racism? Are we faced with an anti- Jewish racism, or rather an anti-Arab racism?

The Question of “Cosmopolitanism”

The “doctors plot” itself, widely used to confirm Stalin’s antisemitism, eventually demonstrates the opposite: after everything, and until the very end, he trusted Jews with taking care of his health. Moreover, only some of the doctors accused are Jews, and the “plot” as a whole is classified by Soviet leaders and the press as “more capitalist and imperialist than Zionist."747 Was the suspicion caused just by paranoia?

745. Conquest (1996), p. 47.

746. Esquenazi, Nissim (1995), pp. 405 and 184.

747. Roberts (2006), p. 342.

  One detail to consider: “The CIA became more friendly [in relation to the Jewish state] starting from the moment it which it gained use of Israeli intelligence sources in Eastern Europe and in the USSR. For example, Mossad agents were the first abroad to receive the complete text of Khrushchev’s secret speech on Stalin’s crimes”748 and passed it onto the American intelligence services.

It’s necessary to remember that the “age of suspicion”, as it was correctly defined, encourages the witch hunts in both blocs, in obviously different ways.749 Furthermore, it’s not a secret to anyone  that American intelligence services were committed to the physical elimination of Stalin, as well as Castro, Lumumba, and other “mad dogs."750 How to reach the undisputed leader of the  international communist movement if not by making use of the individuals close to him and susceptible of being recruited by Western intelligence services in the wake of a recent conflict, like the one unleashed following the foundation of the Jewish state and the program of Jewish immigration pursued by it? At the time when the “plot” was revealed, “at least one leading western diplomat present in Moscow, the British diplomat Sir A. (“Joe”) Gascoigne [...], had thought the Kremlin doctors were really guilty of political treason."751 Furthermore, the suspicion  toward doctors appears to be a recurring theme in Russian history: an Israeli historian of Russian origin attributed the death of Tsar Alexander III to the German doctors who had treated him. (infra, ch. 6, § 1).

It must be added that a book recently published in the United States formulates a theory that it was medical “treatment” that caused the death of Zhdanov. Must we then conclude that Stalin’s  concerns were baseless? Without presenting any proof and even recognizing that there’s no document that supports their theory, the authors of the book are quick to clarify that it wasn’t the enemies of the Soviet Union who manipulated the doctors, but the dictator in the Kremlin himself! Moreover, apart from a radiologist, none of the doctors who treated Zhdanov were Jewish!752 It’s now clear: we are in the field of mythology, and a mythology with an unsettling subtext: it’s permissible to be suspicious of doctors just for being Germans or “gentile” Russians! Let’s return, then, to the field of historical research: it must be kept in mind that Stalin himself could have been the one who suspended the investigation, aware perhaps of the mistake he had made..753

748. Elon (2004), p. 15.

749. Flores (1995).

750. Thomas (1995), pp. 225-29, 233 and onward.

751. Rapaport (1991), p. 181.

752. Brent, Naumov (2004), p. 8.

753. Medvedev, Medvedev (2006), p. 35.

 Lacking other arguments, they cite Stalin’s condemnation of “cosmopolitanism” to cling to the theory of his antisemitism: who would be the cosmopolitans if not the Jews? In reality, the accusation of cosmopolitanism is inserted in the context of a sharp debate by both sides. Those that first decided to commit to the construction of socialism in the country born out of the October Revolution of 1917, renouncing the millenarian expectations of the arrival or the exporting of the revolution throughout the world, are accused of “national pettiness” and being “nationally confined”,754 as well as being provincial; while Stalin is the “small provincial man” with “peasant rudeness” (supra, preface § 1, and ch. 1, § 1), Molotov doesn’t come out any better in Trotsky’s opinion, as “he hadn’t visited any foreign country and didn’t know any foreign language."755 Both of them have the same defect of remaining stubbornly attached, in a provincial and obscurantist way, to the “reactionary role of the nation state."756 Those who are attacked in this way respond by defining their accusers as abstract cosmopolitans, incapable of building a truly new social order.

To read the condemnation of “cosmopolitanism” in anti-Semitic terms means neglecting a problem that is at the center of all the great revolutions driven by a universalist charge. Rejecting the theory of exporting the revolution cherished by the supporters of the “Republic, one and universal”, or more precisely the “universal conflagration”,757 Robespierre clarifies that the new France would not contribute to the cause of the revolution by behaving like the “capital of the world”, from which would be sent “armed missionaries” for the conversion and the “conquest of the world."758 No, what puts the old regime in Europe in crisis won’t be the “exploits of war”, but the “wisdom of our laws."759 In other words, revolutionary authority will play a real internationalist role to the degree  that in knows how to complete its national task of building a new order in France.

It’s a problem to which German idealism gave great consideration. In Kant’s opinion, writing in 1793-1794 and outlining in some form a philosophical and historical evaluation of the French Revolution, while patriotism runs the risk of slipping into exclusivism and losing sight of universalism, abstract love for men “loses its balance due to its excessively broad universalism." 

754. Reported in Stalin (1971-1973), vol. 9, p. 25 (=Stalin, 1952-1956, vol. 9, p. 42).

755. Trotsky (1988), p. 1228.

756. Trotsky (1988), p. 1283.

757. Robespierre (1912-1967), vol. 10, pp. 275 and 267.

758. Robespierre (1912-1967), vol. 8, p. 81 and vol. 10, p. 361.

759. Robespierre (1912-1967), vol. 10, p. 568

 It’s a question then of reconciling “world patriotism” (Weltpatriotismus) with “local patriotism” (Localpatriotismus) or with “love for the homeland”; that which is authentically universalist “in its attachment to its own country must be inclined to promoting the well-being of the entire world."760 It’s a line of thought later developed by Hegel: after having celebrated as a great historic conquest the formulation of the concept of the universal man (possessor of rights “as a man and as a Jew, Catholic, Protestant, German, Italian, etc”), the Philosophy of Right (§ 209 A) adds that it must not lead to “cosmopolitanism” and indifference or opposition with respect to the “concrete state of life” in the country in which one is a citizen. "The universal love for men" risks becoming an "empty universality" and devoid of content (§ 126 Z): the individual contributes to the universal first by concretely engaging the specific circle (the family, the society, the nation) in which he lives. Otherwise, the acclaimed “universal love for men” is at best a declaration of noble intentions; at worst, it’s a way of evading the field of concrete responsibilities.

It’s a problem that, with its even more emphatic universalism, the October Revolution inherits in a more acute form from the French Revolution. Well before Stalin, Herzen, while exiled in Paris, shows great distrust and criticism toward a cosmopolitanism that doesn’t recognize the idea of the nation and national responsibility (supra, ch. 3, § 5). It’s a controversy that goes beyond the borders of the Soviet Union. In rejecting the “accusations of nationalism” made against the CPSU majority, and primarily against Stalin,761 Gramsci takes a clear position against a “so-called internationalism” that’s, in reality, similar to a “vague ‘cosmopolitanism’." The principal target here is Trotsky, criticized as “cosmopolitan” for being “superficially national”, and therefore incapable of “cleansing internationalism of every vague and purely ideological (in its negative sense) element”; and he’s opposed to Stalin and Lenin especially, who embody a mature internationalism precisely by proving to be “profoundly national” at the same time.762

In the USSR, the criticism of cosmopolitanism becomes sharper to the degree that the threat represented by fascism and Nazism worsens. We know the passionate appeal, two years before Hitler’s rise to power, directed by Dimitrov to revolutionaries for them to reject “national nihilism." Cosmopolitanism is an internationalism that leads to national nihilism. We also saw Stalin, on the  eve of Operation Barbarossa, stress that, contrary to a “cosmopolitanism” incapable of assuming its national responsibilities, internationalism must know how to be combined with patriotism. That means that, far from being synonymous with antisemitism, the criticism of cosmopolitanism is an essential element in the struggle against Nazi-fascism (and antisemitism). That critique becomes urgent again with the start of the Cold War, when a new terrible threat loomed over the USSR.

760. Kant (1900), vol. 27, pp. 673-74.

761. Gramsci (1975), p. 1729.

762. Gramsci (1975), pp. 325, 866, and 1729.

 Stronger yet is the critique of cosmopolitanism when the country immersed in revolution is engaged in a struggle for national survival. In China Sun Yat-sen writes: “The nations that make use of imperialism to conquer other peoples, and thereby try to strengthen their position as masters of the world, are in support of cosmopolitanism”, and they try by all means to discredit patriotism as “something petty and anti-liberal."763 Mao aligns himself with that view, according to him internationalism doesn’t in any way make patriotism obsolete: “the universal truths of Marxism must be integrated with the concrete conditions of different countries, with the unity between internationalism and patriotism.''764

In the USSR, did Jews make up the majority of “cosmopolitans”, and therefore anti- cosmopolitanism is only a camouflaged form of antisemitism? It’s worthwhile to observe that, in elaborating his polemic against cosmopolitanism, Sun Yat-sen encourages the Chinese people to take the Jews as their example because, despite millennia of oppress and exile, they never lost their sense of identity, and therefore of the obligation of reciprocal solidarity.765 But let’s focus on the Soviet Union: the Jewish presence is numerous within the ranks of the CPSU majority. And among the first to throw the accusation of cosmopolitanism at the leader of the opposition is the German writer of Jewish origin (Feuchtwanger) who we have previously cited: “Trotsky was never a Russian patriot”, his only concern was the “world revolution."766

Moreover, to use the hermeneutics found in the accusations targeting Stalin, not even Trotsky could escape the accusation of antisemitism. In developing his analysis of pre-revolutionary Russia, he highlights how the “market aristocracy” had “transformed the Tsar’s government into its financial vassal” which guaranteed “usurious profits."767 It must be added that “the dominion of the market” is represented “by Rothschild and Mendelssohn”, in fact, by the “Mendelssohn international”, that’s to say by individuals committed to respecting “the laws of Moses to the same extent as those of the markets."768 

763. Sun Yat-Sen (1976), pp. 53-54.

764. Mao Zedong (1988), pp. 242-43.

765. Sun Yat-Sen (1976), p. 52.

766. Feuchtwanger (1946), p. 96.

767. Trotsky (1969a), p. 47.

768. Trotsky (1969a), pp. 21, 30 and 120.

 As one can see, in this case the reference to the Jewish world is explicit. Must we then conclude that the polemic against the “market aristocracy” is in fact aimed at Jews as such, to the point that we find ourselves before the umpteenth manifestation of antisemitism? Such an argument would be absurd not only for Trotsky’s Jewish origins: more significant is the fact that, in the same text, he dedicates pages to the powerful description of the “bestial bacchanal” of blood spilled by the anti-Semitic gangs, tolerated and encouraged by the authorities and by “Nicolas Romanov, the Augustinian protector of the pogromists”, which fortunately faced the courageous and determined opposition of the revolutionary and socialist movement.769 But no less resolute in condemning that anti-Semitic “cannibalism” is Stalin.

Stalin in the Jewish “Court”, the Jews in Stalin’s “Court”

The USSR is the “country that saved the greatest number of Jews." This observation is from a journalist and researcher of Trotskyist orientation who, as a “witness of those years”, thought it necessary to stand against the campaign underway today in the West. He continues as follows: “no country had anything comparable to the Red Army, with Jews in the highest military positions." That’s not all: “One of Stalin’s sons marries a Jew, and his daughter does the same."770 It can be added that, within Stalin’s leadership group, Jews were well represented and at the highest levels until the very end. To remain standing, however weak and staggered, the theory of Stalin’s “antisemitism” requires the dejudification of the Jews who work closely with him. That’s precisely what happens.  It’s true that “Yagoda, Kaganovich and many others in Russia and Central and Eastern Europe” played an important role alongside a ferocious dictator, but it’s a matter of “apostate Jews”: that’s the consideration from a Jewish intellectual, using language that clearly recalls the history of religions.771 Other times, the weight of religious tradition is noted in a more measured or involuntary way: there’s a journalist who denounces, in the most circulated Italian newspaper, the “renegade Jews in Stalin’s court."772

In reality, the rhetoric regarding “apostates” and “renegades” (or regarding “court Jews”) constituted an implicit negation of the accusation of antisemitism; antisemitism that, as a form of racism, is directed against an ethnic group regardless of the religious and political conduct of its individual members. To recognize the presence of Jews in leadership positions in Stalin’s USSR, and the socialist camp led by him, means admitting that in those countries access to power and social and political stature were determined not by their immutable racial background, but by their mutable political conduct. 

769. Trotsky (1969a), pp. 108 and 126-27.

770. Karol (2005), p. 12.

771. Besancon (1998), p. 123.

772. Carreto (1997).

 But the dejudification of Jews (as “apostate”, “renegades”, “court” or inauthentic Jews) who are today considered politically embarrassing allows the transformation of antisemitism into a category capable of resisting any negation arising from empirical analysis, and therefore it’s applicable not only to Stalin, but to the whole history of the Soviet Union.

Soon after the October Revolution, the campaign against obscurantism denounced within different religions (including Judaism) is carried out with the participation of important Jewish circles in leading positions. Here’s the commentary by the previously cited journalist from Corriere della Sera: “it was Yevektia, of the Jewish branch of the CPSU, who fomented the new antisemitism."773 A professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem makes a similar argument: “during the Bolshevik revolution [...] many Jewish Bolsheviks were so dedicated to the cause of revolutionary Russian nationalism that they became anti-Semites."774 Already classified as “apostates” and “renegades”, the Jews of communist orientation now become “anti-Semitic” tout court. At this time, apart from Stalin, the accusation of “antisemitism” reaches Lenin himself, the supreme leader of these “anti-Semitic” campaigns.

Nevertheless, it’s the same Israeli historian just cited who writes: “Most likely, Lenin was always very skeptical of the organizational capacity of Russians. In one conversation with Gorky, he observes that there hadn’t been intelligent Russians who weren’t Jews, or at least had Jews among their ancestors and a little Jewish blood in their veins." The opinion of the Soviet leader is also the opinion of his interlocutor: “It would not have displeased Gorky if it had been Jews who had taken control over the Russian economy, and in 1916, he goes as far as writing that ‘the genius of Jews for their organization, their flexibility, and their indomitable energy must be taken properly into account in a country so poorly organized like our Russia’."775 Therefore, going by this text, Lenin and Gorky (who also adheres to the Communist Party), could eventually be accused of anti-Russian racism and not antisemitism.

The leading role played by Jews isn’t limited to the overthrow of the old regime in Russia. The Jewish historian continues as follows: Lenin attributes to the “omnipresent Jewish minority” the role of being the “guardians of communism." Therefore, “it wasn’t the Slavs, but the Jews that became the principal spearhead of the Russian advance in the international arena, and therefore against Europe and the rest of the world. Lenin showed great intuition in trusting the success of the revolution to them and other ethnic minorities."776 As one can see, “anti-Semitic” Jews make an important contribution, maybe even a decisive contribution, to the expansion of communism; the Judeo-Bolshevik plot that the Nazis speak of is here understood as the unrest or plot orchestrated by Jews, yes, but by anti-Semitic Jews!

773. Ibid.

774. Agursky (1989), p. 52.

775. Agursky (1989), pp. 158 and 161.

776. Agursky (1989), pp. 159 and 164.

 It’s a matter of upheaval or a plot with a long, long history. Again according to the historian previously cited, Lenin would have used the Jews who had broken with their community of origin, just as Christianity had done earlier.777 And again emerge the similarities to the historical reading  dear to Nazism, that had denounced the role of Jews in the destructive cycle that stretches from Christianity to Bolshevism. What’s new here is that the Jews who played that role, having adhered first to Christianity and later to Bolshevism, should ultimately be considered “apostates”, “renegades” and “anti-Semites." In trying to strike at the Soviet experience as a whole, together with Stalin, the accusation of antisemitism ends up reproducing, with some modest variations, the Nazi philosophy of history!

From Trotsky to Stalin, From the “Semite” Monster to the “Anti-Semitic” Monster

The theory of Stalin’s antisemitism proves unsustainable in light of conceptual and historical reflection. Whatever the date may be for the emergence of that sickness (whether identified in 1948, in 1945, or in 1879, the year of Stalin’s conception and birth), the diagnosis proves not only baseless, but also quite offensive to Jews, who in great numbers until the last moment continued to pay tribute to their supposed executioner. How is the origin of this black legend explained, then? Let’s return to the years immediately following the October Revolution. On October 4th of 1919, the Völkischer Beobachter, at that time not yet the official organ of the National-Socialist party (not yet founded), blames the Bolshevik horror on a “Jewish terrorist horde”, and on “circumcised Asians”, and to that end stresses that Jewish blood also runs through Lenin’s veins. Similar denunciations are also heard in Britain and in the West in general.778 With this in mind, it’s understandable that, more so than Lenin, Trotsky is “the principal Mephisto-like subject of the anti-Bolshevik manifestos."779 

777. Agursky (1989), p. 159.

778. Diamond (1985), pp. 97-98.

779. Poliakov (1974-1990), vol. 4, p. 200.

780. Cited in Traverso (2002), photo 17.

 A leaflet of anti-communist propaganda handed out during the Soviet-Polish war of 1920 depicts him with anything but human-like features, with the Star of David around his neck, observing from on high a pile of bodies.780 “Trotsky or Bronstein”, that is the Bolshevik Jew par excellence, in 1919 is, in Goebbels opinion, the figure that “possibly has on his conscience the greatest number of crimes that a man has ever been responsible for."781

On the other hand, during the invasion of the Soviet Union, announced as crusade for the salvation of European and Western civilization from Bolshevik barbarism―Asiatic and Jewish―we saw Hitler depict Stalin as a puppet of international Judaism, as a Jew, if not by blood, then at least in spirit. During the years in which antisemitism was widespread or found ample support in the West, the monster par excellence couldn’t take on anything but Jewish features. The situation is different after the collapse of the Third Reich and the infamous revelation of the “final solution”: today, the monster that’s able to provoke horror, or at least more so than any other, tends to be the anti- Semitic monster. However, despite its variations, its continued flaws are evident, and the depiction of the anti-Semitic Stalin is not much more convincing than that which painted Trotsky openly wearing the Star of David and happily contemplating his immense pile of victims.

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