The death of Stalin's second wife Nadezhda Alliluieva (Alliluyeva), and Stalin's involvement with Rosa Kaganovich

by Peter Myers

Date March 26, 2002; update January 12, 2014.

My comments are shown {thus}; write to me at contact.html.

You are at http://mailstar.net/wives-of-stalin.html.

Stuart Kahan says in his book The Wolf of the Kremlin that Rosa Kaganovich, sister of Lazar Kaganovich, was Stalin's third wife: kaganovich.html.

Stalinists deny that Stalin had a third wife; some say that Lazar Kaganovich never had a sister called Rosa.

The official Jugashvili family tree omits Rosa Kaganovich: http://www.jugashvili.com/family/index.htm.

Khruschev wrote about the death of Stalin's second wife in Khruschev Remembers. Just before she died, she was upset with Stalin for sleeping with another woman. But Khruschev withholds the name. According to Robert Payne, it was Rosa Kaganovich (The Rise & Fall of Stalin, p. 410 & p. 412).

Stuart Kahan wrote, "Some of my own family will not like what they read here" (p.5).

Here is a photo of the affidavit of Stuart's father, Jack Kahan, from p. 7 of The Wolf of the Kremlin: kahan-affidavit.jpg.

Here is a photo of Rosa Kaganovich at age 13, from Stuart Kahan's files, in The Wolf of the Kremlin, p. 149: rosa-kaganovich.jpg.

Given the evidence of Stalin's involvement with her, but the denial that she was his wife, perhaps she was his defacto but never formally married to him.

Over the years, I have received emails from a number of Kaganovich descendants, widely dispersed, and even put some of them in touch with one another!

Added November 23, 2012 (item 5): material from Aino Kuusinen's book Before and After Stalin

(1) Robert Payne, The Rise and Fall of Stalin
(2) Nikita Khruschev, Khruschev Remembers: The Glasnost Tapes
(3) Stalinist Group says Stalin never had a 3rd wife, "Rosa Kaganovich" never existed
(4) Letters from Kaganovich descendants - added March 2011
(5) Aino Kuusinen, Before and After Stalin

(1) Robert Payne, The Rise and Fall of Stalin (Simon & Schuster, New York, 1965).

{p. 410} She carries a small dark portfolio, and it is possible that the photograph was taken when she was on her way to her lessons. She looks forty, although at the time she could not have been more than twenty-eight or -nine. There are traces of her forrner beauty, but her expression is one of settled melancholy, as of someone attending a funeral or withdrawing from the world.

This haunting photograph is very nearly all that remains of Nadezhda Alliluieva, whose names were so singularly inappropriate, for she had little to hope for and rarely rejoiced. We see her walking in a terrifying loneliness down the snowbound street, lost in her dreams, and then she vanishes forever.

On November 7, 1932, the fifteenth anniversary of the Revolution was celebrated with a military parade on the Red Square. This was followed by processions of workmen and athletes. As usual Stalin took the salute from Lenin's mausoleum. Nadezhda was seen among the crowds watching the display of militarv po-ver. She looked pale and worn, took little interest in what was happening around her, and hung on her brother's arm. In three weeks she would receive her diploma as a chemical engineer, and her nervousness was perhaps no more than the inevitable nervousness of a woman who will soon leave the familiar surroundings of a college. She did not yet know what she would do with the knowledge she had acquired, but there were innumerable factories and laboratories in the Moscow region where her services would be welcomed. She could become an engineer working for the Soviet Union without leaving her family in the Kremlin.

Among the Soviet hierarchy the anniversaries of the Revolution were celebrated like Christmas. All-night parties continued sometimes through the day and the following night; innumerable toasts were drunk; presents were exchanged; there was a constant round of visits. On the night of November 8 Stalin attended a party given at the country house of Voroshilov. He was accompanied by Nadezhda, and a small circle of intimate friends now reduced by the butcheries of the previous twelve months. At such parties he was always inclined to drink dangerously. Something said by Nadezhda - it may have been about another woman, Rosa Kaganovich, who was also present, or about the expropriations in the villages which were dooming the peasants to famine - reduced Stalin to a state of imbecile rage. In front of her friends he poured out a torrent of abuse and obscenity. He was a master of the art of cursing, with an astonishing range of vile phrases and that peculiarly

{p. 411} obscene form of speaking which the Russians call matershchina. Nadezhda could stand it no more, rushed out of the room, drove to the Kremlin and went straight to the small house where she had spent most of her married life. She died about four o clock in the morning.

The offlcial communique announced only that her death was "sudden and premature." No further offlcial announcement was made, although a semiofflcial report that she had died of acute appendicitis was circulated. Since she was not in good health and had looked wan and exhausted during the last months, it was generally accepted that the official report was true or alternatively that she had taken an overdose of sleeping pills. There were also rumors that she had shot herself through the head.

In that year millions of people had died in the famine-stricken regions of Russia, and the death of a young woman was not a matter which caused a great deal of speculation, even if that woman was the wife of the dictator. She was thirty years old. In her short life she had had little impact on the Russian scene. Under the Soviets, the private lives of high offlcials were rarely discussed, and little or nothing was published about them in the newspapers.

Nadezhda's death however was not forgotten. It was as though in her quiet way she became more alive after her death than she had ever been when she was among the living. People remembered that she had attended the party at Voroshilov's house and had fled in disgust, and sometimes they asked themselves how her "sudden and premature" death came about. She became a minor legend.

In 1955 Elizabeth Lermolo published her extraordinary account of her life in various isolators in Russia. Among the prisoners she met was Natalia Trushina, a young woman who had formerly worked in Lenin's secretariat. At the time of Nadezhda's death she was employed as a housekeeper in Stalin's household, looking after the children when Nadezhda was at her studies. On the night of November 8 she was wide-awake. Here is her account as reported by Elizabeth Lermolo:

{start of quote} About one o'clock at night, the doorbell rang at the Stalin apartrnent. Natalia ran to open it, thinking that it was early for the Stalins to be hack. To her surprise it was Nadya escorted by Voroshilov. In the vestibule, Nadya hastily thanked Voroshilov, bade him goodnight and rushed to her room. Voroshilov, looking rather nonplussed, left after a moment, and Natalia hurried to Nadya who was sitting on the bed, staring blankly into space.

{p. 412} "It's the end," Nadya said. "I've reached the limit. Until now I've been a sort of wife to him, but not any more. I'm nothing. The only prospect is death. I shall be poisoned or killed in some prearranged 'accident.' Where can I go? What can I do?"

Nadya became hysterical. Natalia tried to calm her, saying that Stalin's flirtations were well-known to her, that he would tire of the present attraction as he had of others, and that she, Nadya, would soon be an engineer and free to go away and do as she liked.

When Nadya had quieted a bit, Natalia took her into the bathroom and she started to undress. Then, for no apparent reason, she fainted.

Natalia, alarmed, did the first thing she thought of. She grabbed the telephone and called the Voroshilov apartment and asked that Stalin return home at once. When he arrived a few minutes later, flustered and impatient, Natalia directed him to the bathroom. Nadya had regained consciousness by now but would not come out.

Through the partially opened door, Natalia heard the quarrel that followed. Nadya accused Stalin of carrying on shamelessly with "that woman" in the presence of a large company, of hurting her and humiliating her. Stalin, after listening in silence for a long while, answered her with a tirade. He told her that she had retained none of her old revolutionary ardor, that she had become transformed into a conventional housewife, that as far as the revolution was concerned she was just so much excess baggage. "You are no longer the companion needed by a leader of the world revolutionl" he said.

The quarrel went on and on. Nadya out of her hurt pride argued like any woman who as wife and mother is conscious of certain rights. Stalin kept protesting that his position put him above bourgeois concepts of morality, that he needed someone to rekindle his spirit, revive his will to leadership.

At this, Nadya was infuriated. "Rosa, I suppose, revives you! ... I know the kind of leader you are. More than anyone else, I know the kind of revolutionist you arel" And she went on to accuse him of usurping the leadership of the party dishonestly, of involving her in his shady schemes. She was, she said, ashamed to look her comrades in the eye because of his blood purges and liquidations. Her voice rose hysterically.

"Shut up, damn you!" Stalin roared at last. Then Natalia heard a blow, a fall, someone gasping. Filled with foreboding, not quite knowing what she was up to, Natalia pushed open the door of the bathroom. There on the floor was Stalin savagely choking Nadya with both his hands and saying, "You would, would you?" Natalia screamed, whereupon Stalin broke away from Nadya and with his face turned tore out of the bathroom. Nadya lay on the floor, not breathing. At her temple was a large wound that could have been the blow from an instrument. There was blood, and near her on the floor was a bloodstained revolver.

{p. 413} Natalia Trushina went on to describe how Poskrebyshev, Stalin's secretary, suddenly appeared, forbade her to call a doctor, removed the revolver, ordered the blood mopped up, and saw to it that the unfortunate incident was smoothed over. From time to time during the night Soviet dignitaries came to the house to console Stalin. Long before morning Nadezhda's disfigured face had been restored with the help of scissors, cold cream and face powder, and the hair had been rearranged to conceal the wound.

Natalia Trushina's account of Nadezhda's death may not be completely convincing in all its details, but it has the ring of truth. Events follow one another in a haphazard order, as they do in life; a novelist could scarcely have invented the scene in the bathroom. Her account is partly confirmed by a report published in the Novoye Ruuskoye Slovo on December 21, 1949, which relates how a woman doctor, who was the acting head of the Kremlin hospital, was awakened in the early hours of the morning and asked to come immediately to Stalin's apartment. "On her arrival she saw the lifeless body of Alliluieva on the floor. Nearby, leaning against the writing desk, stood Stalin, pale and stunned and almost insensible. On the desk lay the revolver. Alliluieva never had a revolver." Alexander Orlov reports that an officer of Stalin's bodyguard told him how they had heard a shot coming from the bedroom. "When we rushed in," he said, "she was lying on the floor, in a black silk evening dress, her hair done in curls. The pistol was on the floor." The officer decided it was safer not to pursue the subject further and made no attempt to discover whether Nadezhda shot herself or was shot by Stalin.

For two days the body lay in state and mourners were invited to pay tribute to the dead wife of the dictator. Usually, when a body lies in state in Russia, it lies on a kind of platform at eye level, the head reposing on a pillow. Instead Nadezhda lay in her coffin, her body entirely concealed, her face shadowed by flowers; death had refined her features; she looked young again.

In the normal course of events her body would have heen cremated and her ashes placed in the Kremlin wall. For some reason Stalin ordered that she should be buried in the ancient aristocratic cemetery of Novodevichy, where the first wife of Peter the Great and his three sisters were buried. {end of quotes}

(2) Nikita Khruschev, Khruschev Remembers: The Glasnost Tapes, tr. & ed. by Jerrold L. Schecter with Vyacheslav V. Luchkov (Little, Brown and Company, Boston, 1990).

{p. 14} The Great Terror and the Twentieth Party Congress

{on the death of Stalin's second wife}

I saw Stalin's wife, Nadezhda Sergeyevna Alliluyeva, before her end. It was, I think, at the celebration for the October Revolution.

There was a parade, and I was standing by the Lenin mausoleum with a group of Moscow city party activists. Alliluyeva was there too. We were standing next to each other and we talked to each other. It was a cold, windy day. As usual, Stalin was wearing his mllitary greatcoat. The upper button was left open. I remember she glanced at him and said, "My man didn't take his scarf. He will catch cold and get sick." I could tell from the way she said this that she was in good humor. At the end of the parade I went home.

The next day Kaganovich invited the party secretaries for a meeting and said that Nadezhda Sergeyevna had died suddenly. I asked myself, "How can it be? I just talked to her. Such a beautiful woman." However, it happens, people die.

Then again, in a day or two, Kaganovich gathered the same group and said, "I'm speaking on Stalin' s behalf. He asked me to bring you together and tell you what happened. She did not die

{p. 15} naturally. She committed suicide." Of course, in front of the group he didn't go into details, and we didn't ask him anything.

We buried her. Stalin seemed to be suffering at the graveside. I do not know how he felt inside, hut outwardly he mourned.

It was later, after Stalin's death, that the cause of her death became known to me. Of course, this is not documented. We just asked Vlasik, chief of Stalin's bodyguards, what caused Nadezhda Sergeyevna's death. He said that after the parade everybody went to Voroshilov's big apartment for dinner. After parades they always went to Voroshilov's to eat.

It was a limited group of people: the marshal of the parade and members of the Politburo and a few others. They went there directly from Red Square. In those days parades and demonstrations lasted for a very long time. Everyone drank at the dinner, of course, as is the custom in such cases. Stalin was alone there. Finally, everyone left. So did Stalin. But he didn't go home.

It was late. Who knows what time it was. Nadezhda Sergeyevna got worried: "Where is Stalin?" She started searching for him by phoning out to the dacha in Zubalovo [outside Moscow] - not where Kaganovich's dacha is now and not where Mikoyan lived recently, but another half kilometer, across the ravine. So, she called there and asked the duty officer, "Is Stalin there'?"

"Yes," he answered, "Comrade Stalin is here."

"Who is with him?"

He named the woman.

{but Khruschev withholds the name. According to Robert Payne, it was Rosa Kaganovich (The Rise & Fall of Stalin, p. 410 & p. 412). If so, Lazar Kaganovich's prominence might be the reason Khruschev withheld the name.}

{p. 16} In the morning - I don't know exactly when - Stalin came home and Nadezhda Sergeyevna was no longer alive. She didn't leave a note; or if there was one, it never was revealed to us. The other woman was the wife of Gusev, who had also been present at the dinner. When Stalin left he took Gusev's wife with him. Gusev was from the military, but I didn't know him, nor do I remember meeting his wife; Mikoyan told me she was a very beautiful woman.

So Stalin was sleeping with her there at the dacha, and Alliluyeva learned that from the duty officer. Vlasik said, "The duty officer was a fool, inexperienced. She asked him and he just told her everything."

Well, later there were rumors that maybe Stalin killed her. I heard these stories, and Stalin, of course, knew about them from his agents. In a word, this side of the story is not clear, but the other side seems to be more certain. Although Vlasik might have been misinformed, he was, after all, a bodyguard.

How did Stalin and Nadezhda Sergeyevna get along? I can only Judge on the basis of some things I heard. Sometimes when Stalin was a little drunk he would tell us: "I lock myself in my bedroom and she knocks on the door and cries, 'You are an impossible man. It is impossible to live with you!' But I just lock the door and sit there while she continues to call me rude, callous, and inhuman." ...
{end of quotes}

(3) Stalinist Group says Stalin never had a 3rd wife, "Rosa Kaganovich" never existed

I received the following email

{start of email}

Subject: [trotskyexposed] Fraud Date: Thu, 21 Mar 2002 17:48:48 -0000 From: "redguard1917" <redguard1917@hotmail.com> Reply-To: trotskyexposed@yahoogroups.com To: trotskyexposed@yahoogroups.com

Mr. Myers,

The book LAZAR KAGANOVICH: WOLF OF THE KREMLIN is a complete and utter fraud. It's author is a con man who claims to be Comrade Kaganovich's "nephew" when in fact no such relationship existed. Anyone interested can check out this link:

http://www.geocities.com/redcomrades/kagan.html

Which is a public statement on the part of the Kaganovich family repudiating the author. I'm surprised anyone takes this book seriously. All one needs to hear is the name "Rosa Kaganovich." This fictitious individual was supposed to be Comrade Stalin's third wife. Interesting that Comrade Stalin's daughter and numerous grandchildren never mention their "mama." This is because "Rosa Kaganovich" never existed. "She" was a product of rumor. Scholars have known this since the 1950s.

Mr. Myers, considering that this highly flawed -- to put it mildly -- work seems to form your main source for your arguments, it casts severe doubt on your credibility. This, of course, is in addition to the general anti-semitic and racist tone of your postings.

By the way, I'm not a Jew. I'm a Latino.

Sincerely, Alfonso, Moderator, Stalinist Group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stalinist
{end of email}

(4) Letters from a Kaganovich descendant - added March 2011

From: Miriam deVore <orion_orion888@hotmail.com> To: peter.myers@mailstar.net Date: 22.12.2008 10:29 AM Subject: LAZAR KAGANOVICH WAS MY UNCLE

i found your page on the internet:

http://mailstar.net/kaganovich.html can you please write me back. i have been looking for my people my whole life.....about 40 years ago my aunt florence cohen told me that her aunt rose was married to stalin..... PLEASE write me back about this....thank you.....Miriam deVore

From: Miriam deVore <orion_orion888@hotmail.com> Date: 22.12.2008 11:22 PM Subject: RE: LAZAR KAGANOVICH WAS MY UNCLE

yes, i just NOW found out the family denies Rose Kaganovich was married to Stalin. I have no reason to lie about this because I was told about Aunt Rose 40 years ago. My aunt florence didnt have any reason to lie either because she was just telling me about life in Russia when she was a little girl, and one day she told me "Aunt Rose was married to Stalin". ...

From: Miriam deVore <orion_orion888@hotmail.com> Date: 22.12.2008 11:40 AM Subject: RE: LAZAR KAGANOVICH WAS MY UNCLE

i would appreciate it. i didnt even know if you would get my email. i have been looking for my people my whole life.....i'll tell you the whole story after you write me back. thank you so much. oh, i am reading on your website about the Hebrew female goddess. ....yes, it is true......yahweh had a wife, they had sex, and here we are..........

{from Peter M.} Miriam,

You probably know that some of the Kaganovich family deny that Rosa (Rose) married Stalin.

I am pleased to have your corroboration of Stuart's account.

Could you draw your family tree (including aunt Florence Cohen & her aunt Rose) on a piece of paper, as best you can, and send me the details. If you have a scanner, you could scan it in to a computer and send it as a .jpg file or similar (best to compress it to a size under 1 megabyte).

Otherwise, after drawing it on paper, could you just describe it to me in words?

This would help me understand where you and they fit in.

If possible could you give approximate dates of births, marriages & deaths, to the extent that you remember.

Also please make a note of any alternative names by which people were known, eg nicknames. My father, for example, was Henry Joseph. Some knew him as Henry, some as Joe.

It's best to get this down on paper now, because memory only gets worse with time.

After reading it, I will see how it fits with other material and get back to you.

Peter

From: Miriam deVore <orion_orion888@hotmail.com> Date: 22.12.2008 11:58 PM Subject: RE: LAZAR KAGANOVICH WAS MY UNCLE

oh one other thing i do remember is my grandparents (Sarah and her husband) had a VERY nice shop which was destroyed.....

From: Miriam deVore <orion_orion888@hotmail.com> Date: 22.12.2008 11:25 PM Subject: RE: LAZAR KAGANOVICH WAS MY UNCLE

i've never seen any photos of my relatives before so i can't confirm this...

From: Miriam deVore <orion_orion888@hotmail.com> Date: 22.12.2008 11:22 PM Subject: RE: LAZAR KAGANOVICH WAS MY UNCLE

yes, i just NOW found out the family denies Rose Kaganovich was married to Stalin. I have no reason to lie about this because I was told about Aunt Rose 40 years ago. My aunt florence didnt have any reason to lie either because she was just telling me about life in Russia when she was a little girl, and one day she told me "Aunt Rose was married to Stalin".... o.k. here is the family tree from what i have been told. my mother died when i was 5 so she was not around to tell me anything much. if it doesnt make sense i will try to get to a scanner and send it to you that way. My birth name is Miriam Kay deVore. i was born in 1943. My mothers maiden name was Eunice Fradin. She had a sister Florence and a Brother Martyn. she was born in 1913. they all came over here when they were young children. all i know is they remember their parents being killed in some revolution. how they survived i dont know, but they had uncles waiting for them in New York City when they got here....all their names were Cohen so i guess they changed their names when they got here? My grandmothers (my mothers mother) name was Sarah Kagonavich. SO Lazar must have been HER brother and ROSE her sister. do you know how i can get a hold of the author of the book, who claims to be Lazars nephew. do you think he would be interested in talking to a long lost relative? he is probably dead by now also, isn't he. I have a question...i remember seeing Lazar's funeral on t.v. many years ago and it seems there were literally millions of people mourning his death. i dont understand that, if he was so horrible, who were those people all mourning his death? i am sitting here also holding a scribbled note written by my father approximately 50 years ago, where he says my mother's mother was a Kaganovich and sister was Rose and married Stalin.

{from Peter M.} Miriam,

Stuart Kahan's book was published by William Morrow. That is now an imprint of HarperCollins. They have various webpages where authors can be contacted, but Stuart is not there. Possibly he's dead, as you surmise, or it could just be that they've lost touch with him, because his book was published over 20 years ago.

I think you should ring HarperCollins on (212) 207-7000 and ask them about him.

They give an address to write to. You could write a letter to Stuart and send it to:

Stuart Kahan c/o Author mail, 7th Floor HarperCollins Publishers 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022 (212) 207-7000

Can I add your statements to my webpage on Lazar? Can I include your name? Your email address?

Peter

{from Peter M.} Miriam,

Could you send me a photocopy of that scribbled note written by your father, where he says your mother's mother was a Kaganovich and sister was Rose and married Stalin?

Peter

From: Miriam deVore <orion_orion888@hotmail.com> Date: 23.12.2008 04:16 AM Subject: RE: LAZAR KAGANOVICH WAS MY UNCLE

yes, you may use my comments, name and email address. please send me a link to the page.

From: Miriam deVore <orion_orion888@hotmail.com> Date: 04.01.2009 06:40 AM Subject: piece of the puzzle?

i just found my mother's (Eunice Fradin) (daughter of Sarah Kaganovich and neice of Rose Kaganovich who was Stalin's 3rd wife) obituary. it says she was born in Nausovitch, Russia (close to Moscow). I am not able to find the village on the internet. i wonder if there is any other way to track it down.....

From: Miriam deVore <orion_orion888@hotmail.com> To: peter myers <peter.myers@mailstar.net> Date: 08.01.2009 11:47 AM Subject: you will notice you will notice i was told about aunt rose marrying stalin in 1983, stuart didnt write his book until 1987.....

From: Miriam deVore <orion_orion888@hotmail.com> To: peter myers <peter.myers@mailstar.net> Date: 08.01.2009 12:29 PM Subject: RE: you will notice

i'm not sure what paper, my dad sent it to me, i think he lived in texas close to dallas in 1983, which is the year podgorny died..... my mothers name was Eunice Fradin. Her Father was Mendel Fradin, Her Mother was Sarah Kaganovich. according to the note on the newpaper clipping, ROSE was Sarah's sister., so she would have been my mother's aunt. Rose was my mothers Aunt. the reason I know this is because My mother had a sister named Florence, and a brother named Martin. They all came over because of the revolution, all by themselves. i think their parents were both killed. anyways, my mother died when I was 5, BUT her sister, MY Aunt Florence told me 1975 that HER Aunt Rose was Stalin's favorite wife. 1975 was a LONG time before Stuart interviewed Lazar and wrote the book.

{end}

Miriam sent me a photocopy of a note her father wrote to her, at the bottom of a newspaper clipping. Here is an image of it: miriams-fathers-note.jpg.

Her father wrote at the bottom:

{quote} Elxha's mother was K. & sister Rose married S. {endquote}

Elhxa = Miriam's mother (Prussian spelling).

To say she "was K." means that Kaganovich was her maiden name.

S. = Stalin.

Miriam gave permission for her emails to be quoted on this webpage.

(5) Aino Kuusinen, Before and After Stalin

Before and After Stalin: A Personal Account of Soviet Russia from the 1920s to the 1960s

by Aino Kuusinen

translated from the German by Paul Stevenson

London, Michael Joseph, 1974

{the author was the wife of Otto Kuusinen: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otto_Wille_Kuusinen. He was a founder of the Finnish Communist Party, who fled to Russia and worked for the Comintern from 1921 to 1939; was a member of the Politburo from 1957 until his death in 1964; and was Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU from 1957 to 1964. In 1930 Aino and Otto separated, and Aino went to work for the Comintern in the United States}

{p. 91} One morning in November 1932, I saw headlined on the front page of the New York Times that Stalin had murdered his wife, Nadezhda Alliluyeva. My first reaction was that this could only be a malicious invention by the sensational bourgeois press. The official version was that Stalin's wife had fallen seriously ill and had died as the result of an operation; but what could have started the rumour that she was murdered? I did not believe it, but I could not altogether repress my suspicions, as references to the story kept cropping up in the press.

I returned to Moscow at the end of the following July, and on the day after my arrival I received unexpected confirmation of the rumours from an old friend, Dr Muromtseva of the Medical Academy. She was a loyal Communist who used as a matter of course to defend all the strange goings-on in the Soviet Union, and her husband was a highly-placed Old Bolshevik. After showering me with questions about life in America, which I answered to the best of my ability, she suddenly asked: 'Did the American press say that Stalin had murdered his wife?'

'Yes, the papers were full of stories about her death, and they did say she was murdered.'

'And what did you think?'

'I didn't believe them.'

'Well, it's true.'

I stared in amazement and asked her how she knew, whereupon she told me this story.

'One morning as I was just setting out for work, the telephone rang and an unknown man's voice told me to go straight to the guardroom at the entrance to the Kremlin and show my Party membership booklet. I was paralysed with fear, as anyone in Moscow would be on receiving such an order. When I got to the Kremlin, the commandant was there with two other women doctors, and we three were led through various corridors to Nadezhda Alliluyeva's room. She was lying on the bed, quite still, and we thought at first that she was ill and unconscious, but then we saw she was dead. We were alone with the body of Stalin's wife. She had been a student at the Industrial Academy, and her books and lecture notes were still on the table.

'After a while two men brought a coffin, and we were told by

{p. 92} an official to lay the body in it. We looked about for some appropriate clothing, and chose a black silk dress from one of the wardrobes. Suddenly Dr N. made a sign and pointed to some great black bruises on the corpse's neck. We looked closer, and then exchanged silent glances - it was clear to all of us that she had been strangled. As we gazed in horror at the body, the marks became larger and clearer, and finally we could distinguish each finger of the murderer's left hand.

'We realized that when the body lay in state, anyone who saw the marks would know what the cause of death had been, and so we put a bandage round the neck so that the many thousands who came to pay their last respects to Nadezhda Alliluyeva would suppose that she had died of a throat disease.'

My friend ended her account with the words: 'I'm sure you will understand when I say that we three doctors have had many a sleepless night since then - we know too much.'28

Although the doctors thought they had concealed the truth so well, I found as I went round visiting old friends in the next few days that the rumour of Stalin's guilt was widespread. Most people thought he had attacked his wife in a fit of anger because of her reproaches over the policy of forced collectivization, which had meant misery and starvation for millions of peasants. The rumour was corroborated by the fact that after Nadezhda's death her closest relations began to disappear mysteriously. It was of course extremely risky to breathe a word about the matter, and it remained taboo for at least six years afterwards. This was shown by the case of an old cleaning woman who had worked at the Mint for twenty years and, like me, was thrown into Butyrka prison in 1938: her neighbour, a Party member, had reported her to the authorities for asking what illness Stalin's wife had died of. Even such measures did not kill the rumour, and when I came back to Moscow in 1955 - twenty-three years after Alliluyeva's death, and with fifteen years of prison and camps behind me - the murder was still a frequent topic of conversation.

Another friend of mine, also a Party member of long standing, repeated to me a tale she had heard from some of the Kremlin servants. Marshal Voroshilov whose apartment was next to Stalin's, had heard through his bedroom wall Stalin's

{p. 93} explosion of anger and Nadezhda's cries for help. He ran across in his night clothes to help her, but she was already dead. Naturally he never said anything - to do so might have cost him his life, and he was in danger for many years as the sole witness of Stalin's crime. Khrushchev, in his famous speech to the twentieth Party Congress in 1956, spoke of Stalin's vengeful designs and declared that he suspected Voroshilov of spying for the British. I heard an echo of this in 1938, when an officer in the Lubyanka began my interrogation one evening by boasting of the daily executions in the prison cellar, and showed me a list of those who were soon to be liquidated: the first name on it was Voroshilov, the second Otto Kuusinen, and the third Mikoyan.

In later years in Moscow, when the weather was fine, I often used to sit and read on a bench in the garden of the Novodevichy convent, an oasis of peace and beauty near the city centre. The fine old buildings and churches stand in the foreground, and behind a wall is a cemetery where people of importance are still buried. Walking among the graves one Sunday I came upon that of Nadezhda Alliluyeva, and was amazed at what I saw. It was ornamented by an impressive marble statue of the dead woman with a large white veil over her shoulders, and with her left hand touching her neck at the very place where, according to my doctor friend, the marks of the strangler's hand had been visible.

Nadezhda was a woman of great beauty and character; I had met her several times at the Kremlin, the last occasion being a women's congress. She told me then that she had taken up the study of weaving and textiles in order to have an independent profession of her own. I thought her intelligent but very much on edge, and irked by the attentions she received as Stalin's wife. As I stood now fascinated by the snow-white statue, my thoughts were of the pastÑnot my own life and trials, but those of this woman who had suffered so much at the side of her tyrant husband. She had uttered no word of complaint, but had been as mute as the statue itself. But what sculptor could have dared to allude so clearly to the manner of her death? And why is it still a forbidden subject? These questions remain unanswered, and the mystery is still unsolved.

{end}

Stalin Versus the World Government: stalin.html.

on the Purges: stalin-purges.html.

The death of Stalin: death-of-stalin.html.

More from Stuart Kahan on Rosa Kaganovich: kaganovich.html.

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