The Jewish Century, by Yuri Slezkine (Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2004)

Slezkine, whose Jewish relatives helped build the Soviet Union, but then left it for Israel and America, calls the Twentieth Century "the Jewish Century".

- Peter Myers, July 2, 2005; update December 19, 2018. My comments are shown {thus}.

Write to me at contact.html.

You are at .

{p. 1} The Modern Age is the Jewish Age, and the twentieth century, in particular, is the Jewish Century. Modernization is about everyone becoming urban, mobile, literate, articulate, intellectually articulate, physically fastidious, and occupationally flexible. ... Modernization, in other words, is about everybody becoming Jewish.

{Why then the imposition of Thought Control? The dumbing down of school-children?}

{p. 7} Wherever the Lebanese went, they had a good chance of facing some competition from Armenians, Greeks, Jews, Indians, or Chinese, among others.

All these groups were nonprimary producers specializing in the delivery of goods and services to the surrounding agricultural or pastoral populations. ... They were the descendants - or predecessors - of Hermes (Mercury), the god of all those who did not herd animals, till the soil, or live by the sword;

{p. 8} the patron of rule breakers, border crossers, and go-betweens; the protector of people who lived by their wit, craft, and art.

{p. 24} Hermes had nothing except his wit; Apollo, his big brother and condescending antipode, possessed most things in the universe because he was the god of both livestock and ariculture. As the patron of food production, Apollo owned much of the land, directed the flow of time, protected sailors and warriors, and inspired true poets. He was both manly and eternally young, athletic and artistic, prophetic and dignified - the most universal of all gods and the most commonly worshiped. The difference between Apollo and Dionysus made much of by Nietzsche is relatively minor because wine was but one of the countless fruits of the earth and sea that Apollo presided over. (Dionysians are Apollonians at a festival - peasants atter the harvest.) The difference between Apollonians and Mercurians is the all-important difference between those grow food and those who create concepts and artifacts. The Mercurians are always sober but never dignified. ...

{p. 25} Whether "corporate kinship" is the cause or consequence of service nomadism, it does appear that most service nomads possess such a system. ...

The Indians in East Africa escaped some of the occupational restriction and status-building requirements ot the subcontinent ... but retained endogamy, pollution taboos, and the extended family as an economic unit. ... Similarly, the overseas Chinese gained access to capital, welfare, and employment by becoming members of ascriptive, endogamous, centralized, and mostly coresidential organizations based on surname (clan), home village, district, and dialect.

{p. 32} London serves as the headquarters of a large number of Indian commercial clans, and in Great Britain as a whole, Indian and Pakistani males have a 60 percent higher rate of self-employment than white Britons and make up a disproportionate share of managerial and professional personnel. In the 1970s, the rate of economic upward mobility among Indians and Pakistanis was three times that of the rest of the British population.

By far the largest and most widely dispersed of all Mercurian communities in today's world are the Overseas Chinese. Most of them live in Southeast Asia, where they have encountered relatively little market competition as they have moved from peddling, moneylending, and small artisanship to banking, garment making and agricultural processing, to virtually total economic dominance (often concealed behind a variety of local frontmen). At the end of the twentieth century, ethnic Chinese (less than 2 percent of the population) controlled about 60 percent of the private economy of

{p. 35} the Philippines, including, according to Amy Chua, "the country's four major airlines and almost all of the country's banks, hotels, shopping malls, and major conglomerates." They dominated "the shipping, textiles, construction, real estate, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, and personal computer industries as wen as the country's wholesale distribution networks ... and six out of the ten English-language newspapers in Manila, including the one with the largest circulation." The situation looked similar in Indonesia (over 70 percent of the private economy, 80 percent of the companies listed on the Jakarta Stock Exchange, and all of the country's billionaires and largest corporations), Malaysia (about 70 percent of market capitalization), and Thailand (all but three of the country's seventy most powerful business groups, the exceptions being the Military Bank, the Crown Property Bureau, and a Thai-Indian corporatlon).

In post-Communist Burma and almost post-Communist Vietnam, the ethnic Chinese were quickly returning to economic prominence; in Rangoon and Mandalay, they owned most shops, hotels, and real estate, and in Ho Chi Minh City, they controlled roughly 50 percent of the city's market activity and dominated light industry, import-export, shopping malls, and private banking. Postcolonial Southeast Asia had become part of an international Overseas Chinese economy, headquartered in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and California.49

{p. 34} Perhaps the most popular explanation for successful Mercurianism is "corporate kinship," which is said to promote internal trust and obedience while limiting the number of potential beneficiaries. Nepotism may be good for capitalism, in other words as long as the duties and entitlements of one's nephews are understood clearly and followed religiously. Indeed, virtually all Armenian, Korean, Lebanese, diaspora Indian, and American Italian businesses are family enterprises. Even the largest Overseas Chinese commercial

{p. 35} and manufacturing empires, with offices in London, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, are similar to the Rothschild banking house in that the regional branches are usually run by the sons, brothers, nephews, or sons-in-law of the founder. ...

{p. 38} In postcolonlal Soutneast Asia, ethnic Chinese became targets of similar nation-building efforts. In Thailand, they were excluded from twenty-seven occupations (1942), in Cambodia from eighteen (1957), and in the Philippines, relentless anti-"alien" legislation affected their ability to own or inherit certain assets and pursue most professions while making their "alien" status much harder to escape. In 1959-60, President Sukarno's ban on alien retail trade in Indonesia's rural areas resulted in the hasty departure of about 130,000 Chinese, and in 1965-67, General Suharto's campaign against the Communists was accompanied by massive anti-Chinese violence including large-scale massacres, expulsions, extortion, and legal discrimination. Like several other modern Mercurian communities, the Chinese of Southeast Asia were strongly overrepresented among Communists, as well as capitalists, and were often seen by some indigenous groups as the embodiment of all forms of cosmopolitan modernity. In 1969, anti-Chinese riots in Kuala Lumpur left nearly a thousand people dead; in 1975, Pol Pot's entry into Phnom Penh led to the death of an estimated two hundred thousand Chinese (half the ethnic Chinese population, or about twice as high a death toll as among urban Khmers); and in 1978-79, hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese Chinese fled Vietnam for China as "boat people." The end of the century brought the end of Indonesia's president Suharto, who had closed down

{p. 39} Chinese schools and banned the use of Chinese characters (except by one government-controlled newspaper), while relying on the financial support of Chinese-owned conglomerates. ...

There is no word for "anti-Sinicism" in the English language ... The most common way to describe the role and the fate of Indonesia's Chinese is to call them "the Jews of Asia." And probably the most appropriate English (French, Dutch, German, Spanish, Italian) name for what happened in Jakarta in May 1998 is "pogrom," the Russian word for "slaughter," "looting," "urban riot," "violent assault against a particular group," which has been applied primarily to anti-Jewish violence.

{p. 47} In fin de siecle Vienna, 40 percent of the directors of public banks were Jews or of Jewish descent, and all banks but one were administered by Jews (some of them members of old banking clans) under the protection of duly titled and landed Paradegoyim. Between 1873 and 1910, at the height of political liberalism, the Jewish share of the Vienna stock exchange council (Borsenrath) remained

{p. 48} steady at about 70 percent, and in 1921 Budapest, 87.8 percent of the members of the stock exchange and 91 percent of the currency brokers association were Jews, many of them ennobled (and thus, in a sense, Paradegoyim themselves). In industry, there were some spectacularly successful Jewish magnates (such as the Rathellaus in electrical engineering, the Friedlander-Fulds in coal, the Monds in chemical industries, and the Ballins in shipbuilding), some areas with high proportions of Jewish industrial ownership (such as Hungary), and some strongly "Jewish" industries (such as textiles, food, and publishing), but the principal contribution of Jews to industrial development appears to have consisted in the financing and managerial control by banks. In Austria, of the 112 industrial directors who held more than seven simultaneous directorships in 1917, half were Jews associated with the great banks, and in interwar Hungary, more than half and perhaps as much as 90 percent of all industry was controlled by a few closely related Jewish banking families. In 1912, 20 percent of all millionaires in Britain and Prussia (10 million marks and more in the Prussian case) were Jews. In 1908-11, in Germany as a whole, Jews made up 0.95 percent of the population and 31 percent of the richest families (with a "ratio of economic elite overrepresentation" of 33, the highest anyhere, according to W. D. Rubinstein). In 1930, about 71 percent of the richest Hungarian taxpayers (with incomes exceeding 200,000 pengo) were Jews. And of course the Rothschilds, "the world's bankers" as well as the "Kings of the Jews," were, by a large margin, the wealthiest family of the nineteenth century.

{p. 49} The new German Empire was built not only on "blood and iron," as Otto von Bismarck claimed, but also on gold and financial expertise, largely provided by Bismarck's and Germany's banker, Gerson von Bleichroder. The Rothschilds made their wealth by lending to governments and speculating in government bonds, so that when members of the family had a strong opinion, governments would listen (but not always hear, of course). ...

Money was one means of advancement; education was the other. The two were closely connected, of course, but proportions could vary considerably. Throughout modern Europe, education was expected to lead to money; only among Jews, apparently, was money almost universally expected to lead to education. Jews were consistently overrepresented in educational institutions leading to professional careers, but the overrepresentation of the offspring of Jewish merchants seems particularly striking. In fin de siecle Vienna, Jews made up roughly 10 percent of the general population and about 30 percent of classical gymnasium students. Between 1870 and 1910, about 40 percent of all gymnasium graduates in central Vienna were Jewish; among those whose fathers engaged in commerce, Jews represented more than 80 percent. In Germany, 51 percent of Jewish scientists had fathers who were businessmen. The Jewish journey from the ghetto seemed to lead to the liberal professions by way of commercial success.

The principal way station on that route was the university. In the 1880s, Jews accounted for only 3-4 percent of the Austrian population, but 17 percent of all university students and fully one-third of the student body at Vienna University. In Hungary, where Jews constituted about 5 percent of the population, they represented one-fourth of all university students and 43 percent at Budapest Technological University. In Prussia in 1910-11, Jews made

{p. 50} up less than 1 percent of the population, about 5.4 percent ot university students, and 17 percent of the students at the University of Berlin. In 1922, in newly independent Lithuania, Jewish students composed 31.5 percent of the student body at the University of Kawlas (not for long, though, because of the government's nativization policies). In Czechoslovakia, the Jewish share of university students (14.5 percent) was 5.6 times their share in the general population. When Jews are compared to non-Jews in similar social and economic positions, the gap becomes narrower (though still impressive); what remains constant is that in much of Central and Eastern Europe, there were relatively few non-Jews in similar social and economic positions. In large parts of Eastern Europe, virtually the whole "middle class" was Jewish.

... In early twentieth-century Germany,

{p. 51} Austria, and Hungary, most of the national newspapers that were not specifically Christian or anti-Semitic were owned, managed, edited, and staffed by Jews (in fact, in Vienna even the Christian and anti-Semitic ones were sometimes produced by Jews). As Steven Beller put it, "in an age when the press was the only mass medium, cultural or otherwise, the liberal press was largely a Jewish press."

The same was true, to a lesser degree, of publishing houses, as well as the many public places where messages, prophecies, and editorial comments were exchanged orally or nonverbally (through gesture, fashion, and ritual).

{p. 53} Joseph Jacobs, a prominent Jewish historian and folklorist, agreed with Chamberlain that there was a special relationship between the Jews and the Modern Age, but he had a much higher opinion of both. In his account, Jewish "thinkers and sages with eagle vision took into their thought the destinies of all humanity, and rang out in clarion voice a message of hope to the down-trodden of all races. Claiming for themselves and their people the duty and obliations of a true aristocracy, they held forth to the peoples ideals of a true democracy founded on right and justice." Jacobs's explanations for the Jewish preeminence are similar to Chamberlain's, if much more concise and consistent. Regarding religion as a possibly important but ultimately elusive factor, he attributes Jewish success to heredity, or "germ-plasm." "There is a certain probability," he argues, "that a determinate number of Jews at the present time will produce a larger number of 'geniuses' (whether inventive or not, I will not say) than any equal number of men of other races. It seems highly probable, for example, that German Jews at the present moment are quantitatively (not necessarily qualitatively) at the head of European intellect." ...

Werner Sombart had little use for the germ-plasm. "What the race-theorists have produced is a new sort of religion to replace the old Jewish or Christian religion. What else is the theory of an Aryan, or German, 'mission' in the world but a modern form of the 'chosen people' belief?" ...

{p. 54} Sombart's book The Jews and Modern Capitalism was a response to Max Weber, and most of his argument was entirely if imperfectly Weberian. Capitalism is inconceivable without the Protestant ethic; Judaism is much more Protestant (older, tougher, and purer) than Protestantism; Judaism is the progenitor of Capitalism. "The whole religious system is in reality nothing but a contract between Jehovah and his chosen people, a contract with all its consequences and all its duties." Every Jew has an account in Heaven and every Jew's purpose in life is to balance it by following written rules. To follow the rules, one has to know them; hence "the very study itself is made a means of rendering life holy." Relentless study and obedience impel one "to think about one's actions and to accomplish them in harmony with the dictates of reason." Ultimately, religion as law aims "at the subjugation of the merely animal instincts in man, at the bridling of his desires and inclinations and at the replacing of impulses by thoughtful action; in short, at the 'ethical tempering of man.'" The result is worldly asceticism rewarded by earthly possessions, or Puritanism without pork. ...

{p. 57} Sombart agreed (curiously enough), as he lamented the fact that "the more slow-witted, the more thick-skulled, the more ignorant of business a people is, the more effective is Jewish influence on their economic life," and so did the British historian (and committed Zionist) Levis Bernstein Namier, who attributed the rise of Nazism in familiar Mercurian terms to the German inability to compete. "The German is methodical, crude, constructive mainly in a mechanical sense, extremely submissive to authority, a rebel or a fighter only by order from above; he gladly remains all his life a tiny cog in a machine"; whereas "the Jew, of Oriental or Mediterranean race, is creative, pliable, individualistic, restless, and undisciplined," providing much needed but never acknowledged leadership in German cultural life.

{p. 62} A male convert to Judaism had always cut a lonely and melancholy figure because it was not easy to "imagine" one's way into an alien community bounded by sacralized common descent and a variety of physical and cultural markers that served as both proof of shared parentage and a guarantee of continued endogamy.

{p. 63} Liberalism did not work because neutral spaces were not very neutral. The universities, "free" professions, salons, coffeehouses, concert halls, and art galleries in Berlin, Vienna, and Budapest became so heavily Jewish that liberalism and Jewishness became almost indistinguishable. The Jews' pursuit of rootlessness ended up being almost as familiar as their pursuit of wealth. Success at "assimilation" made assimilation more difficult, because the more successtul they were at being modern and secular, the more visible they became as the main representatives of modernity and secularism. And this meant that people who were not very good at modernity and secularism, or who objected to them for a variety of Apollonian (and Dionysian) reasons, were likely to be impressed by political anti-Semitism.

{p. 73} The better the Jews were at becoming Germans or Hungarians, the more visible they became as an elite and the more resented the were as tribal aliens ("hidden" and therefore much more frightening, to be defined as "contagion" and combated by "cleansing"). ...

The "Jewish problem" was not just the problem that various (former) Christians had with the Jews; it was also the problem that various (former) Jews had with their Jewishness.

{p. 75} Thus the Jews stood for the discontents of the Modern Age as much as they did for its accomplishments. Jewishness and existential loneliness became synonyms, or at least close intellectual associates.

{p. 81} Both Marxism and Freudianism were organized religions with their own churches and sacred texts and both Marx and Freud were true messiahs insofar as they stood outside time and could not be justified in terms of their own teachings.

{p. 86} Probably the most influential (in the long run) left-wing intellectuals in Weimar Germany belonged to the so-called Frankfurt School, all of whose principal members (Theodor W Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Erich Fromm, Max Horkheimer, Leo Lowenthal, and Herbert Marcuse, among others) came from middle class Jewish homes. Determined to retain the promise of salvation but disheartened by the unwillingness of the German proletariat to bury capitalism (or rather, its apparent willingness to read Marx backward and attack Jews directly), they attempted to combine Marxism and Freudianism by means of psychoanalyzing deviant classes and collectivizing psychoanalytic practice. "Critical theory" was akin to religion insofar as it postulated a fateful chasm between the contingency of human existence and a state of complete self-knowledge and universal perfection; identified the ultimate source of evil in the world ("reification," or the enslavement of man by quasi-natural forces); foretold a final overcoming of history by a merging of necessity and freedom; and originated as a fully transcendental prophecy (because critical theorists were not subject to reification, for reasons that could not be supported by the critical theory itself). It was a feeble prophecy, however elitist, skeptical, and totally lacking in the grandeur, certainty, and intensity of its heroic parents a prophecy without an audience, Freudianism without the cure, Marxism without either scientism or imminent redemption. The critical theorists did not promise to change the world instead of explaining it; they suggested that the world might be changed by virtue of being explained (provided the blindfold of reified consciousness could be magically removed). ...

{p. 87} Members of the Frankfurt School did not wish to discuss their Jewish roots and did not consider their strikingly similar backgrounds relevant to the history of their doctrines ... According to Horkheimer and Adorno, anti-Semitism is primarily a "symptom", "delusion," and "false projection" that is "relatively independent of its object" and ultimately "irreconcilable with reality" (however defined).

{p. 90} Whether such statements are examples of self-assertion or reflective thought, the statistical connection between "the Jewish question" and the hope for a new species of mankind seems fairly strong. In Hungary, first- or second-generation Magyars of Jewish descent were overrepresented not only among socialist intellectuals but also among communist militants. In Poland, "ethnic" Jews composed the majority of the original Communist leadership (7 out of about 10). In the 1930s, they made up from 22 to 26 percent of the overall Party membership, 51 percent of the Communist youth organization (1930), approximately 65 percent of all Warsaw Communists (1937), 75 percent of the Party's propaganda apparatus, 90 percent of MOPR (the International Relief Organization for Revolutionaries), and most of the members of the Central Committee. In the United States in the same period, Jews (most of them immigrants from Eastern Europe) accounted for about 40 to 50 percent of Communist Party membership and at least a comparable proportion of the Party's leaders, journalists, theorists, and organizers.

Jewish participation in radical movements of the early twentieth century is similar to their participation in business and the professions: most radicals were not Jews and most Jews were not radicals, but the proportion of radicals among Jews was, on average, much higher than among their non-Jewish neighbors. One explanation is that there is no need for a special explanation in the age of universal Mercurianism, Mercurians have a built-in advantage over Apollonians; intellectualism ("cleverness" and "reflective thought") is as central to traditional Mercurianism as craftsmanship and moneylending; and in nineteenth and early twentieth-century Central and Eastern Europe, most intellectuals were radicals (intelligentsia

{p. 91} members) because neither the economy nor the state allowed for their incorporation as professionals. According to Stephen J. Whitfield, "if Jews have been disproportionately radicals, it may be because they have been disproportionately intellectuals" - the reason being either traditional strangeness or a newfound marginality. Whitfield himself preferred the "Veblen thesis" as formulated by Nikos Kazantzakis (the author of new versions of the Bible and the Odyssey, among other things): the "Age of Revolution" is a "Jewish Age" because "the Jews have this supreme quality to be restless, not to fit into realities of the time; to struggle to escape; to consider every status quo and every idea a stifling prison." Or rather, Marx and Trotsky are to politics what Schoenberg and Einstein are to the arts and sciences ("disturbers of the peace" in Veblen's terminology). As Freud put it, "to profess belief in a new theory called for a certain degree of readiness to accept a position of solitary opposition - a position with which no one is more familiar than a Jew."

The "marginality" argument as not the only one that fit revolution as nicely as it did entrepreneurship and science. Most explanations of the Jewish affinity for socialism mirrored the explanations of the Jewish proclivity for capitalism. The Nietzsche-Sombart line (with an extra emphasis on "ressentiment") was ably represented by Sombart himself, whereas the various theories involving Judaic tribalism and messianism were adapted with particular eloquence by Nikolai Berdiaev. Socialism, according to Berdiaev, is a form of "Jewish religious chiliasm, which faces the future with a passionate demand for, and anticipation of, the realization of the millennial Kingdom of God on earth and the coming of Judgment Day, when evil is finally vanquished by good, and injustice and suffering in human life cease once and for all." No other nation, according to Berdiaev, could ever create, let alone take seriously as a worldly guide, a vision like Isaiah's:

{quote} The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together and the lion shall eat straw

{p. 92} like an ox. And the suckling child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cocktrice's den. (Isa. 11:6-8) {endquote}

Add to this the fact that Jewish liberty and immortality are collective, not individual, and that this collective redemption is to occur in this world, as a result of both daily stuggle and predestination, and you have Marxism.

{quote} Karl Marx, who as a typical Jew, solved, at history's eleventh hour, the old biblical theme: in the sweat of thy brow shalt thou eat bread. ... The teaching of Marx appears to break with the Jewish religious tradition and rebel against all things sacred. In fact, what it does is transfer the messianic idea from the chosen people to a class, the proletariat. {endquote}

Or maybe it was the other way around, as Sonja Margolina has argued recently (echoing Isaac Deutscher's genealogy of the "non-Jewish Jews"). Maybe Marx appeared to preserve Judaism in a new guise while in fact breaking with the Jewish religious tradition in the same way as the most famous, and perhaps the most Jewish, Jew of all.

{quote} His name is Jesus Christ. Estranged fom orthodox Jews and dangerous to the rulers, he dispossessed the Jewish God and handed him over to all the people, irrepective of race and blood. In the modern age, this internationalization of God was reenacted in secular form by Jewish apostates. In this sense, Marx was the modern Christ, and Trotsky, his most faithful apostle. Both Christ and Marx tried to expel moneylenders from the temple, and both failed. {endquote}

Whatever their thoughts on Christianity as a Jewish reolution, some Jewish revolutionaries agreed that they were revolutionaries because they were Jewish (in Berdiaev's sense). Gustav Landauer, the anarchist, philosopher, and martyred commissar ot culture of the Bavarian Soviet Republic, believed that the Jewish god was a rebel and a rouser (Aufruhrer and Aufruttler); that the Jewish religion was an expression of the "people's holy dissatisfaction with itself"; and that it was "one and the same to await the Messiah while

{p. 93} in exile and dispersed, and to be the Messiah of the nations." Franz Rosenzweig, who considered "a relinquishing of the free and unrestricted market" a precondition to the coming of the Kingdom of God, rejoiced that "liberty, equality, and fraternity, the canons of the faith, have now become the slogans of the age." And Lev Shternberg, a onetime revolutionary terrorist, a longtime Siberian exile, and the dean of Soviet anthropologists until his death in 1927, came to see modern socialism as a specifically Jewish achievement. "It is as though thousands of the prophets of Israel have risen trom their forgotten graves to proclaim, once again, their fiery damnation of those 'that join house to house, field to field'; their urgent call for social justice; and their ideals of a unified humanity, eternal peace, fraternity of peoples, and Kingdom of God on earth!" Let anti-Semites use this in their arguments: "anti-Semites will always find arguments" because all they need are excuses. The important thing is to nurture and celebrate "what is best in us: our ideals of social justice and our social activism. We cannot be untrue to ourselves so as to please the anti-Semites. We could not do it even if we wnted to. And let us remember that the future is on our side, not on the side of the dying hydra of the old barbarism."

Chamberlain and Sombart seemed to be right, according to Shternberg, in describing Judaism as a peculiar combination of relentless rationalism and exuberant messianism, for it as this very combination that had assured the final liberation of humanity.

{quote} The first heralds of socialism in the nineteenth century were non-Jews, the Frenchmen Saint-Simon and Fourier. But that was utopian socialism. ... Finally, the time was ripe for the emergence of scientific socialism. It as then that the rationalist Jewish genius arrived on the scene in the shape of Karl Marx, who alone was capable of erecting the whole structure of the new teaching, from the foundation to the top, crowned by the grandiose monistic system of historical materialism. But what is particularly striking about the Jewish socialists is a remarkable combination of rationalist thinking vith social emotionalism and activism - the very psychic peculiarities of the Jewish type that we see so clearly in all the previous periods of Jewish historv, especially in the prophets. Nowhere is it more evident than in the

{p. 94} cases of Marx and Lassalle. Marx combined the genius of theoretical, almost mathematical, thinking vith the fiery temperament of a fanatical fighter and the historical sense of a true prophet. The works of Marx are not only the new Bible of our time but also a new kind of book of social predictions! Even now the exegetics of Marx's teachings and social predictions exceeds all the volumes of the Talmud. Lassalle, though of a different caliber, belonged to the same psychological type, with the addition of a great talent as a popular tribune and political organizer." {endquote}

Another political organizer, perhaps the most efficient of them all, was "iron commissar" Lazar Kaganovich, who remembers having to divide his early education between the Russian poets and Jewish prophets. According to his Reminiscences of a Worker, Communist-Bolshehik, and a Trade Union, Party, and Soviet-State offcial,

{quote} We used to study the Bible when we were children. We sensed that Amos was denouncing the tsars and the rich people and we liked it very much. But of course we had an uncritical attitude toward the prophets who, while expressing the dissatisfaction of the popular masses and criticizing their oppressors, urged patience and expected salvation from God and his Messiah instead of calling for struggle against the oppressors of the poor people. Naturally, when I was a child I did not understand the correctness of this conclusion, but I remember how in 1912 in Kiev, when I had to speak against the Zionists, I used Amos's words well and with great success, this time drawing appropriate Bolshevik conclusions. {endquote}

Possible Jewish origins of important Communist rituals and styles (as well as words) were widely alleged by contemporaries, many of them Jewish, Communist, or both. Ilya Ehrenburg, who was a certified fellow traveler when he published The Stormy Life of Lazik Roitshvanetz, caricatured early Soviet orthodoxy by making it seem indistinguishable from Talmudic exegesis. Both were built around the division of the world into "clean" and "unclean" spheres, and as Lazik the Wandering Jew was meant to discover, both pursued purity by multiplying meaningless rules and by pretending to reconcile them to each other and to the unruly reality of human existence.

{quote} Now I see that the Talmudists were the most ridiculous of pups [says Lazik on being asked to purge the library in the manner of the "spring cleaning before Passover"]. For what did they think of? That Jews shouldn't eat sturgeon for example. Is it because sturgeon is expensive? No. Is it because it doesn't taste good? Not at all. It's because sturgeon swims around without the appropriate scales. Which means that it's hopelessly unclean and that the Jew who eats it will desecrate his chosen stomach. Let other lowly people eat sturgeon. But, Comrade Minchik, those pups were talking about meals. Now, at last, the real twentieth century has arrived, men have become smarter and so instead of some stupid sturgeon we have a man like Kant and his 1,071 crimes. Let the French on their volcano read all those unclean things. We have the chosen brains and we cannot soil them with insolent delusions. {endquote}

Jaff Schatz, in his study of the generation of Polish Jewish Communists born around 1910, reports that some of them (with the retrospective perspicacity of politieal disgrace and ethnic exile) considered their Marxist education to have been primarily Jewish in style. "The basic method was self-study supplemented by tutoring by those more advanced. Thus, they read and discussed, and if they could not agree on the meaning of a text, or when issues proved too complicated, they asked for the help of an expert whose authoritative interpretation was as a rule accepted." The mentors were more experienced erudite and inventive interpreters of texts. "Those who enjoyed the highest respect knew large portions of the classical texts almost by heart. In addition those more advanced would frequently be able to quote from memory statistical data, for example on the production of bread, sugar or steel before and after the October Revolution, to support their analyses and generalizations. ... 'We behaved like yeshiva bokhers and they like rabbis,' one respondent summed up." True knowledge was to be found in sacred texts, and "consciousness" depended in part on one's ability to reconcile their many prescriptions, predictions and prohibitions. "The texts of the classics were regarded with utmost venera-

{p. 96} tion, as the highest authority in which all the questions that could possibly be asked were answered. The practical difficulty was to find the most suitable fragment of the texts and to interpret it correctly, so that the hidden answer would appear. In discussing such texts, as well as in debating social or political questions, there was the characteristic, hair-splitting quality of analysis that many respondents themselves today call 'Talmudic.'"

"Talmudic" was a label widely used by Eastern European Communists to refer to sterile theorizers of all backgrounds (and of course there ere more than enough non-Jewish hairsplitters to make the connection dubious), but it does seem possible that Jews were overrepresented among Communist writers and ideologues. ...

All revolutionaries are patricides ... Georg Lukacs, the son of one of Hungary's most prominent bankers, Jozsef Lowinger, was probably as typical of the wealthier rebels as he was influential among them ...

{p. 97} Lukacs would eventually move from modernism to socialist realism and from a formless "revulsion" to membership in the Communist Party; only his love for Petofi would prove lifelong. ... All communism started out as national communism (and ended up as nationalism pure and simple). Bela Kun, the leader of the 1919 Communist government in Hungary, the organizer of the Red Terror in the Crimea, and a top official of the Communist International, began his writing career with a prize-winning high school essay titled "The Patriotic Poetry of Sandor Petofi and Janos Arany," and ended it, while waiting to be arrested by the Soviet secret police, with an introduction to a Russian translation of Petofi's poems. And Lazar Kaganovich, who probably signed Kun's death sentence (among thousands of others), reminisced at the end of his life about beginning to acquire culture "through the independent reading of what-

{p. 98} ever works we had by Pushkin, Lermontov, Nekrasov, L. Tolstoy, and Turgenev." ...

The wealthier ones bemoaned their fathers' capitalism, the poorer ones, their fathers' Jewishness, but the real reason for their common revulsion was the feeling that capitalism and Jewishness were one and the same thing. Whatever the relationship between Judaism and Marxism, large numbers of Jews seemed to agree with Marx before they ever read an thing he wrote. "Emancipation from haggling and from money, i.e. from practical, real Judaism, would be the same as the self emancipation of our age." ...

{p. 99} Jews were no longer allowed to be a global tribe (that was "disloyalty" now, not normal Mercurian behavior), but they still were not welcome in the local ones. ...

As Jews emerged from the ghetto and the shtetl, they entered a new world that seemed like the old one in that their skills were seen as highly valuable but morally dubious.

{p. 102} The question of the origins of evil is fundamental to any promise of redemption. Yet all modern religions except Nazism resembled Christianity in being either silent or confused on the subject. Marxism offered an obscure story of original sin through the alienation of labor and made it difficult to understand what role individual believers could play in the scheme of revolutionary predestination. Moreover, the Soviet experience seemed to show that Marxism was

{p. 103} a poor guide in purging the body politic. Given the assumption of Party infallibility, society's continued imperfection had to be attributed to machinations by ill-intentioned humans, but who were they and where did they come from? How were "class aliens" in a more or less classless society to be categorized, unmasked, and eliminated? Marxism gave no clear answer; Leninism did not foresee a massive regeneration of the exterminated enemies; and Stalin's willing executioners were never quite sure why they were executing some people and not others.

{p. 105} Babel's First Love: the Jews and the Russian Revolution

At the turn of the twentieth century, most of Europe's Jews (5.2 out of about 8.7 million) lived in the Russian Empire, where they constituted about 4 percent of the total population. Most of Russia's Jews (about 90 percent) resided in the Pale of Settlement, to which the were legally restricted. Most of the Jews in the Pale of Settlement (all but about 4 percent, who were farmers and factory workers) continued to pursue traditional service occupations as middlemen between the overwhelmingly agricultural Christian population and various urban markets. Most of the Jewish middlemen bought, shipped, and resold local produce; provided credit on the security of standing crops and other items; leased and managed estates and various processing facilities (such as tanneries, distilleries, and sugar mills); kept taverns and inns; supplied manufatured goods (as peddlers, shopkeepers, or wholesale importers); provided professional services (most commonly as doctors and pharmacists), and served as artisans (from rural blacksmiths, tailors, and shoemakers to highly specialized jewelers and watchmakers). The proportion of various pursuits could vary, but the association of Jews with the service sector (including small-scale craftsmanship) remained very strong.

As traditional Mercurians dependent on external strangeness and internal cohesion, the majority of Russian Jews continued to live in segregated quarters, speak Yiddish, wear distinctive clothing, observe complex dietary taboos, practice endogamy, and follow a vari-

{p. 106} ety of other customs that ensured the preservation of collective memory, autonomy, purity, unity, and a hope of redemption. The synagogue, bathhouse, heder, and the home helped structure space as well as social rituals, and numerous self-governing institutions assisted the rabbi and the family in regulating communal life, education, and charity. Both social status and religious virtue depended on wealth and learning; wealth and learning ultimately depended oll each other.

The relations between the majority of Pale Jews and their mostly rural customers followed the usual pattern of Mercurian-Apollonian coexistence. Each side saw the other as unclean, opaque, dangerous, contemptible, and ultimately irrelevant to the communal past and future salvation. Social contact was limited to commercial and bureaucratic encounters. Non-Jews almost never spoke Yiddish, and very few Jews spoke the languages of their Ukrainian, Lithuanian, Latvian, Moldovan, or Belorussian neighbors beyond "the minimum of words which were absolutely necessary in order to transact business." Everyone (and most particularly the Jews themselves) assumed that the Jews were nonnative, temporary exiles; that they depended on their customers for survival; and that the country however conceived belonged to the local Apollonians. The history of the people of Israel relived by every Jew on every Sabbath had nothing to do with his native shtetl or the city of Kiev; his sea was Red, not Black, and the rivers of his imagination did not include the Dnieper or the Dvina. "[Sholem Aleichem's] Itzik Meyer of Kasrilevke was told to feel that he himself, with wife and children, had marched out of Egypt, and he did as he was told. He felt that he himself had witnessed the infliction of the ten plagues on the Egptians, he himself had stood on the farther shore of the Red Sea and seen the walls of water collapse on the pursuers, drowning them all to the last man - with the exception of Pharaoh, who was preserved as an eternal witness for the benefit of the Torquemadas and the Romanovs."3 ...

{endnote 3 on p. 387 reads:
3. Samuel, The World of Sholom Aleichem, 63.
The first reference to this book is in ch. 1, p. 27; endnote 40 at p. 378 reads:
40. ... Maurice Samuel, The World of Sholom Aleichem (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1943), 131.}

{p. 107} Most Jewish and non-Jewish inhabitants of the Pale of Settlement shared the same fundamental view of what separated them. Like all Mercurians and Apollonians, they tended to think of each other as universal and mutually complementary opposites: mind versus body, head versus heart, outsider versus insider, nomadic versus settled. In the words of Mark Zborowski and Elizabeth Herzog (whose account is based on interviews with former shtetl residents),

{quote} A series of contrasts is set up in the mind of the shtetl child, who grows up to regard certain behavior as characteristic of Jews, and its oppositc, as characteristic of Gentiles. Among Jews he expects to find emphasis on intellect, a sense of moderation, cherishing of spiritual values, cultivation of rational, goal-dirccted activities, a "beautitul" family life. Among gentiles he looks for the opposite of each item: emphasis on the body, excess, blind instinct, sexual license, and ruthless force. The first list is ticketed in his mind as Jewish, the second as goyish. {endquote}

Seen from the other side, the lists looked essentially the same, with the values reversed. Intelligence, moderation, learning, rationalism, and family devotion (along with entrepreneurial success) could be represented as cunning, cowardice, casuistry, unmanliness, clannishness, and greed, whereas the apparent emphasis on the body, excess, instinct, license, and force might be interpreted as earthiness, spontaneity, soulfulness, generosity, and warrior strength (honor).

{p. 111} Among the tsar's subjects were several groups that were predominantly or exclusively Mercurian: from various Gypsy communities (extremely visible in "bohemian" entertainment, as well as the traditional smithing and scavenging trades); to small and narrowly specialized literate Mercurians (Nestorians/Assyrians, Karaites, Bukharans); to Russia's very own Puritans, the Old Believers (prominent among the wealthiest industrialists and bankers); to such giants of Levantine commerce as the Greeks (active in the Black Sea trade, especially in wheat export) and the Armenians (who dominated the economy of the Caucasus and parts of southern Russia).

But of course the most prominent Mercurians of the Russian Empire were the Germans, who, following Peter the Great's reforms, had come to occupy central roles in the imperial bureaucracy, economic life, and the professions (very much like Phanariot Greeks and Armenians in the Ottoman Empire). Relying on ethnic and religious autonomy, high literacy rates, strong communal institutions, a sense of cultural superiority, international familial networks, and a variety of consistently cultivated technical and linguistic skills, the Germans had become the face (the real flesh-and-blood kind) of Russia's never-ending Westernization. Not only was the university matriculation rate among Russia's Baltic Germans the highest in Europe (about 300 per 100,000 total population in the 1830s at Dorpat University alone); Germans composed approximately 38 percent of the graduates of Russia's most exclusive educational institution, the Tsarskoe Selo Lycee, and a comparable proportion of the graduates from the Imperial School of Jurisprudence. From the late eighteenth to the twentieth century, Germans constituted from 18 to more than 33 percent of the top tsarist officials, especially at the royal court, in the officer corps, diplomatic service, police, and provincial administration (including many

{p. 112} newly colonized areas). According to John A. Armstrong, all through the nineteenth century the Russian Germans "carried about half the burden of imperial foreign relations. Equally indicative is the fact that even in 1915 (during the World War I anti-Germanism), 16 of the 53 top officials in the Minindel [Ministry of Foreign Attairs] had German names." As one of them wrote in 1870, "we watched the success of Russia's European polic attentively, for nearly all our emissaries in all the principal countries were diplomats whom we knew on a first-name basis." In 1869 in St. Petersburg, 20 percent of all the officials in the Police Department of the Ministry of the Interior were listed as Germans. In the 1880s, the Russian Germans (1.4 percent of the population) made up 62 percent of the high offcials in the Ministry of Posts and Commerce and 46 percent in the War Ministry. And when they were not elite members themselves, they served the native landowning elite as tutors, housekeepers, and accountants. The German estate manager was the central Russian version of the Pale of Settlement's Jewish leaseholder.

{p. 113} Employed as Mercurians, they were, predictably enough, represented as such. Whereas much of Russian folklore recalled the battles against various steppe nomads (usually known as "Tatars"), the most important strangers of nineteenth-century high culture were, by a large margin, German: not those residing in Germany and producing books, goods, and songs to be imitated and surpassed, but the internal foreigners who served Russia and the Russians as teachers, tailors, doctors, scholars, governors, and coffin makers. And so they were, mutatis mutandis, head to the Russian heart, mind to the Russian soul, consciousness to Russian spontaneity. They stood tor calculation, efficiency, and discipline; cleanliness, fastidiousness, and sobriety; pushiness, tactlessness, and energy; sentimentality, love of family, and unmanliness (or absurdly exaggerated manliness). They were the plenipotentiary ambassadors from the Modern Age, the homines rationalistici atificia1es to be dreaded, admired, or ridiculed as the occasion demanded. ...

{p. 162} And then there were those - a small minority - who did not pity the Jews for their weakness and their love of old Russia but admired them for their strength and their iconoclasm - those welcomed the rise of the Modern Age and praised the Jews for bringing it about. They were the Marxists - the only members of the Russian intelligentsia who despised the Russian peasant and the Russian intelligentsia as much as they despised "rotten" liberalism. For them, the Modern Age stood for the transformation - by means of a more or less spontaneous universal patricide - of a city that was symmetrical, bountiful, and wicked into a city that was symmetrical, bountiful, and radiant. There were going to be no tribes under communism, of course, but there was no getting auay from the fact that in the Russian tradition, the symmetrical city, good or bad, was a German creature, and that the Jews, in the words of one of Gork's correspondents, were "a German auxiliary mechanism." ... As A. Lunacharsk summed up the story,

{quote} Jews lived everwhere as strangers, but they introduced their urban commercial skills into the different countries of their diaspora and thus became the ferment of capitalist development in countries with lower, circumscribed, peasant culture. This is the reason why the Jews, according to the best students of human development, contributed to an extraordinary degree to progress, but this is also the reason why they drew upon themseles the terrible fury of, first, the lowly peasants, whom the Jews had exploited as traders, usurers, etc., and, second, of the bourgeoisie, which had emerged from the same peasantry." {endquote}

{p. 163} Lenin was not particularly interested in Jewish history. For him, what capitalism did was "replace the thick-skulled, boorish, inert, and bearishly savage Russian or Ukrainian peasant with a mobile proletarian." Proletarians had no motherland, of course, and there was no sucn thing as a "national culture," but if one had to think of mobile proletarians in ethnic terms (as the Bund "philistines" were forcing one to), then the Jews - unlike the Russians and Ukrainians - were very good candidates because of the "great, universal progressive traits in Jewish culture: its internationalism and its responsiveness to the advanced movements of the age (the percentage of Jews in democratic and proletarian movements is everwhere higher than the percentage of Jevs in the total population)." All advanced Jews supported assimilation, according to Lenin, but it is also true that many of the "great leaders of democracy and socialism" came from "the best representatives of the Jewish world." Lenin himself did, through his maternal grandfather, although he probably did not know it. When his sister, Anna, found out, she wrote to Stalin that she was not surprised, that "this fact" was "another proof of the exceptional ability of the Semitic tribe," and that Lenin had always contrasted "what he called its 'tenacity' in struggle with the more sluggish and lackadaisical Russian character." Maim Gorky, too, claimed that Lenin had a soft spot for "smart people" and that he had once said, "A smart Russian is almost always a Jew or somebody with an admixture of Jewish blood."

We do not know whether Lenin actually said this, but we know that Gorky did, on numerous occasions. In the 1910s, Gorky was Russia's most celebrated writer, most revered prophetic voice, and most articulate and passionate Judeophile.

{And Gorky guided H. G. Wells on his visit to the early Soviet Union: wells-lenin-league.html}

{p. 169} For those who wished to fight, there as but one army to join. The Red Army was the only force that stood earnestly and consistently against the Jewish pogroms and the only one led by a Jew. Trotsky was not just a general or even a prophet: he was the living embodiment of redemptive violence, the sword of revolutionary justice, and at the same time Lev Dadovich Bronstein, whose first school had been Schufer's heder in Gromoklei, Kherson province. The other Bolshevik leaders standing closest to Lenin during the civil war were G. E. Zinoview (Ovsei-Gersh Aronovich Radomyslsky), L. B. Kamenew (Rosenfeld), and Ya. M. Sverdlov {all Jewish}.

These were effects, not causes; icons of a much larger truth. The vaste majority of Bolshevik party members (72 percent in 1922) were ethnic Russians; the highest rate of overrepresentation belonged to the Latvians (although after Latvia's independence in 1918, Soviet Latvians became a largely self-selected political emigre community); and none of the prominent Communists of Jewish background wanted to be Jewish.

{p. 173} The revolutions of 1917 did not have much to do with either Pushkin or the Jews. But the civil war that followed did. Most of the fighting took place in and around the old Pale of Settlement, where ethnic Russians were a minority and Jews made up a large proportion of the urban population. For Polish and Ukrainian nationalists and assorted peasant ("Green") armies, the Jews represented the old Mercurian foe, the new capitalist city, the expansion of Russian high culture, and, of course, Bolshevism (which represented all of the above insofar as it was the religion of the modern city, ethnically Social Democratic but for the time being Russian-speaking). For the Whites, whose movement was hijacked early on by Russian ethnic nationalists and imperial restorationists, the Jews represented all those things that used to be called "German" (a combination of old Mercurianism and new urbanism as a form of "foreign dominance") and, of course, Bolshevism, which appeared to be a particularly contagious combination of old Mercurianism and new urbanism as a form of foreign dominance. For all these groups, the Jews became an enemy that was easy to define and identify. The Ukrainian nationalists, in particular, could succeed only if they conquered the city, but Ukrainian cities were dominated by Russians, Poles, and Jews. The Russians and Poles had their own armies and were rather thin on the ground; the Jews were either Bolsheviks or defenseless shtetl dwellers. To the extent that they ceased to be defenseless, they tended to become Bolsheviks.

The early Bolsheviks did not normally classify their enemies in ethnic terms. The evil they were combating - "the bourgeoisie" - was an abstract concept not easily convertible into specific targets of arrests and executions. This was a serious weakness in a modern war of ascriptive extermination: not only were there no "bourgeois" flags, armies, or uniforms - there were no people in Russia who used the term to describe themselves and very few people who

{p. 174} could be thus described according to Marxist sociology. Eventually, this challenge ould become grave enough to force the Soviet regime to modify its concept ot evil, but during the civil war the Bolsheviks were able to make up in determination whatever they lacked in conceptual clarity.

The Whites, Greens, and Ukrainian nationalists never committed themselves to the wholesale etermination of the Jews. Their detachments murdered and robbed tens of thousands of Jewish civilians, and their secret services singled out certain groups (mostly Jews but also Latvians) for special treatment, but their leaders and their armies as political institutions were equivocal, defensive, or loudly (and sometimes sincerely) indignant on this score. In the end, the Jewish pogroms were seen as violations of discipline that demoralized the troops and undermined the movements' true objectives, which were fundamentally political. Proper enemies were people who held certain beliefs.

The Bolshevik practice was much more straightforward. "The bourgeoisie" might be an elusive category, but no one apologized for the principle of their "liquidation" on the basis of "objective criteria." Property, imperial rank, and education unredeemed by Marxism were punishable by death, and tens of thousands of people were punished accordingly and unabashedly as hostages or simply as "alien elements" within reach. There were many Jews among the "bourgeois," but Jews as such were never defined as an enemy group. The Bolshevik strength lay not in knowing for sure whom to kill, but in being proud and eager to kill individuals as members of "classes." Sacred violence as a sociological undertaking was an essential part of the doctrine and the most important criterion of true membership.

This meant that Jews who wanted to be true members had to adopt physical coercion against certain groups as a legitimate means of dealing with difference. Or rather, they had to become Apollonians. As Babel's Arye-Leib put it, in one of the best-loved passages in Soviet literature:

{quote} Forget for a while that you have glasses on your nose and autumn in your soul. Stop quarreling at your desk and stuttering in public.

{p. 175} Imagine for a second that you quarrel in city squares and stutter on paper. You are a tiger, a lion, a cat. You can spend the night with a Russian woman, and the Russian woman will be satisfied. {endquote}

A substantial number of Jews heeded Arye-Leib's call. Their overall share of Bolshevik party membership during the civil war was relatively modest (5.2 percent in 1922), but their visibility in city squares was striking. After the February Revolution, all army officers had become suspect as possible "counterrevolutionaries"; the new soldiers' committees required literate delegates; many of the literate soldiers were Jews. Viktor Shklovsky, the literary scholar, estimated that Jews had made up about 40 percent of all top elected officials in the army. He had been one of them (a commissar); he also remembered having met a talented Jewish cellist who was representing the Don Cossacks. In April 1917, 10 out of 24 members (41.7 percent) of the governing bureau of the Petrograd Soviet were Jews.

At the First All-Russian Congress of Soviets in June 1917, at least 31 percent of Bolshevik delegates (and 37 percent of Unified Social Democrats) were Jews. At the Bolshevik Central Committee meeting of October 23, 1917, which voted to launch an armed insurrection, 5 out of the 12 members present were Jews. Three out of seven Politbureau members charged with leading the October uprising were Jews (Trotsky, Zinoviev, and Grigory Sokolnikov [Girsh Brilliant] ). The All-Russian Central Eecutive Committee (VtsIK) elected at the Second Congress of Soviets (which ratified the Bolshevik takeover, passed the decrees on land and peace, and formed the Council of People's Commissars with Lenin as chairman) included 62 Bolsheviks (out of 101 members). Among them were 23 Jews, 20 Russians, 5 Ukrainians, 5 Poles, 4 "Balts," 3 Georgians, and 2 Armenians. According to Nahum Rafalkes-Nir, who represented Poalei-Zion, all 15 speakers who debated the takeover as their parties' official representatives were Jews (in fact, probably 14). The first two VtsIK chairmen (heads of the Soviet state) were Kamenev and Sverdlov. Sverdlov was also the Party's chief administrator (head of the Secretariat). The first Bolshevik bosses of Moscow and Petrograd were Kamenev and Zinoviev. Zinoview was also

{p. 176} the chairman of the Communist International. The first Bolshevik commandants of the Winter Palace and the Moscow Kremlin were Grigorii Isakovich Chudnovsky, and Emelian Yaroslavsky (Minei Israelevich Gubelman). Yaroslavsky was also the chairman of the League of the Militant Godless. The heads of the Soviet delegation at the Brest-Litovsk negotiations were Adolf Ioffe and Trotsky. Trotsky was the face of the Red Army.

When, in March 1919, the Petrograd Soviet, headed by Zinoviev, launched a competition for the best portrait of "a hero of our age," the suggested list of heroes included Lenin, Lunacharsky, Karl Liebknecht, and four Bolsheviks raised in Jewish families: Trotsky, Uritsky (the head of Petrograd's secret police, assassinated in August 1918, V. Volodarsky (Moisei Goldstein, Petrograd's chief censor as the commissar of print, propaganda, and agitation, assassinated in June 1918), and Zinoviev himself.

The Jewish share ofthe Party's Central Committee in 1919-21 remained steady at about one-fourth. In 1918, about 54 percent of all Petrograd Party officials described as "leading" were Jews, as were 45 percent of city and provincial Party officials and 36 percent of the Northern District commissars. Three out of five members of the presidium of the Petrograd trade union council in 1919, and 13 out of 36 members of the Executive Committee oft he Petrograd Soviet in 1920 were Jews. In 1923 in Moscow, Jews made up 29 percent of the Party's "leading cadres" and 45 percent of the provincial social security administration. Their share in the city Party organization (13.5 percent) was three times their share in the general population. Almost half of them were under twenty-five years old (43.8 percent of men and 51.1 percent of women); 25.4 percent of all female Bolsheviks in Moscow were of Jewish background. According to the historian of Leningrad Jewry Mikhail Beizer (and not accounting for pseudonyms),

{quote} It may have seemed to the general population that the Jewish participation in Party and Soviet organs was even more substantial because Jewish names were constantly popping up in newspapers. Jews spoke relatively more often than others at rallies, conferences, and meetings of all kinds. Here, for example, is the agenda of the Tenth City Con-

{p. 177} ference of the Young Communist League (Komsomol) held in Petrograd on Januar 5th, 1920: Zinoviev made a speech on the current situation, Slosman read the report of the city Komsomol committee, Kagan spoke on political and organizational matters, Itkina greeted the delegates on behalf of female workers, and Zaks represented the Central Committee of the Komsomol."

The secret police did less quarreling in public squares, but it was one of the most public symbols of Bolshevik power. The proportion of Jews in the Cheka as a whole was not very high (compared to what White propaganda often alleged): 3.7 percent of the Moscow apparatus, 4.3 percent of Cheka commissars, and 8.6 percent of senior ("responsible") officials in 1918, and 9.1 percent of all members of provincial Cheka offices (Gubcheka) in 1920. As in the Party, the majority of Cheka members were Russians, and by far the most overrepresented group were the Latvians, consistently and successfully cultivated by Lenin as the Praetorian Guards of the Revolution (35.6 percent of the Moscow Cheka apparatus, 52.7 percent of all Cheka senior officials, and 54.3 percent of all Cheka commissars, as compared to about 0.09 percent in the country as a whole and about 0.5 percent in Moscow). But even in the Cheka, Bolsheviks of Jewish origin combined ideological commitment with literacy in ways that set them apart and propelled them upward. In 1918, 65.5 percent of all Jewish Cheka employees were "responsible officials." Jews made up 19.1 percent of all central apparatus investigators and 50 percent (6 out of 12) of the investigators employed in the department for combating counter-revolution. In 1923, at the time of the creation of the OGPU (the Cheka's successor), Jews made up 15.5 percent of all "leading" officials and 50 percent of the top brass (4 out of 8 members of the Collegium's Secretariat). "Socially alien" Jews were well represented among the Cheka-OGPU prisoners, too, but Leonard Schapiro is probably justified in generalizing (especially about the territory of the tormer Pale) that "anyone who had the misfortune to fall into the hands of the Cheka stood a very good chance of finding himself confronted with and possibly shot by a Jewish investigator."

{p. 178} Specifically, and very publicly, Jewish names (and some transparent Jewish pseudonyms) were associated with two of the most dramatic and symbolically significant acts of the Red Terror. Early in the civil war, in June 1918, Lenin ordered the killing of Nicholas II and his family. Among the men entrusted with carrying out the order were Sverdlov (head of the the All-Russian Central Executive Committee in Moscow, formerly an assistant pharmacist), Shaia Goloshchekin (the commissar of the Urals Militar District, formerly a dentist), and Yakov Yurovsky (the Chekist who directed the execution and later claimed to have personally shot the tsar, formerly a watchmaker and photographer). It was meant to be a secret operation, but after the Whites reoccupied Ekaterinburg, they ordered an official investigation, the results of which, including the Jewish identities of the main perpetrators, were published in Berlin in 1925 (and eventually confirmed). At the end of the civil war, in late 1920-early 1921, Bela Kun (the chairman ofthe Crimea Revolutionary Committee) and R S Zemliachka (Rozaliia Zalkind, the head of the Crimean Party Committee and the daughter of a well-off Kiev merchant) presided over the massacre of thousands of refugees and prisoners of war who had stayed behind after the evacuation of the White Army. For her part in the operation Zemliachka received the highest Soviet decoration: the Order of the Red Banner. She as the first woman to be thus honored.

But Jewish revolutionaries did not just tower over city squares - they were prominent in the revolutionary remaking of those squares. Natan Altman, who had begun his artistic career by experimenting with Jewish themes, became the leader of "Lenin's Plan for Monumental Propaganda," the founder of artistic "Leniniana" (Lenin iconography), and the designer of the first Soviet flag, state emblem, official seals, and postage stamps In 1918, he ras put in charge of an enormous festival marking the first anniversary of the October Revolution in Petrograd. Fourteen kilometers (8.7 miles) of canvas and enormous red, green, and orange cubist panels were used to decorate and reconceptualize the city's main square in froont of the Winter Palace. The spatial center of imperial statehood was transtormed into a stage set for the celebration of the beginning

{p. 179} of the end of time. El Lissitzky (Lazar Markovich [Mordukhovich] Lisitsky) also abandoned the attempt to create a Jewish national form in order to embrace the international artistic revolution and the world revolution as a work of art. His much celebrated "prouns" (the Russian acronym for "projects for the affirmation of the new") incuded designs for "Lenin's podiums" (huge leaning towers meant to soar above city squares) and the most iconic of all revolutionary posters "Beat the Whites with the Red Edge" (the Whites being represented by a white circle).

The revolutionary rebirth was accompanied by revolutionary renamings, which reflected the degree of Jewish prominence. In Petrograd alone, Palace Square, decorated by Natan Altman, became Uritsky Square; the Tauride Palace, where the Provisional Government had been formed and the Constituent Assembly dispersed, became Uritsky Palace; Liteinyi Avenue became Volodarsky Avenue; the palace of Grand Duke Sergei Aleksandrovich became Nakhamkes Palace; the Admiralty Lmbankment and Admiralty Avenue were named after Semen Roshal; Vladimir Square and Vladimir Avenue were named after Semen Nakhimson; and the new Communist Workers' University (along writh various streets and the city of Elisavetgrad) was named after Zinoviev. The royal residences Pavlovsk and Gatchina became Slutsk and Trotsk, respectively. Vera (Berta) Slutskaia had been the secretary of the Vasileostrovsky District Party Committee.

Finally, to return to Arye-Leib's injunction and Babel's first love, there was the matter of spending the night with a Russian woman. Between 1924 and 1936, the rate of mixed marriages for Jewish males increased from 1.9 to 12.6 percent (6.6 times) in Belorussia, from 3.7 to 15.3 percent (4.1 times) in Ukraine, and from 17.4 to 42.3 percent (2.4 times) in the Russian Republic. The proportions grew higher tor both men and women as one moved up the Bolshevik hierarchy. Trotsky, Zinoviev, and Sverdlov were married to Russian women (Kamenev was married to Trotsky's sister). The non-Jews Andreev, Bukharin, Dzerzhinsky, Kirov, Kosarev, Lunacharsky, Molotov, Rkov, and Voroshilov, among others, were married to Jewish women. ...

{p. 180} The special relationship between Bolsheviks and Jews or rather, between the Bolshevik and Jewish revolutions became an important part of the revolutionary war of words. Many Whites and other enemies of the Bolsheviks equated the two and represented Bolshevism as a fundamentally Jewish phenomenon. This was an effective argument insofar as it made use of some obvious facts to describe the revolution as a form of foreign invasion to be repelled by true patriots. The problem with the argument for those willing to argue was the equally obvious size and composition of the Red Army. ...

Another view assumed that the civil war was, indeed, civil in the sense of being fratricidal, but argued that the Jews bore a special responsibility for the outcome because the Bolshevik doctrine was evil and because the Jews were overrepresented among its authors and principal practitioners. The best-known defense of this view

{p. 181} was offered by the prominent monarchist, Russian nationalist, and anti-Semite V. V. Shulgin in a book written in France in 1927. The book was called What We Do Not Like Them For. Addressing "them" directly Shulgin wrote:

{quote} We do not like the fact that you took too prominent a part in the revolution, which turned out to be the greatest lie and fraud. We do not like the fact that you became the backbone and core of the Communist Party. We do not like the fact that, with your discipline and solidarity, your persistence and will, you have consolidated and strengthened for years to come the maddest and bloodiest enterprise that humanity has known since the day of creation. We do not like the fact that this experiment was carried out in order to implement the teachings of a Jew, Karl Marx. We do not like the fact that this whole terrible thing was done on the Russian back and that it has cost us Russians, all of us together and each one of us separately, unutterable losses. We do not like the fact that you, Jews, a relatively small group within the Russian population, participated in this vile deed out of all proportion to your numbers. {endquote}

What could be done about this? Probably for the first time in the history of Russian political writing, Shulgin proposed an explicit and comprehensive defense of the principle of ethnic responsibility, ethnic guilt, and ethnic remorse. ...

{p. 182} And if they do not - if they say that, after all, the Jews as a nation did not stage the Russian Revolution and should not answer for a few Jewish Bolsheviks, then the answer should be:

{quote} Fine, in that case, we did not stage the pogroms, either, and don't have anything to do with those few who did.

{p. 183} ... So if the Jews, all of them, do not plead guilt to the social revolution, then the Russians, all of them, will not plead guilty to the Jewish pogroms. {endquote}

A few Russian Jewish intellectuals did plead guilty. In a 1923 conection published in Berlin, Russia and the Jews, they called on "the Jews of all countries" to resist Bolshevism and to admit the "bitter sin" of Jewish complicity in its crimes. In the words of I. M. Bikerman, "it goes without saying that not all Jews are Bolsheviks and not all Bolsheviks are Jews, but what is equally obvious is the disproportionate and immeasurably fervent Jewish participation in the torment of half-dead Russia by the Bolsheviks." It is true that the Jews suffered immeasurably from the pogroms, but was not the revolution "a universal pogrom"? "Or is condemning a whole social class to extermination ... a revolution, and killing and robbing Jews a pogrom? Why such honor for Marx and his followers?" And why the continued claim that evil "always comes from others and is always directed at us"? These were very different Jews, after all. According to G. A. Landau, "We were amazed by what we had least expected to encounter among the Jews: cruelty, sadism, and violence had seemed alien to a nation so far removed from physical, warlike activity; those who yesterday did not know how to use a gun are now found among the executioners and cutthroats."

{p. 184} The Jewish argument for Jewish "collective responsibility" (Landau's term) was the same as Shulgin's. Given what Bromberg called "the old provincial passion for seeking out and extolling the Jews famous in various fields of cultural life," and especially "the shameless circus around the name of Einstein," one had no choice but to adopt the murderers too. In D. S. Pasmanik's words, "Is the Jewry responsible for Trotsky? Undoubtedly so. Ethnic Jews not only do not renounce an Einstein or an Ehrlich; they do not even reject the baptized Heine and Boerne. And this means that they have no right to disavow Trotsky and Zinoviev. ... This means reminding the Polish hypocrites, who incite pogroms because of the murder of Budkiewicz, that the head of the Bolshevik inquisition, Dzerzhinsky, is a full-blooded Pole, and reminding the Latvians that, in Soviet Russia, they played the most shameful role of bloodthirsty executioners along with the Chinese. In other words, we honestly admit our share of the responsibility." ...

{p. 185} A much more common position among Jewish opponents of the Bolsheviks (and many future historians) was that Bolsheviks of Jewish descent were not Jews. Jewishness, they implied, in a radical departure from the conventional view, was not inherited but freely adopted and therefore just as freely discarded. Jews were not the Chosen People; Jews were people who chose to be Jews. For some, the choice involved religious observance; for others ("secular Jews"), it amounted to a particular political (moral) affiliation. ...

{p. 186} For the Bolsheviks and their friends the prominence of Jewish revolutionaries could also be a political liability. In July 1917 Gorky, who never wavered in his admiration for the Jews, called on the Petrograd journalist I. O. Kheisin - who had ritten an article poking fun at the sickness of the imprisoned tsarina - to show "tact and moral sensitivity" lest anti-Semitic passions obscure the achievements of the revolution. In April 1922, after the civil war, he sent the following message to his friend Sholem Asch, to be passed on to the "Jewish workers of America":

{quote} The reason for the current anti-Semitism in Russia is the tactlessness of the Jewish Bolsheviks. The Jewish Bolsheiks, not all of them but some irresponsible boys, are taking part in the defiling of the holy sites of the Russian people. They have turned churches into movie theaters and reading rooms without considering the feelings of the Russian people. The Jewish Bolsheviks should have left such things to the Russian Bolsheiks. The Russian peasant is cunning and secretive. He will put on a sheepish smile for our benefit, but deep inside he will harbor hatred for the Jew who raised his hand against his holy places. ...

Of course the Jews are not to blame. ... But the Jews should have refrained. They

{p. 187} should have realized that their actions would poison the soul of the Russian people. They should bear this in mind.
{endnote 126 on p. 395 reads "126. Gor'kii, Iz literaturnogo naslediia, 304."}

The Jewish Bolsheviks were not amused. Esther Frumki, one of the leaders of the Party's Jewish Section, accused Gorky of taking part in the "attack on the Jewish Communists for their selfless struggle against darkness and fanaticism," and Ilya Trainin, the editor of The Life of Nationalities and one of the top Bolshevik experts on the "national question," wrote that the "Stormy Petrel of the Revolution" had finally landed in the "swamp of philistinism." They did take his point however. Trotsky, according to his own testimony refused the post of commissar of internal affairs for fear of "providing our enemies with the additional weapon of my Jewishness" (despite Lenin's insistence that there was no task more important than fighting counterrevolution and "no better Bolshevik than Trotsky"). Meanwhile the minutes of the Politburo meeting of April 18 1919 included

{quote} Comrade Trotsky's statement that Latvians and Jews constituted a vast percentage of those employed in Cheka frontal zone units, Executive Committees in frontal zones and the rear, and in Soviet establishments at the center; that the percentage of them at the front itself was a comparatiely small one; that strong chauinist agitation on this subject was being carried on among the Red Army men and finding a certain response there; and that in Comrade Trotsky's opinion a reallocation of party personnel was essential to achieve a more even distribution of party workers of all nationalities betweenn the front and the rear.

The Bolsheviks kept apologizing for the numbers of Jews in their midst until the subject became taboo in the mid-1930s. According to Lunacharsky:

{quote} The Jews played such an outstanding role in our revolutionary movement that when the revolution triumphed and established a state, a significant number of Jews entered the institutions of the state. They earned this right with their loyal and selfless service to the revolution. However, this circumstance is seen by anti-Semites as a strike against both the Jews and the revolution.

{p. 188} Moveover, the Jewish proletarian population is predominantly urban and advanced. Naturally, as our country grew and all manner of chains were removed, this population rose in certain proportions to more or less leading positions.

Some conclude from this: "Aha, this means that the revolution and the Jews are in some sense identical!" This enables the counterrevolutionaries to talk about "Jewish dominance," although the explanation is very simple: our revolution was carried out by the urban population, which tends to predominate in leading positions and of which the Jews make up a significant percentage. {endquote}

{p. 192} The Jews who occupied the center stage of early Soviet culture were the unmistakably Mercurian incarnations of Bolshevik Reason, and thus much more familiarly Jewish. All "Party-minded" literature vas about the transformation of proletarian spontaneity into revoiutionary consciousness, or, in mythic (socialist-realist) terms, the taming of a recklessly generous, desperately brave, devil-may-care Red Cavalryman into a disciplined, scripture-reading holy warrior. All such proletarians had mentors, and many such mentors were Jews - partly because there were many Jews among Bolshevik mentors, but also because this was a role that called for an authentic, believable Mercurian. The iconic commissar was the consciousness to the spontaneity of the proletariat, the head to the body of the revolution, the restless nomad to the inert enormity of the masses. It made sense for the iconic commissar to be a Jew.

{p. 199} The culmination of the story of Jewish commissars in Soviet literature was the famous history of the construction of the White Sea Canal, 1931-34. The book was produced by thirtv-six writers (in-luding Gorky, M Zoshchenko, Vs. Ivanov, Vera Inber, V. Kataev, A. Tolstoy, and V. Shklovsky). The canal was built by labor camp inmates ("reforged" thereby into socially usetul citizens). The construction was run by the secret police (the OGPU, the successor to the Cheka). All the top leadership positions were held by Jews: G. G. Yagoda, the OGPU official in charge of the project; L. I. Kogan, the head of construction, M. D. Berman, the head of the Labor Camp Administration (Gulag); S. G. Firin, the head of the White Sea Canal Labor Camp; Ya. D. Rappoport, the deputy head of construction and of the Gulag; and N. A. Frenkel, the head of work organization on the canal.

{p. 216} Of the three Jewish utopias, one was in power. Many Jews who did not go to Moscow wished they had. Most young Jews who did go to Moscow pitied or despised those who had not. Roziner's father came back from Palestine and named his son Feliks (after the fbunder of the Soviet secret police). Agursky's father came back from America and named his son Melib (Marx-Engels-Liebknecht). Mikhail Baitalsky moved from Odessa to Moscow and named his son Vil (Vladimir Ilich Lenin). My great-aunt Bella arrived from Poland and named her son Marlen (Marx-Lenill). The mothers of two of my closest friends (second-generation Muscovites of "Jewish nationality") are named Lenina and Ninel ("Lenin" read backward). Such was the Hebrew of the international proletariat - the true language of paradise.

The journey from the former Pale of Settlement to Moscow and Leningrad was not an less of a migration than the voyage from Odessa to Palestine or from Petrograd to New York. It could take as long and, during the first postrevolutionary years, it might be much more hazardous. Born of revolution, it involved large numbers of people, resulted in a near miraculous transformation, and constituted one of the most important, and least noticed,

{p. 217} landmarks in the history of Russia, European Jews, and the Modern Age.

In 1912, the Jewish population of Moscow was about 15,353, or less than 1 percent of the total. By 1926, it had grown to 131,000, or 6.5 percent of the total. About 90 percent of the migrants were under fifty years old, and about one-third were in their twenties. By 1939, Moscow's Jewish population had reached a quarter of a million (about 6 percent of the total and the second largest ethnic group in the city). In Leningrad, the number of Jeus grew from 35,000 (1.8 percent) in 1910, to 84,603 (5.2 percent) in 1926, to 201,542 (6.3 percent) in 1939 (also, by a considerable margin, the second largest ethnic group in the city). The numbers tor Kharkov are 11,013 (6.3 percent) in 1897; 81,138 (19 percent) in 1926; and 130,250 (15 percent) in 1939. Finally, Kiev (in the old Pale of Settlement) had 32,093 (13 percent) in 1897; 140,256 (27.3 percent) in 1926, and 224,236 (26.5 percent) in 1939. On the eve of World War II, 1,300,000 Jews were living in areas that had been closed to them a quarter of a century earlier. More than one million of them, according to Mordechai Altshuler, "were first-generation immigrants in their places of residence outside the former Pale of Settlement."

By 1939, 86.9 percent of all Soviet Jews lived in urban areas, about half of them in the eleven largest cities of the USSR. Almost one-third of all urban Jews resided in the four capitals: Moscow and Leningrad in Russia and Kiew and Kharkov in Ukraine. Nearly 60 percent of the Jewish population of Moscow and Leningrad were between the ages of 20 and 50. ...

{p. 218} Some of the immigrants engaged in traditional Mercurian trades. The near-total destruction of the prerevolutionary entrepreneurial class and the introduction of NEP in 1921 created extraordinary new opportunities for the four shopkeepers and Fat Doba's husband the tailor, among others. In 1926 Jews constituted 1.8 percent of the Soviet population and 20 percent of all private traders (66 percent in Ukraine and 90 percent, in Belorussia). In Petrograd (in 1923) the share of private entrepreneurs employing hired labor vas 5.8 times higher among Jews than in the rest of the population. In 1924 in Moscow, Jewish "Nepmen" owned 75.4 percent of all drugstores, 54.6 percent of all fabric stores, 48.6 percent of all jewelry stores, 39.4 percent of all dry goods stores, 36 percent of all lumber warehouses, 26.3 percent of all shoe stores, 19.4 percent of all furniture stores, 17.7 percent of all tobacco shops, and 14.5 percent of all clothing stores. The new "Soviet bourgeoisie" was Jewish to a very considerable extent. At the bottom of the "Nepman" category, Jews made up 40 percent of all Soviet artisans (35 percent of Leningrad tailors, for example); at the top, they constituted 33 percent of the wealthiest Moscow entrepreneurs (the holders of the two highest categories of trading and industrial licenses). Twenty-five percent of all Jewish entrepreneurs in Moscow belonged to this group (as compared to 8 percent for the city's non-Jewish Nepmen).

{p. 219} The Jewish preeminence in the NEP economy was reflected in their prominence in NEP-era representations of "bourgeois danger." Soviet literature of the 1920s contained a substantial number of loathsome Jewish smugglers, speculators, and seducers of Komsomol girls. ... Ultimately, however, the Soviet "bourgeois" never became identified with the Jew. The class enemies of NEP-era demonology were primarily Russian peasants ("kulaks"), Russian shopkeepers (lavochniki), and Russian Orthodox priests, as well as the largely cosmopolitan pusillanimous "philistines" and foreign capitalists.

{p. 224} From the inception of the Soviet regime, the unique combination of exceptionally high literacy rates and a remarkable degree of political loyalty ("consciousness") had made Jews the backbone of the new Soviet bureaucracy. The Party considered old tsarist officials and indeed all non-Bolsheviks educated before the revolution to be irredeemably untrustworthy. They had to be used (as "bourgeois experts") for as long as they remained irreplaceable; they were to be purged (as "socially alien elements") as soon as they became expendable. The best candidates for replacing them (while the proletarians were "mastering knowledge" were Jews - the only members of the literate classes not compromsed by service to the tsarist state (since it had been forbidden them). As Lenin put it, "The fact that there were many Jewish intelligentsia members in the Russian cities was of great importance to the revolution. They put an end to the general sabotage that we were confronted with after the October Revolution. ... The Jewish elements were mobilized ... and thus saved the revolution at a difficult time. It was only thanks to this pool of a rational and literate labor force that we succeeded in taking over the state apparatus."

The Soviet state urgently needed new professionals, as well as officials. Jews - especially young Jews from the former Pale - answered the call. In 1939 in Leningrad, Jews made up 69.4 percent of all dentists; 58.6 percent of all pharmacists; 45 percent of all defense lawyers; 38.6 percent of all doctors; 34.7 percent of all legal consultants; 31.3 percent of all writers, journalists, and editors; 24.6 percent of all musicians; 18.5 percent of all librarians; 18.4 percent of all scientists and university professors; 11.7 percent of all artists; and 11.6 percent of all actors and directors. In Moscow, the numbers were very similar.

The higher one looks in the status hierarchy, the greater the Jewish share. In 1936/37, Jewish students made up 4.8 percent of all Moscow schoolchildren in grades one through four, 6.7 percent in grades five through seven, and 13.4 percent in grades eight through ten. Among university students, their proportion (in 1939) was

[p. 225} 17.1 percent, and among university graduates 23.9 percent. Three percent of all Soviet nurses and 19.6 percent of all physicians in 1939 were Jews. In Leningrad, Jews constituted 14.4 percent of all store clerks and 30.9 percent of all store managers. In the Soviet Army in 1926, the proportion of Jews in military academies (8.8 percent) was almost twice their share of Soviet commanders (4.6 percent) and four times their share of all servicemen (2.1 percent). In the Russian Republic in 1939, Jews made up 1.8 percent of all schoolteachers and 14.1 percent of all researchers and university professors (the corresponding figures for Belorussia and Ukraine were 12.3 and 32.7 percent; and 8 and 28.6 percent).

It was at the very top of the Moscow and Leningrad cultural elite that the Jewish presence was particularly strong and - by definition - visible. Jews stood out among avant-garde artists (Natan Altman, Marc Chagall, Naum Gabo, Moisei Ginzburg, El Lissitzky, Anton Pevsner, David Shterenberg); formalist theorists (Osip Brik, Boris Eikhenbaum, Roman Jakobson, Boris Kushner, Viktor Shklovsky, Yuri Tynianov); "proletarian" polemicists (Leopold Averbakh, Yakov Elsberg, Aleksandr Isbakh, Vladimir Kirshon, Grigory Lelevich, Yuri Libedinsky); innovative moviemakers (Fridrikh Ermler, Iosif Kheifits Grigorii Kozintsev, Grigorii Roshal, Leonid Trauberg, Dziga Vertov, Aleksandr Zarkhi); and Komsomol poets (Eduard Bagritsky, Aleksandr Bezymensky, Mikhail Golodnyi, Mikhail Svetlov, Iosif Utkin).

Jews were prominent among the most exuberant crusaders against "bourgeois" habits during the Great Transformation; the most disciplined advocates of socialist realism during the "Great Retreat" (from revolutionary internationalism); and the most passionate prophets of faith, hope, and combat during the Great Patriotic War against the Nazis (some of them were the same people). When the Society of Militant Materialist Dialecticians was founded in 1929, 53.8 percent of the founding members (7 out of 13) were Jews; and when the Communist Academy held its plenary session in June 1930, Jews constituted one-half (23) of all the elected full and corresponding members. At the First Congress of Soviet Writers in 1934, Jews made up 19.4 percent of all delegates (behind the Russians with 34.5 percent and ahead of the Georgians with 4.8

{p. 226} percent and the Ukrainians with 4.3 percent), and 32.6 percent of the Moscow delegation. Between 1935 and 1940, 34.8 percent of all new members of the Moscow branch of the Writers' Union were Jews (85 out of 244). Most of the popular Soviet mass songs were written and performed by immigrants from the former Pale of Settlement, and when the time came to identify the victorious revolution with the classical musical canon, the overwhelming majority of the performers were Jewish musicians trained by Jewish teachers (45 percent of all teachers at Moscow and Leningrad conservatories appointed in the 1920s were Jews). The Soviet Union competed against the capitalist world in every aspect of life, but before its athletes began to participate in international competitions in the 1930s, there were only two spheres in which the land of socialism confronted the "bourgeois world" directly, openly, and according to conventional rules: chess and classical music. Both were almost entirely Jewish specialties, and both produced some of the most celebrated and highly rewarded public icons of the 1930s, among them the future chess world champion Mikhail Botvinnik and a whole pantheon of Soviet music laureates including David Oistrakh, Emil Gilels, Boris Goldstein, and Mikhail Fikhtengolts.

And then there was war. The Spanish civil war was narrated for Soviet citizens by the country's most famous journalist, Mikhail Koltsov (Fridliand), and conducted on their behalf by some of the country's best secret agents and diplomats, most of them Jews. During the war against the Nazis, the Soviet regime spoke with two voices: the mouthpiece of Russia's rage and revenge was Ilya Ehrenburg (Stalin's main cultural ambassador), while the sublime baritone of the socialist state belonged to Yuri Levitan (Soviet radio's official announcer). At least 40 percent of Moscow writers killed during the war were Jews. One of them was my maternal grandfather, Moisei Khatskelevich Goldstein, an immigrant from Poland by way of Argentina, who wrote to my ten-year-old mother in February 1943: "On the 25th anniversary of the glorious Red Army, in whose ranks I now serve, my wish is that you do well in school, as the great Party of Lenin-Stalin demands."

{p. 236} Most members of the new Soviet elite were not Jews, and most Jews were not members of the new Soviet elite. But there is no doubt that the Jews had a much higher proportion of elite members than any other ethnic group in the USSR. In absolute terms, they were second to the Russians, but if one divides the elite into groups whose members came from the same region, shared a similar social and cultural background, and recognized each other as having a common past and related parents, it seems certain that Jews would have constituted the largest single component of the new Soviet elite, especially (or rather, most visibly) its cultural contingent. The tended to be the poets, the prophets, and the propagandists. ...

{p. 237} In effect, the role of the Jews in the prewar Soviet Union was similar to the role of the Germans in imperial Russia (or the role of Phanariot Greeks in the Ottoman mpire, among other instances). Mercurian nations in cosmopolitan empires, they represented modernity and internationalism among Apollonians doomed to becoming Mercurians. Closely associated with Mercurianizing regimes at their inception, they were used by those regimes as models, missionarics, surrogates, eager converts, and incorruptiblc officials. Both the tsar's Germans and the Soviet Jews identified themselves with their states because they shared those states' goals, were good at implementing them, and benefited tremendously from both their loyalty and their ability (for as long the regimes remained cosmopolitan). Both served as bureaucrats, elite professionals (including scholars), and leading officials in those most Mercurian of all state functions: diplomacy and the secret service. The Russian Germans were traditional Mercurians who tended to maintain their external strangeness and internal cohesion as a prerequisite for the continued performance of their mediating roles. The Soviet Jews were moderns who had abandoned traditional Mercurianism in order to overcome their strangeness and create a society that ould dispense with all forms of mediation only to find themselves performing traditional Mercurian functions almost identical to those of their imperial German predecessors (and in many ways similar to those of their own grandparents in the German and Polish lands).

One crucial difference (which was probably due to the unplanned and unpremeditated nature of the Jewish transformation into specialized Soviet Mercurians) was the much greater proportion of Soviet Jews (compared to the Russian Germans) among those who thought of themselves as members of the Russian intelligentsia.

{p. 242} The mass migration of Jews to the big cities, their close association with Bolshevism, and their emergence as the core of the new Soviet Russian intelligentsia provoked hostility among those who objected to the arrival of these new immigrants, did not approve of Bolshevism, or could not, for various reasons, join the new Soviet Russian intelligentsia. ...

The association of Jews with the Soviet state was a common theme in the anti-Jewish letters intercepted by the Leningrad secret police in the mid-1920s. "The Jewish dominance is absolute" (October 1924); "the whole press is in the hands of the Jews" (June

{p. 243} 1925); the Jews, for the most part, live extremely well; everything, from trade to state employment, is in their hands (September 1925); "every child knows that the Soviet government is a Jewish government" (September 1925).

{p. 246} Another way of dealing with the overrepresentation of Jews at the top of Soviet society was to move some of them to the bottom or rather, to turn the Jews into a "normal" nationality by providing the Mercurian head with an Apollonian body. In the 1920s and early 1930s, Soviet nationality policy consisted in the vigorous promotion of ethnic diversity, ethnic autonomy, and ethnoterritorial institutional consolidation. According to the Party orthodoxy (as formulated by Lenin and Stalin before the revolution), the injustices of the tsarist "prisonhouse of nations" could be overcome only through sensitivity, tact, and various forms of "affirmative action" (to use an apt anachronism). The formerly oppressed peoples felt strongly about their cultural peculiarities because of their history of oppression. The end of that oppression and a pointed promotion of national peculiarities would inevitably lead to the disappearance of national mistrust and as a consequence of undue preoccupation with national peculiarities. As Stalin put it back in 1913, "a minority is discontented ... because it does not have the right to use its native language. Allow it to use its native language and the discontent will pass by itself." The passing of ethnic discontent would result in the demystification of ethnic groups and their ultimate fusion under communism. Nationality, as every Marxist knew, was a facade that concealed the reality of class struggle. Bolshevik multiculturalism was like politeness: nothing was valued as highly and cost as little (or so the Bolsheviks thought). By promoting the "national form," the Party was reinforcing the "socialist content." Diversity was the surest path to unity. The greatest monument to this dialectic was the first ethnoterritorial federation in the history of the world: the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

The Jews were considered a formerly oppressed Soviet nationality and were treated like all the other formerly oppressed Soviet nationalities (all except the Russians, that is). Religion was a bad thing, of course, as was the use of scriptural languages for secular purposes

{p. 247} (the Muslims had to abandon Arabic script), but a modern, secular national culture was a very good thing indeed. In the case of the Jews, this meant the creation of several special ethnoterritorial units in Ukraine and the Russian Republic and a massive promotion of the Yiddish language, theater, press, schools, and literature (complete with a large-scale celebration of Sholem Aleichem as the Jewish Pushkin). The enthusiasm of the Bolshevik Yiddishists was great, but the overall results by 1934, when the Soviet state paused to take a breath, were meager. The problem was not Zionism, Hebraism, or Judaic traditionalism, which were negligible irritants compared to the challenges that the Soviet culture-building effort encountered in Central Asia, for example. The problem was that, according to the official Marxist blueprint the Jews were too far ahead of the Soviet culture-building effort. There were many Soviet nationalities without compact homelands and many more Soviet nationalities that seemed unable to separate religion from ethnicity, but no other Soviet nationality was as top-heavy, in class terms (resembling, like the iconic Trotsky, a downward-pointing triangle); as heavily represented at the Soviet top; or as little interested in either the state's attack on its religion or the state's promotion of its "national culture." No other ethnic group was as good at being Soviet, and no other ethnic group was as keen on abandoning its language, rituals and traditional areas of settlement. No other nationality, in other words, was as Mercurian (all head and no body) or as revolutionary (all youth and no tradition).

Accordingly, in one crucially important sense, the "normalization" of the Jews was the reverse of the "modernization" of all the other Soviet nationalities. The purpose of fostering ethnic units, cultures, cadres, and institutions was to eliminate nationalist obstacles on the way to socialist urbanization, education, and cosmopolitanism. The Jews, hoever, were so heavily urbanized, so well educated, and so eager to become cosmopolitan (by way of secularization, intermarriage, and language shift) that Soviet nation building seemed either irrelevant or counterproductive (to both the Party and most Jewish consumers). Commendably but also dangerously, the Jews seemed much more Soviet than the rest of the Soviet Union. Moreover, those Jews who had stayed behind in the old

{p. 248} shtetls as traditional traders and artisans did not fit into either the new Soviet economy or the peasant-into-worker to-New-Man Marxist progression, whatever language they spoke. And so, in the name of equality and in order to deal with the threat of anti-Semitism on the one hand and capitalism on the other, the Party supported Yuri Larin in his attempt to turn at least 400,000 urban Jews into farmers - an attempt that, according to Larin's opponent Kaganovich, contained "elements of Zionism," and that, however one looks at it, was the mirror image of both Marxist theory and Soviet practice.

Larin and most of his supporters (including the ones in the United States, who provided most of the financing) wanted to locate the center of new Jewish agriculture and eventually "the national Jewish republic" in northern Crimea and in the adjacent areas of the Kuban and southern Ukraine. This plan, and the early phases of its implementation in 1926-27, proved a serious political challenge because of strong resistance on the part of local officials, especially the head of the Crimean Autonomous Republic Veli Ibraimov, who claimed to speak on behalf of the Crimean Tatar population and was lobbying for the return to the Crimea of hundreds of thousands Tatar exiles living in Turkey. In October 1926, Larin wrote a letter to the Central Committee of the Party accusing Ibraimov of inciting pogroms, defending kulak interests, and "serving the nationalist-chauvinist aspirations of the part of the Tatar bourgeoisie that advocates a Turkish orientation." Larin's complaint may or may not have been a factor in Ibraimov's 1928 execution on charges of espionage for Turkey; either way, the demise of the Crimean project's most determined foe came too late to prevent the demise of the Crimean version of Jewish Apollonization. On March 28, 1928, the Soviet government approved the creation of a Jewish agricultural settlement in a remote part of the Soviet Far East not assigned to any other ethnic group (the local hunting and gathering population had no clout in the capital and no apparent intention to engage in agriculture). In 1930, Birobidzhan was proclaimed a Jewish National Region; in 1931, my grandparents arrived there trom Buenos Aires by way ot Hamburg and Leningrad; in 1932, their first daughter froze to death;

{p. 249} later that same year, they moved to Moscow (leaving mv grandmother's sister and her family behind). The idea of settling on the land - especially such inhospitable land - made little sense to most Soviet Jews, less sense to conceptually consistent Soviet Marxists, and almost no sense whatsoever at the time of the most intense industrializing drive ever attempted by any state and the most resolute assault on the Apollonian countryside ever undertaken by an urban civilization.

Thus the brunt of the struggle against the "wave of anti-Semitism" had to be borne by those responsible for agitation and propaganda. In August 1926, the Central Committee's Agitprop conducted a special meeting on the subject, and in December 1927 Stalin launched a massive public campaign against anti-Semitism by declaring to the delegates of the Fiiteenth Party Congress, "This evil has to be combated with utmost ruthlessness, comrades." For the next four years, the Party sponsored countless formal appeals, celebrity speeches, mass rallies, newspaper exposes, and show trials aimed at eradicating the evil. In 1927-32, Soviet publishing houses produced fifty-six books against anti-Semitism, and at the height of the campaign in 1928-early 1930s, articles on the subject appeared in the Moscow and Leningrad newspapers almost daily. The campaign fizzled out in 1932, but as late as 1935 the newly dismissed commandant of the Moscow Kremlin R. A. Peterson had to apologize to the Party Control Commission for saying that one way to combat anti-Semitism was not to hire Jews. On May 22, 1935, the secretary of the Writer's Union A. S. Shcherbakov wrote to the Central Committee secretaries Stalin, Andreev, and Ezhov, recommending that the poet Pavel Vasiliew be punished for an anti-Semitic brawl. On May 24 Pavda published an article condemning Vasiliew for anti-Semitic "hooliganism," and within days he was arrested and sentenced to three years in a labor camp. And on Mav 17-23, 1936, the federal public prosecutor A. Ia. Vyshinsky was assigned to a widely publicized murder case (the first one of his career and presumably a dress rehearsal for the first "Moscow Trial," which was to take place within a few months). Konstantin Semenchuk, the head of the polar station on Wrangel Island, and Stepan Startsev, his dog-sled driver, were accused of murdering the

{p. 250} expedition's doctor, Nikolai Lvovich Vulfson, and planning to kill his wife, Gita Borisovna Feldman. Anti-Semitism was one alleged motive; Vulfson's and Feldman's selfless defense of state property and Soviet nationality policy was another. No evidence was presented; none was needed (according to Vyshinsky, who proclaimed cui podest, "who benefits," to be his main legal principle); and none existed (according to Arkady Vaksberg, who claims to have seen the file). Both defendants were shot.

The campaign against anti-Semitism was part of the Great Transformation policy of vigorous "indigenization" and "internationalism." Between 1928 and about 1932-34, the Party demanded the widest possible use of the largest possible number of languages, the aggressive promotion of "national cadres," and the tireless celebration of ethnic differences, peculiarities, and entitlements. Once again, however, the Jews were in a special position because, according to both anti-Semites and philo-Semites (as well as some Jews), their main peculiarity was their denial of possessing any peculiarities, and their chief entitlement was to being considered exceptionally good Russians and Soviets and thus exceptional among nationalities. Before the mid-1930s, "Russian" and "Soviet" were the only two nationalities that were not seen as properly ethnic or rather, as having a politicant meaningful national form. Both were immune from nationality policy because both were defined exclusively in class terms. And so, mutatis mutandis, were most Moscow and Leningrad Jews. Or rather, they were supposed to be a part of the nationality policy but did not seem interested, and they were often defined in (upper-)class terms but were not supposed to be. They seemed to be a nationality without form - a caste of exemplary Soviets.

But what did this mean, and why was this so? The Soviet campaign against anti-Semitism consisted of two elements: an attempt to combat anti-Jewish prejudice, jealousy, and hostility (old and new), and an attempt to explain why the Jews occupied such a peculiar place in Soviet society. The two fundamental approaches were (a) the Jews did not occupy a peculiar place in Soviet society; and (b) the Jews occupied a peculiar place in Soviet society for perfetly wholesome and understandable reasons. Approach (a) implied that

{p. 251} anti-semitism was a form of false consciousness inherited from the old regime; approach (b) suggested that anti-Semitism was a form of jealousy that could be cured through a combination of Jewish normalization and Apollonian modernization. Most Soviet authors used both approaches.

{p. 253} The Jewish normalization project was a failure, but the combination of the public assault on anti-Semitism and the dramatic expansion of educational and employment opportunities for hundreds of thousands of Apollonians during the First Five-Year Plan seem to have borne fruit. It is possible, of course, that the problem was not widespread in the first place: in Izmozik's study of intercepted mail, only 0.9 percent of all letters opened by the Leningrad secret police between March 1925 and January 1926 (67 out of 7,335) contained negative comments about Jews. It is also quite probable that, especially in the former Pale, both traditional anti-Semitism and the new resentment over Jewish prominence in the Soviet state simmered just below the surface, occasionally glimpsed despite official prohibitions and camouflage. What does seem striking, in any case, is that virtually all memoirists writing about Moscow and Leningrad intelligentsia life in the 1930s seem to agree that there was no anti-Jewish hostility and generally very few manifestations of ethnic ranking or labeling. Allowing for a degree of nostalgic wishful thinking and for the fact that most of these memoirists are elite members writing about elite institutions, it seems fair to conclude that the new-minted, self-confident, optimistic, and passionately patriotic Soviet intelligentsia of the 1930s included a very substantial proportion of ethnic Jews and a remarkably small number of their detractors. The prominent philosopher Vitaly Rubin went to a top Moscow school. More than half of his classmates were Jewish.

{p. 254} Indeed, the Soviet secret police - the regime's sacred center, known after 1934 as the NKVD - was one of the most Jewish of all Soviet institutions. In January 1937, on the eve of the Great Terror, the 111 top NKVD officials included 42 Jews, 35 Russians, 8 Latians, and 26 others. Out of twenty NKVD directorates, twelve (60 percent, including State Security, Police, Labor Camps,

{p. 255} and Resettlement [deportations]) were headed by officers who identified themselves as ethnic Jews. The most exclusive and sensitive of all NKVD agencies, the Main Directorate for State Security, consisted of ten departments: seven of them (Protection of Government Officials, Counterintelligence, Secret-Political, Special [surveillance in the army], Foreign Intelligence, Records, and Prisons) were run by immigrants from the former Pale of Settlement. Foreign service was an almost exclusively Jewish specialty (as was spying for the Soviet Union in Western Europe and especially in the United States). The Gulag, or Main Labor Camp Administration, was headed by ethnic Jews from 1930, when it was formed, until late November 1938, when the Great Terror was mostly over.

{p. 265} Most of the secret agents recruited by the Ulanovskys {i.e. Soviet Jews} in America were Russian Jews or their children, and there is little doubt that Trotsky's greatest appeal was that he was both Jewish and Russian: a perfect Mercurian Apollonian, a fearsome warrior with glasses on his nose (he was, in effect, the Israel of the 1930s; or rather, Israel would become the Trotsky of the next Jewish American generation). According to Irving Howe, no major figure of the twentieth century "combined so fully or remarkably as did Trotsky the roles of historical actor and historian, political leader and theorist, charismatic orator and isolated critic. Trotsky made history, and kept an eye on history. He was a man of heroic mold, entirely committed to the life of action, but he was also an intellectual who believed in the power and purity of the word."

Some Jewish American rebels in the 1930s were also the children of Jewish Russian rebels - the ones who spent hours in the New York Public Library "leafing through the canonical and apocryphal writings of the prophets of the old revolutionary underground." For them, socialism began at home as "one long Friday evening around the samovar and the cut-glass bowl laden with nuts and fruits, all of us singing Tsuzamen, tsuzamen, ale tsuzamen!"; or as heated arguments among uncles and aunts about the dictatorship of the proletariat and the treachery of the revisionists. When Daniel Ben converted from Judaism to the Young People's Socialist League, his family's main worry was whether he had joined the right sect.

But most Jewish American parents in the 1920s and 1930s were not rebels, so most Jewish American rebels renounced their parents as well as the cold world they had launched them into.

{p. 272} Members of the political elite suffered disproportionately during the Great Terror. Because Jews were disproportionately represented within the political elite, they were prominent among the victims. Many of Evgenia Ginzburg's fellow passengers on the train bound

{p. 273} for the Kolyma camps were Jewish Communists, and the same was true of Roziller's mother's cellmates at the Butyrki prison in Moscow. There were other women there, "but intelligentsia Communists, including my mother, kept apart from them. Practically all of them were Jews, all believed unconditionally in the purity of the Party, and every one of them thought that she had been arrested by mistake." Roziner's mother, Iudit, had graduated from a heder and spent two years in d Jewish gymasium in Bobruisk before moving (in 1920) to Moscow, where she had become a student at the city's best school (the Moscow Exemplary School-Commune). Atter a short stint in Palestine, where she had joined the Communist Party, Iudit had returned to the Soviet Union.

Members of the political elite suffered disproportionately, but they were not the majority of those affected. The Jews, who were not numerous among nonelite victims, were underrepresented in the Great Terror as a whole. In 1937-38, about 1 percent of all Soviet Jews were arrested for political crimes, as compared to 16 percent of all Poles and 30 percent of all Latvians. By early 1939, the proportion of Jews in the Gulag was about 15.7 percent lower than their share of the total Soviet population. The reason for this was the fact that the Jews were not targeted as an ethnic group. None of those arrested during the Great Terror of 1937-38 including Meromskaia's parents, Gaister's relatives, and my grandfather - was arrested as a Jew. The secret police did put together several Jewish-specific cases, but they were all politically (not ethnically) defined. Iudit Roziner-Rabinovich, for example, was arrested during the sweep of "Palestinians," but her interrogator (himself Jewish) was interested in Zionist organizations, not nationality. Samuil Agursky, the great crusader against Zionism, Moyshe Litvakov, his political enemy and fellow leader of the Party's Jewish Section, and Izi Kharik, the Yiddish "proletarian" writer and the author of the poem about the exodus to Moscow, were all arrested as part of the attack against former Bundists (real or imaginary). At the same time, similar campaigns were being waged against the former members of all the other non-Bolshevik parties, including the Socialist Revolutionaries, the Mensheviks, the Ukrainian Borotbists, the Azerbaidjani Mussavatists, and the Armenian Dashnaks among

{p. 274} others. And while Jewish national districts and schools were closed down, all other national districts and schools were closed down too ...

Indeed, Jews were the only large Soviet nationality without its own "native" territory that was not targeted for a purge during the Great Terror. ... And in 1937-38, all diaspora nationalities of the Soviet Union became the subject of special "mass operations" involving quotas of arrests and executions.

{p. 275} The Jews did not seem to have an alternative home. ... In 1939, Soviet publishing houses produced fourteen different titles by Sholem Aleichem on the occasion of his eithtieth birthday; the State Museum of Ethnography in Leningrad organized the exhibition Jews in Tsarist Russia and the USSR; and the director of the State Jewish Theatre, Solomon Mikhoels, received the Lenin Order, the title "People's Artist of the USSR," and a place on the Moscow City Soviet. Most Soviet Jews were not directly affected by the Great Terror, and of those who were, most suffered as members of the political elite. Because the people promoted to replace them tended to be former peasants and blue-collar workers, the Jewish share in the Party and state apparatus dropped precipitously after 1938. Because the cultural and professional elite was not hit as hard and experienced no significant turnover, the Jewish preeminence among top professionals remained intact.

And then two things happened. In the second half of the 1930s, following the establishment of High Stalinism and especially during the Great Patriotic War, the Soviet state - now manned by newly promoted ethnic Russians of peasant and proletarian origins - began to think of itself as the legitimate heir to the Russian imperial stare and Russian cultural tradition. At the same time, following the rise of Nazism and especially during the Great Patriotic War, more and more Soviet intelligentsia members - now branded inescapably with biological ethnicity - began to think of themselves as Jews.

{p. 290} In the early stages, when more and more Soviet soil was being overun by the Nazis, and more and more Soviet patriots of Jewish nationality weere heeding the call of blood without ceasing to be Soviet patriots, the Party had not been shy about proclaiming its commitment to Jewish martyrs, heroes, and national existence. Two months atter the invasion, it had sponsored "An Appeal to World Jewry" signed by four well-known Yiddishists and several Soviet cultural celebrities of Jewish background, including the Bolshoi conductor S. Samosud, the physicist Petr Kapitsa, and the chief socialist-realist architect Boris Iofan (who was still at work on the ultimate public building of all time, the Palace of the Soviets). On the day the appeal was published (August 24, 1941), a special "rally of the representatives of the Jewish people" was broadcast by Radio Moscow to the Allied countries. Both the written appeal and the radio addresses referred to their audience as "brother-Jews the world over," emphasized the role of the Jews as the primary victims of Nazism, expressed pride in the heroism of their fighting "kinsmen," and called on those who were far from the battlefields tor help and support. In the words of the published document, "Throughout the tragic history of our long-suffering people - from the time of Roman domination through the Middle Ages - there has never been a period that can compare to the horror and calamity that fascism has brought to all humanity and, with particular ferocity, to the Jewish people."

In this hour of horror and calamity, it turned out that the Jewish people - "ethnic" or religious, Communist, Zionist, or traditionalist - were one family.

{p. 291} Mikhoels, Ehrenburg, and others were moved by the "call of blood" and moral outrage. The Soviet officials who sponsored the rally and edited the speeches were mostly interested in financial assistance and the opening of a second front. (Although some of them may have heard the call of blood too: the head of the Soviet external propaganda apparatus, Solomon Lozovsky, was himself an ethnic Jew, as were the Soviet ambassadors to Great Britain and the United States, I. M. Maisky and K. A. Umansky, who met with Chaim Weizmann and David Ben-Gurion in 1941 as part of the Soviet effort to court world Jewish organizations.) In late 1941-early 1942, the Soviet Bureau of Information created a special Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee. Its purpose (like that of several others formed at the same time: the Women's, Scholars', Slavic, and Youth Committees) was to cultivate a specialized overseas constituency for the benefit of the Soviet war effort. The JAFC's main task was to raise money in the United States. The committee's leaders were Mikhoels, Soviet Jewry's most recognizable face, and Shakhno Epstein, a journalist, the Party's Jewish Section veteran, and a former Soviet secret agent in the United States.

During World War II, the Soviet state received around $45 million from various Jewish organizations, most of them U.S.-based. The greatest fund-raising effort of all was the North American tour undertaken in the summer and fall of 1943 by Mikhoels and a member of JAFC's presidium, Itsik Fefer, a Yiddish writer and secret

{p. 292} police informer. Mikhoels and Fefer spoke at mass rallies (the one at the Polo Grounds in New York was attended by about fifty thousand people); negotiated with the leaders of the World Jewish Congress and World Zionist Organization (in ways that had been approved by Soviet officials); and met with - among many others - Albert Einstein, Charlie Chaplin, Eddie Cantor, Theodore Dreiser, Thomas Mann, and Yehudi Menuhin. The visit vas enormously successful: American audiences responded eagerly to the Soviet Jewish appeals, and both Mikhoels and Fefer were greatly impressed by the wealth, influence, and generosity of American Jewish organizations. ...

As the Soviet Army rolled westward, the demands for a specifically Jewish answer to the specifically Jewish suffering became one "insistent, subterranean call." Soviet Jews were writing to the Anti-Fascist Committee asking for help in burying and commemorating

{p. 293} the dead, chronicling Jewish martyrdom and heroism, regaining access to prewar homes, and combating growing anti-Semitism. But more than anything else, they were writing about the insistent, subterranean call itself. As one war veteran put it in a letter to Mikhoels, "Let us not be ashamed of our blood. And what is more, in our country we Jews are not poor relations. I have grown convinced that Israel lived, lives, and will go on living forever and ever. My eyes are full of tears. They are not tears of grief, but of joy." ...

Some members of the committee were wary of usurping the Party's role. (As one Old Bolshevik and experienced Party and state official, M. I. Gubelman, put it, "the nationalities question in our country has been sufficiently addressed by Comrade Stalin and needs no further amendments.") But many, especially the Yiddish writers in the committee's presidium, seem to have felt that they did, in a sense, represent the Jewish people, and that the Jewish people required special consideration because of the national tragedy that had befallen them and because the survivors of that tragedy were their people, their blood relatives.

The boldest political initiative that resulted from this sentiment as the February 1944 letter to Stalin, in which the committee

{p. 294) leaders Mikhoels, Epstein, and Fefer proposed the creation of a Jewish Soviet Socialist Republic in the Crimea. First, they argued, the Jewish refugees from the Nazi-occupied territories had no homes or families to go back to; second, the creation of national intelligentsias among "fraternal peoples" had rendered the professionals of "Jewish nationality" superfluous; third, the existing Yiddish cultural institutions were too few and too scattered to meet Jewish cultural requirements; and fourth, the war had led to a resurgence of anti-Semitism and, as a reaction to it, Jewish nationalism. The existing Jewish Autonomous Region in the Far East, they concluded, was too remote from the "main Jewish toiling masses" and thus incapable of solving "the administrative and legal problem of lhe Jewish people" in the spirit of the "Leninist Stalinist nationalities policy."

The Politburo members Kaganovich, Molotov, and Voroshilov (the first Jewish, the latter two married to Jewish women) seemed cautiously sympathetic, but Stalin did not like the idea and the project died a slow bureaucratic death (despite a brief flare of enthusiasm following the deportation of the Crimean Tatar population to Central Asia and Kazakhstan). The alternative plan of resettling the Jews in the former Republic of Volga Germans appealed to Fefer and Perets Markish as an act of "historical justice" but was vetoed by Molotov as another quixotic attempt to put "an urban nation ... on a tractor." The "Jewish problem," it appeared, could not be solved in the spirit of the Leninist-Stalinist nationalities policy.

Disappointing as these reverses may have been, they occurred in the dark recesses of "apparatus" politics and concerned the wartime refugees from the former Pale of Settlement, not their kinsmen in the capitals (Tsaytl's surviving children, not Hodl's). Everything changed, however, after the creation of the State of Israel in Palestine. In an attempt to put pressure on Britain and acquire an ally in the Middle East, the Soviet Union had supported a separate Jewish state, supplied Jewish fighters with arms (via Czechoslovakia), and promptly recognized Israel's independence. It was inside the USSR, however, that the official encouragement of Zionism produced the most striking and for Soviet officials disconcerting results. Assuming that they were within the boundaries of the offi-

{p. 295} cial policy, or possibly no longer caring whether they were or not, thousands of Soviet Jews, most of them Jews "by blood" from Moscow and Leningrad, took the occasion to express their teelings of pride, solidarity, and belonging. As one Moscow student wrote to the JAFC,

{quote} Please help me join the Israeli Army as a volunteer. At a time when the Jewish people are shedding their blood in an unequal struggle for their freedom and independence, my duty as a Jew and a Komsomol member is to be in the ranks of their fighters.

I am twenty-two years old; I am in good physical shape and have sufficient military training. Please help me fulfill my duty. {endquote}

Before the war, being a Komsomol member of Jewish descent had meant being an internationalist and, for Hodl and her children, an avid tollower of Russian high culture. After the war - and apparently still in the spirit of Leninst-Stalinist nationalities policy - it meant being a proud ethnic Jew too. As another Muscovite wrote two days earlier, "there is no doubt that the government of the USSR will not hinder this effort [of sending arms and volunteers to Palestine], just as it did not hinder the campaign of aid to Repubican Spain." Jewish national redemption equaled anti-Fascism equaled Soviet patriotism. "A tremendous change has taken place in our lives: our name 'Jew' has been raised so high that we have become a nation equal to other nations. At present, a small handful of Jews in the State of Israel is conducting an intense struggle against Arab aggression. This is also a struggle against the English empire. It is a struggle not only for an independent State of Israel, but also for our future, for democracy and justice."

{p. 296} Indeed, some went so far as to make "unheard-of, shocking" statements (as one JAFC presidium member described them) to the effect that Palestine was their homeland. But what was even more unheard-of and shocking was that thousands of people were making such statements publicly and collectively. On September 3, 1948, the first Israeli ambassador to the USSR, Golda Meyerson (later Meir), arrived in Moscow. What followed was a series of improvised, spontaneous, and unsupervised political rallies - something the Soviet capital had not seen in more than twenty years. For Golda Meir, who had been born in the Russian Empire, visiting the Soviet Union was a kind of homecoming. On the very first Saturday after her arrival, she went to the Moscow synagogue and, having greeted the rabbi, broke into tears. The purpose of her visit, however, and of course the purpose of the new state she repre-

{p. 297} sented, was to remind the Jews of all countries that their true home was not their home. During the next month, every one of her public appearances was accompanied by a demonstration of Soviet Jewish identification with Israel. On October 4,1948, on Rosh Hashanah, thousands of people came to the Moscow synagogue to see her. Some cried, "Shalom"; most had probably never been to a synagogue betore. And on October 13, on Yom Kippur, a large crowd followed the Israeli diplomats from the synagogue to the Metropole Hotel, chanting, "Next year in Jerusalem."

The two trends - the ethnicization of the Soviet state and the nationalization of ethnic Jews - kept reinforcing each other until Stalin and the new Agitprop officials made two terrifing discoveries.

{what follows is the discovery of an incompatibility between Jewish promotion of Internationalism - the Soviet kind - and Jewish Nationism, as expressed in the Zionist project}

First, the Jews as a Soviet nationality were now an ethnic diaspora potentially loyal to a hostile foreign state. After the creation of Israel and the launching of the Cold War, they had become analogous to the Germans, Greeks, Finns, Poles, and other "nonnative" nationalities presumed to be beholden to an external homeland and thus congenitally and irredeemably alien. The official assault on the Jews would be a belated application of the ethnic component of the Great Terror to an ethnic group that had escaped it (as an ethnic group) in 1937-38.

Second, according to the new Soviet definition of national belonging and political loyalty, the Russian Soviet intelligentsia, created and nurtured by Comrade Stalin, was not really Russian and thus not fully Soviet. Russians of Jewish descent were masked Jews, and masked Jews were traitors twice over.

All Stalinist purges were about creeping penetration by invisible aliens and here was a race that was both ubiquitous and camouflaged; an ethnic group that was so good at becoming invisible that it had become visible as an elite (perhaps the Soviet elite). Here was a nationality that did not possess its own territory (or rather, possessed one but refused to live there), a nationality that did not have its own language (or rather, had one but refused to speak it), a nationality that consisted almost entirely of intelligentsia (or rather,

{p. 298} refused to engage in proletarian pursuits); a nationality that used pseudonyms instead of names (this seemed true not only of Old Bolsheviks and professional writers but also of most immigrants from the former Pale of Settlement: the children of Baruchs, Girshas, and Moshes had routinely changed their patronymics to Borisovich, Grigorievich, and Mikhailovich). Being Jewish became a crime: those who claimed a separate Yiddish culture were "bourgeois nationalists"; those who identified with Russian culture were "rootless cosmopolitans."

The more brutal, if relatively small-scale, campaign was waged against the first group (the public Jews). In January 1948, the best-known Soviet Yiddishist, Solomon Mikhoels, was murdered on Stalin's orders by the secret police. (The man who had lured him into the trap, a Jewish theater critic and police informer, V. I. Golubov-Potapov, was murdered with him. They were both tied up, thrown to the ground, and run over by a truck as part of the plot to make it look like a traffic accident.) Over the next two years, all Yiddish theaters and writers' organizations were closed, and most Yiddish writers were arrested. In the spring and summer of 1952, fifteen former members of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee were put on trial as "bourgeois nationalists." One was spared; one died in prison; and the remaining thirteen were sentenced to death (one month before the trial began) and shot on the same day (one month after the trial ended). ...

{p. 299} And then, for reasons they could not quite understand, the same Soviet government had reclassified the Jews from a would-be normal nationality comparable to the Ukrainians or Mordvinians to a potentially disloyal nationality similar to the Poles or Greeks. The Jewish national form had become the symptom of a hostile bourgeois content. Saying in public that your mother's name was Hannah had become a nationalist act. ...

The question was whether the Jews would join the Crimean Tatars, who had been exiled to Uzbekistan, or the Uzbeks, whom the Soviet government had helped become a nation "like all the others." As Fefer explained, "I was very jealous as I watched the Uzbek art festival. ... I had fought for Jewish institutions as hard as I could."

That had been before the Cold War, however - back when the Party had not considered all Jewish institutions to be subversive and Fefer "had not believed that resisting assimilation was a form ot nationalist activity." Things were different in 1952.

{p. 301} The campaign to cleanse the Soviet elite of ethnic Jews began as early as May 1939 when, in an apparent attempt to please Hitler, Stalin put Molotov in charge of Soviet diplomacy and ordered him to "get rid of the Jews" in the Commissariat of External Affairs. The purge gathered speed during the Nazi-Soviet alliance; became a part of government policy during the Great Patriotic War (as an expression of revamped official patriotism and a response to the new Jewish self-assertion); and turned into an avalanche in 1949, when ideological contagion became the regime's chief concern and Jews "by blood" emerged as its principal agents. Party officials responsible for the "cadres" flailed about in search of covert aliens. The closer to the core, the more rot they found.

Who were the guardians of Marxism-Leninism? In 1949, "passport" Jews made up 19.8 percent of all Soviet professors of Marxism-Leninism, 25 percent of all those teaching Marxism-Leninism in the colleges of Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev, Kharkov, Rostov, Saratov, Kazan, and Sverdlovsk, and 7 out of 19 faculty members in the Dialectical and Historical Materialism Unit in the Philosophy Department of Moscow University. At the main Soviet research institute for the study of political economy (wrote the head of Agitprop to the head of the State Planning Agency), out of 51 senior researchers, there were 33 Jews, 14 Russians, and 4 others.

{p. 302} Perhaps worst of all, a review of the main academic mini-Stalins (every discipline was supposed to have its own) revealed that the deans of Soviet philosophers (M. B. Mitin), economists (E. S. Varga), historians (I. I. Mints), and legal scholars (I. P. Trainin) were all ethnic Jews. (Varga had come from Budapest, the others from Russia's old Pale. ) Finally - and most disconcertingly - B. I. Zbarsky, the man who had embalmed Lenin's body and was still the keeper of Communism's most sacred relics, was not only a Jew from the Pale of Settlement but also, according to the obligingly efficient secret police, a wrecker and a spy.

And what about those other pillars of official ideology - Russian patriotism and high culture? A group of concerned scholars informed the Central Committee of the Party that 80 percent of the members of the academic council at the Academy of Sciences' Institute of Literature (the "Pushkin House") were Jews. (The Central Committee confirmed the report and ordered swift action.) ...

{p. 303} The more frequent the contact with the enemy, the greater the danger of infection. In whose hands - still speaking of journalists - was Soviet overseas propaganda, an area where political confidence was so hard to earn and so easy to abuse? Jews made up 23 percent of the top managers in the Telegraphic Agency of the Soviet Union (TASS), and 49 percent in the Radio-Telegraphic Agency of Ukraine (RATAU). The "national composition" of the Soviet Information Bureau was 48 percent Jews, 40 percent Russians, and 12 percent others; the Russian Section of the Foreign Literature Publishing House was 90 percent Jewish; and the official Soviet English-language newspaper, Moscow News, was being produced by 1 Russian, 1 Armenian, and 23 Jews.

The economic base was as rotten as the ideological superstructure. Who was building Soviet cars? Forty-two Jews were arrested and thirteen executed in connection with the "Jewish nationalism" affair at the Moscow Automobile Plant. Who was designing Soviet airplanes? Sixty Jewish researchers were fired from the Zhukovsky Institute (but not S. A. Lavochkin, the creator of LA fighters, or M. L. Mil, the creator of MI helicopters). Why was Soviet tank production being entrusted to Isaak Moiseevich Zaltsman, from the shtetl Tomashpol in Podolia? Why, at the end of the Great Patriotic War, did Jews constitute one-third of all chief engineers

{p. 304} at Soviet armaments plants? And who (stage whisper) was building the Soviet atomic bomb? And how were they connected to their kinsmen building the American atomic bomb? And what about the spies who were, in their own way, trying to connect the two atomic bombs?

{see atomic-spies.html; on "connecting the two atomic bombs", see the 1946 Baruch Plan for World Government: baruch-plan.html, and the associated "One World Or None report of 1946", largely Jewish-written: one-world-or-none.html}

Aliens were everyvhere: in your home, under your bed or even in your bed. Was it a coincidence that Comrade Stalin's elder son, Yakov, was married to a Jewish woman? (She was arrested after Yakov's capture by the Germans but released soon after his death.) Or that Comrade Stalin's daughter kept falling in love with one Jew after another? (Svetlana's first love, A. Ya. Kapler, was sent into exile, and her first husband, G. I. Morozov, was asked to move out and given a new passport with the marriage entry removed.) And what about all those wives: Comrade Molotov's, Comrade Andreev's, Comrade Voroshilov's?

Most frightening of all was the realization that the "vigilant Chekists" combating the forces of evil were themselves werewolves. A special secret police investigation of the secret police revealed a massive "Zionist conspiracy" and a hopeless confusion of friend and foe.

{p. 306} For as long as Stalin was alive and incontestably infallible, such reasoning and the world it held together seemed to make sense to most members of the Soviet elite. There were three professions, however, that questioned the sacred unity of knowledge and virtue simply by performing their regularly assigned tasks. One was the secret police, which sought out corruption within the Party and thus persisted in acquiring secret knowledge that the Party had no direct access to. ...

{p. 307} Another professional group that undermined the official orthodoxy as a matter of course were the nuclear physicists ... Because the building of the bomb was of paramount importance, the official orthodoxy (including the newly mandated mistrust of ethnic Jews) had to be partially waived for the duration of the project. ...

Finally, there were the physicians. Under normal circumstances, their expertise did not obviously challenge the Party's monopoly on truth, but when Stalin entered his seventies and began to lose his vigor, it became clear that the life of the "great leader and teacher" - and thus the fate of world socialism - was in the hands of professionals whose claim to vital knowledge could not be checked or verified except by other professionals. ...

{p. 308} Doctors, who fought death for a living, had been featured as "poisoners" at the Bukharin trial of 1938 and in numerous rumors about the untimely deaths of various Soviet leaders. They were never targeted as a class, however until Stalin confronted limits to his immortality and Jews were identified as key agents of contagion. The first court physicians to be arrested were ethnic Russians, but as the "doctors' plot" thickened, the campaign against "murderers in white robes" became fused with the assault on "Jewish nationalism." The most alien of nationalities had merged with the most lethal of professions.


Although Slezkine, like Sudoplatov, dismisses the Doctors Plot as false, other authors present new evidence that Stalin was murdered.

The best coverage is the book  The Death of Stalin: An Investigation by 'MONITOR': death-of-stalin.html.

Edvard Radzinski's book Stalin is pro-Zionist, but also presents an interesting coverage, on pp. 539-556:

January 13, 1953: Tass announced the discovery of a terrorist group of poisoning doctors (Radzinsky, p. 539).

February 8, 1953: Pravda published the names of Jewish saboteurs etc.

February 11, 1953: the USSR severed diplomatic relations with Israel (Yosef Govrin, Israeli-Soviet Relations 1953-1967, published by Frank Cass, London 1998, pp. 3-4).

End of February, 1953: rumors went around Moscow that the Jews were to be deported to Siberia (Radzinsky, p. 542), with March 5 rumoured to be the date when this would happen (p. 546}. Radzinsky claims that Stalin was inviting war with America, the home of Zionism and world finance, over this issue, because America was dominated by Zionist financiers (p. 543).

March 5, 1953: Stalin declared dead.

April 3rd, 1953: Kremlin doctors freed.

Evidence That Stalin was murdered (Radzinsky, pp. 547-556): radzinsk.html. For a Jewish view on the Doctors' Plot see Louis Rapaport, Stalin's War Against the Jews. Lazar Kaganovich's account of the Murder of Stalin: kaganovich.html.

The succession to Stalin: beria.html

end excursus}

Stalin's attack on the Jews was similar to numerous other attempts to rid the Soviet Union of variously defined groups associated with the pre-Soviet past or the anti-Soviet present. While filling out his personnel form, Viktor Shtrum, in Vasily Grossman's Life and Fate, comes to Line No. 5, "nationality," and writes "Jew."

{quote} He had no way of knowing what filling in Line No. 5 would soon mean for hundreds of thousands of people who called themselves Kalmyks, Balkars, Chechens, Crimean Tatars, Jews. ... He did not know that ... in a few years many people would be filling in Line No. 5 with the same feeling of doom with which, in past decades, the children of Cossack officers, noblemen, factory owners, and priests had filled in Line No. 6 ["social origin"]. {endquote}

{p. 309} The anti-Jewish campaign was both public and relatively clear about its objectives. It was directed at some of the most vital and articulate elements of the Soviet state and it contradicted some of that state's most fundamental official values. As Lina Kaminskaia, a college student, active Komsomol member, and daughter of a former employee of the Commissariat of Aviation Industry, said in 1952, "Our country's policy on the national question is incorrect. After the war, the country was hit by a wave of anti-Semitism, which is an expression of fascist ideology. ... My point of view is the result of what I have been hearing and seeing. ... Everything I say is based on a firm conviction. My opinion is shared by all my close friends from among the intelligentsia: doctors, engineers; lawyers, students."

Kaminskaia was expelled from both the university and the Komsomol, but it does appear that her views were widely shared by members of the Soviet intelligentsia well beyond her circle of friends. As the prominent film director M. I. Romm wrote to Stalin several years earlier,

{quote} Examining my feelings, I realized that for the past ten months I have been forced to recall my Jewish origins quite frequently, even though I had never thought about them during the previous twenty-five years of Soviet rule because I was born in Irkutsk, raised in Moscow, speak

{p. 310} only Russian, and have always felt completely Russian. So, if even people like me are beginning to wonder, the situation in our movie industry must be very alarming indeed, especially if one remebers that we are fighting against fascism, which has anti-Semitism emblazoned on its banner. {endquote}

For the first time since the revolution, the ethnically Jewish members of the Soviet elite were being attacked directly and unequivocally not because of some "alien elements" in their midst, as in 1937-38, but because they were ethnically Jewish. (My ethnically Russian father, who graduated from Moscow State University in 1949, could enroll in any graduate school he wished because his Jewish peers, a majority of the applicants, were not welcome. His "gentry origins" were no longer a factor; his "indigenous" nationality was.)

{p. 311} Even Pavel Sudoplatov, an ethnic Slav, top secret police official, and faithtul Party warrior, was confused and dismayed by the attack on the Jews. As the head of the security ministry department in charge of assassinations and sabotage, he had participated in numerous political "liquidations," but the only murder he unequivocally condemns in his memoirs is the murder of Mikhoels (with which, as he points out, he "fortunately" had nothing to do). During his thirty-year service in the secret police, he had seen many of his comrades purged, but the only arrest he claims to have opposed was the arrest of N. I. Eitingon, one of the Soviet Union's most accomplished assassination experts (also known for his mischievous sense of irony and his ability to "recite Pushkin from memory"). One reason tor Sudoplatov's scruples was the fact that this was the first purge of his friends and colleagues that had a discernible pattern which was both unmistakable and offensive to a true believer of the civil war generation. The other reason was the fact (not surprising to most true believers of the civil war generation) that some of Sudoplatov's best friends were Jews. The best of them all was his wife, Emma Kaganova, a professional agent provocateur who had spent most of her career reporting on Moscow intellectuals but had to retire as a lieutenant colonel in 1949 because of the anti-Jewish campaign. After a lifetime of moral certainty, the two found themselves betrayed by their Party and compelled for the first time ever to talk to their children about the emerging distinction between the state and the family, the public and the private, the "brazen anti-Semitic statements" and their mother's Semitic "nationality."

{Sudoplatov reminisces: sudoplat.html}

{p. 313} The great alliance between the Jewish Revolution and Communism was coming to an end as a result of the new crusade against Jewish Communists. What Hitler could not accomplish, Stalin did, and as Stalin did, so did his representatives in other places. In the fall of 1952, a large show trial was staged in Czechoslovakia. Eleven

{p. 314} of the accused, including the general secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, Rudolf Slansk, were identified as ethnic Jews and accused of being agents of international Zionism and American imperialism. Other Soviet dependencies had to follow suit, whether they wanted to or not. In Hungary, Romania, and Poland, a high proportion of the most sensitive positions in the Party apparatus, state administration, and especially the Agitprop, foreign service, and secret police were held by ethnic Jews, who had moved up the ranks because of their loyalty and now had to be squeezed out because of their nationality. All three regimes resembled the Soviet Union of the 1920s insofar as they combined the ruling core of the old Communist underground, which was heavily Jewish, with a large pool of upwardly mobile Jewish professionals, who were, on average, the most trustworthy among the educated and the most educated among the trustworthy. There were important differences, however. On the one hand, the experience of World War II in East-Central Europe had made Jews the only possible candidates for some sensitive positions; on the other, the creation of the new Stalinist regimes had coincided with Stalin's discovery of Jewish untrustworthiness. The predominantly Jewish "Moscow Hungarians," "Moscow Romanians," and "Moscow Poles" had been installed in power, then encouraged to promote the indigenous cadres who were to replace them, and finally thrown out as Zionists, Stalinists, or both. The Soviet Union's erstwhile representative in Romania, Ana Pauker, was ousted in 1952; Hungary's Matyas Rakosi and Poland's Jakub Berman and Hilary Minc (among others) followed after Khrushchev's Secret Speech of 1956. In matters of "global historical importance" (to use a Stalinist cliche), Soviet satellites were not allowed to lag a whole generation behind (they were supposed to be younger brothers, not children). Jewish Communists were to be replaced by ethnically pure ones. Ultimately - and fatally for Communism - ethnically pure Communists would prove to be a contradiction in terms.

{The issue of Jewish domination became more salient after the creation of Israel. Apart from the main Cold War between Washington and Moscow, there was another cold war, between Moscow and Jerusalem, over which would be the centre of "one world": moscow-vs-jerusalem.html. David ben Gurion envisaged a World Government centred on Jerusalem: tmf.html}

Meanwhile, the United States Congress was conducting its own purge. In scale and severity it was not comparable to the Stalinist version, but the targets came from similar backgrounds and had similar convictions except that in the Soviet Union they were persecuted as Jews, and in the United States as Communists. Both governments were aware of the connection, but both dismissed it as dangerous or irrelevant. The postwar Soviet officials probably realized that the attack on Jewish "cosmopolitanism" was, in some sense, an attack on Communist internationalism {I would say Trotskyism; it's also the H. G. Wells kind, the "Open Conspiracy: opensoc.html}, yet they had no choice but to make the subject taboo because the newly ethnicized Soviet state continued to derive its legitimacy from the Great October Socialist Revolution. Likewise, Senator Joseph McCarthy and the members of the House Un-American Activities Committee knew perfectly well that many Communists, hostile witnesses, and Soviet spies were Jews, but chose not to transform this fact into a political "issue" because they thought of both America and its Soviet nemesis as purely ideological constructs.

There were, of course, other reasons why associating Communism with Jewishness might not be a very good idea. The most pragmatic of them was the observable fact that the Jewish association with Communism was coming to an end. A high proportion of Communists and Soviet agents in the United States were still Jews, but the absolute numbers of Jewish Communists were falling steadily, and their place in the Jewish community was becoming marginal. At the Rosenberg trial, both the presiding judge and the prosecutor appointed to the case were Jews. This was the result of a concerted political effort to create a visible counterweight to the accused (who used their Jewishness in their defense), but it was also a faithful reflection of the new postwar reality. Beilke's children began to turn from Communism to Jewish nationalism at the same time and for many of the same reasons as their Soviet cousins: the Stalin-Hitler Pact, the destruction of European Jewry, the creation of Israel, and the Soviet purge of Jews from elite positions. But mostly, they turned away from Communism because they were doing so well in America. The two postwar decades saw the emergence of the Jews as the most prosperous, educated, politically influential, and professionally accomplished ethnoreligious group in the United States.

{see ginsberg.html; fifty years after the Doctors' Plot and the death of Stalin, the issue of Jewish domination of the United States rages hotter than ever, with allegations that the Jewish Lobby lured America to war in the Middle East and Central Asia}

As in fin de siecle Vienna and Budapest or early-Soviet Moscow and Leningrad, the children of Mercurian immigrants moved en masse into the professions that define and underwrite the modern state: law, medicine, journalism, entertainment,

{p. 316} and higher education. Unlike their predecessors in Vienna and Budapest, they encountered little anti-Semitism; unlike their cousins in the Soviet Union, they were free to pursue both traditional Jewish vocations: learning and wealth.

{p. 318} Jewish American intellectuals, too, had stopped being exiled rebels in order to become salaried professors. A Russian-style prophetic intelligentsia had been transformed into a large contingent of rigorously trained intellectuals ("bourgeois experts") organized into professional corporations. By 1969, Jews (less than 3 percent of the population) made up 27 percent of all law faculties, 23 percent of medical faculties, and 22 percent of all biochemistry professors. In the seventeen most prestigious American universities, they accounted for 36 percent of law professors, 34 percent of sociologists, 28 percent of economists, 26 percent of physicists, 24 percent of political scientists, 22 percent of historians, 20 percent of philosophers, and 20 percent of mathematicians. In 1949, there was one Jewish professor on the faculty of Yale Conege; in 1970, 18 percent of Yale College professors were Jews. The United States began to catch up with the Soviet Union in the realm of Jewish accomplishment at the very time that the Kremlin set out to reverse the Jewish accomplishment in the Soviet Union. Within two decades, both had achieved a great deal of success.

Having moved into the upper reaches of American society, most Jews adopted America's official faith. In the 1940s and 1950s, Liberalism replaced Marxism as the orthodoxy of Jewish intellectuals (with Lionel Trilling's The Liberal Imagination providing an early manifesto). Like their counterparts in Palestine and the prewar Soviet Union, American Jews of the 1940s and 1950s eagerly identified with their new home's first principles (themselves sharpened by the prewar Jewish search for "that society in which no racial barriers could possibly exist" and increasingly referred to as "Judeo-Christian" ). But what exactly were those principles? State Liberalism separate from Christianity and tribalism was only half a faith - a set of legal rules, metaphysical assumptions, and founding lathers endowed with transcendental meaning but tenuously connected to the exigencies of kinship and personal immortality. To the (rather limited) extent that the postwar American state was, indeed, separate from Christianity and tribalism, it had developed a new conception of its

{p. 319} own role and its citizens' welfare. It had become increasingly therapeutic and substantially (if often unself-consciously) Freudian.

All modern states have developed a capacity for "caring" previously associated with families, churches, and licensed physicians. In the United States, the institutional and intellectual groundwork of the new regime was laid by native-born Progressive reformers (including the advocates of vocational guidance and mental hygiene), but it was Freudianism, practiced and professed by upwardly mobile Jewish professionals, that provided the core vocabulary and some of the most durable concepts. By bringing Freudianism to America and by adopting it, briefly, as a salvation religion, Tevye's children made themselves more American while making America more therapeutic. As Andre R. Heinze put it, "Through the idiom of modern psychology, Jews wrote middle-class Americans a moral prescription that, if followed, would produce a social order that was 'good for the Jews' but also propitious for other outsiders seeking integration into American society." To paraphrase Mark Shechner, the transformation of Jews into Americans required the transformation of revolutionaries into convalescents.

Freudianism was a doctrine born of the nineteenth-century Jewish Revolution. It shared Marxism's familial origins; partook of its obsession with patricide and universal evil; and replicated (on a much smaller scale) its institutional structure centered on priestly guardians of sacred texts. The salvation it promised, however, was strictly individual, always provisional, and ultimately dependent on marketable professional expertise. Freudianism aspired to being the religion of modern capitalism as much as Marxism aspired to being the religion of anticapitalism: it appeared to provide a scientific justification for the liberal focus on the incorrigible individual; applied the tenets of political liberalism to the mysteries of the human soul; adapted the American Declaration of Independence to the religious search for personal redemption. The pursuit of individual happiness - like the maintenance of a decent society - turned out to be a matter of managing imperfection, of imposing fragile checks and balances on ineradicable internal pressures.

Freudianism's greatest contribution to American life, however, was in the form of overall psychological orientation and a number

{p. 320} of influential formulas. Just as the "Marxism" adopted by various states and movements was a mosaic of readings and interpretations often attributed - also by way of rough approximation - to local revisionist prophets (Lenin, Mao, Kim Il Sung, Gramsci), so Freudianism was but an echo of the founder's voice, usually much clearer and more consistent than the original. (One crucial difference is that whereas the Marxist connection, however dubious, is proudly asserted, the Freudian paternity is often denied and even more often unacknowledged - mostly because it is shared with the prevailing culture and so either taken for granted or resented as not capable of providing a genealogy of resistance.)

In the United States, psychotherapy became optimistic: treatment could lead to complete healing; instincts could be channeled and organized; aggression and the death wish could be countered with affection and introspection or allowed to lead one to normalcy. Most important, after World War II and especially starting in the 1960s, most schools of psychotherapy switched from curing the ill to reassuring the unhappy and to "managing one's self to happiness and fulfillment through techniques of self-inspection ... and a new vocabulary of the emotions" (as Nikolas Rose put it). Evil became a symptom of a curable sickness, and most sick people became victims of their psyches, childhoods, parents, nurses, and neighbors (as opposed to the "social system"). Everyone was normal, in other words, and all normal people were maladjusted (insofar as they were not permanently and unshakably self satisfied). All happy families were dysfunctional (in the same way); all children were abused; and all grownups were repeatedly harassed and traumatized. Priests became therapists; therapists became priests; and the state, still separate from traditional organized religion, made increasingly sure that citizens' confessions were heard by licensed social workers, probation officers, marriage counselors, family therapists, and grief-counselors, among many others. In the workplace, managers were to achieve greater productivity not by suppressing the irrational but by using it creatively and scientifically (vith the help of special counselors); and of course the family became a relentlessly self-reflexive institution for the production - never quite successful - of

{p. 321} psychologically well-adjusted individuals (i.e., future adults who would not have been abused as children).

{Note the word "reflexive", a favourite of George Soros: soros2.html}

All these developments are far removed from Freud's psychoanalysis (as far, perhaps, as Castro's Cuba is from Marx's Das Capital), but they are all consequences of the great psychological revolution, of which Freud was the most influential prophet (the way Marx was the most influential prophet of socialism and class revolution). Dostoevsky may have discovered the Underground Man, but it was Freud who diagnosed Dostoevsky, as well as Kafka, Proust, Joyce, and every one of their underground prototypes and creations (whether they liked it or not or indeed knew anything about it). ...

Freud's cause is very much alive, in other words, even if his personal cult and particular therapeutic techniques are not. Like Marxism, it succeeded as an intellectual blueprint; like Marxism, it was never a science and it failed as a religion. It failed as a religion because, like Marxism, it misunderstood the nature of immortality and did not outlive the first generation of converts.

All humans live in tribes. All traditional religions, including Judaism, are tribal religions. The world's greatest rebellions against tribalism, such as Christianity and Islam, survived by incorporating tribal allegiances, sacralizing marriage, enforcing sexual and dietary restrictions, and representing themselves as renewable nations (bodies of believers, Umma). The decline of Christianity resulted in the rise of nationalism as new old tribalism: the rights of man equaled the rights of the citizen ("de l'homme et du citoyen"); citizenship, on closer inspection, turned out to be more or less ethnically defined.

Both Marxism and Freudianism tackled modernity-as-liberalism without recognizing or even seeming to notice the v ital modernity

{p. 322} of nationalism. Both charted paths to salvation (collective or individual) that were not grounded in household devotion, marriage arrangements, or dietary taboos. Neither Marxism nor Freudianism could be inherited or passed on meaningfully through a succession of family rites (the way even Christianity, and certainly Judaism, could). Both lost out to nationalism without ever realizing that there was a war going on. In the Soviet Union, Marxism as a revolutionary faith did not outlive the revolutionaries - having mutated into a camouflaged nationalism, it finally expired along with the last high-ranking beneficiary of the Great Terror. In the United States, Freudianism as a salvation religion encompassed the life span of the World War II generation before transmogrifying into a doctrine of tribal, as wen as personal, happiness and victimhood.

Both Marxism and Freudianism were produced and eagerly embraced by newly emancipated Jews, who had achieved conspicuous success at capitalism without recourse to the much needed protection of nationalism. In the Soviet Union, the Jewish members of the establishment would be thwarted by the rise of Russian nationalism. In the United States, the Jewish members of the establishment would be transformed and greatly strengthened by the rise of ethnic politics.

{p. 327} American Jews rediscovered their Jewishness at the same time and for essentially the same reasons as their Soviet cousins. The Nazi mass murder (not yet conceptualized as the Holocaust), the Soviet purges, and the formation of Israel were all important factors (debated and remembered as such), but it was the spectacular Jewish success in the Soviet Union and the United States that provided the context and the impetus for the new allegiances. In both places, Jews had entered crucial sectors of the establishment: in the Soviet Union, the Jewishness of elite members was seen by the newly Russified state (and eventually by some Jews too) as a threat and a paradox; in the United States, it appeared to be a sign of perfect fulfillment both for the liberal state and for the new elite members.

{p. 328} To an even greater extent than the nationalist and communist movements in interwar Europe, Israel was imbued with the sense of "never again," "enough is enough," "there is nothing to fear but fear itself." Nothing summarizes the spirit of victorious Zionism better than Stalin's 1931 "We do not want to be beaten" speech.

Israel of the 1950s and 1960s was not simply Apollonian and anti-Mercurian - it was Apollonian and anti-Mercurian at a time when much of the Western world, of which it considered itself a part, was moving in the opposite direction. In postwar Europe and North America, military messianism, youthful idealism, pioneer toughness, and worship of uniform were in decline, but the realization of the scale and nature of the Nazi genocide merged with a certain awkwardness over complicity or inaction to place Israel in a special category where general rules did not apply. ... Israel, which provided a home for Holocaust survivors while continuing to embody a genuine grassroots revolution by a nation brutally victimized by Europeans in Europe, was a righteous reproach to the "civilized world" and perhaps a guarantee of its future redemption.

{p. 329} The most important institution in Israel was the army; the most admired heroes were generals; and the most celebrated profession as paratrooper (and the most celebrated paratrooper in the 1950s was Ariel Sharon). ...

After Stalin's death, the anti-Jewish campaign fizzled out, and ethnic Jews returned to the top of the Soviet professional hierarchy. The rate at which they advanced was slower than before the war and less impressive than that of many other groups, but they remained by far the most successful and the most modern occupationally and demographically of all Soviet nationalities. In 1959, 95 percent of all Jews lived in cities (compared to 58 percent for the Russians); the proportion of employed college graduates among

{p. 330} them was 11.4 percent (compared to 1.8 percent for the Russians); and the number of "scientific workers" per 10,000 people was 135 (compared to 10 for the Russians). Thirty years later, 99 percent of all Russian Jews lived in urban areas (compared to 85 percent for the Russians); the proportion of employed college graduates among them was 64 percent (compared to 15 percent for the Russians); and the number of "scientific workers" per 10,000 people was 530 (compared to 50 for the Russians).

All Soviet nationalities were different, but some were much more different than others. According to the occupational "dissimilarity index" (which represents the percentage of one group that would have to change jobs in order to become occupationally identical to another group), the Jews were by tar the most "dissimilar" of all major Russian nationalities on the eve of the Soviet collapse. The difference between Russians and Jews, for example, was greater than the difference between Russians and any other group in the Russian Federation (including the Chechens, the least urban of those surveyed). The top five occupations for Russians were metal-workers (7.2 percent of the total employed), motor vehicle drivers (6.7 percent), engineers (5.1 percent), tractor and combine drivers (2.4 percent), and "nonmanual workers with unspecified specialty" (2.4 percent). The top five occupations for Jews were engineers (16.3 percent), physicians (6.3 percent), scientific personnel (5.3 percent), primary and secondary schoolteachers (5.2 percent), and chief production and technical managers (3.3 percent). Jewish employment patterns were much less diverse, much less segregated by gender, and much more concentrated at the top of the status hierarchy. Of the main Jewish occupations, the most exclusive (the least represented among the Russians) were physicians, scientists, chief managerial personnel, artists and producers, and literary and press personnel.

{But wasn't Communism suposed to be about equality?}

Jews remained prominent in the Soviet professional elite (and thus at the heart of the Soviet state) until the breakup ofthe USSR, but the special relationship between the Jews and the Soviet state had come to an end - or rather, the unique symbiosis in pursuit of world revolution had given way to a unique antagonism over two competing and incommensurate nationalisms. The Russian and

{p. 331} Jewish Revolutions died the way they were born - together. The postwar Soviet state began to apply its traditional affirmative action policies favoring "titular" nationalities to the Russians in the Russian Republic (mostly by engaging in covert and cautious negative action with regard to the Jews). At the same time, and partly for that very reason (as well as for the many reasons provided by Hitler, Stalin, and the founding of Israel), the Jewish members of the Soviet elite began assuming that "Jewish origins" stood for a common fate, not simply a remote past. Everyone was listening to the "call of blood" and hearing different languages.

This development coincided with a general parting of the ways between the Party-state and the professional elite it had created. Ever since the revolution, upward mobility through education had been one of the most consistent and apparently successful policies of the Soviet regime. For a party representing consciousness amid spontaneity and urban modernity amid rural backwardness, the "enlightenment of the masses" coupled with breakneck technological modernization had been the only way to correct History's mistake (of staging the socialist revolution in a precapitalist country) and bring about both socialism-as-abundance and socialism-as-equality. Between 1928 and 1960, the number of Soviet college students had grown by 1,257 percent (from 176,600 to 2,396,100); the number of college-educated professionals by 1,422 percent (from 233,000 to 3,545,200); and the number of scientific personnel by 1,065 percent (from 30,400 in 1930 to 354,200). Most of the members of the new "Soviet intelligentsia" were beneficiaries of class-based affirmative action and - outside ethnic Russia - its various ethnic substitutes.

{p. 335} In pursuit of both general proportional representation and particular Jewish demotion, the post-Stalinist state continued, in a mild form, the policy of limiting Jewish access to elite colleges and prestigious professional positions. According to the Soviet sociologist V. P. Mishin, "Whereas some peoples (Ukrainians, Belorussians, Moldavians, Tatars, Uzbeks, Azerbajanis and others) are still far below the national average with regard to the development of higher education and the training of scientific cadres, certain other peoples (Armenians, Georgians, Jews) have greatly exceeded that average ... Therefore, the proper goal of the directed development of interethnic relations consists not only in the equalization of conditions, but also in the continued maintenance of real equality among the peoples of the USSR."

The Soviet state did its best to achieve that goal. Between 1960 and 1970, the number of employed professionals with higher edu-

{p. 336} cation increased by more than 100 percent among Ukrainians, Belorussians, Moldavians, Tatars, Uzbeks, and Azerbaijanis, and by 23 percent, among Jews. The Jews were still light-years ahead (166 "specialists" per 1,000 people, as compared to 25 for Ukrainians, 15 for Uzbeks, and 35 for the second-place Armenians), but the trend was clear and durable. In the two decades prior to 1970, the proportion of scientific personnel increased by 1,300 percent among Uzbeks and 155 percent among Jews.

{p. 348} While young Soviet Jews were rebelling against Hodl's left radicalism and turning toward Zionism and especially Capitalism, young American Jews were rebelling against Beilke's Capitalism and turning toward Zionism and especially left radicalism. The Jewish participation in the radical student movements of the 1960s and early 1970s was comparable to the Jewish participation in Eastern European socialism and prewar American Communism. In the first half of the 1960s, Jews (5 percent of all American students) made up between 30 and 50 percent of SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) membership and more than 60 percent of its leadership; six out of eleven Steering Committee members of the Free Speech Movement at Berkeley; one-third of the Weathermen arrested by the police; 50 percent of the membership of California's Peace and Freedom Party; two-thirds of the white Freedom Riders who went to the South in 1961 to fight racial segregation; one-third to one-half of the "Mississippi Summer" volunteers of 1964

{p. 349} (and two of the three murdered martyrs); 45 percent of those who protested the release of students' grades to draft boards at the University of Chicago; and 90 percent of the sample of radical activists studied by Joseph Adelson at the University of Michigan. In 1970, in the wake of the invasion of Cambodia and the killing of four students at Kent State (three of whom were Jewish), 90 percent of the Jewish students attending schools at which there were demonstrations claimed to have participated. In a 1970 nationwide poll, 23 percent of all Jewish conege students identified themselves as "far left" (compared to 4 percent of Protestants and 2 percent of Catholics); and a small group of radical activists studied at the University of California was found to be 83 percent Jewish. A large study of student radicalism conducted by the American Council of Education in the late 1960s found that a Jewish background was the single most important predictor of participation in protest activities.

When, in 1971-73, Stanley Rothman and S. Robert Lichter surveyed 1,051 students at Boston University, Harvard University, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and the University of Michigan, they discovered that "53% of the radicals were of Jewish background, as were 63% of those who engaged in seven or more protests, 54% of those who led three or more protests, and 52% of those who formed three or more protest groups." Most important, they found that "the dichotomy between Jews and non-Jews provided the most parsimonious means of accounting for the many other social and psychological aspects of New Left radicalism. ... After examining our results, we concluded that there was little point in dividing the non-Jewish category into several ethnic or denominational components, because these subgroups differed only slightly in their adherence to radical ideas. Jews, by contrast, were substantially more radical than any of the non-Jewish religious or ethnic subgroups."

Among Jews, "radicalism rose substantially as religious orthodoxy declined. Reform Jews were more radical than orthodox or conservative Jews ..., and Jews who specified no further affiliation were more radical still." By far the most radical of all were the children of "irreligious but ethnically Jewish parents," especially those

{p. 350} from upper-middle-class professional households. The uncontested leaders on the radicalism scale were the offspring of Jewish academics. Curiously, the non-Jewish students from professional households were not significantly more radical than non-Jewish students from other occupational backgrounds. The connection between secular professionalism and political radicalism seemed to apply only to Jews.

{p. 351} After the Six-Day War, Hodl's and Chava's children resumed their responsibility of endowing the lives of Beilke's children with meaning: the Soviet cousins, as victims, and the Israeli ones, as both victims and victors. In the 1970s, most American Jews by blood became Jews by convicttion and thus full-fledged Ameri-

{p. 352} cans. Nostalgia for a lost world was replaced with an allegiance to living relatives; chimerical nationality was transformed into a proper ethnoreligious community; Tevye, it turned out, had had other choices besides martyrdom and Thanksgiving. Tevye, it turned out, had descendants who were at peace with themselves and at war with their oppressors. The American Jews had finally become regular American "ethnics," complete with an old country that was also a new state with a flag, an army, and a basketball team. More than that, they had become the first among American ethnics because their new old country was uniquely old, uniquely new, uniquely victorious, and uniquely victimized. And of course its very existence and therefore the continued existence of all Jews, Soviet and American, was (it turned out) a response to an event that was the "most unique" of all events that had ever occurred. As Elie Wiesel wrote in the New York Times in 1978, "Auschwitz cannot be explained nor can it be visualized. Whether culmination or aberration of history, the Holocaust transcends history. ... The dead are in possession of a secret that we, the living, are neither worthy of nor capable of recovering. ... The Holocaust? The ultimate event, the ultimate mystery, never to be comprehended or transmitted."

Jewish American Communism had flared up one last time in the Jewish Century before finally yielding to nationalism. Relatively few of the erstwhile cosmopolitans would become "neoconservative" champions of Israeli-style uncompromising belligerence and "moral clarity," but virtually everyone would join the "normal" modern nations in finding a decent cover for their nakedness. The place of ethnic Jews in America would ultimately depend on how normal or how unique Israel would become.

Meanwhile, the existence of ethnic Jews in the Soviet Union was becoming untenable. Most of those who had given up on Communism preferred American Liberalism (with or without the Jewish national content), but there vwere always those who looked to Palestine.

{p. 353} The most important episode in the history of Soviet (and American) Zionism was the Six-Day War of 1967. "I sat at my dacha glued to the radio, rejoicing and celebrating,' writes Mikhail Agursky. "And I was not the only one." Ester Markish, for one, "listened to the radio day and night. ... The Jews were openly celebrating, saying to each other: 'We are advancing!' When the threat of war loomed over Israel, many Russian Jews made the unequivocal choice: 'Israel is our flesh and blood. Russia is, at best, a distant relative, and possibly a total stranger.'"

The children of the most loyal of all Soviet citizens had become the most alienated of all antiregime intellectuals. Back in 1956, Mikhail Agursky's "sympathy" for Israel had not yet "reached the level of full identification." In those days, "Israel had been a small provincial country, whereas I lived in a large metropolis, a superpower on which the fate of the world depended. I had grown up near the Kremlin, at the center of the world. Like most citizens of my country, I was a great-power chauvinist."

Now, almost overnight, the center of the world had shifted to where his family sympathy lay. "The Six-Day War convinced me that my platonic Zionism was becoming the real thing and that, sooner rather than later, I was fated to live in Israel. ... From being a small provincial country, Israel had become a power one could identify with." And from provincial poor relations, the half-forgotten Israeli cousins had turned into heroes and possibly patrons.

{p. 354} After the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, more and more Soviet intelligentsia members felt abroad at home and, as Elena Bonner {Jewish wife of Sakharov} would put it, "alone together." Or rather, more and more Soviet professionals were becoming Russian intelligentsia members ("foreigners at home"). And the most foreign of them all were the hereditary strangers - the Jews.

Not only were the Jews heavily concentrated at the top, targeted for discrimination (for that very reason), and seen as tribal aliens in an increasingly tribalized state - they did, unlike most of their fellow professionals, have a different Jerusalem to turn to; they did, literally or metaphorically, have cousins who were at home abroad. Returning to their Moscow apartment after receptions at the Israeli Embassy, Ester Markish and her children "felt dejected: it was as if we were leaving our homeland for a foreign land." ...

After the Six-Day War, the number of emigration applications shot up. The regime retaliated by stepping up its "anti-Zionist"

{p. 355} campaign and multiplying Jewish disabilities in education and employment. The Jews responded by applying to emigrate in even greater numbers; the regime retaliated by charging a higher education tax; and so it continued until Gorbachev opened the emigration floodgates (along with so many others) in the late 1980s.

{p. 356} Finally, some Party leaders were prepared to discourage the Jews from leaving by granting them some of what they wanted. But what did the Jews want? Brezhnev, the top Party leader, had a rather narrow view of the question. On March 20, 1973, he reported to the Politburo the surprising fact that the Soviet Union had a Yiddish magazine.

{quote} And so I asked myself this question: we have a certain number of Gypsies, but surely not as many as Jews, right? And we don't have any laws aginst the Jews, do we? So why not give them a little theater of five hundred seats, a Jewish variety theater, which would be under our censorship, and its repertoire under our supervision. ... Or how about opening a school? ... So I'm wondering: why not open a school in Moscow, and call it a Jewish one? The curriculum would be standard, but they would teach Yiddish, their national language. What's the big deal? After all, there are three and a half million of them, compared to 150,000 Gypsies. ... {endquote}

None of Brezhnev's bold ideas came to pass, but the reason he was entertaining them and the reason the Jewish emigration ranked so high on the Politburo's agenda was unrelenting political pressure from the United States. By the early 1970s, Beilke's

{p. 357} children - now one of the most politically and economically powerful communities in America - had rediscovered their Soviet cousins and adopted them as "the distant fragments of their families that had survived Hitler's and Stalins pogroms." ...

Although the Jackson-Vanik amendment (initiated and guided through Congress by Senator Jackson 's chief of statt, Richard Perle, and Senator Ribicott's chief of statf, Morris Amitay) referred to the freedom of emigration in general, it was applied only to the Jews. The exclusive right to request an exit visa resulted in ever greater alienation: all ethnic Jews became would-be emigres, and thus potentlal traitors. It also led to the creation of an ever growing group ot pseudo-Zionists and pseudo-Jews: the only way to leave the Soviet Union was to claim a desire to go to Israel. The late twentieth- century exodus was similar to the early twentieth-century one in that the overwhelming majority of emigres preferred America to Palestine; the main difference was that the only way to go to America (or anywhere else) was by applying to go to Palestine.

The question of where to go mattered to some more than to others, but what mattered to all of Hodl's grandchildren was that they had the opportunity to leave the Soviet Union. The late twentieth-century exodus had much more to do with the perception that Hodl had chosen incorrectly than with the discovery that Chava and Beilke had chosen correctly. Everyone seemed to agree that Hodl's path - socialism - had been a tragic mistake, and that the only real question was whether to do now what Hodl should have done then: emigrate from a false paradise.

Many of them did both before and after the Soviet state finally agreed that socialism had been a tragic mistake. Between 1968 and 1994, about 1.2 million Jews left the USSR and its successor states (at 43 percent ofthe total, a larger emigration than the one of which Beilke and Chava had been a part). The first wave, which reached Israel between 1968 and 1975, carried with it most of the ideological Zionists (such as Markish and Agursky) and many of Tsaytl's grandchildren from the former Pale of Settlement. The flood that followed was mostly U.S.-bound and included many of Hodl's Moscow and Leningrad grandchildren (about 90 percent of whom went to the United States). The Israeli government attempted to curb this trend, but it was only atter 1988, when the overall proportion of those going to America reached 89 percent, that the United States agreed to significantly decrease immigration quotas for Soviet Jews. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Israel opened its own consulates in the Soviet Union, closed down the notoriously porous transit point in Vienna, and ultimately succeeded in preventing the majority of the 1989-92 refugees (the largest group of all) from "dropping out" en route. By 1994, 27 percent of all Soviet Jewish emigres from the USSR had been taken in by Beilke's grandchildren, and 62 percent by Chava's.

Wherever they ended up, most of Hodl's descendants have remained faithful to the late Soviet concept of belonging. They are Jews by blood, Russians by (high) culture, and religious not at all (outside of the Pushkin cult). They are, theretore, not fully Jewish according to their American and Israeli hosts (many of whom seem as disappointed as anyone who has sheltered a long-lost relative). Indeed, they are like reverse Marranos: public Jews who practice

{p. 359} their Gentile faith complete with special feasts, rites, and texts in the privacy of their homes. But this is a temporary condition, because the most important thing that all of Tevye's descendants share is the knowledge that they are all Tevye's descendants. Or rather, they all share Tevye's most important belief. "Anyone can be a goy, but a Jew must be born one." All Jews are Jews "by blood"; the rest is a matter of "absorption" (to use an Israeli term). Sooner or later, the Soviet Jevish emigres to Israel and the United States will "recover their Jewishness" in its entirety. This does not mean going back to Tevye's religion, of course (any more than any renaissance means actual rebirth). In Israel, full recovery implies the supplanting of the Russian intelligentsia canon with the Israeli Hebrew one; in the United States, it requires the replacement of the Russian intelligentsia canon with a blend of Protestantized Judaism and Zionism. It is a high price to pay, but most of Hodl's grandchildren are willing to pay it. Because Hodl "should have lived her life differently," the life that she did live must be forgotten. ...

The Russian part of the Jewish Century is over. The home of the world's largest Jewish population has become a small and remote province of Jewish life; the most Jewish of all states since the Second

{p. 360} Temple has disappeared from the face of the earth; the sacred center of world revolution has been transformed into the capital of yet another Apollonian nation-state. ...

The Jewish part of Russian history is over too. It is closely associated with the fate of the Soviet experiment and is remembered or forgotten accordingly. ...


Jews "by blood" are a creation of the Jewish Bible, combined with policies of endogamy.

To buy a new copy of Yuri Slezkine's book The Jewish Century:

To buy a second-hand copy:

Back to the Zionism/Communism index: zioncom.html.

Write to me at contact.html.