• « Le Jeu de la dame » : Netflix a imaginé une femme championne d’échecs, l’URSS en comptait des dizaines | Sopiko Japaridze
    https://www.contretemps.eu/jeu-dame-netflix-urss-echecs-socialisme

    La grande championne d’échecs soviétique Nona Gaprindashvili a annoncé qu’elle poursuivait Netflix pour avoir déprécié ses exploits dans Le Jeu de la Dame (The Queen’s Gambit). Sa carrière prouve que nous n’avons pas besoin d’histoires fictives d’ascension sociale individuelle mais de programmes sociaux pour nous permettre de nous accomplir. Source : Contretemps

  • »Reiches Land, starke Armee« - Vorgeschichte, Verlauf und Vermächtnisse des Zweiten Weltkriegs in Ost- und Südostasien (Teil I) 16. Februar 2020
    https://www.nachdenkseiten.de/?p=58483

    75 Jahre nach dem Ende des 2. Weltkriegs in Ost- und Südostasien – Vorgeschichte, Verlauf, Vermächtnisse lautet der Titel dieser siebenteiligen Artikelserie von Rainer Werning,
    ...
    Im ersten Teil der siebenteiligen Serie zur Vorgeschichte, zum Verlauf und zu den Vermächtnissen des Zweiten Weltkriegs in Ost- und Südostasien beschäftigt sich unser Autor Rainer Werning mit dem Aufstieg Japans zur hegemonialen Macht in Ostasien.

    Wie zahlreiche Zeitzeugen sowie ost- und südostasiatische Historiker in ausführlichen Gesprächen mit dem Autor immer wieder hervorhoben, hatte Japans militärischer Feldzug und seine Okkupation nahezu sämtlicher Länder in den Regionen auch und gerade dazu geführt, dass der Nimbus der (vermeintlichen) Überlegenheit und Unbesiegbarkeit des »weißen« Kolonialismus und Imperialismus unwiderruflich erschüttert wurde.

    Last, but not least gilt es, eurozentris(tis)che Sichtweisen zu revidieren: Der Zweite Weltkrieg in Südost- und Ostasien sowie im Pazifik endete erst am 2. September 1945 mit der Unterzeichnung der Kapitulationsurkunde seitens des japanischen Generalstabs. Und er begann dort nicht erst im Spätsommer 1939, sondern bereits mit der Zerstörung der damaligen chinesischen Hauptstadt Nanking um die Jahreswende 1937/38 und damit der Eskalation des Krieges gegen Gesamtchina, wenn nicht gar bereits 1931 mit der völkerrechtswidrigen Besatzung mehrerer Großstädte in der Mandschurei sowie der späteren Installierung des Vasallenstaates »Mandschukuo« – RW.

    Hoher Blutzoll – gescheiterte „Pazifizierung“ (Teil II) 05. April 2020
    https://www.nachdenkseiten.de/?p=59918

    Nach spanischer und US-amerikanischer Herrschaft besetzt Japan die Philippinen

    Unterdrückung, Revolten und bewaffneter Widerstand sind eine Konstante in der philippinischen Geschichte. Das war so während der annähernd 350-jährigen Kolonialzeit unter den Spaniern, die 1898 endete. Und das war so in dem halben Jahrhundert der sich anschließenden US-amerikanischen Kolonialära. Jahre vor dem Ersten Weltkrieg hatten die imperialen USA in dem bis dahin größten Massaker die Zivilbevölkerung in ihrer einzigen Kolonie Asiens „befriedet“. Während des Zweiten Weltkriegs opponierten die Filipinos erst recht gegen die neue Kolonialmacht Japan, dessen Truppen die Inseln nur wenige Stunden nach dem Angriff auf Pearl Harbor am 8. Dezember 1941 besetzten. Es waren einheimische Guerillagruppen, die die Hauptlast dieses Kampfes trugen. Umso bitterer war die Enttäuschung, als 1945 die nach 1898 „zweimaligen Befreier“ Täter in Opfer verwandelten und die eigentlichen Widerstands- und Befreiungskämpfer als „Banditen“ und „kommunistische Aufrührer“ denunzierten und verfolgten. Die (Re-)Kolonialisierung der Kolonialisierten in einer Neokolonie von Washingtons Gnaden war das Markenzeichen der Nachkriegspolitik in diesem Teil Südostasiens

    „Auch unser späterer Präsident Sukarno arbeitete als Freiwilliger für die Japaner“ (Teil III) 31. Mai 2020
    https://www.nachdenkseiten.de/?p=61422

    Indonesien – die niederländische Kolonie unter japanischer Besatzung

    Niederländisch-Indien, wie Indonesien früher hieß, war wie die meisten Länder Südostasiens Jahrhunderte von einer westlichen Kolonialmacht beherrscht worden. Die niederländische Kolonie war für die Japaner wegen ihrer Nähe zur Nordküste Australiens und wegen ihrer Ölvorkommen und anderer Bodenschätze von besonderer Bedeutung. Obwohl die Niederlande selbst bereits im Mai 1940 von den Truppen Nazideutschlands überrannt worden waren und sich die niederländische Regierung nach London abgesetzt hatte, leisteten die niederländischen Kolonialtruppen auf Sumatra und Java noch bis Anfang März 1942 Widerstand gegen die Japaner, die dort ihre Offensive am 11. Januar begonnen hatten. Doch dann mussten auch sie vor den Verbündeten der deutschen Faschisten in Asien kapitulieren. Denn die „antikoloniale“ Kriegspropaganda der Japaner gegen die Herren aus dem fernen Europa, die den indonesischen Archipel seit dem Jahre 1602 beherrschten, stieß in der indonesischen Bevölkerung auf weitaus mehr Sympathien als irgendwo sonst in Asien.

    Rote Fahnen über Malaya oder Wie aus Revolutionären und Freiheitskämpfern plötzlich „kommunistische Terroristen“ wurden (Teil IV) 19. Juli 2020
    https://www.nachdenkseiten.de/?p=63014

    Herrschaft Japans über Malaya und Singapur
    ...
    Wer dagegen bewaffnet Widerstand leistete, galt aus Sicht der britischen Kolonialmacht als Freiheitskämpfer und Revolutionär. Bei Kriegsende wurde aus ihnen kurzerhand „ein Pack von CTs“ („communist terrorists“), weil das zurückgekehrte britische Militär diesen Zipfel Kontinentalsüdostasiens weiterhin als integralen Bestandteil des British Empire betrachtete

    Birma: Und stetig grüßt das Militär (Teil V) 27. September 2020
    https://www.nachdenkseiten.de/?p=65223

    Herrschaft Japans über Birma, das lange Zeit Teil des British Empire war
    ...
    Für die Kaiserlich-Japanischen Truppen war dieses südostasiatische Land von herausragender geo- und militärstrategischer Bedeutung, erhoffte man sich doch nach dessen Eroberung und Okkupation einen ungehinderten Zutritt nach Indien. Dort, so das Kalkül der Achsenmächte Japan und Deutschland, sollten sich die aus dem Osten vorrückenden Japaner mit dem aus dem Westen über Zentralasien heranrückenden Nazitruppen siegreich treffen, um nach erfolgreicher gemeinsamer Kontrolle des indischen Subkontinents eine Neuaufteilung der Welt nach koordiniertem imperialen Design vorzunehmen.

    Während die Kriegsmaschinerie der Nazis bereits in der ehemaligen Sowjetunion von der Roten Armee besiegt wurde, erlitten die japanischen Truppen ausgerechnet ihre ersten Niederlagen zu Lande in der britischen Kolonie Birma. Im Kampf gegen die japanischen und später erneut gegen die britischen Truppen existierten diverse militärische Verbände, die zwar unter der Flagge von Freiheit und Unabhängigkeit angetreten waren, doch deren Führung sich nicht scheute, über weite Strecken ihres Kampfes ein geschlossenes militaristisches Weltbild gemäß japanischem Muster verinnerlicht zu haben. Die Militarisierung des Politischen und die Politisierung des Militärs sind denn auch auffällige Konstanten birmanischer Geschichte.

    „Nichts ist kostbarer als die Freiheit“ (Ho Chi Minh) - Vietnam: Antikolonialer Widerstand mit Tradition (Teil VI) 01. November 2020
    https://www.nachdenkseiten.de/?p=66351

    Herrschaft Japans über Vietnam, das seit 1887 Teil von Französisch-Indochina war.

    Für die Kaiserlich-Japanischen Truppen war diese Kernregion im kontinentalen Südostasien wegen seiner Rohstoffe und militärstrategischen Lage von herausragender Bedeutung, bildete sie doch das Scharnier zwischen China und dem Südzipfel der malaiischen Landzunge inklusive Singapur sowie der britischen Kolonie Birma. Nach dessen Eroberung erhoffte man sich in Tokio einen ungehinderten Zugang zum gesamten indischen Subkontinent. In Indien, so das Kalkül der Achsenmächte Japan und Deutschland, sollten sich die siegreichen Truppen beider Mächte treffen und die Neuaufteilung der asiatisch-pazifischen Welt gemäß koordiniertem imperialen Design vornehmen.

    Nach dem Krieg war vor den Kriegen (Teil VII - I) 23. Januar 2021
    https://www.nachdenkseiten.de/?p=69064

    Nationale Befreiungskämpfe und politische Neukonstellation in Ost- und Südostasien nach der Kapitulation Japans.

    Politische Entwicklungen in den Regionen und dem Beginn des Kalten Krieges nach der offiziellen Unterzeichnung der Kapitulationsurkunde durch hochrangige Politiker Japans am 2. September 1945 - Teil 1

    Während der Krieg in Europa bereits Anfang Mai 1945 beendet war, dauerte er in zahlreichen Regionen des asiatisch-pazifischen Raumes noch bis Mitte September an. Und während sich die siegreichen Alliierten anschickten, fortan der Innenpolitik Japans ihren Stempel aufzudrücken und einem Teil seiner Kriegsarchitekten den Prozess zu machen, trachteten in den meisten Ländern Ost- und Südostasiens national gesinnte Parteien, Gruppierungen und Organisationen danach, endlich jenseits von ausländischer Bevormundung ein selbstbestimmtes Leben in Freiheit zu organisieren. Beflügelt wurde ein solcher Nachkriegsentwurf durch ein nunmehr gedemütigtes japanisches Kaiserreich, dessen militaristische Politik paradoxerweise entscheidenden Anteil daran hatte, den Nimbus der Unbesiegbarkeit des „westlichen Imperialismus und Kolonialismus“ zu erschüttern.

    Während Japan unter der Ägide der Siegermacht USA schrittweise in deren Herrschaftsbereich, wiewohl unter Beibehaltung seiner Produktionskapazitäten und wesentlichen staatstragenden Institutionen/Organisationen sowie flankiert von umfangreichen Wirtschafts- und Finanzhilfen, integriert wurde, rüsteten sich Japans vormalige Kolonien – teils inmitten innenpolitischer Wirren, teils unter chaotischen Nachkriegsbedingungen – unter höchst unterschiedlichen Vorzeichen zum Kampf für Freiheit und Unabhängigkeit. Gleichzeitig fanden diese Emanzipationsbestrebungen gegen die alt-neuen Machthaber – die Briten in Malaya (das spätere Malaysia und Singapur), Birma (das spätere Myanmar) und den indischen Subkontinent (mit Indien, Pakistan und Ceylon, das spätere Sri Lanka) sowie die Niederländer in Indonesien, die Franzosen in Vietnam, Kambodscha und Laos und die USA in den Philippinen – allesamt im Schatten des Kalten Krieges und einer stetig eskalierenden Ost-West-Blockkonfrontation statt. In den Philippinen, dem traditionell engsten Verbündeten Washingtons in der Region, entstand gar 1954 mit der SEATO eine Osterweiterung der NATO, was explizit einen Cordon sanitaire um den „kommunistischen Machtblock“ bilden sollte.

    Nach dem Krieg war vor den Kriegen (Teil VII - II) 24. Januar 2021
    https://www.nachdenkseiten.de/?p=69070

    Nationale Befreiungskämpfe im Schatten des Kalten Krieges: Den Anfang machten Indonesien und Vietnam. – Teil 2
    ...
    Just an dem Tag, da Japan seine Kapitulationsurkunde unterschreiben musste, am 2. September 1945, ging in Vietnam die Viet Minh (Liga für die Unabhängigkeit Vietnams), die als Bündnis antikolonialer, nationalistischer und kommunistischer Kräfte sowohl gegen die Franzosen als auch gegen die Japaner gekämpft hatte, in die politisch-diplomatische Offensive. Nachdem am 18. August ein Nationaler Volkskongress der Viet Minh den allgemeinen Aufstand, die „Augustrevolution“, beschlossen hatte, verkündete Ho Chi Minh am 2. September die Unabhängigkeit der Demokratischen Republik Vietnam (DRV). Die Viet Minh hatte geschickt ein kurzzeitiges Machtvakuum genutzt und setzte auf die Unterstützung der Alliierten. Die Anfangspassagen der Unabhängigkeitserklärung orientierten sich stark am US-amerikanischen Vorbild.

    Doch wie auch die Niederländer in Indonesien kämpfte Frankreich erbittert um die Wiederherstellung seiner politischen und ökonomischen Macht in seiner vormaligen Kolonie. Seine Niederlage in der Schlacht von Dien Bien Phu im Frühjahr 1954 und weltweite Proteste gegen den Krieg führten am 20./21. Juli zur Unterzeichnung der Genfer Indochina-Abkommen. Diese beendeten zwar vorerst die Kampfhandlungen, brachten aber nicht die Unabhängigkeit und Einheit Vietnams. Das sollten allgemeine, freie Wahlen im Jahre 1956 besiegeln. Bis dahin wurde entlang des 17. Breitengrads eine militärische Demarkationslinie gezogen, die das Land faktisch teilte.

    #Asie #Japon #colonialisme #guerre #guerre_froide #anticommunisme #histoire

  • Finanzamt rudert zurück – VVN-BdA ab 2019 wieder gemeinnützig ! – VVN-BdA
    https://vvn-bda.de/finanzamt-rudert-zurueck-vvn-bda-ab-2019-wieder-gemeinnuetzig


    L’Association des persécutés du régime nazi VVN-BdA récupère sa qualité d’association d’intérêt général après avoir été rayé de la liste des organismes sous surveillance du service secret (Verfassungsschutz) de bavière. La VVN-BdA est la plus grande organisation antifasciste allemande. Depuis 1946 les partis social-démocrates et chrétien-démocrates sont ses ennemis ouverts et tentent de l’éliminer en interdisant à ses membres d’y adhérer et en accusant les membres du VVN-BdA de communisme. Ce reproche signifia des peines de prison pour plusieurs de ses adhérants.

    70 ans plus tard la lutte anticommuniste continue. Les militants anticommunistes et d’extrême droite au sein des administrations fiscales allemandes poursuivent une campagne contre toute organisation d’intérêt général qui ne leur convient pas. C’est dans ce contexte qu’Attac ( https://www.attac.de ) a été privé de son status d’intérêt général en Allemagne. Touché par cette campage est également l’association qui gère la plateforme de pétitions Campact .
    https://www.campact.de/presse/mitteilung/20191021-pm-campact-verliert-gemeinnuetzigkeit

    Suite à leur succès les antifascistes de la VVN-BdA ne sont toujours pas à l’abri du danger mais ils ont gagné une bataille contre le fisc au service des fascistes.

    Le cas du président de l’association antifasciste chrétien-démocrate BVN Peter Lütsches montre des ponts communs avec la corruption répandue aujourd’hui chez les élus chrétiens-démocrates allemands.
    https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_L%C3%BCtsches

    Von 1950 bis 1953 war Lütsches Bundesvorsitzender des von der CDU und US-amerikanischen Geheimdiensten finanzierten BVN. Sein umstrittenes Engagement für erst die VVN, dann den BVN war mit „handfesten, eigenen wirtschaftlichen Interessen“ verbunden (Spernol). Vor dem Seitenwechsel hatte er Geld und Inventar der von ihm betreuten VVN-Zeitung unterschlagen.
    ...
    Wiewohl Lütsches persönlich tief in eine Korruptionsaffäre verwickelt war, betrieb der BVN unter seiner Führung „Hetzkampagnen“ (Lissner) gegen die VVN und eine Entlassungskampagne gegen den Ministerialdirigenten jüdischer Herkunft im Wiedergutmachungsamt Marcel Frenkel, bekanntes Mitglied der KPD.

    Kabinettsprotokolle Online « C. Spaltung der VVN » (2.9.9 :)
    https://www.bundesarchiv.de/cocoon/barch/1010/k/k1950k/kap1_2/kap2_9/para3_9.html;jsessionid=39E87963CB7F6AE0668AE18D68CCA64A?highlight=true

    Tagesordnungspunkt als RTF Download
    [C.] Spaltung der VVN

    Der Bundesminister des Innern berichtet, daß die in der Minderheit befindlichen nicht kommunistischen Teile der VVN beabsichtigen, eine eigene Organisation zu gründen. Zur Förderung ihrer Pläne hätten sie um finanzielle Unterstützung durch den Bund gebeten.

    Zum kommunistischen Anteil an der Vereinigung der Verfolgten des Naziregimes (VVN) vgl. auch H. Grüber: Erinnerungen aus sieben Jahrzehnten; Köln, Berlin 1968 S. 253-262.

    Der Bundeskanzler ist der Auffassung, daß die Trennung begünstigt werden muß, beurteilt aber die Erfolgsaussichten einer neuen Organisation nicht sehr günstig. Man solle die Bitte um finanzielle Unterstützung nicht rundweg abschlagen, sondern zunächst nähere Unterlagen verlangen.

    - Sporadische Unterlagen über die Gegengründung „Bund der Verfolgten des Naziregimes" in B 136/5109, NL Brill/29a, NL Lehr/28 und NL Pünder/517 und ZSg. 1-11. Vgl. dazu auch Schriftwechsel Adenauers mit dem Journalisten Peter Lütsches (Düsseldorf) in NL Adenauer/07.08, 07.11, 07.15, 07.22. - Zum weiteren Verhalten der Bundesregierung gegenüber der VVN siehe 97. Sitzung am 19. Sept. 1950 TOP 5.

    Association des persécutés du régime nazi
    https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Association_des_pers%C3%A9cut%C3%A9s_du_r%C3%A9gime_nazi

    Vereinigung der Verfolgten des Naziregimes – Bund der Antifaschistinnen und Antifaschisten
    https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vereinigung_der_Verfolgten_des_Naziregimes_%E2%80%93_Bund_der_Antifasc

    Association loi de 1901
    https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Association_loi_de_1901

    Association de droit local alsacien-mosellan
    https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Association_de_droit_local_alsacien-mosellan

    Gemeinnützigkeit
    https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gemeinn%C3%BCtzigkeit#Deutschland

    Voici le comminqué pe presse de la VVN-BdA

    24. März 2021 - Der erste Schritt ist getan: Über unsere Anwälte erreichte uns heute die Mitteilung des Finanzamtes für Körperschaften I in Berlin für das Jahr 2019: die VVN-BdA ist wieder gemeinnützig.

    Das ist ein gutes und wichtiges Signal für den Antifaschismus in diesem Land!

    Zur Begründung teilt das Finanzamt mit, die Gemeinnützigkeit könne „nach eingehender Prüfung“ gewährt werden, da die Bundesvereinigung der VVN-BdA im Jahr 2019 im Verfassungsschutzbericht des bayerischen Geheimdienstes nicht mehr als „extremistische Organisation“ eingestuft sei. Aufgrund der geänderten Einstufung stehe der Paragraph 51 der Abgabenordnung der Anerkennung der Gemeinnützigkeit „nicht im Wege“.

    Die VVN-BdA wertet das als Signal, dass die Vernunft siegen wird und wir sind jetzt zuversichtlich, bald auch eine positive Nachricht für die Jahre 2016-18 zu erhalten.

    An dieser Stelle bedanken wir uns schon einmal bei allen, die uns bei dieser schwierigen und langen Auseinandersetzung unterstützt haben! Durch die große Solidarität, die verstärkte Öffentlichkeit und den lauten Protest von Vielen wurde deutlich, welche Bedeutung die VVN-BdA in diesem Land bis heute innehat, und dass Antifaschismus eine breite gesellschaftliche Basis hat.

    Gemeinsam sind wir stark!

    Für Presseanfragen stehen wir gerne zur Verfügung.

    Kontakt:
    Hannah Geiger (Pressereferentin VVN-BdA)
    presse@vvn-bda.de
    Mobil |Mobile +49 (0)178 2785958
    Telefon (+49) 030-55579083-4
    Telefax (+49) 030-55579083-9

    International Federation of Resistance Fighters – Association of Anti-Fascists - Wikipedia
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Federation_of_Resistance_Fighters_%E2%80%93_Association_

    The International Federation of Resistance Fighters – Association of Anti-Fascists also known by its French initials FIR (Fédération Internationale des Résistantes - Association des Antifascistes) is an organization of veterans of the anti-Axis resistance fighters, partisans, members of the anti-Hitler coalition. During the Cold War, the work of the FIR was closely connected with issues of peace, disarmament, understanding and cooperation of countries of different political systems. The FIR gave the former resistance fighters a voice against the policy of military confrontation and the real threat of war. Member organizations in West and East took numerous initiatives to end the policy of confrontation.

    Statuts – Fédération Internationale des Résistants
    https://www.fir.at/fr/statut

    Préambule

    « Plus jamais » – c’était la conviction commune de tous les hommes qui en tant que combattant de résistance ou poursuivi par ce régime de nazi ou comme membre des forces de la coalition anti-hitlérienne ont assisté à la libération du fascisme et à la fin de guerre.

    Sur la base de la communauté dans l’agir contre le barbarie fasciste, les associations membres de la FIR aujourd’hui s’engagent en faveur de la paix, des droits de l’homme politiques et sociales et de la démocratie.

    Avec les membres de générations actuelles, nous agissons en commun contre le néofascisme et le extrême droit, la xénophobie et l’anti-sémitisme, la guerre et le terrorisme internationale ainsi que ses racines sociales. Ainsi créons-nous « un monde nouveau de la paix et de la liberté ! » (Serment des prisonniers du KZ Buchenwald).

    Abgabenordnung (AO) § 52 Gemeinnützige Zwecke
    https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/ao_1977/__52.html

    (1) Eine Körperschaft verfolgt gemeinnützige Zwecke, wenn ihre Tätigkeit darauf gerichtet ist, die Allgemeinheit auf materiellem, geistigem oder sittlichem Gebiet selbstlos zu fördern. Eine Förderung der Allgemeinheit ist nicht gegeben, wenn der Kreis der Personen, dem die Förderung zugute kommt, fest abgeschlossen ist, zum Beispiel Zugehörigkeit zu einer Familie oder zur Belegschaft eines Unternehmens, oder infolge seiner Abgrenzung, insbesondere nach räumlichen oder beruflichen Merkmalen, dauernd nur klein sein kann. Eine Förderung der Allgemeinheit liegt nicht allein deswegen vor, weil eine Körperschaft ihre Mittel einer Körperschaft des öffentlichen Rechts zuführt.
    (2) Unter den Voraussetzungen des Absatzes 1 sind als Förderung der Allgemeinheit anzuerkennen:

    1. die Förderung von Wissenschaft und Forschung;
    2. die Förderung der Religion;
    3. die Förderung des öffentlichen Gesundheitswesens und der öffentlichen Gesundheitspflege, insbesondere die Verhütung und Bekämpfung von übertragbaren Krankheiten, auch durch Krankenhäuser im Sinne des § 67, und von Tierseuchen;
    4. die Förderung der Jugend- und Altenhilfe;
    5. die Förderung von Kunst und Kultur;
    6. die Förderung des Denkmalschutzes und der Denkmalpflege;
    7. die Förderung der Erziehung, Volks- und Berufsbildung einschließlich der Studentenhilfe;
    8. die Förderung des Naturschutzes und der Landschaftspflege im Sinne des Bundesnaturschutzgesetzes und der Naturschutzgesetze der Länder, des Umweltschutzes, einschließlich des Klimaschutzes, des Küstenschutzes und des Hochwasserschutzes;
    9. die Förderung des Wohlfahrtswesens, insbesondere der Zwecke der amtlich anerkannten Verbände der freien Wohlfahrtspflege (§ 23 der Umsatzsteuer-Durchführungsverordnung), ihrer Unterverbände und ihrer angeschlossenen Einrichtungen und Anstalten;
    10. die Förderung der Hilfe für politisch, rassistisch oder religiös Verfolgte, für Flüchtlinge, Vertriebene, Aussiedler, Spätaussiedler, Kriegsopfer, Kriegshinterbliebene, Kriegsbeschädigte und Kriegsgefangene, Zivilbeschädigte und Behinderte sowie Hilfe für Opfer von Straftaten; Förderung des Andenkens an Verfolgte, Kriegs- und Katastrophenopfer; Förderung des Suchdienstes für Vermisste, Förderung der Hilfe für Menschen, die auf Grund ihrer geschlechtlichen Identität oder ihrer geschlechtlichen Orientierung diskriminiert werden;
    11. die Förderung der Rettung aus Lebensgefahr;
    12. die Förderung des Feuer-, Arbeits-, Katastrophen- und Zivilschutzes sowie der Unfallverhütung;
    13. die Förderung internationaler Gesinnung, der Toleranz auf allen Gebieten der Kultur und des Völkerverständigungsgedankens;
    14. die Förderung des Tierschutzes;
    15. die Förderung der Entwicklungszusammenarbeit;
    16. die Förderung von Verbraucherberatung und Verbraucherschutz;
    17. die Förderung der Fürsorge für Strafgefangene und ehemalige Strafgefangene;
    18. die Förderung der Gleichberechtigung von Frauen und Männern;
    19. die Förderung des Schutzes von Ehe und Familie;
    20. die Förderung der Kriminalprävention;
    21. die Förderung des Sports (Schach gilt als Sport);
    22. die Förderung der Heimatpflege, Heimatkunde und der Ortsverschönerung;
    23. die Förderung der Tierzucht, der Pflanzenzucht, der Kleingärtnerei, des traditionellen Brauchtums einschließlich des Karnevals, der Fastnacht und des Faschings, der Soldaten- und Reservistenbetreuung, des Amateurfunkens, des Freifunks, des Modellflugs und des Hundesports;
    24. die allgemeine Förderung des demokratischen Staatswesens im Geltungsbereich dieses Gesetzes; hierzu gehören nicht Bestrebungen, die nur bestimmte Einzelinteressen staatsbürgerlicher Art verfolgen oder die auf den kommunalpolitischen Bereich beschränkt sind;
    25. die Förderung des bürgerschaftlichen Engagements zugunsten gemeinnütziger, mildtätiger und kirchlicher Zwecke;
    26. die Förderung der Unterhaltung und Pflege von Friedhöfen und die Förderung der Unterhaltung von Gedenkstätten für nichtbestattungspflichtige Kinder und Föten.

    Sofern der von der Körperschaft verfolgte Zweck nicht unter Satz 1 fällt, aber die Allgemeinheit auf materiellem, geistigem oder sittlichem Gebiet entsprechend selbstlos gefördert wird, kann dieser Zweck für gemeinnützig erklärt werden. Die obersten Finanzbehörden der Länder haben jeweils eine Finanzbehörde im Sinne des Finanzverwaltungsgesetzes zu bestimmen, die für Entscheidungen nach Satz 2 zuständig ist.

    #Allemagne #antifascisme #impôts #anticommunisme #guerre_froide #Attac

  • Massaker in Indonesien : Auf Blut gebaut (nd aktuell)
    https://www.neues-deutschland.de/artikel/1147634.massaker-in-indonesien-auf-blut-gebaut.html

    29.01.2021 von Niklas Franzen - Der indonesische Massenmord, die Geopolitik und das Gedächtnis des Westens

    Mit seinen schneeweißen Stränden, dem türkisblauen Ozean und von Palmen gesäumten Dörfchen gilt die Küste Balis als paradiesisches Ferienziel. Was bis heute wohl die allerwenigsten wissen, die sich hier Cocktail schlürfend auf Strandliegen räkeln: Die Insel im Osten Indonesiens war Schauplatz eines der brutalsten Verbrechen des 20. Jahrhunderts. Zwischen 1965 und 1966 wurden im Land etwa eine Million Menschen umgebracht, häufig mit Beilen und Knüppeln. Der von der US-Regierung unterstützte antikommunistische Massenmord findet heute wenig Beachtung - weil er so »erfolgreich« war. Denn die geplante Vernichtung unbewaffneter Linker sollte weitere Putsche und Massaker rund um die Erde inspirieren und Washington so einem Triumph im Kalten Krieg entscheidend näher bringen. In seinem großartigen, bisher nur auf Englisch erschienenem Buch »The Jakarta Method« zeichnet der US-amerikanische Journalist Vincent Bevins dieses fast vergessene Kapitel nach.
    Die drittgrößte KP der Welt

    In den 1950er Jahren war die Kommunistische Partei Indonesiens (PKI) eine wichtige Kraft in dem südostasiatischen Inselstaat, in dem der antikoloniale Reformer Sukarno seit der Unabhängigkeit 1945 Präsident war. Die PKI hatte ein pragmatisches Verhältnis zu dessen Regierung. Einerseits unterstütze sie viele Initiativen des »linksgerichteten Dritte Welt-Nationalisten«, andererseits verfolgte sie eine eigenständige Politik. Die Partei wuchs Ende der 1950er Jahre rasant an, weil sie viele Verbesserungen für die arme Landbevölkerung erkämpfen konnte, straff organisiert war und als wenig korrupt galt. 1965 hatte die Partei mehr als drei Millionen Mitglieder und war damit die drittgrößte kommunistische Partei nach ihren Pendants in der UdSSR und China.

    Die PKI, aber auch der Linksnationalist Sukarno, waren für die USA eine Provokation. Seit dem Zweiten Weltkrieg setzte Washingtons Außenpolitik zunehmend auf einen aggressiven Interventionismus. In Guatemala und Iran orchestrierte die CIA Staatsstreiche - und nahm selbst in europäischen Staaten wie Italien und Frankreich Einfluss, um die populären kommunistischen Parteien zurückzudrängen. Indonesien aber spielte eine ganz besondere Rolle: Das viertgrößte Land des Welt durfte nicht in linken Händen bleiben. Ein Plan musste her.

    1958 scheiterte ein erster, von der CIA unterstützter Putschversuch. Danach kam es zu einem Strategiewechsel: Die USA unterstützten den Aufbau einer antikommunistischen Front im Militär. In Medien kolportierte Verschwörungserzählungen erzielten ihre Wirkung: Binnen kurzer Zeit flammte ein für das Land völlig neuer, fanatischer Antikommunismus auf.

    1965 wurde die PKI verboten, Präsident Sukarno faktisch entmachtet und 1966 der General Suharto eingesetzt, der als US-amerikanischer Vasall gelten muss. Im Oktober 1965 begannen die Massentötungen. Hunderttausende, unbewaffnete Menschen waren plötzlich vogelfrei. Ihr »Verbrechen«: Vermeintliche oder tatsächliche Mitgliedschaft in oder Unterstützung der PKI. Rund eine Million unschuldige Menschen wurden innerhalb von sechs Monaten ermordet, Millionen weitere in Konzentrationslager interniert, gefoltert und zu Zwangsarbeit verdammt. Ausgeführt wurden die Massaker von verschiedenen Gruppierungen - islamische Milizen, Paramilitärs - unter den Augen der untätigen, oft auch aktiv beteiligten offiziellen Sicherheitsorgane. Das Morden gewann eine solche Dynamik, dass auch ganz normale Menschen mitmachten. Die USA sahen dabei nicht nur wohlwollend zu. Die CIA versorgte die indonesischen Dienste mit Listen Verdächtigter, half bei der Waffenbeschaffung und stellte Kommunikationsmittel zur Verfügung.
    Jakarta war fast überall

    Die Ereignisse in Indonesien nennt Bevins einen »Tsumani, der jeden Winkel der Erde erreichte«: Auch in anderen Regionen wurden linke und progressive Regierungen mit Hilfe der CIA gestürzt und an ihrer statt rechte Generäle eingesetzt. Neben Indonesien spielte dabei vor allem Brasilien eine wichtige Rolle für Washington. Mit Hilfe der USA putschte dort 1964 das Militär den Linksnationalisten João Goulart aus dem Amt. Die antikommunistische Legende, die als Rechtfertigung diente, ähnelt den Geschichten, die nur ein Jahr später in Indonesien in die Welt gesetzt werden sollten. Nach dem jeweiligen Umsturz standen beide Länder in engen Beziehungen; brasilianische und indonesische Offiziere wurden gemeinsam in US-Stützpunkten ausgebildet. Die brasilianische Junta sprach intern ausdrücklich von einer »Operation Jakarta«, von einer physischen Vernichtung des Kommunismus im Land. Dass das in Brasilien letztlich nicht mit der gleichen Vehemenz wie Indonesien umgesetzt wurde, ist auf interne Richtungsstreits zurückzuführen.

    Für die USA waren Indonesien und Brasilien wegen ihrer Größe und geostrategischen Lage die wichtigsten Brückenköpfe einer antikommunistischen Allianz in der »Dritten Welt«. Doch auch anderswo wurde bald erwogen, was Bevins die »Jakarta-Methode« nennt. Zwar gab es nicht den einen zentralen Plan, aber rechte Diktaturen von Südkorea bis Sudan arbeiteten eng zusammen, lernten voneinander - und bezogen sich immer wieder auf das Grauen in Indonesien. Durch seine jahrelangen Recherchen gelingt Bevins, der unter anderem lange als Brasilien-Korrespondent der »Los Angeles Times« gearbeitet hat, der Nachweis, dass es in mindestens 22 Ländern Pläne für regelrechte antikommunistische Vernichtungsprogramme unter der Ägide Washingtons gab - und man in mindestens elf dieser Pläne direkt auf das indonesische Blutbad Bezug nahm.

    Insbesondere in Lateinamerika wurden mit Hilfe der USA Zehntausende Linke, Reformkräfte und Indigene verfolgt, ermordet und ins Exil getrieben. Als ideologische Klammer diente auch hier ein fanatischer Antikommunismus. 1966 wurde nach Bevins Recherchen die Taktik des heute sprichwörtlichen »Verschwindenlassens« von Indonesien aus nach Guatemala importiert, wo sie eine wichtige Rolle im Staatsterror spielte. In Chile sprühten rechtsradikale Terrorgruppen als Drohung das Wort »Jakarta« an Häuser, in denen Linke lebten. Auch dort nannte das Regime seinen Plan zur systematischen Ermordung der Gefolgschaft des 1973 weggeputschten Salvador Allende intern »Operation Jakarta« - wie auch Generäle der argentinischen Putschregierung nach 1976 in dem Massenmord in Südostasien ein Vorbild erblickten.

    Allende, Goulart oder Sukarno waren populäre Reformer, die auf demokratischen Wege Veränderungen umzusetzen suchten. Auch die PKI in Indonesien stand nicht davor, gewaltsam die Macht an sich zu reißen, sondern war für die USA bedrohlich, weil sie beliebt, gut organisiert und einflussreich war. Der damalige Vizepräsident Richard Nixon gab einmal ganz unverhohlen zu, in Indonesien seien demokratische Verfahren abzulehnen, weil »die Kommunisten in einer Wahl wahrscheinlich nicht geschlagen werden können«.

    Diese Staatsstreiche trafen ihre Opfer meist unvermittelt und unvorbereitet. Und sie hatten verheerende Folgen: Für viele waren sie der schlagende Beweis, dass unbewaffnete, demokratische Politiken unter US-Hegemonie zum Scheitern verurteilt seien. Viele Linke griffen zu den Waffen, um ein »zweites Jakarta« zu verhindern. Die neu entstandenen Guerillabewegungen heizten den rechten Staatsterror weiter an.
    Das eurozentrische Gewissen

    Die brutalen Staatsstreiche und Massenmorde im Globalen Süden setzten aber auch die Parameter der aktuellen globalen Weltordnung. Sie froren vielerorts die soziale Entwicklung ein, verschafften den USA gegenüber der UdSSR geostrategische Vorteile und zementierten kapitalistische Verhältnisse. Die vom brasilianischen Reformer Goulart angestrebte Landreform wurde mit dem Putsch abrupt auf Eis gelegt - und bis heute nicht umgesetzt. Mit Jair Bolsonaro wird das größte Land Lateinamerikas heute von einem notorischen Antikommunisten und Ex-Militär regiert, der die Folterknechte der Diktatur als Vorbilder nennt und ganz offen die Hinrichtung von Linken fordert. Mit dem Putsch in Chile wurden alle Hoffnungen auf eine Verringerung der exzessiven Ungleichheit begraben und das Land als eine Art Labor des globalen Neoliberalismus auf einen marktradikalen Kurs getrimmt. Die Verwerfungen dieses Modells führen bis heute regelmäßig zu Massenprotesten.

    In Indonesien, dem Schauplatz des brutalsten dieser Massaker, siedelten sich nach dem Sturz Sukarnos Hunderte US-Firmen an. Nur wenige Tage nach dem Putsch drang etwa die Bergbaufirma Freeport in den Dschungel Westneuguineas vor. Heute steht dort mit der Grasberg-Mine das größte Goldbergwerk der Welt. Und der Antikommunismus ist seit jenen dunklen Tagen zwischen 1965 und 1966 Staatsdoktrin, fast schon eine nationale Religion. Eine Aufarbeitung des Massakers hat nicht stattgefunden. Die Opfer und ihre Familien wurden weder rehabilitiert noch entschädigt. Eine Entschuldigung hat es nie gegeben.

    Bevins kommt zu einem schonungslosen Urteil: Unsere westlich-kapitalistische Weltordnung ist auf Blut gebaut. Und der Umstand, dass im Westen kaum jemand von dieser Blutspur berührt ist, während jeder runde Jahrestag der fast gleichzeitigen Niederschlagung des Prager Frühlings gebührend begangen wird, macht deutlich, wie eurozentrisch das liberale Gewissen tickt.

    Vincent Bevins: The Jakarta Method. Washington’s Anticommunist Crusade and the Mass Murder Program that Shaped Our World. Public Affairs, 285 S., geb., 19,90 US-Dollar plus Versand.

    #Indonésie #anticommunisme #massacre

  • The Jakarta Method, Washington’s Anticommunist Crusade & the Mass Murder Program that Shaped Our World, Vincent Bevins, 2020 - agog » 2020 » September
    http://www.mutanteggplant.com/agog/2020/09

    Ce livre traitre l’extension des méthodes génocidaires étatsuniennes pratiqués pendant l’accaparement des terres sur le continent nord-américain à la lutte anticommuniste mondiale. L’hécatombe impérialiste est systématiquement mise en pratique au service le la conquête du monde par les capitalistes nord-américains. Nos livres scolaires et médias évitents de mentionner les événements et les dimensions du crime dont le nombre de victimes dépasse de loin celle des exactions commises par toutes les dictatures communistes.

    Le dernier châpitre du livre tire la conclusion que le monde d’aujourd’hui a été formé par des agressions économiques et idéologiques complétées par une série de massacres et crimes impérialistes contre les peuples trop pacifiques et incapables de resoudre leurs contradictions intérieures.

    When JFK became President he told Jones that Jones was solely in charge of relations with Sukarno and Indonesia. Reeling from the Bay of Pigs disaster, JFK no longer trusted the CIA and wanted Jones to have a hand free of interference from CIA black ops. After JFK’s assassination, LBJ, with almost no international experience but listening to JFK’s holdover advisors, stopped all cooperation with Sukarno and recalled Ambassador Jones. The CIA now had a free hand to move forward with overthrowing the Sukarno government and attacking the PKI communist party of Indonesia, at the time the third largest communist political party behind China and the Soviet Union. The coup began on Sept. 30, 1965 and on October 2, an unknown (except to key US policy makers) army general Suharto took over the government. On Oct 5, Ambassador Howard Green cabled the State Department:

    Spread the story of PKI’s guilt, treachery and brutality (this priority effort is perhaps most needed immediate assistance we can giver army if we can find way to do it without identifying it as solely or largely US effort). .. The army now has the opportunity to move against Communist Party if it moves quickly…”It’s now or never.”

    On Oct 29 Frank Wisner killed himself.

    On Nov 22, D.N. Aidit, leader to PKI in Central Java was arrested and executed. The military reported and Newsweek published Aidit’s confession that the PKI planned to take over the country. His confession was impossible and a part of an anticommunist black propaganda operation.

    In Jan. 1966, Bobby Kennedy was the only American politician to speak up:

    We have spoken out against the inhuman slaughters perpetrated by the Nazis and the Communists. But will we speak out also against the inhuman slaughter in Indonesia, where over 100,000 alleged Communists have not been perpetrators but victims

    What followed was a state sponsored massacre and genocide of a million Indonesians, many ethnic Chinese.

    #anticommunisme #génocide #histoire #politique #Indonésie #Asie #impérialisme #massacre #CIA #USA

  • The German Data Diver Who Exposed China’s Muslim Crackdown
    https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-german-data-diver-who-exposed-chinas-muslim-crackdown-11558431005

    On ne sait pas exactement ce qui se passe au Xinjiang mais on sait que les #USA mènent une campagne contre ce qu’ils appellent des violations de droits humains dans cette région de la Chine. Il est évident qu’en général les gouvernements et ONGs étatsuniens se prononcent uniquement à propos de violations des droits de l’homme quand cela sert leurs intérêts. Ce n’est pas surprenant vu qu’ils sont souvent impliqués dans ces abus.

    Le Wall Street Journal nous informe que la source principale des accusations contre la Chine en matière du Xinjiang est un fanatique religieux (reborn christian) allemand, originaire de la province profonde. Je ne sais rien sur la véracité des informations fournies par Adrian Zenz, mais le contexte de ses publications dont l’enthousiasme des services étatsuniens me laissent dubitatif.

    Il y a des choses graves qui se passent au Xinjiang, mais préfère ne pas me laisser guider dans mon interprétation du peu que je sais par un fanatique et la CIA.

    May 21, 2019, by Josh Chin - Scholar digging online revealed scope of detentions; ‘I feel very clearly led by God to do this’

    KORNTAL, Germany—Research by a born-again Christian anthropologist working alone from a cramped desk in this German suburb thrust China and the West into one of their biggest clashes over human rights in decades.

    Doggedly hunting down data in obscure corners of the Chinese internet, Adrian Zenz revealed a security buildup in China’s remote Xinjiang region and illuminated the mass detention and policing of Turkic Muslims that followed. His research showed how China spent billions of dollars building internment camps and high-tech surveillance networks in Xinjiang, and recruited police officers to run them.

    His most influential work began in February 2018, after a Chinese diplomat denied reports about the camps and advised journalists to take Beijing at its word.

    En plus de son fanatisme religieux c’est un fervent anticommuniste.
    https://de.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adrian_Zenz

    Zenz wird von der US-amerikanischen Stiftung Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation als „Senior Fellow“ geführt.

    Ces gens sont connus pour l’absence totale de scrupules, la brutalité matérielle de leurs activités et le caractère systématiquement mensonger de leur discours.

    Quels sont précisément les crimes de ces gens ? On les commaît pour avoir été à l’origine des guerres de Corée, de Vietnam, du putsch au Chili et de nombreuses interventions sur le continent africain. Je suis personnellement touché par leurs activités en Allemagne de l’Ouest où ils ont détruit la vie de dizaines de milliers de personnes qui dans leurs yeux cultivaient la sympathie pour le socialisme. Des centaines de milliers d’Allemands ont souffert des conséquences de leurs activités sans en avoir été la cible directe. Les instigateurs du Berufsverbot font partie des inquisiteurs anticommunistes qui financent les activités de Zenz.

    Leurs buts ne sont pas secretes alors que beaucoup de leurs activités se passent dans l’obscurité. Pour le constater il suffit de s’intéresser aux réseaux anticommunistes transatlantiques. Essayons de comprendre le réseau qui alimente les activités de Zenz.

    Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (USA)
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victims_of_Communism_Memorial_Foundation

    It is a member of the European Union’s Platform of European Memory and Conscience.

    Platform of European Memory and Conscience
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platform_of_European_Memory_and_Conscience
    Cette structure réunit des personnages particulièrement odieux et les instifutions à travers lesquelles ils requisitionnent des fonds publiques.

    The Platform of European Memory and Conscience was founded as an initiative of the Polish EU presidency in 2011, after the project had been promoted by the Czech EU presidency already in 2009 and by the Hungarian EU presidency in 2011.
    ...
    is an educational project of the European Union bringing together government institutions and NGOs from EU countries active in research, documentation, awareness raising and education about the crimes of totalitarian regimes. Its membership includes 62 government agencies and NGOs from 20 EU member states, non-EU European countries, as well as from the United States, such as the Institute of National Remembrance, the Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial, the Stasi Records Agency and the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. The platform has offices in Prague and Brussels (formerly). The President of the platform is Łukasz Kamiński, former President of the Polish Institute of National Remembrance.

    Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berlin-Hohensch%C3%B6nhausen_Memorial
    Dans l’entrée de langue anglaise Hubertus Knabe figure toujours comme directeur du lieu . Depuis l’an 2000 il l’a dirigé jusqu’en septembre 2018 quand le conseil administratif de la fondation l’a licencié pour cause de harcèlement répété de ses employé/es.

    Hubertus Knabe – Wikipedia
    https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubertus_Knabe#Kontroverse_zur_Entlassung

    Nach einer Sondersitzung am 25. November 2018 berief der Stiftungsrat Knabe mit sofortiger Wirkung als Vorstand und Direktor der Gedenkstätte ab. Man habe Rechtsverstöße, Pflichtverletzungen und eine „Zerrüttung des Vertrauensverhältnisses“ festgestellt, die eine weitere Amtsausübung Knabes ausschlössen. Gegen die einstweilige Verfügung habe man Widerspruch eingelegt. Am 26. November erschien Knabe in der Gedenkstätte und bezog erneut sein Büro. Mittags entschied das Landgericht Berlin jedoch, die einstweilige Verfügung vorerst auszusetzen, so dass Knabe das Büro wieder verlassen musste.

    Conclusion : Il existe un réseau d’anticommunistes qui s’étend des États-Unis jusqu’aux frontières à l’est de l’Union Européenne dont le but est d’enrichir ses membres et de corrompre chaque personne assez influente pour être utile aux projets des cercles anticommunistes étatsuniens.

    C’est une histoire connue depuis l’immédiat après-guerre mais il est utile de s’en souvenir de temps en temps. Dans chacque génération ces cercles adoptent de nouvelles recrues pour faire le sale boulot. Adrian Zenz semble faire partie de ces heureux .

    #Chine #Allemagne #USA #Pologne #Hongrie #fanatisme #religion #propagande #anticommunisme #paywall

  • L’organizzazione Gladio

    Wikiradio del 24/10/2017 - Rai Radio 3
    https://www.raiplayradio.it/audio/2017/10/LOrganizzazione-Gladio---Wikiradio-del-24102017-861d2451-d5c6-4c03-845f

    Il 24 ottobre 1990 #GiulioAndreotti, all’epoca presidente del Consiglio italiano, rivela alla Camera dei Deputati l’esistenza dell’organizzazione #Gladio con Gianni Barbacetto

    Repertorio:

    –Frammenti da STORIA DELLA PRIMA REPUBBLICA - 2005 Testimonianza di Giulio Andreotti - Archivio Rai;
    – TG3 SPECIALE Senato: dichiarazioni Andreotti alla Camera dei Deputati sull’Organizzazione Gladio - Archivio Rai;
    – TV7 2013 - ricordi di F. Cossiga e G.Andreotti sulla questione Gladio - Archivio Rai;
    – Tribuna Politica 1990 - intervista speciale ad Andreotti - dicembre 1990 Archivio RAI

    #podcast #wikiradio #RaiRadio3 #italie #Staybehind #cia #sisme #anticommunisme #europe #francescoCossiga #GiovanniDeLorenzo #PageNoirItalie #terrorisme

  • Révisionnisme historique. Le déshonneur du Parlement européen | L’Humanité
    https://www.humanite.fr/revisionnisme-historique-le-deshonneur-du-parlement-europeen-677700

    Le Parlement européen a voté il y a quelques jours une résolution scélérate censée souligner l’« importance de la mémoire européenne pour l’avenir de l’Europe ». En réalité, cette mémoire est bafouée ligne par ligne, laissant présager un « avenir » sombre pour l’Europe. Visant à mettre un trait d’égalité entre communisme et nazisme, ce texte mobilise des considérants qui sont chacun des modèles de propagande et de révisionnisme historique.

    La signature du pacte germano-soviétique est ainsi obsessionnellement désignée comme cause principale du déclenchement de la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Ce grossier raccourci historique permet d’absoudre cyniquement aussi bien le national-socialisme, son idéologie de mort et les régimes fascistes des années 1930 que l’atermoiement meurtrier et parfois connivent des chancelleries occidentales avec le nazisme, et la complicité active de puissances d’argent avec les régimes fascistes et nazi.

    Silence est fait sur le traité de Versailles et ses conséquences. Aucun mot n’est consacré aux accords de Munich d’octobre 1938, ce « Sedan diplomatique » qui a livré les peuples européens au « couteau de l’égorgeur », ce « début d’un grand effondrement, la première étape du glissement vers la mise au pas », comme l’écrivait dans l’Humanité le journaliste et député communiste Gabriel Péri, fusillé par les nazis.

    Tout le faisceau de causes mobilisées par des générations d’historiens pour tenter d’expliquer le déclenchement de la Seconde Guerre mondiale est bazardé au profit d’une bouillie antirusse sans aucun égard pour le sacrifice immense des Soviétiques dans l’éradication du nazisme.

  • Verschwörung in der Verschwörung
    https://www.nachdenkseiten.de/?p=53733

    Comment l’OSS sous Allan Dulles a retardé l’attentat des généraux contre Hitler afin d’affaiblir les réseitance de gauche. Sans ses activités et sans la ligne dure des gouvernements britanniques et étatsuniens l’attentat aurait eu lieu un à deux ans plus tôt et des millions d’hommes et de femmes seraient restés en vie .

    26. Juli 2019 von Werner Rügemer - Der US-Geheimdienst OSS unter Allen Dulles führte während des Krieges Informanten bei den Verschwörern des 20. Juli

    In BILD, ZEIT, Süddeutsche, ARD, ZDF, bei der Bundeskanzlerin und auch in der aufklärerischen junge Welt: Bei allen Würdigungen des Attentats auf Hitler vom 20. Juli 1944 blieb auch zum 75. Jahrestag ein Beteiligter verbissen ausgeblendet: Der US-Geheimdienst Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Europachef Allen Dulles hatte den Widerstand von links bis rechts mit Informanten durchsetzt. Ziel: Der Widerstand durfte keinen Erfolg haben, denn der hätte nur „den Russen“ genützt und möglicherweise zu Friedensverhandlungen geführt. Die Feindschaft des Westens gegen die Sowjetunion mit der Gefahr eines neuen Krieges hatte spätestens schon 1943 begonnen – eine Kontinuität bis heute.

    Wir wissen (fast) alles haarklein genau, seit 72 Jahren, seit 1947, vom Meister der Verschwörungen selbst: Wall-Street-Staranwalt Allen Dulles war seit 1942 OSS-Europachef. Er veröffentlichte 1947 in New York das Buch Germany’s Underground. 1948 erschien es auf Deutsch im Züricher Europa-Verlag, Titel: Verschwörung in Deutschland. 1949 erschien es mit demselben Titel als Lizenz im Kasseler Harriet-Schleber-Verlag, der von der US-Militärregierung gegründet worden war.

    Dulles: Breiter Widerstand in Deutschland!

    „Meine erste und wichtigste Aufgabe war“, schreibt Dulles einleitend, „herauszubekommen, was in Deutschland vorging. Washington wollte wissen, wer in Deutschland die eigentlichen Gegner Hitlers waren… Von außen hatte es den Anschein, als ob es Hitler tatsächlich geglückt wäre, das gesamte deutsche Volk für sich zu gewinnen, zu hypnotisieren oder zu terrorisieren.“

    Das war auch die Analyse des Nazi-Terrorstaates, wie sie von der Kritischen Theorie in den USA verbreitet wurde.[1] Aber Dulles konstatierte: Es gab einen breiten Widerstand. „Es gelang mir, Verbindungen mit der deutschen Untergrundbewegung aufzunehmen und schon Monate, ehe das Komplott am 20. Juli kulminierte, hatte ich mit den Verschwörern … Fühlung nehmen können. Kuriere gingen unter Einsatz ihres Lebens von und nach Deutschland mit Berichten über die Entwicklung der Verschwörung.“ Dulles’ Resumée: „Es gab eine Widerstandsbewegung in Deutschland, obgleich im Allgemeinen das Gegenteil angenommen wird. Sie setzte sich aus den verschiedenartigsten Gruppen zusammen, denen es schließlich gelang zusammenzuarbeiten und in die höchsten Kreise der Armee und der Regierungsstellen reichten. Persönlichkeiten aus allen bürgerlichen Berufsklassen, Kirchen- und Arbeiterführer …“

    Damit zeichnete der Geheimdienstler ein ganz anderes Bild als damals die US-Regierung und vor allem das State Department öffentlich propagierten: Ganz Deutschland sei im Griff der Nazis, alle Deutschen seien Nazis, der Terror seit total. Dulles schickte seine Berichte unter dem Codewort breaker (Brecher) nach Washington. Aber Roosevelt und seine Generäle logen weiter, Churchill machte begeistert mit: Alle Deutschen sind Nazis! Im Januar 1943 bekräftigten sie in der Konferenz von Casablanca, als die Niederlage der Wehrmacht in Stalingrad klar war: Keine Friedensverhandlungen! Unconditional surrender – bedingungslose Kapitulation nach der endgültigen, totalen Niederlage der Deutschen![2]

    Merke, auch für heute: Regierungspropaganda und reales (Geheimdienst-)Wissen sind zwei sehr verschiedene Dinge! Fake information, fake production – sie kann auch darin bestehen, dass das Gegenteil von dem behauptet wird, was man weiß.

    Die Informanten

    Dulles residierte ab 1942 in der „neutralen“ Schweiz, in der Hauptstadt Bern. Formell war er Mitarbeiter der US-Botschaft, hatte auch ein Büro im Finanzzentrum Zürich. Bei den Verschwörern führte er mehrere Informanten. Der wichtigste war Hans Bernd Gisevius. Der war Mitglied der „konservativen“ Deutsch-Nationalen Volkspartei (DNVP) gewesen. Im NS-Regime gehörte er zunächst zur Gestapo, dann zum Stab von Admiral Canaris, dem Chef des Geheimdienstes „Abwehr“, der mit General Oster einer der Führer des militärischen Widerstands war.

    Gisevius war nach einigen internen Scharmützeln zum Vizekonsul im Generalkonsulat des Deutschen Reiches in Zürich ernannt worden. Hier liefen kriegswichtige Informationen zusammen. Hier verkehrten Schweizer und deutsche Geschäftemacher, denn die Schweiz war keineswegs neutral: Schweizer Firmen lieferten wichtige Rüstungsgüter an die Wehrmacht, Schweizer Banken beschafften dem Deutschen Reich Devisen durch An- und Verkauf von Raubgold und Raubaktien.[3]

    Gisevius pendelte mithilfe seines privilegierten Status ständig zwischen der Schweiz und Berlin hin und her. Das ergänzte sich: Canaris und Oster erhofften sich über Gisevius bei Dulles Hilfe der westlichen Alliierten und Dulles organisierte über Gisevius sofort ab 1942 die „Verbindung zu den Verschwörern“. Gleichzeitig pflegte Gisevius „freundschaftliche und politische Beziehungen mit mehreren Mitgliedern des OSS“. So war der deutsche Vizekonsul „eine unschätzbare Hilfe für mich“, hielt Dulles fest. Wenn der Informant aus Berlin zurückkam, traf ihn der Geheimdienstchef nachts in Bern oder Zürich zur Übermittlung der neuesten Informationen.

    Als Gisevius unter Gestapo-Verdacht geriet, beschaffte der US-Geheimdienst ihm geheime Gestapo-Kennmarken – ein Hinweis, wie tief Dulles in die Infrastruktur des NS-Terrorapparates eingedrungen war. Weitere Informanten, die hin und her reisen konnten, waren Gero von Gaevernitz, Edward Wätjen und Theodor Strünk, letzterer für Dulles „unser getreuer Bote Strünk“.

    Bevorzugt: „Konservativer Widerstand“ – die Militärs

    Dulles suchte vor allem Kontakt zum „konservativen“ Widerstand, der die Unternehmer- und Bankenherrschaft aufrechterhalten wollte, nur eben ohne Nazis. Der Geheimdienstchef war ja selbst Vertreter von US-Banken und US-Konzernen sowie von deutschen Konzernen wie Krupp und IG Farben, die während der Weimarer Republik mit der US-Seite zusammenarbeiteten.

    Deshalb hatte Dulles seine Informanten auch in der Bank für Internationalen Zahlungsausgleich (BIZ, Bank for International Settlements, 1931 von Wall-Street-Banken gegründet). Die hatte ebenfalls ihren Sitz in der Schweiz, in Basel. Sie wurde vom Wall-Street-Banker McKittrick geleitet, beschaffte zum Austausch für Wehrmachts-Raubgold kriegswichtige Devisen für das Deutsche Reich. Dulles hatte die übergeordnete Aufgabe, das Eigentum und die Geschäfte von US-Unternehmen und -Banken wie Ford, General Motors, IBM, ITT, Standard Oil, Chase Manhattan und J.P.Morgan mit dem Deutschen Reich im ganzen besetzten Europa abzusichern, auch mit Blick auf die Nachkriegszeit (das erwähnt der Meister in dem Buch allerdings nicht).[4]

    So etablierte Dulles im Deutschen Reich Kontakte zu „konservativen“ Militärs, neben Canaris und Oster etwa zu General Georg Thomas, Chef des Wehrwirtschaftsamtes, zu Ulrich von Hassell vom Mitteleuropäischen Wirtschaftstag und Botschafter des Deutschen Reiches beim immer gut informierten, antikommunistisch aktiven Vatikan und zu General Alexander von Falkenhausen, dem Militärgouverneur von Belgien.

    „Konservativer“ Widerstand – die Politiker

    Ebenso etablierte Dulles Kontakte zu „konservativen“ Politikern, so zu deren politischem Haupt im Verschwörerkreis, Carl Friedrich Goerdeler, der von 1933 bis 1936 Preiskommissar unter Hitler gewesen war. Auch zu Mitgliedern der ehemaligen katholischen Zentrumspartei, etwa zum rechten Ex-Kanzler Heinrich Brüning, der in den USA eine Professur an der Universität Harvard bekommen hatte, hielt der Geheimdienstchef Kontakt, ebenso zu Joseph Wirth, dem linken und gewerkschaftsfreundlichen Zentrumspolitiker, der in der Weimarer Republik Reichskanzler und verschiedentlich Minister gewesen und in die Schweiz geflüchtet war. Der „überzeugte Antinazi Wirth“, so Dulles, half dem OSS, um Himmlers Agenten in der Schweiz auszutricksen.

    Übrigens: Den angeblichen Widerständler Konrad Adenauer, der in Deutschland von den Nazis eine hohe Pension erhielt, erwähnt Dulles nicht, gewiss zurecht.

    Die Verschwörer hatten Verbindungen nach England und in die militärisch neutralen Staaten Schweden, Spanien, Schweiz und die Türkei. „Eine der besten Verbindungen im Ausland – für die Verschwörung – war der katholische Rechtsanwalt Joseph Müller, der der weltliche Verbindungsmann von Kardinal Faulhaber zum Vatikan war“, schreibt Dulles, der auch diese Kontakte abschöpfte. Müller, das war übrigens der spätere „Ochsensepp“, der Gründer der CSU.

    Ebenso pflegte Dulles Kontakte zu „konservativen“ Kirchenfunktionären beider christlicher Konfessionen. „Dr. Eugen Gerstenmaier, den ich gut kennenlernte, war ein Mitglied des Kreisauer Kreises.“ Der OSS stand „in ständiger Verbindung“ mit Dr. Hans Schönfeld von der Evangelischen Kirche in Deutschland, der oft zum Weltkirchenrat nach Genf kam, ebenso mit dem Jesuitenpater Muckermann, der in die Schweiz geflüchtet war. Dulles berichtete seiner Regierung in Washington auch über die radikaleren christlichen Oppositionellen wie Martin Niemöller, Dietrich Bonhoeffer „und viele andere Priester, Pastoren und Laien“.

    Die Roosevelt-Regierung schwieg darüber. Damit war Dulles einverstanden. Er hielt von sich aus die Berichte jüdischer und anderer Informanten über die Judenverfolgung und die KZ zurück, leitete sie nicht nach Washington weiter. Die Aufgabe des Geheimdienstes war, alles zu wissen. Aber weder der Schutz der Nazigegner noch der Schutz der Juden gehörte zu seinen Aufgaben (über seine Behandlung der Judenverfolgung schreibt Dulles in seinem Buch nichts).

    Ähnlich verhielt sich die Churchill-Regierung in England. Dulles verfolgte, dass Schönfeld und Bonhoeffer sich in Stockholm heimlich mit dem britischen Bischof von Chichester getroffen hatten. Der hatte die Umsturzpläne und die Bitten der Verschwörer um Hilfe an Außenminister Anthony Eden weitergeleitet. „Aber die britische Regierung war nicht beeindruckt“, so der OSS-Chef.

    Bankiers und Industrielle: Die Wallenbergs

    Ein wichtiger OSS-Informant war der schwedische Bankier Jakob Wallenberg. Mit seinem Bruder Marc führte er die größte Banken- und Unternehmensgruppe in Schweden. Das neutrale Schweden belieferte das Deutsche Reich mit kriegswichtigen Materialien und Produkten, etwa Kohle und Kugellager.

    Jakob Wallenberg war Mitglied in der gemeinsamen Regierungskommission für wirtschaftliche Beziehungen zwischen Deutschland und Schweden. Deshalb war er häufig in Berlin, um mit der NS-Regierung die Lieferungen abzusprechen. Nebenbei traf er sich ab 1940 bis Ende 1943 mit Goerdeler, der ihn für die Unterstützung für einen Staatsstreich gegen Hitler gewinnen wollte. Mehrfach fanden die Treffen in Stockholm statt.

    Weil die Wallenbergs auch gute Beziehungen zu Churchill hatten, hofften die Verschwörer um Goerdeler auch auf britische Hilfe. Wallenberg sollte vermitteln, blieb aber zurückhaltend. Jedenfalls hielt er Dulles über die Aktivitäten der Goerdeler-Gruppe auf dem Laufenden, auch über ihre sich intensivierenden Kontakte zu den Militärs um Stauffenberg. (In der herrschenden Weltkriegs-Legende wird über die Judenrettung des Familienmitglieds Raoul Wallenberg in Budapest berichtet, nicht aber über die kriegswichtigen Beziehungen des Wallenberg-Clans zu Hitler-Deutschland; auch Dulles erwähnt dies in seinem Buch nicht, obwohl er über Informanten in Stockholm genau im Bilde war).[5]

    Sozialdemokraten, Kommunisten, Sozialisten, Gewerkschafter

    Im ausführlichen Buchkapitel „Die Linke“ schildert Dulles seine unterschiedlichen Kontakte zu den linken Verschwörern.

    „Als ich mit der Untergrundbewegung in Deutschland und den von Deutschland besetzten Ländern arbeitete, nahm ich oft die Hilfe von Mitgliedern der Sozialdemokratischen Parteien und anderer Sozialisten und Gewerkschafter in Anspruch, wobei besonders die Mitglieder der Internationalen Transportarbeiter-Gewerkschaft hervorragende Dienste leisteten. Ich fand überzeugte Männer und Frauen, die bereit waren, ihr Leben für die Wiederherstellung der Freiheit in Europa aufs Spiel zu setzen.“

    So pflegte der OSS Kontakte zu führenden SPD-Mitgliedern, etwa zu Wilhelm Hoegner, der in der Schweiz Exil bekommen hatte: „Immer wieder konnte er mir helfen, in der Schweiz mit Mitgliedern der deutschen Linken Fühlung zu nehmen.“ Nach dem Krieg wurde Hoegner in dem von den USA besetzten Bayern der erste Ministerpräsident.

    So wusste Dulles auch über die illegalen Aktivitäten von Kommunisten Bescheid: „Ein kommunistisches Zentralkomitee leitet die kommunistische Tätigkeit in Deutschland … (und) steht in Verbindung mit dem ‘Nationalkomitee Freies Deutschland’ in Moskau und wird von der russischen Regierung unterstützt.“[6] Ebenso wusste der OSS über die „Rote Kapelle“ Bescheid, in der Ministerialbeamte, Kommunisten und auch eine Amerikanerin heimlich Meldungen an die Sowjetunion funkten, bevor sie aufflogen und hingerichtet wurden, auch die Amerikanerin (dagegen protestierte die US-Regierung nicht).[7]

    Der OSS kannte auch die illegalen und gefährlichen Aktionen von Kommunisten: Propagandamaterial in Briefkästen stecken, Sabotage in Schiffswerften, Aktionen zur Langsamarbeit, Organisierung von Fremdarbeitern. Die Informanten des OSS berichteten über lokale Bündnisse von Kommunisten und Sozialdemokraten. Der US-Geheimdienst registrierte die „Zerwürfnisse und Spaltungen“ innerhalb der Linken und über Neuformationen, etwa die Gruppe „Neu Beginnen“ und über den Internationalen Sozialistischen Kampfbund (ISK).

    Der OSS unterhielt Kontakte in den „Kreisauer Kreis“, in dem die radikaleren Offiziere wie Adam von Trott zu Solz und Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg sich auch mit Sozialdemokraten wie Adolf Reichwein, Carlo Mierendorff und dem Gewerkschaftsführer Wilhelm Leuschner sowie dem katholischen Gewerkschafter Jakob Kaiser trafen.

    Nur abschöpfen, nicht unterstützen

    „Von Schweden wie auch der Schweiz, Spanien, der Türkei und dem Vatikan mussten die Verschwörer erfahren, dass sie auf keinerlei Versprechungen der Alliierten rechnen konnten“, fasst Dulles zusammen. Mit den „Alliierten“ meinte er die westlichen, denn zur Sowjetunion nahmen die Verschwörer des 20. Juli keine Kontakte auf.

    Auch die direkten Informanten, die wie Gisevius zwischen der Schweiz und Deutschland hin und her pendelten, teilten den Verschwörern die Position des OSS und von Roosevelt und Churchill immer wieder mit: Es gibt keinerlei Unterstützung!

    Gisevius berichtete Dulles im Januar 1943: Die Verschwörer sind tief enttäuscht, dass die Westmächte keine Unterstützung geben. Der Geheimdienstchef beendete deshalb aber keineswegs die Aktivität seiner Informanten, im Gegenteil: Er wollte gerade deshalb genau wissen, wie die Vorbereitungen des Attentats vorangingen. Denn der Widerstand drohte sich nach links zu radikalisieren.

    Die Informanten berichteten an Dulles 1944: Der Sozialist Leuschner mache „in der Verschwörung zunehmend mehr Einfluss geltend“. „Der brillante Sozialist Dr. Julius Leber“ versuche „im letzten Moment, die Kommunisten kurz vor dem 20. Juli in die Verschwörung mit einzubeziehen“. Der Kreis um Stauffenberg war einverstanden, dass nach dem geglückten Attentat „Leuschner, Leber und Haubach alle Kabinettsposten“ in der neuen Regierung erhalten sollten, so Dulles. Das barg die „Gefahr“: Die US-Militärs waren gerade erst in Frankreich, die Rote Armee drang immer schneller vor, die Sowjetunion bot Friedensverhandlungen an.

    Das Attentat verzögern!

    Dulles war über den Informanten Jakob Wallenberg informiert: Die Putschpläne des Goerdeler-Kreises waren für September 1943 fertig. Die personelle Besetzung der „Zwischenregierung“ sei geklärt, General Beck als Staatschef, mit Militärs, Ministern, Vertretern von Gewerkschaften und Gemeinden; anschließend würden Wahlen abgehalten, bei denen wahrscheinlich die Sozialdemokraten gewinnen würden.

    Die Verschwörer kamen aber nicht voran, weil sie immer noch gutgläubig auf die US- und die britische Regierung hofften. Die aber blockierten absolut. Aber auch andere bremsten, wie die Wallenbergs, berichtet Dulles: An Weihnachten 1942 trafen sich die „alten Sozialdemokraten“ Carlo Mierendorff, Theodor Haubach und Emil Hank, Mitglieder des Kreisauer Kreises. Wenn Hitler jetzt beseitigt würde, entstünde „ein politisches Vakuum … Die amerikanischen und britischen Streitkräfte waren weit weg … Das Verschwinden von Hitler würde Deutschland nur zu leicht dem Kommunismus ausliefern.“ Deshalb das Motto der SPD-Leute: „Hitlers Ermordung solange hinausschieben, bis sich die amerikanischen und britischen Heere auf dem Kontinent festgesetzt hätten.“

    Dulles erfuhr weiter von seinen Informanten: Die USA und England machen sich in der deutschen Bevölkerung durch die Bombardierungen der Städte – 1943 auf Hamburg auch zum ersten Mal mit Phosphor-Bomben – unbeliebt! Es entwickele sich ein „wachsender Skeptizismus in Deutschland gegenüber dem, was denn noch vom Westen zu erhoffen wäre … Es machte großen Eindruck auf die Massen, dass dieses Bombardieren nur vom Westen her kam.“

    Die Gefahr des vorzeitigen Friedens!

    Dulles erkannte und meldete nach Washington: Der Einfluss des Nationalkomitees Freies Deutschland (NKFD), das mit Moskau zusammenarbeitet, wächst und wird durch die „Millionen russischer Kriegsgefangener in Deutschland wesentlich verstärkt … Das Abgleiten zur extremen Linken hat verblüffende Ausmaße angenommen und wächst ständig an Bedeutung … Die feindliche Stimmung, die bei den Arbeitern und in den Bürgerkreisen entstanden war, schwächte den Einfluss der nach Westen orientierten Verschwörer und gab denen, die ihre einzige Hoffnung auf die Sowjets setzten, Oberwasser.“

    Der US-Geheimdienstchef informierte seine Regierung: Viele Verschwörer glauben inzwischen, dass „Russland“ besser ist für die Nachkriegsentwicklung in Deutschland: Russland lässt Deutschland „sich weiterentwickeln, in stärkerem Maße als England und Frankreich, die in Deutschland ja einen Mitbewerber auf dem Weltmarkt sahen.“

    Dulles analysierte zutreffend: „Von Russland kommen dauernd konstruktive Ideen und Pläne für den Wiederaufbau Deutschlands nach dem Kriege … Im Vergleich dazu haben die demokratischen Länder der Zukunft von Zentraleuropa nichts zu bieten.“

    Churchill: „Nur ein Kampf der Hunde untereinander“

    So wurde der Widerstand von Kriegsbeginn an geschwächt. Das Attentat wurde immer weiter verzögert: Es wurde dann zum letztmöglichen Zeitpunkt ausgeführt und missglückte schließlich.
    26. Juli 2019
    Radio Moskau schilderte ausführlich das Attentat, lobte die Attentäter, ließ General Walther von Seydlitz zu Wort kommen. Der hatte den Bund Deutscher Offiziere (BDO) gegründet und schloss sich später dem NKFD an.

    Im Westen wurde das Attentat als bedeutungslos heruntergespielt. Churchill kommentierte im Sinne der westlichen Strategie: „Nur ein Kampf der Hunde untereinander“.

    Dulles lobte nachträglich in seinem Buch die mutigen Widerständler als Vorbilder, aber er hatte sie lediglich informatorisch abgeschöpft, sie wurden mitleidlos geopfert. Ebenso wurden im weiteren Verlauf des totalen westlichen Krieges die ungleich zahlreicheren Kriegsopfer auf ziviler und militärischer Seite hingenommen: Unconditional surrender!

    Fortsetzung nach dem Krieg

    Übrigens: Die Kontakte und Kenntnisse, die Dulles als Chef des US-Geheimdienstes OSS während des Krieges in allen besetzten Staaten erwarb, setzte er als Chef des OSS-Nachfolgedienstes CIA nach dem Krieg weiter ein – weiter gegen die substanziellen Nazi-Gegner, weiter gegen „Russland“, weiter für die US-Dominanz im Nachkriegs-Europa.

    Sozialdemokraten, die sich der CIA-Linie non-comunist left policy (Links sein, aber die Sowjetunion als Feind behandeln) anpassten, wurden gefördert.[8] Diejenigen, die nicht einmal „konservativen“ Widerstand geleistet hatten wie Konrad Adenauer, Jean Monnet und Maurice Schuman, wurden die Gründerväter der EU.

    Wer das missglückte Attentat vom 20. Juli 1944 so als Vorbild feiert – und sich zudem auch noch die Beleidigung der Attentäter durch Churchill kommentarlos gefallen lässt – wie die diskreditierte herrschende Klasse in Deutschland, scheint bereit zu sein, vergleichbare Opfer auch heute hinzunehmen. Man ist ja schon mittendrin.

    [«1] Vgl. Franz Neumann: Behemoth. Struktur und Praxis des Nationalsozialismus. Zuerst New York 1942, 1944 erweiterte Fassung. Neumann schilderte den Terrorapparat, ohne auf die frühe Förderung Hitlers durch die großen Kapitalisten wie Ford und Krupp einzugehen. Neumann war auch Berater der Anklage beim Nürnberger Militärtribunal.

    [«2] Paul Sparrow: The Casablanca Conference – Unconditional Surrender, fdr.blogs.archives.gov, 10.1.2017

    [«3] Ingolf Gritschneder / Werner Rügemer: Hehler für Hitler. Die geheimen Geschäfte der Firma Otto Wolff, WDR „die story“/ARD 2001

    [«4] Adam LeBor: The Tower of Basel, New York 2013

    [«5] Raoul Wallenberg wurde von der schwedischen Regierung als Sondergesandter zur Judenrettung nach Budapest geschickt, gegen die Vorbehalte der OSS-Residentur in Stockholm: Die hatte Bedenken angemeldet wegen der engen Beziehungen der Wallenberg-Familie zu Hitler-Deutschland (Wikipedia über Rauol Wallenberg).

    [«6] Das Nationalkomitee Freies Deutschland war nach der Niederlage von Stalingrad von Offizieren der Wehrmacht gegründet worden. Am 12./13. Juli 1943 tagte es, eine Woche vor dem Attentat gegen Hitler, bei Moskau, mit Teilnahme von Gewerkschaftern, Schriftstellern, Soldaten und Politikern aller politischen Richtungen.

    [«7] Mildred Fish-Harnack: „Ich habe Deutschland so geliebt“, in: Werner Rügemer: Bis diese Freiheit die Welt erleuchtet, Köln 2017, S. 187ff.

    [«8] Werner Rügemer: Hindernisse der Opposition im westlichen Kapitalismus. Wie US-Geheimdienste die antifaschistische Opposition im Europa des 2. Weltkriegs und danach infiltrierten, schwächten oder zerstörten, in: Klaus-Jürgen Bruder u.a. (Hg.): Paralyse der Kritik – Gesellschaft ohne Opposition? Gießen 2019, S. 87 – 100

    #Allemagne #histoire #nazis #USA #gurre #anticommunisme

  • Target – Zielscheibe
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4uARTIKU-VM

    Il y des scènes interessantes qui montrent #Paris, #Hambourg et #Berlin en 1984/1985, on nous popose une bonne copie d’un point de passage entre Berlin-Ouest et Berlin-Est qui possède une qualité quasi documentaire.

    Autrement le montage consiste dans un mélange incroyable de lieux qui n’ont aucun rapport en réalité, un pont qui mène à la « Speicherstadt » à Hambourg figure comme pont berlinois et pour les scènes de la fin on « quitte Berlin » alors que c’était strictement impossible à l’époque. Les villages de la « banlieue berlinoise » consistent en maisons fabriqués avec des pierres qu’on ne trouve pas dans la région où tout est construit en briques, en bois et en boue seche

    J’aime bien la trame style b-picture , le jeu des acteurs est O.K.

    A l’époque le monde hetero ne se rendait pas encore compte de l’existence du #SIDA alors le jeune Matt Dillon avait droit à quelques scènes de baise d’une qualité acceptable. C’est un film américain alors on ne va pas très loin dans ce qu’on nous montre et Gene Hackman reste fidèle à sa femme alors que sa copine espionne est très amoureuse de lui. Il y a un vieux #stasi dans une chaise roulante, de la trahison etc.

    Target (1985 film) - Wikipedia
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Target_(1985_film)

    Target is a 1985 American mystery thriller film directed by Arthur Penn and starring Matt Dillon and Gene Hackman.
    ...
    Cast

    Gene Hackman - Walter Lloyd/Duncan (Duke) Potter
    Matt Dillon - Chris Lloyd/Derek Potter
    Gayle Hunnicutt - Donna Lloyd
    Josef Sommer - Barney Taber
    Guy Boyd - Clay
    Viktoriya Fyodorova - Lise
    Herbert Berghof - Schroeder
    Ilona Grübel - Carla
    James Selby - Ross
    Ray Fry - Mason
    Tomas Hnevsa - Henke
    Jean-Pol Dubois - Glasses/Assassin
    Robert Ground - Marine Sergeant
    Véronique Guillaud - Secretary American Consulate
    Charlotte Bailey - Receptionist
    Randy Moore - Tour Director
    Jacques Mignot - Madison Hotel Clerk
    Robert Liensol - Cafe Vendor

    #film #cinéma #guerre_froide #espionnage #USA #anticommunisme #DDR

    • @aude_v #SPOILER

      Je ne sais pas si le film est qualifié pour entrer dans la liste des flicks « culte », mais il a quelques éléments remarquables comme le vieux stasi qui se révèle finalement comme la seule personne à qui Gene Hackman peut faire confiance et qui ne le trahit pas. Il y a une histoire sous-jacente entre pères ennemis à cause de la guerre dans laquelle ils sont engagés. C’est ce destin d’homme qui les unit et permet un dénouement heureux de l’intrigue. L’essentiel se joue entre hommes adultes.

      Les personnages du fils Matt Dillon (Chris/Derek) et de l’épouse Gayle Hunnicutt sont neutres en ce qui concerne le traitement du sujet de la confiance. Gene Hackman a abandonné une vie d’aventures pour eux. La famille est sacrée donc il n’y a pas de trahison.

      Le fils est un boulet en pleine révolte pubertaire, et Gene ne peut pas vraiment compter sur lui. En ce qui concerne les femmes c’est tout aussi incertain : Son fils tombe amoureux d’une femme fatale allemande bien blonde Ilona Grübel (Carla) qui essaie de le tuer, la femme de Gene reste kidnappée jusqu’au dénouement, alors on ne sait rien sur elle, et sa copine Victoria Fyodorova (Lise) reste énigmatique.

      On ne sait jamais si on peut faire confiance aux femmes ...

      C’est pourquoi le dénouement se passe sous forme d’une belle déclinaison du sujet demoiselle en détresse avec son repartition de rôles hyper-classiques.

      Un moment drôle arrive quand papa Gene révèle à fiston Matt que toute la famille a changé de nom pour échapper aux persécution des espions est-allemands. Le petit est choqué et fait une scène digne de La Cage aux folles de Molinaro.

      Vu sous cet angle le film a certaines qualités de deuxième degré à cause du contraste entre d’un côté le personnage principal ultra-masculin joué par Gene Hackman et les femmes blondes très dures, et de l’autres côté les hommes CIA lâches aux allures homos efféminés, enfin rien n’est comme il semble .Voilà ce qui se doit dans un thriller avec des espions et des nenettes sexy .

      Bon, l’histoire est assez tirés par les cheveux, mais enfin ...

      https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilona_Gr%C3%BCbel
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gayle_Hunnicutt
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_Fyodorova

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damsel_in_distress

  • Nom de promotion du 1er bataillon de St-Cyr : Général Loustaunau-Lacau 17 Novembre 2018 - defense.gouv.fr
    l’antisémitisme se porte bien à st cyr , un peu comme #petain
    https://www.defense.gouv.fr/english/node_64/actu-terre/nom-de-promotion-du-1er-bataillon-de-st-cyr

    Le 22 juillet 2017 et, comme il est d’usage dans les écoles de formation des cadres de l’armée de Terre, la promotion 2016-2019 de l’École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr a reçu le nom d’un parrain de promotion, en l’occurrence celui de « général Loustaunau-Lacau ».

    Saint-cyrien, héros des deux guerres mondiales, Résistant, fondateur du réseau « Alliance », déporté à Mauthausen et député à l’Assemblée nationale dans les années 50, Georges Loustaunau-Lacau est une figure militaire dont les faits d’armes – croix de guerre 14-18 avec 5 citations et croix de guerre 1939-1945 avec palme – avaient alors justifié le choix des différentes autorités.

    Les éléments récemment portés à la connaissance du chef d’état-major de l’armée de Terre, postérieurement à la décision d’attribution du nom, ont mis en lumière l’activité politique de Georges Loustaunau-Lacau dans les années 30, pendant lesquelles il a notamment animé en 1938 une maison d’édition nationaliste, La Spirale, après avoir été mis à pied de l’armée pour des activités anti-communistes. La Spirale a publié deux revues très critiques dans lesquelles ont paru de nombreux articles anti-communistes, antiallemands et antisémites. Il a lui-même écrit au moins un article en 1938 dans lequel il met en doute la loyauté des Français Juifs.

    Il est également l’auteur d’un courrier adressé à l’ambassade d’Allemagne en août 1940 et dans lequel, avec des propos antisémites, il propose ses services aux Allemands. L’appréciation du contexte et de la portée de cet écrit reste à mener, Loustaunau-Lacau ayant fondé le réseau de résistance Alliance trois mois plus tard.

    Georges Loustaunau-Lacau a par ailleurs été suspecté d’avoir formé avec son réseau anticommuniste la partie militaire de la mouvance d’extrême droite de la Cagoule, suspicions qui ont donné lieu à un procès à la Libération au terme duquel il a été reconnu innocent et réhabilité. Il a été nommé général la veille de son décès en 1955.

    Au bilan, ces récentes révélations ont mis en lumière une personnalité contestable, qui, en dépit d’un passé de militaire et de résistant courageux présente plusieurs actes répréhensibles qui ont conduit le chef d’état-major de l’armée de Terre à considérer qu’il n’était pas acceptable qu’une promotion d’officiers-élèves puisse prendre le parcours du général Loustaunau-Lacau comme une référence.

    Ainsi, en étroite coordination avec la ministre des armées et le chef d’état-major des armées, il a été décidé de ne plus utiliser ce nom de promotion.

    Pour ce faire, un processus a été engagé par l’armée de Terre pour que le nom de cette promotion évolue vers une référence historique incontestable. Cette mesure permettra de nourrir utilement la formation des élèves de cette promotion, dès leur retour de stage à l’étranger. Ceux-ci ne doivent pas être pris en otage de débats historiques qui ne sont pas de leur ressort. Il s’agit donc de concevoir et de mettre en œuvre, avec ces mêmes élèves, un parcours de « mémoire et de vérité » pour les aider à construire le cadre éthique qui devra guider leur vie personnelle et les conditions d’exercice de leur futur métier d’officier.

    Enfin, et pour s’assurer que de telles situations ne se reproduisent à l’avenir, le processus de désignation des noms de promotion sera entièrement revu ; il sera opérationnel dès 2019.

    Le chef d’état-major de l’armée de Terre est pleinement conscient de la gravité de ce sujet. Il était essentiel d’agir pour le bien des élèves en formation et pour celui de l’institution militaire dans son ensemble. Le processus mené le sera de manière sereine, précise et ordonnée : nous le devons à la jeunesse que nous formons.

    #armée #france #antisémitisme #anticommunisme #collaboration #saint_cyr #ecole

  • Wende 1989 : Brandsätze gegen die Berliner Mauer - SPIEGEL ONLINE
    http://www.spiegel.de/einestages/wende-1989-brandsaetze-gegen-die-berliner-mauer-a-1237013.html
    La parnoia staliniste poussait la Stasi à poursuivre les jeunes amateurs de musique hard rock sous des prétextes divers. La stratégie répressive avait une conséquence contraire aux intentions de l’administration : les hard rockeurs les plus durs se transformaient en terroristes anticommunistes suivant le même mécanisme d’exclusion-réaction que subissent certains jeunes des banlieues actuelles.


    C’étaient pourtant des enfants de choeur en comparaison avec les terroristes anticommunistes de la première génération d’après guerre. Les jeunes des années 1980 ressemblaient davantage aux autonomes de gauche qui prennent soin de ne pas blesser des hommes alors que les terroristes des années 1940 et 1950 menaient une véritable guerre de l’ombre financée et orchestrée par les services secrètes de l’Ouest.

    einestages: In der Graphic Novel haben Sie das so getextet: „Mit unseren Attacken setzen wir die Routine im Todesstreifen außer Kraft. Wir nerven, provozieren und lassen die nicht zu Ruhe kommen.“

    Adam: Das trifft unsere Ambitionen. Noch im Januar 1989 hatte sich ja Erich Honecker hingestellt und gesagt: „Die Mauer wird noch in 50 und auch in 100 Jahren bestehen bleiben.“ Das zog uns die Schuhe aus! Der zweite Anlass für unsere Aktionen waren die ersten Demonstrationen an der Nicolaikirche in Leipzig. Jetzt passierte endlich was. Im Osten steckte die Revolution in den Kinderschuhen. Wir wollten ihr vom Westen aus helfen.

    einestages: In den Zeichnungen sieht man Molotowcocktails durch die Nacht fliegen, vermummte Männer machen sich mit Bolzenschneidern an den Zäunen Berliner Grenzanlagen zu schaffen. Verherrlichen Sie so nicht Gewalt?

    Adam: Nein. Wir waren uns damals der Gefahren bewusst und stilisieren uns auch nicht als Draufgänger. Unsere Sorgen finden sich ebenso im Comic, zum Beispiel: „Hoffentlich läuft die Sache nicht aus dem Ruder.“ Ich denke, uns ist ein Spagat gelungen. Wir verherrlichen keine Gewalt, sondern erzählen von jungen Leuten, die sich gegen die DDR positioniert haben, wenn auch mit militanten Mitteln. Diesen Weg muss nicht jeder gut finden.

    einestages: Sie hätten Grenzsoldaten gefährden können.

    Adam: Wir haben sie vorher gewarnt und gerufen: „Achtung, gleich wird es hell und heiß!“ Wir wollten niemanden gefährden und hatten es allein auf die Sperranlagen abgesehen.

    einestages: Umgekehrt setzten Sie sich selbst großer Gefahr aus.

    Adam: Ja, unser Angriff auf den Zaun in der Kiefholzstraße war absolut leichtsinnig. Ein Grenzer hatte schon seine Waffe auf uns angelegt. Vielleicht wollte der schießen, doch sein Kamerad drückte ihm das Gewehr nach unten.

    Dirk Mecklenbeck, Raik Adam: Todesstreifen, Aktionen gegen die Mauer in West-Berlin 1989 (Graphic Novel), Ch. Links Verlag; 96 Seiten; 10,00 Euro.


    C’est quand même choquant de constater que Der Spiegel nous présente de jeunes héros victimes d’un régime injuste alors qu’à la même époque on enfermait nos amis pour un rien dans les prisons de haute sécurité en RFA. Les victimes allemands du régime capitaliste ne sont jamais mentionnés dans le discours humanitaire actuel. I semble qu’ils ne soient pas assez exotiques pour y avoir droit.

    #DDR #histoire #anticommunisme #terrorisme

  • Verdacht der Zwangsadoptionen : Die verlorenen Kinder der DDR - Tagesspiegel
    https://www.tagesspiegel.de/themen/reportage/verdacht-der-zwangsadoptionen-die-verlorenen-kinder-der-ddr/22734108.html

    Depuis 69 ans le régime anticommuniste en Allemagne de l’Ouest soigne le mythe du régime inhumain à l’Est. Les Allemands sont exposés à un matraquage idéoligique composé de faits présentés dans un contexte historique manipulé et d’histoires abominables purement inventées dans le but de discréditer socialisme et démocratie sans propriété privée.

    Cette longue histoire de mensonges est responsable pour de la souffrance humaine depuis le début. Aujourd’hui le très conservateur journal berlinois Tagespiegel nous relate le sort de victimes imaginaires à la souffrance réelle. Ce sont des anciens citoyens de la RDA qui croient qu’on leur a volé leurs enfants alors que même les plus acharnés enquêteurs anticommunistes affirment que leurs soupçons sont infondés parce qu’il est impossible de trouver la moindre trace des crimes supposés dans les dossiers. Il n’y a ni témoin ni preuve matérielle pour l’enlèvement caché d’enfants par une institution de la RDA.

    Cette histoire montre l’Allemagne d’aujourd’hui comme un pays où la souffrance induite par la contradiction entre les vraies conditions de vie, leur présentation idéologique et la fausse image d’une société honnête produit un sentiment d’insécurité allant jusqu’à la folie chez des personnes déjà fagilisées.

    C’est un exemple pour la violence structuelle qu’on trouve d’habitude quand on regarde de près la pauvreté matérielle et ses origines. Là nous assistons à de la souffrance suite à de la violence structuelle purement idéologique. Elle est quand même structuelle parce que l’anticommunisme est la clé de voûte de la raison d’être de l’état capitaliste allemand.

    Sie hat ihre Tochter nie gesehen. Sie sei tot, sagte man ihr nach der Geburt. In Akten jedoch steht etwas anderes. So wie Katrin Huhnholz sehen sich 160 Mütter und Väter als Opfer der DDR.

    von FRANK BACHNER

    Drei Schritte neben dem Terrarium, wo zwei Leopardengeckos regungslos im Sand glotzen, steht der Esszimmertisch. Eine dunkelblaue Decke liegt darauf, eine rote Kerze steht in der Mitte. Hier hätte Katrin Huhnholz Kaffee und Kuchen serviert. Hier hätte sie mit der Frau, die ihrer Nichte so verblüffend ähnlich sieht, geredet. Hier hätten die beiden Baby-Fotos betrachtet, Aufnahmen von Huhnholz’ Kindern und Fotos der Besucherin als Säugling. Hier hätten sie vor allem die wichtige Frage besprochen: Wann macht die Besucherin einen Erbgut-Test?

    Dann, mit dem Ergebnis, hätten sie endlich die Antwort auf eine noch viel wichtigere Frage gehabt: War die fremde Frau, die hier in dieser kleinen Wohnung in Leipzig Kaffee hätte trinken sollen, die leibliche Tochter von Katrin Huhnholz?

    Am 17. Februar 2018 wollten sie sich treffen. So war der Plan.

    Der Plan ging schief.

    Die Frau ist nie aufgetaucht, es gibt keinen DNS-Test, es gibt keine Antwort.

    Vier Monate später sitzt Katrin Huhnholz am Esszimmertisch vor einem dicken Ordner und blättert Dutzende Dokumente durch, auf denen „Totenschein“ steht und „Autopsiebericht“ oder „gynäkologische Anamnese“. In diesem Ordner ist die Tragik im Leben der Katrin Huhnholz, 53 Jahre alt, Verkäuferin, dokumentiert. Sie blättert, schaut hoch, blättert wieder, schaut wieder hoch, irgendwann sagt sie: „Ich komme jetzt nicht mehr weiter. Da ist ein Gefühl der Ohnmacht.“ Die Trauer liegt weniger im Tonfall, sie ist in den Augen zu sehen, in den Blicken hinter der braunen Hornbrille.

    Ihr Verdacht klingt ungeheuerlich

    Die 53-Jährige, in Leipzig geboren und aufgewachsen, hat einen Verdacht. Einen, der ungeheuerlich klingt. Der Verdacht lautet: Ihre erste Tochter, nach Mitteilung der Ärzte in Leipzigs Universitätsklinik 1985 bei der Geburt gestorben, ist gar nicht tot. Die Ärzte haben gelogen und Huhnholz’ Tochter lebte, wurde im Krankenhaus weitergereicht, verkauft. Verkauft gegen Devisen an ein Ehepaar aus dem Westen, das ein Kind adoptieren wollte. Alles überwacht von der Stasi.

    Im Sitzungssaal 1228 des Berliner Jakob-Kaiser-Hauses stehen sechs Säulen aus nacktem Beton. Die Rollos der riesigen Fensterfront sind bis zum Boden heruntergelassen. Hier tagt am Montag der Petitionsausschuss des Bundestags, hier sitzt neben dem Ausschussvorsitzenden ein schmächtiger Mann mit Halbglatze und dunkelblondem Schnauzbart. Andreas Laake hat 2015 die „Interessengemeinschaft (IG) Verlorene Kinder der DDR“ gegründet, 1500 Eltern, deren Freunde und Angehörige sind dort organisiert. Die meisten sehen sich als Opfer von Zwangsadoptionen, 160 Väter und Mütter der IG aber als Betroffene eines vorgetäuschten Säuglingstodes.

    Ihr Verdacht nährt sich aus Ungereimtheiten in Unterlagen, er nährt sich durch den Vergleich mit Fällen, bei denen andere Frauen Zweifel am Tod ihrer Kinder haben. Fälle zwischen den 60er Jahren und 1989. Vielleicht wurden ihre Kinder von Westlern adoptiert oder von linientreuen DDR-Genossen, sie halten beides für möglich.

    Die Forderung: Unterlagen sollen aufbewahrt werden
    Laake hat nun die politische Ebene erreicht. Der Petitionsausschuss kümmert sich an diesem Tag um Zwangsadoptionen, aber auch um den angeblichen, vorgetäuschten Säuglingstod. Die IG hat den Abgeordneten im April eine Petition mit neun Forderungen überreicht. Eine längere Aufbewahrungsfrist von Unterlagen ist eine davon.

    Jetzt findet dazu die Expertenanhörung statt. Einer der Experten ist Laake, und als er an der Reihe ist, zittert seine Stimme. „Die Ungewissheit ist grauenhaft. Viele sind deshalb krank geworden.“ Die trauernden Eltern hätten Fragen. Lebt mein Kind noch? Und wenn ja, wo? Warum ist auf Krankenakten das Geburtsgewicht unterschiedlich vermerkt? Warum gibt es oft erst gar keine Akten? Wo ist mein Kind begraben? „Gräber wurden geöffnet, niemand lag drin.“

    Für die IG gibt es einfach zu viele Merkwürdigkeiten. Einige Geburtsurkunden wurden mit Schreibmaschine ausgefüllt und dann handschriftlich ergänzt. So stand dann hinter dem Hinweis „Junge“ plötzlich ein Mädchenname und umgekehrt. Oft waren die Mütter jung oder sogar noch minderjährig. Keine von ihnen war politisch auffällig. Auch Katrin Huhnholz nicht.

    Aber es müsste Mitwisser geben, wenn das alles stimmte, es wäre ja ein System gewesen. Leute, die jetzt vielleicht ein schlechtes Gewissen haben. Ja, sagt ein IG-Vorstandskollege von Laake am Telefon, die gibt es. „Wir haben mit Hebammen und Ärzten von damals gesprochen, die bestätigten, dass Adoptiveltern schon auf dem Gang gewartet hätten. Aber aus Angst geben sie das öffentlich nicht zu.“

    „War es ein Mädchen oder ein Junge?“

    Katrin Huhnholz’ Geschichte begann am 7. Mai 1985 in einem Kreissaal der Uniklinik Leipzig. Hier brachte sie ihre Tochter zur Welt, für die 17-jährige Mutter zugleich eine Tragödie. Die Ärzte hatten ihr schon Tage zuvor erklärt: „Ihr Kind wird bei der Geburt sterben.“ Leber und Darm des Babys lägen durch eine Fehlbildung im Mutterleib außerhalb des Körpers.

    Sofort nach der Geburt wurde das Kind in ein Tuch eingewickelt und weggebracht. Katrin Huhnholz hat es nie gesehen. „War es ein Mädchen oder ein Junge?“, habe sie eine Medizinstudentin gefragt, die bei der Geburt anwesend war. „Ich weiß es nicht“, sei die Antwort gewesen, „ich darf es Ihnen nicht sagen.“ Niemand sagte Katrin Huhnholz, wo das Kind beerdigt werden würde. Sie fragte auch nicht danach.

    Weshalb fragt eine Mutter nach dem Tod ihres Kindes nicht nach der Grabstelle? Eine Mutter, die nicht mal Abschied nehmen durfte? 33 Jahre später, im Esszimmer, trifft Katrin Huhnholz die Frage wie ein Schlag. Ihr Körper verkrampft, sie windet sich, sucht nach Erklärungen. Irgendwann zieht sie sich auf den Satz zurück: „Ich war jung.“

    Sie steckte in der Lehre als Verkäuferin, der Vater ihrer Tochter war gerade mal ein Jahr älter, sie war überfordert. Doch es gab einen Moment, an dem sie damals schon stutzte. Ihre Freundin hatte auch eine Totgeburt, aber die durfte sich von ihrem Kind verabschieden.

    Das wachsende Entsetzen
    1991 wurde ihre Tochter Lisa geboren, lebend. Katrin Huhnholz lag wieder in der Uniklinik, sie erhielt ihre Krankenakte und blätterte flüchtig durch. An einem Blatt blieb sie hängen. Eine Seite mit Angaben zu ihrer offiziell damals seit sechs Jahren toten Tochter. Geburtsgewicht: 3400 Gramm, Größe 50 Zentimeter. „Die Zahlen haben sich eingebrannt.“ 2003 kam ihr Sohn auf die Welt, auch er gesund.

    Als Drama begann für Katrin Huhnholz diese Geschichte 2011. Im Internet stieß sie auf eine Reportage über Zwangsadoptionen und mysteriöse Totgeburten von Säuglingen in der DDR. Betroffene Mütter schilderten, was sie im Krankenhaus erlebt hatten und dass sie auf Ungereimtheiten in Dokumenten stießen. Katrin Huhnholz las mit wachsendem Entsetzen. Zu ihrer Tochter habe sie gesagt: „Das klingt wie bei meinem ersten Kind, das ist haargenau der gleiche Ablauf.“

    Fünf Jahre später stieß sie auf die Facebook-Seite der „IG Gestohlene Kinder der DDR“. Sie las Schicksale, die ihrem ähnelten, und jetzt wollte sie Gewissheit, unterstützt von ihrer Tochter. Auf Ebay schaltete sie eine Anzeige. „Suche Frauen, die am 7. 5. 1985 in der Uniklinik Leipzig geboren wurden.“ Eine Frau antwortete. „Ich wurde am 30. April geboren, geht das auch?“ Eigentlich, erwiderte Katrin Huhnholz, sei das ja das falsche Datum, aber man könne sich ja trotzdem mal austauschen.

    Auf Facebook suchte sie nach einem Bild der Unbekannten. „Sie sah meiner Nichte total ähnlich.“ Katrin Huhnholz schrieb ihr auf Facebook, berichtete über das Schicksal ihrer Tochter, über ihre Zweifel an deren Tod, die andere schrieb zurück, irgendwann fragte Katrin Huhnholz: „Hast du ein Babyfoto von dir?“ Kurz darauf erhielt sie eines.

    Am Esszimmertisch geht ein Ruck durch Katrin Huhnholz, sie erzählt von dem Moment, als sie das Foto sah. „Da ist mir das Herz stehen geblieben.“ Das Baby auf dem Foto sah aus wie ihre eigenen Kinder im Babyalter.

    Nun habe auch die andere Frau wissen wollen, was die Wahrheit ist. Sie verabredeten sich zu Kaffee und Kuchen. Doch am Abend vor dem Treffen sagte die Frau ab. Die Tochter sei krank.

    Am nächsten Tag wurde Katrin Huhnholz von ihr auf Facebook geblockt. Die Verkäuferin war fassungslos. Sie besaß weder Telefonnummer noch Adresse von der anderen.

    War die Blockade Selbstschutz?
    Hatte die Frau Angst vor der Wahrheit? War die Blockade also Selbstschutz? Am einfachsten wäre es ja gewesen, die Mutter dieser Frau zu fragen. Die musste die Wahrheit ja wissen. Aber hätte sie ehrlich geantwortet, wenn sie das Kind heimlich adoptiert hätte? Katrin Huhnholz hat nie erfahren, was die Mutter sagte. Die Frau, die ihrer Nicht so ähnlich sieht, hat dazu jede Aussage verweigert.

    Katrin Huhnholz konzentrierte sich auf Unterlagen, die ihr weiterhelfen könnten. Die Uniklinik Leipzig, Gesundheitsamt, Statistisches Bundesamt, Standesamt, Stasi-Unterlagenbehörde, alle möglichen Behörden und Einrichtungen bat sie um Unterlagen. Oft lautete die Antwort: keine Dokumente vorhanden. Eine Stasi-Akte von ihr wurde nie gefunden.

    Von der Uniklinik Leipzig erhielt sie ihre Krankenakte. Und sofort verstärkte sich Huhnholz’ Verdacht. Das Blatt mit den Geburtsdaten, 3400 Gramm Gewicht, 50 Zentimeter Größe, fehlte. Stattdessen fand sie, unter ihrem Namen, Unterlagen zu einem Baby, das zwar unter jenen Fehlbildungen litt, die angeblich ihr Kind hatte. Aber dieses Baby wog bei der Geburt 1880 Gramm und war 40 Zentimeter groß. „Ich kann mir vorstellen, dass man die Akte eines wirklich gestorbenen Kindes genommen und meinen Namen drauf geschrieben hat.“

    Verschwörungstheorie? Vielleicht. Aber dann erzählt sie die Geschichte mit dem Friedhof. Laut Akten soll ihr Kind auf dem Zentralfriedhof Leipzig begraben sein. Doch die Friedhofs-Verwaltung teilte ihr mit: „Ihr Kind ist hier nicht begraben.“ Nächster Punkt: Vom Statistischen Bundesarchiv erhielt Katrin Huhnholz die Kopie eines Auszugs aus der Lebendgeburt-Statistik der DDR. Neben ihrem Namen steht in der Rubrik „Lebendgeburten“: „Drei.“ Drei? Laut Krankenakte kam Huhnholz’ erste Tochter bereits tot zur Welt, das Kind starb schon im Mutterleib.

    In den Akten findet sich nichts

    Im Sitzungssaal 1228 sitzt zwei Meter neben Laake ein anderer Experte. Der Historiker Christian Sachse, er blickt jetzt sehr mitfühlend, er sagt: „Das tut jetzt einigen verdammt weh.“ Stimmt, Andreas Laake zum Beispiel. Sachse hatte nämlich gerade erklärt: „Wir haben in den Akten keinen einzigen Fall von vorgetäuschtem Säuglingstod gefunden.“

    Und überhaupt: Wie hätte so ein System in der Praxis funktionieren sollen? „So etwas setzt voraus, dass es ein ganzes Krankenhaus mit Inoffiziellen Mitarbeitern hätte geben müssen.“ Hätte es diese fiktiven Tode wirklich gegeben, dann „hätten sie mit Sicherheit Spuren in den Akten hinterlassen“. Haben sie aber nicht. Jedenfalls wurde bislang nichts gefunden.

    Gut, ein schreckliches Szenario hält Sachse für möglich. Jungen Frauen in Jugendwerkhöfen, die gerade ein Kind geboren hatten, wurde gesagt, der Säugling sei bei der Geburt gestorben. Werkhöfe waren das gefürchtete Sammelbecken für Jugendliche, die als schwer erziehbar galten. In Wirklichkeit hätten linientreue Genossen heimlich das Baby adoptiert. Eine Möglichkeit, nicht bewiesen.

    Auch die Expertin Maria Nooke, Brandenburger Landesbeauftragte zur Aufarbeitung der Folgen der kommunistischen Diktatur, muss Laake weh tun. „Wir haben keinen einzigen Fall gefunden, der einen vorgetäuschten Säuglingstod belegt.“ Das gelte auch für die Stasi-Unterlagen-Behörden. Mit entsprechender Sachaufklärung bei Betroffenen könne man sogar Ungereimtheiten bei Unterlagen auflösen. Aber der Verlust eines Kindes, die Trauer, die Ungewissheit über das Schicksal, das alles ist nicht mit Statistik zu bewältigen. Deshalb, sagt Nooke auch, benötigten Betroffene eine psychosoziale Trauerarbeit.

    Die Ängste vor der Wahrheit bleiben

    Auch Katrin Huhnholz kann mit Statistik nichts anfangen. Die hilft ihr nicht weiter, wenn es um ihr eigenes Kind geht. Ihre offenen Fragen bleiben ja. Und so klammert sie sich in Gedanken an die Frau, die als Baby so aussah wie ihre eigenen Kinder. Inzwischen hat sie die Adresse dieser Frau herausgefunden und ihr einen Brief geschrieben. „Mir geht’s nur um den DNA-Test.“

    Doch zugleich tobt in der 53-Jährigen weiter ein innerer Kampf. Die Katrin Huhnholz, die so sehr auf Antworten drängt, die bremst sich zugleich. Die Sehnsucht nach der Wahrheit ist größer geworden, die Ängste vor dieser Wahrheit sind aber immer noch da.

    Sie stand sogar mal vor dem Haus der Frau, sie wollte sehen, wie die lebt. Aber sie nahm keinen Kontakt zu ihr auf. Warum nicht? Da knetet Katrin Huhnholz die Hände, die Antwort kommt erst nach Sekunden. „Der nächste Schritt muss von ihr kommen. Sie hat meine Nummer.“

    Katrin Huhnholz hat noch nicht vergessen, dass in dieser Geschichte nicht bloß sie ein Opfer sein könnte. „Diese Frau“, sagt sie leise, „muss ja auch alles verarbeiten können, wenn herauskommt, dass sie meine Tochter ist.“

    #DDR #histoire #propagande #anticommunisme

  • Hilde Benjamin
    https://www.zeit.de/1952/33/hilde-benjamin
    Voici un exemple du discours de propagande anticommuniste à propos de Hilde Benjamin. Il facilite le travail pour les journalistes des médias officiels d’aujourd’hui. Pour dénoncer un opposant au systèm en place il leur suffit de de paraphraser ce texte. Sa structure est toujours aussi efficace.

    Le texte place la critique politique et idéologique entre des paragraphes marqués par des suppositions psychologiques misogynes présentées comme observations d’un narrateur amoniscient.

    Die Zeit, Jahrgang 1952 Ausgabe: 33, von Harald Laeuern

    Zu einem „Teufelsweib“ fehlt ihr die Leidenschaft, die nicht durch die Bissigkeit ersetzt wird, die ihr eigen ist. Sie gehört zu den intellektuellen Frauen, bei denen den Männern fröstelt. Ein knochiges Gesicht mit fahlgelber Haut gibt ihr ein mongolisches Aussehen. Dazu gehört das dunkle, glattgescheitelte Haar. Die Augen unter dichten Brauen verraten keine Wärme. Kam sie als Frau nicht zur Geltung, so suchte sie um so mehr in der Politik eine Rolle zu spielen. Obwohl sie gern über andere spottet, ist sie für ihre eigene Person höchst empfindlich. Sieben Jahre Zuchthaus erhielt der Potsdamer Eis im vergangenen Jahr wegen Beleidigung der „Vizepräsidentin des Obersten Gerichtes der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik.
    ..
    Sie mag die sarkastische Bemerkung der westlichen Kollegen im Nacken spüren, mit denen sie einst Jura studierte. Sie rechtfertigt sich mit der Behauptung, daß sie Taten nach ihrer „Gesellschaftsgefährlichkeit“ bewerte. Sie wird sich niemals eingestehen, daß sie Menschlichkeit und Freiheit vernichtet, weil ihr Herz keiner Liebe fähig ist. Mit ihrer Geschäftigkeit als Avantgardistin des neuen Rechts betäubt sie wohl eine innere Unruhe, glaubt sie den Gang der Entwicklung zu bestimmen, während sie längst ein von Dämonen gehetztes Wild geworden ist. Während sie vorgibt, das Böse zu bekämpfen, verfällt sie ihm mit jedem Prozeß mehr. “

    Hilde Benjamin ist solid bürgerlicher Herkunft und war mit einem jüdischen Arzt verheiratet, der in einem nationalsozialistischen KZ umkam. Sie selbst ist keine Jüdin. Obwohl sie alles, was zu ihrer früheren bürgerlichen Welt gehört, mit wildem Haß verfolgt, kann sie die Distanz zum Proletariat nicht überwinden. Von starkem geistigem Hochmut besessen, läßt sie die SED-Gesellschaft, unter der sie sich bewegt, durchaus ihre Bildungsüberlegenheit fühlen. Sie sorgte dafür, daß ihr Sohn eine humanistische Anstalt besuchte.

    Der Drang, revolutionärer zu erscheinen, als es ein echter Proletarier sein kann, verleitet sie mitunter zu wilden Reden bei der Verhandlungsführung ihrer Schauprozesse, die schon eine stattliche Reihe bilden: Conti-Gas in Dessau im April, Solvay-Werke in Bernburg im Dezember 1950, Zeugen Jehovas 1951 und in diesem Jahre die Prozesse gegen die angeblichen Agenten des Untersuchungsausschusses Freier Juristen, bei denen man sich nicht mehr mit hohen Zuchthausstrafen begnügt. Neben Zaisser hat Hilde Benjamin das größte Verdienst um den Terror in der Ostzone. Wie er gehört auch sie zu den Unbestechlichen, die fanatisch gläubig sind.

    Entre ces décriptions sans valeur réelle l’auteur place son accusation contre la juge communiste. Elle oeuvre pour le renversement des ideés et du système juridique capitaliste hérité de l’époque du Kaiser et mis au point par les nazis.

    Zur Vorbereitung des neuen Rechtes wird die Gerichtsverfassung umgestürzt. Beherrschende Figuren werden die Staatsanwälte, denen schon durch ein Gesetz vom Mai dieses Jahres besondere Vorrechte zugesichert wurden. Unter ihnen befinden sich nur noch zwei v. H. Berufsjuristen, unter den Richtern zwölf v. H. Da auch die Schöffen nicht mehr ihrem Gewissen, sondern Parteiweisungen zu folgen haben, ist damit die Parteilichkeit gewährleistet, die nach Wyschinski, dem „großen Ankläger“, wie ihn die offizielle Sowjetzonenzeitschrift „Neue Justiz“ nennt, ein Hauptmerkmal sowjetischen Rechtsdenkens ist. Hilde Benjamin hat den Ruhm, diesem System auf deutschem Boden zur Anwendung verhalfen zu haben. Sie wird auch das neue Strafrecht entwerfen, das eine Kommission unter ihrem Vorsitz ausarbeitet.

    Dans le dernier paragraphe on retrouve l’accusation suprême énoncée à répétition depuis cent ans contre toute tentative d’imposer un pouvoir politique autre que celui de la classe capitaliste : Hilde Benjamin accepte la prédominance de la ligne du parti, donc le résultat d’un raisonnement collectif. L’idéologue bourgeois y identifie l’essence du mal qui est pour lui le pouvoir « communiste » qui ne se plie à aucune des forces et lois qui définissent sa propre marge de décision. En cela il ressemble au chien qui aboie quand ses voisins canins se rapprochent trop de la clôture qui sépare leurs cages respectives.

    #Allemagne #anticommunisme #droit #DDR

  • Ehrung der DDR-Richterin Hilde Benjamin : Von wegen starke Frau - taz.de
    http://www.taz.de/!5506976


    Hilde Benjamin, victime des nazis, juriste et auteure de nombreux articles de loi instituant l’égalité entre hommes et femmes en #RDA .

    On savait déjà que le journal TAZ poursuit son voyage depuis son point de départ du côté des militants de gauche vers l’univers de la droite néolibérale, pourtant il est stupéfiant de constater à quel point la rédaction adopte les positions de l’anticommunisme héréditaire allemand. Les Junker sont de retour.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junker_(Prussia)

    Réponse de Peter Nowak à l’article de Katharina Meyer zu Eppendorf

    https://seenthis.net/messages/695673

    17.5.2018 - von Katharina Meyer zu Eppendorf
    In einer Broschüre wollte der Bezirk Steglitz-Zehlendorf „starke Frauen“ ehren – darunter auch die berüchtigte DDR-Richterin Hilde Benjamin.
    Hilde Benjamin sitzt auf der Richterbank, vor ihr steht ein Angeklagter

    Die „Bluthilde“ nannte man sie im Volksmund, die DDR-Justizministerin und Vorsitzende mehrerer Schauprozesse. 67 Mal urteilte Hilde Benjamin zwischen 1949 und 1953 über „Republikfeinde“, Alt-Nazis und „Wirtschaftssaboteure“. Ihre Bilanz: zwei Todesurteile, 15 lebenslängliche Haftstrafen und insgesamt 550 Jahre Zuchthaus. Den Mauerfall erlebte sie nicht mehr, Benjamin starb im April 1989 mit 87 Jahren in Ostberlin.

    Hilde Benjamin wird aufgrund ihrer Tätigkeit als Richterin nicht nur von Konservativen und AntikommunistInnen kritisch eingeordnet. Sie als eine „starke Frau“ zu bezeichnen, läge vielen fern. In einer Broschüre, erschienen im schwarz-grün regierten Berliner Bezirk Steglitz-Zehlendorf, ist jetzt aber genau das passiert: „Starke Frauen in Steglitz-Zehlendorf 1945 – 1990“ heißt das 76-Seiten-dicke Heft, das der taz vorliegt und in der Hilde Benjamin neben Frauen wie Jutta Limbach und Ingeborg Drewitz gewürdigt wird. Beziehungsweise gewürdigt werden sollte.

    Denn auf der Bezirksverordnetenversammlung (BVV) am Mittwochabend hatten die CDU- und FDP-Fraktion mit ihren Dringlichkeitsanträgen Erfolg, die Broschüre gedruckt nicht weiter vertreiben zu lassen und digital ohne den Beitrag über Hilde Benjamin zu veröffentlichen. Mit Ausnahme der Linksfraktion stimmten alle anderen dem Antrag der FDP zu. „Die Vernichtung der Broschüre unterdrückt doch nur die Diskussion. Es braucht eine kritische Ergänzung und Diskussion und keine ideologische Grabenkämpfe“, reagierte die Linksfraktion auf Twitter am Donnerstag.

    Der stellvertretende Bezirksbürgermeister und Stadtrat für Gleichstellung, Michael Karnetzki (SPD), war aufgrund einer Dienstreise auf der Versammlung nicht anwesend. Eine Stellungnahme lies er trotzdem verlesen. Darin entschuldigte er sich bei den anderen genannten Frauen für die Nennung Benjamins. Die Broschüre war im Auftrag des Jobcenters von einem freien Träger erstellt worden, Karnetzki hatte darin aber ein Vorwort geschrieben.
    Nur eine kleine Auflage

    Bereits am 9. Mai hatte sich der Ausschuss Frauen und Gleichstellung des Bezirkes Steglitz-Zehlendorf im Rathaus Zehlendorf getroffen. Die Frauenbeauftragte Hildegard Josten stellte dort eine Broschüre vor, die starke Steglitzer- und Zehlendorferinnen würdigen soll. Die Auflage ist mit 100 Stück sehr klein, auf der Internetseite des Bezirks gibt es sie aber auch digital aufzurufen.

    „Als wir die Broschüre bekamen und darin Hilde Benjamin entdeckten, waren wir ziemlich irritiert“, sagt Kay Ehrhardt, der Fraktionsvorsitzender der FDP im Bezirk. „Es ist natürlich wichtig, dass Frauen geehrt werden, aber doch nicht jemand wie Frau Benjamin“, erklärt er.

    Diese Ansicht teilte man in der Ausschusssitzung. Gemeinsam einigten sich die Fraktionen darauf, die Broschüre vorerst nicht weiter zu vertreiben und aus dem Internet zu entfernen.

    Das bestätigt auch Hubertus Knabe, Direktor der Stasi-Gedenkstätte Berlin-Hohenschönhausen. „Als wir ein Exemplar der Broschüre bei Frau Josten angefragt hatten, wurde sie uns nicht herausgegeben. Es hieß, der Senat habe der Veröffentlichung nicht zugestimmt“. Von der Webseite verschwand die elektronische Form der Broschüre laut Ehrhardt allerdings nicht auf Anfrage des Senats, sondern des Frauenausschusses – und zwar am Freitag vergangener Woche.

    Die Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa wusste bis zum Montag nichts von der Broschüre, wie die stellvertretende Sprecherin Anja Scholtyssek der taz mitteilte: „Wir als Senatsverwaltung sind für diese Broschüre auch gar nicht verantwortlich“. Aber wer dann?
    Doris Habermann, YOPIC e.V.

    „Unserer Meinung nach sind Menschen auch für ihre positiven Eigenschaften zu würdigen.“

    Laut Impressum ist die Politikwissenschaftlerin Claudia v. Gélieu für das Projekt verantwortlich. Redaktionell betreut wurde es jedoch von dem Verein YOPIC („Young People for International Cooperation e.V.“), der Doris Habermann vorsitzt. Erstellt hatten die Broschüre acht TeilnehmerInnen einer Arbeitsmaßnahme des JobCenters.
    „Wir haben ihre Taten ja nicht verheimlicht“

    Auf Anfrage der taz sagte die Vereinsvorsitzende Doris Habermann: „Wir stehen nach wie vor dazu, Hilde Benjamin in dieser Broschüre genannt zu haben. Benjamin ist eine starke Frau, die sich in ihrer Zeit beispielhaft für die Gleichstellung von Frauen eingesetzt hat. Menschen sind nicht nur schwarz und weiß. Wir haben ihre Taten ja nicht verheimlicht. Wir wollten ihre wichtige Arbeit für die Gleichberechtigung deshalb aber nicht vernachlässigen“.

    Auf die Frage, ob die Würdigung einer Frau, die Todesurteile gesprochen habe, nicht Grenzen überschreite, sagte Habermann: „Manche mögen das so sehen, aber das ist dann eine subjektive Einschätzung. Unserer Meinung nach sind Menschen auch für ihre positiven Eigenschaften zu würdigen. Benjamins Einsatz für die Gleichberechtigung zählt für uns dazu“.

    Die Einstellung der Broschüre durch die BVV wollte Habermann nicht kommentieren. Das Logo des Bezirkes, das YOPIC ohne dessen Einwilligung auf die Broschüre gesetzt hatte, dafür schon. „Das war ein Fehler“, sagt Habermann.

    #Allemagne #anticommunisme #droit #histoire #réaction #Prusse

  • Hilde Benjamin ǀ Die Hetze gegen linke Juristin geht weiter — der Freitag
    https://www.freitag.de/autoren/peter-nowak/die-hetze-gegen-linke-juristin-geht-weiter

    19.05.2018 - Peter Nowak - Weil in einer Broschüren die DDR-Justizministerin als starke Frau bezeichnet wurde, schäumt die deutsche Einheitsfront von PI-News bis zu der Taz.

    Bei diesem Beitrag handelt es sich um ein Blog aus der Freitag-Community

    Hilde Benjamin wird noch immer von der großen Mehrheit in Deutschland gehasst, weil sie Antifaschistin und Kommunistin war. In der Weimarer Republik war sie in der Roten HIlfe aktiv, verteidigte Linke und Antifaschist_innen. Ihr Mann und ein großer Teil ihrer Verwandtschaft wurden im NS verfolgt und ermordert. Nach 1945 trat Benjamin in die SED ein und war für den Aufbau einer sozialistischen Justiz verantwortlich, die allerdings autoritär-stalinistisch geprägt war. Da gäbe es auch an ihrer Politik viel zu kritisieren. Dass sie allerdigns unnachgiebig mit den Nazis und ihren Nutznießer_innnen abrechnete, sollte nicht kritisiert werden. Dafür aber wird sie noch immer gehaßt, nicht nur in rechten Kreisen, wo sie als Blut-Hilde diffamiert wird, weil sie auch an einigen Todesurteilen beteilig war.

    Und nun sollte Benjamin in einer vom Bezirksamt Zehlendorf-Steglitz herausgegebenen Broschüren in die Reihe der starken Frauen aufgenommen werden. Das ging nicht nur den offenen oder verstecken Nazis zu weit.

    In der Taz durfte mit Katharina Mayer zu Eppendorf eine Vertreterin des Adels den Stab über die Kommunstin brechen, da sind die Klassenfragen gleich mal klargestellt. Hilde Benjamin bekämpfte viele Jahre ihres Lebens die Klasse, aus der die Autorin stammt.

    Ob die Würdigung einer Frau, die Todesurteile vollstreckt habe, nicht Grenzen überschreite, echauffierte sich der Adelssproß. Todesurteile, das weiß die Frau von Eppendorf, haben in der Geschichte in der Regel die hohen Herrn mit und ohne Adelstitel an den Bäuerinnen und Bauern und Arbeiter_innen vollstreckt. Deshalb werden auch so viele ehemalige Nazis geehrt, die im NS Todesurteile vollstreckt und in der BRD weiter Karriere gemacht haben. Wer kennt noch Filbinger und C? Hilde Benjamin wird vorgeworfen, im Namen der roten Justiz Todsurteile gegen die alten Ausbeuterklassen verhängt zu haben. Das ist der Kern des Vorwurfs. Die für die Broschüre verantwortliche Doris Habermann verteidigte in der Taz die Entscheidung, Benjamin in die Reihe der starken Frauen aufzunehmen.

    "Menschen sollten auch für ihre positiven Eigenschaften gewürdigt werden. Benjamins Einsatz für die Gleichberechtigung zählt für uns dazu.“

    Damit hat sie völlig Recht. Denn Benjamin hat sich auch als eine Frau einen Namen gemacht, die die DDR-Gesetze reformierte:

    Hilde Benjamin schrieb als Leiterin der Gesetzgebungskommission beim Staatsrat der DDR mit dem Gerichtsverfassungsgesetz, dem Jugendgerichtsgesetz und der Strafprozessordnung von 1952 Rechtsgeschichte in der DDR. Sie war 1963 Vorsitzende der Kommission zur Ausarbeitung des neue Strafgesetzbuch. Bereits seit dem Beginn ihrer Karriere setzte sie sich für die Gleichberechtigung der Frauen ein, etwa als Mitbegründerin des Demokratischen Frauenbundes der DDR. Der erste Entwurf Familiengesetzes 1965 ging auf sie zurück, worin die Gleichstellung nichtehelicher Kinder hergestellt, das Scheidungs- und Namensrecht reformiert und die Berufstätigkeit der Frauen gefördert werden sollte.

    Hilde Benjamin starb 1989 wenige Monante vor dem Kollaps der DDR, sonst wäre sie wahrscheinlich auch noch wegen der Todesurteile angeklagt wurden. Schließlich werden in Deutschland dafür nur Nazis geehrt. Es gäbe viel zu kritisieren an der Politik der SED und natürlich auch der von HIlde Benjamin. Doch wenn Rechte und Adelssprosse, also die Bagage, die Hilde Benjamin Zeit ihres Lebens gehaßt hat, gegen sie mobil macht, gilt die Devise: Hilde Benjamin war eine starke Frau, eine Antifaschistin und Mitbegründerin der Roten Hilfe, ob es ihren alten und neuen Feind_innen passt oder nicht.

    #anticommunisme #Allemagne

  • Bezirk zieht Broschüre über „Starke Frauen“ zurück - Berlin - Aktuelle Nachrichten - Berliner Morgenpost
    https://www.morgenpost.de/berlin/article214311585/Bezirk-zieht-Broschuere-ueber-Starke-Frauen-zurueck.html

    Das Bezirksamt Steglitz-Zehlendorf hat die Broschüre „Starke Frauen in Steglitz-Zehlendorf“ zurückziehen lassen. Darüber informierte Bezirksbürgermeisterin Cerstin Richter-Kotowski (CDU) am Mittwochabend die Bezirksverordneten. Im Heft sind 23 Porträts von Frauen abgedruckt, darunter auch die DDR-Richterin Hilde Benjamin.

    Benjamin - Spitzname die „blutige Hilde“ verhängte in der DDR drastische Zuchthausstrafen gegen Oppositionelle und sprach auch zwei Todesurteile aus.. Die Broschüre wurde von einem freien Träger im Auftrag des Jobcenters erstellt, das Vorwort schrieb aber Stadtrat Michael Karnetzki (SPD).

    https://www.bz-berlin.de/berlin/kolumne/bezirksamt-steglitz-zehlendorf-ehrt-schlimmste-scharfrichterin-der-ddr

    https://www.tagesspiegel.de/berlin/berlin-steglitz-zehlendorf-bezirk-wuerdigt-beruechtigtesed-ministerin-als-starke-frau/22573508.html

    https://www.t-online.de/nachrichten/deutschland/gesellschaft/id_83782216/berliner-bezirksamt-ehrt-hilde-benjamin-die-scharfrichterin-der-ddr.html

    #Allemagne #Berlin #Zehlendorf #histoire #femmes #anticommunisme #DDR

  • Gregory Klimov. The Terror Machine
    http://antimatrix.org/Convert/Books/Klimov/klimov-pp-e

    About author
    Gregory Petrovich Klimov

    Russian writer, member of the Writers’ Union of Russia. Author of the bestseller “Terror Machine”, published in 12 languages ​​in the “Reader’s Digest” sold more than 17 million copies. Three films based on this book were made in England, Germany and the United States in the years 1953-1954 German film “WEG OHNE UMKEHR”, was awarded at the International Film Festival in Berlin in 1954, the title of “the best German film of the year.” English “THE ROAD OF NO RETURN” and the American “NO WAY BACK” movies for a long time did not descend from screens all over the world.

    The author of the books:

    1951 MAШИНА ТЕРРОРА (БЕРЛИНСКИЙ КРЕМЛЬ, КРЫЛЬЯ ХОЛОПА, ПЕСНЬ ПОБЕДИТЕЛЯ)
    [TERROR MACHINE 1951 (BERLIN Kremlin LACKEY’S WINGS, WINNING SONG)]
    1970 КНЯЗЬ MИРА СEГO
    [THE PRINCE OF THIS WORLD]
    1973 ДEЛO #69
    [The case #69]
    1975 ИМЯ MOЕ ЛEГИOН
    [MY NAME IS THE LEGION]
    1981 ПРОТОКОЛЫ СОВЕТСКИХ МУДРЕЦОВ
    [THE PROTOCOLS OF THE SOVIET ELDERS]
    1987 КРАСНАЯ КАББAЛA
    [RED KABBALAH]
    1989 БОЖИЙ НАРОД
    [GOD’S CHOSEN PEOPLE]

    Grigory Klimov, born September 26, 1918 in the city of Novocherkassk, Russia, in the family a doctor. In 1941 graduated with honors from the Novocherkassk Industrial Institute, and entered the Military-Diplomatic Academy in Moscow.

    In 1945 he graduated from the Academy and was assigned to work in Berlin, as the engineer-in-chief of the Soviet military administration.

    In 1947 he was ordered to go back to the Stalin’s Moscow. After much deliberation, he fled to West Germany.

    In 1949-1950 worked at the CIA’s highly classified subject “COLLAPSE OF THE COMMUNIST SYSTEM BY MEANS OF A SPECIAL TYPE PEOPLE. PEOPLE WITH THE POWER COMPLEX (Complex of latent homosexuality of Lenin).” The code name - Harvard Project. In 1951-55 he was the chairman of the Central Association of the Post-war Emigrants From The Soviet Union [ЦОПЭ] (TSOPE) and chief editor of the magazine “Freedom” and “Anti-Communist” (the latter in German).

    In 1958-59 worked as a consultant at the Cornell Project in New York, where he was also engaged in all sorts of cunning psychological studies related to the Hungarian uprising of 1956.

    The results of 50 years of work on this subject are reflected in the seven books. The last three are the abstracts of the series of lectures for the entire top of the command officers of the KGB, on the eve of perestroika.

    All the books were published by Sovetskaya Kuban [СОВЕТСКАЯ КУБАНЬ] - Krasnodar, RUSSIA. Total circulation has exceeded one million.

    For orders, please contact a representative of the publishing house Sovetskaya Kuban. Mironov Vladimir Leonidovich by e-mail klimov_gregory@yahoo.com

    You can send your opinion about books or via e-mail to klimov_gregory@yahoo.com:

    GREGORY KLIMOV
    48-34 91 place
    Elmhurst
    New York 11373
    USA

    Gregory Klimov - Search results - Wikipedia
    https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?search=Gregory+Klimov&title=Special:Search&fulltext=1&search

    Klimov (surname)
    Russian linguist Gregory Klimov (1918-2007), pen-name of Igor Kalmykov a.k.a. Ralph Werner, Soviet defector and writer Igor Klimov (born 1989), Russian

    #anticommunisme #conspirationnisme #Russie #USA #guerre_froide

  • The Union of Concerned Mad Scientists — Plots Against Russia
    http://plotsagainstrussia.org/eb7nyuedu/2016/7/6/the-union-of-concerned-mad-scientists

    Il est difficile de ne pas devenir fou ou pour le moins désorienté quand on se penche trop sur les projets anticommunistes et anti-russes. Leurs auteurs défendent avec obstination des thèses aberrantes comme si c’étaient des résultats de la recherche scientifique partagés par a totalité du monde éduqué et sérieux. C’est le destin du défecteur soviétique Gregory Klimov qui a publié ses livres sur internet et autorisé leur re-publication gratuite. Cet article nous informe sur quelques détails de sa vie.

    July 06, 2016

    Klimov’s vision of an anti-Russian conspiracy itself resembles the monstrous progeny of Cold War mad science that was such efficient fodder for the pop cultural mill throughout the world. Like Godzilla and the plethora of giant, radioactive vermin that attacked the major metropolitan centers of the United States and Japan on the movie screens of the 1950s, or the dangerous biological, nuclear, and psychotropic weapons let loose from ex-KGB laboratories in post-Soviet Russian thrillers, Klimov’s “Harvard Project” is a freakish offshoot of Cold War propaganda battles that has far exceeded the intentions (not to mention the life-spans) of the actual researchers who inspired it.

    FROM A VKONTAKTE GROUP FOR HARWARD PROJECT ENTHUSIASTS.

    According to his now defunct official website, (http://klimov.bravehost.com), which had previously been maintained by the “Gregory Klimov Online Fan Club Moscow,” Grigory Petrovich Klimov was born Igor Borisovich Kalmykov, not far from Rostov-on-Don in 1918. In 1945, he was employed as an engineer in Soviet-occupied Berlin, defecting to the Allies’ zone in 1947. From 1949-1950 he claims to have worked for the CIA on a secret plan to destroy the Soviet Union, codenamed the “Harvard Project,” which was followed by the “Cornell Project” for psychological warfare in 1958-1959. As his website puts it, his participation in the Harvard Project “affected his entire life and work,” but, “[s]ince psychological warfare was literally a war of psychos, Grigory Petrovich, being a normal person, could not continue to participate in a performance whose script was written by sick people.” 

    Instead, he produced a cycle of novels and essays that purport to expose the evil machinations of the "Harvard Project’"s masterminds: The Prince of This World (Князь мира сего, 1970), My Name is Legion (Имя мое—легион, 1975), The Protocols of the Soviet Elders (Протоколы советский мудрецов, 1981), and Red Kabbalah (Красная каббала, 1987). Initially distributed among Soviet émigrés, copies of these books made their way into the Soviet Union before perestroika, after which they were eventually reprinted by right-wing Russian publishing houses (particularly, but not exclusively, "Sovetskaia Kuban’" in Krasnodar). In interviews (Mogutin) and elsewhere on his site, Klimov claims that the total print run of all his books is “more than 1,100,000 copies,” an assertion that is impossible to verify. [1] Moreover, Klimov repeatedly declared his willingness to have his books printed by anyone anywhere, foregoing copyright and royalties, and has made his texts freely available on the Internet. [2] For Klimov, the most important thing was to get his message out; thus, in 1997, he not only granted an interview to gay journalist Yaroslav Mogutin for Mitin zhurnal, but even agreed to have the text of the interview reprinted on his website, despite Mogutin’s thinly-veiled contempt for his subject and his insistence on faithfully transcribing all of Klimov’s grammatical mistakes and misplaced accents (http://klimov.bravehost.com/html/interview2.html). [3] 

    Klimov’s depiction of the Harvard Project does have a basis in the culture of military/industrial think tanks funded by the US government in the 1950s, but from a vantage point that simultaneously distorts the results of this research while highlighting the improbable oddities that actually characterized US anti-communist psychological warfare. When discussing the Harvard Project, Klimov often invokes the name of Nathan Leitis, a University of Chicago graduate who joined the Rand Corporation in 1949 after working as an adviser to the US government during World War II. Leitis first made his mark at Rand with the 1951 publication of The Operational Code of the Politburo, which Ron Robin describes as “the most conspicuous attempt to fuse psychoculture and elite studies during the early Cold War years”. Leitis treated Communism as a “secular religion” (Leitis, The Operational Code xiv), and assumed that its leaders and adherents followed Marxist-Leninist Holy Writ without fail. His “operational code” (a quasi-semiotic elaboration of the rules and motivations that guided Bolshevik leaders) was a marvel of exegesis, teasing out decision-making patterns from numerous volumes of Communist theory and official pronouncements.

    Notes

    [1] My copy of the 1997 Sovetskaia Kuban’ edition of My Name is Legion is part of a “supplementary printing” of 1000 copies.

    [2] Klimov’s works could be found not only on his own site, but also on the largest Russian etext server, Maxim Moshkov’s library (www.lib.ru), as well as numerous sites offering e-books in formats more convenient for higher-end e-book reading software.

    [3] Mogutin himself has been identified with xenophobic Russian nationalism in his writings about Zhirinovsky and the war in Chechnya (Essig 143-146; Gessen, Dead Again 185-198), but even for him, Klimov’s theories were too extreme to be taken seriously.

    #anticommunisme #conspirationnisme #Russie #USA #guerre_froide

  • Gregory Klimov. The Terror Machine. Chapter 18
    http://g-klimov.info/klimov-pp-e/ETM18.htm

    The Wings of a Slave

    At the beginning of 1947, Mikoyan, member of the Politburo and plenipotentiary extraordinary of the Soviet Council of Ministers for the economic assimilation of the occupied areas and the satellite countries, made an exhaustive inspection tour of the Soviet zone. Afterwards he had a long conference with Marshal Sokolovsky and his deputy for economic questions, Comrade Koval.

    This conference discussed the results of the economic reorganization of the Soviet zone. The land reform, which had been accomplished shortly after the capitulation, had not achieved any decisive economic effect. This fact did not disturb or even surprise either Mikoyan or Marshal Sokolovsky. With its aid certain necessary tactical results had been achieved; in particular, a basis had been laid for an offensive against the peasants, as well as the prerequisites for the final collectivization of agriculture.

    In the industrial sphere, after the mass dismantling process and the socialization of the small enterprises as landeseigener Betrieb (district-owned works), the S. M. A.’s biggest measure was the practical unification of all the Soviet zone basic industry in an enormous industrial concern known as ’Soviet Joint Stock Companies’. This measure, which had been dictated by Moscow, came under special consideration at the Mikoyan-Sokolovsky conference.

    Late in the summer of 1946, Comrade Koval, the commander-in-chief’s deputy for economic questions, had returned from a visit to Moscow, bringing with him new secret instructions. Shortly after, mysterious documents began to circulate between the Administration for Industry, the Administration for Reparations, and Koval’s office.

    These documents were referred to in whispers as ’List of or ’List of 235’. The figure changed continually; it indicated the list of enterprises, which it was proposed to transform into Soviet Joint Stock Companies. The lists were sent to Moscow for confirmation, and they returned in the form of appendices to an official decree concerning the organization of an ’Administration for Soviet Joint Stock Companies in Germany’.

    This administration, which took over the former Askania Company’s building in Berlin-Weissensee for its headquarters, controlled thirteen Soviet joint stock companies in the more important industrial spheres, and these thirteen included some 250 of the larger industrial works in the Soviet zone. By the statutes of the new concern 51 per cent of the shares of the works thus included were to be Soviet-owned. Thus practically the entire industry in the Soviet zone came into Soviet hands, not only by right of conquest and for the duration of the occupation, but also for all future time.

    At the 1945 Potsdam Conference, in which Stalin had taken an active part, great attention had been paid to the question of de-cartellizing German economy, and it had been decided to liquidate the big German industrial concerns, which were regarded not only as an important economic factor, but also as a political factor frequently aggressive in its nature. As a result, one of the first items on the agenda of the Allied Control Commission was this question of the liquidation of the German concerns, and in his time General Shabalin was active in pressing for the matter to be tackled.

    But now, again on orders from Moscow, the largest industrial concern not only of Germany, but perhaps of the whole world was founded. Its economic and also political importance surpasses anything of the kind existing hitherto in Germany or in Europe. And this super-concern is no longer in German but in Soviet hands. In the present struggle for Germany and Europe the S. A. G. (Sowjet Aktienge-sellschaften) will be a strong weapon in Kremlin hands.

    All the economic measures taken by the S. M. A. in Germany, like the Kremlin’s economic policy generally pursue far-reaching political aims. The object of this transformation of the Soviet zone is to fetter it with powerful economic chains. It provides a necessary economic basis for a further political advance.

    Mikoyan was not the only member of the Politburo to visit: Germany about this time. Beria, the Soviet Minister for Home Affairs, made a similar tour of inspection through the lands of Eastern Europe and eastern Germany. He, too, had a long conference with Sokolovsky and the head of the S. M. A. Administration for Internal Affairs, Colonel-General Serov. This conference discussed measures to strengthen the internal political front. The sequence of events was logical enough: the master for extermination affairs followed the master for economic exploitation.

    One of the results of Beria’s visit to Karlshorst was a further purge of the S. M. A. personnel. A growing number of the officers who had been with the S. M. A. from the beginning were recalled to the Soviet Union. Their place was taken by new men from Moscow; they were recognizable at first glance as the purest of Party-men. The change of personnel in Karlshorst was in full accord with the Kremlin’s post-war policy, which was directed towards placing all the key-points in Party hands. Once more one could not help being struck by the difference between ’nominal Party-men’ and ’pure Party-men’. Almost every Soviet officer was a Party-member, but the Party was far from regarding them all as ’pure Party-men’.

    More than eighteen months had passed since Karlshorst had been transformed into the Berlin Kremlin. Since then both the world and Karlshorst had been subjected to many changes. Many of these changes had been the result of Karlshorst’s own activities as an advanced post of Soviet foreign policy. Parallel with this there had been a change in the international atmosphere, and the people in Karlshorst had been the first to become conscious of it.

    We were left with only the memory of the time when Russians had been welcomed everywhere as liberators and allies. The Kremlin’s post-war policy had left not a trace of the sympathy which Russian soldiers had won in the world. The Russian people’s heroism and self-sacrifice in the fight for their native country had assured the Soviet Union a leading place among the world powers, and had led to unexpected results.

    The Kremlin had decided to exploit this situation for the aims of their foreign policy. Instead of the breathing space, which the Russian people had hoped for and expected, they now had to carry all the burdens involved in the Kremlin’s risky political game. Menacing clouds were again beginning to gather on the horizon. It was the people in the Karlshorst outpost who saw those clouds most clearly. We were not fond of talking about the danger of a new war, but we thought of it, and our hearts sank.

    As events developed, we were more and more forced to think about this danger. It seemed stupid and unnatural, but the facts spoke for themselves. Many people tried to convince themselves that the Allies’ post-war dissensions were simply in the nature of disputes over the division of the spoils. But that was a poor pretext. We Soviet officers were too well grounded in the Marxist-Leninist theory of world revolution to believe it.

    We, the Soviet men who stood on the bounds of the two worlds, and who had lived through all the development of relations between the Allies since the capitulation, we who had been personally convinced that the West was genuinely striving, and still is striving, for peace, and who had seen the sabotage of every attempt to achieve friendly cooperation with the Soviets - we knew a great deal that our people at home did not and could not know.

    We well remembered the first few months after Germany’s capitulation. The Western Allies demobilized their armies as swiftly as transport conditions allowed. Meanwhile the Soviet command as swiftly brought up its shattered divisions to fighting strength, completing their complement of men and officers, and supplying new tanks and aeroplanes. We racked our brains over the question: what for?

    Perhaps it was necessary to have an armed fist when negotiating at the diplomatic table? Subsequent events showed what it was all for. The Kremlin regarded the will to peace as a mark of weakness, and democracy’s demobilization as providing an opportunity for further aggression. What else could the democracies do but re-arm? That meant a new armaments race instead of Russia’s peaceful economic restoration; it meant all that we had known so well before the war. And where would it all lead to?

    When political passions begin to play on national sentiments - something the Kremlin particularly desires - when the armaments race is at its height, it will be difficult to determine who began it all and who is to blame. And then, quite naturally, each side will accuse the other.

    But this time, we members of the Soviet occupation forces know one thing perfectly: no matter what comes, all the blame for the consequences will lie solely and simply on the shoulders of the men in the Kremlin. This time we know who started to play with the gunpowder barrel. This time we have no doubt of the prime and original cause of the new war danger.

    II

    The more the atmosphere darkened, the more monotonous grew life in Karlshorst. The days dragged past, gray and boring. On one of these gray days I went to do my usual twenty-four-hour tour of duty on the staff, which I had to perform once a month.

    The officer on duty in the S. M. A. staff headquarters had to spend the daytime in the commander-in-chief’s waiting room, and during this time he acted as assistant adjutant to the marshal. During the night he was alone on duty in the marshal’s office, and acted as adjutant.

    At six o’clock in the evening I took my place as usual in the waiting room. Marshal Sokolovsky was in Potsdam, so the place was empty. The adjutant left at half-past seven, leaving me in charge, alone. To inform myself on current matters I glanced through the files on the desk and all the documents. The time passed imperceptibly, my only interruption being telephone calls.

    At midnight, in accordance with regulations, I took the marshal’s seat at the desk in his room, in order to be ready if direct calls came through. It was quite common for the Kremlin to ring up in the middle of the night, and then the telephonogram had to be taken down and passed on to its destination.

    As I sat at the desk I began to order the papers littered over it. Among them was a duplicated Information Bulletin. This bulletin was intended only for the higher staff, and was a top-secret document, with every copy numbered. I began to look through it.

    The contents were very illuminating: they were a detailed collection of all the things that the Soviet press carefully ignores or even flatly denies. If a Soviet citizen dared to speak of such things aloud, he would be accused of being a counter-revolutionary, with all its con-sequences. But this was an official information bulletin for the use of the S. M. A. commander.

    It is a serious mistake to attempt to justify the Soviet leaders’ conduct by arguing that they are not acquainted with a particular problem, or lack information on it. At one time peasant representatives made a habit of traveling from remote villages on a pilgrimage to the Kremlin gates. They naively thought that behind the Kremlin walls Stalin did not see what was happening all around him, that they had only to tell him the truth and everything would be altered. The peasants’ representatives sacrificed their lives, and everything continued as before. The Soviet leaders are fully informed, and are entirely responsible for anything that occurs.

    In the middle of the night I resolved to ring up Genia. I made contact with the Moscow exchange, and waited a long time for an answer. At last a sleepy voice sounded: “Well?”

    “Genia,” I said, “this is Berlin speaking. What’s the news in Moscow?”

    “Ah, so it’s you!” I heard a distant sigh. “I thought you’d dropped out completely.”

    “Oh no... not completely. What’s the news?” "Nothing. Life’s a bore..." “How’s your father?” "Gone off again." “Where to this time?”

    “He sent me a silk gown recently. So I expect it’s somewhere there... But how are things with you?”

    “I’m sitting in the marshal’s chair.” "Are you intending to come to Moscow soon?" “When I’m sent.”

    “I’m so bored here alone,” she said. “Do come soon!”

    We had a long talk, and dreamed of our future meeting, thought of all we would do, discussed plans for the future. It was a dream to which we resorted in order to avoid the present. At that moment I regretted that I was not in Moscow, and sincerely wanted to go back.

    The sleepless night passed. The day arrived, and with it generals from the provinces fussed around, German representatives of the new democracy lurked timidly in corners. Just before six o’clock in the evening, when my turn of duty ended, an engineer named Sykov came in to talk over a proposed hunting expedition with me. We were interrupted by the telephone. I picked up the receiver and replied with the usual formula: “Officer on duty in the staff.” It was Koval, the commander’s deputy on economic questions, and my immediate superior.

    “Comrade Klimov?”

    “Yes.”

    “Come and see me for a moment.”

    ’He asked for me personally,’ I thought as I went to his room. ’What’s the hurry?’

    He greeted me with the question: “I suppose you don’t happen to know what this is all about?” He held out a sheet of paper bearing an order from the S. M. A. staff headquarters. I took it and read:

    ’The directing engineer, G. P. Klimov, being a highly qualified specialist in Soviet economy, is to be demobilized from the Soviet Army and freed from duty in the Soviet Military Administration to return to the Soviet Union for further utilization in accordance with his special qualifications.’

    For a moment I could not grasp its import. It left me with a decidedly unpleasant feeling. There was something not quite in order here. A certain formal courtesy was always observed towards responsible personnel; in such cases there was a preliminary personal talk.

    “You haven’t yourself applied to be transferred to Moscow?” Koval asked.

    “No,” I answered, still rather preoccupied.

    “It’s signed by the chief of staff, and there was no prior agreement with me.” Koval shrugged his shoulders.

    Five minutes later I walked into the office of the head of the Personnel Department. I had had frequent opportunities to meet Colonel Utkin, so he knew me personally. Without waiting for my question, he said:

    “Well, may I congratulate you? You’re going home...”

    “Comrade Colonel, what’s at the back of it?” I asked.

    I was interested to discover what was at the bottom of the unexpected order. Workers in Karlshorst were not recalled to Moscow without good reason. As a rule, when members of the S. M. A. applied to be returned home the staff turned down the request.

    “I’m disturbed not so much by what the order says, as by its form,” I continued. “What does it mean?”

    Utkin was silent for a moment or two, then he said with some reluctance: “The Political Administration is involved. Between ourselves, I’m surprised you’ve held out here so long as you’re a non-Party man.”

    I shook hands with him gratefully. As I turned to leave he advised me: “Bear in mind that after your frontier pass has been issued you must leave in three days. If there’s any necessity, hang out the transfer of your work.”

    I left his room with a feeling of relief. Now everything was clear. As I went along the dimly lighted corridor I was gradually possessed by strange feeling; I felt that my body was receiving an influx of strength; my soul was mastered by an inexplicable feeling of freedom. I had had exactly that same feeling when I first heard of the outbreak of war. And I had had it when I first put on my military uniform. It was the presentiment of great changes to come. It was the breath of the unknown in my face.

    Now, as I walked along the corridors of the S. M. A. headquarters I again felt the breath of this unknown. It slightly intoxicated me

    I went home through the empty streets of Karlshorst. Behind the fences the trees were swinging their bare branches. The harsh German winter was in possession - darkness and stillness. A passer-by saluted me - I answered automatically. I was in no hurry. My step was slow and thoughtful. It was as though I were not taking the well-known road home, but standing at the beginning of a long road. I looked about me, I took in deep breaths of air, and I felt the ground beneath my feet as I had not felt it for a long time. Strange, inexplicable feelings swept over me.

    Hardly had I shut the door of my apartment when Sykov came in. By my face he saw at once that something had happened. “Where are you being sent to?” he asked. “Moscow,” I answered briefly. “What for?”

    Without taking off my greatcoat I went to my desk and silently drummed on it with my fingers. “But why?” he asked again.

    “I haven’t provided myself with the red book soon enough,” I answered reluctantly.

    He stared at me commiserately. Then he put his hand in a pocket, took out a long piece of red cardboard and turned it over in his fingers.

    “What would it have cost you?” he asked, gazing at his Party-ticket. “You shout your ’Hail!’ once a week at the Party meeting, and afterward you can go to the toilet and rinse your mouth.”

    His words made an unpleasant impression on me. I instinctively reflected that that piece of cardboard must still be warm with the warmth of his body. As though he had guessed my thoughts, he went on: “I myself remained at the candidate stage for six years. Until I couldn’t keep it up any longer.”

    His presence and his remarks began to irritate me. I wanted to be left to myself. He invited me to go with him to the club. I refused.

    “I’m going to have a game of billiards,” he remarked as he went to the door. “A cannon off two cushions, and no ideology about it.”

    I remained standing by my desk. I was still wearing my greatcoat. The coat round my shoulders strengthened my feeling that I was on my way. I tried sitting down, but jumped up again at once. I couldn’t sit quietly. Something was burning inside me. I wandered about the room with my hands in my pockets.

    I switched on the radio. The cheerful music plucked at my nerves, and I switched it off. The telephone bell rang. I did not bother to answer it. The German maid had prepared my supper; it was waiting on the table for me. I didn’t even look at it, but paced from corner to corner, my head sunk on my chest.

    The order had burst the dam, which had long been holding me back. I felt that inside me everything was shattered, everything was in turmoil. And at the same time something was slowly crawling towards me from afar. Something inexorable and joyless.

    Today I must cast up accounts.

    Today only one thing was clear: I did not believe in that which I had at the back of me. But if I returned to Moscow - I must at once join the Party, a Party - in which I did not believe. There was no other way. I would have to do it in order to save my life, to have the right to exist. All my life thenceforth I would lie and pretend, simply for the sake of the bare possibility of existence. Of that I had no doubt. I had examples before my eyes. Andrei Kovtun, a man in a blind alley. Mikhail Belyavsky, a man beyond the pale. Major Dubov, a man in a vacuum. But wasn’t I a man in a vacuum too? How long could that continue?

    I would have a home, and wait for the nocturnal knock at the door. I would get married, only to distrust my own wife. I would have children, who might at any time betray me or become orphans ashamed of their father.

    At these thoughts the blood rushed to my head. My collar choked me. A hot wave of fury rose in my throat. I felt so hot that my greatcoat seemed too heavy for me. At the moment I still had my greatcoat round my shoulders and a weapon in my hand. I didn’t want to part from that coat, or from that weapon. Why not?

    If I returned, sooner or later I would go under. Why? I had no belief in the future. But what had I had in the past? I tried to recall that past. When I first saw the light of this world the flames of revolution were playing in my eyes. I grew up to be a restless wolf-cub, and those flames continually flickered in my eyes. I was a wolf-cub of the Stalin generation; I fought with teeth and claws for my life and thrust my way forward. Now the Stalin wolf-cub was at the height of his powers, surveying the point he had reached.

    Today I had to confess to myself: all my life I had forced myself to believe in something I could not believe in, even from the day of my birth. All my life I had only sought a compromise with life. And if any one of my contemporaries were to say that he believed, I would call him a liar, a coward. Did such men, as Sykov really believe?

    I strode about my room, my eyes on my boots. They had trodden the earth from Moscow to Berlin. I remembered the flaming and smoking years of the war, the fiery font in which my feeling of responsibility to my native land was awakened. Once more I saw the Red Square and the walls of the Kremlin lit up with the fiery salutes of victory. Days of pride and glory, when one cried aloud with excess of emotion. In my ears sounded once more the words that had throbbed in my breast: ’Among the first of the first, among the finest of the finest you are marching today across the Red Square.’

    Now I was marching from one corner of my room to the other, like a caged wolf. Yes, the war had knocked us off our balance. Blinded by the struggle for our native land, we forgot a great deal in those days. At that time it could not be otherwise, there was no other way.

    Those who took another way.... With a bitter pang I recalled the early days of the war. I am deeply grateful to Fate that I was saved the necessity of making a very difficult decision. By the time it came to my turn to put on the soldier’s greatcoat I knew clearly that the way of the Russians was not with the Germans. And I fought to the end. I fought for something in which I did not believe. I fought, consoling myself with hopes.

    Now I no longer had those hopes. Now I felt that we had gone wrong, we had not accomplished our task, but had trusted to promises. That was why I did not want to take off the greatcoat. It wasn’t too late yet!

    Now menacing clouds were again gathering on the horizon. If I returned to Moscow, I would once more be confronted with the same bitter decision as in June 1941. Once more I would have to defend something I had no wish to defend.

    Still more, now I was convinced that the men in the Kremlin were leading my country along a road to perdition. Nobody was threatening us. On the contrary, we were threatening the entire world. That was an unnecessary and dangerous game. If we won, what good would it do us? If we were defeated, who would bear the guilt, and who would pay the Kremlin’s accounts? Every one of us!

    I had passed through days of anxiety for my country, through battles and through victory. And in addition I had seen with my own eyes all the bitterness of defeat. Germany in the dust was a good example of that. Germany was writhing in the convulsions of hunger and shame - but where were the guilty ones? Were only leaders guilty, or the entire nation?

    If the war broke out, it would be too late then. War has its own laws. Those whom the Kremlin had turned into enemies would regard us as enemies. They did not want war, but if war was inevitable they would wage it to defend their own interests. So what was left for us to do: be again a chip in the hands of criminal gamesters?

    Hour after hour I walked about my room, with my greatcoat round my shoulders. It was long past midnight, but I had no thought of sleep. There was a void behind me and a void before me. I had only one conscious and definite realization: I could not go back. One thought hammered continually in my head: what was I to do?

    Not until early in the morning did I feel tired. Then I lay down on my bed without undressing. And I fell asleep with my greatcoat drawn over my head.

    III

    During the next few days I began to hand over my work, bit by bit. Following Colonel Utkin’s advice I deliberately dragged out the process. Without yet knowing why, I sought to gain time. And continually I was oppressed with the same tormenting thoughts and the one inexorable question: what was I to do?

    On one of these days I stepped out of the Underground station on Kurfurstendamm, in the British sector. I was wearing civilian clothes; my boots squelched in the damp ooze of melting snow. The familiar streets seemed strange and unfriendly. I walked along aimlessly, running my eyes over the nameplates at the entrances to the houses. My finger played with the trigger of the pistol in my coat pocket.

    Finally I made my choice of nameplate and went into the house. It had been a luxurious place - it still had a broad marble staircase. Now the stairs were unlit, a chilly wind blew through the unglazed windows. After some difficulty I found the door I was seeking, and rang the bell. A girl with a coat flung round her shoulders opened to me.

    “Can I see Herr Diels?” I asked.

    “What about?” she asked pleasantly. “A private matter,” I curtly answered.

    She showed me in and asked me to wait a moment. I sat in the lawyer’s cold, dark reception room, while the girl disappeared. A few moments later she returned and said: “The Herr Doctor will see you.”

    I entered an enormous, unheated office. An elderly gentleman in gold-rimmed spectacles rose from his desk to meet me. “What can I do for you?” he asked, offering me a seat. He rubbed his frozen hands, probably expecting some ordinary case of divorce.

    “My request is rather unusual, Doctor,” I said. For the first lime in my intercourse with Germans I felt a little awkward.

    “Oh, you needn’t feel any constraint with me,” he said with a professional smile.

    “I am a Russian officer,” I said slowly, instinctively lowering my voice.

    The lawyer smiled genially, to indicate that he felt highly honored by my visit. “Only the other day another Soviet officer called on me with a German girl,” he said, obviously seeking to encourage me.

    I hardly listened to his explanation of why the other Russian officer had visited him. I was thinking with chagrin: ’I’ve made a bad start...’ But it was too late to retreat, and I decided to speak out.

    “You see, I’m being demobilized and sent back to Russia. I shan’t burden you with explanations as to the why and wherefore. To put it briefly, I want to go to Western Germany.”

    The smile vanished from his face. For a moment or two he did not know what to say. Then he prudently asked: “Ah... and what can I do about that?”

    “I must get into contact with the Allies,” I said. “I wish to ask for political asylum. I can’t do that myself. If I’m seen with any Allied official or if I’m observed coming out of an Allied office... that’s too great a risk for me to run. So I’d like to ask you to help me.”

    The silence lasted some minutes. Then I noticed that Herr Diels was behaving in a queer manner. He fidgeted restlessly on his chair, searched for something in his pocket, turned over the papers on his desk.

    “Yes, yes... I understand,” he murmured. “I, too, am a victim of the Nazi regime.”

    He took out a letter-case and hurriedly ran through innumerable letters. At last he found what he was seeking, and with a trembling hand held out a paper to me. It had been carefully reinforced at the folds and obviously was in frequent use.

    “You see, I’ve even got a certificate testifying to that fact,” he said.

    I glanced through the document. It stated that the possessor was a victim of Nazism, and almost a communist. I again had the unpleasant feeling that I had come to the wrong address. I realized that the lawyer was afraid of something and was trying to secure himself.

    “Herr Doctor, to be frank I’d rather deal with the most rabid of Nazis at this moment,” I said as I handed back his document.

    “Who recommended you to come to me?” he asked irresolutely.

    “No one. I took a chance. I have to act in the knowledge that I cannot trust anybody in my immediate surroundings. I hoped you’d be in a position to help me. But if you can’t for any reason, at any rate there’s no reason why you should do me any harm.”

    Herr Diels sat sunken in thought. Finally he appeared to come to some decision. He turned to me again. “But tell me, what surety can I have that you...” He concentratedly turned the pencil over and over in his hand and avoided looking me in the face. Then, as though making up his mind, he raised his eyes and said a little hesitantly: “... that you’re not an agent of that... of the G. P. U?”

    The former name of that well-known organization jarred in my ears. Apparently the Germans didn’t know its present name yet. Despite the seriousness of my position, his question made me smile. The very thing I feared in others I was myself suspected of. I simply shrugged my shoulders and said: “I haven’t had an opportunity to think that one out as yet, Herr Doctor. All I’m concerned with at the moment is with saving my own head from that... G. P. U.”

    He sat very still, thinking aloud: “You speak German well... too well... And besides, this is all so abnormal...” He stared at me fixedly, as though trying to read my thoughts, and said: “Good! I’m an old man and I have experience of men. I believe you’re speaking the truth. Where do you want to go?”

    “To the American zone.”

    “But why the American zone?” He raised his eyebrows in astonishment.

    “Herr Doctor, when a man takes such a step from political considerations it’s natural for him to seek refuge with the strongest enemies of the people he’s escaping from.”

    “Yes, but this is the British sector. I have no contact with the Americans.”

    I realized that this was tantamount to a refusal, and I made one last attempt:

    “Perhaps you could recommend me to one of your colleagues who has got contact with the Americans?”

    “Oh yes, I can do that,” he answered, reaching for his telephone book. He turned up a name in the book, then rose heavily from his desk and went to the door, remarking: “Excuse me a moment. I’ll write out the address for you.”

    He went into the reception room. I heard him speaking to his secretary. Then he exchanged a few words with another visitor. The telephone bell rang more than once. Somebody came and went.

    The minutes dragged past. It was very cold in that unheated room and I began to shiver. I felt a perfectly stupid feeling of utter dependence on the decency of someone who was a complete stranger. I settled deeper in the armchair, drew my coat closer round me and put my right hand in my pocket. I slipped back the safety catch of my pistol, and turned the barrel to cover the door. If a Soviet military patrol came in I would open fire without taking my hand out of my pocket.

    At last the lawyer came back, and held out a slip of paper to me. On it was an address, typewritten. I could not help wondering: ’Is that from prudence, or simply the German habit of always using the typewriter?’

    Suppressing a sigh of relief, I left the house. The streetcars and automobiles were noisy in the gray dusk of the winter evening. People were hurrying along on their way home; each one had somewhere to go. I felt a wretched feeling of loneliness. I drew my cap down over my eyes and plunged into the Underground.

    After a long journey and long wandering through unknown streets at night I found the address Herr Diels had given me: a villa on the outskirts of the city. Dr. von Scheer occupied quite a high position, and it was not easy for me to get a personal interview with him. When at last I was alone with him in his study and explained the reason for my visit he at once got down to business. He took a photocopy of a document from his desk drawer, and showed it to me. It stated that he had official relations with the Soviet central commandatura. I was confronted with all the familiar seals and signatures. I pulled such a face that he could not help smiling.

    “What surety have I that you’re not an agent of this... well, you know!” he asked. He winked and gave me a friendly slap on the knee.

    I could only shrug my shoulders.

    Dr. von Scheer proved to be a businesslike man. After a brief talk he agreed to have a chat with some Americans he knew, and asked me to call again in two days’ time. I went home wondering whether he was at that moment telephoning to the Soviet commandatura to inform them of my visit.

    Two days later I went to keep the appointment. I had very mixed feelings: hopes of success, and expectations of an ambush. He curtly informed me that his talks had been fruitless. The Americans didn’t wish to have anything to do with the matter. Evidently for the same reason: ’What surety have we...?’

    I thanked the doctor for his kindness, groped my way down the steps of his house, and strode through the darkness of Berlin. I could not use my automobile with its Soviet registration number, and I had to go home by streetcar. So once more I stood on the rear platform, surrounded by bustling people on their way home from work.

    At one of the stops close to the Control Commission a Soviet officer got on, and stood beside me. He was an elderly, benevolent-looking man, with a document-case. Evidently he had been detained in the Control Commission and so had missed the service omnibuses. At the sight of the familiar uniform I felt a touch of anxiety.

    Suddenly he turned to me and asked me some question in German. I answered in German. As I did so I felt a clutching at my heart. Here was the beginning of it all! I no longer trusted anybody; I did not even dare to admit that I was a Russian.

    As I changed from one streetcar to another I noticed a German policeman not far off. With no clear idea of what I had in mind I went up to him and asked where I could find the American consulate. He evidently guessed I was not a German, and shone his lantern over me from head to foot.

    In post-war Germany foreigners who were not wearing Allied uniform or did not possess an allied passport were beyond the legal pale. I had often seen such people wandering aimlessly about Berlin. The policeman evidently took me for one of these, and stared at me suspiciously. He was used to such individuals avoiding the police like the plague. “We don’t give such information,” he answered at last, and shone the lantern at me again, evidently half minded to ask me for my documents. It was well that he didn’t, for I would have been in an awkward predicament: German police were under orders to salute Soviet officers.

    The policeman walked away. I had a feeling of breathlessness in my chest. This incident marked the beginning of the road I had decided to follow. Where I was going I would have neither a pistol nor a valid document assuring me a place in life.

    As I opened the door of my Karlshorst apartment I heard the telephone ringing. I did not bother to answer. I didn’t want to see or speak to anybody. I felt that I must have time to think over all that had happened, and to consider the future.

    Once more I began my restless wandering from corner to corner. So my attempts to make contact with the Allies had been futile. It wasn’t so simple as I had thought. It had had one result: now I saw clearly that I had got to act at my own risk.

    In thus attempting to make contact with the Allies I had been concerned not so much with the formal aspect of the matter, as with its principle. I knew there was a secret agreement between the American military governor and the Soviet command, under which both parties bound themselves to hand over deserters. The British had been more far-sighted; they hadn’t made such an agreement. But this foresight was not much of a guarantee to a man who was familiar with the ways of the military secret service. Although I had been demobilized, and so could not be regarded as a deserter, I had nothing to show that I was a political émigré.

    The Soviet military authorities had ways of dealing with the situation in which I was placed. They simply made serious criminal charges against any Soviet citizen who attempted to flee, and demanded his extradition on the ground that it was international practice to hand over criminals. Close acquaintance with Lieutenant-Colonel Orlov, the S. M. A. chief military prosecutor, had enabled me to know a great deal about such matters.

    This explains why I attempted to make contact with the West before going over. It was a point that would occur to anyone. But this was only a superficial aspect of the problem, which confronted me. There was another, deeper aspect, which had not occurred to me until now.

    As I walked from corner to corner, reviewing my conduct during the past two or three days, what I had done began to seem an unpardonable stupidity. I simply must not lose all sense of reality. The powerful thought of my break with the past had dominated my mind too much. I had cut myself loose from my past life, and now I was like a blind kitten in a new world. My rejection of half the world had engendered the erroneous idea that the other half was immaculate. I must look the facts soberly in the face.

    I regarded myself as an engineer, and I had forgotten that I was an officer on the Soviet General Staff, one who had been trained in the highest of Kremlin schools. Even at this stage I could still make a triumphal return to Moscow, and travel abroad a month or so later to take a post in a military attaché’s office, to command a whole staff of secret agents, buying and selling those with whom I had just been seeking refuge. And I, who trusted nobody, was demanding trust in myself. Who would believe me, when I myself didn’t know what was going on within me? I was conscious of only one thing: a spring had snapped, and the former mechanism was useless. Had I any right to expect trust? I, an erring Stalin wolf-cub?

    As I strode about my room I heard the words: “An unforgivable stupidity, Comrade Klimov!” I started as I realized that I was talking aloud.

    To think of making contact with the Allies! It was just as well that nothing had come of it! I should know, better than most, the generally accepted rules of the secret war. The other side welcomed only those who had gained its confidence. I knew exactly how that confidence was to be won. A man was of interest to them so long as he brought some benefit. If he were regarded as stupid enough, he was used for propaganda purposes, and finally was flung on the rubbish heap. At times refugees are exchanged against agents who have been caught. It is all done quietly and without fuss. Was that the road I wanted to take?

    “You haven’t learnt my teaching well, Comrade Klimov!” I heard General Biyasi’s voice in my ears.

    I knew that the Soviet intelligence service often sends agents to the West in the guise of refugees. They are covered so well that they remain undiscovered for years. The West is fully aware of this trick. It is true that a Soviet instruction had laid down that, as a rule, people of Russian nationality were not recommended for such activities. On the one hand, Russians arouse suspicion at once; on the other hand, the Soviet regime trusts its own people least of all. But that was a detail the West did not know.

    My inward break with the world of lies had quickened a terrible longing for the truth. I sought trust. But what did I need their trust for? I wanted only one thing: to be left in peace. I had no idea what I should do next. All I had achieved so far was renunciation of the past. In my soul there was now a vacuum. I must have a breathing space in which to find new sense in life. I was slowly but surely coming to the decision that I must disappear, must lose my identity - until I had found a new identity.

    I had drawn a line beneath the past. But I had not thought of the future. My first attempt to make contact with the other world had compelled me to think of it. Now I tried to systematize all the possibilities open to me.

    As I was demobilized, I was freed from my oath, and by the rules of international etiquette I was free to go where I liked. I wanted to renounce my Soviet passport and become a stateless political émigré. Let me say that I would never advise any of my comrades to take such a step. If you wish to become a political émigré, you must renounce your Soviet passport, but not your country.

    That means that you renounce all legal support from a powerful state. You stand naked and disarmed in this imperfect world, which reckons only with him, who is strong, whether his strength consists in firearms, or money, or tanks. Today the Kremlin has raised the entire world against it. Concealing their distrust and fear, the people of the outside world will smile hypocritically and shake the hands of those who possess Soviet passports, but will vent their impotent feelings on you, the political émigré, because you haven’t one. That is one aspect political emigration.

    Life in a strange land is not easy. I have seen living examples In Berlin I frequently came across certain people who deserved the (utmost commiseration. They spoke Russian, but they were afraid to talk to me. Sometimes they minded my car while I was at the theater and were grateful when I gave them a packet of cigarettes. That is another aspect of political emigration.

    Until long after midnight I wandered about my room. The house was as still as the grave; Karlshorst was asleep. All around me was the infinite sea of an alien world. I felt its cold, indifferent breath. At last I lay down on my bed without undressing, thrust my pistol under the pillow, and fell asleep.

    IV

    Several more days passed. All this time I was living a double life. I spent the first part of the day in Karlshorst, handing over my work, putting my papers in order ready for the return to Moscow, receiving the congratulations and good wishes of my acquaintances. I had to give the impression that I was glad to be going home. I exchanged addresses, I promised to write from Moscow. During the second part of the day I wandered about wintry Berlin, visiting my German friends and cautiously sounding the ground. I must find out the road by which people went to the West.

    Day after day went by without result. The normal period of preparation for departure to Moscow was three days. I had already taken two weeks.

    As time passed it became increasingly difficult for me to play this double game. With every day my stay in Karlshorst grew more dangerous. I must reckon with the possibility of a showdown, and take pre-cautionary measures. Like many of the Soviet officers in Germany, I had quite a collection of trophy weapons. Now I thought of them, and took out a German automatic pistol from behind the cupboard. After loading it I hung it on the hat-rack at the door, and covered it with my greatcoat. Then I put several spare clips and a box of cartridges close at hand. This, in case there was an attempt to arrest me in my rooms. Next I loaded my large-caliber parabellum, my officer’s pistol, which I had kept from the front-line days.

    Next day I drove out of Berlin, stopped my car in a dense wood, and began to test my weapons methodically, as though engaging in firing practice. The brief bursts of the automatic shattered the frosty silence of the winter evening. The heavy bullets of the parabellum tore into the young pines. There must be no letdown! Anything you like, except being left helpless. I did not think much - I feared only one thing: a letdown.

    Each night, after my long and fruitless wanderings about Berlin, I would return home tired and depressed. I was sunk in apathy. Evidently there was nothing else for it but to go off on my own to the West, and hope to be lost in the flood of German refugees.

    I sat down at my desk. I had no desire for food or drink. But I terribly longed to have some living creature with whom I could share my thoughts. I felt utterly weary and exhausted. Suddenly I remembered that I had not cleaned my weapons after my drive to the woods. To escape from my thoughts I began to oil the pistol. That gave me some measure of relief.

    The night peered in at the window. My room was half in darkness. My only light was the desk-lamp, burning brightly beneath its shade. In the yellow light the oily pistol gleamed coldly. I stared without thinking at the lifeless metal. That gleam drew me, held my eyes.

    I tried to tear my gaze away, and looked about me. I caught sight of a dark, hunched figure standing on one corner of my desk. Just where light and darkness met a black monkey was crouching. Crouching and gazing at me.

    This large bronze statuette had been given me by one of my acquaintances. On a square pedestal of black marble were scattered rolls of parchment, books, retorts, the material symbols of human intellect. Over them crouched a repulsive black ape, squatting with an important air. It held a human skull in its hairy paws, and was staring at it with doltish curiosity. The sculptor had conveyed in bronze all the vanity of human wishes. I set the statuette on my desk, and took little notice of it as a rule.

    But now as I looked at the figure it seemed to stir. I felt mad with myself: was I beginning to suffer from hallucinations? I tried to think of other things, of the past. Once more I recalled the years of war, the Red Square, the Kremlin. Once more the intoxicated cry of inflamed emotion roared in my ears: “First of the first, among the finest of the finest.”

    “Tomorrow you will be last among the last, defeated among the defeated,” I heard a voice.

    Now I tried to think of the future. But before me opened a gray void. I saw that I had to renounce all my past life; I must lose my identity and vanish into the nothingness.

    Into the nothingness.... Perhaps there was an even simpler way of doing that. I looked at the shining barrel of my pistol, reached for it, and played automatically with the safety catch.... It was so simple....

    The emptiness of these days I was passing through pressed me down. All my life I had done my duty, even when I had doubted that it was my duty. I had regarded duty as being the result of faith in the infallibility of the fundamental principle, and had searched obstinately for that central core of rational existence. Today I was convinced that the principle was false. So what?

    Yet again my thoughts turned back to the past: I thought of the impatience with which I had looked to the end of the war, of the passion with which I had dreamed of peaceful life. And now, just when I could return to that peaceful life, just when my dreams would come true, I was throwing it all behind me and going off in the opposite direction. Why? I felt instinctively that the reason sprang out of the danger of a new war. I felt that otherwise I would have returned home despite everything and would have continued to share my joys and sorrows with my country. The possibility of a new war aroused deep and conflicting feelings in me. But where was the connection?

    There are feelings buried so deep in the heart that one cannot trust oneself to speak them out. I had the fate of Germany before my eyes. Now I felt convinced that a similar fate awaited my own country. I knew the criminals who were leading my country to perdition, and I did not wish to share in their crime. I was going out today in order to fight them tomorrow. I didn’t want to admit to these thoughts: they seemed like treachery. And yet to betray a traitor is to be faithful to the fundamental principle. To kill a killer is a praiseworthy deed.

    I lit another cigarette from the dying butt and flung myself back in my chair. I felt an unpleasant, bitter taste in the mouth. In the chilly silence the words beat through my head monotonously:

    ’It is not enough to love your country and freedom, you have to fight for them. Now you see no other possibility of fighting than to go over to the other camp and fight from there. That is your way back to your fatherland.’

    V

    On the seventeenth day I was issued my frontier pass. It was valid for three days, and before the end of the third day I must cross the Soviet frontier at Brest-Litovsk. Whatever happened, I could not remain more than another three days in Karlshorst.

    The dusk was settling in Berlin when, after another day of fruitless wandering, I decided to call on a German acquaintance, the director of a factory, which I had visited from time to time on official business. During these visits I had had many quite frank political conversations with him. That evening, too, we quickly turned to discussion of the future of Germany. I gave expression to my view that the Germans were too optimistic about it.

    “You underestimate the internal danger,” I said. “You’re blindly waiting for the end of the occupation. But even if the Soviet forces are withdrawn from Germany, there will be very little change in the situation. Before that time comes Germany will have been bound hand and foot, she will have been sold wholesale and on a long-term lease!”

    “By whom?” the director asked.

    “That’s what the Socialist Unity Party (S. E. D.) and the People’s Police are for.”

    I knew he had recently joined the S. E. D., and so my words could not be very pleasant for him to hear. He looked at me sidelong, was silent for a moment, then said slowly: “Many of the members of the S. E. D. and the People’s Police have different thoughts from what the occupation authorities would desire.”

    “So much the worse, if they think one thing and do another.”

    “At present we have no other way out. But when the decisive moment comes, believe me, the S. E. D. and the People’s Police will not do as Moscow hopes.”

    “I wish you success!” I smiled.

    After a momentary silence the director turned the conversation into another channel:

    “Well, and how are things going with you?”

    Weary and cold, I only waved my hand hopelessly and sighed:

    “I’m going back to Moscow....”

    He evidently caught the disillusionment in my tone, and stared at me in astonishment. “Aren’t you glad to be going back home? In your place I...”

    “I’m quite prepared to change places with you,” I retorted.

    He threw me another swift glance and interpreted my words to his own satisfaction. “So you like Germany more than Russia?” he asked.

    “I could do, if I were not a Soviet officer,” I replied evasively.

    “The victors are envious of the vanquished!” He shook his head thoughtfully. He rose and began to walk about the room.

    Suddenly he halted in front of me and asked:

    “Then why don’t you remain here?”

    “Where’s here?” I asked indifferently.

    “Why, go to one of the other zones!” he exclaimed. He made a vague gesture, surprised that I had not myself thought of such a simple idea.

    “But is that so simple?” I asked, pricking up my mental ears, but remaining outwardly unconcerned.

    For some time he said nothing. Then, apparently coming to a decision, he turned and said in a rather lower voice: “If you wish to remain in Germany there’s nothing simpler than to get across the green frontier.” (’Green frontier’ - a common phrase for crossing frontiers illegally. - Tr )

    I listened still more closely, and asked:

    “Maybe, but what is the American attitude to you if you do?”

    He made a contemptuous gesture. “Oh, spit on the swines! They’re no better than....” He bit his lip.

    I smiled involuntarily. I had the impression that this director, this member of the Socialist Unity Party, was prepared to go to any lengths to reduce the Soviet Army by just one fighting unit! I knew him well; I had no reason to suspect that he was acting as a provocateur. I sat silent. If he was so anxious to win me, let him talk a little more!

    “I have many acquaintances in Thuringia,” he went on. “If you like, I can give you letters of recommendation to people of trust. They’ll willingly help you to get to the other side.” "But how about documents?"

    He shrugged his shoulders: “Today every third man in Germany has false papers.”

    “Where can you get hold of them?”

    “I know a man who’ll be very glad to help you in that direction.” He smiled a little smile, and added: “And by the way, he’s an officer in the People’s Police.”

    Now I decided to show my hand. I changed my tone; my words sounded strong, almost harsh. “Herr Director, you must pardon my reserve. The question we’re discussing has been decided long since. If I hadn’t met you I’d have had no other choice but to make my own way to the West.”

    He was silent for a moment; then he said:

    “Even when I had only business relations with you I noticed that you were different from the others. They have only one word: ’Hand over! Hand over!’” (He used the Russian word: ’Davai! Davai!’)

    We got down to discussion of the details. He promised to provide me with documents in case I found it necessary to remain in Berlin and against the possibility of my being stopped on the road. After we had arranged to meet next day, I left his house and went into the street. It was still as dark and as bitterly cold as two hours before. But now I did not feel the cold; the air seemed to have a vital freshness to it.

    Next day I met him again. With true German reliability he set a German identity card on the desk in front of me. At the window a young, fair-haired German with a military carriage was standing. The director introduced us to each other. Two men in civilian dress shook each other’s hands, and clicked their heels from sheer habit. We filled in the identity card. A bitter smile crossed my face as I read my new name: my German sheepdog had had the same name. For the first time in my life I had my fingerprints taken. A German police seal was stamped over my photograph. I had a feeling that after stamping it the German looked at me with different eyes.

    The officer of the People’s Police went so far in his kindness as to say he would himself accompany me to the frontier. He had already obtained a few days’ leave, and would take the opportunity to visit relations in Thuringia.

    To provide against all contingencies I decided to take with me one of my old official authorizations for a visit to Thuringia, stating that I was traveling on a special commission for Marshal Sokolovsky. If the German police checked my papers on the road they would see Soviet documents and these had the same effect on them as a snake on a rabbit. If a Soviet patrol made a check, in the car would be a man who had lost his identity.

    We arranged that the police officer was to drive to a street just outside Karlshorst at one o’clock the next afternoon, and then would ring me up.

    As I was saying goodbye to the director, he asked me:

    “But tell me! Why, in reality, have you, a Soviet officer, decided to turn your back on the Soviet Union?”

    “On the same ground that you, a member of the S. E. D., have decided to help this Soviet officer,” I replied, warmly shaking his hand.

    VI

    Next day I sprang out of bed before daylight had fully come. I felt an unusual influx of strength and energy. Today, whatever happened, I had got to leave Karlshorst. Twenty days had passed since I had been given the fateful order. My frontier pass expired today, and before its close I must be in Brest-Litovsk. If I were found in Karlshorst, I would have great difficulty in explaining my presence. Every unnecessary minute that I remained here increased the danger.

    I had ordered a ticket and reserved a seat in the Moscow train. Be-fore I left Berlin I would call on the military commandant at the Schlesische station and register my departure. Now I must leave my apartment in a state indicating that I had gone back to Moscow. I made my final preparations. Lighting the stove, I destroyed the contents of my desk. An inexplicable feeling of freedom possessed me. Packets of documents, authorizations bearing the S. M. A. seal, flew into the stove. Photographs of myself were melted in flame: myself against the ruined Reichstag, among the marble statues of the Siegesallee, in the Tiergarten, with Marshal Zhukov and General Eisenhower on the Tempelhof airfield.

    Letters from dear and loved friends were consumed to ash. My last spiritual bonds with the past went up in smoke. I was seized with a passion for destruction. The feeling that I was cutting myself off from all my past life, together with the absolute emptiness of the future, left only one gnawing desire alive within me: to destroy everything with my own hands. It did not even occur to me that these documents and papers might be of use to me some time or other, that it might be better to put them somewhere in safe keeping. I was quite indifferent to what might happen to me in the future. Today I was a man who had lost his identity, a man without a past, without a name, without a native land.

    I sat down at my desk and wrote letters, which I intended to post in the Karlshorst post-box. In all probability I would never have another opportunity of writing to these people. Every letter consisted of only one brief sentence: ’Today I am traveling to Moscow’, together with a last greeting, and my signature. In all my personal letters my signature always clearly revealed the mood in which I had written. Today the signature was clear, firm, and sure, like a judicial sentence. It would tell the recipients everything.

    My mind went over all the possibilities of a failure in my plans, and all that must be done in each instance. I had enough weapons and cartridges. The one thing I knew for certain was that I would not be taken alive.

    I shaved and dressed with unusual care; I even scented my handkerchief. At that moment I realized why sailors have the custom of putting on their best underwear and uniform when going into battle. The long days of inner conflict, of tormenting search for a way out, the consciousness of continual danger, had left their traces. Now I felt that my nerves were strained to breaking point. I knew that sooner or later there would come a reaction, a discharge î tension. I must get to the frontier and across, and then I could lie down and close my eyes. There I would be indifferent to the entire world. One way or another, at that point I would be only a corpse, living or dead.

    I looked at the clock, and suddenly had the alarming thought; supposing my guide should change his mind, or was afraid to drive right up to the Berlin Kremlin? Then there would be nothing for it but to go out, thrust my hands in my pockets, and make my way westward with the aid of a map. But again I thought that it would all be settled today, and that comforted me.

    With my greatcoat flung round my shoulders I began to wander once more from corner to corner. The room was cold and empty. My footfalls sounded very loud on the bare floor. The clock struck twelve. Still another hour. I was emptied of all thought. I only waited for that ring.

    There was a sharp ring at the doorbell; the sound cut through the tense silence. I stood listening. For days I had not answered any telephone calls and had not opened the door to callers. The bell rang again: long, insistently. I put my right hand in my coat pocket and listened. The bell rang still more imperatively. With a deliberately unhurried step, my hand still in my pocket, I went to open it. I opened it with my left hand.

    In the gray twilight of the wintry day I saw a man in M. V. D. uniform. I stared at him with unseeing eyes, and felt my pistol barrel slowly lifting the lining of my pocket. The man stood silent and motionless. I made an effort and looked into his face. Then I realized that he was Andrei Kovtun. He did not enter as was his usual habit, but stood stock-still, as though he could not make up his mind.

    “May I come in?” he said at last.

    I did not answer. How had he known that I was still here? What had he come for? I did not want anybody to see my apartment at this moment; there was much in it that contradicted the impression of a man about to leave for Moscow. I looked at him again. All his face expressed an unusual, mute question.

    “Come in!” I said curtly. I placed myself so that he could go only to my study. He went ahead of me and tried not to look about him. His step was listless and irresolute. I glanced out at the staircase, then closed the door. My heavy pistol knocked against my thigh, so I shifted it to my tunic pocket.

    He dropped heavily into his usual chair. I had no idea what to say to him, and switched on the electric fire, simply for the sake of doing something. As I did so I glanced through the window, and noticed that his car was empty.

    “So you’re off?” he said in a peculiar tone.

    “Yes.”

    “When?”

    “Today.”

    “And so you didn’t want to say goodbye to me?”

    There was a painful silence. He did not expect any answer. He leaned his head against the back of his chair, stared up at the ceiling, then closed his eyes. He sat in his greatcoat and cap, not even drawing off his gloves. Only now did it occur to me that we hadn’t shaken hands.

    I glanced at the clock, at the telephone, then again at Andrei. I had not seen him often since our journey to Moscow. I had the impression that he was avoiding me. Now I realized how much he had changed since that time. His face was haggard, aged; the shining skin was drawn tightly across his forehead. His features were set in the expression common to people incurably ill. All his bearing expressed hopeless weariness.

    The minutes passed. He sat without stirring, his eyes closed. I stared through the window into the street, and aimlessly tapped my foot on the floor.

    “Am I in your way?” he asked quietly. For the first time I caught a tone of uncertainty, almost helplessness, in his voice. I felt a wave of pity for him. He was only the empty husk of a man. But I did not trust him; his M. V. D. uniform forbade that. I glanced out into the street again. If they were to come for me now, Andrei would get my first bullet.

    At that moment the doorbell sounded again. A short, uncertain ring. Only a stranger would ring like that. I went out and opened the door. Two small, mute figures were standing outside. I saw their white, childish faces, their hands blue with the cold. Refugee children.

    “Khlepa!” - the Russian word for bread sounded queerly distorted in the mouths of these German children. “Khlepa!” The word was quietly repeated. In their eyes was neither entreaty nor expectation, only childish helplessness. I felt a lump in my throat. These wretched figures seemed like a spectral premonition of that which awaited me.

    Without speaking I beckoned to them to enter, found my old military kitbag in the kitchen, and filled it with everything I could. They had difficulty in dragging it to the door. I saw them out.

    As I closed the door I heard a vague muttering behind me: “That wasn’t just chance.... That’s a sign....” I stared at Andrei in amazement. He drooped his head, avoiding my gaze, and whispered:

    “God sent them.”

    He dropped back into his chair. The clock said half-past twelve.

    I realized that I had not had anything to eat all the morning. I must have strength for whatever lay ahead. I cut some bread and butter, and forced myself to eat. I put a second plate in front of Andrei. As I leaned over the table I saw that his eyes were fixed on my coat. The greatcoat had swung open, and the butt of my pistol was poking out from my tunic pocket. I felt my mouth go dry.

    Before returning to the U. S. S. R. Soviet officers had to hand over all their weapons. Any attempt to smuggle a weapon across the frontier was sternly punished. A major in the State Security Service would know that best of all. I drew my greatcoat round me as casually as possible and gave him a sidelong look. There was no astonishment in his eyes; his face was quite tranquil. The hands of the clock crept nearer to the appointed hour.

    “In all probability we shall never see each other again.” Andrei broke the oppressive silence. His words were not said in a questioning tone, but rather as an answer to his own thought. “... And you didn’t want to say goodbye,” he added sorrowfully.

    I was silent; I pretended I had not heard his remark.

    “All my life I’ve never trusted you.” His words came slowly and quietly. “When I did begin to believe in you, you did not believe or trust me....”

    His words cut me to the heart, but I could not say anything in answer. I knew only one thing: in a moment the telephone would be ringing, and if anybody got in my way I would shoot.

    Again I caught myself wondering: how had he known I was still here, and that I was going today? During these latter days there had been many possibilities... Perhaps he had learnt the news in the course of his official duties? Perhaps in his pocket he had an order for my arrest? I forced that thought away from me, and got up and walked about the room.

    Andrei’s voice, the voice of a major in the State Security Service, came as an answer to my thoughts:

    “Don’t be angry at my coming here...”

    The clock ticked like falling drops of water.

    Quietly, almost inaudibly, he went on:

    “If I hadn’t come, others would have...”

    I wandered about the room, glancing from time to time at the clock.

    “Perhaps you’d like to borrow my car?” he asked.

    “No, thanks...”

    “So you’re going, and I remain.” He spoke again. “I can be of more use if I remain at my post... If you ever think of me, Grisha, then remember... I do what I can.”

    Once more the silence filled the chilly room-broken only by the clock ticking.

    “Won’t you give me something as a keepsake?” He spoke again. His voice sounded strangely unsure, almost unhappy.

    I looked round my empty room. My gaze rested on the black monkey crouching on the desk. I stared at it fixedly, as though expecting it to move.

    “Take that.” I nodded at the bronze statuette.

    “A black ape is sitting on the world,” he muttered. “And a man strives after the good, the pure... and then you see that it’s all filth...”

    The telephone bell rang out like a pistol shot. Unhurriedly I picked up the receiver. I heard the words in German:

    “The car is here.”

    “Very good!” I answered, also in German.

    “Well... now I’ve got to go.” I turned to Andrei.

    He rose heavily from his chair and went with a wooden step to the door. I followed him. With a forced movement, as though he was mortally weary, he drew his greatcoat down. The collar caught in the gold epaulette of his tunic. He stared at his shoulder, then pulled on his greatcoat so violently that the epaulette was ripped away.

    “The wings... of a slave!” the words sounded heavy and slow in the silence. They were uttered with such a depth of bitterness that involuntarily I shivered.

    “I wish you a good journey!” he said, and held out his hand. I took his hand and shook it. He stared into my eyes, tried to say some-thing, but only gave me another firm handshake and went down the stairs. I gazed after him, but he did not turn round.

    I stood listening until the sound of his car died away. Several minutes had passed. It was time I was going.

    I had already handed in the keys of my apartment, and now I had only to shut the door. For a moment I hesitated on the threshold, then slammed the door hard behind me. The lock clicked home. Now there was no way back.

    I turned and walked out of the house: to face the future.

    Sommaire https://seenthis.net/messages/683905
    #anticommunisme #histoire #Berlin #occupation #guerre_froide

  • Gregory Klimov. The Terror Machine. Chapter 17
    http://g-klimov.info/klimov-pp-e/ETM17.htm

    A Member of the Politburo

    Before me lies a yellowing sheet of coarse paper, which looks as though it has been torn out of one of my old school exercise books. Large writing, like a child’s, written in faint ink, which has been watered again and again.

    I have difficulty in reading the carefully formed letters written with a rusty nib: “My dear grandson... I am sitting by the light of a paraffin wick, just like it was in 1921, to write to you. The electricity is switched on for only two hours a day, and that not every day. I have pushed the table over close to the oven, where it is a little warmer. There’s a terrible draught coming from the window, though I’ve stopped up all the cracks with wool...”

    No electricity! No coal for the stove! And this two years after the victorious close of the war. And in the heart of the Donietz Basin, the richest coal field in Europe.

    Yet it is not suprising. Before the war the students at our Institute attended lectures all the winter in fur coats and fur caps. Our fingers froze, but we couldn’t put our hands in our pockets because we had to take notes. The boiler for the central heating of the Novocherkassk Industrial Institute was intended to burn Donietz anthracite, but now it was fueled with useless shale. We were amazed when we saw that the German periodical, Der Bergbau, which was in the Institute library, contained advertisements offering Donietz anthracite for export at cheap rates.

    A friend of mine, Vassily Shulgin, once achieved a temporary fame in the Faculty for Energetics. Somehow or other he got hold of an electrically heated airman’s suit, such as is used by arctic flyers. From the laboratory for electro-technics he obtained a transformer, which he placed under his desk, and it was easy enough to get hold of a long piece of cable. At one touch of a switch he became a celebrity. The first day he tried it out we were more interested in seeing whether he would go up in smoke and flames than in listening to our professor. To be on the safe side, one of his close friends brought in a fire extinguisher from the corridor and put it close to hand.

    Vassily’s triumph was a nine-days’ wonder. Sometimes he proudly switched off the heat, and then the freezing students realized that he was too hot. We were all as proud of that baggy figure on the backbench as if we had shared in his ingenuity.

    To the general consternation, one frosty morning in January he turned up in his old overcoat. When we insisted on knowing the reason why he curtly replied that the works had gone wrong. He confided the bitter truth to only a few intimate friends. He had been summoned to the Special Department, the N. K. V. D. representative in the Institute, where he was ordered to stop his ’anti-Soviet demonstration’; otherwise his case would be passed to the ’requisite organs’. To tell the truth, the Special Department showed him a great favor in this instance. Here were all the students freezing and suffering in silence, and one of them tried to get warm: counter-revolutionary agitation and undermining socialist economy!

    That sort of thing continued all through the years before the war. That was the system. The people simply got used to it and didn’t even notice it.

    Now, after the war, the Germans were freezing in their unheated homes. Naturally they cursed the Soviet officers, who had no need to count every briquette. But it did not occur to them that in Russia these same officers’ families were freezing even more than the Germans.

    "... But I keep going. I’m on my feet all day; I manage all the housework. It’s a pity I haven’t got much strength, and my old bones ache. I can have only sweet tea, with a biscuit sometimes dipped in it. I only have two teeth left and I can’t chew anything.

    “Your mother goes off to work every morning at seven. In the evening she can hardly crawl home with the aid of a stick; she helps herself along by the fences. It isn’t so much that she’s tired with work as her nerves. Everybody’s so irritable, they swear at the least thing and won’t listen to you. She’s afraid to go to the post now to get your parcels. Robbers are on the lookout for people receiving parcels from Germany, and they break into their homes at night and kill the people. And in the daytime young boys - ’craftsmen’ - hang around the post office and snatch the parcels in broad daylight.”

    Mention of the ’craftsmen’ recalled to my mind the Molotov automobile works in the town of Gorky. I worked there at the beginning of the war, and I saw these so-called ’craftsmen’, the young recruits to the Soviet proletariat. Soviet industry began to experience difficulty in getting new hands, because the Soviet youth were not prepared to become ordinary workers, so the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet issued a decree: ’On the mobilization for factory-works and crafts schools’. In these schools millions of adolescents between the ages of fourteen and seventeen were enrolled.

    At Gorky these ’craftsmen’ attending the trade school attached to the works ate in the canteen. Their food was poor enough, but it was better than that issued to the older workers; after all, adolescents are not so class-conscious as adults and you can’t feed them only on slogans. In addition, many of the ’craftsmen’ were sent food from the villages where most of them had been recruited. So some-times they left their rations, and even, boy-like, littered the inedible food about the tables.

    As soon as the ’craftsmen’ had left the dining hall the workmen rushed in for their meal. Some of them hurried to the queue for food; others sat down at the table, for otherwise they would not have got a place until the more energetic proletarians had eaten; others went to the tables and surreptitiously ate the remains which the youngsters had left.

    On one side of the hall was a small room from which came the smell of eggs and bacon. That room was the canteen for the factory management: the director, the Party organizer, and other leaders. The workers were not particularly envious of the leaders; the bosses changed so often that the workers hardly had time to remember their names. And they were just as little interested in their further activities after they had gone. The workers knew that the stork brought them and the crow, the black N. K. V. D. prison van, took them away.

    During those war years a group of British sergeants and technicians worked at the Gorky Automobile Works, supervising the assembly of tanks sent to the U. S. S. R. under lend-lease. Of course they got a very favorable impression of the works.

    “... Yesterday your mother bought two glasses of Indian corn in the market. I crushed them in a mortar and we’ve been having maize porridge. It would have been very tasty if we could have got some butter to go with it. But it is cold now and the peasants aren’t bringing much to market. Potatoes, peas and milk are dear, and we mustn’t even think of meat or butter.” Here followed several lines blacked out by the censor.

    Two glasses of maize....

    In the early spring of 1945 I graduated from the Military College, and as I had exemption in certain subjects, I got through my state examination quickly and managed to obtain a week’s leave. I spent this at home, on the pretext that I was carrying out official duties in my home district. I went to the Kazan railway station in Moscow and, with a rucksack on my back, wandered about trying to find a way of getting a seat in a train. That was pretty hopeless, for some-times people tried for weeks, and even then had to give it up. I began to study the layout of the station, to see whether I could get a seat by a trick. My only advantages were that I had no heavy luggage, but plenty of youthful energy and all a Soviet citizen’s experience in such matters.

    “Brother, if I’m not mistaken you’ve got a T-T.” I heard a hoarse deep voice behind me, and a powerful hand clapped me on the shoulder. I looked round and saw a brawny sailor in the usual black blouse, his cap thrust to the back of his head. Despite the cold, his shirt was wide open at the chest, and his breast was gay with all the decorations of a sailor’s life; he was tattooed right up to his chin. One of those who ’don’t care a damn for anybody’ and always fall on their feet. He smiled at me as if we were old acquaintances and pointed to my pistol holster.

    “Yes, it’s a T-T. What about it?” I asked.

    “What train are you going by? The 11: 20?” he inquired. When I said yes, he gave me an even broader grin. “Well, then, everything’s okay! Let’s go!”

    “Go where?”

    “When I say ’let’s go’, we go! You keep in my wake. Have you just dropped out of the moon, brother?” my new relation demanded. To sailors all men are brothers.

    We went out of the station, crawled in the darkness over a roof or two, and through some fences. At last we reached the farther side of the station and the tracks. Guards were patrolling the platforms. Like diversionists we stole up to a train standing on the lines. All the carriages were locked.

    “Now let me have your T-T, brother,” the sailor ordered.

    “You’re not going to shoot?”

    “Of course not! You hold the magazine. And now look: here’s your railway ticket to the entire world.”

    He drew back the pistol hammer, and fixed it by the safety catch. Then he thrust the barrel into the carriage door lock. One turn and we were inside.

    “I’ve used this ticket more than any other,” my ’brother’ proudly explained, as he handed the pistol back to me. After that I, too, had more than one occasion to exploit this unusual means of unlocking carriage doors.

    On the threshold of my home I halted and looked about me. All the walls were sinking and slanting; the fences had gone; they had all been used for fuel. One could walk right through the town from house-yard to house-yard unhindered. As I opened the rickety door, with its rusty hinges and ingenious latch, I had very mixed feelings. In my heavy boots I stepped prudently over the creaking floorboards in the kitchen. Everything was rickety, neglected, rotting, like the old cottage in the fairy-story. I had to stoop to avoid knocking my head against the lintel as I passed into the next room.

    In one corner of the room, a little, hunched old woman in an apron was sitting by the stove. At one time she had carried me in her arms; now I could have picked her up with ease. Her gray hair was neatly arranged under her white kerchief, she had the same old shawl round her shoulders. At the sound of the door being opened she turned.

    “Grisha!” That one brief word conveyed all the experiences of the long war years: her hopes, her fears, her expectations and joys.

    “Granny!”

    I put my arms round her shoulders; I was afraid she would fall. We remained standing a long time, with her head pressed against my chest; she wept like a little child, but they were tears of joy. I gently stroked her back under her old flannel blouse. I felt her fragile bones, and was afraid my rough hands would hurt her.

    “Where’s mother?” I asked.

    “She’s at work. She gets home at six.”

    “I’ll send a boy to tell her I’m home,” I suggested as I took off my greatcoat.

    “No, don’t, Grisha! For God’s sake!” my old grandmother murmured fearfully. “She’ll be so glad she’ll leave her work and come home, and then they may take her to court.”

    I felt my collar suddenly grow tight as the blood rushed to my head and roared in my ears. So that was how a Soviet mother was allowed to welcome her soldier son after four years of separation!

    My mother came home from work late in the evening. Granny had prepared a festive table in honor of my homecoming. She proudly brought out a tiny tin of honey and set it on the table, then a tiny medicine bottle of homemade cherry wine. When I went to my rucksack and began to hand out all kinds of cans of American preserves my mother’s eyes lit up with joy and relief. They were both hungry, but that was not so bad as the realization that they had nothing to make a feast for their son who had come safely home after a long absence. Now they had American cans of conserves on the table!

    Whenever Russian people hear mention of the words ’lend-lease’ they think of cans piled up like mountains. Those cans were to be found in the wildest and loneliest parts of the famous Bryansk forests, in the marshes of Leningrad, wherever the Soviet army passed.

    Russia is undoubtedly a very rich agricultural country, with inexhaustible natural resources. Yet from 1942 to 1945 that country lived and fought exclusively on American products. We officers were all profoundly convinced that we could have held out without American tanks and planes, but we would have died of starvation without the American food. Ninety percent of the meat, fats, and sugar consumed in the Soviet army was of American origin, and almost the same can be said of life in the rear. Even the beans and the white flour were American. The one article of Soviet origin was the black bread - apart, of course, from water.

    A word or two on water. People in Moscow seriously believed that the American embassy received even water in cans from America. Probably this was due to the amount of grapefruit and other fruit juices the Americans drank from cans. After the war it was said that the Kremlin had provided itself with American foodstuffs for many five-year plans ahead.

    There was one time at the beginning of 1948 when all the shops in all the large Soviet cities were stocked to the ceiling with sacks of coffee beans. Before the war coffee in the bean had been a luxury article in the Soviet Union. But now all the empty shelves of the shops were stocked with sacks bearing foreign inscriptions in red paint. Coffee to be bought off the ration, at 500 rubles a kilo! At that time bread cost 150 rubles a kilo on the free market.

    The people began to buy the coffee by the sack. It wasn’t that the Russians had acquired a foreign taste. Not at all! They cooked the beans, threw the fragrant liquor away, then dried the beans, pounded them in a mortar or a coffee-grinder, and made bread of the flour. Bread from coffee! Previously they had played the same sort of trick with mustard powder! Bread from mustard!

    During the war all the metal utensils in the U. S. S. R. were made from American cans. It will be many years before the Russians forget those cans with their labels: ’pork meat’.

    In an endeavor to diminish the effect of this propaganda by food conserves, the rumormongers of the N. K. V. D. spread stories that the Americans were canning the flesh of South American monkeys to send to the Soviet Union.

    "... Dear Grisha, perhaps you have a cup or something of the sort where you are. I broke mine recently and haven’t any thing to drink my tea out of. If you can send me one I shall be very glad and will always think of you when I drink my tea, my dear boy.

    "You always sew up your parcels in very good canvas, and we don’t throw it away, we make towels from it. Don’t be annoyed with us if we ask you for anything, you’re all we have in the world. I live only for your letters. And I haven’t much longer to live.

    “Keep well, my dear boy. Look after yourself. Granny.”

    I got hold of a sack in which to pack a parcel. I stuffed it full with ladies’ lace underwear, silk stockings, lengths of material, until it weighed the permitted 10 kilograms. In the very center I packed several china cups. And what else could I put in? They needed absolutely everything. They would sell what I sent and buy meat, and would go on wearing rags. You can’t fill a bottomless barrel.

    That evening I had planned to go out, but granny’s letter robbed me of all inclination. I sat at my desk, and scenes from my past life arose before my eyes.

    II

    1921. At that time I was quite an infant. Perhaps the only memory I have is of the jackdaws. Daws hopping about the floor, in the light of the paraffin lamp. One of them was dragging its wing awkwardly, leaving a trail of blood. The lamp flickered, the dark corners were very mysterious, and wretched daws hopped about the floor.

    In the winter they flew about in great black flocks. When they flew over the roofs in the evening dusk, the people said as they heard them call: “That’s a sign of frost. It’ll be still colder tomorrow.” Raspberry streaks left by the sunset on the horizon, the lilac, frosty mist, and the calling daws. They settled like bunches of black berries on the bare poplars in the orchards, and chattered away before retiring to rest.

    My uncle thought of very ingenious ways of getting close to the daws with his gun. Normally they won’t let you come anywhere near. But he went hunting them to shoot them for a ragout. I’ve forgotten what it tasted like. Older people say it doesn’t taste any worse than ragout made from other wild birds. Every wildfowl has its own specific flavor.

    In those days children wrapped in rags sat in the snow in the street and silently held out their hands. They no longer had the strength to ask for ’bread’. If you returned that way a few hours later you found they were no longer holding out their hands: they were frozen corpses.

    People don’t remember 1921 to any extent nowadays. It was followed by many other years, which have been fixed more definitely in the mind. 1921 was something quite elemental, the result of war and the post-war ruin. So it did not seem so terrible.

    1926. The later years of the New Economic Policy. “The period of temporary retreat in order to organize a decisive advance along the entire front,” as we can read in the History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

    In those days, when my father gave me ten kopecks I was a rich man and could satisfy all my childish desires. The years 1925 and 1926 were the only time in all the existence of the Soviet regime when the people did not think of bread.

    I don’t remember tsarist Russia. People of my generation regard the NEP period (New Economic Policy - involved a partial return to free market exchange of commodities. - Tr.) as the equivalent of a normal and affluent life. I heard various stories told by older people, but at this time I was a Young Pioneer and was more interested in playing a drum. Some museum-piece of an old man would throw his arms wide and say rapturously and regretfully: “Under Nicholas a dried fish that size cost three kopecks; and now....” He swallowed back his spittle and waved his hand resignedly.

    1930. 1 was attending school. The name of the school was changed every three months; the curriculum changed accordingly. I was not greatly interested-1 hadn’t time to be, for I spent most of the day queuing for bread. Queues stood outside the bakers’ shops day and night. Six hundred, seven hundred... Often the number written in indelible ink on my hand was over the 1, 000.

    We boys regarded it all as a kind of game. When the cart drove up to the shop and the loaves were unloaded there was a bit of a riot. Women screamed as they were half crushed to death, one heard curses, groans, and tears. Meanwhile we boys tried to find a way into the shops through a window or some other opening. In other countries the children played ’Red Indians’, but we fought for our lives to get bread. That was how the youthful builders of socialism were reared, that was how the steel was tempered.

    We went to school in two shifts; it was as cold inside the building as outside. It was much more pleasant in the street, where you could run and keep yourself warm. What point was there in our teacher telling us stories of the Paris Commune? We stormed not the Bastille but the bakers’ shops.

    1932. General collectivization. People starved to death, their bodies lay about the streets. The living had difficulty in dragging themselves about, for their legs were swollen with famine dropsy.

    My elder brother, who was in the Young Communists, was called up to perform special duties. He and his comrades were given weapons, and they mounted guard all night over the church, which was being used as a transit camp for prisoners. There were not enough prisons; there were not enough guards. Of an evening, hundreds of ragged men and women peasants, arrested as kulaks, were driven into the church. Mothers carried babes in arms. Many of the prisoners could hardly shift their feet. The youngsters who had been issued arms went hungry to the church to guard hungry people.

    Each morning the ragged class enemies were driven on northward. Many dead bodies were left lying on the stone flags inside the church. So far as they were concerned, the problem of liquidating the kulaks as a class was already solved.

    Winter passed, spring arrived. The campaign for collecting the State grain fund began. The peasants were baking bread made from tree bark, but men armed with pistols demanded that they should hand over corn for the spring sowing. During the winter the peasants had eaten tree bark, cats, dogs, even horse dung. Cases of cannibalism were not unknown. Nobody can say how many millions of people died of hunger in 1933: possibly one-third or one-fourth of the agricultural population of southern Russia.

    During the summer the few half-savage dogs still left alive wandered through the deserted villages, devouring human flesh. First man ate dog, and then dog ate man. Many fields were left uncultivated; there was nobody to harvest those that were sown.

    Day after day we scholars of the higher classes were driven out to harvest these fields. The road ran past the town cemetery. Each morning as we went to work we saw dozens of deep, freshly dug pits. When we returned in the evening they had been filled and leveled with the ground. Some of the more inquisitive scholars tried digging up the loose soil with their boots.

    They lost their curiosity when they came upon human hands or feet beneath the shallow layer of earth. Sometimes as we went past the cemetery we saw swollen corpses being thrown from carts into the pits; they had been brought from prisons and hospitals. The wild steppe grass rapidly covered these graves, and nobody will ever know the exact cost of that resounding word ’collectivization’.

    The artificial famine of 1932 - 1933 was a political measure taken by the Politburo; it was not an elemental disaster. The people had to be shown who was the master. The decision was taken in the Kremlin; the result was the loss of millions of human lives. From that time hunger became a new, full member of the Politburo.

    Yet at that same period the Soviet government was dumping! They offered wheat at very cheap prices, much cheaper than the world market price. The principle was simple: grain taken from the collectivized Soviet peasant at 6 kopecks a kilo was sold to the Russian workers at 90 kopecks a kilo. In such circumstances it was easy enough to indulge in dumping.

    The Soviet Union offered its grain at knockdown prices on the world market. The greedy capitalists rushed to buy it. But the Canadian and Australian farmers started to burn their grain, while the Moscow radio howled in delight: “Look what is happening in the unplanned capitalist world.” But after burning their grain the Australians and Canadians had no money to buy the British industrial goods, consequently British factories began to close down and unemployment increased. The British workers had no money to buy the cheap Russian grain.

    But over the sea, in the marvelous land where communism was being built, there was no unemployment, and bread was so cheap that it was being sold abroad for next to nothing. And so there was a wave of strikes and revolutionary movements in the West. “The revolution is continuing. Comrades,” they said in the Kremlin, rubbing their hands.

    In Denmark the pigs were fed on cheap Russian sugar. In the U. S. S. R., people drank their tea with the sugar on the table to look at, or on Sundays and holidays they nibbled a knob as they sipped their tea. The Soviet workers and peasants went hungry, but there was money enough for financing capital construction, while machine tools and machinery were imported. Heavy industry increased proportionately to the rest of the country’s economy. The workers and peasants were told that heavy industry would make the machinery for light industry, and this in turn would make cloth and boots. But meanwhile tanks and aeroplanes were the chief production. There was nothing to be done about it: it was all due to the capitalist encirclement.

    Now there was no room for bourgeois sentimentality. Statistics show that fertility and population increase are in inverse proportion to the living conditions. The worse people live, the swifter they multiply. On the one hand there are India and China, where thousands die of hunger every year, but where millions are born in their place. On the other, the well-fed, enervated countries in the decline of civilization, such as France and Britain, with their falling fertility curve, and where the age-groups past the prime of life play a predominant part. Given these circumstances, Stalin had no need to fear the consequences of the famine policy; whatever happened, he was assured of soldiers and labor. In every respect the State would show an active balance.

    September 1939. Signature of the Hitler-Stalin Pact of Friend-ship. Trainload after trainload of Soviet grain, Soviet butter, Soviet sugar steamed off to Germany. Simultaneously all these articles disappeared from the Soviet shops, which in any case had never had any remarkable stock of them.

    To explain the change of political course the N. K. V. D. rumormongers spread the story that Ribbentrop had brought to Moscow the photocopy of a document, which had been signed by fourteen foreign powers. These powers had offered Hitler aid if he attacked the U. S. S. R. Hitler preferred our friendship: we desire peace. But for that we have got to pay!

    1941. War. Hunger passed into its final, perfected form. The ration-card system. No longer under-nourishment, but out-and-out starvation. In the winter of 1941-2 a kilo of potatoes cost 60 rubles on the free market: the equivalent of a week’s wage. A kilo of butter cost 700 to 800 rubles: three months’ wages. The worker received sufficient on the ration card to keep him on his feet and capable of working. In practice the main, indeed the only food issued was bread - 600 grams daily-the same bread that caused the German prisoners of war to suffer from gastric ulcers and to die off like flies.

    One day I had called on the director of the Lenin radio factory, to discuss some business. A knock at the door interrupted our conversation. His secretary put in her head and reported: “Serdiukova is here; is she to come in or wait?”

    Serdiukova came nervously into the room. Her face was dirty, and it was difficult to tell her age. She was wearing a black, greasy jacket, and her stockings were of sailcloth; she had men’s boots on her feet. She stood at the door, silently waiting. Her expression seemed despondent, yet indifferent, stamped with the apathy of infinite weariness.

    “Why didn’t you come to work yesterday, Serdiukova?” the director asked. “To stay away’s a serious crime, punishable under war legislation. You know what the punishment is for it.”

    “I was ill, Comrade Director. I couldn’t get out of bed,” she answered in a hoarse voice. She shifted from foot to foot. A pool of water formed on the parquet; it was dripping off her boots.

    Absence from work without good reason involved the punishment of forced labor even in peacetime. In wartime it might bring ten years’ imprisonment, on a charge of sabotaging war industry.

    “Have you got a doctor’s certificate?” the director asked.

    “No. I hadn’t anyone to send for the doctor. As soon as I could get up I came to work.”

    Serdiukova was one of those typical Russian women who uncomplainingly endure all the difficulties of life, who accept every-thing as inevitable, as sent from above. In this silent humility there is a kind of religious quality. It is not weakness; it is a source of the Russian’s enormous spiritual strength.

    As I looked at her I recalled an old soldier who was returning from hospital to the front after the latest of his many wounds. As he carried a machine-gun tripod on his back he quite calmly gave expression to his secret desire: “Ah, if only I had lost an arm or a leg! Then I’d be going back to my village.” I was shocked not so much by his words as by the composure with which he said them, his genuine readiness to lose an arm or a leg in exchange for return home. Yet he was an exemplary soldier.

    “You must know the law,” the director went on. “Absent without good reason. I’ll have to send your case to court.”

    She began to mutter in a broken voice: “But, Comrade Director! ... Day after day, fourteen hours at the bench... I haven’t the strength... I’m sick...”

    “I can’t help it. It’s the law. We’re all sick like that.” Her face twisted with anger. “You’re all sick like that?” she shouted, stepping closer to his desk. “But have you ever seen this?” Tears streamed down her face as, in an uncontrollable impulse of fury, she snatched up the edge of her skirt. She was no longer a human being, no longer a woman, but a creature mastered by the courage of despair. “All of you? All as sick as this?”

    I saw her white body, all the whiter against the gray background of the office wall. She did not have a woman’s shapely legs, but two deformed pillars with no curve to the calves, with the knees touching. Two garters of red automobile inner tubing cut deeply into the swollen mass of her bluish flesh.

    “Have you ever seen that. Comrade Director? Have you got legs like this?” she screamed, beside herself with indignation and shame. “For five months I’ve not had a period. I’ve dropped unconscious at the bench again and again....”

    “Is there really nothing to be done?” I asked him when she had gone.

    “What can I do?” he answered, and stared hopelessly at the papers on his desk. “Half the women are like that. Pills are of no use in such cases.”

    “I don’t mean that. I mean referring it to the court. Can’t you overlook it?”

    “Concealment of absenteeism is punished as heavily as absenteeism itself. If I overlook this case the N. K. V. D. will put us both inside. You can’t hide anything from Luzgin,” he answered.

    I had not made Luzgin’s acquaintance, but I had heard a great deal about him. He was the head of the works Special Department: the eyes and ears of the Party.

    While working in the town of Gorky I was crossing Sverdlov Square one day in March. There were puddles of snow and mud lying in the roadways. Just in front of me two young girls, probably students, with document-cases under their arms, were trudging through the water. Suddenly one of them dropped her case; it fell into the muck of the sidewalk and flew open.

    Books and exercise books were scattered in the mud. The girl took a few staggering steps towards the wall of the nearest house, but then her legs gave way under her, and she slowly sank to the ground. Her blue kerchief slipped off, the strands of her chestnut hair were mingled with the melting snow and mud. She had a deathly white face, with blue under the eyes. She had fainted.

    Her friend hurried to her aid. One or two passers-by helped to pick her up and carry her to the gateway of the nearest house. The crowd excitedly asked her friend what had happened, but she answered in some embarrassment: “It’s nothing, only a faint.” An elderly woman in huge boots asked her: “Where’ve you come from? From the center?” Without waiting for the answer she began to lament with all the commiseration of a simple woman: “Poor kids! You’re hungry, hardly able to stand on your feet, yet you’re giving your last drop of blood. You can’t go on like this. You’ll be in your grave before long.”

    A large proportion of the donors attending the blood-transfusion centers consisted of girl students and mothers with little children. In exchange for 450 cubic centimeters of blood they received 125 rubles, which would buy not quite a kilo of black bread. After each transfusion they received an extra ration card entitling them to 200 additional grams of bread each day for a month. They also received one supplementary ration consisting of 250 grams of fat, 500 grams of meat and 500 grams of sugar. These mothers and girls knew their patriotic duty well enough, they knew the blood was for their husbands and brothers at the front. But it was chiefly hunger that drove them to the centers. The mothers tried to feed their hungry children at the price of their own blood; the students preferred to sacrifice their blood rather than their bodies.

    Special letter blanks were obtainable at the blood transfusion centers, and many of the girl donors used these to send letters to the front, to the soldiers for whom they were donating their blood. Frequently these letters marked the beginning of a correspondence and friendship. After the war there were quite a number of cases of the writers meeting and marrying: a marriage sealed in blood.

    In the center of the town of Gorky there is a square: ’The Square of the Victims of 1905.’ One side of the square is bounded by the walls of an old prison, in which the heroes of Gorky’s novel The Mother were imprisoned. On the opposite side is the Municipal Opera and Ballet Theater.

    One evening I stood with a group of comrades in the foyer during an interval. Dancing was going on in the hall, to the music of an orchestra. A slim, good-looking girl dancing with an officer attracted my notice. Her slender form was clothed in a gray dress of matt silk; her hair was arranged in a simple yet original style. Her toilet and all her bearing indicated her good taste, and a sense of her own value.

    “Who is that girl?” I asked a comrade who was well acquainted with life in the town.

    “A student, she’s in the last year of the medical faculty,” he answered curtly.

    “An interesting girl,” I said.

    “I’d advise you not to go running after her.”

    “Why, what’s wrong?”

    “I just advise you not to, that’s all!” He would not say more.

    His words aroused my curiosity, and I asked another acquaintance the same question.

    “The girl in gray?” he said, taking a glance at her. “If you’re interested in knowing her for a night, it’s very simple: one can of conserves or a loaf of bread.”

    I stared at him incredulously. I was fond of student life, and still thought of myself as belonging to it. His words seemed like a personal insult. In pre-war days the students had been the morally cleanest and most spiritual group in society. Could one year of war have brought about such a change?

    “Don’t talk bosh!” I retorted.

    “It’s not bosh, it’s the mournful truth. She lives in a hostel, in one room with five other friends. They have two or three visitors every night. Chiefly officers. Who has anything to spare these days, apart from officers?”

    Before the war there was practically no prostitution in the Soviet Union. The average Soviet man’s budget did not include this item of expenditure. There was only prostitution for political purposes,

    under N. K. V. D. protection, in the neighborhood of the Intourist hotels and restaurants and wherever foreigners congregated. And some commerce in human bodies went on, to a small extent, among the higher circles of the new ruling class, who had the means to buy such articles.

    But now, during the war, hunger was driving women on to the street. Not for silk stockings, Parisian perfumes, or luxury articles. Only for bread or a can of preserves. And worst of all, the first victims were the students, who would form the future Soviet intellectual and professional classes. They paid a high price for their higher education.

    Two old men, Nikanor and Peter, were employed in the constructional department of Factory No. 645. They had both been pensioned off long before, but hunger had driven them back to work, for they found it impossible to live on their pensions. At one time Nikanor had been a well-known engineer aircraft constructor.

    Before the First World War he had worked at the Bleriot works in France, where he had helped to build the first aeroplanes in the world. He had known all the fathers of Russian aviation personally: Zhukovsky, Sikorsky, and Piontkovsky. Under the Soviet regime he had worked hard in the field of aviation and was proud of his many letters of congratulation and praise, his awards, and newspaper cuttings in which his name was mentioned. Now he was only a helpless ruin of a man. He had been taken back into the works mainly out of pity, for he was really too old to work.

    From early morning Nikanor and Peter would sit at a table in a. quiet corner and barricade themselves off with a drawing board, while they talked about all the various kinds of food they had had in their long lifetime. Every day they told each other of some new dish, which they had recalled, out of the mist of the years. Thus they sat, hour after hour, day after day, capping each other’s stories, and Sometimes even quarreling over the method of preparing some sauce or the details of a recipe for mushrooms: The other members of their department thought them a little funny in the head.

    One day I happened to overhear Nikanor complaining to Peter: “This is the third day I’ve gone without porridge. We’ve eaten all the mallows in our street, and I shan’t find any more anywhere else. Porridge made from mallows is very tasty, I assure you, Peter. Just like sucking pig with chestnut stuffing. Now I shall have to look up the books again; they say there are other edible roots to be found.”

    Two hours before the midday break Nikanor took a pocket watch on a heavy silver chain, two more tributes to past services, out of his waistcoat pocket and laid them on the desk before him. Every few minutes he looked expectantly at the slowly moving hands. Fifteen minutes before the break he began to rummage through his drawers in search of his spoon and fork. Then he made sure his goloshes were firmly over his boots. All this was in preparation for the start, for at the age of seventy he was not very fit for the coming race. At last he even obtained permission from the factory management to go to dinner five minutes before time.

    After all these preparations he trotted across the yard to the dining hall, with one hand holding his pince-nez on his nose. There he would have his dinner: a first course of boiled green tomatoes, and a second course of water-gruel made from oatmeal, and without seasoning - a serving only sufficient for a cat. He scraped his aluminum plate thoroughly, licked his spoon carefully, then back to work - and after work the search for edible roots.

    1944. The Soviet army struck like a battering ram at the most important sectors of the German front. Soviet territory was almost completely freed of German troops. The tank wedges thrust towards the frontiers of the Reich. The soldiers in the reserve regiments waited impatiently to be sent to the front - not out of patriotism, but simply because of hunger. In the reserve regiments the rations were so low that many of the men went rummaging in the dustbins in search of cabbage leaves or a frozen potato.

    “The way to the soldiers’ hearts lies through their stomachs,” Napoleon said. Stalin modernized the remark to meet his own needs. In the Soviet army there were twelve ration standards: front ration No. 1, front ration No. 2; immediate rear ration No. 1, immediate rear ration No. 2; and so on, down to the twelfth, called the sanatorium ration. Only the first and last of all these ration scales could be regarded as normal; the others simply connoted various stages of hunger.

    The difficulties of wartime! Again and again I have tried to find this justification for all the misery that was to be seen at every step. I was a Soviet officer; I should know what I sent men into battle for. In those days I often asked myself what would happen after we had driven the last German off our soil. Everything as before? I had no wish to recall the ’heroic workdays of socialist construction’. In Soviet Union hunger has been elevated into a system. It has become a means of influencing the masses; it is a full member of the Politburo, a true and faithful ally of Stalin.

    Leningrad. It is a proud name. I was there shortly after the city was freed from the blockade. Nobody knows the exact total of victims from hunger during the siege. As the Germans advanced, all the inhabitants of the surrounding countryside flocked into the city, swelling its population to almost eight millions. At least three million died of hunger.

    One day I and another officer were walking along the shore of a lake just outside Leningrad. Right beside the water was a small cemetery; young grass was growing among the neglected graves. A block of red granite attracted my attention. ’Flight-Lieutenant... died the death of a hero in the battle for the city of Lenin.’ I read the inscription carved in the stone.

    “Lucky blighter!” said my companion, who had taken part in the defense of the city from the very beginning. “Those who have survived the blockade are only husks of men today.”

    “I’m a passive murderer,” another inhabitant of the city once told me. “I saw a man lying in the snow in the street; he had fallen and was too weak to get up. He asked me to help him; otherwise he’d freeze to death. But I couldn’t, I’d only have fallen myself and been unable to get up again. I’d only have frozen at his side. I staggered on, leaving him to freeze in the snow.”

    I would give every citizen of Leningrad the highest decoration possible. Since the days of Troy, history knows no similar case of mass civic heroism. Was it all a strategic necessity, or simply a question in which Stalin’s prestige was involved?

    ’When one man dies, it is a tragedy; when millions die, it’s only statistics.’ Especially when the death of millions is contemplated from behind the Kremlin walls.

    Shortly before the end of the war I traveled back to Moscow from Leningrad by train. At every station, every wayside halt, crowds of ragged women were standing with children in their arms. The infants’ faces were translucent, bluish white, their eyes were glittering with hunger, and their faces were aged, joyless, and serious. Other children stretched out their thin hands and asked for ’Bread, bread!’

    The soldiers undid their rucksacks and silently handed their rations of hard tack or bread through the windows. Each of them was oppressed by thoughts of his own wife and children. They gained a momentary feeling of relief as they handed out their food, but they were left with a nagging sense of shame and bitterness. Can you feed a whole starving land with bits of bread?

    As the German prisoners return home from Russia they will doubtless tell of the desperately low food rations in the Soviet prisoner of war camps. And as they see it they will be justified. By European standards the prisoner of war conditions were murderous, the soggy black bread was simply poison to a European digestive system.

    I myself have been in camps for German prisoners of war and have seen the conditions. But I can only ask: did the German prisoners notice that the Russian people on the farther side of the barbed wire were fed on even lower standards? Did any of them think that these so-called ’Russian’ conditions were the result of the Soviet system and that in due course they will flourish in Eastern Germany?

    Moscow. The last days of the war. A lively trade was going on in the city markets. Pale, exhausted women huddling in corners, a few knobs of sugar or one or two herrings in their extended hands. They were selling their meager ration in order to get milk or bread for their children. Bread, bread! In all eyes was the same mute cry.

    The article that sold best - was the Russian homegrown tobacco called ’mahorka’ - 15 rubles a glass. The markets swarmed with war-wounded, without legs, without arms, in front-line greatcoats and tunics, with red wound stripes on their chests. The militiamen turned a blind eye to these violators of the Soviet trade monopoly.

    If any of them did try to take away one of the war-wounded, the air rang with indignant shouts: “What did he fight for?” "What did he shed his blood for?" His comrades came hurrying up, waving crutches and sticks.

    Berlin capitulated. A few days later all Germany unconditionally surrendered. People thought that things would be easier literally the very next day. That was the hope of people who had nothing but their hopes.

    Now the first post-war year had passed, the second was drawing to its close, and we members of the Soviet occupation forces in Germany were reading our letters from home. As we read they acted on us like poison. Our bitterness was intensified by all that we saw around us.

    One day Andrei Kovtun and I were discussing the situation in Germany. Little by little the conversation turned to comparisons between ’here’ and ’there’.

    “The Berlin Underground is really rotten,” Andrei said. “When I compare it with the Moscow Underground I feel really good. These days I often catch myself looking for things in Germany that tell in our favor. It’s difficult to get used to the idea that all our lives we’ve been chasing after shadows.”

    “Yes,” I commented; “here people live in the present, whereas we have lived all our lives in the future. Or rather, for the future. I quite understand how you feel. It’s a violation of the inward harmony, as the psychiatrist would say. The only remedy is to recover faith in the future.”

    “Look, Gregory!” Andrei replied. “We’ve got splendid aeroplanes and tanks, a powerful heavy industry. Let’s leave out of account the price we’ve paid for all these things, let’s forget all the blood, the sweat, and the hunger. You’d think that now the time’s come to exploit all these achievements for our own benefit. After all, we haven’t seen anything of life yet. It’s always been nothing but aims and ideals for us: socialism, communism.

    But when shall we really start living? D’you remember what Professor Alexandrov said at the Higher Party School of the Party Central Committee? ’If the proletariat of other countries cannot achieve their own emancipation, we shall stretch out our hands to help them.’ We know what that ’helping hand’ means. What if all the promises of wartime are only unsecured bills of exchange? I didn’t know what fear was during the war, but I do now. Yes, I’m afraid all right now.”

    He was expressing the same thoughts and fears that possess the majority of the young Soviet intellectuals and professional people. We are proud of our country’s achievements, we are proud of our victory. We do not regret all the difficulties and deprivations we have experienced, the price we paid for the victory and for our country’s glory. But we who were living in the West were beginning to feel keenly that all the things which Soviet propaganda claims as the exclusive achievement of the Soviet regime are colossal lies. We used to have our doubts, but now the doubts have been transformed into certainties, and we cannot fight them.

    We have come to the realization that we haven’t started to live yet, that we have only continually made sacrifices for the sake of the future. Now our faith in that future is shattered. As the post-war situation develops we are increasingly filled with alarm. What is it all leading to?

    In those early post-war years Berlin was the political center of the world. And we were sitting in the front rows at the chess tournament of international politics. More, we ourselves were pawns in the tournament play. The post-war experience showed that there was no basis whatever for the hopes and expectations which Russian soldiers and officers possessed in the war years.

    And what now?

    “Politics is politics, but life is life.”

    Andrei’s voice sounded in my ears.

    “But what have we got out of life? The Germans are having a thin time at present, but they have a past they can recall, and they still have a hope of the future. They can at least hope that one day we shall clear out and they’ll be able to live again. But what can we hope for... we victors?”

    Two years had passed since the end of the war. Now our worst fears were being confirmed. Once more hunger was stalking our country, a still worse hunger than in wartime. Once more the Party had decided to take the people firmly in hand, had decided to make the people forget and turn from the illusory hopes which the Party itself had cleverly stimulated and encouraged in the critical period of the war. The Party had once more decided to show the people who was the real master, and had summoned its first servant, famine, to its help.

    In past days famine had been an elemental disaster; today it is an instrument deliberately wielded by the Kremlin.

    A clock struck; I rose and looked round my room, at my feet, shod in leg-boots, at my blue breeches with their crimson stripes. My gaze passed over the gilt buttons of my green tunic. I had gold epaulettes on my shoulders. It was all so close and so well known - yet it was all so alien.

    The walls of my room dissolved to reveal the dark, starry night over Europe. And somewhere beyond, far to the east, was the frontier of my native land. But there it was dark and still, like a leaden tomb.

    Sommaire https://seenthis.net/messages/683905
    #anticommunisme #histoire #Berlin #occupation #guerre_froide

  • Gregory Klimov. The Terror Machine. Chapter 16
    http://g-klimov.info/klimov-pp-e/ETM16.htm

    Stalin’s Party

    The days passed into weeks, the weeks into months. An incessant lapse of time in which there was no purpose, in which one only looked back and felt a great emptiness in the soul.

    Winter had come. The New Year of 1947 was approaching. In us Soviet men, who stood on the bound between two worlds, this aroused few cheerful memories and still fewer cheerful expectations. We had recently witnessed two noteworthy events: in the October there had been the first post-war elections to the Berlin municipal council, and in November the regular election of candidates to the Supreme Soviet of the U. S. S. R.

    The German elections aroused far greater interest among the Soviet residents in Berlin than one would have expected. Perhaps it was because they differed fundamentally from those to which we were accustomed. It was strange to see the pre-election slogans of the various parties. We were struck by the powerful and intelligent propaganda of the Socialist Unity Party. Here one sensed the long experience of Soviet propaganda; it was self-confident and shameless. We, who were the masters of the S. E. D. and knew what was behind it all, were particularly struck by this latter aspect.

    I well remember one incident that occurred during the Berlin elections. One Sunday morning I and two other officers decided to take advantage of the fine weather to go for a motorcycle ride. We borrowed three heavy military motorcycles from the Auto Battalion and tore out of Karlshorst along the Frankfurter-Allee.

    On our way to the Alexanderplatz we overtook a slowly marching column of men with crimson banners and flags in their hands. The demonstrators made an exceptionally depressing and joyless impression. Men in Thaelmann caps and red armbands were bustling backward and forward along its sides. We accelerated to drive past. It had been organized by the trade unions of the Soviet sector to express the wishes and desires of the German people. Attendance was compulsory. Any man who didn’t turn up was in danger of losing his job. It was pitiful and absurd to see this flock of sheep moving along under the supervision of the herdsmen in Thaelmann caps.

    I don’t know how it came about, but all the three of us Soviet officers began to ride our powerful military motorcycles round and round that column. The demonstrators looked at one another anxiously, assuming that we were a military patrol sent to ensure that the procession didn’t melt away. The herdsmen stared at us in astonishment, and as we drove close to the edge of the column they had to jump aside to avoid being knocked down. For our part, we were sickened at the sight of this shameful comedy, and on the other hand we enjoyed not having to take part in it ourselves for once.

    On that same day a Soviet patrol shot an American who was attempting to photograph a similar demonstration in the Soviet sector of Berlin. Evidently someone was of the opinion that such photographs might have the same effect on the close observer that that procession had made on us.

    The elections were held on 21 October. I have never known people in the Soviet Union to take any interest in the results of elections to the Soviet elected authorities. But on that election day in Berlin I doubt whether there was one man in Karlshorst who was not interested in the results. Most interesting of all was the fact that the S. E. D. came last but one of the parties. Not much was said about this eloquent circumstance.

    In the S. M. A. Administration for Industry the Berlin elections led to the following conversation between Captain Bagdassarian and Major Zhdanov:

    “You know,” Captain Bagdassarian said, as he pointed to the results printed in one of the newspapers, “when I think of these elections I get a queer thought. All the parties are voting. Supposing the Communist Party gets a majority. Does it mean that the others will let it take over the power?”

    “Yes, it looks like it,” Major Zhdanov answered uncertainly.

    “That’s funny! If the Communist Party comes to power, its first step will be to wring the necks of all the other parties. Yet these other parties are ready to give the power into the Communist Party’s hands without making any resistance. That doesn’t make sense!”

    “You can’t make sense of this democracy business all at once!” the major sighed.

    “It’s utter idiocy!” the captain agreed.

    “Perhaps it isn’t so stupid after all.” The major knitted his brows in the attempt to get to the bottom of it all. “Democracy as a political form is the will of the majority. If the majority votes for communism, there will be communism. True, very few are voting for it at the moment!” he ended on a different note.

    “All the same, it’s queer.” Captain Bagdassarian ran his fingers through his curly hair. “They all sling abuse at one another, but nobody puts anybody else into prison. But we do just the reverse: one says nothing and is put in prison. A man doesn’t even think, and still he’s put in prison...”

    In December 1946 the Officers’ Club in Karlshorst was the scene of electoral meetings at which candidates were nominated for the U. S. S. R. Supreme Soviet. On the day set apart for the Administration for Industry all the workers in the Administration had to be present in the Club, which had been decorated for the occasion with additional portraits of the leaders, and red bunting.

    We sat for some time in the hall, utterly bored. At last the chairman called on a speaker, who had been previously arranged. With a paper in his hand the speaker went to the platform and, speaking in a monotonous tone, began to explain how happy we all were that we ourselves could elect the representatives to our country’s supreme governmental authority. Then a further speaker went to the platform to propose our candidate from the Special Electoral District formed by the Soviet Occupation Zone.

    Then the candidate himself came out from the wings and told us his life story. He was a general, but I doubt whether he had ever spoken in such a humble and lackadaisical manner in his entire previous military career. The second candidate was someone quite unknown to all of us. We knew such a person existed only when he went to the platform not from the wings, but from the body of the hall. He was chosen to play the role of candidate ’from the very heart of the people’. Both candidates had been put forward in advance by the S. M. A. Political Administration and had been approved by Moscow.

    We all waited impatiently for this boring procedure to finish, especially as it was to be followed by a film show. When the chairman announced that he proposed to take the vote the hall sighed with relief, and everybody hurriedly raised their hands without waiting to be invited. Armed with pencils and paper, the tellers hurried through the hall. The audience began to murmur with impatience. At last the votes were counted, and the chairman asked in a drowsy tone: “Those against?”

    There was a dead silence. Nobody stirred.

    The chairman waited for a moment or two, then looked round the hall. Then, to intensify the effect of the unanimous decision, he asked in a tone of assumed surprise: “Nobody against?”

    And thus we elected two men ’chosen of the people’ to the U. S. S. R. Supreme Soviet.

    The turn of the year brought several innovations that made one take yet another glance back over the eighteen months that had passed since the capitulation of Germany.

    In the early autumn of 1946 the United States Secretary of State, Byrnes, had made a speech in Stuttgart, soberly surveying events since the end of the war and indicating the main features of American foreign policy. Only now, after eighteen months, were the Americans beginning to suspect that it was hard to sup out of the same bowl as good old Uncle Joe.

    Byrne’s’ speech was not to the Kremlin’s liking, and it was given a sharp answer in Molotov’s speech on the occasion of the revolutionary celebrations on 7 November. So much importance was attached to this speech that it was made the subject of compulsory study in all the political study circles throughout the S. M. A.

    There was no attempt to conceal the connection between the Byrnes and Molotov speeches from the senior officials of the S. M. A.; the two speeches were studied simultaneously, and those taking part in the discussion had to unmask the American’s imperialist intrigues and to stress Molotov’s peace-loving policy. But Byrne’s’ speech was regarded as too dangerous for the less politically educated workers, and they were allowed to discuss only their own leader’s speech.

    These two political speeches can be regarded as marking the beginning of the cold war. In the Control Commission Allied relations cooled off still more and went no further than diplomatic courtesy required. Decisions affecting the future of Germany were more and more removed from the Control Commission meetings to the private offices of the Kremlin and the White House.

    This situation also served as a signal for a final tightening of the screw on the Soviet post-war front. The S. M. A. Political Administration issued an instruction accusing minor Party authorities of having lost contact with the masses and neglecting political educational work. This was the crack of the whip. One could guess what would follow. In fact the first consequence was a change of Party organizers in all the S. M. A. departments. This was followed by measures to tighten things up all through the Soviet machinery.

    Hitherto the Soviet residents of Karlshorst had lived and worked without engaging in political study. Anybody who knows anything about Soviet life will know what that meant. The higher authorities were secretly astonished, the smaller fry quietly rejoiced; but one and all held their tongues, on the principle of not mentioning the devil in case he appeared. But now political studies were started, including study of the Short History of the C. P. S. U. And it had to be carried through in shock tempo at that. Evidently to make up for lost time.

    The next step was a campaign to raise labor discipline. It was decided to remind Soviet citizens abroad that there was such a thing as the Soviet labor code. Brand-new boards with hooks and numbers were hung up in all the departments, and every worker in each department had to take off and re-hang his own allotted number four times a day. In the Soviet Union these boards are the object of fear, but their effect on us was rather to get our backs up.

    The head of the Administration for Industry, Alexandrov, entrusted his number to his chauffeur, who very quickly lost it. We officers regarded the boards as an insult and took it in turn to remove several numbers at a time. But once more Soviet law with all its consequences hung as a threat over the head of every one of us.

    Then a hysterical ’vigilance’ campaign was inaugurated. Personnel Departments were instituted in all the S. M. A. offices with the obvious job of keeping closer watch on the workers. Once more extensive questionnaires were drawn up ’for Soviet citizens abroad’. These with their endless list of questions had to be filled afresh every three months. Many of us kept a copy of the questionnaire and our answers, and next time simply copied the old answers on to the new form.

    A demobilized lieutenant of the N. K. V. D. forces was appointed head of the Personnel Department in the Administration for Industry. From the very beginning he behaved with such rudeness and insolence that many of the officers, who were of higher rank, were infuriated. His room was in the basement, and he would ring someone up: “Comrade Colonel, come down to me and fill in your questionnaire.” But as often as not he got the answer: “If you need it filled in, bring it up to me. At the moment I’m still a colonel, I believe.”

    An order issued by General Dratvin, chief of staff of the S. M. A., was circulated for the information of all members of the S. M. A. In it, without actually mentioning names, he stated that the wives of quite a number of highly placed Soviet officials were going to the Berlin western sector while their husbands were at work, and were forming impermissible acquaintances among officers of the western powers. The order spoke in very sharp terms; it referred to fashionable restaurants, expensive furs, and, to crown all, agents of foreign intelligence services. All the accused women were returned to the Soviet Union at twenty-four hours’ notice, and the husbands were sternly reprimanded for their lack of Bolshevik vigilance.

    The secret purpose of this unusually frank order was revealed in its second paragraph, in which all members of the S. M. A. were strictly forbidden to visit the western sector, and were reminded of the necessity to be particularly vigilant in the circumstances of residence abroad. The women were chastised in order to serve as a warning to others.

    In conclusion General Dratvin threatened the application of sterner measures to all who violated the order... down to and including return to the Soviet Union. In saying so much, the general went too far. For thus officially, in the words of the S. M. A. chief of staff, return to one’s native land was recognized as serious punishment for Soviet citizens abroad.

    None of this was anything new to us. We had experienced it all before, at home. But coming after we had won the war, after we had looked forward hopefully to changes in the Soviet system, and above all after our comparatively free life in occupied Germany, this abrupt return to former practices gave us furiously to think. Or rather, to avoid thinking if possible. That was the only hope.

    II

    I had made Major Dubov’s acquaintance during the war. Even a brief comradeship at the front binds men together more strongly than many years of acquaintance in normal conditions. That may have been the reason why we greeted each other as old acquaintances when we met again as fellow workers in the S. M. A

    He was over forty. Outwardly stern and incommunicative, he had few friends, and avoided society. At first I regarded his reserve simply as a trait of his character. But after a time I noticed that he had a morbid antipathy to anybody who began to talk politics in his hearing. I assumed that he had good reasons for his attitude, and never bothered him with unnecessary questions.

    It so happened that I was the only person Dubov introduced to his family. He had a charming, well-educated wife, and two children. When I came to know his family, I realized that he was not only a good husband and father, but also a rarely decent fellow morally.

    His one great passion was hunting. That brought us still closer together. We often drove out of Berlin on a Saturday and spent all day and all night hunting, cut off from Karlshorst and the entire world.

    On one occasion, tired out after hours of wandering through the dense growth of thickets and innumerable little lakes, we flung ourselves down to have a rest. The conversation happened to turn to discussion of an officer we both knew, and I casually remarked: “He’s still young and stupid...”

    The major gave me a close look and asked with a queer smile:

    “And are you so old and wise?”

    “Well, not quite,” I answered. “But I’ve learned to keep a still tongue in my head.”

    He again looked at me fixedly. “Tell me, has anything ever happened to you... of... you know what?”

    “Absolutely nothing,” I replied, realizing what he was hinting at.

    “Then why aren’t you in the Party?” he asked almost roughly.

    “I’ve simply not had the time,” I answered shortly, for I had no wish to go further into details.

    ’Now listen, Gregory Petrovich, it’s not a joking matter," he said slowly, and I caught an almost fatherly note in his voice. “For a man in your position it smacks almost of a deliberate demonstration. It might even have serious consequences for you.”

    “I’m doing my job as well as any Party man!” I retorted.

    He smiled, rather sadly. “That’s how I argued once,” he said with bitter irony.

    Then, without my prompting him, in an objective sort of tone he told me his story: how he had come to join the Party, and why he avoided people who talked politics.

    In 1938 Dubov was an engineer working in a Leningrad factory producing precision instruments. He was a capable engineer, and held a responsible post connected with the construction of instruments for the air force and the navy. He liked his job, devoted all his free time to research, and bothered little about politics. Despite his responsible post he remained a non-Party man.

    One day he was summoned to the director’s room. From that moment he was not seen in the works again. Nor did he return home. His wife found out what had happened to him when the N. K. V. D. men turned up at their apartment in the middle of the night, made a thorough search, and confiscated all her husband’s personal property. Next day she went to the N. K. V. D. to ask for news of him. She was told they knew nothing about him, and was advised not to worry, nor to worry others. If there were any need, she would be informed.

    Dubov spent more than a year in the investigation cells of the N. K. V. D. He was charged with sabotage and counter-revolutionary activity. The sentence was the standard one: ten years’ imprisonment, to be spent in one of the camps in Central Siberia, where new war factories were being built. There he continued to work as an engineer.

    He discovered the real reason for his arrest only two years later. Among a fresh batch of prisoners he recognized the former chief engineer at the Leningrad factory for precision instruments. Dubov was delighted to see him, but the man seemed restrained and avoided Dubov as much as possible. But as the months passed the two engineers struck up a friendship based on their common memories of freedom. One day the conversation turned to the reasons why they had been sent to the camp.

    “Someone denounced me,” Dubov said.

    The chief engineer looked away, then sighed, and laughed bitterly. “Would you like to know who it was?” he asked.

    Dubov stared at him distrustfully.

    “I did it,” the other man said, and hurried on without giving Dubov a chance to comment: “We regularly received orders from the N. K. V. D. to provide them with so many persons possessing such and such qualifications. The lists had to be drawn up by the Party organizer and confirmed by the chief engineer and the director. What could I do? I too had a wife and children....”

    “But why was I put on the list?” Dubov asked.

    “Because you were not a Party member,” the former chief engineer said. “The Party organizer put you down.”

    Dubov said nothing for some time, then he looked wearily at the other man and asked: “But how did you get here?”

    The engineer only shrugged his shoulders helplessly.

    Dubov spent four years in the camp. But during all those years he did not suffer as much as his wife and children. Under Soviet law a political prisoner’s guilt extends to include his family. His wife was morally and physically shattered. Their children grew up in the knowledge that their father was ’an enemy of the people’, and felt always that they were not like other children.

    In 1948 he was released before the expiration of his term. With no explanation given, he was completely rehabilitated and the conviction quashed. He was called up straight from the camp into the army. That was the real reason for his premature discharge. Without seeing his family he went as an officer directly to the front.

    At the front he was an exemplary officer, just as he had been an exemplary engineer in Leningrad and an exemplary prisoner in the Siberian camp. He was just to his men and ruthless to the enemy. And he was devoted to his native land, with all its Party organizers and prison camps.

    Shortly before the end of the war he received another battle decoration, and in addition was singled out for the honor of being invited to join the Communist Party. This time he did not hesitate. Without a word he filled in the questionnaires. And without a word he accepted the Party ticket, which the corps commander’s political deputy presented to him.

    In the S. M. A. Major Dubov was regarded as one of their most reliable and knowledgeable engineers. He was given the responsible task of transferring the German industry in the Soviet zone to new lines, but his rank and position remained unchanged. Why? Because, although he had been completely rehabilitated and the conviction had been quashed, in his personal file was a curt note: ’Conviction under article 58.’ That was enough to cast a shadow over all his future life.

    III

    During my stay in Karlshorst I formed a close friendship with Captain Belyavsky. Little by little I came to know his story too, though he talked about himself very reluctantly, and only dropped hints. In 1936 Belyavsky was in Spain, where he was a lieutenant in the staff of the Republican forces. This was about the time that the Yezhov terror was at its height in the Soviet Union, and one night his father was arrested, to vanish without trace. Belyavsky was immediately recalled from Spain and demobilized. Until 1941 he shared the fate of other relatives of ’enemies of the people’; in other words, he was outside the pale.

    All those spheres of Soviet life in which the first requirement is a completed questionnaire were closed to him. Only a Soviet citizen can understand all the significance of such a situation. When war broke out in 1941 he was not called up for the army, since he was ’politically unreliable’. But when the German forces began to lay siege to his native city, Leningrad, he went to the military commander and volunteered for service. His request was granted, and that same day, as an ordinary private, he was flung into the fight - in a punitive battalion. In other words, straight to his death. But fate was more merciful to him than the Soviet regime, and he escaped with a wound.

    He spent the next three years as an ordinary soldier, going right through the siege of Leningrad. His service was exemplary, and he was recommended again and again for officer’s rank, but each time the questionnaire put an end to the story. In 1944, when the Soviet armies were suffering from a very serious shortage of officers, he was summoned to the staff once more.

    The colonel who interviewed him pointed to the entry: ’article 58’ on his questionnaire and asked: “Why do you always mention that?”

    Belyavsky did not reply.

    “Is it that you don’t want to fight?” the colonel asked sharply; he avoided looking at the decorations on Belyavsky’s chest. Belyavsky only shrugged his shoulders. The decorations rattled a little, as though answering the colonel’s question.

    “If you continue to make such entries, I must regard it as an attempt to avoid military service,” the colonel said. “Take a new form and fill it in properly. Leave a space for your service rank.”

    Private Mikhail Belyavsky did not return to his company. But next day First-Lieutenant Belyavsky was on his way to Moscow. In his pocket he had an order to proceed to the Military-Diplomatic College of the Red Army General Staff. Men were needed in wartime, and there was no bothering about a thorough examination of questionnaires. There would be plenty of opportunity for that after the war. And so Mikhail Belyavsky entered one of the most privileged military colleges in the Soviet Union.

    He was discharged from the college in the autumn of 1945 with the rank of captain, and was sent to work in the Soviet Military Administration. That was nothing extraordinary. Many of the students were freed from further study even in the middle of their second-year course, in order to take up a post.

    Captain Belyavsky’s personal file, which was kept in the S. M. A. Personnel Department, was in spotless order. All through his documents the phrase occurred again and again: ’Devoted to the Lenin-Stalin Party’. That was a stereotyped remark and was to be found in almost every officer’s personal file, but it was truer of him than of the majority.

    Certain days were set apart for political instruction, and on one of these days Belyavsky went to his office two hours earlier, as was his custom, and unfolded his papers. The educational circle to which he belonged was of a rather higher level, for it consisted exclusively of men with advanced education. With earnest faces they pored over the pages of the Short Course, though they must have known that the book was full of lies and falsifications.

    The leader of the circle, who normally was one of themselves, began proceedings by asking:

    “Well, who’s prepared to open on the third chapter? Any volunteers?”

    They all bowed their heads even lower over their books. Some of them began to turn over their papers hurriedly; others fixed their eyes on the table as though collecting their thoughts with a view to speaking later. There was no volunteer.

    “All right, then we’ll follow the list,” the leader proposed. There was a sigh of relief.

    The majority of the circle leaders kept alphabetical lists of their circle members. Each member knew whom he followed. And so the question was settled quite simply. The first on the list began to deliver a summary of the chapter, while the one who was to follow him read farther, underlining passages with red pencil. In this way the majority of circles got through their course without difficulty.

    All the members of Belyavsky’s circle had worked through the Short Course several times already. They were all bored to tears. When each had done his duty he sat gazing out of the window, smoking, or sharpening his pencil.

    Everything went off as usual. The speakers droned away monotonously. The leader sat with his eyes on his notebook, not even listening. It was a hot day, and everybody felt sleepy. And in that drowsy kingdom something happened to Captain Belyavsky that he himself would have had difficulty in explaining.

    When his turn was reached he had to expatiate on the passage which deals with the Entente’s three anti-Soviet campaigns. The theme had a heroic quality and there were parallels to the experiences of the war just ended. As soon as Belyavsky began to speak the leader raised his sleepy eyes and stared at him in astonishment. And one by one all the others began to gaze at him in bewilderment.

    For he spoke as though addressing a meeting. His voice had a note of unusual conviction. It sounded a note of faith, of challenge. He depicted the three foreign interventions in Soviet Russia after the 1917 revolution, and cleverly linked them up with the invasion and destruction of the Nazi armies in 1941-1945. He did not summarize the Short Course; he spoke extemporaneously, from a heart burning with conviction. The bewildered looks of his fellows expressed the mute question: ’Has he gone mad? Why all this unnecessary bother?’

    It happened that the circle that day included the Instructor from the S. M. A. Political Administration, who was there as observer. Belyavsky’s speech attracted his notice; obviously he had not often heard anyone speak with conviction in these circles for political education. He made a note of the name. Next day Belyavsky was summoned to the Political Administration.

    “Listen, Comrade Captain,” the instructor said to him. "I’m amazed at you. I’ve been looking through your personal file. An exemplary officer, the finest of testimonials, and yet you’re not a Party member. That simply won’t do. The Party must interest itself in men like you...

    “No, no, no...” he raised his hand, as though afraid Belyavsky might make some objection. “You made a very remarkable speech in the political circle yesterday... And yet you’ve never been drawn into Party work. We shall assign you to the task of giving political instruction to the officers’ wives. That to begin with. And secondly, you must put in your application for Party membership at once. No objections! Get that?”

    Belyavsky had no thought of objecting. Membership of the Party connoted a full and valid position in Soviet society. His heart was filled with joy; he shook the instructor’s hand with genuine gratitude.

    The November revolutionary celebrations were drawing near. In addition to having charge of a political education circle, Belyavsky was entrusted with the preparations for the festival. He plunged headlong into social and political activity and devoted all his free time to it. Spiritually he was born again. But above all he rejoiced because the Party had forgotten his past, because he was no longer a lone wolf. Only now did he fully realize how bitterly he had felt his alienation from society.

    Just about then an insignificant incident occurred which had unexpected consequences.

    Belyavsky was a keen motorcyclist. While working in the S. M. A. he had had innumerable specimens of motorcycles pass through his hands, and in the end he had picked on a very fine BMW sports model for himself. All Karlshorst knew that machine, and many a young officer stood to admire it as it flashed by.

    One evening, as he was riding past the house where Valia Grinchuk lived, he saw a light in her rooms, and decided to drop in and see her. He leaned the motorcycle against the railings, but did not lock it up, as was his habit, for he did not intend to stay long.

    Valia had guests, the company was a merry one, and he stayed longer than he thought. He left about ten o’clock. When he got outside his motorcycle had disappeared. He looked about him, thinking someone must be playing a practical joke. But there was no sign of it anywhere.

    He broke into a string of curses. Obviously someone had stolen the machine. But what infuriated him most was the knowledge that the thief must be one of his own, Soviet, people. No Berlin thief would ever have dared to take anything from Karlshorst, least of all a motorcycle.

    The Karlshorst commandatura was only a few paces away. He went and reported the theft to the officer on duty. The lieutenant sympathized with him and promised to find out whether the theft had been committed by one of the commandatura guards. He knew well enough who were responsible for the majority of the thefts that took place in Karlshorst.

    Belyavsky had no great faith in the commandatura, and he decided to go straight to a German police station situated just outside the sealed-off Soviet area. He returned accompanied by a German policeman and a police dog. At the spot where the motorcycle had been left the policeman put the dog on the scent. It made directly for the next wicket gate and began to paw at it.

    Belyavsky knew that the Party organizer for the Administration of Justice, Major Yeroma, and his deputy, Major Nikolayev, lived there, and he thought the dog was completely on the wrong trail. But each time they tried out the animal it persistently led them to that wicket gate. In the end Belyavsky shrugged his shoulders hopelessly and let the German policeman go.

    Next day he happened to be passing the gate at which the dog had pawed, and he decided to go in and make inquiries. He found four young women sitting in the sitting room. One of them was the wife of Major Nikolayev; another was the wife of the head of the S. M. A. Political Administration, General Makarov.

    All the women were rather problematic wives, wives only within the bounds of Karlshorst. Almost all the high S. M. A. officials had exceptionally young wives. Marshal Sokolovsky’s wife was several years younger than his daughter was. Such things were the result of the war.

    Belyavsky apologized for troubling them, explained why he had called, and inquired whether they had noticed anything suspicious the previous evening. They exchanged embarrassed glances and expressed their indignation at the theft. They seemed bored, and they invited him to stay awhile. Quite an animated conversation followed, a conversation, which played a large part in the further developments, chiefly because he made a very good impression on those young women.

    After searching fruitlessly for a week he had resigned himself to | the loss of his favorite machine, when one evening he was called | to the telephone. He was astonished to hear a woman’s voice

    “Is that Comrade Captain Belyavsky?” the unknown asked, and went on hurriedly: “You mustn’t mind my not mentioning my name. I I’m one of the ladies who... you remember, you called to inquire | about the motorcycle.... I phoned up to let you know that your machine is in the cellar of the house you called at. Go at once and you’ll find it. You can guess who took it.... Please don’t tell anybody how you found out. I wouldn’t like...”

    He hurriedly thanked her and put down the receiver. He sat for a moment considering what he should do next. For the thief could be no other than the S. M. A. Party organizer for the Administration of Justice, Yeroma himself. Finally he decided to ask a Lieutenant-Colonel Potapov and Major Berko to go with him as witnesses. On their way to Major Yeroma’s house they picked up the officer on duty at the commandatura.

    Major Yeroma was not at home. At the commandatura officer’s request the cellar was opened. There they found the missing motorcycle. The commandatura officer drew up an official report on the theft and discovery of the machine. In his simplicity he wrote: ’The thief is Major Yeroma, of the Administration of Justice, and Party organizer to the Administration of Justice.’ The report was signed by all the witnesses, including Major Yeroma’s wife.

    As the four officers struggled to haul the heavy machine up the stairs, between their groans and pants the officer could not help remarking: “One man couldn’t have got it down there by himself. He must have had at least two others to help him.”

    It transpired that the day the machine was stolen Major Yeroma was returning late in the evening from the Political Administration, accompanied by two other officers of the Administration of Justice. As he approached his house the Major noticed the machine and, without stopping to think, persuaded the other two officers to help him put it in his cellar. Probably it would not have been found if Belyavsky hadn’t chanced to call on the young women.

    They knew that Major Yeroma had got hold of a motorcycle the previous evening, but they had no idea where he had obtained it. When Belyavsky told his story they put two and two together, but they did not tell him what they were thinking, for obvious reasons. After he had gone they quarreled among themselves. The young wife of the head of the Political Administration took Belyavsky’s side and declared that the machine must be returned to him.

    In his indignation he decided to take steps to bring the culprits to justice. He wrote reports of the affair to General Dratvin, the S. M. A. chief of staff, to the Political Administration, and the S. M. A. Military Prosecutor. If justice were done, Major Yeroma should be expelled from the Party, stripped of his officer’s rank and sentenced to imprisonment for theft. So the law prescribed.

    When Major Berko heard what Belyavsky intended to do he advised him not to be in any hurry. A charge against Yeroma involved much else besides him, and in such cases it was advisable to be prudent. He suggested that Belyavsky should first go and see Yeroma personally, and they decided to call on him during lunchtime.

    They found him at home. He was sitting at the table, with his tunic unbuttoned and unbelted. Before him was an aluminum dish of steaming beetroot soup. He did not even look up when the visitors were shown in, but went on spooning up his soup.

    “Well, Yeroma,” Belyavsky said, “how did my motor-cycle get into your cellar?”

    “I found it,” the major answered with his mouth full of food, and not batting an eyelid.

    “I shall send a report to the Political Administration.” Belyavsky was so taken aback by the Party organizer’s impudence that he didn’t know what else to say.

    Yeroma went on eating, or rather guzzling his soup; the sweat rolled down his face. When he had finished the dish he picked it up and poured the last few drops into his spoon. Then he licked the spoon and smacked his lips.

    “You’ll never make any impression on him with a report,” Berko said in a rage. “Spit in his plate and let’s go!” They went, slamming the door behind them. The same evening Belyavsky went to the office of the head of the Political Administration and handed the adjutant on duty his report. While the adjutant was reading it with some interest General Makarov himself came out of his room.

    “Another case relating to Yeroma, Comrade General,” the adjutant reported with a smile.

    “Ah! That’s good!” the general observed. “He’s already on our list for bigamy...”

    The adjutant afterwards explained to Belyavsky that, following his superiors’ example; Yeroma had taken a new wife to himself. But in doing so he had made one tactical error: unlike others, he had registered his marriage at the Soviet register office in Karlshorst. But he had not taken the trouble to obtain a divorce from his first wife, who was in Russia.

    Belyavsky then went to the S. M. A. military prosecutor, Lieutenant-Colonel Orlov. Orlov knew Belyavsky personally, and he told him frankly: “We can’t take him to court. In this case it all depends on the Political Administration. You know yourself it’s a Party matter.”

    If Belyavsky had had more experience in Party matters, he would probably have avoided measuring his strength against the Party. Meanwhile, the Political Administration had received a resolution from a local Party group recommending Captain Belyavsky’s acceptance as a Party member. His application was accompanied by brilliant testimonials to his conduct during the war. But now the affair of the stolen motorcycle was beginning to be talked about all over Karlshorst. In order to smother the scandal the Political Administration decided that it must close the mouth of one of the two antagonists, and the choice fell on Belyavsky.

    Quite unexpectedly he received the order that he was to be demobilized and returned to the Soviet Union. He knew at once what was behind that order. What he did not know was that on his return he was to be brought to trial. The explanation was quite simple. Not long before the motorcycle incident he had filled up one of the regular questionnaires. This time, in accordance with new, strict instructions, it was sent to the local M. V. D. departments in all his previous places of residence, to be checked. It was returned from Leningrad with the comment: ’father sentenced under article 58.’ So he was demobilized and sent back to the U. S. S. R., where he was tried for making a false statement which he had been forced into making under threat of court-martial.

    Belyavsky’s collision with the Party in the person of Major Yeroma was not a decisive factor in his recall to the Soviet Union. He belonged to a category of people whose fate was predetermined. That was shown by the fact that almost at the same time Major Dubov also was demobilized and recalled. Only the S. M. A. Personnel Department and Major Dubov himself knew what was behind that order. He, too, had to take his postwar place in life.

    IV

    Two men in my close circle of acquaintances had been cut out of life and thrown overboard. I respected them as men and liked them as colleagues. Others, too, thought of them as fine exemplars of the new Soviet society. Neither of them had anything in common with the old classes, which, according to Marxism, were destined to be eliminated. They had both been created by the Soviet world and were, in the best sense of the words, true citizens of Soviet society. Yet they were condemned, irrevocably condemned to death. To spiritual death at the least. And there are millions of similar cases.

    That can easily be proved. During the thirty years of the Soviet regime at least thirty million people have been subjected to repressive measures on political grounds. As the families of all such people are automatically classified as politically unreliable, if we assume that each of them had only two relatives at least sixty million people must be on the black list.

    If ten million out of the thirty million died in prison camps, and at least another ten million are still in the camps, while ten million have served their time and been released, we get a figure of eighty million people whom the Soviet State has turned into its enemies, or, at least, regards as its enemies. That explains why in every section of the Soviet state apparatus there are personnel departments charged with the scrutiny and check of questionnaires. Today it is indubitable that the main class of the new Soviet society consists of millions of automatic enemies of the Soviet State.

    This invisible class of enemies who are also slaves permeates all society from top to bottom. Is it necessary to cite examples? One could mention the names of many marshals of the Soviet Union, as well as Stalin prize-winners, who have been in N. K. V. D. prisons; and these would be names known all over the world. Of the millions of petty collisions between State and individual who can speak?

    State and individual! Involuntarily I think of Valia Grinchuk, an undersized girl, and a partisan fighter who in the fight for her freedom took up arms. She fought bravely. She not only defended her freedom against the foreign enemy; she climbed the ladder of Soviet society. She raised herself out of the gray mass and became an individual. And hardly had she achieved this when she felt the heavy hand of the State.

    Her duties often took her to the Allied Control Commission. There she came to know a young Allied officer. There could be no outward objection to this acquaintance, as she visited the Control Commission in the course of her work. After some time the acquaintance developed into a personal friendship.

    One day she was summoned to the Party organization. She was given to understand quite amiably that the Party knew of her acquaintance with an Allied officer. To her astonishment, that was all that was said, and it seemed that the Party leaders were quite sympathetic in regard to the friendship. Some time later this incident was repeated, and she had the impression that they were even encouraging the acquaintance.

    Time passed and this friendship between a Soviet girl and an Allied officer developed into a genuine attachment. But now she was once more summoned to the Party organization, and, as a Party member, was confronted with the demand to harness her love to State interests.

    Next day she was taken to hospital. The doctors found she had a very high temperature and blood pressure, but could find no visible reason for her condition. Weeks passed without any change for the better.

    One day an elderly, experienced neuro-pathologist came to her ward, studied her case history, and shook his head as he asked her: “Have you met with any great unpleasantness... in your personal life?”

    “No!” she curtly replied.

    She spent more than two months in hospital. When she was discharged she applied on health grounds to be transferred to work which did not bring her into contact with the Control Commission. Through acquaintances she informed her lover that she had been recalled to Russia. Valia had the heart of a soldier.

    Only very few people knew the connection between these incidents. Everybody continued to regard her as a fine officer who was assiduously doing her duty in Soviet society. And only a few noticed that she began to leave off wearing her officer’s tunic with its decorations, and took to ordinary feminine clothes.

    All these things happened to people who were close acquaintances of mine. They affected me personally because sooner or later I, too, would have to join the Party. There was no other choice, except to face up to a future, which for Major Dubov and Captain Belyavsky had become the present.

    Today there is no Communist Party in the Soviet Union. There is only Stalin’s Party with its obsolete facade. The aim and end of that Party is power, indivisible power. The ideal Party member should not have any independent thought; he must be only a dumb executive of the higher will. A striking example is provided by Party organizer Major Yeroma, a bestial brute and an ideal Bolshevik of the Stalin school.

    I was wearing Soviet officer’s uniform and I was a child of the October Revolution. If I had been born twenty years earlier, I would perhaps have been a convinced Marxist and revolutionary, active in the October Revolution. Today, despite everything, I was still not a member of the Communist Party. If I had not been faced with the necessity, the indubitable necessity, it would never even have entered my head to join the Party, which was called the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

    Sommaire https://seenthis.net/messages/683905
    #anticommunisme #histoire #Berlin #occupation #guerre_froide

  • Gregory Klimov. The Terror Machine. Chapter 15
    http://g-klimov.info/klimov-pp-e/ETM15.htm

    The Marshal’s Emissaries

    So I fled from Moscow back to Berlin

    I closed the door of my Karishorst apartment behind me, went to my desk, sat down and stared miserably at the calendar. I had two more weeks of leave: what was I to do with them? Report for duty before my time was up? Some would think me mad, others would call me a careerist. Visit my friends? I would be asked too many questions which I had not the least desire to answer. I had been in a great hurry to get away from Moscow; but what I had hurried for, where I was hurrying to, I had no idea.

    In the end I decided to take a rest, and spent the next few days visiting bathing resorts, deliberately making for the most frequented spots, lying on the sand and watching the alien, carefree world all around me. At first I got a tremendous kick out of this occupation. But after a time I began to experience a mortal boredom with seeing the same packets of sandwiches and the same childish antics of grown-up people day after day.

    Ten days before my leave expired I reported to the head of the Administration for Industry, and expressed my desire to resume my duties. Alexandrov looked pleasantly surprised. “Well, did you have a good rest in Moscow?” he asked.

    “Very good!”

    “You couldn’t have turned up at a more opportune moment.” He got down to business. “Over half of our staff are on leave, and at this very moment the supreme commander has given us an urgent and responsible commission. We’ve got to collect material against the dismantling organizations to send to Moscow.”

    He spent the next half-hour discussing the tension that had arisen between the S. M. A. Department for Reparations and the Special Committee for Dismantling set up by the U. S. S. R. Council of Ministers. In order to justify the S. M. A.’s attitude we had to collect as much incriminating material as possible about the Special Committee’s activities. The Administration for Industry had been ordered to put at the supreme commander’s disposition a Special Commission consisting of several engineers.

    Officially their task was to coordinate the work of the S. M. A. and the Special Committee, but unofficially they would be charged to collect in-formation exposing the dismantlers. The commission was to make visits to all the most important industrial works in the Soviet zone.

    “If you agree, I’ll nominate you as a member of the commission,” Alexandrov said in conclusion. “Especially as you know German, for it will be necessary to make close contacts with German works directors.”

    Continual traveling and visits to factories! For the next few weeks, possibly even for months, I would be free of Moscow, and Karishorst too! I could not hope for anything better at that moment, and I readily agreed to Alexandrov’s suggestion. Next day I was appointed to the Coordination Commission, which was responsible directly to the Supreme Commander.

    So here was a Soviet citizen who had fled from Moscow, a Soviet officer who could find no peace in Karishorst, who at the same time was an emissary of the S. M. A. Supreme Commander, working for Moscow. A fortuitous coincidence? No! Rather a law of progression.

    II

    The gray automobile sped through the chilly autumn air. The road drummed monotonously under the tires. A covey of partridges flew over the bare field beside the road.

    “Let’s take a pot-shot,” Major Dubov proposed, reaching for his double-barreled gun, which was stuck behind the seat.

    “Why bother?” I answered. “In any case we’d have to hand our bag over to someone else.”

    “All the better!” the major laughed. “It might be a way of getting someone to talk. Vassily Ivanovich, to arms!”

    Our driver, Vassily, was an elderly man, a former soldier. He lowered one of the car windows, then turned off the road. The partridge’s thinking apparatus is rather restricted: it won’t let a man come anywhere near it, but you can almost drive over it in a car.

    Karlshorst lay behind us. In our pocket we had a plenipotentiary document signed by Marshal Sokolovsky, valid for the district of Thuringia, and empowering us to carry out a special commission for the S. M. A. Supreme Commander in Germany. That would be sufficient to open all doors in Thuringia. But if that failed to achieve its purpose, we had a second document ready, giving us ’full powers to check up on the fulfillment of the S. M. A. order No.... and the decree of the U. S. S. R. Council of Ministers dated... ’

    These resounding documents were chiefly intended for General Dobrovolsky, who was plenipotentiary of the Special Committee for Dismantling and also Soviet director of the Zeiss works at Jena. Although he was a hundred-per-cent civilian, and formerly had been director of a Soviet optical works, and in addition was a member of the ambiguous tribe of ’dismantlers’, he enjoyed some authority, since he held strongly entrenched positions in Moscow.

    Although Marshal Sokolovsky had issued the strict order that all members of dismantling organizations were to wear civilian dress, Dobrovolsky was behaving as though he had never heard of the order. Whenever Sokolovsky met Dobrovolsky, the marshal always addressed the general in an ironically friendly tone, using the civilian form of address, ignoring the military regulation that military men were always to be addressed by their rank.

    Apart from his childish attachment to the insignia of his rank, Dobrovolsky was also notorious for his rudeness. He had been known to throw officers down the steps when they arrived to check up on his activities, or had refused to allow them into the works at all, politely telling them: “If you don’t like it, complain to Moscow.” But in order to make a complaint it was necessary to have evidence, and that could not be obtained from the Zeiss works except through Dobrovolsky.

    So far as the Soviet Military Administration had internal enemies and antagonists at all in Germany, they were to be found mainly among the people collectively known as dismantlers. General Zorin, head of the Administration for Reparations and Deliveries, had made a number of futile attempts to work with the dismantlers, but at last he had given up all hope.

    Now all his communications with these bodies, who frequently were only five minutes away from Karlshorst, were made through Moscow, in the form of complaints, demands, and reports on failures to accomplish the reparations plan because of the dismantlers’ activities. But they only laughed and continued to search through the Soviet zone for anything that the S. M. A. had not so far succeeded in sequestrating. But even sequestration was not of much value, for the dismantlers quickly made contact with Moscow, with the result, as a rule, that an order came through to the S. M. A. to hand over the object in question to the dismantlers.

    Among the chief duties of the S. M. A. Economy Department were the securing of deliveries on reparations account and ensuring that German industry worked within the limits of the peace potential fixed under the Potsdam Agreement. The very task of reconciling these two functions was a difficult one, to put it mildly, as one can see especially when the scope of the reparations plan is borne in mind. But then a third power intervened, and so far as we were concerned it was an uncontrollable factor, for this third power - the dismantlers - was responsible directly to Moscow.

    The work of the dismantling organizations was directed by the Special Committee for Dismantling set up under the Soviet Council of Ministers, and therefore by the Council of Ministers itself, together with the ministries directly interested. The result was a kind of socialist competition: two milkmaids assiduously milking the one cow! One of the milkmaids behaved like a poacher, got as much as she could and went her way. That was the dismantlers. From the other the masters first demanded milk, then hung the half-dead cow round her neck with the demand to go on milking and milking. That was the S. M. A. No matter what happened to the cow and the two milkmaids, the masters got their milk down to the last drop.

    As soon as the Red Army crossed the German frontier special army trophy brigades were entrusted with the task of collecting and valuing the spoils of war, even to the extent of dismantling industrial plant. When it was found that these brigades could not cope with their task special dismantling organizations came more or less arbitrarily into being, and these were later coordinated under the Special Committee for Dismantling.

    Every People’s Commissariat, the chief administrations of commissariats, and even single Soviet works and factories sent their own dismantling brigades to Germany. Dismantling became all the rage. Things went so far that even the State Lenin Library in Moscow sent its own specialists to dismantle Goethe and Schiller, while the Moscow ’Dynamo’ sports stadium hurriedly sent its football team to Germany in search of a swimming pool suitable for dismantling.

    The dismantlers were given military rank on the following basis: a technician became a lieutenant, an engineer a major, a director became a colonel, and a higher ministerial official a general. The authorities that had created the dismantlers did not worry themselves unduly over this problem. But it gave the S. M. A. all the more headaches when it came to have dealings with these homemade officers. As time passed they grew more and more fond of their get-up, and the S. M. A. had no little trouble in dismantling them again.

    Major Dubov had been sent with me on this trip because he was an expert on optics and precision machines. In addition, there was the positive advantage that he and Dobrovolsky had been fellow students. While he was drawing the general into reminiscences of former days I would be free to prepare the downfall of our enemy and rival No. 1.

    In the case of the Zeiss works the conflict of interests between the S. M. A. and the Special Committee was particularly glaring. After the first spasm of dismantling in Germany, which the S. M. A. had neither the time nor the desire to prevent, economic considerations began to be thought of. From the very beginning the Special Committee had insisted that the Zeiss works be to be completely dismantled and transferred to the Soviet Union.

    From the aspect of military strategy that was sound. But there were difficulties in the way. The crux of the matter was that the industrial plant of the Zeiss works was of comparatively little value; in fact it included no machinery that did not exist in the U. S. S. R. already.

    The value of the Zeiss works inhered in its experts, starting with the ordinary workmen polishers, who had worked there all their lives and who passed on their experience from generation to generation, and ending with the engineers, who had laid down the classic formulae for optical mechanics. Without these men the whole of the Zeiss works would not have been worth a brass farthing in the Soviet Union. But to transfer the works complete with the staff would have been too difficult and too risky an undertaking.

    An attempt was made to find a compromise by proposing that Soviet workers and technical staffs should be sent to Jena to make special studies. After their return to the Soviet Union they were to take over the dismantled plant and apply the technical experience of the Zeiss works. This plan was put into operation to some extent, but inadequately. The Kremlin was very reluctant to let its children travel to foreign parts, even to occupied Germany, for they might learn other things besides the technical experience of the Zeiss works.

    The first round of dismantling proved unprofitable. The Zeiss equipment dismantled and sent to the Soviet Union made very little practical contribution to the country’s economy. Meanwhile the main works, which had thus been amputated, excelled all expectations, for it continued to turn out genuine Zeiss products to the astonishment even of General Dobrovolsky, who, after the dismantling was completed, had remained in Jena as Soviet director of the works. He was relatively little interested in this production, since it went to the S. M. A. Administration for Reparations and all the laurels fell to his sworn enemy, General Zorin.

    On the other hand, the S. M. A. was deeply interested in the works, for its production was beginning to play an important part in the reparations account. If a second round of dismantling were to occur - and Dobrovolsky was persistently pressing for it - the S. M. A. would lose a considerable contribution on that account. As the Council of Ministers would never reduce the figure set for reparations, new sources would have to be found for reparations deliveries, and as time passed this presented increasing difficulties. And now a duel began between the S. M. A. and the Special Committee. Dobrovolsky solemnly assured Moscow: “If I finally dismantle Zeiss, and it is set up in the Soviet Union, within twelve months it will be achieving a production worth a hundred million rubles.”

    The S. M. A. parried with the counter-blow: ’The first dismantled section of the Zeiss works already set up in the Soviet Union has so far achieved a deficit of fifty million rubles, and requires continual subsidies, whereas the half-dead Zeiss works in Jena is bringing us yearly reparations deliveries to the value of twenty million marks.’

    The conflict took an unexpected turn for both sides. After studying the reports of both parties Moscow ordered: ’A corresponding number of highly skilled German experts is to be drawn from the staff of the Zeiss works at Jena and its subsidiary undertakings for work in the optical industry of the Soviet Union, chiefly in the dismantled Zeiss undertakings; they are to be recruited on the basis of individual contracts and transferred to their new assignments.

    The selection of these experts and the execution of this order are entrusted to the director of the Zeiss works at Jena, Comrade Dobrovolsky. Simultaneously it is decreed that the restoration of the main undertaking Zeiss-Jena be to be forced in accordance with previous decrees. Signed: Minister for Precision Industry, by plenipotentiary powers from the Council of Ministers of the U. S. S. R.’

    So Dobrovolsky had achieved a partial success. It had been decided that the first step was to dismantle the Zeiss experts. But what was one to make of the fact that one and the same decree demanded the destruction and also the ’forced restoration’ of one and the same undertaking?

    Some days previously, in the Tagliche Rundschau I had read a nauseating letter written by one of the German specialists who had been sent to the Soviet Union on the basis of an ’individual contract’, which really meant compulsion. The happy expert hastened to inform the world that he was doing very well and was earning 10, 000 rubles a month. At this same period Marshal Sokolovsky was receiving 5, 000 rubles a month. The average Soviet engineer receives 800 to 1, 200 rubles a month.

    The deed was done: a considerable proportion of the workers and technical staff at Jena was sent to the East ’on the basis of individual contracts’. The Zeiss output fell. Dobrovolsky celebrated his victory, and sought to convince everybody of the soundness of his theory that the Zeiss works must be dismantled completely. But now Major Dubov and I were traveling to Jena as spies venturing into the enemy camp.

    “Why, old colleague, how’s things?” Major Dubov shook Dobrovolsky’s hand effusively.

    “What wind has blown you here?” The general welcomed his old comrade in a somewhat unfriendly manner. He behaved like a dictator in the works, and simultaneously like the commander of a besieged fortress. Especially when his visitors smelt of the S. M. A.

    I stepped aside and turned to study examples of Zeiss products which were attached to the wall, to give the impression that I was not in the least interested in business matters. But when Major Dubov had drawn Dobrovolsky into his private office I set to work to turn the general’s flank.

    Through a communicating door I passed from Dobrovolsky’s waiting room into the waiting room of the German director. I showed the woman secretary my documents with Marshal Sokolovsky’s signature, and expressed a wish to see the director. He was very glad to see me, and hurriedly got rid of the visitors who were with him. He was a fairly young man, a member of the Socialist Unity Party. Only recently he had been a worker in the packing department of the works. Now he was the director. Just the sort of man I wanted to get hold of. Not intelligent, but an energetic executive.

    “Well, Herr Director, tell me how things are going!” I said. I knew quite well that two feelings were struggling for mastery within him: his fear of Dobrovolsky and a feeling of professional or national duty, if such conceptions exist at all for members of the Socialist Unity Party. He must realize that the S. M. A. stood for the interests of the works, so far as its continued existence was concerned. I had no need to explain the situation to him; he knew it very well. He only wished to be assured that Dobrovolsky would not learn anything of our conversation.

    Despite his apparently quite genuine desire to spike Dobrovolsky’s guns, my talk with him did not get me very far. I thanked him for his exceptionally useless information and asked his permission to talk to the higher technical staff, ’just to elucidate certain details’. He was so forthcoming as to put his office at my disposition. A few minutes later a gaunt man in horn spectacles and a white overall came in. He was a being of a different cut. I stared at him silently, and smiled, as though he were an old acquaintance. I had already gathered information concerning the technical managers of the works. After a few preliminary remarks concerning Zeiss and its production we understood each other.

    I told him frankly that, although I was not moved by any philanthropic impulses, my object nonetheless was to free the works from Dobrovolsky’s terror regime. In this particular instance we were involuntary allies. I assured him that our conversation would be kept a dead secret. He declared himself ready to place his knowledge and experience at the disposition of the S. M. A.

    “What in your view are the bottlenecks in the work of the undertaking, Herr Doctor?” I tried to minimize the catastrophic situation by using the euphemistic word ’bottlenecks’.

    “It would be simpler to specify the bottles!” he replied with a mournful smile. “There’s a shortage of everything. But the chief thing is that we’ve been deprived of our brains, our specialists. And that damage cannot be made good for decades.”

    He went on to paint a pitiful picture. Unlike Soviet industry, German industry depends to a particularly high extent on the cooperation of related enterprises. In the Soviet Union economic considerations were sacrificed in order to achieve autonomy in industry whether large or small, both on a national scale and in regard to individual and factories. This issue was decided not so much by economic as by military strategic factors.

    The basis of capitalist economy is that production should at least pay its way. The structure of any enterprise and its viability are governed by strictly economic calculation and an active balance. Western economists would consider it absurd that in the Soviet Union the majority of the chief and basic industrial undertakings work at a loss and are dependent on a State subsidy, which the State through its plan pumps out of light industry by over-pricing means of consumption, and from collectivized agriculture.

    “At the moment we are still working with old stocks and semi-manufactures. We are not getting any new deliveries. When these stocks are exhausted...” the technical director threw out his hands in despair. “Our former suppliers in the Soviet zone have largely ceased to exist. The promised raw materials from the Soviet Union haven’t started to come in yet. It is practically impossible to obtain anything from the western zone. We’ve already tried sending lorries over the frontier illegally, at our own risk, in order to renew commercial contacts and thus get hold of something. But that is no solution.”

    We Soviet engineers were frequently amazed at the vitality of German industry, despite all the difficulties of total warfare, the capitulation, and the dismantling process. At the capitulation, stocks of raw materials in many German works were often larger than those held by Soviet works in peacetime.

    In May and June 1945, immediately after the fall of Berlin, Soviet dismantlers hurriedly dismantled the industrial plants at Siemensstadt, the heart of the German electro-technical industry. Even then, before the Potsdam Conference, it was known that the capital of Germany was to be occupied by all the four allies. Officially this decision was taken on 5 June 1945, by inter-allied agreement. But the Western Allies’ entry into Berlin was artificially delayed for another month. The reason? Dismantling. The Soviet dismantling brigades worked feverishly day and night in the sectors of Berlin to be handed over. And they dismantled in earnest: right down to the pipes of water closets.

    A year later I visited Siemensstadt in the company of Colonel Vassiliev, who had been in charge of the dismantling operation in these works. He shook his head in astonishment. “Where on earth have they got all this new plant from? Why, we even removed the cables from the conduits!” The German directors greeted the colonel genially as an old acquaintance. “Ah, Colonel, how are things with you? Have you any orders for us?” And that without a hint of irony, simply with an eye to business.

    The Zeiss technical director continued: “We’re trying to meet and we are meeting demands so far as we can. But it is being achieved only against an ultimate exhaustion of production. This is an internal process which so far is barely perceptible; but one day it will lead to a complete standstill.”

    I asked him to draw up a report, together with an economic analysis of the state of the undertaking. I would collect these documents on my way back to Berlin. I once more assured him that his name would not appear in my report to Marshal Sokolovsky. I took the same line with two other technical managers. I had to get a general picture of the situation, though in fact there was little difference between their stories.

    During a visit to the head of the Economic Department of the Jena commandatura I learned more details of Dobrovolsky’s activities. In regard to the Zeiss works the commandatura was working for both sides. It readily helped Dobrovolsky to draw up ’individual labor contracts’ for the Zeiss specialists to be sent to the Soviet Union, and just as readily it communicated all the details of this special measure to the S. M. A. representative.

    We obtained no new information from the head of the S. M. A. Economic Department in Thuringia, but he was loud in his complaints about Dobrovolsky: “He’s sabotaging the S. M. A. work shamelessly. He doesn’t care what happens to reparations, so long as he enjoys Moscow’s favor. ’So many units of installations sent to the address of the Ministry for Precision Tool Industry.’ But he doesn’t care a damn what benefit is derived from them. And now in the Soviet Union men are being put in prison because they can’t make use of the plant.”

    That was quite true. For instance, in one German works a serial installation of a hundred specialized machine tools for the mass manufacture of a certain article was dismantled and sent to Russia. But on the way one of the special machines attracted the interest of another dismantler, and without more ado it was readdressed to a new consignee.

    When it arrived at its destination it was discovered that a little mistake had been made; it was a special machine that could not be used in that works at all. So without unnecessary fuss it was scrapped. But when the rest of the series arrived at the rightful destination and they set to work to install them, it was found that one machine was missing. Yet without it the entire series was useless. There was no hope of finding a substitute for the missing item, so the whole lot was scrapped. The total cost was charged to ’capital investments’, and several men were brought to trial for sabotage.

    Our car sped through the frosty winter air of Thuringia; Karlshorst’s emissaries drew up the balance sheet of their work. Sokolovsky would have material for another report to Moscow and for further charges against Dobrovolsky. But there would be no change in the situation. The Kremlin knows what it needs.

    Major Dubov was more interested in the purely technical aspect of the affair. One day he unexpectedly asked me: “Do you know the story of Zeiss at all?” Without waiting for my reply he went on: "It’s a very interesting and striking story. While they were still alive old Zeiss and the scientific founder of the works, Professor Ernst Abbe, transformed the enterprise into a foundation. A foundation statute strictly bound the administration; the supreme management was vested in representatives of the town’s municipal council and representatives of the works.

    The district of Thuringia appointed the foundation president. So you had a kind of voluntary socialization of the works without the disadvantages of a state capitalistic enterprise. The revenues have contributed greatly to the material and cultural prosperity of the city of Jena. And that is precisely what we in Russia came too later, only in a different form.

    “And in addition....” Major Dubov gazed out of the window and said, apparently incidentally: “In addition, under the founder’s will all the workers and employees in the works directly participate in the profits. Which is exactly what should happen in the ideal socialistic society, according to our theories. But that has existed in the Zeiss works for decades, and still exists today.”

    Our driver, Vassily Ivanovich, whose presence we tended to overlook, pushed his cap on to the back of his head and added: “Not exists, but existed... until we arrived.”

    Sommaire https://seenthis.net/messages/683905
    #anticommunisme #histoire #Berlin #occupation #guerre_froide

  • Gregory Klimov. The Terror Machine. Chapter 14
    http://g-klimov.info/klimov-pp-e/ETM14.htm

    The Dialectical Cycle

    In the steaming heat of the late summer of 1946 Karlshorst lived its normal life. In all the S. M. A. administrations and departments there was feverish activity. In the rush of work the officers with gold epaulettes forgot that Karlshorst was only a remote island surrounded with a foreign and hostile element. But when the time came for them to go on leave and return to the homeland they grew more conscious of the fact that far away to the east was an enormous country whose interests they were called on to defend outside its frontiers.

    Letters from the Soviet Union reported an unusual drought all over European Russia. Fears were being openly expressed for the harvest. The small allotments and market gardens, which provided produce for the great masses of the people, were withering in the sun. People stared anxiously into the sky and feared that they were in for a famine still worse than that experienced during the war. Letters from home sounded desperate, hopeless.

    A year had passed since my arrival in Berlin to work in the Soviet Military Administration. I was due for leave at the end of the summer. I could shake the dust of Berlin from my feet and relax at home for six weeks.

    Andrei Kovtun took his leave at the same time as I, and we agreed to travel together. We decided to stop in Moscow for a time, then to visit our hometown in the south, and to finish our holiday somewhere on the Black Sea coast. Andrei insisted on organizing our leave so as to spend it largely surrounded by memories of our youth.

    At the Berlin Schlesische station Andrei, relying on his M. V. D. uniform, went to see the military commandant, and quickly came back with two second-class tickets. His foresight was amply justified. All the carriages were packed. The majority of the travelers was taking a mass of baggage with them, and refused to be parted from it; they did not trust the baggage cars. Andrei and I each had two trunks filled mainly with presents for relations and acquaintances.

    Our train arrived at Brest without adventure, though the Soviet military trains running between Berlin and Moscow often came under fire and even attacks from Polish nationalists hiding in the forests. The first check of documents and baggage took place at the Soviet frontier post in Brest, where we transferred to another train. The M. V. D. frontier guards made a special point of thoroughly searching the baggage of demobilized military men, looking for weapons which officers and men might be taking home as trophies.

    Just in front of us a frontier-guard lieutenant checked the documents of a captain going on leave. “Why didn’t you leave your service weapon behind, Comrade Captain?” he asked.

    “I received no instructions to do so,” the captain answered with a shrug of annoyance.

    “On arrival at your destination you must hand over your pistol to the local commandatura when you register,” the lieutenant said as he returned the documents.

    “That’s peacetime conditions for you!” the captain muttered as we left the control-point office. “Everybody’s afraid of something or other.”

    While waiting for the Moscow train Andrei and I sat in the waiting room. Here there were many officers in Polish uniform, including the Polish square military caps. They were all talking in Russian, resorting to Polish only for swearing. They were officers of Marshal Rokossovsky’s Soviet forces stationed in Poland and dressed in Polish uniforms. Some of the Russian officers returning from Berlin fell into conversation with them.

    “Well, how are things with you in Germany?” an officer with an unmistakable Siberian accent and with a Polish eagle in his cap asked a lieutenant who had come from Dresden. “D’you find the Germans a handful?”

    “Not in the least,” the lieutenant answered casually. “They’re a disciplined people. Tell them they mustn’t, and they don’t. At first we thought we’d have to deal with unrest and even attempts on our lives. Nothing of the sort!”

    “You don’t say!” The fellow from Siberia shook his head, obviously astonished. “But our ’gentlemen’ give us more than we bargain for. Not a night passes without someone being knocked off or shot. And this chicken is of no help whatever” - he pointed to the eagle in his cap.

    “You don’t know how to treat them!” the lieutenant said with a hint of superiority.

    “It isn’t so simple as that!” another Soviet officer in Polish uniform intervened. “During the war years Rokossovsky had sixteen expressions of Stalin’s thanks in orders of the day, but during his one year in Poland he has had twenty censures! All because of the Poles. They shoot at you round corners, and you aren’t allowed to raise a finger against them, otherwise you’ve had it! Court-martial for you. That’s politics!” He gave a deep sigh.

    Shortly after the train for Moscow had started our documents were checked again, this time in the carriage. We had traveled only a few hours when the procedure was repeated a second time.

    Andrei sat silent in a corner seat, taking no notice of what went on around him, sunk deep in thought. A passenger glanced in, noticed the M. V. D. officer’s uniform, and pretended he had made a mistake, and went to look for a seat elsewhere. Even in the second class, where every traveler had a Party ticket, people preferred to keep a respectable distance between them and the M. V. D.

    Towards evening Andrei livened up a little - he had not uttered a word for a long time. We began to talk about the past. Gradually his reminiscences turned to Halina. I sat listening in astonishment. Evidently he had been thinking of her all the time, but only now did he openly talk about her. Time and distance had blunted his feelings a little, but now his heart was burning once more with that same former fire.

    The story of Andrei’s pre-war relations with Halina was somewhat unusual. She was an extraordinarily beautiful girl, with a pure and exalted quality in her beauty. Above all, her character was in perfect harmony with her appearance. Andrei worshipped her. But for a long time she was indifferent to his attentions and did not notice his slavish devotion. Then a strong friendship developed between them. Possibly his sacrifice and devotion won her, or perhaps she felt that his love was different from other young men’s flattering attentions.

    Their acquaintances all thought this friendship queer; the contrast between his angular figure and her spiritual beauty was too obvious. Nobody could imagine what bound them to each other. Again and again her girl friends reduced her to tears, for they took every opportunity of pointing out Andrei’s defects. His comrades openly congratulated him on his ’undeserved good fortune’.

    More than once this sort of thing led to their separating for a time. And then Andrei had no rest. He wandered like a shade behind her, not daring to go up to her, yet lacking the strength to turn away. Thus they went on, all but inseparable, down to the outbreak of war. The war flung him into the partisans and directed his unbridled emotions in another direction. The town in which she was living was soon overrun by German troops, and they completely lost contact with each other.

    “We’re continually striving towards something,” he now said abruptly. "We strive for power, for fame, for distinction. But that is all outside us. And when you come to a certain point you realize that all the time you’ve only been giving out from yourself. And you ask yourself: what have you gained for it all?

    “I’ve got a strange feeling. Putting aside everything else and thinking only of myself, I get the impression that all I’ve done in my struggle to climb higher has been for Halina’s sake. Now I shall lay this uniform and these orders at her feet.”

    He ran his eyes over his perfectly fitting uniform, brushed a speck of dust from the blue riding breeches, and said dreamily:

    “Now Halina has graduated as an engineer; she’s living in Moscow, she has work worthy of her, and a comfortable home. And what more can any woman achieve today? And now, to complete it all, a major in the State Security Service will turn up as a guard and defender of her well being. Don’t you think that’s quite a logical conclusion? And now, old friend, I’m hoping that life will repay me with interest for everything.” He clapped his hand down on my knee, then rose and stared through the window into the darkness ahead, as though he hoped to discern what fate had in store for him.

    I had noticed before that he had rather queer ideas of his position with regard to Halina. He had put all his ardour into his ambitions and had received no satisfaction from life in return; on the contrary, he was tortured by his situation, in which he was compelled to act against his own convictions. And so he had subconsciously begun to seek for some compromise with life, he had begun to convince himself that his old love and the happiness of married life would fill the void in his soul. To meet Halina again had become an obsession with him; he thought of it as the miracle, which would bring him salvation.

    “D’you know what?” He turned round sharply. “I simply must get hold of a bottle of vodka.”

    “But you don’t drink.”

    “It’s for you,” he replied abruptly. “I want everybody round me to be jolly. Damn it all, I’m not going to a funeral, I’m going to a wedding!”

    I tried to dissuade him. “So you want to insult me? Is that it?” he demanded. I could only hope that he was unlikely to find vodka at that time of night.

    At the very next station he went out; a few minutes later he returned with a bulging pocket. “Obtained in perfect agreement with regulations!” he grinned. “The station commandant had confiscated it from someone, and I confiscated it from him. The raspberry capband has its uses!”

    He filled the glass so full that the vodka overflowed. “I’m all on fire inside, and there’s something lacking,” he said. “You drink for me. You know, there are times when I feel an emptiness inside me almost physically.” He sat with his feet planted widely apart, his hands on his knees. “Sometimes I think about God, and I envy those who believe in Him. It’s better to believe in a non-existent but infallible God than in the scoundrelly pretenders of this earth.”

    “When did you go to church last?” I asked.

    "Some twenty years ago. My father took me. When I was a boy I knew all the prayers by heart.

    “Yes, the soul of a man is not a piece of litmus paper,” he sighed. “You’ve got no means of deciding straight off whether it will be red or blue. In my damned job one often has to think about a human soul. I’ve developed quite a psychosis: I’m looking for people who believe in something.”

    All around us there was silence. Our native land sped towards us.

    The train arrived in Moscow next day. We went into the sunlit square outside the station and stopped to look about us. The trams clattered past, cars drove by silently, and people were hurrying about their affairs. All the feverish life of the capital city was opened before us. It was all so everyday, so simple. We felt as though we had never left Moscow.

    Thanks to his M. V. D. uniform and the gold star of a ’Hero of the Soviet Union’ Andrei easily obtained a room for two in the Staraya-Moskovskaya Hotel on the farther side of the river Moskva, right opposite the Kremlin. Our window looked out on to the river, and beyond we could see the new Stone Bridge, the rows of trees beginning to turn yellow along the Kremlin Embankment, the pointed towers and gold cupolas behind the Kremlin walls, and a long white building staring with innumerable windows. That building housed the brain of our country, the laboratory for the creation of a New World.

    We spent our first day aimlessly wandering about the city. We were both impatient to see Moscow life with our own eyes. Only a year had passed since I had last seen Moscow, but that year had been so filled with experiences that I felt now as though I were getting to know my own capital for the first time. Somewhere in the depths of my being I felt mingled feelings of expectation, distrust, and anxiety; as though, despite everything, I was trying to find something here that would make me change my mind, would lead me to revoke a firmly made decision.

    That summer evening Andrei and I wandered into Mayakovsky Square. Before us the black cube of the Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute loomed up in the dusk. In that stone chest the brain of Lenin, the ideologist and founder of the Soviet State, is preserved in spirit as a very sacred object. To the left of the square rose the editorial offices of Pravda.

    At roof level an illuminated sign was announcing the latest news. Nobody in the square paid any attention to it. But we craned our necks and began to read: ’The farmers report... the accomplishment of the plan for handing in the harvest... ’ Andrei and I looked at each other. Evening after evening, year after year, similar reports had been flashed along the roof of Pravda before the war. And it was still the same today. Hadn’t there been any war and all that the war connoted?

    “What does it say up there, little son?” An old, feeble, quavering voice sounded behind us.

    Beside Andrei a decrepit old man was standing. He was wearing a homespun coat of uncertain color, and a tangled, reddish beard framed his face and brightly twinkling eyes. His long hair hung down from beneath his old peaked cap.

    “My eyes are weak, little son, and besides, I’m not good at reading,” he murmured. “Tell me what it says.”

    He addressed Andrei in the tone that simple folk use to their superiors: with respect and wheedling sincerity.

    “Why haven’t you learned to read and write, daddy?” Andrei asked with a warm smile, touched by the old fellow’s request.

    “What do we simple people need to know them for? That’s what learned men are for, to understand everything.”

    “Where are you from, daddy?” Andrei asked.

    “My village is a little way outside Moscow,” the old man answered. “Nearly forty miles from here.”

    “Are you in town to visit your son?” Andrei asked again.

    “No, little son; I’m here to look for bread.”

    “Why, haven’t you any in your village?”

    “No, little son. We’ve handed over all our corn. Now all we can do is sell our potatoes in the Moscow market in order to buy bread.”

    “What’s the price of bread in the market now?” Andrei inquired.

    “Seventy rubles a kilo, little son.”

    “And how much did you sell your grain to the State for?”

    The old fellow fidgeted from foot to foot, sighed and said reluctantly:

    “Seven kopecks a kilo....”

    There was an awkward silence. We behaved as though we had forgotten his request that we should read the news to him, and walked on. In the middle of the square we came to a halt before a granite obelisk; it had a bronze plaque fastened to each of its sides. Andrei and I went closer to read the inscriptions on the plaques.

    “Little son, perhaps you’ll tell me what it says on those boards.” We again heard that feeble, aged voice behind us. The old man stood there like a shade, shifting from foot to foot.

    A smile slipped over Andrei’s face, and he turned his eyes back to the obelisk, intending this time to satisfy the old man. Slowly he read the first few words aloud, but then he broke off and read the further lines in silence.

    “What’s the matter, little son?” the old man asked with some concern. “Isn’t it written in Russian?”

    Andrei was silent; he avoided the old man’s eyes. In the dusk I too read the words. The plaques carried extracts from the Soviet Constitution, dealing with the rights and liberties of Soviet citizens. Hungry and ragged Moscow, this old peasant arrived in search of bread, and the bronze promises of an earthly paradise! I realized why Andrei was silent.

    The next day was a Saturday; we decided to find out where Halina lived and call on her. Through letters from mutual acquaintances I had learnt that she was working as an engineer in one of the Moscow factories. But when Andrei phoned the works administration they told him she was no longer working there, and refused to give any further information. On making inquiries at the Bureau for Ad-dresses we were amazed to be given an address in one of the out-lying suburbs, an hour’s journey by electric train.

    The sun was sinking behind the crowns of the pine forest when Andrei and I knocked at the door of a small timber-built house in a summer settlement not far from the railway. A negligently dressed, elderly woman opened the door to us, gave us an unfriendly look, listened to us in silence, and silently pointed up a rickety staircase to the first floor. Andrei let me go in front, and I could not see his face; but by the sound of his footsteps and the way he leaned heavily on the shaking banister rail I could tell how much this meeting meant to him.

    On the landing damp underwear was hung out to dry. Dirty pans and old rags littered the windowsill. A board door, hanging by rusty hinges, had tufts of wool blocking the chinks between the planks. I irresolutely took hold of the handle, and knocked.

    We heard shuffling footsteps. The door shook on its hinges and scraped over the floor as it was slowly opened; to reveal a woman simply dressed, with old shoes on her stockingless feet. She gazed interrogatively into the dimly lit landing. Then she distinguished men in military uniform, and the astonishment in her eyes was changed to fear.

    “Halina!” Andrei called quietly.

    The young woman’s face flushed crimson. She fell back. “Andrei!” a half-suppressed cry broke from her lips. She stood breathing rapidly and heavily, as though short of breath.

    Andrei avoided looking about him. He tried not to see the wretched furnishing of the half-empty room; he tried to ignore her old clothes and worn shoes. He saw only the familiar features of the woman he loved. All the world was lost in oblivion, sunk beneath the burning depths of her eyes fixed on him.

    How often during all the long years had he dreamed of her eyes! And now those eyes slowly took him in, from head to foot. They rested on the gold epaulettes with the blue facings, on the star indicating his major’s rank, on the brilliant raspberry band of his service cap. Her eyes turned to the M. V. D. insignia on his sleeve, then stared into his eyes.

    “Halina!” he repeated again as though in a dream; he stretched out both his hands to her.

    “Gregory, shut the door, please!” she said to me, as though she had not noticed Andrei or heard his voice. Her tone was cold, her eyes faded, her features set. She avoided Andrei’s eyes and, not saying a word, went to the open window at the far end of the room.

    “Halina, what’s the matter?” he asked anxiously. “How is it you’re living here... in such conditions?”

    “Perhaps you’d better tell your story first,” she answered. She seemed to be finding our visit a torture.

    “Halina! What’s the matter with you?” A growing alarm sounded in his voice.

    There was a long silence. Then she turned her back on us and said in a voice that was almost inaudible as she gazed out of the window:

    “I’ve been dismissed... and exiled from Moscow.”

    “Why?”

    “I am an enemy of the people,” she said quietly.

    “But what for?”

    Another silence. Then, like a rustle of wind outside the window:

    “Because I loved my baby....”

    “Are you married?” His voice broke with the despair of a man who has just heard his death sentence.

    “No.” The word came softly.

    “Then... then it’s not so bad, Halina.” The fear in his voice turned to a note of relief.

    There was another silence, disturbed only by his panting breath.

    “Look at that!” She nodded at a small photograph standing on the table. Andrei followed her glance. From the simple wooden photograph frame a man in German officer’s uniform smiled at the major of the Soviet State Security Service. “He was the father of my child,” she said from the window.

    “Halina... I don’t understand.... Tell me what happened.” He dropped helplessly into a chair; all his body was trembling.

    “I fell in love with him when our town was under German occupation,” she answered, after turning away from us again. “When the Germans retreated I hid the child. Someone informed on me. And of course you know the rest....”

    “But where is the child?” Andrei asked.

    “It was taken from me.” Her voice choked. Her shoulders shook with dry sobbing.

    “Who took it from you?” There was a threat in his tone.

    “Who?” she echoed him. “Men in the same uniform as you’re wearing.”

    She turned her face to us. It had nothing in common with the face of the gentle and friendly girl we had known in past days. Before us stood a woman in all the nakedness of her womanly pain.

    “And now I must ask you to leave my house.” She stared fixedly at Andrei’s motionless figure. He sat with shoulders bowed as though under the blows of a knout, staring at the floorboards: his back huddled, his eyes expressionless, and his body lifeless.

    The sun was glowing orange beyond the window. The branches of the dusty pines swayed silently. The sun lighted up the fluffy hair of the woman standing at the window caressed her proudly carried head, the gentle outlines of her neck, the frail shoulders under the old dress. The light left in shadow all the wretched furniture of the half-empty room and all the signs and tokens of human need. At the window stood a woman now farther off than ever, but now more desired than ever. On a chair in the middle of the room slumped a living corpse.

    “Halina... I’ll try...” he said thickly. He himself had no idea what he could hope to do, and he was silent again.

    “We have nothing more to talk about,” she answered quietly and firmly.

    He rose heavily to his feet, looked helplessly about him. He muttered something, held out his hand as though asking for something, or maybe in farewell. She looked away, taking no notice of his hand. There was another long silence.

    I crept out of the room as though from the presence of the dead. Andrei followed me. As he went downstairs he clung to the wall like a blind man. His face was ashen; words came incoherently from his lips. Our steps sounded hollowly on the creaking stairs.

    In the train he stared with glassy eyes out of the window and was obdurately silent. I tried to distract his thoughts with talk. He did not hear my voice; he took no notice of me whatever.

    As we made our way to the Moscow Underground station he broke the silence by asking: “Which way are you going?” I guessed he wanted to get rid of me, but I also felt that on no account could I dare to leave him to himself.

    We returned to our hotel. All the rest of the evening I followed him like a shadow. When he left the room for a moment I unloaded our pistols, which were lying in the table drawer. He would not have any supper, and went to bed unusually early. But he tossed and turned and could not sleep. He wished to escape from this life at least in his sleep, to find release from his torment; but he could not.

    “Andrei, the best thing would be for you to go home tomorrow,” I said.

    “I have no home,” came from his bed after a long silence.

    “Then go to your family,” I persisted.

    “I have no family,” he said thickly.

    “Your father...”

    “My father has disowned me.”

    Andrei’s father was a man of the old school, hard as oak and as obstinate as a mule. When the years of collectivization arrived the old cossack had preferred to leave his native soil to live in a town, rather than join a collective farm. In the town he had become an artisan. No repressive measures, no amount of taxation could drive him into an artisans’ cooperative. “I was born free, I shall die free!” was his one answer. He had given all his strength to bring up his son, in the hope that the lad would be a comfort to his old age. But when he heard that his Andrei had gone over to the enemy he disowned him.

    All night Andrei tossed and turned in his bed. All night I lay in the darkness, not closing my eyes, fighting to keep from falling asleep. The hours passed. The ruby stars of the Kremlin towers shone in through the open window. As the sky turned pale and the first feeble light stole into the room, I saw that Andrei was still awake. He had buried his face in the pillow, and his arms hung helplessly down, one on either side of the bed. In the silence I caught words that came strangely from his lips, words that I remembered from times long past, the time of my childhood. They came in a passionate whisper: “Lord, incline Thine ear and hear my prayer, for I am miserable and weak.”

    For the first time that night I closed my eyes. I would not hinder a man who stood on the confines of this world. And again in the early morning stillness I heard a whisper that had nothing earthly in it, the words of a long forgotten prayer: “Lord, forgive thy sinful slave...”

    On the farther side of the river the Kremlin clock chimed in answer.

    While in Berlin I had exchanged very little correspondence with Genia. She was too sensitive to the least hint of insincerity and mental reservations; moreover, there was still a military censor-ship, and that had to be taken into account. A frank description of my present life and of our impressions of the real world around us would have been unforgivable lunacy. And we had no private life in Karlshorst that I could write about. Both she and I were too young and too fond of life to write each other insane letters out of sheer amiability.

    So I preferred to use the nights when I had a twenty-four-hour turn of duty in the staff headquarters, and was alone in the commander-in-chief’s private office, for getting direct telephonic contact with Moscow and talking to Genia. On such occasions we had long conversations that had no connection with the marshal’s office, or policy. The people tapping the telephone could go on reading their novels unperturbed.

    On returning to Moscow I looked forward impatiently to seeing Genia again. And in preparing for my first visit I spent a long time pondering what to wear - my military uniform or civilian clothes. I finally decided in favor of the civvies.

    I found only Anna Petrovna at home. She was feeling bored, and she took the opportunity to ply me with questions concerning Berlin, and simultaneously to retail the latest Moscow news.

    Now the family was reunited. Genia’s father, Nikolai Sergeivich, had returned home after the conclusion of operations against Japan. But even now, when he was stationed in Moscow, his wife knew as little as ever about his duties and activities, and she lived in constant dread of his being sent off again in some unknown direction and for an indefinite period.

    After lunch Genia decided that she and I would go off into the country for the rest of the day. I was very grateful to her for taking me to her parents’ country house, for the small summer villa outside the city had been the scene of my first meeting with her, in the early days of the war. She herself drove her sports-model Captain.

    When we reached the villa she began to question me at great length and in unusual detail about life in Germany. All my explanations and descriptions failed to satisfy her. Suddenly, quite unexpectedly, she gazed into my eyes and asked: “But why are you so thin?”

    “I’m feeling fine!” I replied. “It may be just overwork.”

    “No, it isn’t that.” She shook her head. “You look really bad. You’re keeping something from me.” She gazed at me closely, as though trying to read my thoughts.

    “Maybe there is something,” I assented, touched by her anxious tone. “But if there is I haven’t noticed it.”

    “But I do,” she whispered. “At first I thought it must be some-thing coming between us... Now I see it’s something else. Forget it!”

    And I did forget it. I was boundlessly happy to see the familiar walls around me, and to hear only Genia, to think only of Genia.

    As the evening twilight settled over the forest and shadows began to steal through the room she decided to celebrate my arrival with a supper.

    “Today you’re mine.” She flashed her eyes at me. “Let father be annoyed because we’ve gone off! Let him know how mother worries when he’s not at home! I’ll show him!”

    We had hardly sat down to eat when we heard the sound of a car approaching. Genia raised her eyebrows anxiously. The car stopped outside, and a moment later Anna Petrovna entered. She was followed by Nikolai Sergeivich and a colleague of his, Colonel-General Klykov. They were all in a very cheerful mood, and the house was filled with their laughter and talk.

    “Now isn’t this wonderful! We’ve only just arrived, and the table’s already laid!” Klykov laughed and rubbed his hands. “Nikolai Sergeivich, your daughter’s a treasure!”

    “D’you think she’s prepared all this for us?” Nikolai Sergeivich answered. “You must excuse us for interrupting, Yevgenia Nikolaevna,” he said very formally, turning to his daughter. “Would you permit us to join your company?”

    “And you’re a fine one!” he added, turning to me. “Get into civilian clothes and you immediately forget your army regulations! You know your first duty is to present yourself to your superiors! Ah, you youngsters....”

    “But we were just getting ready to go home,” Genia began.

    “Then why have you laid the table? For us?” Her father roared with laughter. “So we drive here, and you go back there! You think you’re clever, my girl. But I’m no fool either. Just to punish you we’ll spend all the evening with you.”

    Anna Petrovna set to work to prepare supper. They had brought cans and bottles of a striking diversity of labels with them. All the lands of eastern Europe were represented: Bulgaria, Rumania, Hungary. These commodities were not spoils of war, but normal peacetime production. There were American conserves too, obviously the remnants of lend-lease deliveries. None of these things could be bought in the Moscow shops, but they were available in abundance in the special distribution centers to which generals had access.

    “Well, Gregory, now tell us all about it from the beginning.” Nikolai Sergeivich turned to me when the dessert arrived. “What is life in Germany like?”

    “Not too bad,” I answered vaguely, waiting for him to be more definite in his questions.

    “In any case he has a better apartment there than we have,” Genia intervened.

    The general ignored her, and asked: “What’s Sokolovsky doing?”

    “What Moscow orders,” I replied, involuntarily smiling. “You people here should know best what he’s doing.”

    Obviously I had given Nikolai Sergeivich the opening he was fishing for. He sat turning over his thoughts. Genia looked about her with a bored air.

    “Germany’s a tough nut.” General Klykov broke the silence. “It’ll be a long time before we crack it. The Allies won’t clear out of western Germany without giving trouble, and there isn’t much to be expected simply from eastern Germany. Not like the Slavonic countries: no sooner said than done! I think our first task is to create a strong bloc of Slavonic states. If we form a Slavonic bloc we shall have a good cordon sanitaire around our frontiers. And our positions in Europe will be strong enough to prevent any repetition of 1941.”

    “My friend, you’re always looking backward, but we’ve got to look forward.” Nikolai Sergeivich shook his head reproachfully. “What do we want a Slavonic bloc for? The old dreams of a pan-Slav empire! Today we’re in the epoch of the communist advance along the whole front. Eastern Europe and the western Slavonic states are of interest to us now chiefly as providing a favorable base for penetration and further action.”

    “So far the masters are pursuing a quite clear pan-Slavonic policy,” the colonel-general retorted. Like all the upper circles of Moscow he resorted to the vague term ’masters’ to denote the Kremlin and the Politburo.

    “That’s what policy’s for, to conceal the ultimate aims,” Nikolai Sergeivich said. “It would be a crying shame not to exploit our possibilities today. One half of Europe belongs to us, and the other half is inviting us to take it over and give it order.”

    It was now quite dark outside. Moths fluttered through the open window and beat against the lamp glass, burning their wings. A drowsy fly crawled over the table, moving its legs painfully. The fly had no aim, it simply crawled.

    “There’s Europe!” the general said with a contemptuous smile, and he unhurriedly picked up the fly between two fingers. “You don’t even have to catch it, you simply take it.”

    “But tell us frankly, Nikolai Sergeivich, what do you need that dead fly for? What good will it be to you?” the colonel-general asked.

    “Of course we’re not greatly interested in western Europe as such,” the general answered after a moment’s thought. “It’ll probably be more difficult to plant communism in the Europeans than in any other peoples. They’re too spoilt economically and culturally.”

    “There you are! You yourself admit it’s very difficult to make Europe communist,” Klykov expressed his thoughts aloud. “If we intend to build communism seriously there we’ll have to send half the population to Siberia and feed the other half at our expense. And what’s the sense of that?”

    “We need Europe so as to deprive America of her European markets, and then she’ll go under economically. But in any case...” The general was silent, thoughtfully rolling the unfortunate fly between his thumb and fingers. Then, as though he had come to a definite decision, he flung the fly away and repeated: “But in any case... neither you nor I know what the masters are thinking. And it’s just as well that we don’t,” he went on after another pause. His tone suggested that he knew more than he proposed to say.

    “Communist theory lays it down that the revolution should develop where there are the best prerequisites for it: in the weakest link of the capitalist system. And at the moment that isn’t in Europe. Today Asia is ripe for revolution. There we can gain the greatest possible successes with the least risk and the least expenditure. Asia is waking up nationally, and we must use this movement in order to further our objectives. The Asiatics are not so cultured and spoilt as the Europeans.”

    He paused again, then went on: “It’s more important to have Asia in our hands than Europe. All the more so as Japan has dropped out of the running. Today China is the key to Asia. Nowhere else in the world are the prerequisites for revolution so favorable as in China.”

    “All right, I give you China,” the colonel-general said in a joking tone. “And what will you do with it?”

    “China is an enormous reservoir of vital forces,” Nikolai Sergeivich replied. “It would be a tremendous thing to have such a reserve at our disposal, for the army and for industry. And, above all, that’s the way we shall force America to her knees.”

    “So America’s giving you trouble again?” Klykov laughed.

    “Sooner or later our roads will cross,” Nikolai Sergeivich answered. “Either we must renounce our historical mission or follow it through to the end.”

    “All the same, I assume that our post-war policy is directed towards ensuring the security of our frontiers, both in the West and in the East.” The colonel-general held to his views. But he prudently made his remarks sound more like a commentary on Kremlin policy than an expression of his own attitude.

    The general put on a smile of superiority. “Don’t forget, my friend, that one can build socialism in one country, but communism only in all the world.”

    “What’s the world to do with you, when you’re a Russian?”

    “We’re communists first, and Russians only second....”

    “So you need the whole world.” The colonel-general drummed his fingers ironically on the table.

    “That is the general line of the Party,” the general answered coldly.

    “Our policy during the war...” Klykov put up a feeble opposition.

    “Policy can change with circumstances, but the general line remains the general line;” the general would not let him finish. “It has to be so,” he went on slowly. “It’s a historical necessity. We’ve already exhausted all the possibilities of internal development. Internal stagnation is equivalent to death of old age. Either we finally retreat on the internal front, or we go forward on the external front. That is the law of dialectical development that applies to every state system.”

    “You’re going too far, Nikolai Sergeivich. You’re placing the interests of the state system above those of your people and your country.”

    “That’s why you and I are communists,” Genia’s father said slowly and firmly, raising his glass as though to confirm his words. Klykov pretended not to notice this invitation, and felt for his cigarettes. Anna Petrovna and Genia sat listening to the conversation with bored expressions on their faces.

    “What you’ve just said, Nikolai Sergeivich, is one thing in words, but in reality it means war,” Klykov said after a long silence. “You underestimate the external factors-America, for instance,”

    “And what is America?” Nikolai Sergeivich asked. “An agglomeration of people who represent no nation and possess no ideals, and whose basis of unity is the dollar. At a certain stage her living standards will fall inevitably, the class antagonisms will grow sharper, and then favorable conditions will arise for the development of the class struggle. The war will be shifted from the front to the rear of the enemy.”

    “And that’s what you and I are generals for - to wage war,” he added.

    “A general should be a citizen of his country first and foremost.” Klykov drew at his cigarette and sent the smoke curling up to the ceiling. “A general without a native country is...” He did not finish the sentence.

    During the war Colonel-General Klykov had successfully commanded large Soviet forces in the field. Shortly before the war ended he had been recalled from the front and given a comparatively subordinate post in the Commissariat for Defense. Generals on active service were not subjected to such changes without reason.

    Before leaving Moscow to join the S. M. A. I had met Klykov more than once at the home of Genia’s parents. Whenever the talk turned to politics he had always been very moderate, taking the attitude that the war was one of defense of the national fatherland. At that time, just about the close of hostilities, there was a good deal of rather independent discussion, or rather surmise, as to the U. S. S. R.’s future policy. It is hardly to be doubted that Klykov had been rather too frank in expressing his opinions, which did not entirely coincide with the Politburo’s secret plans, and that this had been the reason for his recall to the rear, closer to the Kremlin’s ever-watchful eye.

    “But we won’t argue about that, Nikolai Sergeivich,” he said in a conciliatory tone, after a long pause. “In the Kremlin there are wiser heads than yours or mine. Let them decide.”

    They fell into a long silence. Anna Petrovna sat turning over the pages of a periodical. Genia looked at the clock, then at the moon rising through the trees. At last she could stand no more, and she jumped up.

    “Well, you can go on dividing up the world, but we’re going home.”

    “Why, is the moon making you restless?” her father laughed. “Off you go, then, only don’t get lost on the way. If anything happens, Gregory, I shall hold you responsible.” He jokingly wagged his finger at me.

    A minute or two later we drove off. In the moonlight, the shadows of the trees fell spectrally across the ground. Here and there the windowpanes of summer villas gleamed through the trees. The car bumped over the hummocky forest road. I sat at the wheel, not speaking.

    “What were you so dumb for this evening?” Genia asked.

    “What could I talk about?” I asked.

    “What others talk about.”

    “I can’t repeat the sort of thing your father says. And I mustn’t support Klykov.”

    “Why not?”

    “Because I don’t happen to be Klykov. Your father would never stand from me what he takes from Klykov. Klykov gives expression to very imprudent views.”

    “Let’s forget politics!” she whispered. She put her hand to the dashboard and switched off the headlamps. The night, the marvelous moonlit night, caressed us with its silence. I gazed into her face, into her eyes, veiled in the half-light. My foot slowly released the accelerator.

    “If you don’t close your eyes again...” she murmured.

    “Genia, I’ve got to steer the car.”

    Instead of an answer, a neat little foot was set on the brake pedal. The car slowly pulled sideways and came to a stop.

    I spent the next few days visiting my numerous Moscow friends and acquaintances. Everywhere I was bombarded with questions about life in Germany. Although occupied Germany was no longer ’foreign’ in the full meaning of the word, and many Russians had already seen the country with their own eyes, there was no falling off in the morbid interest the Russian people showed in the world on the farther side of the frontier.

    This interest and the exaggeratedly rosy ideas of life abroad were a reaction from Soviet Russia’s complete isolation. Moreover, the Russians have one trait, which is seldom found in other nations: they are constantly seeking to find the good sides of their neighbors in the world. The Germans used to regard this as evidence of the primitive ways of thought in the East.

    After I had satisfied my friends’ curiosity as far as possible I turned to questioning them about life in Moscow. But while they were very ready to listen to my guarded accounts of life in Germany, they were very unwilling to answer my questions about life in Moscow. The general mood was joyless. Everybody had hoped that living conditions would improve after the war. But now there were signs of famine. And in addition, the papers were again talking hysterically of a new war danger.

    When my friends learned that we in Berlin were in the habit of meeting Americans, talking to them and even shaking their hands, they stared at me as if I were a ghost, and did not know what comment to make. Although there had been a considerable cooling off in relations between the Allies during the first twelve months after the war, the very fact that we lived in the same city did to some extent mitigate the growing tension in official relations.

    But in Moscow the one-sided and continual abuse in which all the press and propaganda weapons were indulging was leading the people, despite their own personal convictions, to think of the Americans as cannibals. The propaganda poison was having its effect.

    One evening I went as usual to see Genia, and found all the family making ready for a journey. Anna Petrovna explained that they were going next morning to see Nikolai Sergeivich’s parents, who lived in a village between Moscow and Yaroslavl, and she invited me in her husband’s name to go with them. I knew already that his parents were simple peasants, and that, despite their son’s attempts to persuade them, they had refused to move to Moscow, preferring to remain on their land and continue as peasants.

    I readily accepted the invitation, though Genia turned up her nose a little and made no comment. I had observed already that she was not fond of visiting her grandparents, and did so only because her father wished her to. She had grown up in the Moscow milieu, and was completely alien to her peasant origins.

    Early next morning Nikolai Sergeivich, Anna Petrovna, Genia and I drove in the general’s limousine out of Moscow. We passed through the suburbs with its factories and small houses, and plunged into the forests surrounding the city. Towards midday, after a long journey over by-roads, we drew near to our destination. Bumping over the potholes, the car crawled into a village street. It was enveloped in a deathly silence; there was not a sign of life anywhere. No domestic animals, no chickens, not even a dog to be heard. It seemed to have been deserted by its inhabitants.

    Our car stopped at one of the houses on the outskirts. With a groan the general climbed out and stretched his legs after the long drive. Anna Petrovna gathered her things together. Genia and I waited for them to lead the way. There was no sign of life in the hut. Nobody came out to welcome us.

    Finally, the general went up the steps of the porch and opened the unfastened door. We went through a dark entry smelling of dung. The general opened the living-room door without knocking. In the middle of the room a girl about eight years old, bare-foot and straight haired, was sitting on the floor, swinging a cradle hanging from the ceiling. She was singing under her breath. When she saw us she stopped, and stared half in wonder, half in alarm, without rising.

    “Good morning, my child,” the general said to her. “Have you lost your tongue?”

    In her confusion she only stuck her finger into her mouth.

    “Where is everybody?” Nikolai Sergeivich asked again.

    “They’ve gone to work,” the child answered.

    At that moment we heard a noise behind us, and a pair of legs shod in worn feltboots began to stir on the enormous Russian stove that filled half the room. A muffled coughing and groaning came from the shelf for a few moments, then a shaggy, gray head was stuck out from behind a cloth curtain.

    “Ah.... So it’s you, Nikolai!” an aged, rather hoarse voice said. “So you’ve come again!” It was the general’s father. The old man’s face showed no sign of pleasure at the sight of his son.

    “Who else should it be?” the general thundered with forced gaiety as the old man climbed down from the stove. “I’ve brought something for you, Sergei Vassilievich. Something for the pain in your legs. You won’t refuse a bottle of vodka, I’m sure!”

    “Bread would have been more acceptable than vodka!” the old man grumbled.

    “Marusia, run to the chairman of the collective farm” - the general turned to the child - “and ask him to release all our people from work today. Tell him the general’s arrived.”

    “The general... the general....” the old man mumbled in his beard. He laid his hand affectionately on Genia’s head. “You’re looking well, dragon-fly. So you haven’t forgotten your old grand-dad in that Moscow of yours?”

    I went to the car and brought in the packets and bundles of presents we had brought with us. One after another the rest of the family arrived, all the general’s numerous kindred and their grown-up children. They all seemed rather awkward, and showed no sign of pleasure at the arrival of guests. The last to enter was a man who had been wounded in the war, and now walked with the aid of a stick. He was the general’s cousin, and the collective farm store-keeper.

    As usual in the country, the oldest man of the family issued the orders. The grandfather waved to one of the women:

    “Lay the table, Serafima. We’ll have dinner now we’ve got guests.” Turning to his son, he remarked: “I don’t suppose you’ve eaten potatoes for a long time, Nikolai? Well, you can have some now. We haven’t any bread, so we’re eating potatoes instead.”

    “What’s happened to your corn then?” Nikolai asked. “Haven’t you received anything yet from the collective farm?”

    “Received anything...” the old man muttered. “The collective farm handed over everything down to the last grain to the State, and that still left it in debt. We haven’t met our delivery plan. We’re managing with potatoes at present, but when winter comes... we haven’t any idea what we’ll eat.”

    “Well, don’t worry!” the general reassured him. “We’ve brought bread with us.”

    “Ah, Nikolai, Nikolai! If you weren’t my son I’d show you the door! Brought your bread to make a mock of us country-people, have you? You know our custom: the host provides for the guest. You’ll eat what we eat. And no arguments! Don’t turn up your nose at our food.”

    With a sweeping gesture he invited everybody to sit down at the table, on which Serafima had set a huge iron pot of steaming beetroot soup. Next to it she placed a pot of potatoes boiled in their jackets. Then she arranged earthenware plates and wooden spoons round the table. The general was the first to sit down.

    He was the most talkative of all the company, and tried hard to show that he was perfectly at home in the house where he had been born. He joked as he peeled his potatoes, readily held out his plate for Serafima to fill with the ’beetroot soup’, which apparently had been made without meat or fat. For some time only the clatter of the wooden spoons was to be heard.

    “What’s a dinner without vodka?” the general exclaimed at last, and he rose and went across to his packages. “We’ll throw back a glass all round, and then we’ll feel more cheerful.”

    All the men in the house readily accepted his invitation, and the bottle was swiftly emptied. A second followed it. The plain peasant food was quickly disposed of. The general again resorted to his packages, and littered the table with cans of preserves labeled in all the languages of Europe. His old father watched him glumly, and tried to protest; but then he held his peace and, staring at the strange labels, confined himself to the brief remark: “You’ve done some looting....”

    The plentiful supply of vodka had its effect; they all found their tongues.

    “Well, Nikolai, tell us. They say there’s a smell of war around again,” the old man asked, a little more amiable after several glasses of vodka.

    “We’re a long way off war at the moment, but we must always be ready for surprises,” the general replied. “We’ve won the war, now we must win the peace,” he added self-importantly.

    “What sort of world?” his father asked, screwing up his eyes cunningly. “That old story again... ’proletarians of all countries unite... ’?” (The Russian word ’mir’ has two meanings: ’peace’, and ’world’; the old man deliberately twists his son’s remark.)

    “Why of course, we mustn’t forget the proletarians of other countries,” the general said sluggishly, conscious of the ineptitude of his remark. “Proletarian solidarity,” he added, avoiding his father’s eyes.

    “Of course, of course.... My belly tells me every day that we’re proletarians. But as for the solidarity! D’you mean that others are to go hungry with us? Is that it?”

    “Let’s have another drink, Sergei Vassilievich,” his son proposed, realizing that there was no point in arguing with him. He filled his glass again.

    “But tell me just one thing, Nikolai.” His father went over to the offensive. “I don’t say anything about our having shed our blood and gone hungry in this war. God be thanked that it ended as it did. But tell me one thing: did the soldiers want to fight at the beginning, or didn’t they? You should know the answer, you’re a general.”

    The general stared silently at his plate.

    “Nothing to say?” the old fellow crowed. “The soldiers didn’t want to fight. And you know very well why. Because they’d had enough of that song long before. You can’t fill your belly with songs.”

    “But all the same we won the war,” the general said in his own defense.

    “Nikolai! I’m your father, and you needn’t tell me lies. Have you forgotten what was promised us during the war? Why were the churches opened again? Why have you been given Russian epaulettes? Why have you tsarist ribbons on your chest? You hid behind the backs of the Russian people! We were promised land and freedom. That’s what we fought for! And where is it all?” He banged his fist down on the table, making the glasses jingle. “Where is it all?” he shouted again, furiously pointing a skinny finger at the potato skins littered about the table.

    “You can’t have everything at once,” the general feebly protested.

    “What do you mean by that? You can’t have everything at once!” The old man exploded like a gunpowder barrel. “D’you mean it’s going to be still worse?”

    “Oh no.... But when everything’s been destroyed it can’t all be restored at once;” the general made his retreat.

    “Ah, now that’s a different story! But you began at first with the old song: Solidarity! Proletariat! We know it all by heart. We even know it backward!”

    The general said no more, but apathetically chewed a bread-crust. The old man could not get over his excitement. With a trembling hand he helped himself to a glass of vodka and tossed it off. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, then looked about him to see if anyone was daring to oppose him. But they all sat staring indifferently into their empty plates.

    “Don’t tell me any of your fairy-stories, Nikolai!” the old fellow said decisively, with a challenging stare across the table. “I know all that you’ve been up to! D’you think I don’t know how for the last twenty years you’ve been going about the world with a flaming torch? D’you think I don’t know where you got all those gewgaws from?”

    He pointed to the orders on his son’s chest. “When you were lying in that cradle,” he nodded to the cradle hanging from the ceiling," we didn’t only have bread in the house, we had everything in plenty. Now you’ve become a general, but the child in that cradle is crying with hunger. What’s happened to your conscience? Answer me! Have you exchanged your conscience for those gewgaws?"

    “Grand-dad, where could I find a basket?” Genia, who had been sitting silent next to her father, asked the old man. She rose from the table to go out.

    “What, dragon-fly, had enough?” Her grandfather gazed after her. “Go and pick some mushrooms in the forest, then we’ll have mushrooms as well as potatoes for supper.”

    Genia stood at the door with a basket on her arm, and nodded to me to go with her. As I left the room I heard the old man say:

    “I tell you, Nikolai, I don’t want to hear any more about the proletariat in my house. If there’s anybody who’s the last, the very bottom-most proletariat, it’s us, and not anybody else. If anybody’s got to be set free, it’s us! Get that? Put that in your pipe and smoke it!”

    Genia and I walked out of the village. The forest began almost at the last house. The sky was overcast with gray. The air was autumn-ally clear, and pervaded with the scent of rotting leaves and dampness. Genia had flung a kerchief over her head, knotting it beneath her chin. She took off her high-heeled shoes and dropped them into her basket, and went on in front without saying a word, cautiously stepping with her bare feet through the grass.

    I followed her, my eyes delighting in her supple figure. We went deeper and deeper into the forest, and at last came to a clearing littered with the great, mossy trunks of felled trees; all around them was a wilderness of wild berries, mushrooms, and grasses.

    “But what does father come here for at all?” Genia broke the silence. She walked aimlessly along with bent head, gazing at the ground. “Granddad always entertains him with this sort of performance, and father seems to like it.”

    “Perhaps he likes to see the difference between what he was and what he is now,” I suggested.

    “I’ve had enough of this comedy, long since!” she went on. “And this time it’s all the more unpleasant because you’ve seen it.”

    “Genia!” I called quietly.

    She turned round so swiftly and so readily that she might have been waiting for the call. Her chestnut eyes were fixed on me with a look of expectation.

    “Genia, what comedy are you referring to?” I asked, feeling an unpleasant suspicion rising in my mind. She stood embarrassed, disturbed by the tone of my voice. I took her by the hands and set her against a large, mossy stump rising as high as her head. She humbly stood as I had placed her.

    “Don’t you see it for yourself?” She attempted to avoid my question.

    “But it the comedy itself you mind?” I gazed into her eyes and saw that she was expecting, yet fearing, my question. “Which one do you think is the comedian?”

    “I... I don’t know, Grisha....”

    “Genia, which one do you regard as the comedian?” I repeated harshly.

    “I’m sorry for granddad,” she whispered, lowering her eyes. I could see that this talk was torturing her. “But it’s all so silly...” she added, as though excusing herself.

    “So you think your grandfather is a comedian?” I insisted.

    “No; he’s quite right. But...” Tears came into her eyes.

    I had a feeling of relief, mingled with a warm tenderness. I took her head between my hands and kissed her on the lips. I had no wish to go on tormenting her, by forcing her to disavow her own father. There was no need for me to say more.

    “D’you know what, Genia?” I said, as I played with a strand of her hair. “I’m very grateful to you at this moment.”

    “Why?” she whispered in surprise.

    "I was afraid for you. I was afraid you’d say something else....

    “I felt really upset for the old man,” I added thoughtfully. “Before the war came, each of us lived in his own nest, and each built his life to the best of his ability. During the war everything was changed, everybody was threatened and everybody was equal in the presence of death. In those days of blood and evil I experienced so much good from people I didn’t know at all, from simple people like your grandfather. The war brought us together in a brotherhood of blood. Now I feel sick at heart for these people.”

    A gray pall crept across the sky. The scent of rawness rose from the earth. A bird fluttered about for a moment, then flew off. “You and I are on top,” I went on quietly. “We must never forget that. Our being on top and remaining there only makes sense if we don’t forget it. I think your father has. And I was afraid you bad too....”

    The rustles of the autumnal forest stirred through the glade. I looked at Genia’s bare feet, at her peasant’s kerchief, at the basket standing beside her. In her hands she held a sprig of ash berries which she had broken off as she walked along.

    “I’d be tremendously happy if you were only your grandfather’s granddaughter and lived in that hut,” I said.

    She pressed closer to me, as if she were cold.

    “For then I’d know you belong to me,” I whispered into her ear. “You know, I often think of the first days we met. When you were simply Genia, a delightful girl who was a soldier’s friend. D’you remember how I knocked at your door, straight back from the front, in a soldier’s dirty greatcoat? I was always so proud of you... A soldier’s little wife...”

    “Grisha, tell me quite frankly.” As she learned against the mossy stump she bore little resemblance to the saucy and carefree girl I had once known. She spoke quietly, seriously. “You’ve come back from Berlin completely changed.... And you talk so little... I feel that something’s getting you down. What is it?”

    “Genia, it’s because I’m sorry that our friendship will never be anything more than that...”

    “What’s preventing it?”

    “When I first met your father I was proud of him. I thought of him in those days as an example to be followed...”

    “And now?” She looked into my eyes with a strange look.

    I did not answer at once. I could not yet put what I felt into words. “That you should leave the life you’re living now and belong only to me... I can’t insist that you should do that,” I said quietly. "But if you were to include me in your life, it would be the end for all of us.

    “So my father stands in the way?” she said with a strange calm. The words came as an answer to my own thoughts. I remained silent, gently stroking her shoulders. The leaves of the birches rustled quietly. The cloudy sky was silent. Ants crawled aimlessly over the stump.

    “Don’t be afraid, Grisha. I’d come to the same conclusion my-self.” Her voice betrayed her weariness. “There’s just one thing I want to say: it isn’t my father that stands between us. What has come between us is something that long since came between me and my father. I am only a woman and a daughter. But I feel differently about that.” She was silent for a moment, then she went on: “I’ve told you once already I’m an orphan...”

    She raised the sprig of mountain ash to her face and brushed her cheeks with the cluster of berries. The air was fresh with the autumn. We stood silent in the forest glade, forgetting what we had come there for.

    “And so you’ve quite made up your mind?” she asked at last.

    I only shrugged my shoulders impotently.

    “But supposing I throw up everything and come to you in Berlin?”

    “My position there is too insecure. I can’t risk your future...”

    She played thoughtfully with the cluster of orange berries. Her eyes gazed over my shoulder into the distance.

    “I shall never forget you, my dear,” I began, and was not at all sure whom I was trying to comfort, her or myself. My heart quivered once more with all the pang of a soldier’s parting, with sadness and tenderness, as in times past. But now the girl’s body did not quiver and caress me as it had done in the past. It was lifeless and cold.

    “Don’t be angry with me,” I pleaded. “It’s very difficult for me too. Very...”

    She raised her head. The emptiness in her eyes slowly gave place to the irresistible call of life. “If it has to be so,” she whispered, “the soldier’s little wife won’t cry.” She smiled through her tears. Then she set both her hands on my shoulders and threw her head back as though she were looking at me for the first time. A burning kiss scalded our lips.

    After a fortnight in Moscow I suddenly felt a griping void and restlessness. I hurried to put my affairs in order, feeling rather like a man afraid of being late for a train.

    Andrei Kovtun had already left Moscow. After his meeting with Halina he had wandered about for several days as though in a trance, dead to everything around him. I had great difficulty in persuading him to take the train to Sochi on the Black Sea, to spend the rest of his leave in a sanatorium. Even when I saw him off at the station he did not smile, and as he shook my hand he gazed aside.

    When I left Berlin to return to Russia I had not felt any need of a rest. But now, after a fortnight in Moscow, I felt desperately tired and in need of a break.

    One morning towards the end of the third week I hurriedly packed my few belongings and took a trolley-bus for the Central Aerodrome. I had already phoned and found out that there were always free places in the S. M. A. planes flying from Moscow to Berlin. And now, just as I had done more than a year before, I stood in the airport office, entering my name in the passenger list.

    With a pain in my heart I went to a telephone kiosk and called up Genia. When I heard her familiar voice I said:

    “Genia, I’m phoning from the airport. I’ve been urgently called back to Berlin.”

    “Don’t tell lies,” I heard her say. “But I’m not angry with you. Only it’s a pity you didn’t give me a parting kiss...”

    I was about to say something, but she had already rung off.

    Half an hour later our plane was airborne. This time the pilot did not make a farewell circle above Moscow. This time I did not gaze out of the window. And I did not look forward with any feeling of pleasure to what lay ahead of me. I tried to avoid thinking of what I had left behind me.

    Sommaire https://seenthis.net/messages/683905
    #anticommunisme #histoire #Berlin #occupation #guerre_froide

  • Gregory Klimov. The Terror Machine. Chapter 13
    http://g-klimov.info/klimov-pp-e/ETM13.htm

    Between Two Worlds

    Before the war I came across a book by Paul de Cruis: Is Life Worth Living? The book was a real find for the Soviet State Publishing Company; it was in complete accord with the Politburo course of that time, with its attack on the ’rotten democracies’. And so the book was translated and published in huge editions.

    The Russian edition had a foreword by the author; it was so amazing that I read it aloud to a friend: "’I cannot pass myself off as a proletarian; rather am I a bourgeois of the bourgeois, enervated and corrupted by the blessings of my social state.

    With a partridge wing in one hand and a glass of Burgundy in the other, I find it difficult to reflect on the social ulcers and painful problems of modern society. Nonetheless I am enthusiastic for the great Soviet experiment, I raise my right fist’ - holding the partridge wing or the Burgundy? - ’and cry: “Red Front!”’

    At this point my friend had had enough, and, swearing violently, he flung the book away. Both of us bitterly regretted that we hadn’t got the simple-minded Frenchman in the room with us. It may be there are people who get pleasure out of watching a dissected rabbit, but the rabbit itself hardly shares the pleasure.

    Paul de Cruis truthfully and honestly analyzed the defects of modem American society; he was indignant at the fact that American unemployed workers were living in extremely wretched conditions, and that their food consisted chiefly of fried potatoes and horribly salted pork. And their children received only a liter of ordinary milk a day, as an act of charity. And he exclaimed: “Is their life worth living?”

    Naturally, standards of good and bad are always relative. And possibly he was justified in concluding that in comparison with American living conditions generally such a state of affairs was very bad.

    But a Soviet reader reading those words might well ask: “And what is the state of the Soviet workers, who work themselves to death to earn a wage - not unemployment pay - which only very rarely assures them such a treat as pork, whether salted or unsalted? And what of their children, who even in the best years, received less milk than an American unemployed worker’s child? What answer could be given to the question: ’Was it worth while for these children to be born?”’

    After the war I recalled Paul de Cruis’ book, and especially his question: ’Is life worth living?’ For now some of us have had an opportunity to see the children of the democratic world, and that in conquered Germany, in conditions that were, generally speaking, worse than those applying in other democratic countries. Now we have had a chance to draw comparisons.

    In Germany the difference between the children of the two systems was painfully obvious. At first we noticed only the superficial differences; but when we had lived in Berlin for some time we saw another, much more profound difference. Soviet children seem like little soulless automata, with all their childish joy and lack of restraint suppressed.

    That is the result of many years of replacing the family by the State. Soviet children grow up in an atmosphere of mistrust, suspicion, and segregation. We in Berlin found it much more difficult to strike up a conversation with the child of a Soviet officer who was quite well known to us than with any German street urchin in the Berlin streets.

    The German children born in the Hitler epoch, and those who have grown up in the years following the capitulation, could hardly be exemplary in their characters. So we found it all the more depressing to note these vast internal and external differences between the children of the two systems.

    Here is a significant detail. The Germans are not in the habit of having their mother-in-law in the young married couple’s home; it is regarded as a family disaster. The German mothers-in-law themselves take the attitude that when they have disposed of their daughters they can ’enjoy life’; they ride cycles, visit the pictures, and live their own lives.

    In a Soviet family the exact opposite is the case. It is a bit of luck for the wife, and even more for the children, if her mother-in-law is living with them. Soviet children usually grow up in their grandmother’s care.

    Whereas the German woman of forty or more often begins a ’second youth’ when her daughter gets married, the Russian woman of over forty no longer has any personal life, she devotes herself wholly and entirely to her ’second family’, to her grandchildren. Only then is there any surety that the children will be brought up in a normal manner.

    Generalizing on this difference, one can say that the German woman belongs to the family, the Soviet woman to the State. A Soviet woman can become an engine driver, a miner, or a stonemason. In addition, she has the honorable right of voting for Stalin, and of being her husband’s hostage if the M. V. D. is interested in him. Only one small right is denied her: the right to be a happy mother.

    For a long time there were two conflicting theories as to the formation of the child character, and Soviet pedagogues were divided into two camps. The heredity theory maintained that the chief part in the development of human characteristics was played by the inherited genes; this theory came to be widely accepted by pedagogues after the emergence of a separate science of genetics. The second, environment, theory declared that the infant mind was a tabula rasa, on which environment wrote the laws of human development.

    This made the child’s characteristics exclusively dependent on the influences of its milieu. In due course the Politburo issued a specific instruction that the environmental theory was to be accepted as the basis of Soviet pedagogy. The totalitarian State fights wholeheartedly for the souls as well as the bodies of its citizens; it cannot stand any rivals in the formation of the citizen - not even genes. Soviet pedagogy now declares in so many words that the Soviet child is a hundred-per-cent product of its communist environment.

    During the period before this approach was finally established the Politburo based its system of Soviet education on a tenden-tious curriculum and the political organization of the youth in the Pioneers and the Young Communist League; in these organizations the children began when quite young to render their service to the State. The years passed, and after much experimentation the authorities went over from the ’method of conviction’ to the ’method of compulsion’.

    In 1940 a ’Committee for the Problem of Labor Reserves’ was set up as a subsidiary of the Council of People’s Commissars, and trades and technical schools attached to the factories and works were organized. The pupils for these educational institutions were compulsorily recruited at the age of fourteen, under the pretext of mobilizing labor reserves.

    In 1948 a State decree established the Suvorov and Nakhimov Cadet Schools. The task of these schools - there are some forty of them - is to prepare children of eight years and upward for a military career by a barrack style of education and training.

    I once had the opportunity to visit the Suvorov Cadet School at Kalinin. It was not far from Moscow, and consequently was the most privileged of all these schools, there being no Suvorov school in Moscow itself. At Kalinin I met a number of lads who were the grandsons of Politburo members.

    Petka Ordjonokidze, the grandson of Sergo Ordjonokidze, at one time People’s Commissar for Heavy Industry, was sitting in his underwear on his bed, for his uniform trousers were being repaired, and service regulations prescribed only one pair per child. In this respect, to have a highly influential and famous grandfather was of no advantage whatever. The teacher, a captain, complained of his delicate position in regard to Mikoyan’s youngest scion, who kept the whole establishment supplied with cigarettes, which he smuggled into the school.

    He could hardly be punished with the cells, for his grandfather was still alive and had a very good seat in the Politburo. Some of these lads of twelve or thirteen years old were wearing service decorations, which they had won as partisans. Seen close up, all this doesn’t look too bad: the Suvorov schools are privileged institutions in which the children are clothed, fed, and educated at the State expense.

    There are candidates and to spare for all vacancies, so it isn’t easy for the ordinary child to get to these schools. In that at Kalinin about half the pupils consisted of relations of generals and other members of the Soviet aristocracy.

    On leaving these schools the pupils may not enter any other than an officers’ training college. Their fate, their future career, are decided when they are eight years old. The classless society divides its children at an early age into strictly delimited castes: the privileged caste of the military and the caste of the proletarians, whose job is to do productive work, to multiply up to the approved limits, and to die for the glory of the leader.

    In 1946 an urgent conference was called by the head of the S. M. A. Political Administration to discuss the question of improving educational work in the Russian school at Karlshorst. Certain unhealthy trends had been noted among the scholars in the higher forms. A month or so before, a scholar in the ninth form had shot his father and his father’s young mistress.

    The father was a Party member, a lieutenant-general, and an official in the S. M. A. legal department. Apparently he had taken a fancy to wartime habits, and had been untroubled by the circumstance that he had been living with his paramour under the very eyes of his grown-up son and daughter, whose mother had remained in Russia.

    After fruitless talks, pleadings, and quarrels with his father, the son, a seventeen-year-old member of the Young Communist League, had decided to appeal to the advice and assistance of the Party organization. He had put in an official report to the head of the Political Department.

    When a Party man is accused of moral or criminal misconduct the Party organs usually act on the principle of not washing dirty linen in public. So the Political Department tried to hush up the affair, and only passed on the report to the father. The result could have been anticipated. The father was furious, and took active steps against his son. It ended by the son snatching up his father’s pistol and shooting him.

    Hardly had the commotion died down after this tragic incident when the Karlshorst commandant, Colonel Maximov, had to entrust a rather unusual task to a company of the commandatura guard. A mysterious band of robbers was operating in the wooded sand dunes and wilderness around Karlshorst, and filling the entire district with alarm and terror.

    The company sent to deal with it was strictly enjoined not to shoot without special orders from the officer in command, but to take the robbers alive. For they were scholars from higher forms of the Karlshorst school, and were led by the son of one of the S. M. A. generals. They were very well armed, with their father’s pistols, and some of them even with machine pistols.

    The district was combed thoroughly, the robbers’ headquarters were found in the cellar of a ruined house, and it was formally besieged. Only after long negotiations conducted through emissaries did the head of the band declare himself ready to capitulate. It is striking that the first of his conditions for surrender was that they were not to be sent back to the Soviet Union as a punishment. The officer in command of the company had to send a courier to the S. M. A. staff to obtain the necessary agreement to the condition. The stipulation greatly disturbed the S. M. A. Political Department.

    It was discovered that the results achieved in the higher forms of the Karlshorst school were not up to the standard of corresponding forms in the U. S. S. R., and on the other hand there was a considerable increase in truancy. The only improvement shown was in regard to German conversation, and this did not please the school authorities at all, as it showed that the pupils were in contact with the German world around them. That might have unpleasant consequences for the school staff.

    The commandatura patrols regularly hauled scholars out of the darkness of the Berlin cinemas in school hours. A search of the desks of older scholars led to the discovery of hand-written copies of banned Yesenin poems and amoral couplets by Konstantin Semionov, which soldiers had passed from hand to hand during the war. Worst of all, the S. M. A. hospital notified the chief of staff that several cases of venereal disease had occurred among the senior scholars. A sixteen-year-old girl was brought to the hospital suffering from a serious hemorrhage as the result of a clumsy attempt at abortion. Another girl lay between life and death for several months after she had made an attempt to gas herself because of an unhappy love affair.

    All these things had led to the Political Department calling an urgent conference, which decided that radical measures must be taken to improve the communist education of the Soviet children and youths in Germany. It was agreed that the most effective step towards effecting such an improvement was the approved panacea for all diseases: additional lessons on the ’Short Course of History of the C. P. S. U.’ and on the childhood and youth of the leaders of the world proletariat, Lenin and his true friend, collaborator and pupil, Joseph Stalin. It was also decided incidentally to send the incorrigible sinners home to the Soviet Union, a punishment which hitherto had been applied only to the adult members of the Karlshorst Soviet colony.

    *

    “Well, did you like it?”

    “Oh yes. An outstanding piece of work.”

    “Unquestionably. A real chef-d’oeuvre.”

    The solid stream of human beings carried us in the darkness out of the cinema of the officers’ club in Karlshorst. The crowd expressed their opinions about the film as they poured out.

    That morning Nadia, the secretary to the Party Organizer in the Administration for Industry, had rather startled us by her obliging conduct. She had gone from room to room, handing each of us a cinema ticket, and even asking affably how many we would like. Normally it wasn’t so easy to get hold of tickets; if you wanted to go you had to apply to Nadia very early.

    “Ah, Nadia, my dear! And what is showing today?” I asked, rather touched by her amiability.

    “A very good one, Gregory Petrovich. The Vow. How many tickets would you like?”

    “Ah! The Vow,” I murmured respectfully. “In that case let me have two.”

    The Soviet press had devoted a great deal of space to this film, extolling it to the skies as a new masterpiece of cinematic art. Although, generally speaking, I am skeptical of proclaimed masterpieces, I decided to go. It was so remarkably publicized that it would have been quite dangerous not to.

    Within five minutes of its beginning Captain Bagdassarian and I were watching the clock rather than the screen. It would have been an act of madness to leave, and yet to sit and watch the film...

    ’Let’s act as though we were going to the toilet, and then slip out," Bagdassarian whispered.

    “You’d better sit still and see it, out of scientific interest!” I advised him.

    Even in the pre-war Soviet films Stalin had begun to acquire a stature equal to Lenin’s. But in The Vow Lenin served only as a decorative motif. When they heard that Lenin was seriously ill the peasants from the entire neighboring district went on pilgrimage to the village of Gorky, where Lenin was living. But now it appeared that they had gone to Gorky only to plead, with tears in their eyes, for Stalin to be their leader. They swore their troth and fidelity to him for thousands of feet.

    I swore too. I swore that never in all my life, not even in pre-war days, had I seen such stupid, coarse, and unashamed botching. No wonder that our officers’ club had stopped showing foreign films for some months past.

    “Show a film like that abroad,” Bagdassarian said as we went home, “and they’ll believe that all Russians are a lot of fools.”

    “They’ve got plenty of rotten films of their own.” I tried to appease him.

    The few foreign films, which had been shown from time to time in the Soviet Union, were real masterpieces of the international cinema. Of course such films were shown only when they corresponded with higher interests and in conformity with the sinuosities of Soviet foreign policy.

    The result was that Soviet citizens came to have an exaggeratedly enthusiastic opinion of foreign cinema art. In Berlin we had extensive opportunities to see the achievements of various countries in this sphere. We often laughed till we cried at some heartrending American picture, with more shooting than dialogue, with blood streaming off the screen right into the hall, and it was quite impossible to tell who was killing whom, and why. It is a striking fact that, if one may dogmatize on the tastes of the ’common people’ at all, the ordinary Russian soldiers never got any enjoyment out of such films.

    It may seem strange, but we liked German films most of all. Whether in music, literature, or cinematic art-all of them spiritual revelations of national life - the German soul is more intelligible than any other to the Russians is. It has the same sentimentality, the same touch of sadness, the same quest for the fundamental bases of phenomena. It is significant that Dostoyevsky has enjoyed even greater popularity among the Germans than among Russians themselves, and that Faust is the crowning achievement of the Russian theater.

    We Russians often had interesting discussions about German films and plays. The Soviet viewer is struck by the unusual attention given to details, to facts, and to the actors themselves. These films provided plenty of matter for argument. The Vow provided no matter for argument.

    “Their art is passive, ours is active. Their art exhibits, ours commands,” Bagdassarian remarked. “Have you seen Judgement of the Nations’!”

    “Yes. It’s a powerful piece of work.”

    “I saw it recently in the American sector. They’ve given it quite different montage treatment, and call it Nuremberg. It’s the same theme, yet it makes no impact whatever.”

    We arrived at Bagdassarian’s apartment. Still under the influence of the film we had just seen, we sat discussing the possibilities of propaganda through art.

    “It’ll take the Americans another hundred years to learn how to make black white,” he said as he took off his greatcoat.

    “If they have to, they’ll soon learn,” I answered.

    “It can’t be done in a day. The masses have to be educated over many years.”

    “Why are you so anxious about the Americans?” I asked.

    “Only from the aspect of absolute justice.”

    “Who’s interested in justice? Might is right. Justice is a fairy-tale for the simple-minded.”

    “I award you full marks in Dialectical Materialism,” the captain sarcastically observed. “But, you know, during the war things were grand!” He sighed. “D’you remember the films the Americans sent us?”

    “Yes, they were pretty good. Only it was rather amusing to see how little they know about our life. In Polar Star the collective farmers had more and better food than Sokolovsky gets.”

    “Yes, and they danced round dances in the meadows, just like in the good old days.” He laughed aloud.

    In 1943 and later, American films on Russian subjects were shown in the Soviet Union. We particularly remembered Polar Star. Although it was very naive, and showed complete ignorance of the Soviet reality, it revealed genuine sympathy for the Russians.

    After a performance one often heard the Russian audience remark: “Fine fellows, the Americans”; although the film represented only Russian characters. The Russians took this kindly presentation of themselves as evidence of the American people’s sympathy for them.

    “That film had a number of expert advisers with Russian names,” I said. “I don’t suppose they’d seen Russia for thirty years or more. The American technique is good, but they haven’t any ideology. Probably they don’t even know what it is.”

    “Stalin’s making hell hot for them, but all they do is gape,” Bagdassarian meditated. “They don’t know what to do. Now they’re beginning to sneer at Russian Ivan: he’s pockmarked, he squints, and his teeth are crooked. The fools! The last thirty years of Russian history are still a white patch to them, yet it’s an inexhaustible well. They’ve only got to strip Stalin naked and the entire world would spit in disgust. And we Soviet people wouldn’t object. But when they start to sneer at Russian Ivan...”

    He sniffed, annoyed to think that the Americans couldn’t tumble to anything so simple.

    We were often amazed to see how little the outside world knew of the true position in Soviet Russia. The thirty years’ activity of the State lie-factory, and the hermetical closure of Russia to free information, had done their work.

    The world is told, as though it was a little child that the capitalist system is doomed to go under. But on that question Soviet people have no hard-and-fast standpoint. History is continually developing, and requiring new forms in its development. But even so, for us the historical inevitability of communism, the thesis that ’all roads lead to communism’, is the one constant factor in an equation which has many unknown and negative factors. For us Soviet people this equation has already acquired an irrational quality.

    We are united not by the intrinsic unity of a State conception, but by the extrinsic forms of material dependence, personal interests, or a career. And all these are dominated by fear. For some this fear is direct, physical, perceptible; for others it is an unavoidable consequence if they behave or even think otherwise than as the totalitarian machine demands.

    Later, in the West, I had an opportunity to see the American film The Iron Curtain, which dealt with the break-up of Soviet atomic espionage in Canada. I had already read various criticisms of this film, as well as the angry outbursts of the communist press, and I was interested to see how the Americans had handled this pregnant theme. It left two impressions.

    On the one hand, a feeling of satisfaction: the types were well chosen; the life of the official Soviet representatives abroad and the role of the local Communist Party were presented quite accurately. Once more I lived through my years in the Berlin Kremlin. No Russian would have any criticism to make of this presentation. It was not surprising that the foreign communist parties were furious with the film, for in this game they play the dirtiest role. Something, which for the staff of the military attaché’s department is a service duty, is treachery to their country when performed by the communist hirelings.

    On the other hand, the film left me with a vague feeling of annoyance. The Americans hadn’t exploited all the possibilities. The Soviet peoples are accustomed to films with the focus on politics, in which the audience is led to draw the requisite conclusions. In this respect The Iron Curtain scenario was obviously weak.

    In Berlin we Soviet officers were able to compare two worlds. It was interesting to set the impression made by real life against the fictions that the Soviet State creates and maintains. The direct creators of this fiction are the toilers with the pen, the ’engineers of human souls’, as they been have called in the Soviet Union.

    Of course we were chiefly interested in the writers who dealt with the problem of Soviet Russia. They can be divided into three main categories: the Soviet writers, who are slaves of the ’social command’; the foreign writers who have turned their backs on Stalinism; and, finally, those problematic foreigners who even today are still anxious to find pearls in the dungheap.

    Let us consider them as a Soviet man sees them.

    One day I found a French novel on Belyavsky’s desk. I picked it up to read the name of the author, and was astonished: it was Ilia Ehrenburg.

    “But haven’t you read it in Russian already?” I asked him.

    “It hasn’t been published in Russian.”

    “What do you mean?”

    “It’s quite simple.”

    He was right. Soviet experts on literature maintain that the finest journalists of the time are Egon Erwin Kisch, Mikhail Koltsov, and Ilia Ehrenburg. There is no disputing that they are all brilliant writers. Koltsov’s literary career came to an abrupt end in 1937, through the intervention of the N. K. V. D. It is said that he is now writing his memoirs in a Siberian concentration camp. For many years Ehrenburg was classified as a ’fellow-traveler’.

    With a Soviet passport in his pocket, he wisely preferred to live abroad, at a respectable distance from the Kremlin. This assured him some independence. His books were published in big editions in Soviet Russia, after they had been thoroughly edited. It was not surprising that I had found a book by him which was in French and unknown in the U. S. S. R. Only the Hitlerite invasion of France drove him back to his native land.

    First and foremost, Ehrenburg is a cosmopolitan. Many people think of him as a communist. True, he subtly and intelligently criticized the defects of Europe and the democratic world. But one doesn’t need to be a communist to do that-many non-communist writers do the same. After he had rid his system of his rabid, guttersnipe denunciations of the Nazi invaders he began to compose mellifluous articles about beautiful, violated France, the steadfast British lion, and democratic America.

    During the war we were glad to read these articles; but it seemed like a bad joke when we saw his signature beneath them. Today, obedient to his masters, he is thundering away at the American ’imperialists’. Ehrenburg, who once enjoyed some independence, has been completely caught in the Kremlin toils.

    His career and fate are very typical of Soviet writers generally. They have only two alternatives: either to write what the Politburo prescribes, or to be condemned to literary extinction. If Leo Tolstoy, Alexander Pushkin or Lermontov had lived in the age of Stalin, their names would never have been added to the Pantheon of human culture. When I was a student books such as Kazakov’s Nine Points, Lebedenko’s Iron Division, and Soboliev’s General Overhaul were passed from hand to hand.

    These names are not well known to the public generally, the books were printed in very small editions and it was difficult to get hold of copies. It is characteristic that they all dealt with the 1917-21 period, when the masses were still inspired with enthusiasm and hope. Their consciences did not allow these writers to write about later times; faced with the alternative of lying or being silent, they preferred silence.

    One cannot condemn the Soviet writers. Man is flesh and blood, and flesh and blood are weaker than lead and barbed wire. In addition there is the great temptation not only to avoid creative and physical death, but also to enjoy all the advantages of a privileged position. Some people may think it strange that there are millionaires in the land of communism. Genuine millionaires with an account in the State bank and owning property valued at more than a million rubles. Alexei Tolstoy, the author of Peter I and scenarios for Ivan the Terrible, was an example of the Soviet millionaire. Who can throw the first stone at a man faced with such alternatives?

    As for the foreign writers, they are simply not to be trusted! Not even the dead. At one time John Reed was in charge of the American section of the Comintern. True, he lived in Moscow, but that was in the order of things. He conscientiously wrote a solid book on the Russian revolution: Ten Days that Shook the World. Lunacharsky, the then People’s Commissar for Education, and Lenin’s wife, Krupskaya, wrote introductions to the book in which they con-firmed that it was a perfectly truthful description of the October Revolution. John Reed departed from this life not very long after he had written the book, and his mortal remains were interred in the Kremlin wall: the highest distinction for outstanding communists.

    Then there was trouble! Reed had not foreseen that in Stalinist Russia history would be stood on its head. In all his story of the revolution he had devoted only two lines to Stalin, and those only in passing, whereas he had extolled to the skies Trotsky and the other creators of the revolution, all those who after Lenin’s death began to pass out with colds in the head and similar ailments.

    So John Reed’s remains had to be removed from the Kremlin wall.

    One can think of dozens of world-famous writers who in their quest for new ways for man waxed enthusiastic over communism. As soon as they came to know the Soviet reality they were permanently cured of their enthusiasm. I need mention only one of the latest of these. Theodor Plievier, author of the book Stalingrad, a German writer and communist who had spent many years in Moscow, fled from the Soviet zone into western Germany.

    In an interview given to the press he explained that there was not a trace of communism left in Stalinist Russia, that all communistic ideas were strangled and all the socialistic institutions had been turned into instruments of the Kremlin’s totalitarian regime. He discovered this quite soon after his arrival in Moscow, but he had to keep quiet and reconcile himself to the situation, since he was to all intents and purposes a prisoner.

    It is difficult to convict the Kremlin propagandists of pure lying. There is a refined art of lying, consisting in the one-sided ventilation of a question. In this field the Kremlin jugglers and commercial travelers have achieved a very high level of artistry: they pass over one side in complete silence, or even furiously revile it, while exalting the other side to the skies.

    In Berlin we often got hold of amusing little books written by foreign authors and published by foreign publishers, extolling Stalin and his regime. It is noteworthy that these books are either not translated into Russian at all, or they are published only in very small editions, and it is virtually impossible to buy copies. They are intended purely for external consumption. The Kremlin prefers that the Russians should not see such books: the lies are too obvious.

    Not far from the Brandenburg Gate there is a bookshop, ’Das Internationale Buch’. It is a Soviet shop selling literature in foreign languages and intended for foreign readers. We often visited it. Of course we didn’t buy Lenin’s works but ordinary gramophone records. Things that can’t be bought at any price in Moscow are offered in abundance to foreigners.

    Propaganda: only a Soviet man has any idea what that is! It is said of a famous drink that two parts of the price are for the mixture and three for the advertising, and many consumers are convinced that there is nothing in the world more tasty, healthy, and costly. Such is the power of advertising.

    Among the Soviet people communism is in a somewhat similar case. They are continually being told that communism is the finest of all systems, an achievement that is unsurpassable. The mixture is rather more complicated than that of any drink. It is injected into the Soviet man - day in and day out, from the moment of his birth. What advertising does in the Western World, propaganda takes care of in the U. S. S. R. The people are hungry, naked, thrust down to the level of speechless robots, and meanwhile they are assured that the complete opposite is the case. Most astonishing of all, they believe it, or try to. That makes life easier.

    The Kremlin knows what enormous power propaganda has over human souls; it knows the danger that threatens it if the mirage is dispelled. Under the Nazis during the war the Germans were for-bidden to listen to enemy broadcasts, but they were not deprived of their receiving sets. But the Kremlin did otherwise: in the U. S. S. R. all receiving sets were confiscated on the very first day of the war. The Kremlin knew its weak spot only too well. If its thirty years of propaganda are undermined, the ephemeral spiritual unity of the Kremlin and the people will vanish like mist.

    “The Press is our Party’s strongest weapon,” Stalin has said. In other words, the Kremlin’s strongest weapon is propaganda. Propaganda welds the internal forces and disintegrates the external ones. So much the better for Stalin that his opponents haven’t any real idea of the accuracy and significance of his words.

    Sommaire https://seenthis.net/messages/683905
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