Was communism Jewish?
The fairy tale of Jewish Bolshevism
"The Jews are to blame" - for Bolshevism. This thesis was discussed before, during and after Hitler. There was a short pause and now the discussion is going on again. Excited, agitated, upset, so customary in the country. What was it really like?
Of course, there were relatively many Jews in the early communist movement in Eastern Europe, especially in Russia. Why not? "The Jews" owed nothing to the Russian Empire. Except for this: slander, persecution, annihilation. The pogroms of 1881/82 and 1903 were the sad highlights of the late Tsarist era. Most of the Russian liberal bourgeoisie remained silent, some cried, and no one really helped. So what should have connected "the Jews" with the Russian bourgeoisie and aristocracy? Nothing. With the emerging proletariat, however, quite a lot. Above all, the desire to end the nightmare of tsarist oppression. If you consider all of this, you are amazed that the proportion of Russian-Jewish Social Revolutionaries, Socialists and Communists was not much higher until 1917, the year of the Bolshevik Revolution.
But first, most Russian Jews wanted to establish a civil society and become citizens with equal rights. Second, most of the Jews, who are usually very religious, did not want to and could not do anything with the militant atheism of the socialists, let alone the communists. As blasphemously rejected, they condemned and banished him. That is why socialist and communist Jews were ostracized by the inner-Jewish majority.
Nevertheless, there were well-known Jewish communists before the October Revolution and during the upheaval. Leon Trotsky is the best known. Stalin later had him murdered in exile in Mexico. Which puts us in the middle of the second phase of Jewish-Bolshevik relations. In the first, a Jewish minority loved communism ardently. They soon burned up. More precisely: Stalin had one after the other murdered from 1923/24.
Immediately after the seizure of power in 1917, his predecessor Lenin, like Stalin, had them observed and systematically persecuted as insecure cantonists. Their religiosity made them "enemies of communism". He also distrusted socialist Jews. According to Lenin and most of the other early communist leaders, they felt too "Jewish-national" and not sufficiently "internationalist", i.e. reliably communist.
Zionism, the Jewish national movement, was brutally and bloody persecuted by Lenin and Stalin; also socialist and communist oriented Zionism.
Interim conclusion: The Bolshevik Revolution ate its Jewish fellow fathers and especially their children and grandchildren.
The fate of the Jews in the Soviet Union was dire from the start. It got even worse in 1939. In August Stalin had made the devil's pact with Hitler. One consequence: Jews were extradited to Hitler's Germany, including German-Jewish refugees who had escaped the Nazi terror and sought protection in the Soviet Union. When Hitler invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, most Jews opted for the lesser evil: for Stalin, against Hitler. Their motto: Better to live badly under Stalin and fight for the Soviet Union than to be murdered by Hitler and his fellow criminals.
The Red Army triumphed and brought communists to power by 1948. For example in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, and in the Soviet-occupied zone of Germany. As once in Russia, a Jewish minority in these states had already decided in favor of communism before and after the First World War. Not unlike in Russia or the Soviet Union, it was ostracized by the religious and bourgeois majority of Jews. That didn't bother the Jewish communist minority. It brought communism to power. The Jewish communists of the smaller Eastern European states were no better off than their Russian-Jewish comrades after 1917. "The Mohr has done his job, the Mohr can go." The "reds" were in power, "red Jews" no longer needed them. Many Jews were persecuted and also murdered in the communist sphere of influence - systematically from 1948 onwards. The Jewish communist veterans had their own house power. This was one of the reasons why Stalin believed he had to "liquidate" them. The climax of the wave of communist persecution against the Jews of Eastern Europe was in 1952/53. Shortly before his death (March 5, 1953), Stalin had "lists of Jews" drawn up. Almost all researchers agree: the Jews should be deported and then liquidated.
In my own research on the GDR's Jewish policy (cf. my "Germany Files", 1995) I found similar "lists of Jews"; from the years 1953 and 1967, after Stalin. Until the end of the Brezhnev and Ulbricht-Honecker era, Jews were persecuted under communism. Is that what "Jewish Bolshevism" looks like? Like Bolshevism itself, the thesis belongs in the rubbish bin of history.
Professor Michael Wolffsohn teaches modern history at the University of the Federal Armed Forces in Munich
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