Solzhenitsyn's "During the Civil War" — Chapter 16 of 200 Years Together
(The Occidental Observer) -- by Kevin MacDonald --
Chapter 16 of 200 Years Together covers the pivotal period of the civil war (1918–1921)—pivotal because the Bolshevik victory was a disaster for the Russian people and for Europe generally. (The translation is available here; donations are of critical importance for finishing this important project.) Once again, Solzhenitsyn highlights the role of Jews as instruments of state terror, particularly their role in the Cheka and in the Red Army. The perception that this was a “Jewish terror” was widespread: “Why was the perception that Chekists and Jews were all but the same so widespread among both the Reds and the Whites alike and among the people in general?”
At least part of the reason is because of the Jews’ “ardent service on the highest posts in Cheka.” Jewish Chekists “at that time were supreme, by status and rank, representatives of Russian Jewry.” He quotes a Jewish observer (also quoted by Yuri Slezkine; see here, p. 85): “we were astonished to find among the Jews what we never expected from them — cruelty, sadism, unbridled violence — everything that seemed so alien to a people so detached from physical activity; those who yesterday couldn’t handle a rifle, today were among the vicious cutthroats.” Slezkine quotes another Jewish observer:
The formerly oppressed lover of liberty had turned into a tyrant of “unheard-of-despotic arbitrariness”…. The convinced and unconditional opponent of the death penalty not just for political crimes but for the most heinous offenses, who could not, as it were, watch a chicken being killed, has been transformed outwardly into a leather-clad person with a revolver and, in fact, lost all human likeness (pp. 183–184).It is a cautionary tale on what kinds of behavior we can expect from current multi-cultural elites when Whites become a minority: Present-day platitudes about the future world of multicultural harmony and the moral imperative of Whites giving up power may be replaced very quickly by a quite different set of attitudes of revenge and hatred — the image of the kindly, tolerant Jewish professional quickly replaced by the image of a brutal perpetrator of torture and mass murder motivated by revenge against the old order. Images of hatred and estrangement from the White, Christian majority are commonplace among Jewish leaders — the Jews as a hostile elite theme of much of my writing (see, e.g., here and here).
Indeed, Solzhenitsyn suggests that Jewish revenge against the Cossacks was a motive for “the genocide on the river Don, when hundreds of thousands of the flower of Don Cossacks were murdered …. What should we expect from the Cossack memories when we take into consideration all those unsettled accounts between a revolutionary Jew and a Don Cossack?”...
It was payback time for ethnic hostilities that long preceded the Bolshevik Revolution. While Jews were vastly overrepresented among the perpetrators of mass murder, Solzhenitsyn “can’t help noticing that almost all names [of the victims] were Slavic – it was the ‘chosen Russians’ who were shot. In Kiev, a key area because of its long history of tensions between Jews and Slavs, 75% of the staff of the Cheka were Jews, including 70% of the top officials.
His account of the murders is particularly chilling:
An executioner (and sometimes “amateur” Chekists) escorted a completely naked victim into a shed and ordered the victim to fall facedown on the ground. Then he finished the victim with a shot in the back of the head. Executions were performed using revolvers (typically Colts). Usually because of the short distance, the skull of the executed person exploded into fragments.... The next victim was similarly escorted inside and laid down nearby.... When number of victims was exceeding … the capacity of the shed, new victims were laid down right upon the dead or were shot at the entrance of the shed.... Usually the victims went to their execution without resistance.It’s not surprising therefore that the opposition to the Bolshevik regime often had strong anti-Jewish overtones. Examples from 1921 are the Kronstadt Uprising, where photos of prominent Jewish Bolsheviks were destroyed, and labor strikes, whose slogan was “Down with Communists and Jews!”
Solzhenitsyn wrestles with the question of whether the Jewish community as a whole supported the Bolsheviks: “Thus it looked as though not only Bolshevik Jews, but all of Jewry had decided to take the Red side in the Civil War. Could we claim that their choice was completely reactive? No. Could we claim that they didn’t have any other choice? Again, no.”
As evidence on Jewish attitudes toward the Bolsheviks he cites a writer who noted that as Kiev was about to surrender to the Bolsheviks, the Jews remained, while “it was an entirely Russian exodus, people were leaving on foot with knapsacks, across the bridges over the Dnepr river. … And all of those rich and very rich Jews – they didn’t leave, they chose to stay and wait for arrival of Bolsheviks. ‘The Jews decided not to share their fate with us. And with that they carved a new and possibly the deepest divide between us.’” Throughout Russia and in Poland during the Soviet invasion of 1920, Jewish communities greeted the Bolsheviks with celebration, while the Slavic population was terrified of its future.
The special role of Jews in the Soviet government was common knowledge, to the point that some Jews pleaded for Jews to fight Bolshevism because Jewish behavior was leading to intense anti-Jewish attitudes; however, this was not the view of the organized Jewish community...
One way that Jews aided the Bolsheviks was financially. Jews contributed little to the White cause, “yet whenever the Bolsheviks showed up and demanded money and valuables, the population obediently handed over millions of rubles and whole stores of goods.” The Whites even rejected some Jewish support because of “the prominent involvement of other Jews on the Red side.” While the White army was originally free of anti-Jewish attitudes, “the situation dramatically changed by 1919” when Jews were seen as the main base of support for Bolshevism, exaggerated by the intense local anti-Jewish attitudes in areas like the Ukraine with a long history of hostility between Jews and Slavs, now exacerbated by the prominence of Jewish support for the Bolsheviks. “The Whites perceived Russia as occupied by Jewish commissars — and they marched to liberate her.”
The fate of the White cause also was sealed because of failure to obtain Jewish support in the West. Solzhenitsyn states unequivocally that “the White Movement was in desperate need of the support by the Western public opinion, which in turn largely depended on the fate of Russian Jewry.” Churchill appealed to Denikin to stop the pogroms, but he also quotes a historian who notes that Churchill feared the reactions of “powerful Jewish circles within the elite.” Jewish elites throughout the West threw their support to the Bolsheviks, aided by idealistic perceptions of “grandiose plans” for a New World under communism.
Solzhenitsyn is scathing in his condemnation of the Western powers: “And yet, the behavior of the former Entente of Western nations during the entire Civil War is striking by its greed and blind indifference toward the White Movement — the successor of their wartime ally, Imperial Russia.” This inaction and indifference led to an incalculable tragedy for Russia.
Both the general sympathy of Russian Jews toward the Bolsheviks and the developed attitude of the White forces toward Jews eclipsed and erased the most important benefit of a possible White victory — the sane evolution of the Russian state.
And because of its long term reverberations in the history of the 20th century, the result was a disaster for all European peoples. The prominent role of Jews in the Soviet government dovetailed not only with the warm welcome by Jews for the Soviet invasion of Poland of 1921, but also with Jewish involvement in revolutionary movements in Hungary and Germany. The result was a deepening of anti-Jewish attitudes, especially in Eastern and Central Europe. A historian comments, “the intensity and tenacity of anti-Semitic prejudice in both the east and the center of Europe was significantly influenced by Jewish participation in the revolutionary movement.” “The fact that the leaders of the suppressed Communist revolts were Jews was one of the most important reasons for the resurrection of political anti-Semitism in contemporary Germany.”...MORE...LINK
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