Soviet Oppression of Jewish Writers
While Jewish writers in the United States were under suspicion as Soviet spies this was going on in the Soviet Union. Joe McCarthy agreed with Joe Stalin about something. In fact, the two men were very similar.
In March 1952, on Ryumin’s orders, Grishaev drew up the indictment
in the Jewish Anti-fascist Committee (JAC) case. On March 31, Ryumin, as deputy minister of state security,
approved the official indictment. On April 3, Semyon Ignatiev,
minister of state security, sent the text of the official indictment to Stalin.
His cover letter follows:
I hereby submit to you a copy of the official indictment in the case of the
Jewish nationalists and American spies Lozovsky, Fefer et al. The investigative
file has been sent for review by the Military Collegium of the USSR
Supreme Court with the proposal that Lozovsky, Fefer, and all their accomplices,
with the exception of Shtern, be shot.
Shtern is to be exiled to a remote area for ten years.
April 3, 1952
The following day the MGB was informed that the Politburo had approved
the official indictment and had reached the decision to have all
the defendants shot, with the exception of Lina Shtern. Her term of exile
was reduced to five years. On April 5, 1952, Major General Kitaev,
deputy chief prosecutor of the Soviet Army, drew up the following resolution:
“Official indictment approved. Case to be submitted for review
by the Military Collegium of the USSR Supreme Court without presence
of prosecutors or defense.”
On April 7, 1952, the case was submitted to the Military Collegium of
the USSR Supreme Court. The Supreme Court specified that the Military
Collegium reviewing the case would consist of the chairman, Lieutenant
General of Justice Alexander Cheptsov, and the members Major
General of Justice Ivan Zaryanov and Major General of Justice Jacob
On April 21, 1952, the Military Collegium of the USSR Supreme
Court held a preliminary session with the participation of the prosecutor,
Kitaev, who reported on the circumstances of the case and the nature
of the accusations and proposed that the official indictment be approved
and submitted to the Military Collegium of the USSR Supreme Court
and that all the defendants be tried on the charges in the indictment. The
case was to be reviewed in secret judicial proceedings without participation
by members of the state prosecutor’s office or of defense counsel
and without calling witnesses. Lieutenant General of Justice Cheptsov,
the co-reporter, concurred in the opinion of Kitaev.
On May 8, 1952, the Military Collegium of the USSR Supreme Court
began to review the JAC case. The judicial farce had begun. At the same
time, the MGB’s investigative unit for especially important cases
launched a new round of repression. On March 13, 1952, a resolution
was drawn up to begin an investigation into all the individuals whose
names had been mentioned during the interrogations in the JAC case.
This list included 213 people. Those involved were faced with loss of liberty,
suffering, torment, and torture. Among them were many well known
figures, including Ilya Ehrenburg, Vasily Grossman, Samuil
Marshak, and Matvei Blanter. Drawing on the large number of people
designated for “arrest or already under arrest,” Ignatiev set to work
forming a group for future trials. The organizers of repression were already
thinking of further steps. It was at that time that the “Doctors’
Plot” began to unfold. From the very beginning it took on a sinister cast:
it was to be a concluding chapter in Stalin’s diabolical scheme to
broaden repression against the Jews and to carry out massive repressions
in the country as a whole.
Copyright H. David Marshak, All Rights Reserved