Saturday, May 10, 2003

Excellent as "Stalin's Last Crime" is, it lacks extended discussion of the prostituted writers and intellectuals who served the Stalinist regime in the West, including the recently deceased Herbert Aptheker, loudly mourned as a scholar of African-American history by the New York Times. These wretches flocked to acclaim the "justice" of the doctors' arrests in the New York Daily Worker and other journals of the time. In a particularly nauseating example, the Daily Worker for several weeks advertised a New York Communist youth forum on "The Arrests in Moscow" (admission price 35 cents), with keynote speaker A.B. Magil, horribly nicknamed "the Rabbi," whose father had edited a standard Jewish prayer book.

What Brent and Naumov do give in "Stalin's Last Crime," however, is an unforgettable picture of the man himself and the terror that surrounded him. How could it not have aimed, even at the end of his life, at yet another attempt to destroy more Jews? Stalin's longtime associate in revolutionary conspiracies and in power, Vyacheslav M. Molotov, was once asked whether Stalin ever appeared in his dreams, and he answered, "Sometimes. In extraordinary situations. . . . In a destroyed city. . . . I can't find a way out, and I meet him."

Wow. On the last, desperate attempt by Stalin to surpass Hitler. Read it all, and wonder why they don't mention this in discussions of the morality of the Cold War.
" a destroyed city...I can't find a way out, and I meet him." My God. Stalin as the minotaur at the center of the maze, the terror lurking in the shadows of an annihilated metropolis...I'm not sure I've ever read a more haunting evocation of the horrors of tyranny. Never let the obfuscations of intellectuals distract you from what communism really is - the monster at the heart of an apocalyptic dream.


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