6 September 2010

Anti-Semitism in Easter Europe 1948-53

The issue of whether the Stalinist purges in Communist controlled Europe 1948 to 1953 were linked to Stalin's antisemitism is indeed much debated.

Antisemitism would seem to be an element in the purge of the General Secretary of Czechoslovak Communist Party, Rudolf Slansky, as he and several of his co-defendants were Jewish. Yet in the parallel trial in Hungary the non-Jewish Rajk was purged and executed by a party leadership that was itself mainly Jewish.

Far more important for Stalin was the elimination of communists who were not wholly obedient to him, who had independent support or who had links outside the bloc; e.g. those obtained through fighting in the international brigades in Spain.

For Stalin antisemitism was not an article of faith, but merely a tool to be used whenever it suited his purposes.


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