Purim in 1953

Those who believe that miracles happened to our nation only in ancient times are mistaken. They happen now, just in everyday worries, and with our habit of finding a natural explanation for everything, we don’t always notice them and don’t recognize them.

The beginning of the fifty-third year. Scary days of January. Stalin gave the signal for the “final solution of the Jewish question” in the USSR: the TASS report “Arrest of a group of saboteur doctors” and the article “Murderers in white coats” appeared simultaneously in the media. And as once in Haman’s time, terror entered the hearts of the Jews at the seemingly inevitable destruction.

I really want people who have never seen this message, and who probably will never need to dig through the archives, to read this monstrous document. I quote it here in full.

“Some time ago, the national security authorities exposed a terrorist group of doctors whose aim was to shorten the lives of active members of the Soviet Union with the help of sabotage treatment.
This terrorist group involved: Professor M.S. VOVSI, general practitioner; professor V.N. VINOGRADOV, general practitioner; professor M.B KOGAN, general practitioner; Professor B.B. KOGAN, general practitioner; Professor P.I. EGOROV, general practitioner; professor A.I FELDMAN, otolaryngologist; Professor Y.G. ETINGER, general practitioner; Professor A.M. GRINSTEIN, neuropathologist; G.I. MAYOROV, general practitioner. Documentary data, research, opinions of medical experts and confessions of those arrested have established that the criminals, being enemies of the people in secret, carried out sabotage treatment with patients and undermined their health.
The investigation established that the members of the terrorist group, using their position as doctors and abusing the trust of patients, knowingly and cunningly undermined the health of the latter, deliberately ignored the objective examination data of patients, gave them incorrect diagnoses that did not correspond to the true nature of the diseases, and in this way destroyed the lives of patients with their improper treatment.
The criminals admitted that they, taking advantage of comrade A.A. Zhdanov’s disease, misdiagnosed his disease, hiding his myocardial infarction, prescribed a contraindicated treatment regimen for this serious disease, and thereby killed comrade A.A. Zhdanov. The investigation established that the criminals also shortened the life of Comrade A.S. Shcherbakov, who used improperly strong drugs for treatment, prescribed a harmful regimen for him, tried to shorten the life of leading military personnel of the Soviet Union, incapacitating them and weakening the country’s defense. They tried to incapacitate Marshal A. M. Vasilevskiy, L. A. Govorov, Marshal I. S. Konev, S. M. Shtemenko, Admiral G. I. Levchenko and others, but the arrest foiled their evil plans and the criminals failed to achieve their goal.
It has been established that all these killer doctors, who became monsters to mankind, who trampled underfoot the sacred banner of science and defiled the honor of scientists, were agents hired by foreign intelligence.
Most of the participants in the terrorist group (M.M. Vovsi, B.B. Kogan, A.I. Feldman, A.M. Grinshtein, Ya.E. Etinger and others) were connected to the international Jewish bourgeois-nationalist organization “Joint”, which was allegedly founded by American intelligence in order to provide material assistance to Jews in other countries. In fact, this organization, under the direction of American intelligence, conducts extensive espionage, terrorist and other subversive activities in several countries, including the Soviet Union.
The arrested Vovsi told the investigation that he received an order from the United States of America “on the destruction of the leading personnel of the USSR” through the Moscow doctor Shimeliovich and the famous Jewish bourgeois nationalist Mihhoels. Other members of the terrorist group (V.N. Vinogradov, M.B. Kogan, N.I. Egorov) turned out to be long-time agents of British intelligence. The investigation will be completed soon.”
(TASS) January 13, 1953)

Immediately after the ominous article about “killer doctors” was published, Jews began to be released from positions of responsibility. I remember that in Kazan there was an institute for further education of doctors of three neighboring autonomous republics – Tatar, Chuvash, Mordovia – where twenty-four of the twenty-five Jewish professors were dismissed. On various pretexts, including “due to poor personel training”…

My friend Pinkhasik, a wonderful and amazing man, worked all his life in an aircraft factory, it seems, as a deputy director. He was removed for “inability to work with people”. The poor man had a stroke due to resentment and anxiety, lost his mind and tried to commit suicide (fortunately, but unsuccessfully). Blessed be his memory.

Every day exciting cartoons with a detective plot written with great talent appeared in the newspapers: it suddenly turned out that a certain engineer, rationalizer and inventor, who had brought significant benefits to the country, was a skillfully disguised English spy, – “Traitor Antonov (Finkelstein) has appeared in court and will get what he deserves”; then it also turned out that there was a famous professor who was repeatedly awarded for his discoveries, poisoned people and livestock with secret poisons: “Vladimirov (Katz), an enemy of the people, has been suspended from his job and awaits his deserved revenge.”

They closed the remaining synagogues and confiscated all their property – books and Torah scrolls. They found places where Jews secretly gathered to pray. They started detaining both those they prayed with and those who helped organize these groups.

If I were not a Jew, I might even believe such accusations myself: there are so many facts, names, evidences, and most importantly, everyone… confessed! We understand that accusations can be fabricated, but not to this extent!

Once in the corrective colony  I was in, a Jewish prisoner asked me: “Itzhak, why did the Jewish professors do such a disgusting thing?” I said I thought it was all wrong. He was annoyed: “I believe everything you say. I just do not believe that it’s wrong.”

Colorful pictures were hung all over the camp. The pictures showed doctors in white coats and professorial beards holding the child tenaciously. Blood flows. Underneath is the signature: “Killer Doctors.” When I found myself near these “arts”, they certainly shouted at me: “Well, Abrasha, what are your doctors doing with our children?”

Sometimes relatives outside the prison came to visit the prisoners with packages, usually people from villages near Kazan. I remember a pretty sixteen-year-old girl telling her brother that their local Jewish pediatrician had hanged herself after thirty-five of the children she had injected died. One boy brought a package to his brother and told, among other things, that six Jewish engineers had been caught blowing up an agricultural machinery factory. When I tried to express my doubt, everyone attacked me: “Would people make such a thing up?” It was felt that the villagers were ready to tear the “enemies of the people” to pieces. As soon as one Jew approached another Jew in the camp, they immediately heard: “Well, the “Joint” is already in full swing.” And they knew everything about “Joint” – the Society for the Aid of Destitute Jews: it sends packages of Colorado beetles to the Soviet Union and recruits spies and saboteurs…

There were constant rumors of what were later confirmed to be preparations for the forced resettlement of all Jews: some to Verkhoyansk Oblast, where the temperature dropped to minus sixty-eight degrees (-90 Fa), and some to the Far East. In all institutions, the personal affairs of the Jews had already been postponed. Specially built barracks awaited them. The UN even asked Vyshinski why they were building barracks, but he never answered them. The plan was to give the people the opportunity to “take revenge on the enemies” on the road and at the stops. About half of them were planned to be delivered and the rest to be destroyed on the way. A Jew, ex-colonel Lebedev, who now lives in Jerusalem, told me that he had to struggle for apartments for military men in Vilnius. The city council, unaware that he was Jewish, told him that many of the apartments would soon be vacated as undesirable elements were evicted. He saw trains prepared to send out these “undesirable elements”. The Jews sensed that something terrible was happening…

The famous Moscow lawyer Yakov Aizenshtat wrote in his book “Stalin prepared the genocide of the Jews” (Jerusalem, 1994), referring to the objective documentary information provided by the former employee of the state security agency and the CPSU Central Committee apparatus N.N. Polyakova (before her death, Polyakova, who was seriously ill for a long time, decided to tell about the facts known to her):

“The decision on the complete deportation of Soviet Jews was made by Stalin in the late 40s – early 50s. To lead this action, a deportation commission was created, which was subordinate only to Stalin. Stalin appointed M.A. Suslov as the chairman of the deportation commission and N.N. Polyakova as the secretary. Barrack complexes similar to concentration camps were quickly built to house the deportees in Birobidzhan and elsewhere, and the respective territories were divided into closed and secret zones. At the same time, lists of all Jewish people were drawn up throughout the country (by personnel department – workplace, by house management – place of residence) so that no one would be left out. There were two types of lists – for pure-bred Jews and for half-blooded Jews. Deportation was to take place in two stages: purebreds first, half-blooded later…”

As N.N. Polyakova testified that the deportation had to take place in the second half of February 1953. But there was a delay, and the reason for this was not the concentration camps (the barracks were not completely ready, but that did not bother anyone), but the compilation of the lists. Therefore, Stalin set strict deadlines: the trial of the doctors was on the fifth or seventh of March, while the execution was on the eleventh or twelfth of March.
All railways were alerted…

It had already been decided who would die from the “anger of the people”, who would get the collections of Jewish collectors, who would be given apartments…
Former Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR N.A. Bulganin confirmed that the trial of the doctors would end with death sentences and that the documents for the deportation of all Jews to Siberia and the Far East were ready.

The trial of the “killer doctors” was scheduled for March 6. The accused pleaded guilty and the charges were proved. Doctors were to be hanged in Red Square. The populace violently expresses its indignation and the Jewish deportation machine begins to work. And suddenly – Stalin’s death on March 5! The new leaders of the USSR did not know what to do, and after about two or three weeks, the Communist Party of the USSR admitted for the first time in its history that it had made a mistake!

I remember those days. Purim holiday fell in 1953 to the twenty-eighth of February; it was Saturday night. I gathered all the Jews I could, and in the evening, after the census, about seven o’clock, I began to retell the scroll of Esther to the Jewish prisoners in my own words. People listened attentively to the story of Mordecai and Haman, Ahasuerus and Esther. I said that the Jews promised to remember and celebrate Purim as a great holiday, that these days would never be forgotten and that the memory of the Almighty protecting His people would live on in all generations.

And suddenly one of the listeners, Aizik Mironovich, attacked me:

– What maises (fairy tales) are you telling us? Where is your Almighty? A little more and only dust will remain of the Jews of the Soviet Union! The doctors pleaded guilty. Barracks have been built. Many people have been arrested. Who will stop all this?”
“Don’t rush to mourn,” I answered him. “Of course, our situation is very difficult, but Haman also managed to send orders to exterminate the Jews to one hundred and twenty-seven regions.”
“What do you compare it to! You compare some haman or Stalin! Everything that Stalin planned, it came true. He killed millions of people, carried out collectivization and managed to turn all Russian men into slaves. And what did he do in 1937? Destroyed the most talented and committed communists, religious leaders, rabbis and just innocent people who knew nothing about politics – about eighteen million. He won the war and after the war he kicked out so many people! Crimean Tatars, for example…”
I replied:
“He could do it with the peasants, he could do it with the Tatars, but he cannot do it with the Jews. Everything is in the hands of the Almighty, “The watchman of Israel neither sleeps nor slumbers.” Stalin is nothing but a man – bazar va-dam! ”

“But he is strong as iron, even though he is already seventy-three!”
“We don’t know what will happen to the bazar va-dam in half an hour.”
Aizik Mironovich spat and left. The next day he was looking for me all over the camp.

“Listen, Itzhak, you said it well: “We don’t know what will happen to Basar Va-dam in half an hour.” A freelance engineer heard on German radio that on the night of the twenty-eighth of February, at 20:23 on the first of March, Stalin suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and lost his speech. According to the doctors, he is close to death. But you finished telling Puurim’s story at 19:50, exactly half an hour before! I will never forget it!”

He really hasn’t forgotten it. After all the problems, Aizik came to Israel and settled in Nahariya. We met once by chance in Jerusalem and he told me how he had been offered a job in a place where it was necessary to break the Shabbat. Aizik refused despite the generous promise.

As soon as I heard that Stalin was seriously ill, I immediately began to read psalms so that his end would come sooner. I read them for three days straight, day and night, and only stopped when I learned that the villain was no longer alive.

Source: Breslev Israel

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