An anti-Semitic leader in Europe had made things increasingly difficult for the Jews during his reign. A plan was put in place to send the Jews in cattle cars to be taken to camps to be starved, beaten, occasionally shot and worked to death without concern for the elements. This is not a reference to Hitler, but Stalin.
The NIH (National Institute of Health), published a paper written by Dr. A. Mark Clarfield, Director, Medical School for International Health, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, called The Soviet Doctors’ Plot – 50 yeas on, which makes numerous references to Stalin’s anti-Semitism leading up to his plot to purge the Soviet Union of the entirety of the Jewish population. One of the many references found in the article states, “Stalin had long manifested his hatred not only of Jews but, by extension, of Jewish nationalism (Zionism).”
It is not just one doctor who referred to Stalin as anti-Semitic, but several sources including the YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe, who refers to the Doctors’ Plot as an, “Antisemitic campaign that unfolded in the Soviet Union between 1948 and 1953. The so-called Doctors’ Plot has historically been viewed as the culmination of the vicious antisemitic campaign undertaken by Stalin in the final years of his life.”
Boris Bazhanov, Stalin’s personal secretary before defecting to France, released his memoires in 1930, where several references are made about Stalin’s anti-Semitism. The Doctors’ Plot was not some new paranoia for Stalin, of which there were several episodes that led to the deaths of countless millions, but an old hatred of Jews.
According to YIVO, “Andrei Zhdanov’s death on 31 August 1948 has historically been regarded as initiating the Doctors’ Plot. Zhdanov had been head of the Leningrad party before becoming the powerful chief of ideology in the Central Committee; he was also Stalin’s close associate.” Stalin murdered him for his own benefit as he had done countless times to others.
Following the murder of Zhadonov, Stalin began to use propaganda to stir up hatred among the Soviets of Jews, since he needed to justify the complete removal for what he would claim to be for their own good at the behest of Jewish leaders who would have been forced to make whatever statements were wanted by Stalin.
Rabbi Hillel Zaltzman, Director of Chamah, wrote an article which was published on Chabad called The Beginning of the Doctors’ Plot, which states, “At first, the newspapers did not refer to Jews explicitly. They used euphemisms such as “rootless cosmopolitans,” bourgeois, Zionist agents, and so on. Within a short time however, they stripped off their kid gloves and began writing explicitly: we mean the Jews, reactionary Jews who work for Zionistic and capitalistic purposes, etcetera.”
Stalin always orchestrated his purges through carefully crafted propaganda that took time. He wanted the target of the purge, whichever group it happened to be, to give the appearance that he was doing for the benefit of Soviets, rather than his own hatred and/or paranoia. For Stalin, image was important, since he could be taken out by force, just as he had come to power with force.
Dan Roginsky, who was a child in the Soviet Union during the time Stalin’s plot began against the Jews. On March 12, 2017, he wrote an article which appeared in The Jerusalem Post call the Purim Miracle of 1953:
“When Stalin realized (autumn 1948) that Israel would not be a Soviet colony, he decided to start a broad anti-Jewish campaign… Earlier, in 1947, when I was eight years old, in a pioneer camp, two Jewish kids (I and my friend) were ceaselessly persecuted by Russian kids; we were defenseless. In 1949, my parents were fired, together with many Jews. We half-starved until the death of Stalin. My father sometimes was employed, later fired again. In the communal apartment where we lived, our neighbors often shouted antisemitic slogans. We were separated from the pogromists by a thin wall.”
Dan Roginsky was not the only Jewish child to suffer as a result of anti-Semitic propaganda, but was happening across the Soviet Union. Jews were murdered, starved, beaten, falsely arrested, sentenced to death or the gulag. It was reminiscent of the early days under Hitler.
Just like Hitler, Stalin had his own solution to the Jews living under his control. A show trial was going to be held. The process for the show had already started by arresting doctors. The only thing that saved the Jewish people from a purge was Stalin’s death.
Every purge came with mass executions. As many as a third of Jews living in the Soviet Union would have been shot. The remaining would have been sent to a gulag, which was no different than Nazi camps without gas chambers.