Behind the Polish-Soviet BreakAlter Brody, introduced by Corliss Lamont

On April 12, 1943, Nazi Germany announced it had discovered the murder of thousands of Polish officers, unearthing their mass graves in the Katyn Forest. The murders had taken place about a month after Lavrentiy Beria's proposal, of March 5, 1940, to execute all members of the Polish Officer Corps.

The Soviets launched a full scale denial, denounced the Poles, and severed relations—which had been reinstated with the Polish Government-in-Exile after Hitler's invasion of the USSR. Furthermore, as the Soviets were now counted among the Allies, all information regarding the truth of the matter was suppressed, including on the part of numerous U.S. administrations during—starting with the Office of War Information—and after the war.

As part of our ongoing series on Soviet propaganda, we bring you Alter Brody's monograph, "BEHIND THE POLISH-SOVIET BREAK," with introduction by Corliss Lamont, which lays responsibility for Soviet-Polish discord—that is, blaming the Soviets for the then recently revealed Katyn massacre—on those who hate the Soviets more than they hate fascism, who wait in hope that Hitler will "bleed the U.S.S.R. to death."

Brody was born in the Ukraine in 1895 and emigrated with his family to the United States to escape Russian pogroms against the Jews. In 1918 he published, with the assistance of the eminent Louis Untermeyer, A Family Album, his first book of poetry. His political activism, writing pieces supporting the Soviet revolution in Russia starting in the 1920's, an increasing focus on Yiddish literature, and later health issues all took him away from a promising mainstream journalistic and literary career, largely consigning him to obscurity.

Corliss Lamont, socialist and Marxist, introduces the work. Even when the facts of Stalin's show trials were laid bare, Lamont denied the findings, even affirming, subsequently, that Stalin's actions were justified. Even well after the war, Lamont denounced Soviet aggression as a myth of alleged menace. Here, Lamont cites Professor Lange at the University of Chicago in denouncing the American Friends of Poland as anti-Soviet pro-Nazi fomenters. Oskar Lange, a Polish economist and socialist, member of the Polish Socialist Party (1928-47), was an NKVD agent recruited by Bolesław Gebert. After the war, Lange went on to be appointed as Sovietized Warsaw's first ambassador to the United States; from 1948 on he was a member of the Polish United Workers Party and its Central Committee.

A life-time later, optimists see cracks in the facade, most recently exemplified by Vladimir Putin attending a memorial service in 2010 at Katyn to commemorate those killed. However, the practice of quoting agents of their own special interests as objective and expert, per the example of Lamont and Lange, otherwise continues unabated with regard to Russia's official position on the Soviet legacy in the Baltics and Eastern Europe.

We have annotated the text as warranted to provide additional information and clarification.

Additional information

  • Cover Up for Those Who Carried Out Mass Murder, Herbert Romerstein, published in the daily newspaper "Polska" in Poland on March 8, 2008. Herbert Romerstein is a retired U.S. government official. He is an adjunct professor at the Institute World Politics and is Director of the Center for Security Research of the Education and Research Institute, both in Washington, DC. (copy
  • In Search of Alter Brody, an essay by George Wallace at Poetrybay, "an on-line poetry magazine for the 21st century," Winter 2006-7 (retrieved October 26, 2010)
  • Oskar Ryszard Lange, 1904-1965., profile at The New School History of Economic Thought web site (copy
...Timeline...Letters on Birch Bark In Siberia Written Letters on Birch Bark, UNESCO Latvia. Birch bark was often the only material to write on. Background on deportations, the letters, and a gallery of photos. EXTERNAL SITE Holocaust in Latvia (HAOLUSA.ORG) Prof. Andrew Ezergailis' web site on the Holocaust in LatviaScholarship on the Holocaust in Latvia: essays, letters, reviews. Prof. Ezergailis is the pre-eminent scholar in this field. EXTERNAL SITE Soviet War NewsThe Soviet Union, Finland, and the Baltic States. Soviet Information Bureau. Soviet War News, 1941. In a monograph published after the Winter War and toward the end of its first occupation of the Baltic states, the Soviet Union blames the Finns and Balts for their troubles, only the Soviets have consistently engaged in "neighbourly relations," rebuffed by its neighbors at every turn. A classic study in Stalinist propaganda and a version of history still familiar in official Russian rhetoric. These Names AccuseThese Names Accuse—Nominal List of Latvians Deported to Soviet Russia in 1940-41, second edition with supplementary list. Latvian National Foundation, Stockholm. 1982. (1942) History leading up to and including the Soviet invasion of the Baltics, the first Soviet occupation, and the first mass deportations of 1941. The originally compiled list of names was published in Riga in 1942. Documents, photographs, list of names (in progress). A Shepherd DiedViens Gans Nomira (A Shepherd Died). Margarita Kovaļevska, illustrator. 1942. A miniature booklet of a folk song, published by Tautas Palīdzība (Peoples' Aid) in war-time Latvia and given out for donations to help the orphaned and widowed, illustrated by a popular Latvian pre-war and diaspora artist—and who dated Peters' father while they studied together at the Academy of Art. Behind the Polish-Soviet BreakBehind the Polish-Soviet Break, Alter Brody, introduced by Corliss Lamont. Soviet Russia Today, New York. 1943. After the Poles rightfully blamed the Katyn massacre on the Soviets, the USSR denounced (per Molotov's letter, included) the accusation as a "Hitlerite slanderous fake." Within two weeks the USSR severed relations with the Polish Government-in-Exile. Beyond alleging Polish lies, Alter Brody's monograph goes on to characterize the Polish people as an ungrateful scourge upon history—portending the post-WWII portrayal of anti-Soviet Eastern European nationalists as fascists. Latvia Under German Occupation in 1943Latvia Under German Occupation in 1943. Latvian Legation, Washington, DC. 1944. The Latvian diplomatic corps reports on Latvia's third year under Nazi occupation, recounting still-fresh events. What Latvian Wishes From This War?What Latvian Wishes From This War? Alfreds Bīlmanis. Latvian Legation, Washington DC. 1944. As head of the Latvian Foreign Ministry's press division, Alfreds Bīlmanis (1887-1948) actively promoted independent Latvia's interests abroad. His war-time monograph, subtitled: "Background, Current Situation, Hopes for the Future"—written while there was still hope for Latvia's post-war freedom—dispels still-prevalent misunderstandings regarding the historical inter-relationships of the Baltics, Europe, and Russia. Zedelgem POW Camp 2227Zedelgem POW Camp 2227Latvians whose only "crime" was to fight to free their homeland after multiple invasions are called Nazis and shot as target practice. Today, official Russia and others invested in the "Latvians are Nazis" meme keep the lie alive. Skalbe's Collected WorksSkalbe — Kopoti Raksti (Collected Works), Pirmais Sējums (Volume One), Kārlis Skalbe. Auseklis, Stuttgart. 1947. Authorized by UNRRA. Excerpted and translated poetry. Exiles' Calendar 1947Latviesu Trimdinieka Kalendars 1947 (The Latvian Exile's Calendar 1947). Complete facsimile (Latvian) and poetry translations; published in the D.P. camps, 1947
"Behind the Polish-Soviet Break" was published by Soviet Russia Today, New York.
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