cover image Stalin Against the Jews

Stalin Against the Jews

Arkady Vaksberg. Alfred A. Knopf, $24 (308pp) ISBN 978-0-679-42207-5

Supported by newly declassified archival material, Russian journalist Vaksberg's expose documents Stalin's relentless, fanatical anti-Semitism. The Soviet dictator purged thousands of Jews from their political or professional posts and sent them to concentration camps or execution pits, liquidated nearly all Jewish army officers, persecuted prominent Jews in show trials with anti-Semitic overtones and herded several thousand Jewish families to a barren Far Eastern wasteland in what was supposed to become an exclusively Jewish territory. Meanwhile, as camouflage, he surrounded himself with Jewish aides, appointed Jews as the commanders of gulags and kept his loyal comrade Lazar Kaganovich as the only Jew in the Politburo. Moscow-based Vaksberg ( The Soviet Mafia ) also documents the revival of state-sanctioned anti-Semitism under Krushchev and Brezhnev and the hate-mongering of contemporary ultranationalist groups. History Book Club alternate. (Apr.)