Saturday, June 11, 2016


I've never before heard of this:
It was the least heralded migration in American history.
At the height of the Depression, several thousand American emigrants left New York on the decks of passenger liners waving goodbye to the Statue of Liberty, bound for Leningrad.

Over 100,000 Americans had applied for jobs working in brand new factories in Soviet Russia, ironically built for Stalin by famous American industrialists such as Henry Ford.

Those American emigrants who entered the "workers' paradise" were certain that they were leaving the misery of unemployment and poverty behind them. They considered themselves fortunate.

Their optimism would prove to be short-lived. Most were stripped of their American passports soon after their arrival.

Considered suspect by Stalin's paranoid totalitarian state, the foreigners were swept away in the Terror.

The American jazz clubs, the baseball teams, and the English-language schools set up in cities across the USSR, would quickly vanish with them...

At the height of the Terror, the American emigrants had besieged their embassy, begging for passports so they could leave Russia.

They were turned away only to be arrested on the pavement outside by lurking NKVD agents.

Inside, the American diplomats had known about these disappearances almost from the very beginning. But they did little to save their fellow countrymen, whom they had christened "the captured Americans."
Was it Lenin who said that the goal of socialism is communism?


Pseudotsuga said...

Yes, mere socialism was a step towards the full utopia of communism. Societies that throw in behind Socialist principles keep heading towards that red rainbow of Marx's dreams, but for some reason Cuba, North Korea, Venezuela, China, etc. never quite reach it...and it's always somebody else's fault, rather than socialist doctrine itself.
The problem is that we have these many European semi-socialist states which look so inviting, so much more sophisticated and "fair" than the bad old USA. But the principles behind it are still the bad old principles which cannot continue forever, without either running out of money or going full revolutionary. I'm not sure which one Bernie Sanders thinks he wants...

Darren said...

I'm sure. Do you know where he and his wife honeymooned? (Hint: it wasn't Tahiti.)

David Foster said...

Reminds me: a black toolmaker working at Ford signed up in 1930 for a one-year assignment in Russia. I reviewed his interesting memoir here:

Pseudotsuga said...

I followed your lead and Googled it...they went to the romantic get away of the USSR?! Oh...umm...but...he's a DEMOCRATIC Socialist! Totes diff'rn't!
I didn't know that he had done that. It is quite fitting. He's been knee deep in the Red for a long time now.

Darren said...

David Foster: 44 years, holy crap!