REVIEW of REVIEWS

Death Takes Murder Fiend

Dzerzhinsky Responsible for Death of Millions, Including Many Children.

LITERARY DIGEST October 15 1926
REVIEW of REVIEWS

Death Takes Murder Fiend

Dzerzhinsky Responsible for Death of Millions, Including Many Children.

LITERARY DIGEST October 15 1926

Death Takes Murder Fiend

Dzerzhinsky Responsible for Death of Millions, Including Many Children.

LITERARY DIGEST

THE death of Felix Dzerzhinsky, head of the terrible secret service of the Soviet government, known as the Cheka, has removed a man who has been described as “one of the most horrible monsters who ever polluted the earth.” The Literary Digest has collected several opinions of various persons who have, at some time in their career, come into intimate contact with this ruthless and terrorinspiring personality.

Dean Inge, for example has this to say of him: “All the instruments of tyranny known to the Czarist Government were by him given a sharper edge. Swarms of secret police, spies in every street, provocative agents, were kept constantly busy in finding new victims for the executioner. Torture, which had long been banished from Europe, was everywhere employed, with the help of Chinese experts in the art. Some of the tortures seem to have been unknown in the Middle Ages, such as the fhüman gloves,’ made by tearing the skin off the hands and arms. The numbers judicially murdered far surpass any previous records. It is now five years since the Paris Gaulois copied from the Soviet newspapers the butcher’s bill between October, 1917, and the date. The number killed then amounted to 1,572,718, most of whom were butchered in cold blood by the revolutionary tribunals. The victims were classified as follows: Bishops, 28; priests, 1,215;

professors and teachers, 6,775; doctors, 8,800; Army officers, 54,000; soldiers, 260,000; police officers, 10,000; constabulary, 48,500; landowners, 12,950; intelligentsia and middle-class, 355,350; peasants, 815,000. Dzerzhinsky has been busy since 1921, but no figures of his later massacres are available.”

In addition to his office as “the chief executioner of the Soviet Government,’.’ as he was called by his enemies, Dzerzhinsky held other very important posts. At one time he was the People’s Commissary for the Ways of Communication, it appears, and later he became practically the economic dictator of Russia, when he was President of the Supreme Council of National Economy. It is said by some that the Soviet leaders are quarreling among themselves. A favorable opinion of Dzerzhinsky is expressed by Comrade Lunacharsky, People’s Commissary for Public Education, who writes, in Krassdaya Zviezda, a Moscow Communist ofrgân, as follows :

’’Hatred, desire bf vengeance and wrath Seethed around D«eïzhinsky. E'Vfen we Communists sometimes doubted the wisdom of his policy. ‘Did not our terror go too far?’ some of us asked. I remember that once, in the Council of People’s Commissaries, the pale and calm Dzerzhinsky explained the necessity of his severe, ruthless measures. I do not remember the details of this remarkable speech of his, but I do remember that we were all deeply impressed. I remember the pale face of Kamenev, who whispered to me with a faltering voice: ‘Here is a real man!’ One could feel at that moment that Dzerzhinsky was a historical figure, a figure equaling Marat. Then, much later, worried by the fate of the orphaned children of the republic, he caused the organization by the Central Executive Committee of the Commission of Relief for these children.

As to Dzerzhinsky’s “golden heart,” anti-Bolshevisk editors are rather skeptical. An anonymous contributor to the Berlin Rul, who has spent many years in Red Moscow, writes in this newspaper: “Moscow is always full of gossip about the private life of the living and the dead Societ potentates. This is not, however, the case with Dzerzhinsky. Nothing has ever been said about him. This must be ascribed to two causes. First, he had no private life at all. His miserable existence was surrounded with such secrecy as no ‘counter-revolutionist’ has ever known. Second, he was feared by all, the powerful and the weak alike, to such an extent that

one dared not question any one about him, or even to mention his name. Communists shuddered with fright in his presence. The greatest organization of espionage in the world which he had created, enabled him to gather such information on the past and present of his party comrades, and to learn the details of their life, so that all of them felt themselves in his power. Each Communist knew that Dzerzhinsky could remove him at any momen c without resorting to arrest or court trial. Dzerzhinsky was considered by many as a pitiless secret poisoner. Of this we will perhaps learn something definite in time from the memoirs of Soviet physicians who performed the autopsy on the bodies of such Soviet dignitaries as the late Abrikossov, Karpov and others. It can not be doubted that many of the Communist leaders le arned of Dzerzhinsky’s death with relief.”

FURTHER on this writer tells us that he once met Dzerzhinsky personally. He had to make an official communication to the dreaded Chief of the Cheka on the position of a nationalized enterprise, of which he was the manager, and he relates:

“I am not a coward. I have faced danger and death more than once, but I have never lost self-control. My judgment remained clear, even when I was crossexamined in the Cheka. But under Dzerzhinsky’s icy gaze, it was extremely difficult to keep my thoughts in order

and to answer the questions asked by Rykov, who also was present. It seemed to me that Dzerzhinsky’s eyes pierced me like the X-ray and sank deeply into the stone wall that was behind me. If you want to know what Dzerzhinsky’s eyes were like, go to a zoo and look into the eyes of a crocodile.”

The Conservative and Nationalist Vozrozhdienie (Paris) says:

“Dzerzhinsky’s death leaves Stalin, leader of the Communist party, alone and deprives him of support. Hence it is bound to increase misunderstandings and quarrels between the ‘Right’ and ‘Left’ groups of the party, a thing of which Communists are very much afraid. Add to this that the conflict of personal ambitions and vanities will now assume much greater proportions in the ranks of the Communist party . . . Then you will understand that his death will unavoidably hasten the decomposition of this party, a process which has been slowly going on for quite some time.”

The Democratic Posliednia Novosti (Paris) devotes a long editorial to Dzerzhinsky, and tells us that in the years when the Soviet Government lacked stability, it needed a ruthless man, and then adds: “In order to carry out the policy of Red Terror, that is to say, the policy of extermination suggested by cowardice, a man was required who would be able, as Dzerzhinsky was, to order the execution of a fourteen-year-old girl who had thrown a stone at him.”