Jewish Bolshevism

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Jewish Bolshevism or Judeo-Bolshevism is the theory that Bolshevism was the product of a supposed international Jewish conspiracy to run the world.[1][page needed] The expression has been used as a catchword for the assertion that Communism is a Jewish conspiracy, and it has often coincided with overtly aggressive nationalistic tendencies in the 20th century and 21st century. In Poland, Judeo-Bolshevism was known as Żydokomuna and was used as an antisemitic stereotype.[2]

The expression was the title of a pamphlet, The Jewish Bolshevism, and became current after the 1917 October Revolution in Russia, featuring prominently in the propaganda of the anti-communist "White" forces during the Russian Civil War.

The label "Judeo-Bolshevism" was used in Nazi Germany to equate Jews with communists, implying that the communist movement served Jewish interests and/or that all Jews were communists.[3][page needed] According to Hannah Arendt, it was "the most efficient fiction of Nazi Propaganda".[4] In Poland before World War II, Żydokomuna was used in the same way to allege that the Jews were conspiring with the USSR to capture Poland. According to André Gerrits, "The myth of Jewish Communism was one of the most popular and widespread political prejudices in the first half of the 20th century, in Eastern Europe in particular."[5] The allegation continues to be used in antisemitic publications and websites today.


The conflation of Jews and revolution emerged in the atmosphere of destruction of WW1 Russia. Many Russian Jews had actually volunteered to serve the Tsar in the war and there were at least 400,000 Jews serving in the Russian army in 1914. By the end of 1915, 5 million of the 6.5 million Russian Jews had become subjects of Imperial Germany, the consequence of the defeat of Tsarist armies.[6]When the revolutions of 1917 crippled Russia's war effort conspiracy theories grew up - even far from Berlin and Petrograd, many Britons for example, ascribed the Russian Revolution to an 'apparent conjunction of Bolsheviks, Germans and Jews.' [7]And in fact the Wilhelmstrasse had looked at the possibilities of a public embrace of Zionism.[8] While many Bolsheviks, along with Parvus-Helphand, and other conspirators behind the Lenin movement, Karl Radek and Olof Aschberg for example were Jewish, Lenin was not. A recent history of the intended use of world religions in World War I, concluded that 'neither Max Bodenheimer s committee of German Zionists, nor the Zionist Executive, nor any kind of organized international Jewish network had much of anything to do with either the February or October Revolution.' [9]

The worldwide spread of the concept in the 1920s is associated with the publication and circulation of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The expression made an issue out of the Jewishness of some leading Bolsheviks (most notably Leon Trotsky) during and after the October Revolution. Daniel Pipes says that "primarily through the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the Whites spread these charges to an international audience."[10] James Webb wrote that it is rare to find an antisemitic source after 1917 that ..."does not stand in debt to the White Russian analysis of the Revolution."[11]

Jewish involvement in Russian Communism[edit]

Persecution of Jews in the late Russian Empire[edit]

Jews had been a persecuted minority in the Russian Empire.[12] They had endured a form of racial segregation in the Pale of Settlement, as well as sporadic pogroms. In the period from 1881 to 1920, more than two million Jews left Russia.[13]

According to Berel Wein:

Expulsions, deportations, arrests, and beatings became the daily lot of the Jews, not only of their lower class, but even of the middle class and the Jewish intelligentsia. The government of Alexander III waged a campaign of war against its Jewish [citizens]... The Jews were driven and hounded, and emigration appeared to be the only escape from the terrible tyranny of the Romanovs."[14][page needed]

Jews in relatively large numbers joined various ideological currents favoring gradual or revolutionary changes within the Russian Empire. Those movements ranged from the far left (anarchists,[15] Bundists, Bolsheviks, Mensheviks[16]) to moderate left (Trudoviks[17]) and constitutionalist (Constitutional Democrats[18]) parties. Monarchist parties, such as Union of the Russian People, expressed clearly antisemitic attitudes, and included antisemitic paragraphs in their political program.

Jews in the Bolshevik party[edit]

On the eve of the February Revolution, in 1917, the Bolshevik party had about 10,000 members, of whom 364 were ethnic Jews.[13][19] Between 1917 and 1919, Jewish Bolshevik party leaders included Grigory Zinoviev, Moisei Uritsky, Lev Kamenev, Yakov Sverdlov, Grigory Sokolnikov, and Leon Trotsky. Lev Kamenev was of mixed ethnic Russian and Jewish parentage.[20][21] Trotsky was also a member (or "Narkom") of the ruling Council of People's Commissars.[22] Among the 23 Narkoms between 1923 and 1930, five were Jewish.[20]

Conditions in Russia (1924) A Census - Bolsheviks by Ethnicity

According to the 1922 party census, there were 19,564 Jewish Bolsheviks, comprising 5.21% of the total.[20] Jews made up 7.1% of members who had joined before October 1917.[22]

Among members of the Central Executive Committee of the Congress of Soviets in 1929, there were 402 ethnic Russians, 95 Ukrainians, 55 Jews, 26 Latvians, 13 Poles, and 12 Germans – Jewish representation had declined from 60 members in 1927.[23] With regards to Jewish representation in the ruling Politburo, it waned very rapidly starting in 1918. It began with the assassination of Moisei Uritsky, the most radical member of the Politburo, in August 1918. Then Yakov Sverdlov died of disease in March 1919 and Sokolnikov was shunted aside. Three years later in 1922, Jewish members in the Central Committee, the Politburo's new name, had shrunk to a minority of three: Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev. Eventually they were all physically eliminated by Joseph Stalin: Zinoviev and Kamenev in 1936 and Trotsky in 1940.

In the 1920s, of the 417 members of the Central Executive Committee, the party Central Committee, the Presidium of the Executive of the Soviets of the USSR and the Russian Republic, the People's Commissars, 6% were ethnic Jews.[20]

Between 1936 and 1940, during the Great Purge, Yezhovshchina and after the rapprochement with Nazi Germany, Stalin had largely eliminated Jews from senior party, government, diplomatic, security and military positions.[24] A prominent victim of the Purge was the Head of the State Security or NKVD ( the enforcement arm of government previously known as the Cheka and GPU ) who also happened to have come from a Jewish background: Genrikh Yagoda. In 1939, Stalin directed incoming Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov to "purge the ministry of Jews".[25] Although some scholars believe that this decision was taken for primarily domestic reasons,[25] others argue it may have been a signal to Nazi Germany that the USSR was ready for non-aggression talks.[26][27]

According to historian Iakov Etinger, many Soviet state purges of the 1930s were antisemitic in nature, and a more intense antisemitic policy developed toward the end of World War II.[28] Stalin in 1952 allegedly said privately that "every Jew is a potential spy for the United States".[29]

An example of the exaggeration of Jewish influence in the Soviet Communist Party is the estimate by Alfred Jensen that in the 1920s "75 per cent of the leading Bolsheviks" were "of Jewish origin" quoted by journalist David Aaronovitch. Aaronovitch (a son of a Communist intellectual) notes that "a cursory examination of membership of the top committees shows this figure to be an absurd exaggeration".[30]

Nazi Germany[edit]

Walter Laqueur traces the Jewish-Bolshevik conspiracy theory to Nazi ideologue Alfred Rosenberg, for whom Bolshevism was "the revolt of the Jewish, Slavic and Mongolian races against the German (Aryan) element in Russia". Germans, according to Rosenberg, had been responsible for Russia's historic achievements and had been sidelined by the Bolsheviks, who did not represent the interests of the Russian people, but instead those of its ethnic Jewish and Chinese population.[31]

In Nazi Germany, this concept of Jewish Bolshevism reflected a common perception that Communism was a Jewish-inspired and Jewish-led movement seeking world domination from its origin. The term was popularized in print in German journalist Dietrich Eckhart's 1924 pamphlet "Der Bolschewismus von Moses bis Lenin" ("Bolshevism from Moses to Lenin") which depicted Moses and Lenin as both being Communists and Jews. This was followed by Alfred Rosenberg's 1923 edition of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and Hitler's Mein Kampf in 1924, which saw Bolshevism as "Jewry's twentieth century effort to take world dominion unto itself."

Caricatures of Bolshevik leaders from Alfred Rosenberg's The Jewish Bolshevism

According to French spymaster and writer Henri Rollin, "Hitlerism" was based on "anti-Soviet counter-revolution" promoting the "myth of a mysterious Jewish-Masonic-Bolshevik plot", entailing that the First World War had been instigated by a vast Jewish-Masonic conspiracy to topple the Russian, German, and Austro-Hungarian Empires and implement Bolshevism by fomenting liberal ideas.[32][page needed]

A major source for propaganda about Jewish Bolshevism in the 1930s and early 1940s was the pro-Nazi and antisemitic international Welt-Dienst news agency founded in 1933 by Ulrich Fleischhauer.

Within the German Army, a tendency to see Soviet Communism as a Jewish conspiracy had grown since the First World War, something that became officialised under the Nazis. A 1932 pamphlet by Ewald Banse of the Government-financed German National Association for the Military Sciences described the Soviet leadership as mostly Jewish, dominating an apathetic and mindless Russian population.[33]

1941 Nazi propaganda poster in the Lithuanian language, equating Stalinism with the Jews. The text reads "The Jew is your eternal enemy".

Propaganda produced in 1935 by the psychological war laboratory of the German War Ministry described Soviet officials as "mostly filthy Jews" and called on Red Army soldiers to rise up and kill their "Jewish commissars". This material was not used at the time, but served as a basis for propaganda in the 1940s.[34]

In his speech to the Reichstag justifying Operation Barbarossa in 1941, Hitler said:

"For more than two decades the Jewish Bolshevik regime in Moscow had tried to set fire not merely to Germany but to all of Europe…The Jewish Bolshevik rulers in Moscow have unswervingly undertaken to force their domination upon us and the other European nations and that is not merely spiritually, but also in terms of military power…Now the time has come to confront the plot of the Anglo-Saxon Jewish war-mongers and the equally Jewish rulers of the Bolshevik centre in Moscow!"[35][page needed]

Nazi propaganda presented Barbarossa as an ideological-racial war between German National Socialism and “Judeo-Bolshevism”, dehumanising the Soviet enemy as a force of Slavic Untermensch (sub-humans) and “Asiatic” savages engaging in “barbaric Asiatic fighting methods” commanded by evil Jewish commissars whom German troops were to grant no mercy.[36] The vast majority of the Wehrmacht officers and soldiers tended to regard the war in Nazi terms, seeing their Soviet opponents as sub-human.[37]

Outside Nazi Germany[edit]

Great Britain, 1920s[edit]

In the early 1920s, a leading British antisemite, Henry Hamilton Beamish, stated that Bolshevism was the same thing as Judaism.[38] In the same decade, future wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill penned an editorial entitled "Zionism versus Bolshevism," which was published in the Illustrated Sunday Herald. In the article, which asserted that Zionism and Bolshevism were engaged in a "struggle for the soul of the Jewish people", he called on Jews to repudiate "the Bolshevik conspiracy" and make clear that "the Bolshevik movement is not a Jewish movement" but stated that:

[Bolshevism] among the Jews is nothing new. From the days of Spartacus-Weishaupt to those of Karl Marx, and down to Trotsky (Russia), Bela Kun (Hungary), Rosa Luxemburg (Germany), and Emma Goldman (United States), this world-wide conspiracy for the overthrow of civilisation and for the reconstitution of society on the basis of arrested development, of envious malevolence, and impossible equality, has been steadily growing.[39]

Author Gisela C. Lebzelter noted that Churchill's analysis failed to analyze the role that Russian oppression of Jews had played in their joining various revolutionary movements, but instead "to inherent inclinations rooted in Jewish character and religion."[40]

Iran, 2006[edit]

In 2006, Iranian Presidential Advisor Mohammad Ali Ramin, secretary-general of the new "World Foundation for Holocaust Studies" established at the International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust, stated:

"The Bolshevik Soviet government in Lenin's time, and later, in Stalin's - both of whom were Jewish, though they presented themselves as Marxists and atheists... - was one of the forces that, until the Second World War, cooperated with Hitler in promoting the idea of establishing the State of Israel."[41]


Frank L. Britton, editor of The American Nationalist published a book, Behind Communism, in 1952 which disseminated the myth that Communism was a Jewish conspiracy originating in Palestine.[42]

Works propagating Jewish Bolshevism[edit]

The Jewish Bolshevism[edit]

The Jewish Bolshevism is a 31- or 32-page antisemitic pamphlet published in London in 1922 and 1923 by the Britons Publishing Society. It included a foreword by the German Nazi leader Alfred Rosenberg who promulgated the concept of "Jewish Bolshevism".

This relatively obscure publication embodies the Nazi doctrine that "Jewishness" and Bolshevism are one and the same; or that Bolshevism is Jewish, whether or not everything Jewish is included within Bolshevism. The methodology used consists of identifying Bolsheviks as Jews; by birth, or by name or by demographics.

According to Singerman, The Jewish Bolshevism, which he dubs as item "0121" in his Bibliography, is "Identical in content to item "0120", the pamphlet The Grave Diggers of Russia, which was published in 1921 in Germany, by Dr. E. Boepple. In 1922, historian Gisela C. Lebzelter wrote: "The Britons published a brochure entitled Jewish Bolshevism, which featured drawings of Russian leaders supplemented by brief comments on their Jewish descent and affiliation. This booklet, which was prefaced by Alfred Rosenberg, had previously been published in English by völkisch Deutscher Volksverlag."[43]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Alderman 1983.
  2. ^ Krzysztof Szwagrzyk, "Żydzi w kierownictwie UB. Stereotyp czy rzeczywistość?", Biuletyn IPN (11/2005), pp. 37-42
  3. ^ Laqueur 1990.
  4. ^ Gerrits 2009, p. 16.
  5. ^ Gerrits 2009, p. 195.
  6. ^ Isaiah Friedman, 'Germany, Turkey and Zionism 1898-1918', p.253,239,n33
  7. ^ David Fromkin, 'A Peace to end all peace', pp.247-248
  8. ^ Sean McMeekin, The Berlin-Baghdad Express, p.348
  9. ^ Sean McMeekin, The Berlin-Baghdad Express, p.347
  10. ^ Pipes 1997, p. 93.
  11. ^ Webb 1976, p. 295.
  12. ^ Russia Today
  13. ^ a b Political Activity and Emigration. Beyond the Pale. The History of Jews in Russia. (Exhibition by Friends and Partners Project)
  14. ^ Wein 1990.
  15. ^ Goncharok, Moshe. Century of Will: Russian Anarchism and Jews (XIX-XX Centuries). Jerusalem: Mishmeret Shalom, 1996. (Russian)
  16. ^ Levin 1988, p. 13.
  17. ^ Ascher 1992, p. 148.
  18. ^ Witte 24 March 1907.
  19. ^ Kara-Murza, Sergey. "Revolutionary (Socialist) Political Forces between February and October." Soviet Civilization. Vol. 1. (The chapter about the growth of Russian political parties during February-October 1917 online) (Russian)
  20. ^ a b c d Herf 2008, p. 96.
  21. ^ Hoffman & Mendelsohn 2008, p. 178.
  22. ^ a b Deutsch, Mark, "Alexander Solzhenitsyn as a Mirror of Russian Xenophobia". Moskovskiy Komsomolets. 10 January 2003. (Russian)
  23. ^ Pinkus 1990, p. 81.
  24. ^ Levin 1988, pp. 318-325.
  25. ^ a b Resis 2000, p. 35.
  26. ^ Herf 2008, p. 56.
  27. ^ Moss 2005, p. 283.
  28. ^ Ro'i 1995, pp. 103-106.
  29. ^ Figes 2008, p. 251.
  30. ^ Aaronovitch, David. "Our Jewish Communist past". September 23, 2011. RSS Twitter Facebook Archives Subscribe S & P About THE JEWISH CHRONICLE ONLINE. Retrieved 18 September 2013. 
  31. ^ Laqueur 1990, pp. 33-34.
  32. ^ Kellogg 2008.
  33. ^ Förster 2005, p. 119.
  34. ^ Förster 2005, pp. 122-127.
  35. ^ Hillgruber 1987.
  36. ^ Förster 2005, p. 126.
  37. ^ Förster 2005, p. 127.
  38. ^ Webb 1976, p. 130.
  39. ^ Churchill 8 February 1920.
  40. ^ Lebzelter 1978, p. 181.
  41. ^ MEMRI 3 January 2007.
  42. ^ Primary Source Microfilm 2005.
  43. ^ Political Anti-Semitism in England, 1918-1939, p. 64


  • Alderman, G. (1983). The Jewish Community in British Politics. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 
  • Ascher, Abraham (1992). The Revolution of 1905. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press. 
  • Churchill, Winston (8 February 1920). "Zionism versus Bolshevism". Illustrated Sunday Herald. 
  • Figes, Orlando (2008). The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin's Russia. London: Picador. 
  • Förster, Jürgen (2005). "The German Military's Image of Russia". In Erickson, Ljubica; Erickson, Mark. Russia War, Peace and Diplomacy. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. 
  • Gerrits, André (2009). The Myth of Jewish Communism: A Historical Interpretation. Peter Lang. 
  • Herf, Jeffrey (2008). The Jewish Enemy: Nazi Propaganda During World War II and the Holocaust. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 
  • Hillgruber, Andreas (1987). War in the East and the Extermination of the Jews 18. Yad Vashem Studies. pp. 103–132. 
  • Hoffman, Stefani; Mendelsohn, Ezra (2008). The Revolution of 1905 and Russia's Jews. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. 
  • Kellogg, Michael (2008). The Russian Roots of Nazism. White Émigrés and the Making of National Socialism, 1917–1945. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521070058. 
  • Laqueur, Walter (1990). Russia and Germany: A Century of Conflict. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers. 
  • Lebzelter, Gisela (1978). Political anti-Semitism in England: 1918-1939. Oxford: Macmillan. ISBN 9780333242513. 
  • Levin, Nora (1988). The Jews in the Soviet Union Since 1917. New York University Press: New York. 
  • "Mohammad Ali Ramin, Advisor to Iranian President Ahmadinejad: ‘Hitler Was Jewish’". Middle East Media Research Institute. 3 January 2007. 
  • Moss, Walter (2005). A History of Russia: Since 1855. Anthem Press. ISBN 1-84331-034-1. 
  • Pinkus, Benjamin (1990). The Jews of the Soviet Union: The History of a National Minority. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 
  • Pipes, Daniel (1997). Conspiracy: How the Paranoid Style Flourishes and Where it Comes From. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-684-83131-7. 
  • "Radicalism and Reactionary Politics in America". The Hall-Hoag Collection of Dissenting and Extremist Printed Propaganda. Woodbridge: Primary Source Microfilm. 2005. 
  • Resis, Albert (2000). "The Fall of Litvinov: Harbinger of the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact". Europe-Asia Studies 52 (1). JSTOR 153750. 
  • Ro'i, Yaacov (1995). Jews and Jewish Life in Russia and the Soviet Union. Routledge. ISBN 0-7146-4619-9. 
  • Webb, James (1976). Occult Establishment: The Dawn of the New Age and the Occult Establishment. Open Court Publishing. 
  • Wein, Berel (1976). Triumph of Survival: The Jews in the Modern Era 1600-1990. Brooklyn: Mesorah. 
  • Witte, Sophie (24 March 1907). "Just Before the Duma Opened". New York Times. 

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