Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin has in actuality murdered more people than Adolph Hitler. Stalin, like Hitler, was an anti-Semite and the Jews of the Soviet Union suffered immensely under his rule. Many Jews, such as Genya Reichman, were forced to engage in slave labor under Stalin upon fleeing Nazis-controlled areas. In fact, even Jewish refugee children, such as Annia Segal, grew up under horrendous conditions in the Soviet Gulag. Yet, by 1953, the status of Soviet Jewry had deteriorated even further and Soviet Jews were facing a possible genocide. But on Purim about 60 years ago, Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin collapsed. Soon afterwards, he died, thus sparing the Jewish people another Holocaust. It was a miracle!
Stalin’s plan to annihilate the Jews of the Soviet Union which he had formulated immediately prior to his death is one of the lesser known facts of history. Yet, not even ten years after the conclusion of the Holocaust, there was a full-scale attack upon Soviet Jews, complete with purges, executions, imprisonments, and the imposed exile of tens of thousands of Jews. In early 1953, the Soviet media was alleging that Jewish doctors had a conspiracy to poison top-level Soviet officials, thus increasing the level of hostility directed towards Soviet Jews. The Jews of the Soviet Union were living in terror under Stalin, especially in the early 1950’s. And then, in the midst of the so-called doctor’s plot, Stalin had started to plan for the deportation of 2 to 4 million Jews to Siberia and Central Asia, where they would be annihilated, as a collective punishment for a conspiracy invented by the Stalin-controlled Soviet media.
During a meeting with top-level Soviet officials, there were other Soviet government members who did oppose Stalin’s plans against the Jewish people. Vyacheslav Molotov, who was married to a Jewish woman, staunchly objected to Stalin’s plans against the Jewish people and had the audacity to tell the dictator that such a move would be horrendous for public relations. Kliment Yefremovich Voroshilov, who also had a Jewish wife, actually went as far as chasing away Soviet agents from his home using a rifle in order to protect his Jewish wife. He then had the audacity to tell Stalin that he no longer wished to be a member of the Communist Party. An enraged Stalin responded that only he had the right to determine who will be in the Communist Party. Soon after that, on that Purim day about 60 years ago, Stalin collapsed on the floor and he would die not long after that.
Interestingly, on the same day that Joseph Stalin collapsed, the Lubavich Rebbe was leading a Purim gathering. Members of the Jewish community had asked for him to pray for the Soviet Jewish community. However, instead of doing this, the Lubavich Rebbe told a story. He proclaimed, “After the czar fell in Russia, it was announced that the government would be holding elections. The Rebbe Rashab, fifth to Chabad dynasty, sent word to the Chasidim that they were to participate in the voting process. There was one particular Chasid who was completely removed from the affairs of the world; to him the political arena was foreign territory. Nonetheless, having received an explicit instruction from the Rebbe, he set out to fulfill his command. With a sense of awe and reverence he immersed himself in a mikvah, donned his gartel (belt for prayer) and set out for the polling booth. Of course, when he got there, he had no idea what he was expected to do, but some of the more worldly Chasidim helped him cast his vote. Adjusting his gartel, the Chasid did what everyone else was doing. When the votes were cast, everyone cried out ‘Hurrah!’ Taking his cue from those around him he likewise cried out, ‘Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!’”
Yet in this mans heart, he meant to cry this out in Hebrew, which is Hu-Ra (he is evil). As the Lubavich Rebbe stated the word “Hu-rah,” his face was burning in such an inspiring way that his Purim crowd also began to shout “Hu-rah,” in regards to Stalin. It is an interesting coincidence that soon after that Stalin passed away. It is as if the Jewish people were praying for a miracle and they got one. According to Dr. Rushnin, author of Why Stalin Didn’t Murder All of the Jews, Stalin’s death “in itself [is] such a happy end to a huge threat [that] deserves to be remembered and commemorated by all Jews.” Jews traditionally believe that whenever the Jewish community is miraculously saved from disaster, this date should be celebrated on the appropriate date. Thus, in 1996, Dr. Rushnin initiated Little Purim celebrations in honor of Soviet Jewry being saved and this Little Soviet Purim is celebrated in over 100 synagogues across the United States.
By Rachel Avraham