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September 02, 1977 - Image 14

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1977-09-02

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

14 Friday, September 2, 1977 THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Trepper Book, Autobiographical Documentary

A Review by
DR. PETER MARTIN
"The Great Game : Mem-
oirs of the Spy Hitler
Couldn't Silence," by Leop-
old Trepper (McGraw-Hill)
is not one book; it is sever-
al books. For one, it is an
historical document written
by the head of the Soviet
anti-Nazi espionage net-
work which was called -the
Red Orchestra" by the Ges-
tapo
The `reat game" was to
counter-attack against the
plan of the Gestapo by giv-
ing information to the Rus-
sians.
Members of the Red Or-
chestra, linked to the Resist-
ance, were involved in the
fight against Fascism in
Germany and in the Nazi-
occupied countries. The par-

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ticipants were men and later lived in Poland (his
women from 13 nations,
birthplace) under house ar:-
from different social strata,
rest.
and with different ideo-
Despite his courageous ef-
logies.
forts that contributed to the
This disparate group defeat of Nazism, he be-
united in the common came a victim of Stalinism
struggle under the direction and then of the anti-Semi-
of the Secret Services of tism inspired by Secretary
the General Staff of the General Gomulka of the Pol-
ish Communist Party.
Red Army. They spear-
Though Trepper does not
headed the Resistance; tran-
scended nationalities as draw this conclusion. the
brothers in arms. against repetition by history does:
Hitler.
As in Germany, so too in
There were a large num- Russia, to anti:Semites, the
ber of Germans in the Red • trait of being Jewish out-
weighs all considerations of
Orchestra, German patriots
who understood that Nazi the Jews' devotion, dedica-
tion or contributions to
defeat alone would guaran-
tee the freedom of the Ger- their country of origin.
As a second type of book,
man people and the contin-
ued existence of a German this is an autobiography of
a man representative of his
state.
As an historical docu- generation of European
ment, Trepper includes in Jews. Born at the beginning
the appendices many pages
of the century, they lived
of French, German and Yu-
through World War I and II
goslavian documents which
and the years in between,
verify the facts about the including the October Revo-
Red Orchestra in contrast
lution, the development of
to many previous reports
Nazism, the perversion of
written about their activi- the revolution by Stalinism,
ties.
and the growing, crushing
Though Trepper was a
plague of the Brown Shirts.
militant Communist and a
Then came the defeat of
one time member of the
Hitler, the - death and the re-
Comintern, this book does
action against Stalin, the
not show Russia under Sta-
birth of the Jewish state
linism in any better light
and freedom, the current
than Germany under Hitler.
perversion of the revolution
And after World War II, he
by Brezhnevism in Russia
was imprisoned by Stalin
and resurgence of Nazism
for nearly 10 _years and
in current Germany.
In this autobiographical
aspect, Trepper is the -un-
swerving, unchanging, unre-
pentant non-religious Jew-
ish internationalist univer-
salist and revolutionary.
To illustrate, once he was
sitting on the speaker's plat-
form in a French syna-
gogue and listening to Mar-
eel Cachin, an old revolu-
tionary leader.
Cachin
said,
'Dear
friends, it is a great honor
for me to be here among
the representatives of a
race which has given the
world some great revolu-
tionaries. I am talking
about Jesus Christ, Spinoza
and Marx! 'I'm sure you're
aware my friends. that
Karl Marx's grandfather
was a rabbi."
Trepper was surprised
and annoyed by these
words, which to him had _
the ring of petit-bourgeois
nationalism.
He writes, "I could not
care less about all this ; but
the audience was entranced
by it. (Reviewer's note: In
contrast, more Jews are en-
tranced by the glory of the
Jewish people than by the
glory of the revolution)
They seemed to find it
much more important than
the writing of - Capital - by
the grandson of the rabbi in
question."
This then is the core of
Trepper. The Jews are the
people of the Book—the
Bible. Trepper, and "non-
religious" Jews of his type
were people of the book too.
But they chose a different
book. And they were as de-
voted to the principles of
their book as the most re-
verent Jewish martyr who
died with the word of God
on his lips.
This book is filled with
the suffering. and torture
and deaths 'which they expe-
rienced in the name of their
cause.
Trepper was as dedicated
to Judaism as he was to
Communism. He believed
with Lenin that "Anti-Semi-

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tism
is
the
counter-
revolution." and believed
that Lenin had advocated
the creation of a Jewish na-
tion within the Soviet Union
that would enjoy the same
rights as the other repub-
lics.
As you can see, Trepper
is a well-intentioned man
and believed that other
men are also well in-
tentioned; forgetting that
Hell is paved with good in-
tentions. He also has the
same naivete that Freud
considered Marx and Com-
munism to have.
Such men do not under-
stand human nature. They
do not understand tha.
power corrupts and that ab-
solute power corrupts abso-
lutely. Time has proven
Freud to be correct about
Communism.
I suppose this is what
bothered me throughout the
reading of this book. Llmew
I was reading about a cou-
rageous man who accom-
plished great feats. I knew
that this was a spy thriller
and exciting. But 1 couldn't
respond with these pleas-
ures.
The price -which his fam-
ily paid for his achieve-
ments bothered me. For ex-
ample when he accepted an
offer to leave Russia to set
up the Red Orchestra in
estern Europe, he went to
the boarding school to say
goodbye to his son. Mi-
chael.
He says. It broke my
heart to _leave him- in his
boarding school. which
looked to me so much like
an orphanage. -
He then went to the
railway station nearby, as
he was waiting, he heard
screams behind him. It was
Michel shouting: "Don't
leave me, don't leave me, I
don't want to be alone!" He
was not to see him again
for 16 years.
His motto was : "Listen
only to your conscience.
For a revolutionary that is
the final judge." This is the
type of response that turned
me off to Trepper and his
type of hero.
He did not regret the,corn-
mitment of his youth, nor
the paths that he had taken.
He ends by saying that he
has not sacrificed his life
for nothing, on one condi-
tion; that people under-
stand the lesson of his life
as a Communist and as a
revolutionary, and do not
turn themselves over to a
deified party.
He ends by saying:
know that youth will suc-
ceed where we have failed,
that socialism will triumph,
and that it will not have the
color of the Russian tanks
that crushed Prague."
Trepper has not learned
the lesson of his own book: -
The more things change,
the more they remain the
same. He does better when
(as he did on June 7. 1977)
he warns to Anti-Defama-
tion League of Bnai Brith
of current Nazi propaganda
in Germany and Soviet
anti-Semitism in Russia.

The Bible can never be
understood. unless through
the medium of the language
in which it was originally
written, and the spirit by
which it was dictated. Hebr-
ew is so pregnant and rich
in sense that no translation
can do it justice.—William
L. Roy

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