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Opening Hours:

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Boris Slutskii about Jews in the Red Army and about the Holocaust

The following excerpt presenting some of Slutskii's impressions about the war and, evidently written during his years of service in the Red Army, reflects the typical stereotype held by officers in the Red Army to the effect that Jews were not to be found on the front lines and Slutskii's reaction to that accusation:

"In the fall of 1944 I was witness to two attitudes toward the Jewish question.

The leadership [of our division] accepted the reports of the heads of the political departments. One of the heads of the political department of the division, Puzanov, a young and energetic but simple fellow reported that, with the aim of strengthening discipline, the division tribunal had condemned two deserters to death. When he read out loud the information on the questionnaires they had had to fill out, my heart skipped a beat: one of the two was without question a Galician Jew. Puzanov appealed to the military court that had revoked the sentence. The general looked at him with an official and scornful glance [and said]:

'Your sentence has been revoked by us, a military council. Have you read the last letter of the condemned person? He has been fighting since the beginning of the war and was wounded twice, and every day soldiers said to him: 'You alone of all your people have remained [on the battle-line].' 'Oh, you, politicians, said the general, 'have found one Jew on the front lines and you want to shoot him before the ranks [of his fellow soldiers]. What will the division say?'

Paradoxically, in replying to him Puzanov said that with him [among his fellow soldiers and officers] there were many outstanding Jews who fought well."

Boris Slutskii, Zapiski o voine (Notes about the War), St. Petersburg, 2000, p. 149.