Page 5, 9th May 1941

9th May 1941
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Page 5, 9th May 1941 — British Communists—a most useless and expensive toy

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Locations: Moscow, Hamburg, NEW YORK


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British Communists—a most useless and expensive toy

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From Our Own Correspondent


" The most useless and expensive toy of the Comintern " was the British

Communist Party, declares Jan Valtin, a self-confessed agent of the G.P.U., ill his sensation best-seller, Out of the Night. The statement is made in Chapter 22, titled ' Inspector-General for England."

Jan Valtin, under his right name of Julius Herman Krebs, is now facing deportation for illegal entry into the' United States. His case is awaiting action, and will very likely be delayed indefinitely, since Valtin faces death if deported to his native Germany, where he was born in the Rhineland.

The revelations about Comintern operations in Great Britain are but a small part of a narrative which begins with the Spartacist uprisings in Hamburg in 1919 and ends with Valtin's escape from the G.P.U. in 1938.

COMINTERN BACKED DAILY WORKER" Valtin entered England illegally to check on and stimulate the Communist Party there. Authorised to make a thorough inspection, he found no militants in Britain, but instead a close-knit bureaucracy which Waxed fat on Comintern funds.

The British Daily Worker had been launched by the Comintern in 1930 with a subsidy of 45,000 dollars, plus monthly salary allowances of 2,600 dollars. A large pan of these funds went to pay merchants to advertise in the Daily Worker; the rest went for salaries, the maintenance of mistresses, vocations on the South Shore, fur coats and automobiles for the wives of prominent British Stalinists.

Finding that the British Communist Party had swallowed a quarter of a million dollars yearly, to show after 10 years, less than one-tenth of the number of Party units in Hamburg alone, Valtin carried out a thorough purge, sending all " the Lenins of the British Empire to Moscow."

As instances of Party stagnation, Valtin points out that when propaganda had to be distributed, the Party hired down-and-outs to do the work at Union wages. Further, the Friends of the Soviet Union, instead of circulating widely the expensively printed

" U.S.S.R in Construction," left great stacks 'lathe publication to rot in cellars

COSY NEST OF THE COMMUNISTS Valtin's presence in England was resented by the native Communists, who did their best to hide the facts from him, lest their sinecure be taken from them. But Valtin doggedly pursued his task, and In his own words, " liquidated the cosy nest which two top-flight Communists had feathered for themselves at Comintern expense." The two victims of the G.P.U. were Thompson and George Hardy, who had been in charge of harbours, docks, fisheries and the mer. chant marine.

Another victim of the purge was one Vakil, a Hindu, who ran a tavern as a gathering-place for East Indian sailors. Nakil's suspicious actions prompted Valtin to make a special investigation, which disclosed that the Hindu used the supposed Communist meeting-place as a relay station for his real business, the smuggling of opium. Vakil was spirited away to the U.S.S.R., and his opium ring connection with Communism ended.

Still another victim was a Negro named O'Connell, a member of the Friends of the Soviet Union. O'Connell wanted to run his association of Negro centres, with headquarters in the West Indies and elsewhete, according to his own designs Fie was suspicious of Moscow and hostile to Valtin.

NEGRO O'CONNELL " SMEARED" After attempting bribery to bend O'Connell to the Communist plan, Valtin " smeared " the Negro by circulating leaflets among his followers. The final result was the deposition of O'Connell, and the " capture " of his Negro association.

Valtin's work in England was imperilled by O'Connell, who had exposed him to the Cardiff police. After fleeing to England from Wales, Valtin returned to the Continent, then later journeyed hack to England to finish his job. The second phase of his campaign resulted in the liquidation of the Hindu Vakil. But Vakil, or some other ie.sentful Communist in Britain, exposed Valtin to Scotland Yard, and after a polite questioning, Valtin was ushered out of England.

The Party in England, according to Valtin, was hopelessly bourgeois; its members kept regular office hours; the Daily Worker office was under constant surveillance by Scotland Yard; the whole set-up was sterile—having " no contact worth mentioning with the labouring masses of Britain " Besides the men named above, Valtin met in England Harry Pollitt, a Communist Party leader; Joe Keenan, an Australian ; " Red " McGrath, a New Zealander, both of them '' reliable " Stalinists: and Patrick Murphy, a G.P.U. agent. Another assistant was Cilly, a German girl, a loyal G.P.U. agent.

MOSCOW FUNDS SLASHED Besides liquidating the undesirable or untractable Party members, Valtin slashed the funds sent by Moscow to England, and installed faithful Party members who could be relied on to make the British Communist Party almost self-supporting and fruitful. Moscow, as Valtin explains, never wanted any national or other localised Communist Party to be completely independent of its subsidies, because such independence led to impertinence and disobedience, As to the veracity of these and other revelations in Valtin's book. Father II. A. Reinhold (exiled by the Nazis), formerly port chaplain in Hamburg, and active in the Apostolatus Mans in Germany, finds the book " 95 per cent correct." Fr. Reinhold gives this opinion in his review of the book for Commonweal.

"Considering everything." says Fr. Reinhold, " I should say that this book seems to be perhaps 95 per cent. correct and 5 per cent. re-touched, which is a tremendously good record for any autobiographer. .. But I have checked as many of his stories as possible against my own experience and information, and I have found him correct wherever I could check up. and that is not little." Fr. Reinhold confirms many incidents described by Valtin, but notes that the author " becomes morbid about sex and suffers from a repulsive exhibitionism."

TORTURED BY THE GESTAPO Valtin, or Krebs, was captured by the Gestapo, tortured and imprisoned by them until, at the orders of Moscow, he renounced Communism and engaged to work for the Gestapo among his former cornmdes. Because of subsequent distrust and quarrels with G.P.U. leaders, he was denounced, and was about to be spirited to the U.S S.R. when he made his escape. Eventually he came to America.

His story is being hailed by anti-Cornmunists elements in this county, especially, of course, by the Social Democrats, by way of settling the old score which dates hack to the split between the Bolsheviki and the Mensheviki. Defended by the Social Democrats and disillusioned Liberals, Valtin is the target of the Communists in America, who are clamouring for his deportation to Germany.

But if Valtin is deported, then the Government must also deport Harry Bridges, Australian pro-Communist leader of the Pacific Coast sailors, as well as Raissa Browder, Russian wife of Earl Browder, who is now in a Federal prison for falsification of passport.

Valtin's references to Catholics in Germany are few, but always favourable.

Out of the Night By Jan Valtin (Alliance Book Corporation, N.Y. City. 3.50 dollars).

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