One of the things I don’t understand about the press in the United States is why the same story is not considered news when reported by a distinguished American scholar, but is considered big newsworthy of two pages in PARADE Magazine after it appeared in Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s GULAG ARCHIPELAGO.
In January, Professor Julius Epstein published a book called OPERATION KEELHAUL. It contained his life work of research and documentation on one of the most disgraceful events in American history, namely, the forced return toRussia of some two million anti-Communist Russian refugees at the end of World War II.
Stalin demanded these two million victims, and the U.S. Government ordered our soldiers to force them back into his clutches, using guns, bayonets and even drugs to overcome their resistance. It was obvious to all concerned that this forced repatriation doomed the victims to certain death or slave labor camps.
When Epstein’s book came out, I thought it was both sensational news and shocking history which deserved to be fully reported. In general, however the book was greeted with thunderous silence by the news media and book critics.
Then something amazing happened. Solzhenitsyn’s new book told about Operation Keelhaul, and even paid tribute to Professor Epstein for collecting the facts. After that, the news media discovered the story.
Solznehnitsyn’s new book, THE GULAG ARCHIPELAGO, also broke another fantastic piece of news involving Americans. Alexander Dolgun was an American citizen and employee of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. One day on December 13, 1948, he went out to lunch and never came back.
He was seized on the streets of Moscow by the Soviet secret police, and disappeared for eight years into the world of prisons, torture chambers, solitary confinement, and slave labor camps. He was not allowed to sleep until he confessed to fabricated crimes. He was kept an entire year in solitary confinement. Solzhenitsyn’s book gives an eloquent description of the way Dolgun was savagely beaten at the Sukhanovka prison by the No. 2 man in the secret police.
Dolgun was released from prison in 1956, but forbidden to make contact with any Americanso Finally, in 1971, he was able to get a message to his sister who lived in Vienna. She went to the American Ambassador there, and he was able to get Dolgun out of Russia in about six months.
Dolgun’s mother and father were also seized by the Soviets. His mother became insane under torture and died in prison; his father survived prison and died in Moscow.
There must be more reporters per square mile in Washington, D.C. than in any city in the world. How was it possible for the kidnapping of Alexander Dolgun to be suppressed by the State Department and undiscovered by our press for 25 years, including two years after he returned to live in Washington? It is mighty strange that we have to get our news about the actions of American citizens from a Russian author who has never even been to our country.