Cover image for Stalin's war against the Jews : the doctors' plot and the Soviet solution
Stalin's war against the Jews : the doctors' plot and the Soviet solution
Rapoport, Louis.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Free Press, [1990]

Physical Description:
xvii, 318 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm.
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library DS135.R92 R36 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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In 1952 nine Kremlin doctors, all Jews, were seized and accused of plotting to poison the Soviet leaders. Rapoport's account of the final 14 months of Stalin's life reveals that the so-called "Doctors' Plot" was a culminating step in the dictator's lifelong war against the Jews, and argues that only Stalin's sudden death in 1953 prevented the unfolding of his own solution to the "Jewish problem" in the Soviet Union. Annotation(c) 2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

On January 13, 1953, the Soviet Union announced that nine Soviet doctors, six of them Jewish, had murdered two of Joseph Stalin's aides in 1945 and 1948--Andrei A. Zhdanov, a politburo member, and Alexander Shcherbakov--and plotted against others. The Kremlin charged that the plot was directed by the West and Zionists and that its aim was to kill Soviet political and military leaders. A letter composed by the Soviet secret police was written for Jewish leaders to sign, asking Stalin to deport the Jews en masse to "protective camps for their security." The alleged mastermind of the so-called Doctors' Plot was Solomon Mikhoels, a Yiddish actor and director of Moscow's Jewish Theater. Mikhoels, in fact, had been murdered by the secret police on January 13, 1948. Fortunately, Stalin's sudden death in 1953 put an end to this macabre plot. Rapoport found much material related to the Doctors' Plot in archives in Israel, the U.S., and Britain, as well as in private archives in the Soviet Union. He also interviewed several relatives of the major figures involved. As a result, Rapoport has documented well a treacherous chapter in the Soviet Union's history. Notes, bibliography; to be indexed. ~--George Cohen

Publisher's Weekly Review

The notorious ``Doctors' Plot'' was launched in January 1953 when Pravda announced that nine Kremlin doctors, most of them Jewish, had medically murdered two of Stalin's top aides and were part of a Zionist-imperialist conspiracy to assassinate Russia's leaders. A total fabrication by Stalin himself, the Doctors' Plot, as Jerusalem Post reporter Rapoport here reveals, was the first step in Stalin's plan for the mass deportation of Russia's two million Jews to gulag concentration camps; only the dictator's death in the early spring of 1953 prevented this genocide from occurring. A remarkable feat of historical excavation, this important, vividly gripping, exhaustively researched account also links the Doctors' Plot to Stalin's plans for a vast purge of the Communist Party and, quite possibly, to his apocalyptic preparations for a third world war. Rapoport illuminates Stalin's Hitler-like fixation on the Jews and sets the Doctors' Plot against a backdrop of mass terror, show trials, pogroms, decimation of nationalities and Soviet prewar cooperation with Hitler in exterminating Jews. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Anti-Semitic acts and policies were a continuous policy during the long career of Joseph Stalin, according to Rapoport, writer on the Jerusalem Post. Beginning in childhood and seminary training, through his 1913 essay on the nationality question and years of leadership, Stalin found ways to persecute minority groups. The Doctor's Plot, which came to light in January 1953, is here seen as the culmination of a long campaign of persecution and terror against Jewish artists and intellectuals. This is the first work to treat the Doctor's Plot fully, placing it in the context of both Soviet history and Stalin's personal world view. Rapoport concludes that Stalin probably intended a ``final solution'' to the Jewish problem in the Soviet Union, including mass deportations to labor camps. A worthwhile contribution for specialists.-- Marcia L. Sprules, Council on Foreign Relations Lib., New York (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Rapoport has crafted an eminently readable account of the plight of Soviet Jews. Focusing on Stalin's anti-Semitism, he shows how the Soviet leader was able to play on a tradition of Russian Judeophobia. Rapoport cites many speeches and incidents that illustrate Stalin's paranoia about an international Jewish conspiracy and links these to the dictator's hatred of Trotsky and other Jewish rivals. Stalin's visceral anti-Jewish rhetoric and crusades are compared to Hitler's; many readers will be shocked by Soviet participation in anti-Jewish activities during WWII. Rapoport also notes that an astonishing number of Jews helped carry out arrests and deportations of their brethren. The dream of communism purported to end all religious and ethnic distinction, and many Jews who had achieved high rank in the system were determined to eradicate any vestige of Jewish separateness. One result was the notorious doctors' plot of 1953 in which a group of "killer doctors," some of them Jews, was accused by the Stalinist government of doing away with prominent Soviet figures. This book will interest anyone wanting to learn more about Stalin, Russian Jews, anti-Semitism, and the roots of present-day anti-Zionism. -G. R. Sharfman, Hiram College

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