Find more information about

at the Center for Jewish History:

NOTE: you will be redirected
to the Web site for the

Dymshits, Veniamin Emmanuilovich

(1910–1993), Soviet government figure. The son of a white-collar worker, Veniamin Dymshits was born in Feodosiia. In 1931, he began working as a construction foreman at the Kuznetsk Metallurgical Plant, and later participated in building the Azov (Azovstal’) and Krivoi Rog (Ukr., Kryvyy Rih) metallurgical plants. In 1941, he was appointed director of the Magnitostroi Trust, which constructed blast furnaces at metallurgical sites. From 1946 to 1950 he headed the Zaporozhstroi Trust, which rehabilitated large-scale industry in Zaporozh’e (Ukr., Zaporizhzhia). In 1945 and again in 1950, he was awarded a Stalin Prize.

In 1950, Dymshits was appointed deputy minister of construction for heavy industry. During the Stalinist antisemitic campaign of 1948–1953, he was subjected to intense criticism for patronizing Jews at the Zaporozhstroi Trust and, in his work at the ministry, for “violating Bolshevik principles by hiring persons not deserving of being trusted politically.” Nonetheless, he retained both posts. From 1954 to 1957, Dymshits served as deputy minister of construction for the metallurgical and chemical industries. Subsequently, from 1957 to 1959 he was chief construction engineer of the Bhilai Metallurgical Works in India. In 1959, he became head of the department of capital construction at Gosplan (the State Planning Committee) and in 1961 was appointed first deputy chairman there. From 1962 on, Dymshits was chairman of Gosplan and simultaneously deputy chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers, a position he held until 1985.

From the 1960s until the beginning of the 1980s, Dymshits was the only Jew to hold a high position in the government of the Soviet Union. He was also a member of the Soviet Communist Party Central Committee (1961–1986) and a deputy to the USSR Supreme Soviet (from 1962). From the beginning of the 1970s, he participated actively in the anti-Zionist campaign. He was a main figure in the press conference held by Soviet citizens of Jewish nationality on 4 March 1970, during which he defended Soviet policies and virulently attacked the State of Israel. In February 1971, he sent a letter to the Central Committee apparatus proposing measures “to defeat enemy propaganda, to attack their ideology and racist practices, and to unmask the Zionists as agents of imperialism and as enemies of the peace and the interests of the workers.” In 1985, Dymshits retired from public service.

Dymshits wrote many works on planning and construction, as well as a memoir, Boevoi stan. Zapiski stroitelia (Armor Mill: Notes of a Builder; 1985). In 1980, he was granted the Hero of Socialist Labor award.

Suggested Reading

Gennadii Kostyrchenko, Tainaia politika Stalina: Vlast’ i antisemitizm (Moscow, 2001); Leonid L’vovich Mininberg, Sovetskie evrei v nauke i promyshlennosti SSSR v period vtoroi mirovoi voiny (Moscow, 1995); Boris Ivanovich Morozov, Evreiskaia emigratsiia v svete novykh dokumentov (Tel Aviv, 1998).



Translated from Russian by I. Michael Aronson