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Lozovskii, Solomon Abramovich

(1878–1952), political figure and trade unionist. Born in Ekaterinoslav province, the son of a melamed, Solomon Lozovskii (born with the surname Dridzo) joined the Russian Social-Democratic Workers Party in 1901 and in 1905 affiliated with the Bolsheviks. In 1908 he escaped from Siberia, where he had been exiled, and moved to France, where he was active in the Socialist Party. He returned to Russia in June 1917. From 1921 to 1937 he served as secretary-general of the Profintern, the Communist-controlled trade union international, which he had helped found. Simultaneously, Lozovskii was a presidium member of the Comintern (the Communist International) and a delegate at six of its congresses.

Lozovskii became a candidate member of the Communist Party Central Committee in 1927 and a full member in 1936. He headed Goslitizdat, the government printing house, between 1937 and 1939. Subsequently in 1939, he was appointed one of three deputy foreign ministers, a post he retained until 1946. Lozovskii also served as deputy head of the Sovinformburo (the Soviet Information Bureau), which was established shortly after the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 to formulate and disseminate Soviet wartime information and propaganda for domestic and foreign consumption. Among its other tasks, the Sovinformburo supervised the activities of the five “anti-Fascist committees” established in late 1941 and early 1942 to mobilize support for the Soviet war effort.

After the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee (JAC) had been transferred to the aegis of the Central Committee Department of Foreign Relations, Lozovskii headed the Sovinformburo for one year, from the summer of 1946. He also headed the department of international relations at the Central Committee Higher Party School between 1940 and 1949 and wrote several works on the Russian and international trade union movement. As he was responsible for the JAC, Lozovskii had to ratify its every action; indeed, all of the committee’s initiatives were countersigned by him before being passed on to higher authorities. It thus followed that when the decision was made to invoke a case against the JAC and charge it with Jewish nationalism, anti-Soviet activity, and espionage, Lozovskii filled the role of chief accused.

Arrested in January 1949, Lozovskii was the main defendant at the trial, which took place from May to July 1952. Although he had confessed under torture during interrogation to being guilty of Jewish nationalism and anti-Soviet activity, he subsequently recanted his confession in court. In testimony lasting nearly six days, Lozovskii demonstrated the falsity of the charges, pointing out fabrications the investigators had put in the mouths of the defendants and compelled them to sign, and the hollowness of the court proceedings. He admitted to having instructed Jewish correspondents to investigate and report Nazi atrocities against Jews for foreign propaganda purposes, but denied that this was an act of Jewish nationalism. Lozovskii insisted he had not told the correspondents to ignore atrocities committed against other sectors of the Soviet population, and stressed that these reports as well as information later accumulated in the American version of the Black Book (the account of Nazi atrocities against Jews of the Soviet Union) had served Soviet interests at the Nuremberg trials.

Lozovskii was emphatic in stating that each of his actions had been subordinated to the consent of the Central Committee and Foreign Ministry and was usually the outcome of their instructions. His eloquence and courage apparently influenced the presiding judge, who sought to put aside the JAC case. Nonetheless, Lozovskii was condemned to death and executed on 12 August 1952.

Suggested Reading

Shimon Redlich, War, Holocaust and Stalinism: A Documented Study of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee in the USSR (Luxembourg, 1995); Joshua Rubenstein and Vladimir P. Naumov, eds., Stalin’s Secret Pogrom: The Postwar Inquisition of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee (New Haven and London, 2001).