An Estonian Looks at Communism*

The reviewer received this pamphlet from the Estonian Society of Los Angeles, California, which is concerned to awaken the American public to the menace of Communism for the free world. but more especially as a threat to the life of the Churches.



The author. Prof. Voobus, is a refugee from Estonia, where he was professor of historical theology at the 308 year-old university of Tartu, when the bolshevist conquerors ruthlessly destroyed it. Since 1948 he has taught at Chicago Lutheran Theological Seminary. His stature as a historical theologian is well established by his monumental work. Early Versions of the New Testament, Stockholm. 1954, the writing of which required 20 years of research in Syriac. Armenian, Georgian. Ethiopic. Coptic, Arabic. Latin and Greek manuscripts.

Prof. Voobus begins by giving us an analysis of Bolshevism in the area of material things, physical and spiritual life. He presents what he has personally seen and e:tperienood in the Baltic. Bolshevism “prattles about prosperity, but ereates poverty…Overnight everyone becomes. a slave….Family life is disrupted…scarcity of food is used to corrupt friends and neighbors” (p. 6). In Estonia nearly a third of the population was massacred (p. 6) and religion became the chief target of destruction. “All theological schools were closed and outlawed…all properties of churches were taken away (p. 7). If a church is temporarily tolerated it is as an instrument for the Soviet’s. sinister purposes. But the true church, i.e., faithful to its message. serving and proclaiming the truth, fighting evil and educating personalities, cannot be permitted to exist” (p.7). “The proper citizen of the communist community is the collective man…lacking any personal spiritual structure. The result of this dehumanization is that man is thrust down to the level of an animal” (p. 8).

The author goes on to discuss the reasons for the growth of bolshevism and shows that it has not come to power anywhere in the world as a movement of the people. Rather, it was the West that preserved this menace to mankind with Lend-Lease, ships, supplies, military secrets, and technical training_ Besides, Western leadership under Roosevelt cum suis did not accept the offer of German capitulation in 1945 but wanted unconditional surrender. Then at Potsdam it gave Russia half of Germany together with Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria, the Serbs, Croatians and Czechs as well as the Albanians. These nations had some taste of Russian imperialism in the guise of bolshevism and had the “courage to fight against the Soviet bestiality and slavery. Millions were forcefully packed into trains and delivered to the Soviet slaughterhouse, except for those who committed suicide…” (p. 10). Instead of redeeming its mistakes after the war, the U.S.A. went on to strengthen the Soviets by sacrificing China and other nations to the tyranny of the Communists.

Then followed coexistence, which gave the Soviets time in their much needed military preparation and opportunity to swallow their opponents piece-meal, witness Korea, Indochina, Hungary, and Tibet. For the sake of coexistence, countless spy efforts of the enemy have not been made public and the evidence has been hid. Thus the free world is abetting its own destruction.

All this leads the author to say that Soviet growth is due not so much to enemy strength as to our own weakness. All the talk of the Soviets for peace is meaningless since their action is that of war, whether by psychological, economic, technological, or military means. We must remember in this connection the words of Stalin, “Words must have no relation to action—otherwise what kind of diplomacy is it? Words arc one thing, actions another. Good words are a mask for concealment of bad deeds.” The Soviets freely promise and make treaties, but they always remember the words of Lenin, “Promises are like pie crusts—made to be broken” (quoted on p. 12).

Deceiving the enemy is the cardinal policy of any war. At this the Kremlin is a past master. It has succeeded in drawing many “liberal” and “progressive” politicians into its service. When, e.g., the question of slave labor camps was raised in the U.N. Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt asked how one could prove all this, ignoring the fact that the proof is at hand. Moreover, the Kremlin has succeeded in drawing intellectuals, scholars, writers, businessmen, and industrialists into its service. The conquest of the free world is further abetted by the cultural exchange program. Even such a man as H. Wallace was completely duped when he visited a slave-labor camp which had been re-arranged before his coming.

The astounding thing is that the Communists have been able to use religion, which they despise, as their tool “and have turned a part of its representatives into their agents” (p. 17. Cf. :M. John, Investigations of Communist Activities in the New York City Area [Washington, 1953], p. 2278ff.).

As a sample of the success of the Soviets in misleading the Churches, the author cites the case of how the National Council of Churches sought contact with the “church” in Russia. Its exiled leaders issued a warning on March 12, 1956, but Rev. E. C. Blake, of super-church fame, told the press that it is dangerous to follow the advice of protesters. Hence with “Metropolitan” Nicolai the National Council called for “the recognition of Red China, abolition of the House Committee on Un-American Activities,” etc. And soon the truth came out. The National Council of Churches was not cooperating with the “Russian Christians” at all, but with the murderous Soviet secret police agents and their puppets masquerading in clergymen’s clothes. A former Soviet secret police official of the highest rank ever to escape from the Soviets, P. Deriabin, identified “Metropolitan” Nicolai, who headed the Soviet “church” leaders, as a former colleague of his in the same sinister, murderous organization (Congressional Record, Washington, 1959, Appendix p. 385ff).

Professor Voobus ascribes the credulity of Protestant leaders to ignorance and spiritual and moral complacency. Hence the Communists have succeeded very well in letting their friends do their work while they practise “the techniques of withdrawal.” Churches screamed for “total world disarmament, admission of Red China to the U.N., an end to selective service, curtailment of civil defense, and the establishment of Berlin as a ‘free city’ under U.N. supervision” (p. 20). For the advancement of the cause of world enslavement such men as Bishop Bromley Oxnam, President J. A. Mackay, Dr. K. Barth and others, have been rewarded with laudations, prizes and other acknowledgments (ibid).

The effect of this cooperation of Churchmen is the “elimination of compassion towards the victims of communism….The genuine concern for the fate of the Christians and human beings under the communist tyranny has been branded by the same leaders as ‘hysterical anticommunism.’ The same leaders who become particularly alive in order to salvage a convicted communist spy, have remained disinterested in the suffering of innocent people” (p. 21). J. C. Bennett of Union Theological Seminary is a prime example of those who warn us against “the hysterical fear of communism on the part of economic conservatives” (Christianity and Communism., New York, 1951, p. 125). Of such G. Dimitrov in his advice to the Lenin School of Political Warfare said: “A teacher, who without being a party member, lends himself to the interest of the Soviet Union, is worth more than a hundred men with party cards….The writer who, without being a party member, defends the Soviet Union…is worth more than a thousand party members” (Quoted on p. 23).

But enough; the tenor of the book is clear. This man speaks the truth without fear or favor. Here is an intellectual who realizes that it is time to get rid of the cry of “hysterics” against a successful inculcation of the American mind with the true proportions of the danger that besets our civilization today. Isn’t it passing strange that a man may get fanatical about any form of entertainment, or about politics, or about art, but the moment he gets disturbed about Communism he is immediately branded as a “fanatic” or as “hysterical” by the eggheads in our universities and colleges and some complain that one cannot fight an evil by being anti; one has to be for something that offsets the evil. Agreed! We must be for the right thing! But we’ll never overcome evil unless we recognize, abhor, and fight against it! I must confess that the logic of those who cry “wolf” against anticommunism is incomprehensible. I wish to break a lance for intolerance against evil. In my simplicity I cannot fathom the mind of those who are running the interference for the Kremlin by advocating all its “causes”and then turn around and dub as “fanatics” those who oppose Communism. In my book there is only one answer. Either they are secretly sympathetic to the Communist goals and simply close their minds to the methods of the Kremlin, or they are dupes, who have had the wool pulled over their eyes! As a judgment of charity I prefer to think the latter is true, but I am convinced there are also many Communist sympathizers in the State Department and in the liberal churches of America. This is not an indictment of fellow-Christians, for Liberalism is not Christianity. It is a false religion seeking a Utopia here and now, which fits in very well with the Communistic ideal of a classless society.

*The Threat of Communism and the Task of Christians (A Stand Against Dangerous Trends Within Protestantism) by Prof. A. Voobus. Etse, New York 243 East Thirty-Fourth St.