Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Irene Sobel - September 8, 1998

Opinions of Stalin

So did you know about Stalin?

Oh yes, we knew an awful lot about Stalin.

You as an eight year old knew?

Oh, I knew everything. I can tell you a whole slew of songs that I knew about Stalin.

Uh, favorable songs?

Well, they were all great--Stalin the father and Stalin this and we were told how wonderful he is and there were images and portraits of Stalin in every factory, and...

Sing one for me.

Well, I can't think of right now. Maybe later.

But they were all...

Stalin, yes.

...Stalin is the great hero.

Yes, Stalin is a great hero and not just Stalin but Motherland. Motherland. The wonderful Motherland. Motherland means Russia.

Matushka rus.

??? Mata is, is the mother. Mat...there were all kinds of forms. ??? means "my country."

And Batushka is Stalin.


Little father Stalin, was he the father of Russia?

The image was this, of the great, benevolent savior...


...in Russia.

And what did your father think?

Well my father, as I told you, said, "Well, did I give my life for is this?" He viewed him as a exploiter, as a criminal, as a, a tyrant.

Betrayer of socialism?

A betrayer of socialism, betrayer, a betrayer of the people, yeah. I think they felt differently towards Lenin. From what I heard, my parents, there wasn't so much talk about Lenin. But that was--and I was too young to be able to differentiate their disappointment with communism versus their disappointment with Stalin as the implementer of the communism. But they turned anti-communism, anti-communist as soon as they were exposed, yeah.

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