Felix Dzerzhinsky

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ENGLISH

GERMAN

RUSSIAN

 

 

 

 

 

 

published on occasion of the

20th of July 1926

- 90th Day of Death

 

August 30 (11. 9.) , 1877 July 20, 1926

Felix Dzerzhinsky

"Iron Felix"

 

"We Communists must live modestly in such a way that the working people
can say that we are using the victory of the revolution and power not for ourselves but for the happiness and welfare of the people.”

Felix Dzerzhinsky

 

 

NOTABLE DATES IN DZERZHINSKY’S
LIFE AND WORK

1877–1926

The life and revolutionary work of Dzerzhinsky were examples of dedicated service to the cause of the working class and all the working people, examples for future
generations of Soviet citizens.

Soviet statesman and politician Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky was born on September 11 (August 30), 1977 in the Dzerzhinovo estate of the Oshmyansky district of the Vilno province into a gentry family.

He finished seven forms of the Vilno secondary school. Up to the age of 16 he was a fervent Catholic and prepared to become a clergyman - a Roman-Catholic priest but while studying at school he entered a Social Democratic circle and on Gedimin mountain in Vilno (the Lithuanian city of Vilnius now) swore to devote his life to combating evil and injustice. Dzerzhinsky left the last form of the secondary school to fully devote himself to party work. He joined the Social Democratic movement in 1894, became a member of the RSDRP in 1895, in that same year became a member of Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania, and in 1900 entered its organising centre. On Dzerzhinsky's initiative in 1906 the SDKPL united with the RSDRP, having retained its organisational autonomy.

During the first Russian revolution of 1905-1907 Dzerzhinsky organised strikes of workers and carried out propaganda work in the troops. He was arrested more than once and spent a total of 11 years in prisons and penal servitude where he contracted tuberculosis.

In October 1917 he was a member of the Military-Revolutionary party Centre of the Bolsheviks and of the Petrograd Military-Revolutionary Committee. At the 6th party congress Dzerzhinsky came out for an armed uprising, entered the Central Committee, and became a leader of organisational and military work.

Dzerzhinsky took an active part in the October coup: he controlled posts and the telegraph, and provided communication for Smolny. On Dzerzhinsky's proposal a commission for fighting counter-revolution, consisting of five members, was organised under the Military-Revolutionary Committee, and the All-Russia Extraordinary Commission (VChK) for fighting counter-revolution and sabotage was set up under the Soviet of People's Commissars on December 20, 1917. Dzerzhinsky headed it till his death.

From February 1922, Dzerzhinsky was simultaneously the chairman of GPU-OGPU (another Soviet secret service), from August 1919 - the chief of the Special Department of the VChK, from March 1919 to July 1923 - the chairman of the commission under the All-Russia Central Executive Committee (VTsIK) on improving the life of children, combating child homelessness being one of its tasks. Alongside fulfilling these duties, Dzerzhinsky participated in numerous commissions and societies: was a member of the presidium of Society for Studying the Problems of Interplanetary Communications, the chairman of the VTsIK commission on improving workers' life, and was a founder of the Dynamo society and an initiator of the establishment of the Society of Political Convicts and Exiled Settlers. From 1924 Dzerzhinsky was Alternate Member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party.

 

 

Dzerzhinsky died of a heart attack on July 20, 1926.

 

 

 

 

DZERZHINSKY

FIGHTING FOR THE VICTORY OF THE SOCIALIST REVOLUTION
(MARCH-OCTOBER 1917)

 

 

Dzerzhinsky

Founder and leader of the Cheka

 

 

 

Messages of Solidarity

 

Greeting message of the Comintern (SH)
on occasion of the 90th anniversary of the death of
Felix Dzerzhinsky
from 20th of July 2016

 

Feliks Dzerzhinsky was a courageous Bolshevik leader who organized the protection of the October Revolution against the counter-revolution. Already during his lifetime his name became legendary. Feliks Dzerzhinsky - some loved and adored him - and others hated him. But even those who feared his name, could not deny their respect for this ardent revolutionary and consistent fighter for the cause of the working class and communism.

The Comintern (SH) has published a "Dzerzhinsky - Archive" in English, German and Russian to mark the 90th anniversary of his death.

 

In 1926 it was the Comintern which had published an appeal on occasion of the death of comrade Dzerzhinsky. The Comintern (SH) shares its content wholeheartedly which reads as follows:

 

Appeal

Executive Committee of the Communist International

To all communists and the workers of all countries

On July 20, 1926 Feliks Dzerzhinsky died of a heart attack.

With him losing the Russian and world revolution one of its bravest and most determined fighters, one of their biggest organizers, one of their most important leaders.

From his early youth until his last breath was Dzerzhinsky in the ranks of the Bolsheviks at the front of the proletarian revolution. His life - that are decades memorable was sacrified for the emancipation of the working class.

As a member and leader of the Social Democratic Party of Poland and Lithuania - later the Polish Communist Party - Dzerzhinsky was in the time of illegality under czarism the illustrative example of a steadfast, stalwart party functionary. He bears misery of imprisonment, forced labor and exile. He emigrated to Austria and Germany. He was repeatedly in court. However, the toughest punishments could not break him. Though arrested, exiled, sentenced and deported, Dzerzhinsky did never interrupt his revolutionary struggle. He escaped from prison, from Siberia and came back from emigration in order to embark on the most dangerous Abschmitte the proletarian class struggle.

Freed from prison by the February Revolution, Dzerzhinsky actively participated in the preparation and execution of the Bolshevik Revolution. As a member of the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party and the Military Revolutionary Committee of the Petrograd Soviet, he was one of the greatest military leaders in October 1917.

In the fight for the defense of the proletarian dictatorship, Dzerzhinsky founded and led the Russian Cheka, this, unerring, mortal weapon against all enemies of the working people.

The hatred of all traitors was inextricably linked with the name of Dzerzhinsky, the hangmen of the White Guards. He endured the blind rage of the shattered counter-revolution, but also the pride, the respect and love of the working people of all countries.

After the Civil War, Dziezynski devoted all his forces to the socilaist construction of the Soviet country, the restoration and development of the economy. As Commissar of Transportation, he recovered the destroyed transport. As chairman of the Supreme Economic Council, he was in the fight for the building of socialism, namely in the first rows.

His last words, spoken just a few hours before his death, were dedicated to the legacy of Lenin - the victory of socialism, the cause of the international proletarian revolution.

Feliks Dzerzhinsky, the closest comrade Rosa Luxemburg, the faithful pupil and campaigner of Lenin, was not only an outstanding Bolshevik leader of the Russian, Polish and Lithuanian workers, but of the whole international proletariat.

His iron energy, his organizational skills, his bravery, his loyalty to the party, his exemplary, martial fulfilled life must be remembered by all Communists, all workers, all working people. After Lenin and Frunze we have lost Dzerzhinsky. Irreplaceable losses! But the cause of the revolution lives and will live forever. Leninism is invincible.

Long live the Bolshevik Party!

Long live the international proletarian revolution! "

ECCI of the Comintern

* * *

The legendary revolutionary spirit of the Cheka, which was founded and conducted by Comrade Dzerzhinsky under the guidance of Lenin, faded away when the motherland of communism was eliminated. Dzerzhinsky himself had taught:

 

"The Cheka must be a member of the Central Committee, otherwise it is harmful, otherwise it degenerates into an Okhrana or in an organ of the counter-revolution from."


He was proved right. The new bourgeoisie took possession of the Bolshevik Party, of the socialist state and its security forces and transformed them into organs of the counter-revolution - as a weapon against the true Stalinists, against the socialist working class, against the Soviet peoples, against the world proletariat, against the world socialist revolution, against communism.

The Soviet revisionists killed Stalin, staged a coup, seized power and turned the first dictatorship of the proletariat into a dictatorship of the new bourgeoisie.
One of Stalin's murderers was the class-enemy Beria. Immediately after Stalin's death, Beria became the most dangerous social-fascist traitor at Stalinism, in general, and at the glorious Cheka of Dzerzhinsky, in particular. Beria released class-enemies from prisons, and in return he arrested, locked away and eliminated faithful Stalinists.
The state security service became an instrument of Russian social imperialism, in general, and a social-fascist instrument of oppression of the Soviet peoples, in particular. Not only the Soviet revisionists but also the present-day Russian imperialists bask in the light of fame of the Cheka and misuse the name of Dzerzhinsky for their fascist interest. Therefore it is very important to draw our demarcation-line between the Cheka of Dzerzhinsky under the dictatorship of the proletariat in times of Lenin and Stalin and the misuse of the name of the "Cheka" by the social-fascists at power. "For the Cheka of Dzerzhinsky in words - however against the Cheka of Dzerzhinsky in deeds" - that is the uncovering of the social-fascist method to cheat the working class, for the only purpose to justify the restoration of the political power of the revisionists.

In his former whereabouts as a KGB officer in Dresden, today's dictator Putin was among others also with the StaSi of the social-fascist Honecker clique in contact, which liquidated our GDR-Section of the KPD / ML "on behalf" of the Cheka of Dzerzhinsky. And "in the name of" the glorious Cheka, social-fascist crimes were committed against communists, against revolutionaries, against the working class and the working people throughout the world. However, the world bourgeoisie denies not only her anti-communist crimes but moreover, turns the tables. Since the lifetime of Dzerzhinsky until his 90 anniversary of death, the whole anti-Communist world keeps on linking with the word "Cheka", with the name Dzerzhinsky, the social-fascist terror of the modern revisionists. The anti-communists sully this name by claiming that he would have been "executioner of the terror regime of Lenin and Stalin."But the Cheka of Comrade Dzierzynsky was not a terrorist organization against the working class and her allies, but an instrument of the dictatorship of the proletariat, an instrument of the counter-terror against terror of the imperialists, the capitalist, an instrument of defense and protection against bloody counter-revolution which wanted to strangle the young Soviet Union. Comrade Dzerzhinsky's Cheka was the guarantee for the victorious defense of the October Revolution, the Soviet Union, and the achievements of socialism. The history of the transformation of the Cheka into an instrument of terror of the bourgeoisie against the Soviet working class proves that the Cheka was still too mild to the enemies of communism. This must serve us as a lesson if we really want to prevent the restoration of world capitalism.

Today, the Comintern (SH) is the only organization in the world, who holds high the banner of Comrade Dzerzhinsky in the struggle against all open and hidden anti-Communists. As the Comintern had emphasized:

"His iron energy, his organizational skills, his bravery, his loyalty to the party, his exemplary, martial fulfilled life must be remembered by all Communists, all workers, all working people".

We follow this appeal of the Comintern also after 90 years. This is a great honor and grateful commitment for us. The Comintern (SH) is always conscious about the fact that there will be no victory of the world socialist revolution without the establishment of our own international Cheka. We will name it "Dzerzhinsky" -International.

If we recognize the great merits and the great revolutionary life of Comrade Dzerzhinsky, then we do this above all, in view of the coming world socialist revolution and the protection of the future socialist world republic.

 

What can we learn from Comrade Dzerzhinsky?

 

First. What is the main lesson of Dzerzhinsky's Cheka ? The main lesson is its re-establishment on a world scale - modified according to the conditions of the coming socialist world revolution.

Learning from Dzerzhinsky, that is, to create a Cheka as an instrument of the dictatorship of the world proletariat, for the purpose to defend the socialist world revolution and world socialism, for its protection against all subversive activities of the counter-revolution of the world bourgeoisie. The object of the Cheka of the Comintern (SH) is to foil the international counter-revolution, namely:

1. to stop the advance and triumph of the world socialist revolution

2. to destroy the dictatorship of the world proletariat and to overthrow the socialist world republic.

3. to restore the power of the world bourgeoisie

4. to restore world capitalism.

It is the task of the counter-revolution to protect/maintain/restore the power of the world bourgeoisie, especially the power of the international finance capital. For this purpose the world bourgeoisie uses the ideology of cosmopolitanism, the ideology of the globalized world order of capitalists. This ideology emerged from the bourgeois ideology of nationalism, and it will always emerge from it inevitably. It is the ideological weapon of the world bourgeoisie in her struggle against our proletarian internationalism, our ideology of the unification of the proletarians of all countries.

In order to defeat and destroy world imperialism, the world proletariat must establish its globalized dictatorship, and lead an international struggle against the international counter-revolution, on the ideological, political and economic, as well as on the military battlefield of the international class struggle. [See: general line of the Comintern (SH), Chapter II, "The world socialist revolution and the international counter-revolution"].

After the revolutionary world proletariat has defeated the counterrevolution on the open global battlefield, it does not mean that the counter-revolution is finally destroyed. The international counter-revolution disappears off the face of the earth, but it will still exist in the underground, namely trying with much greater efforts to overthrow the young socialist world republic. Against these subversive activities of the counter-revolution, we will install our "Dzerzhinsky" -International. It will be our armed protection organization under the command of the Comintern (SH). Our "Dzerzhinsky" - International will consist of the most loyal and most revolutionary workers, peasants and soldiers and be recruited by the leaders of the Comintern (SH). The "Dzerzhinsky" - International remains indispensable for the entire socialist period of transition from world capitalism to world communism. It will quit its service not until the class society has finally ceased to exist.

In his speech to the 5-year anniversary of the Cheka, Dzerzhinsky said:

"Five years ago, the Council of People's Commissars has created an organization to fight against counterrevolutionaries, espionage, sabotage and speculation, an organization of the proletarian dictatorship in the fire of the victorious proletarian storm - the All-Russian Cheka. And as our great Red Army destroyed all the enemies and freed the Russian land for the worker-peasant power, for a free life of the peoples of all nations, also the all-Russian Cheka fought at the inner front against the enemies of Soviet power. You all remember the long chain of conspiracies, bandit raids, acts of terrorism against the Soviet power, against its leaders and the sabotage at our economy.

Where are these conspirators?

They do not exist any longer, we have destroyed our enemies. But the counterrevolution may still not be abolished. There will be even more enemies in the economic reconstruction of the country. Against them the GPU will fight - the successor to the All-Russian Cheka".

Our new Cheka will be built on a world scale in response to the organized resistance of the world bourgeoisie against the socialist world republic.

Our new Cheka will be a vanguard of the world proletariat in the struggle against world capitalism, against the White Terror, against sabotage, against shots at the leaders of the world revolution, against counter-revolutionary uprisings, against the sabotage of our world socialist construction, against attacks on the dictatorship of the world proletariat.
Our new Cheka will be the guardian of world socialist revolution.

Our new "Dzerzhinsky" -International will be the most reliable and hard-hitting organisation of the Comintern (SH) in the struggle against the international counter-revolution.

You capitalists around the world! What do you expect of us, how we will respond to your sabotage against our peaceful constructive work of world socialism? Is it not clear to you that we will - by ALL means - defend ourselves against your intrigues and wiles, agaunst your subversions and your conspiracies ? You will fail to strangle the world revolution and to overthrow us ! You will feel the lash of the world proletariat and of all its allies ! The revolution is not a game for us. We do not waste any time and will punish you severely - namely immediately at the location of your crime. We will never forget your crimes against the October Revolution, and we know very well that the dictatorship of the world proletariat could not survive a single day without our armed "Dzerzhinsky"-International. Whatever you will do against the dictatorship of the world proletariat - the world proletariat will not hesitate to defend it with ALL means. Well, you capitalists will hate us, but your hatred will fill us with pride.

 

The name of Felix Dzerzhinsky was and is still linked with “The terror of the bourgeoisie”. (Stalin)

 

Long live Feliks Dzerzhinsky !

Long live the Cheka!

Long live the "Dzerzhinsky" -International - the future guardian of the world socialist revolution!

 

Wolfgang Eggers

Comintern (SH)

July 20, 2016

 

 

On Tuesday, July 20, 1926, when he made an impassioned speech at the Central Committee plenary meeting. But even while speaking he felt a sharp pain in his heart.

After his speech, he went into the next room and lay down on a couch. Feeling desperately ill, he nevertheless summoned participants in the plenary meeting and questioned them about the progress of the debate. When he felt somewhat better, the doctors allowed him to walk to his flat, which was in a building next to the Armoury Chamber across from the Grand Kremlin Palace, where the plenary meeting was being held. Once in his bedroom, he fainted and died instantly. His death occurred at 4.40 p.m.


The Central Committee and Central Control Committee of the Party

announced Dzerzhinsky’s death

with the following address


To All Party Members. To All Workers. To All Working People. To the Red Army and the Navy”. “Today, the Party has sustained another heavy loss.- A heart attack has taken the life of Comrade Dzerzhinsky, a scourge to the bourgeoisie, a dedicated knight of the proletariat, the noblest fighter of the communist revolution, an indefatigable builder of our industry, the perennial worker and indomitable soldier of great battles...

In him, the Party has lost one of its most outstanding and heroic leaders... His noble figure, personal valour, profoundly principled stand on all issues, his straight forwardness and exceptional honesty have given him enormous prestige. His service is tremendous. It cannot be overestimated.

...His work was exemplary. His was a wonderful, magnificent life. His death, the death of a soldier on duty, was also magnificent.

...We are lowering our battle standards over your body, our fearless friend! We call on all working people, on all 235 proletarians, to pay their last respects to the fighter whose name will never be forgotten, whose cause will conquer the world.

Long live communism !

Long live our Party!”

 

 

STALIN

On the death of F. Dzerzhinsky

Pravda, No. 166, July 22, 1926

 

First Frunze, now Dzerzhinsky.

The old Leninist Guard has lost another of its finest leaders and fighters. The Party has sustained another irreparable loss.

Standing now at Comrade Dzerzhinsky’s bier and looking back at his whole life’s path—prison, penal servitude and exile, the Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution, the restoration of the ruined transport system, the building of our young socialist industry—one feels that the characteristic of his seething life was a FIERY ARDOUR.

The October Revolution allotted him in an exacting post, that of head of the Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution. No name was more hated by the bourgeoisie than that of Dzerzhinsky, who repelled the blows of the enemies of the proletarian revolution with a hand of steel. “The terror of the bourgeoisie” was the name given in those days to Comrade Felix Dzerzhinsky.

When the “period of peace” began, Comrade Dzerzhinsky continued his seething activities. He applied his burning energy to putting in order the dislocated transport system, and then, as Chairman of the Supreme Council of National Economy, he worked with equal ardour to build up our industry. Never resting, never shunning the roughest work, gallantly contending with difficulties and overcoming them, and dedicating all his strength and energy to the task entrusted to him by the Party, he burnt out his life, working in the interests of the proletariat, and for the victory of communism.

Farewell, hero of October! Farewell, loyal son of the Party!

Farewell, builder of the unity and might of our Party!

J. V. STALIN
July 22, 1926

Stalin, Works, Vol. 8, January-November, 1926, pp. 203-204

 

 

The Comintern

Dzerzhinsky took part in many -international forums and was the RCP(B) delegate to the First and Second congresses of the Communist International.

In July 1921, he attended the sessions of the Polish delegation at the Third Congress of the Communist International where a reunion took place between comradesin-arms who had not seen each other for years.

Dzerzhinsky attended the Fifth Congress of the Communist International held in June- July 1924. As a member of the RCP(B) delegation, he was also a member of the Polish Commission under the Executive Committee of the Communist International.

 

Appeal

Executive Committee of the Communist International

To all communists and the workers of all countries

On July 20, 1926 Feliks Dzerzhinsky died of a heart attack.

With him losing the Russian and world revolution one of its bravest and most determined fighters, one of their biggest organizers, one of their most important leaders.

From his early youth until his last breath was Dzerzhinsky in the ranks of the Bolsheviks at the front of the proletarian revolution. His life - that are decades memorable was sacrified for the emancipation of the working class.

As a member and leader of the Social Democratic Party of Poland and Lithuania - later the Polish Communist Party - Dzerzhinsky was in the time of illegality under czarism the illustrative example of a steadfast, stalwart party functionary. He bears misery of imprisonment, forced labor and exile. He emigrated to Austria and Germany. He was repeatedly in court. However, the toughest punishments could not break him. Though arrested, exiled, sentenced and deported, Dzerzhinsky did never interrupt his revolutionary struggle. He escaped from prison, from Siberia and came back from emigration in order to embark on the most dangerous Abschmitte the proletarian class struggle.

Freed from prison by the February Revolution, Dzerzhinsky actively participated in the preparation and execution of the Bolshevik Revolution. As a member of the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party and the Military Revolutionary Committee of the Petrograd Soviet, he was one of the greatest military leaders in October 1917.

In the fight for the defense of the proletarian dictatorship, Dzerzhinsky founded and led the Russian Cheka, this, unerring, mortal weapon against all enemies of the working people.

The hatred of all traitors was inextricably linked with the name of Dzerzhinsky, the hangmen of the White Guards. He endured the blind rage of the shattered counter-revolution, but also the pride, the respect and love of the working people of all countries.

After the Civil War, Dziezynski devoted all his forces to the socilaist construction of the Soviet country, the restoration and development of the economy. As Commissar of Transportation, he recovered the destroyed transport. As chairman of the Supreme Economic Council, he was in the fight for the building of socialism, namely in the first rows.

His last words, spoken just a few hours before his death, were dedicated to the legacy of Lenin - the victory of socialism, the cause of the international proletarian revolution.

Feliks Dzerzhinsky, the closest comrade Rosa Luxemburg, the faithful pupil and campaigner of Lenin, was not only an outstanding Bolshevik leader of the Russian, Polish and Lithuanian workers, but of the whole international proletariat.

His iron energy, his organizational skills, his bravery, his loyalty to the party, his exemplary, martial fulfilled life must be remembered by all Communists, all workers, all working people. After Lenin and Frunze we have lost Dzerzhinsky. Irreplaceable losses! But the cause of the revolution lives and will live forever. Leninism is invincible.

Long live the Bolshevik Party!

Long live the international proletarian revolution! "

ECCI of the Comintern

 

 

 

 

 

Dzerzhinsky was involved in a broad range of activities as a statesman. He was a
member of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee and the USSR Central Executive
Committee, the Council of People’s Commissars and the Labour and Defence Council,
and headed a number of major government commissions or was a member.

Rank-and-file workers sent Dzerzhinsky letters which contained heartfelt expressions
of gratitude for the care and attention he invariably displayed and his courage and
determination in the campaign against the enemies of the Soviet state. Many such letters
were printed by newspapers and magazines. For example, here is a letter from the
employees of the Mechanical Factory that was signed by 80 people:

 

“Dear Comrade Dzerzhinsky,
We, workers and office employees of the Mechanical Factory which bears your
distinguished name, address you, our comrade, who has dedicated himself to the defence of the rights of workers, peasants and all honest working citizens of the RSFSR.
By your indefatigable work and inexhaustible energy, and with the support of all the working people, you have eradicated counter-revolution and thus given us an opportunity to devote ourselves to the reconstruction of our undermined economy, which we workers have inherited from the bourgeoisie, in particular, to rebuild our transport system, which you, dear Comrade Dzerzhinsky, are heading ...
As a token of our respect, please accept our modest gift, a lighter with the inscription:
’To the sponsor of the Mechanical Factory, Comrade Dzerzhinsky, from the factory’s
workers’. We want you to know that at your first call, at any time, we are ready to rise to defend the workers’ and peasants’ rights, and to fill the key sectors of our production front, to rebuild the transport system which is so important to our young Republic. We are sure that you will cope with our destroyed transport, rebuild it and completely restore it. We have this conviction because you have proven by deed your dedication to the working class when fighting against all enemies of the working people, and have already done a great deal to restore the transport system.


“Long live world revolution!"
“Long live our leader in the struggle against economic dislocation in transport,
Comrade Dzerzhinsky!”

 

 

Dzerzhinsky was one of the fighters for the people’s happiness whom Lenin described
in 1910:

“The proletariat needs the truth about political leaders, whether living or dead,
for those who really deserve to be called political leaders do not become dead as regards
politics upon their physical demise."

 

LENIN

On Dzerzhinsky

collection of letters, writings and speeches - arranged by Wolfgang Eggers

(in German language)

 

Dzerzhinsky received letters not only from workers but from peasants, too. Their authors especially appreciated the campaign for thriftiness initiated by him. Here is an excerpt from one such letter:

“Dear Comrade Dzerzhinsky! On behalf of the peasants of a far-off village, allow me to express my proletarian gratitude for the thrift economy drive which will save us. Be healthy and in the future take more steps of this kind aimed at saving the gains of the revolution ... Be daring, we peasants are with you and for you. Proletarian greetings from peasant Ivan Zyuganov.”

 

 

 

 

Comrade Felix Dzerzhinsky 1877 - 1926 Pesnya chekistov

 

Marsz Czekistów

 

Feliks Edmundowicz Dzierżyński

 

Vladimir Lenin and Felix Dzerzhinsky

 

"F. Dzerzhinsky: In Memory of F. Dzerzhinsky" by STALIN (July 22, 1926)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Founder of the Polish Social Democratic Party, was active in the Polish and Russian revolutionary movements. After the Russian Revolution he headed the Cheka from its formation in December 1917, and the Supreme Council of National Economy from 1924.

 

 

 

The Vecheka (Cheka) – the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission to combat counter-revolution and sabotage. It was set up on the initiative of V.I. Lenin in December 1917, as an organ of the workers’ and peasants power, to defend the state security of the Soviet Republic.

 

 

 

 

 

Some letters and other documents

written by Felix Dzerzhinsky

From a Prison Diary

April 30, 1908

...Where lies the way out of the hell of present-day life, in which the wolfish law of exploitation, oppression and violence holds sway? The way out lies in the idea of a life which is based on harmony, a full life enjoyed by the whole of society, by all mankind; the way out is in the idea of socialism, the idea of solidarity of the working people. This idea is already approaching realisation, the people are ready to receive it with open arms. The time for it has already arrived. The ranks of the advocates of this idea must be united and the banner carried aloft so that the people see it and follow it. And today this is the most urgent of the tasks of Social-Democracy, of the tasks of the small handful that survives.

Socialism should cease to be only the scientific prevision of the future. It should become the torch that kindles indomitable faith and energy in the hearts of people....

May 10, 1908

... It would not be worthwhile living if the star of socialism, the star of the future were not shining down on mankind. For the “ego” cannot live if in itself it does not contain the rest of the world and the people. Such is the nature of this “ego.”...

May 21, 1908

... It is necessary to instil in the masses our own confidence in the inevitable bankruptcy of evil, so that they will be left with no doubt, so that they will come through this moment in serried ranks, prepared for battle. This is the task of the theoreticians. But the tasks of the others are to lay bare and show up this evil, to lay bare the sufferings and torments of the masses and of the individual fighters torn from their midst by the enemy, to give them the meaning they actually have and which gives them the strength to bear everything courageously, without wavering. Only in this way is it possible to instil in the masses courage and understanding of the need for struggle. Those who influence the mind and those who put confidence in victory into the heart and mind are both needed. Scientists and poets, teachers and propagandists are needed. I recall the booklet “From the Battlefield” published by the “Proletariat"[1] Party, which described the sufferings of the people, the steadfastness and courage they displayed in the struggle, and the tremendous influence it had. How I would wish such a booklet to appear now! But now it is more difficult to collect and compare facts, because they cover so much ground and there are so many of them. But, on the other hand, there are greater opportunities and possibilities now. If someone would undertake this work, or at least only the guidance of this work, then in a year or two such book could appear. It would reflect not only our sufferings and our doctrine, but also that longing for a full and real life for the sake of which man would readily endure suffering and sacrifice....

December 31, 1908

... I have matured in prison in torments of solitude, in torments of longing for the world and for life. And, in spite of this, doubt in the justness of our cause has never risen in my heart. And now, when perhaps for many years all hope is buried in torrents of blood, when they have been crucified on the gallows, when many thousands of fighters for freedom are languishing in dungeons or thrown out into snowbound Siberia – I feel proud. Already I see tremendous masses set in motion shattering the old system, masses among whom new forces are being trained for fresh struggles. I feel proud that I am with them, that 1 see, feel and understand them, and that I, too, have suffered much together with them. It is sometimes hard, at times even terrible, here in prison.... Yet, if I had to begin life all over again, I would begin it in the same way. And not out of a sense of duty, not because I had to. For me, it is an organic necessity.

...I curse neither my fate nor the many years in prison, for I know that all this is necessary in order to destroy the other vast prison which lies outside the walls of this horrible “pavilion.” This is not idle philosophising, not cold calculation, but the result of an indomitable desire for freedom, for a full life. Out there, comrades and | friends are drinking our health, and I, alone in my cell, am thinking of them: may they live on, may they forge the weapons and be worthy of the cause for which the struggle is being waged....

June 3, 1909

... To live – does it not mean to have indomitable faith in victory?

August 8, 1909

... In this connection[2] I am filled with apprehension. I shall go away, but this terrible life here will continue as before. This is strange and incomprehensible. It is not the horrors of this gloomy place that draw one to it, but the feeling for all the comrades, friends and unknown neighbours – strangers, yet at the same time near ones. Here we came to feel and realise how necessary is man to man, what man means to man. Here we learned to feel love not for women alone, we learned to be unashamed of our feelings and of our desire to give people happiness.

...And if here we long for flowers, we have also here learned to love people as we love flowers; and precisely here, where there is no desperate struggle for a crust of bread, and where there floats to the surface that which out there was of necessity concealed in the depths of the human heart. And for this reason we love this place of our execution, for here we made clear to ourselves that the struggle which brought us here is also the struggle for our personal happiness, for emancipation from the violence imposed on us, from the chains that drag us down.

 

From Letters to Relatives[3]

To A. E. Bulhak[4]

January 25 (13), 1898

... How is your little Rudolph? He must have grown a lot – does he walk or talk? See that you bring him up so that he values honesty above all else; such a person feels happy in all circumstances of life!

September 19 (7), 1898

... And we, in exile, must now gain in strength, physically, mentally and morally, in order to be prepared when the time comes. True, there are few who envy us our lot, but we who see the bright future of our cause, who see and realise its might, realise that life has chosen us to be the fighters, we who are fighting for that better future would never, never exchange our position for philistine vegetating. We are least of all made despondent by unpleasant side of life, since our life consists in work for the cause which is above everyday trifles. Our cause was born not so long ago, but it will develop beyond bounds, it is immortal.

November 17 (5), 1898

... You say that our feelings seem to relate in greater measure to mankind as a whole than to individuals. Never believe that this is possible. People who say so are hypocrites: they are simply deceiving themselves and others. It is not possible only to feel for people in general, people in general is an abstraction, for what is concrete is the sum-total of individuals. In actual fact, feelings can only be aroused in relation to the concrete phenomenon and never in relation to an abstraction. A man can feel sympathy towards social misfortune only if he feels sympathy towards the misfortune of every individual....

October 21 (8), 1901

... I do not know how to hate by halves or to love by halves. I do not know how to give only half of my heart. I can give all my heart or I give nothing. I have drunk from the cup of life not only all the bitterness, but all the sweetness as well, and if anyone says to me: take a look at the wrinkles on your brow, at your emaciated body, at the life you now lead, take a look and recognise that life has broken you, then I would reply: life has not broken me but I have broken life, it has not taken everything from me, but I have taken everything from it with my whole being and spirit! Yes, indeed!

...I came to loathe wealth because I learned to love people, because with all the fibres of my being I see and feel that today ... people worship the golden calf which has turned human souls into the souls of beasts and driven love out of people’s hearts. Remember that there is a sacred spark in the soul of people like me ... a spark which gives a glow of happiness even at the stake.

...I love children passionately....When I think that terrible want, on the one hand, and excessive wealth, on the other, lead to the degeneration of these little ones ... I am glad for your children, that you are neither rich nor poor, that from childhood they will realise the need to work in order to live and this means that they will grow up into real people. For the children are the future! They must be strong in spirit and know from childhood how to face up to life....

But I have spirit enough for another thousand years or more.... Even here in prison I see how the undying flame burns: the flame is my heart and the hearts of my comrades suffering torments here

To A. E. and G. A. Bulhak[5]

Beginning of November 1901

...No!! I am the same as I was before; what embittered me before, embitters me now; what I loved before, I love now; what gladdened me before, gladdens me now; as I acted before, so I act now; as I thought before, so I think now; as misfortunes and trials have not passed me by, so in the future they will not pass me by; my path remains the same; as I loathed evil before, so I loathe it now; as before, I am striving heart and soul so that there will be no injustice, crime, drunkenness, depravity, excessive | luxury, brothels where people sell body or soul or both together; so that there will be no oppression, fratricidal wars, national strife.... I would like my love to envelop all mankind, to warm it and cleanse it of the dirt of modern life....

... A tremendous task faces you: to’ educate and shape the minds of your children. Be vigilant! For parents are to a large extent morally responsible for whether their children are good or bad. I would like to write a great deal more about children, but I do not know how you will accept my advice, whether you might not regard this interference in your affairs as out of place. In any case, rest assured that I am guided here only by my love for your children. Kiss them heartily for me.... May they grow up healthy and cheerful, full of love for their parents and other people; may they grow up courageous and strong in spirit and body; may they never barter their conscience; may they be happier than we are and live to see the triumph of freedom, brotherhood and love....

To A. E. Bulhak

October 6 (September 23), 1902

...I do not know why I love children more than anything else. When I meet them my ill humour immediately vanishes. I could never love a woman as I love them and I think I could never love my own children more than those that were not my own.... In particularly hard moments I dream that I have taken some child, a foundling, and am caring for it and we are both happy. I live for it, feel it near me, it loves me with the childish love in which there is nothing false; I feel the warmth of this love and I terribly want it near me. But these are only dreams. I cannot allow myself this, I have to be moving about all the time, and with a child I could not. Often, very often, it seems to me that even a mother does not love children as ardently as I do....

October 22 (9), 1905

...I should like so much to perceive the beauty in nature, in people, in what they create, to delight in them, to perfect myself, because beauty and goodness are like two sisters. The asceticism that has fallen to my lot is so alien to me. I would like to be a father and put into the soul of a young creature everything good that is on the earth, to see how the rays of my love for it would produce a luxuriant blossom of the human soul....

June 16 (3), 1913

... Like a flower, the human soul unconsciously imbibes the rays of the sun and longs eternally for it, for its light; it fades and shrivels when evil shades off the light Our vigour and faith in a better future for mankind is built on this striving of every human soul towards the sunlight, and so there should never be hopelessness.... The evil genius of mankind today is hypocrisy: love in words, but in practice – a merciless struggle to exist, to achieve so-called “happiness,” to make a career.... To be a ray of light for others, to irradiate light, is the greatest happiness a man can achieve. Then a man does not fear suffering or death, misfortune or need. Then a man ceases to fear death, although only then he does really learn to love life. Only then will he walk on the earth with his eyes open, seeing, hearing and understanding everything, only then will he emerge from his narrow shell into the light and feel the joys and sufferings of all mankind; only then will he be a real man.

To S. S. Dzerzhinskaya[6]

December 15 (2), 1913

... Love for a child, like all great love, becomes creative and can give the child true and lasting happiness when it broadens the scope of life of the one who loves, makes him a more valuable person, and when it does not transform the person loved into an idol. Love which is showered on only one person and which derives from him alone all joy in life, making everything else a burden and torture, such love carries with it hell for both persons....

In order to save and enrich his soul, he must be taught to see and hear all he is already capable of seeing and hearing, so that his love for you becomes deep friendship and infinite trust....

January 19 (6), 1914

...Where there is love there should be trust...

...The man who believes in an idea and is alive cannot be useless if he does not himself renounce his idea. Only death, when it comes, will have its word to say about uselessness. But as long as there is a glimmer of life and the idea itself is alive, I shall dig the earth, do the roughest work, give everything I can. And the thought is soothing, makes it possible to endure the torment. A man must do his duty, follow his path to the end. And even when the eyes no longer see and are blind to the beauty of the world, the soul knows of this beauty and remains its servant. The torment of blindness remains, but there is something above this torment – there is faith in life, in people, there is freedom and the realisation of one’s constant duty....

To A. E. Bulhak

March 16 (3), 1914

...When I think of all the misfortunes in life that lie in wait for a man, of the fact that a man is so often deprived of all he is most attached to, my thoughts again tell me that in life one has to love with all one’s heart and soul that which is not transitory, that which cannot be taken away from a man and thanks to which his attachment to individuals and things becomes possible....

Love for suffering, oppressed mankind, the eternal longing in the heart of everyone for beauty and happiness, strength and harmony, urges us to seek a way out and to find salvation here, in life itself, and shows us the way out. It opens a man’s heart not only to his near ones, it opens his eyes and ears and gives him gigantic strength and confidence in victory. Then misfortune becomes a source of happiness and strength, for then comes clear thought throwing light on a hitherto gloomy life. From that time onwards, each new misfortune is no longer a reason for withdrawal from life, a source of apathy and despondency, but again and again inspires a man to go on living, to struggle and to love. And when the time comes and a man’s own life comes to an end, he can go calmly, without despair, and not be afraid of death....

To S. S. Dzerzhinskaya

June 24 (11), 1914

... I want to be worthy of the ideas you and I share. And it seems to me that every sign of weakness on my part, of longing for the end and peace, every hint of “I can’t go on” would be a betrayal and the renunciation of my feelings towards you and of that song of life that has always been and is still in me....

Yan[7] must not be a hot-house flower. He should have the whole dialectics of feelings, so as to be capable in life to fight for the truth and ideas. In his heart he should have something sacred that is broader and stronger than the sacred feeling for his mother or other people near and dear to him. He should know how to love the idea, that which links him with the masses, which will be a shining light in his life. He should understand that you and all who surround him, to whom he is attached, whom he loves, have something more sacred than the love for a child, the love for him, something sacred from which he and the love and affection for him derive. This sacred feeling is stronger than all other feelings, stronger because of its moral injunction: “This is how you should live, this is what you should be.” Awareness of this duty, as of every other connected with feelings, cannot be instilled by influencing the reason alone....

... To renounce the good things of life in order to fight for them together with those who are deprived of them, and to instil now a kind of asceticism in oneself. But my thoughts never leave me and I am sharing them with you. I am not an ascetic. It is just the dialectics of feelings, which springs from life itself and, it seems to me, from the life of the proletariat. And the point is that this dialectics should complete its cycle, so that it should contain the synthesis – the solution of contradictions. And so that this synthesis, being proletarian, should at the same time be “my” truth, the truth of “my” soul. One has to have the inner consciousness of the need to go to one’s death for the sake of life, to go to prison for the sake of freedom and to have the strength to go through all the hell of life with open eyes, feeling in one’s heart the great and exalted, paean of beauty, truth and happiness derived from that life....

February 17 (4), 1916

I love life as it really is, in its eternal movement, in its harmony, and in its terrible contradictions. And my eyes still see, my ears hear, my soul is receptive and my heart has not yet hardened. And the song of life sings in my heart.... And it seems to me that whoever hears this song in his heart will never curse his life, no matter what torments he has endured, will never exchange it for the other, peaceful, normal life. For this song is everything, this song of the love of life alone remains. Both here in prison, and out there in liberty, where there are now so many horrors, it lives and is eternal as the stars: the stars and all the beauty of nature give birth to it and carry it to human hearts, and these hearts sing out and strive eternally for resurrection....

To V. E. Dzerzhinsky[8]

September 11 (August 29), 1916

... But in social life? I am entirely at one not only with my thoughts but with the masses, and together with them I must experience the struggle, the torment and the hopes. I have never lived with closed eyes, turned in on my own thoughts alone. I was never an idealist. I learned to know human hearts and it seemed to me that I felt every beat of those hearts.... I have lived in order to fulfil my mission and to be myself....

I must endure to the end all that I am destined to endure. It cannot be otherwise. And I am at peace. And although I do not know what awaits me ... my mind continues to draw pictures of the future which crown it all. I am, besides all else, an optimist

To S. S. Dzerzhinskaya

May 21, 1918

My dear!

I am in the very thick of the struggle. The life of a soldier who knows no rest, for it is necessary to save our home. There is no time to think of my own people and myself. The work and the struggle are hellish. But in this struggle my heart remains alive, the same as before. All my time is one continual round of activity....

My thoughts force me to be merciless, and I have the firm win to follow my thoughts to the end...

The ring of enemies presses harder and harder round us, approaching the heart.... Each day forces us to resort to increasingly resolute measures. Now our greatest enemy faces us – stark famine. In order to get bread, it must be taken from those who have it and given to those who have none. The civil war must flare up on an unprecedented scale. I have been moved up to a position in the front line of fire and my will is to fight and to look with open eyes on all the danger of the grave situation and to be merciless myself....

August 29, 1918

...We are soldiers on active service. And I live by what stands ahead of me, for this demands the greatest attention and vigilance in order to win victory. My will is to win through and, although a smile is very rarely seen on my face, I am confident in the victory of the idea and the movement in which I live and work....

Here we have a dance of life and death – a moment of truly sanguinary struggle, titanic effort....

To A. E. Bulihak

April 15, 1919

Today as before, love is everything for me. I hear and feel its song in my heart. This song calls to the struggle unbending will, to tireless work. And today my actions are determined only by the idea – the striving for justice. I am finding it difficult to write.... As a perpetual wanderer, I am always in motion, in the thick of the changes and of the creation of a new life.... I see the future, and I want and must take part in its creation – to be in the movement, like a stone hurled from a sling, until I reach the end – eternal rest. Have you ever thought what war in actual pictures is like? You have pushed aside pictures of human bodies torn by shells, of the wounded lying on the battlefield and the crows pecking out the eyes of men still living. You have pushed aside these terrible pictures which daily meet the eyes. You cannot understand A soldier of the revolution fighting so that there will be no more injustice on the earth, so that this war will not put millions upon millions of people at the mercy of the conquering rich. War is a horrible thing. The whole world of the rich has moved against us. The most unhappy, most ignorant people are the first to have risen up in defence of their rights – and they are repulsing the entire world....

 

From the Article ’Citizens! Railwaymen!’

December 6 1921

...Wherever the scoundrel plants himself – in an office behind a green-baize desk or in a watchman’s hut – he will be discovered and brought before the court of the R[evolution] Tribunal, whose punitive hammer will fall with all the devastating might and anger of which it is capable, for there is no mercy for the deadly enemies of our revival. No circumstances will be taken into account when sentence is passed on people who take bribes. The sternest punishment awaits them.

At the same time, the Soviet Government calls on all honest citizens, in whom painful consciousness of the indelible shame and corrupting influence of bribes is alive, to give their in the seeking out and discovering bribe-taking scoundrels.

Be keen-eyed and vigilant! Proletarian hands should not and cannot be sullied by bribes!

 

From the Article "Waifs and the Vecheka"[9]

July 22, 1926

I want to throw part of my own efforts and primarily the forces of the Vecheka to combat the problem of homeless children... Two considerations have prompted me to this conclusion. Firstly, this is a terrible calamity! For when you look at the children, you cannot fail to think – everything is for them! The fruits of the revolution are not for us, but for them. And yet, how many of them are crippled by the struggle and by want! It is necessary to rush at once to their rescue, as we would if we saw children drowning. The People’s Commissariat for Education cannot cope with the situation alone. Extensive assistance from the Soviet public is needed. A large committee must be set up under the All-Russian Central Executive Committee, with the immediate participation of the People’s Commissariat for Education, and including representatives from all departments and all organisations that can be useful in this work. I have already spoken to a few people. I would like to head the commission myself; I want the apparatus of the Vecheka to be actually included in the work. Here I am prompted by the second consideration: I think our apparatus is one of those that work most efficiently; it has branches everywhere. People reckon with it. They are rather afraid of it. And yet, even in such a thing as the salvation and provisioning of children, one meets with negligence and even pilfering! We are steadily going over to peace-time construction, and so the thought has struck me, why not use our militant apparatus to combat such a calamity as homelessness among children?...

 

From a Circular Letter to the Managements of Syndicates and Trusts and to Red Directors

June 19, 1924

... One must not fear criticism, or gloss over shortcomings; on the contrary, it is necessary to help to make them known and to see nothing discreditable in doing so. Only he can be discredited who conceals his shortcomings, who is unwilling to fight against evils, that is, precisely the man who ought to be discredited. It is necessary to be able to see the truth and to imbibe it from the masses and from all who are taking part in production. There is nothing worse than self-praise and self-satisfaction. It is possible to go forward only when, step by step, evils are sought out and overcome. At the same time, an end must be put to our established practice of humouring the masses – the workers. It should be remembered that in our country the workers, like ourselves, are not yet cultured, that often their group interests outweigh the interests of the working class as a whole; often they do not sufficiently realise that only their own useful labour, the productivity of their labour, can create the communist state, maintain their Soviet power. Every economic manager should wage a struggle to win prestige, to win the confidence of the working masses, but the struggle for this confidence should on no account employ the instrument of demagogy, of humouring the masses, satisfying them to the detriment and at the expense of the state, of the interests of the alliance with the peasants, of parochial requirements. The path of demagogy is perhaps the most harmful path, lulling the masses, deflecting them from the main tasks of the working class in production, diminishing the sacrifices the working class has made and, in the final analysis, one which is harmful for our industry....

____

Notes

1. “Proletariat” – the first revolutionary workers’ party in Poland formed in the eighties of last century.

2. The reference here is to the thoughts aroused in F. E. Dzerzhinsky by the confirmation of the sentence to exile him, which meant that he had to leave the prison.

3. Letters written between 1898 and 1916 in prison and exile, except for the letter dated October 6 (September 23), 1902.

4. Edmundovna Bulhak – F. E. Dzerzhinsky’s sister.

5. G. A. Bulhak – A. E. Bulhak’s husband.

6. Sofia Sigizmundovna Dzerzhinskaya – F. E. Dzerzhinsky’s wife.

7. F. E. Dzerzhinsky’s son.

8. Vladislav Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky – F. E. Dzerzhinsky’s brother.

9. The Vecheka (Cheka) – the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission to combat counter-revolution and sabotage. It was set up on the initiative of V.I. Lenin in December 1917, as an organ of the workers’ and peasants power, to defend the state security of the Soviet Republic.

 

* * *


"Every good communist must be a good Chekist."