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What F D Roosevelt told Vyacheslav Molotov about the Jewish Problem in May 1942

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May 29, 1942

President Roosevelt and Molotov talk about the Jewish Problem


[Notes by interpreter Professor Samuel H Cross, head of the Russian Department, Harvard University] on Molotov Conversation, Friday May 29, 1942, after dinner:

"MR HOPKINS remarked that, while the American Communist Party had played ball one-hundred percent since December 7 [1941], the fact was that its composition of largely disgruntled, frustrated, ineffectual, and vociferous people -- including a comparatively high proportion of distinctly unsympathetic Jews -- misled the average American as to the aspect and character of the Communists in the Soviet Union itself.

"On this the President commented that he was far from anti-Semitic, as everyone knew, but there was a good deal in this point of view. Mr Molotov admitted affably that there were Communists and Communists, and readily recognized the distinction between 'Jews' and 'Kikes' (for the latter the Russians have a word of Similar connotation: zhidy) as something that created inevitable difficulties."

Related file on this website:

FDR "acquiesced" in the Murder of the Jews -- New Book | and David Irving's comment


National Archives, FDR Library, Hyde Park, NY: Papers of Harry L Hopkins: Sherwood Collection. Box 311, file: "Molotov Visit, 1942"; FRUS, 1942, iii, pp. 570-571.

A reader [] comments, Friday, April 2, 1999: that Molotov might have been irritated at his (Jewish) wife:

In Molotov Remembers -- Conversations with Felix Chuev, Ivan R. Dee Inc. , 1993. it is stated on about page 300-325 that Molotov's wife from 1921 until her death in 1970 was Jewish. She was accused of connections with a Zionist organization and with Golda Meier, who was then the Israeli ambassador to the Soviet Union. Security charged that they were seeking to make the Crimea a Jewish autonomous region. Imprisoned in 1948, she wasn't released until 1953 after Stalin's death. According to this book she never claimed that she was innocent. Molotov was quoted in this book as saying, "Of course she should have been more fastidious in choosing her acquaintances" (p.192).

In 1939, when Maksim Litvinov (a Jew) was dismissed as foreign minister, he became ambassador to the U.S., Stalin told Molotov, "Purge the ministry of Jews." "Thank God for those words. Jews formed an absolute majority in the leadership and among the ambassadors. It wasn't good" (also p 192).

Molotov says, "Stalin was not an antiSemite as he is often portrayed. He appreciated many qualities in the Jewish people. Capacity for hard work, group solidarity, and political awareness."

© Focal Point 1999 e-mail:  write to David Irving