August 21, 1965
Miss Diane Schaefer
Bronx, New York
Dear Miss Schaefer:
In your letter of July 5, you write that you and your history instructor “have found no work on Russian history or theoretical communism that makes reference to the use of questionnaires to determine who will be the ‘true proletariat.’ Consequently, would you please send me either the name of your primary sources; or, failing this, enlarge upon this matter…”
My primary source is myself. I graduated from the University of Leningrad and had to fill one of those questionnaires myself. This “purge” of Soviet universities took place in the spring of 1924. It was done under the slogan of “We will not educate our class enemies.” Thousands of young people were expelled from schools all over the country and were denied an education, in payment for the “sins” of their ancestors. I was not in a position to know, nor care, what particular Soviet official instigated this policy, but it was public and nation-wide. Similar questionnaires were used thereafter in regard to employment to determine an applicant’s origin.
I do not know what sources you are studying, but they are obviously of a dubious nature if they omit an event of this magnitude. For details, I refer you to my novel We The Living, which deals with that period of Russian history and includes, specifically, the “purge” of the Soviet schools. The plot of We The Living is fictional, but all the background and political events, including this “purge,” are real and exactly as some 200,000,000 people have had to live them. I am astonished that events of such large scale can be kept secret from historians.