Monday, August 22, 2011

Arabian Nights Plot to Kill Stalin

I need to stay away from this because it's pretty interesting and deserves much more research. I know if I start, I'll get lost, and never finish my dissertation! Maybe you can fill in the blanks? But, the men who were allegedly plotting to kill Stalin, apparently used the Nights as a code book to outline their plans.

This is from the NYT/IHT, news from 1936? 75 years ago today kind of thing:

From the International Herald Tribune
100, 75, 50 Years Ago
Published: August 21, 2011

"1936 Code in Stalin Plot Revealed

How “The Arabian Nights” served as a secret code for the Russian terrorists who were to slay Josef Stalin and other Soviet chiefs was told by Ivan Holtzmann, one of the 16 accused in the Moscow treason trial, before a sweltering courtroom today [Aug. 21], as the prisoners continued to recite their murderous intentions. Among those who are being tried are Gregory Zinoviev, former secretary of the Third International, and Leo Kamenev, former Ambassador to Italy and Trotsky’s brother-in-law. They are accused of plotting with Trotsky, in exile in Norway, to assassinate the present Soviet government leaders and to seize power. Holtzmann said he was ordered to hand over a report on the Stalin regime to Sedov Trotsky, son of the exiled revolutionary, together with a marked copy of “The Arabian Nights,” which was used as a code by the terrorists. Pressed to say how this code worked, Holtzmann said that he could not remember, except that the characters in the stories represented the various Soviet leaders. Like most of his fellow prisoners, Holtzmann today retracted his previous statement that he had no participation in the plot to kill Stalin. “I was not only morally, but actually responsible,” he said. "

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