The Russian Culture Club

Uncle Paul heard there were some Russians living in Hartford who had created a “Russian Culture Club.” He wasn’t sure what that was but thought that young George Trofimoff might like to attend.

The following Saturday evening, George went into town and located where the meeting was held. It took place in a school building and in what appeared to be a classroom. Uncle Paul had already contacted some young people and told them that George, from Paris but born in Germany of Russian descent, would be attending. Uncle Paul didn’t know these people, but he didn’t want his protegé hitting the place cold and perhaps without a friendly face, so he had paved the way by making an introductory call.

As George entered the room, the welcome was warm and spontaneous, but it was George who was withdrawn. He didn’t quite know what to think and was immediately on guard. On the wall, he observed large pictures of Marx, Stalin, and Lenin. He was White Russian. These were the people responsible for murdering his grandparents and driving his father from their homeland.

Early on in the meeting, he was called upon to speak about the Soviet army liberation of Germany. He almost froze in his tracks. He didn’t know what to say, but he didn’t want to start a controversy, either. So, he mumbled remarks that he personally did not see any Soviet troops, that he was in Berlin at the end of the war. This, of course, was not true. He had witnessed Soviet troop atrocities and the murder of their own people.

George came away confused. The pro-Soviet attitude at this meeting was stronger but similar to what he had experienced when he gave his talk at the two colleges. This was the end of 1947 and the beginning of 1948, and, all over Europe, people were well aware of the Soviet threat in particular and the Communist threat in general. Europeans knew that the Soviets had simply replaced the Germans as those who wanted to capture and control the world.

George was dismayed at the fact that young people were still regarding the Soviets as their allies and friends. They seemed to completely disregard the threat which the Soviet Union presented to the entire Western world. He felt that he was a guest in America, however, and as a newly-arrived European, he did not want to offend people with his beliefs. Inside, he hoped that Americans would soon awaken to the threat the Soviets posed, before it was too late. He did not want what had happened to his family to happen to America, his new home.

I write of the life of George Trofimoff and the jury trial that ruined his life in my  book:  “Observer: The Colonel George Trofimoff Story, the tale of America’s highest ranking military officer convicted of spying”.

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