Saturday, April 23, 2005

With Stalin as Your DJ

In the April 25 issue of The Weekly Standard, I ran across a book review by Henrik Bering, which opens with the following two paragraphs:
One of the most ghoulish reminiscences of life at Stalin's court was provided by the old Polish Communist security chief Jakob Berman. He recalled late-night banquets in the Kremlin lasting till four in the morning, where exquisite food and drink— roast bear, pepper vodka, and sweet Georgian wines— were served, and where the drunken participants would dance the night away with Stalin manning the gramophone.

On one occasion, Berman had slow-waltzed with Molotov, the Soviet foreign minister. "You surely mean Mrs. Molotov," asked the interviewer, Polish journalist Teresa Toranska. "No. Mrs. Molotov was in a labor camp," Berman answered matter-of-factly, adding that in the waltz he played the part of the lady, with Molotov leading. Throughout the night, Stalin was sticking to his DJ duties, while carefully watching everybody. When asked if they enjoyed themselves, Berman gave a qualified assent: "Yes, it was pleasant," he said, "but with an inner tension."
I'll bet. Smile while you're dancing, or your DJ might wish you into the cornfield...



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