Communists called peace leaders in New York (5-21-41)

The Pittsburgh Press (May 21, 1941)


Dies investigator testifies at Committee hearing

Washington, May 21 (UP) –
A woman investigator of the House Un-American Activities Committee, Hazel Huffman of New York, testified today that Communists had a leading role in organizing peace movements in New York State.

She told the Committee that Israel Amter, New York State Communist Party chairman, and Charles Krumbein, secretary, “issued orders to all section organizers” instructing them to set up peace groups throughout New York early in June 1940.

She said it was “reasonable” to assume that similar orders went out to party functionaries in other states. Her information, she said, came “from a most reliable source” in the Communist Party.

Party in background

The Communist orders, she said, “stressed the importance of keeping the Communist Party in the background,” and instructed that the Party was not to take part in peace demonstrations as a political unit.

In New York, she said, Communists sought to arouse Communist sympathies among New York’s large Italian population by promoting the feeling that Italy might become involved in war with the United States and Italian-Americans would suffer.

Miss Huffman named many members of maritime, electrical and other unions, trade union groups and some New York schools as being associated both with the party and the peace movement.

Dr. Annette Rubinstein, head of the Robert Louis Stevenson School in New York, she said, was “described by the Communists” as “the darling of the peace movement.”

Earlier, acting Chairman Joe Starnes (D-AL) refused to hear a statement by Allan Taub, New York attorney for officials of the Washington Committee for Aid to China. Mr. Taub was removed from the witness stand by two officers when he complained vigorously that he had no chance to confer with his clients, two officers of the Committee for Aid to China.

They said that they had brought with them various documents, financial records and correspondence the Committee sought under a subpoena. Mr. Starnes told Mr. Taub he was not ready to “receive any statement from you now.”

Later this week, the Committee plans to call Richard Krebs, former Russian spy, who as “Jan Valtin” wrote the book Out of the Night, allegedly exposing operations of the Communist OGPU, Committee Secretary Robert E. Stripling said Kress would give the Committee information about the activities of the OGPU agents in this country.

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The novel, “Johnny Got His Gun” by Dalton Trumbo, was definitely inspired by Stalin and the Communist Party. I wonder if the Communist-backed branch of the peace movement had much interaction with Nazi-backed peace movement during the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. One could write volumes on the politics of Joe Starnes.