Rev. B. S. Lombard to Earl Curzon.
Officers' Quarters, 8, Rothsay Gardens, Bedford,
March 23, 1919.
I BEG to forward to your Lordship the following details with reference to Bolshevism in Russia : —
I have been for ten years in Russia, and have been in Petrograd through the whole of the revolution.
I spent six weeks in the Fortress of Peter and Paul, acted as chaplain to His Majesty's submarines in the Baltic for four years, and was in contact with the 9th (Russian) Army in Roumania during the autumn of 1917 whilst visiting British Missions and hospitals, and had ample opportunity of studying Bolshevik methods.
It originated in German propaganda, and was, and is being, carried out by international Jews.
The Germans initiated disturbances in order to reduce Russia to chaos. They printed masses of paper money to finance their schemes, the notes of which I possess specimens can be easily recognised by a special mark.
Radically to destroy all ideas of patriotism and nationality by preaching the doctrine of internationalism which proved successful amongst the uncultured masses of the labouring classes.
To obstruct by every means the creation of military power by preaching the ideas of peace, and to foster the abolition of military discipline.
To keep the masses under the hypnosis of false Socialistic literature.
To buy up all nationalised banks and to open up everywhere branches of German Government banks under the names and titles of firms that would conceal their actual standing.
To endeavour to empoverish and temporally to weaken the peasant classes, to bring about national calamities such as epidemics (the outbreak of cholera last summer was traced to this source), the wholesale burning down of villages and settlements.
To preach the doctrine of the Socialistic form or managing enterprises amongst the working classes, to encourage their efforts to seize such enterprises and then by means of bankruptcies to get them into German hands.
To preach the idea of a six to eight hours' working day with higher wages.
To crush all competition set on foot against them. All attempts of the intellectuals or other groups to undertake any kind of independent action, or to develop any industries to be unmercifully checked, and in doing this to stop at nothing.
Russia to be inundated by commission agents and other German representatives, and a close network of agencies and offices should be created for the purpose of spreading amongst the masses such views and teachings as may at any given time be dictated from Berlin.
All business became paralysed, shops were closed, Jews became possessors of most of the business houses, and horrible scenes of starvation became common in the country districts. The peasants put their children to death rather than see them starve. In a village on the Dvina, not far from Schlusselberg, a mother hanged three of her children.
I was conducting a funeral in a mortuary of a lunatic asylum at Oudelnaia, near Petrograd, and saw the bodies of a mother and her five children whose throats had been cut by the father because he could not see them suffer.
When I left Russia last October the nationalisation of women was regarded as an accomplished fact, though I cannot prove that (with the exception of at Saratoff) there was any actual proclamation issued.
The cruelty of the soldiers is unspeakable. The father of one of the Russian clerks in the Vauxhall Motor Works was bound and laid on a railway line and cut to pieces by a locomotive on suspicion of having set fire to some of his own property. In August last two bargeloads of Russian officers were sunk and their bodies washed up on the property of a friend of mine in the Gulf of Finland, many lashed together in twos and threes with barbed wire.
While we were in prison a Red Guard was sent from the central police station (Gorokovaia 2) in charge of five prisoners to the fortress. One of them, an old officer, was unable to walk, the guard shot him and left his body on the Troytsky Bridge. The murderer was reprimanded and imprisoned in a cell near ours. The treatment of priests was brutal beyond everything. Eight of them were incarcerated in a cell in our corridor. Some of us saw an aged man knocked down twice one morning for apparently no reason whatever, and they were employed to perform the most degrading work and made to clean out the filthy prison hospital. Recently, life in Petrograd has become a veritable nightmare.
In the early days of 1917 the Russians gloried in a bloodless revolution, now they simply glut themselves with killing for the most trivial offences. In a market on the opposite side of the river to my house, a poor woman with a starving family filched a small piece of meat from a stall, without any hesitation the Red Guard surrounded her and placing her against a wall shot her dead.
The rank and file of the Red Army is full of men who are heartily sick of the present régime, and would gladly join any really strong force sent to the relief of the country. But unless the force were considerable, they would hesitate.
But I imagine that the food question is the key to the situation, the Red Armies must be at a low ebb for provisions, and by getting stores to Helsingfors they might be treated with.
I am, &c.
BOUSFIELD S. LOMBARD,
Chaplain to the Forces.