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I.J. Singer's 'East of Eden' Could Explain Gen. Flynn's False Confession

Laurence Jarvik

Posted on May 8, 2020 19:11

2 users

A 1939 novel by author Isaac Bashevis Singer's older brother could help explain why Gen. Flynn would confess to a crime he did not commit ...

Social distancing provided an opportunity to catch up on reading, including I.J. Singer's 1939 novel East of Eden (originally published as Comrade Nachman in Yiddish.)

It tells the story of Nachman Ritter, a poor Polish-Jewish baker's assistant who makes his way to Moscow in order to live a Communist dream which turns into a nightmare.

There are two harrowing interrogation scenes in which he is pressured to make a false confession of conspiracy against the government — first in Poland, subsequently in Russia. Slupek, his Polish interrogator, subjects Nachman to cruel beatings and water torture that sounds a lot like what we now call waterboarding. He demands he confess he is a Russian agent in order to receive leniency. Nachman refuses to sign the document. Although he is a Communist, he believes he is working for Polish workers, not for Russia.

Nevertheless, Nachman is convicted at trial, based upon testimony from agent provocateurs, and sentenced to eight years. "My punishment has been decided upon before I entered this room," he declares at sentencing.

After his release, Nachman crosses the border illegally into Russia, hoping to start a new life in a Communist Utopia. He sends for his wife and son, and they move into dismal lodgings while he works in a bakery which pays even less than he earned in Poland. He discovers that Russia is not a Utopia after all. Conditions are horrible and oppressive. Everybody lies. A poster at his bakery reads: "2+2=5."

But worse is to come. 

Nachman is arrested, jailed, and interrogated again — accused of being an anti-Communist saboteur. His Polish comrade in Moscow refuses to help him, fearing his own prosecution. Disappointed and alone, Nachman faces interrogation once more. 

Unlike his Polish interrogator, Comrade Bielayev does not beat him. Instead, he subjects Nachman to psychological torture, including sleep deprivation. Still, Nachman refuses to confess. Comrade Bielayev appeals to party loyalty: "Why should he not make this little, unimportant sacrifice for the good of the cause? By signing this document Nachman would enable the Soviet authorities to unmakes the poisonous serpent which had crawled into the country and into the very ranks of the party; and thus Nachman would be able to obtain his liberty and would be able to return to his wife and child and to his work."

Still, Nachman stubbornly refuses, so, finally, Comrade Bielayev threatens Nachman's wife Hannah and son Mattes. If Nachman does not confess, he will arrest Hannah, then send Mattes to an orphanage — never to be seen again. Before Nachman can respond, he brings Hannah and Mattes to the jail cell.

Hannah begs: "Nachman ... have pity on us, have pity on me and the child."

Nachman weeps. "Bielayev did not interrupt ... he knew that now the man had broken down. Silently he offered Nachman the pen. Nachman signed."

I.J. Singer's story could explain why Gen. Flynn would have signed a false confession — after the US government threatened to indict his son, Michael G. Flynn

Laurence Jarvik

Posted on May 8, 2020 19:11

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Source: Mediaite
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